The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, September 09, 1904, Page 6, Image 7

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from other causes will bo about 5,000. The pen
sion system was the greatest burden In 1893,
When it was equal to $2.24 per $1,000 of taxable
property; It is now $1.34 per $1,000. In ten years
iriore the burden will coaso to be noticed, says
Commissioner Ware. The pension commissioner
recommends Somo now legislation. Ho thinks
that those who are (fonvicted of an Infamous crime
should forfeit "their pensions or their rights to
pensions; that pensions should be denied to women
who marry soldiers as tho soldiers become old
pensioners, and that a different system of exami
Inlng applicants for pensions should bo adopted,
tho present system, in his opinion, being uncer-,
tain, expensive, and unsatisfactory, for It is liable
to, outside control and political dictation."
A READER of the Now York .Sun recently sub
mitted to that publication the following in
quiry: "I recently stated to a friend -that tho stock
ola certain Londpn water company was the high
est priced stock in the world and that I believed
that a fraction of a share of tho said stock had
occasionally been soldi at an enormous price. This
ho was Inclined to doubt. Was I not right and
toll mo tho name of tho water company and some
thing of its, history and tho price of its stock?''
REPLYING to this inquiry; tho editor of the Sun
. says: "You were right. The shares In, tho
New River companyr recently taken over by tho
municipality of London, were the highest priced
stock in tho world. In 1G09 Hugh Myddleton, a
London goldsmith and tho projector of the scheme,
turned tho first sod of the channel river rising at
Chadwell and Amwele Springs In Hertfordshire,
which was brought to London by a winging course '
of forty-eight miles, and completed in 1613. Stock
in the undertaking consisted of 72 shares, divided
into King's and Adventurers' which originally
brought only 5 pounds apiece. Charles I sold his
shares to Myddleton's representatives for an an
nuity of 500 pounds. On November 1, 1876, part
of a Kingte share was sold at the rate of 94,050
a share. On July 17. 1889, an entire Adventurer's
share was bought at auction by tho Prudential
Assurance company for 122,800 pounds. In 1888
tho annual income of the company from land and
water was stated to be 511,356 pounds. On June
24 of this year all the property of tho New River
and several other 'London water companies was'
taken over by the municipality under the Metrop-'
oils Water act at a total cash price of 24,695,200
pounds." ' -
rSTRUCTIVE contribution to the discussion of
tho disfranchisement question was recently
made in a discussion between the Washington, D.
C- Post and one of its readers, Dr. Robert Ray
b.urn In a widely copied editorial tho Post said:
"The Post lias never believed that disfranchise
ment should be drawn on the color line. We have
always preferred tho Massachusetts plan of shut
ting ouf incapables from tho voting 'privileges.
And the state of Mississinni and Smith nniviiino
Whoso negro population is in excess of the total
v of whites, borrowed the Massachusetts scheme.
Wo hope our correspondent has noted the im
portant fact that the Mississippi adaptation of the
3ay atato plan for protection against an ignorant
m and degraded mass of voters has been carried to
tho United States supreme court, and that its con
stitutionality has boon affirmed by that tribunal."
"PBL;YING to the Post article. Dr. Itayburn
'. XV-wrote as follows: "As will be hereafter
shown, tho plans for excluding illiterate voters in
Massachusetts and Mississippi are radically dif-'
ferent in tho following-respects; First The Mas-
sachusetts law did not deprive a single voter of his
right of franchise, for it only referred to future
elections, Which would occur after tho -passage of
the lawk Second The Massachusetts plan was per
fectly fair in that it gave no preference -to tho
white over tho colored voter, 'but treated all alike.
As your readers well Imow, this is not tho case In
Mississippi, By a clause in its new constitution,
.that state has practically disfranchised all its
colored voters onthe ground of Illiteracy, while it
allows the white Illiterate voter the franchise.
What has been the offocfof this? Mississippi, at
the last election, with a population of 1,551,270,
cast only 48,648 votes; only one-third of the white
voters wont to the polls, Maryland, at tho same
election, with a population of 1,188,044 (nearly 400 -
000 less), cast"244,C95 votes. Mississippi is rapidly
becoming, an oligarchy."
