The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, June 14, 1901, Page 3, Image 3
county treasurer, let ns call him Mr. Smith, became" a candidate for a third term; his'com petitor, -whom we will call Mr. Jones, made his fight against the incumbent on the ground hat a third term ought not to be given to an official (intrusted with the handling of the county money. Ho insisted that there ought to bo a change so that the books could be examined. His arguments were effective and he beat Mr. Smith. At the end- of the second term he be gan to long for a third term himself, but for a whilo, remembering the issue upon which he won the office, he refrained from announcing his candidacy. Finally his desire to retain the office overcame his desire to be consistent and he entered the race for a third time. To quiet his conscience, however, he went around to apologize to Mr. Smith for the arguments he had formerly advanced and his apology ran like: tli is: "Mr. Smith, when .you were a candidate for a third term I made the race against you on the theory that a third term waB wrong. I had heard the arguments made against a third term and I really believed that they were Bound, but I have been in the office two terms myself and I now see that there is no reason why a good county treasurer should not serve as many terms as he likes. I admit now that I was wrong and when I make a mistake I am just man enough to acknowledge it." Senator McLaurin sees now that he made a mistake in risking two years of senatorial sal ary and he is "just man enough to acknowl edge it." The letters written by the two senators are entirely characteristic of the men. The hon orable course pursued by Senator Tillman and the evasion resorted to by Senator McLaurin will increase the desire already very general among democrats to see some plan adopted which will give Senator Tillman a colleague in harmony with his constituents. W Light in the Darkness. Among those who sneered when the people were warned of the dangers of organized wealth, none were more conspicuous than the United States Investor, a New Tork financial publica tion of high standing. "When it was pointed out that we were rapidly drifting from a gov ernment by the people to a government by the banks, the United States Investor laughed away the warnings. Those who remember the very vigorous work which the Investor did in behalf of- "na tional honor" will bo deeply interested in an editorial that appeared in its issue of May 18. Referring to the late dis turbances in "Wall Street, the "The recent panid is about as good an indication as we could desire of what 'organized wealth can accomplish when it seta about it." This might seem to be a bit of pleasantry on the part of this staid financial authority but for the fact that further reading of its interest ing editorial shows the Investor to be in a very Confessions of a Financial Journal. Investor says: The Commoner. 9 solemn frame of mind. In brief, it charges that the bank controlled by Standard Oil influ ences was largely responsible for the recent panic. "It seems to us," says the United States Investor, "that tho' events of the last ton days should cause tho people of the United States to do a little thinking." This is indeed a cheerful suggestion, rep resenting as it does certain publications that have heretofore had nothing but contempt for those who have suggested that the peo ple should "do a little think- Controlllng the Very Govern ment Itself. xng, And what is the occasion, in tho Investor's opinion, for tho necessity of public thought? In brief, it is that one Bingle banking institu tion in the United States has by the favor of the administration and by extraordinary po litical influence obtained such power and pres tige that it cannot only make and unmake men, but can wreck fortunes on the one hand, and creato fortunes on the other hand and control not only the banking facilities of the country, but in the identical language of the Investor, can control "also tho very government itself." Then the Investor adds: "This nation thinks it knows pretty well what is meant by the expression 'Standard Oil methods and it wants none of that kind of thing in its bank ing. But it may be asked if it is not getting a good deal of just that kind of thing. The Standard Oil crowd have monopolized tho oil industry in a way which is generally known, and it has pursued the most high-handed methods in the absorption of various other industries. It has evinced the clear est determination to make itself the predominating factor in the material affairs of the United States, and it has substantially accomplished this result. Now it looks to some as if, through the instru mentality of the City bank, this coterie were bent not only on controlling tho banking facilities of the country, but also tho very government itself. "This last may seem an exaggeration, but we doubt if it is. At any rate, there was sufficient suspicion of this in the minds of the people of the United States in tho latter part of 1899 to warrant a congressional committee making an investiga tion of the relations of the secretary of the treas ury with this bank. The committee found nothing dreadful to report; but it goes without saying, that even if anything of the kind existed, it never would have been allowed to get into a congres sional report." Having said this much thus frankly, the Investor drops into its old campaign habit of offering an apology, saying that if it is true that this bank "can have anything it wants of tho government, as some people claim it is true, the fact might not indicate any predetermined improper conduct on the part of tho government." In support of this apology, the Investor points out that a bank with $180,000,000 of deposits is "in a pretty good condition to make the gov ernment do about what it wants, whether tho government likes it or not." Then it says: "An institution of this magnitude has to ba recognized and deferred to. It is such a tremen dous power In the money market that its wishes cannot be ignored; and if its wishes should happen to run counter to the actual welfare of the nation, it might not be easy for the government to fly in the face of its mandate the contingencies of the Bank Can Have Anything It Wants. momont might thrust the contingencies of the mor remoto future completely Into tho background." "But What Could the Government Do? " Tho opportunities offered under this "tre mendous power" are further desoribed by the Investor. It claims that be tween May and December of 1890, the deposits of this bank fell off nearly $50,000,000. Tho government promptly came to the relief of this bank ing institution and offered to deposit internal revenue receipts in tho banks throughout tho country, making this particular bank the de pository pending the actual disbursement. The Investor points to the very general criticism of this incident, and then continuing its apology, asks, "But what could tho government do? Tho city bank had lost nearly $50,000,000 of deposits, and the City cvidontly wanted the handling of all that government money. It would not have been a little matter for the gov ernment to have said nay." Then tho Investor proceeds to refer to tho customs house purchase, and that deal is de scribed thus: "Tho City bank bought the old New York cus tom house of the government; but wishing to avoid taxation, it nrranged with tho treasury not to turn over the title at once, and at tho same time It fixed up an agreement whereby tho government was to continue to occupy the premises at a hand some rent. This was certainly an Instance of 'the City having it all its own way.' This is one of tho 'queorcst' transactions ever heard of. Tho impor tant thing Is not so much tho fact itself, as what it signifies regarding the relations of this Standard Oil bank to the government of the United States." i An Interesting Prediction. It would seem that this candid statement of the "tremendous power" exerted by this bank upon tho national admin istration completely destroys tho force ind effect of tjio mild apology which the Investor seeks to present on the question of "predeter mined improper conduct on the part of tho government." And" this destruction is made all the more complete by the Investor's frank statement of what this great banking institu tion is now seeking to accomplish and its cheer ful prediction of the probabilities of the suc cess of the scheme. This is the prediction: "Great as is its influence in tho money market today, it will be immensely greater a few years hence if its plans do not miscarry. The City bank is unquestionably laying its plans to build up an institution on a very much grander scale than the present. Its purchase of the custom house site, and its obtaining virtual control of a number of other national banks, point to a policy of branch banking when the -time is right. It is believed in banking circles that at the very next session of congress a bill will be introduced extending the national bank charters (which begin to run out in 1903), and that this bill will contain a clause permitting branch banking. It is quietly- said among bankers that that is what the City wa&ts, and that what the City wants it will gt" Then in conclusion the Investor oy3 "We might not view with disfavor the as sumption of dictatorial power by the City bank, were we reasonably sure that such power would be wielded in a manner consonant with the public good. But so long as the City bank furnishes us such little exhibitions as those of Wednesday and Thursday of last week, we may venture to doubt l -ii i?