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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (May 10, 1901)
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every child. Surely Virginia, the home of
Jefferson, will not bo tlio first state to enter
upon a restrictive policy which would condemn
a portion of tho pooplc to enforced illiteracy.
Is This Prosperity?
The Philadelphia North American in a re
cent issue gives a discouraging description of
the depression which prevails m the textile
trade. The facts and causes are condensed by
it into the following "brief statement:
Total number of textile employes In Phila... 75,000
Number at steady work . 20,000
Number on "half" or "three-quarter" time.. 36,000
Numbor Idle 16,000
Number unaccounted for... 5,000
CAUSES OF DEPRESSION.
1. Overproduction during prosperity.
2. Underconsumption due to low wages.
3. The war in China.
4. Competition of "substitute", commodities.
5. Chango in styles.
6. Chango in centres of textile industry.
If we had a low tariff the protectionists
would recommend a high tariff as a remedy;
if we had bimetallism the gold standard would
be proposed as a panacea, but as we have a
high tariff and a gold standard this depression
will bo explained as one of those natural and
necessary conditions which cannot bo prevented
by foresight or remedied by legislation. It
comes, too, at a time when the stock; markets
are booming and when tho speculators Are
boasting that railroad stocks have gained
more than five hundred millions in' market
Value within a few months.
Tho North American gives interviews with
employers and employees. Here is a sample
from each side. John Hamilton, proprietor of
Montgomery Carpet Mills, says:
"This thing is all a scare. The business is
bad for some, and other manufacturers are run
ning about the same as usual. Wo are running
short-handed, but that is because it is the end of
our season The talk about people starving is
only the vaporing of labor agitators. Thei;e is no
necessity for people starving. If they can't find
work in the textile trades, let them get to work
at something else. I have no reason to offer for
the 'depression,' because there is no depression."
Mr. Hamilton is not worried about the laok
of employment or the lack of food complained
of by some of the others. It is evident that
his salary is still paid regularly.
Edward Thornton, business agent of tlm
Allied Textile Trades is quoted as saying:
"The 'busy' season, so long expected, has not
.come. Sinco November there has been no season
at all. In the upholstery trade not seventy-five
per cent of the thirty-two mills are running on
anything like full time. A weaver in this lino of
work could make $13 a week, but now the most
skillful barely average $5 a week. The weavers
can make a fair wage as long as there is work, but
the periods of idleness are disastrous. There has
been a great overproduction and a tendency to
lower tho quality of the goods manufactured. The
tariff on wool has played havoc with the ingrain
trade and has created a field for Japanese and
Chinese mattings. In fact, people are not buying
carpets as they did at one time. As yet there
have been few appeals for help, but this will come
later if the depression continues. Our men are
living on credit to a great extent, but this is
bound to end."
Tho North American is a republican paper
and is owned by a son of ex-Postmaster Gen
eral Wanamaker. Its portrayal of the indus
trial situation in one of the great trade centers
will be profitable reading for those republicans
who believe that universal prosperity is the
constant and necessary attendant of a republi
Booth on Fine Clothes:
General William Booth of the . Salvation
Army discussing clothing in the War Cry says:
"But necessary and useful as the clothes-wearing
habit may be, like all other things good and
useful in themselves, it can be perverted, and made
into an evil. This is just what has happened; and
tho material, shape, and general character of
clothes have become sources of temptation in
deed, they can be counted as among the most fruit
ful causes of evil with which poor human nature
has to battle.
For instance, clothes, more than all else, may
be the means of fostering and feeding the pride
and vanity of the human heart. Introduced on ac
count of the sin of our first parents, and there
fore to be regarded as marks of their disgrace, it
is curious to contemplate the extent to which their
posterity has come to glory in their shape.
It is not probable that when clothes, became
a necessity, it was intended that they should dis
figure or be out of harmony with the human form.
On the contrary, it is perfectly natural to sup
pose the opposite; but that they should be made
to foster the vanity, occupy the time, and involve
the extravagant expenditure that have come to
be the usage in the present day, could hardly
have been imagined. Oh, the waste and misery
caused by the rage to be as finely dressed as, or to
outdo, vthose about us!"
Public Conscience Seared.