T NSrDERINa Dr.Rayburn's-.last'.remark, the -!&
MtiMutks;n&l( nhfii-jfiiJikmBlbllity -would
, :. rest, iflissideippi -should become mn-oligarchy: and
- thn thePostrfadds; ,"-Itwwas -assail candid miirids
The 'Commoner.: ' "
concede, impossible for that state (Mississippi) to
remain In tho condition in which the Fifteenth
amendment placed It.' Tho Post continues: "With
a black population, largely in excess of the total
of white inhabitants, and led by unscrupulous ad
venturers from tho north, the situation would have
been intolerable and impossible of maintenance,
oven had tho freedmen been of a superior class.
But there was not anywhere in the area that had
been covered by slavery a more hopeless mass of
ignorance and superstition than Mississippi held.
Tho white minority, in delivering itself from tho
domination of such a majority, obeyed the first
law of nature, which is higher than constitutions
or statutes. But it fortunately happened that Mas
sachusetts had pojnted a way, for their deliverance, ;
by which they were able to obey both the first law
of nature and the constitution of the United States.
That point has beon settled once and for all by a
decision of the highest tribunal."
IT IS vigorously contended by- the Post that there
is no substantial difference between the Missis-
slppl plan and tho Massachusetts plan, tho Post
contending that the Mississippi plan, whatever may
be said to the contrary, has passed the crucial
test and stands approved by the United S'tates
supreme court. The Post adds: "It may be that
there are defects in the application of suffrage
laws in Mississippi which are not found in Mas
sachsuetts, but if tho white people of the Bay stat6,.
o.r of any other northern state, had, like the White
inhabitants of Mississippi, been submerged under
an ignorant and superstitious black majority, a
deluge of semi-barbarity, controlled by the cun
ning and greed pf a few white adventurers,' what
would have been the result? Who does not know
that, if tho men In Mississippi who owned the tax
able property and had almost a monopoly of tho
influences that dominate civilized communities,
had quietly submitted to negro and carpetrbag
rule, had been content to be represented in the
United States senate by a negro barber from Terre
Haute, Ind.,and a white school master from Hart
ford, Conn. who does not know that such craven
submission would have incurred the contempt of
all the white manhood In the north? And, .more
than that, the intelligent negroes of the north
would have despised them. But the main fact for.
Dr. Rayburn, and those who feel as he does on this
subject, to consider it this: The Mississippi plan
has the approbation of the court of last-resort. -Another
fact .that we commend to their serious at
tention .is that the uninterrupted trend of events
for the past twenty-five years has been toward a
return to ante-bellum conditions as relates to state
control of suffrage."
. ' ;
THE title of an editorial recently appearing in
the Atlanta Constitution is "Statistical Jug
glery." tt would be well if this editorial could be
printed in every newspaper in tho United States.
In the beginning the Constitution says: "Among
the mafcy good old reliable aphorisms needing
modern revision, is the one which touts the over
lasting veracity of figures. -A very pertinent In
stance is given by Chairman Cowherd, of the demo
cratic congressional committee, wherein he dis
sects tho optimistic table of statistics on "wages
and the cost of living,' recently sent out by 'Com
missioner Wright, of the government labor bureau.
Mr. Cowherd very plainly demonstrates that the
statistical conclusions of the commissioner were
artfully manipulated to suit the exigencies of a
republican campaign. He confirms this assertion
by producing contrasting figures from the most
reliable sources, among them Dun's commercial
review, which is undoubtedly the best authority
on this subject in the United States, with apologies
to Mr. Wright, Chairman Cowherd summarizes the
showing of the commisisoner, as follows: -1. That
the retail prices of food were 10.3 per cent higher
loon9?3 tuan tnc average for the-10 years from
1890. to 1899. 2. That the weekly "earnings 'per
employ were 12.3 per cent higher in 1903 than
the average for the 10 years from 1890 to 1899. 3
Tn!S thG- l)urcnasInS Power of the wages -was, in
1903, 1.8 per cent -greater than the average for the
10 years from 1890 to 1899."
