The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, June 14, 1901, Page 3, Image 3

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

    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.
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
Investor says:
The Commoner.
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.
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
momont might thrust the contingencies of the mor
remoto future completely Into tho background."
"But What
Could the
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."
An Interesting
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