The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, August 18, 1905, Page 2, Image 2

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The Commoner.
K Iff 1
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interesting as a novel and far more helpful than
most novels.
Elisha Gray was born in 1835 and died in
3903. He was a farmer's son and was left fath
erless at fourteen. He worked at various forms
of manual labor until he got a chance to go to
college, entering Oberlin at twenty-two. His rise
shows what a boy can do with ambition and per
severence. One of the .virtues of his writings
is that he presents scientific truth without mate
rialistic coloring. His study of nature did not
lead him to forget nature's God. The investiga
tions of science-ought to increase rather than
diminish reverence for the Creator, for each 'new
discovery proves more clearly the wisdom and
power of the great Designer. The patterns that
He has set invite limitless effort. The soap
bubble presents a combination of colors that
the artist has thus far failed to match; a pint of
water holds a latent energy which no giant can
boast; the trembling leaf contains a laboratory
more complete than the chemist has been able to
construct; the tiniest seed that falls to the
ground possesses a potency that man has not
yet fathomed. Working in the midst of mysteries
and dumb in the presence of the daily miracle
of life we are constantly gathering evidence of
the loving kindness of the Infinite Intelligence
who has so bountifully provided for the supplying
of every human need.
The Railway Woria says: "One reason 'for
the failure to work up a public demand for whole
sale reductions in rates is the conviction that
freight charges-enter very little into the prices
of commodities in ordinary consumption."
Jn order to sustain its point the Railway
World quotes from a statistician in one of the
departments at Washington. This statistician
attempts to show the relation between freight
rates and prices of a number of articles in com
mon use. He says that while the freight charges,
using the 1,000-mile haul from Chicago to New
York as a basis, have been practically stationary
in the eight years 1897 to 1905, prices of goods
have advanced in some cases fifty per cent.
The Railway World makes a synopsis of this
statistician's showing in this form:
On wheat, for illustration, the rate in
1897 was $0.1275, and in 1905 about the same,
$0,114, yet the price advanced from $.7437 to
$3.08 per bushel. The freight rate on a barrel
of flour advanced in eight years from 27 to
52cents' wh,Ie the Price advanced from
$2.90 to $4.00. The rate on Lccon was held
steadily at 30 cents, the price advanced from
$4.50 to $7.12 per hundredweight. On butter,
the rate per pound was unchanged, at $.0065;
the wholesale price was raised from 14 to
21 cents. On eggs and beans likewise the
rates were unchanged, standing at $.014 for
the former, per dozen, and at $.16 for 'the
latter, measured by the bushel; yet the price
of eggs advanced from 11 to 20 cents, and
of beans from' $.90 to $2.10. On sugar, per
pound, the freight rate was $.0025 in 1897 and
$.003 in 1905; the price was $.03 in 1897 and
$.375 in the present year. Coffee enjoyed the
same rates as sugar, and the price was raised
from $.0737 to" $.085 per pound. On cotton
goods, per yard, the rate was unchanged
at $.0069; the price advanced from $.65 to
$.0787, wholesale. On men's shoes the price
moved in the contrary direction, the rate
standing in "both years at $.0112 per pair
and the retail price declining from $4.00 to
It will be observed that in every Instance
Tout one cited by the Railway World prices ad
vanced, and it is difficult to see how those cita
tions sustain the World's claim that freight
charges do not seriously affect the prices to
the consumer. The advance In these prices was
abnormal and In most instances brought about
through the trust Bystem. The decline in the
price of men's shoes is due, perhaps, to the
fact that certain manufacturers have made a
?Zciy, in advertislng a "$3.00 shoe" and a
"$3.50 shoe."
Anyone at all -familiar with business under
stands that freight rates are given largo con
sideration when the price which the consumer
must pay. Is fixed. The principle against whicli
the Railway World contends is so well under
stood that it Is hardly necessary to present proof
in its support. It may not be out of place,
however, to refer to a book recently published
by "The World Railway Publishing Company."
This book was written by Marshall M. KIrkman
and is said to form one of the series of volumes
comprised inv the revised and enlarged edition
of- "The Science of Railways;" While asserting
that "The rates of railway? arc governed by the
same laws that fix the price of other necessaries'"
of life," and that "we can no more change them
arbitrarily than we can the price of fish or
flour," Mr. KIrkman says: "The rates charged
by carriers affect the cost of everything we use.
They appeal especially to the producer and the
consumer. Each sees that the amount is added
to the cost."
The Railway World is mistaken if it really
believes that there is no public demand for re
form in the matter of railroad regulation. Mr.
Roosevelt's promise that he would insist upon
an enlargement of the powers of the interstate
commerce commission to the end that that body
have the authority to fix rate:; has proved
to bo the most popular declaration the presi
dent has yet made. Whenever republican con
ventions have been called upon to nominate can
didates for office, since Mr. Roosevelt made that
announcement, particular pains have been taken
by republican leaders to point with pride to Mr.
Roosevelt's position in the hope of winning favor
for their candidate.
The railroad managers have through their
literary bureaus undertaken to create a fictitious
sentiment, and they have sought to close the
ears of members of congress to the real senti
ment. But the fact remains that ere exists a
strong and determined public sentiment in favor
of genuine regulation of freight rates. Some who
favor this plan believe that it will yet be neces
sary to resort to government ownership, although
they are willing to try the less radical method of
government regulation; and many who oppose
government ownership are strongly in favor of
regulation. If, however, the railroad managers
show that they are powerful enough to prevent
regulation they may find, at an early day, mauy
of the latter class joining forces with those who
favor government ownership.