A London dispatch quotes Mr. Poultney
Bigelow as indulging in some cruel criticism at
the expense of the political situation in the
"United States. He recently delivered a course
of lectures at Harvard University and upon
landing in London gave out the following
"Commercialism is running rict in the United
States. The Yankees are coining their ideas and
energies into money. The trust builders are doing
the rest. These money kings necessarily exer
cise a blighting influence on the morals of public
servants, they create all manner of temptations
and breed all manner of jobbery.
"In Washington, I found cynical contempt for
the constitution. Corruption stalks through the
government. It disgraces the halls of congress,
which are little more than a brokerage shop for
the sale of authority to fleece the people. Legis
lators, department officials and petty public ser
vants of all kinds neglect no opportunity to turn
their official prerogatives to profit.
"I learned many specific instances of flagrant
jobbery, especially in connection with the Philip
pine war. There are a thousand officials who owe
it stealings ranging from very small to Very large
amounts. They don't want the struggle to come
to an end. They would much prefer to see 'it in
"Of course I shouldn't think of reflecting upon
men like Messrs. Hay and Taft, but if Mr, Hay
were the Angel Gabriel and Mr. Taft St. Peter
come to earth they couldn't stop the complex, far
reaching system if thievery which- prevails in the
"President Hadloy, I see, denies that he said
that a continuance of present tendencies would land
an emperor in Washington in twenty-flve years.
I don't see why he should desire to deny such a
statement. We would better have an emperor
some one to take a firm stand against the rising
tide of official immorality than to have rulers
who have no interest in the government beyond
the outcome of the next election. I had rather
live under Emperor William than under tho yio
ious tyranny of railway,- oil and steel kings.
- "America needs a thorough arousing of the
public conscience. Sho needs to deliver her from
tho slavery of capitalism such men and women as
delivered her from slavery of human beings. In
other words, sho needs an epidemic of cranks
cranks Jike Garrison, cranks like England had in
Cobden and Bright."
According to Mr. Bigelow the party in
power contains a large number of men who
measure up to Mr. Watterson's definition of
statesmenship, men who are able to detach
their policies from their visions and to sever
their official conduct from their moral princi
ples. Mi. Bigelow is wrong in preferring an
empire, but. is correct in saying that the
public conscience needs quickening. The
most distressing feature of the present situ
ation is that men who condemn immorality in
individuals seem indifferent to corruption in high
places and to the use of government for private
The Man With the Hoe,
By EDWIN MARKHAM,
(Written after seeing Millet's World Famous Painting.)
"God mado man in His own imnpo, '
in the imago of God mado He Mm. Gonosia
Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans
Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,
The emptiness of ages in his face,
And on his back the burden of the world.
Who made him dead to rapture and despair,
A thing that grieves not and that never hopes,
Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox? ' '
"Who loosened and let dpwn this brutal jaw? '
Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow?
Whose breath blew out the light within this brain?
Is this the Thing the Lord God made and gave"
To have dominion over sea and land;
To trace the stars and search the heavens for-
To feel the passion of Eternity?
Is this the dream He dreamed who shaped the suris
And pillared the blue firmament with light?
Down all the stretch of Hell to its last gulf
There is no shape more terrible than this
More tongued with censure of the world's blind
More filled with signs and portents for the soul
More fraught with menace to the universe.
What gulfs between him and the seraphim!. "
Slave of the wheel of labor, what to him
Are Plato and the swing of Pleiades?
What the long reaches of the peaks of song,
The rift of dawn, the reddenintr of th a?
Through this dread shape the suffering ages look;
limes tragedy is in that aching stooD:
Through this dread shape humanity betrayed,
Plundered, profaned and disinherited, - ' "
Cries protest to the Judges of the World,
A protest that is also prophecy.
O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
Is this the handiwork you give to God,
This monstrous thing distorted and soul-quenched?
How will you ever straighten up this shape;
Touch it again with Immortality;
Give back the upward looking and the light; . .
Rebuild in it the music and the dream;
Make right the immemorial infamies,
Perfidious wrongs, Immedicable woes?
O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
How will the Future reckon with this Man?
How answer his brute question in that hour
When whirlwinds and rebellion shake the world? '
How will it be with kingdoms and with kings
With those who shaped him to the thing he is- "
When this dumb Terror shall reply to God
After the silence of the centuries?