IT IS further pojnted out by this same authority
. that Mr. Cowherd thinks it is cause for sur
pnse that the commisisoner did not make his
margin of increase even larger. The most plausi-
bl exJ? aAuation of hls failu-re to do so being the
probability that the present industrial conditions
would have caused "a rather more audible smile
than that now being indulged in at -present " For
instance, Chairman. Cowherd takes up minor points
ot. the .labor situation and the wage piirchasW
powerirrtlicatedyby the oveiXeport!
andnalyzeshesamefollows:. "i he niim
- ,bcr of.peopleemployed in 1903 .was fcM per cent '
greater than the average from 1890 to 1899 9
Tho hours of labor per -week were 3.4 ner oJl
less in 1903 than the average from 1890 to S
3. Hence, the weekly earnings of all employes Z
41.9 per cent greater in 1893 .than the average J2
1890 to 1899. It is plain to every purenfser ?f
household supplies for tho past 10 years that these
statistics are utterly unreliable and have been
manipulated in the interest of prptection and of
the republican Darty. Tho truth of the matter is
there are 200,000 wage earners today on a striiJo
They are on a strike either because the cost of
living has reduced the purchasing power of thn
wage received or because their wages have been
reduced within the year.' The trade journals in-
. f?rmnn5 Eiat for tne years 1903 and 1904 the wages
of 1,000,000 men, largely in the protected Indus!
tries, have been reducedjrom 10 to 30 per cent It
is estimated that the number of men now unem
ployed is 600,000. They have been laid off by tho
railroads and by hundreds of the great mills
throughout the country. Many have been dispos
sessed of. their former homes and are sleeping in
the parks' in the great cities. They have hungry
families, for whonTthey are unable to provide and
more men have committed suicide in the past year
than ever before in tho history of the. country."
MR. COWHERD further points out that Dunn's
price tables are scientifically constructed
.that they are proportionate with consumption and'
maintain an even balance between the relative
importance of the articles consumed; that Com--.missioner
Wright's tables made for campaign ma
terial, show an average increase in prices since
1872 only one-half as great as those of Dunn. Ex
plaining how easily this specious showing may bo
made, Chairman Cowherd says: "He magnified
little, trivial articles, like nutmegs, putty, and
alum, until they looked as big as cotton, corn and
hay. Thus in his 1902 report the decline in the
price of nutmegs more than counteracted the ad
vances in the prices of sugar, eggs, milk, bread,
and fresh beef. The average family consumes about
3 cents' worth of nutmegs in a year and $150
worth of these other articlesthat is, Colonel
Wright magnified nutmegs about 5,000 times before
he compared them with these other articles. In'
this way Colonel Wright kept prices down, so that'
for 1902 his figures showed an Increase of less than
2.6 per cent over the 1897 prices, while the scientific
figures of Dunn showed a difference of about 37
per cent." . " . ,
COMMENTING upon this interesting statement,
the Atlanta Constitution , says: "It seems
that even twenty-six per cent was too alarming for
campaign year, so the wily statistician resorted to
a very engenious scheme to prune this down ap
parently. Instead of making the basis of compu
tation wholesale prices, which are almost univer
sally stable, retail prices of a favorable nature in
isolated communities were hauled into requisition.
In this extraordinary way, the prices of thirty
articles of food were collated at figures which
made a very favorable showing for the administra
tion. As Mr. Cowherd says, however, 'the cost
of food forms only ahout 40 per cent of the cost
of living. For aught that .this report tells us,
the cost of clothing, of fuel or rent and' other items
of, the cost of living, may-have gone up three times
as much as has. the cost "of foodstuffs. It is easy
for an expert to jump at conclusions.' He makes
out a pretty plain case of 'expedient manipulation'
relating to the wage scale, in the following explan
ation: ' ' Out of the 3,429 establishments
selected, for comparison, 1,199, or more than one
third, are in . the building trades. Of " the re
mainder, 1,188 establishments were flour mills,
bakeries, foundries arid machine 'shops, planing
mills, newspaper printing offices, marble and stone
works, blacksraithing- and horseshoeing shops, and
street and sewer works. All of these and many
others are in the -unprotected industries, and in
many of them the strength of the unions has
been developed in recent years, so that the rise
in wages comes within the period covered. Not
one-fourth of the establishments selected are in
the protected industries. Colonel Wright began
an investigation of railroad and mining wages. In
his report ho expresses, regret "that the force
available fpr the prosecution of tho work did not
permit of the extension of the investigation to
cover transportation, mining, agriculture, and the
other great industrial groups." The last report
of the interstate commerce commission gives the
real reason why the bureau of labor report con
tains -nothing as to. railroad wages. - This report in
. dicates vtha"t av.erago--twagjg wore only, about 3
vper:.centiiigher,in.d:0.3:,than,ifta897f -Their Pub"
plication iwould diay-isppiledthecbloneTs figures
and seriously4marredjihearraqny'f the effect.
- Hencepho? wisely decided 'to cut them-out.'"
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