It is difficult to understand why those who so
vigorously oppose government ownership are un
willing to yield an inch when they ought to know
that if they remain obstinate they -may be re
quired to yield- considerably more.
Dean Wright of the Yale academic depart
ment in his report to President Hadley complains
that one of 'the worse evils at Yale is the segrega
tion of rich students in expensive dormitories. He
says? "Perhaps the most- serious eril connected
with this segregation of' the well-to-do students
is that it is bringing together, especially in the
sophomore year, those who aim to form the so- '
ciety set, whose chief purpose in college is popu
larity and social recognition, and to whom for
this reason the claims of scholarship become
secondary." -He adds that fathers sometimes ask
for these expensive quarters and give as a reason
that they do not want their sons to be at a social
disadvantage. The protest submitted by Dean
Wright is a healthy sign. y
Snobbishness ought not to be tolerated in our
colleges and it is more apt to make this appear
ance in the large colleges than in the small ones
It is even uangerous to have rooms of different
prices. It is better to all rooms rented at
the same price and let the best rooms go as a
SSfngfiiT11 t0 U,e bGSt' lhG higto -There
is evidence of a revival of democratic
spirit and it seems to have struck Yale. May the
tide continue to rise until aristocracy win SI
eliminated from our institutions f learning
ai,oJ;he &'Yns puWic sentiment in favor of the
abolition of the pass system finds reflection these '
papSersn edUortal PagGS f mai "S
inspired by Secretary Xante's rectnVacK
In returning passes offered him by certain ran-
in to say, these officials, according to the ex
planation offered, feel that the United States
government can better afford to have its cab
lar i Linni?v 5J" ? ,pay a few tnouaana dol-
tlir they accept passes the fact only makes the
mentT wbnX!0U5-, The United States govern
ment is not a mendicant. The American nonin
are scarcely likely to tolerate the SSSSo5gSt
it properly can play the role of one humw
ing favors from private corporations";
the pass-takers confined the use of thei nri, l
strictly to errands of official business mS "!S3
and the present explanation implies th?
do not-they still must feel the sense of Sey
personally under obligations. The man an,? !8
official cannot be completely dissociated
The Chicago Tribune in an editorial ptiti
"Prefer Passes to Office" says: The itric? S?
forcement of Wisconsin's law prohibiting 1 1 2!
lie officials from riding on iailwav
started an epidemic of resignations. Some of the
officials who have resigned are railway men who
get transportation favors for themselves and
their families because of the nature of their em
ployment and who quit their public positions
rather than give up privileges which they receive
as private citizens. Others of the resigners an.
parently accepted office mainly to get favors from
the railways and lost their desire to serve the
public along with their passes. The Wisconsin
anti-pass law is a good one, and the resignation
contagion should cause no relaxation in its en
forcement. A few public officials, such as rail
way employes, are given passes for reasons un
connected with their public positions, but usually
passes are given to public officials for no purpose
but that of genteel bribery. Those who get them
are expected to give value received at the ex
pense of their constituents, and they generally
do. Otherwise the railways would have quit
giving free transportation years ago. The ran
way pass has probably done as much to corrupt
American public life as any one instrumentality.
It is not so palpable and gross a form of bribery
as money, and many public men have accepted
passes who would have turned away indignant and
angry ifthey had been offered the equivalent in
cash. Having accepted passes they have naturally,
felt under obligations to those who gave them.
Feeling under obligations to the givers and being
imperceptibly biased in their favor, they have
drifted along until they have become willing
servants. The people of Wisconsin can get men
to serve them in public positions without freo
railway transportation as one of their perquisites.
In attempting to suppress the pass evil they are
setting a good example before the people of other
It Is a good sign when newspapers of the
standing of the News and the Tribune denounce
the pass system. The News is eminently correct
when it says that the government cannot afford
to have its cabinet officers place themselves un
der obligations to the railroads, and the Tribune
does not err when it denounces the pass as a
If any one doubts that those who receive
passes are expected to give value received at
the expense of their constituents, he may learn
something to his advantage by reading a letter
referred to in a recent number of The Commoner
written by the president of an eastern rail
rod and sent to members of congress who had
voted for the Esch-Townsend bill. These public
officers were frankly told by this railroad presi
dent that they would get no more free passes
because they had failed to prove themselves
worthy of the favor.
In the November, 1895, number of the Cosmo
politan an article from the pen of Theodore Roose
velt was printed. In that article Mr. Roosevelt
discussed the proposition that the New York po
lice be taken out of politics. Among other things
Mr. Roosevelt said Tt is a lamentable thing
when the people and the public officials aliKo
grow to think that laws should only be enforce"
as far as the officers of tlie law think that public
opinion demands their enforcement. It is sucn a
belief that inevitably leads to lynching, wniw
capping, and kindred forms of outrage. An on
cer to whom is confined the carrying out of uiu
laws has no such discretion." . ,
Again he said "Some years ago a then noieu
politician stated that the Golden Rule and tuo
Decalogue had no place in practical politics, ami
that the purification of politics was but an irrwes
cent lream. The base cynicism of such an uU.
ance endears it to the lniave and the fool, ana
undsr one or the other of these categories ,e
must place every man who does not condemn u.
The anti-rebate law provides for the prosecu
tion of "persons" as well as corporations, jet"
his ruling in the Morton-Santa Fe case air.
Roosevelt undertook to say just how far the
should be enforced; he undertook to exercise nij
cretion in the carrying out of the laws; and aw
action in that case had the- effect of persun. lint
sono who had learned to place conf dence in h
that "the purification of politics is but an irr.ats
cent dream."
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