The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, July 29, 1910, Page 2, Image 2

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The Commoner.
VOLUME 10, NUMBER 2
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bo credited with hearty co-operation. Tho Porto
Itlcan assembly has responded promptly and lib
erally to every demand for funds for education.
So much for what has been accomplished.
"What of tho future? Governor Colton Is urging
tho establishment of a Pan-American college on
tho islands, with tho idea of making it a training
school for those who arc to carry our trade to
South America and a university for those who
come from the South American republics to study
Amorican institutions. It is an excellent idea
and has tho hearty support of tho Porto Ricans.
Mr. Dcgetan, formerly tho Porto Rican repre
sentative in congress made a similar recommend
ation some eight years ago. To work success
fully among tho people in South America one
must know tho Spanish character as well as tho
Spanish language, and a year's study in Porto
Rico will bo more valuable than several years
devoted to the study of Spanish in the United
States. Then, too, Porto Ricans, commercially
Inclined, after finishing the course in this col
lege can visit the United States, learn the details
of some exporting business and go to tho south
as commercial travelers.
The college would doubtless attract young
men from South America, not only because of
its proximity (only two days from Venezuela
and on the line from Brazil and Argentina to
New York) but because ono could study Ameri
can Institutions while studying the English lan
guage. Instead of decreasing, however, the
number of students coming to the United States
it is likely to result in an increase, because a
course at tho Pan-American College would, in
many cases, lead to a post graduate course at
some university in tho United States.
Prom whatever standpoint it is viewed, tho
Pan-American Collego looms up as an institu
tion of great importance. Our nation is just
beginning to understand the opportunity pre
sented by the republics of. Central and South
America.
It has been demonstrated that white people
can live within the tropics; that the diseases
formerly dreaded can be prevented, and this
demonstration, together with the pressure of
European population will add greatly to the
population of South America during the present
century. Every student who comes from the
southern republics goes back a friend and cham
pion of tho United States. Pie carries our ideas
nnd our Jdoaia and booompq a cusfnmor for Amer
ican goods. Wo can afford to invite him; we
could even afford to furnish him board and tui
tion free, hence tho Pan-American College will
provo a valuable asset from the day of its
opening.
But we need something else in Porto Rico,
and wo need it oven more immediately and more
urgently than .we do the Pan-American College
or University, namely, tho application of the
American ideal in government. Just in" pro
portion as Porto Rico is near to South America
and especially since Its people speak Spanish
Is it important that we shall make it a working
model of our governmental ideas. We have
been inexcusably slow in offering them the priv
ileges and guarantees of citizenship.
I am writing this on the ocean and do not
know just what has been dono in regard to
collective citizenship. The bill, as reported to
the house, provided for individual naturali
zation, but there were indications that it
would bo so modified as to permit collective
citizenship. This will be a much appreciated
concession in fact its denial has been one of
the causes of friction between the Porto Ricans
and the officials sent from the United States.
The people, with few exceptions, want to become
citizens, and Govornor Colton's path will be made
much more smooth by the conferring of citizen
ship upon the whole population, leaving those
to reject it who desire to do so.
Tho other point of friction is. the senate. At
present the senate is appointive five out of the
eleven being Porto Ricans. The bill, as reported,
increases the number to thirteen and provides
for the election of five. Tho Porto Ricans ask
for a senate entirely elective, and it is difficult
to comprehend how an objection can be inter
posed from tho standpoint either of principle or
expediency.
An appointive senate is inconsistent with our
institutions in fnot, we have to go to Europe
for a' precedent. And as little can be said in
favor of its expediency. With an absolute veto
power, which tho Porto Ricans cladly concede,
the governor has all that a sen. .to would give
him. He does not need a senate to represent
him; and tho very existence of a non-elective
senate is a challenge to the representative body.
Ono representative body is more apt to ob
struct than two, because at present the one bears
alono tho responsibility of representing the peo
ple, while with two elective bodies the responsi
bility would be divided. It is of the utmost im
portance that there shall be harmonious co-operation
between the people of the United States
and the people of Porto Rico, and it ought to bo
easy to secure this when compliance with Amer
ican principles Is all that is asked by the Porto
Ricans.
Just one more point. There are franchises to
be granted In Porto Rico, and the franchise
seeker is not always scrupulous as to his meth
ods. We have seen him take advantage of cities
and states in this country and he has even
reached out after the national franchises. It
has required diligent effort to protect the public
here, how much moro care is necessary in Porto
Rico. No franchises should be granted without
the approval of some representative Porto Rican
body city council or legislature, and wherever
possible the people should be given a referen
dum vote on a proposed franchise. It is better
to risk a little delay in granting a franchise
rather than allow a suspicion to rest upon our
government or its representatives. In other
words our government should make, Porto Rico
an example and through it speak to South and
Central America. In no other way can we serve
Spanish America so well, and that service, like
all good service, will return to us in manifold
blessings. W. J. Bryan in New York Independent.
A COMPLIMENT TO IMPERIALISM
Sir Edward Grey, representing the British
ministry, says that Mr. Roosevelt's speech on
Egypt was "taken as a whole, the greatest com
pliment to the work of any one country in the
world that has ever been paid by a citizen of
another." Yes, and the objection is as to the
particular kind of work complimented. There
are many things that Mr. Roosevelt might have
commended with unanimous approval at home;
but when he selected imperialism, gave an un
qualified endorsement of the colonial system,
repudiated the doctrine of the Declaration of
Independence and urged greater harshness in
dealing with subject races, he not only misrepre
sented American sentiment but offended the
sense of justice of a great many Englishmen.
Ho endeavored to excuse the utterance by saying
that he acted on that theory in" the Philippines,
but ne aid not do his country the justice to
state that we give the Filipinos a legislative body
within ten years after, the advent of American
authority and that we at once set about educat
ing the people so that they could more intelli
gently and more forcibly protect against any in
justice which we might attempt.
WHO'S TO BLAME?
Speaker Cannon is out threatening the insur
gents with a democratic victory if they continue
their opposition to the program of the stand
patters. Well, the insurgents can stand a dem
ocratic victory better than the standpatters din,
but who is to blame if the democrats win? The
standpatters and they alone. They have caused
the revolt in their own party and have given
new hope to the democrats. If the democrats
put party success above their Interest in the
country .they might hope to see the insurgents
routed by the standpatters, for a victory for the
standpatters would encourage the predatory in
terests to more arrogant demands. But the dem
ocrats want reforms more than they want a
partisan advantage, therefore they hope to see
the reform element In the republican party suc
cessful in the primaries. With the reform ele
ment in both parties in charge of the party or
ganizations the people will be sure of some re
form even if the republicans win and more if the
democrats aro victorious.
A SERIOUS CHARGE
Former United States Senator William E
Mason says: "I believe that fifty per cent of the
seats in the United States senate have been prac
tically purchased." If this were true then it
would mean that forty-six United States senators
had purchased their offices. Unquestionably Mr
Mason could not support that charge. It is prob
ably true that some of the senatorships were pur
chased by the men holding them, but a larger
number were bestowed, not because of the pe
culiar fitness of tho candidates, but rather that
he could be relied upon to serve the special in
terests that controlled the legislature. Regard
less of Mr. Mason's exaggeration, however, it is
true that there are a sufficiently large number
of senators who have won their places through
questionable methods that the plan to choose
senators by popular vote ought to command the
serious attentions of the people.
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Practical Tariff Talks
One of the defenses of the Payne-Aldrich tariff
law, as indicated in speeches made in congress
for distribution during the campaign, will be that
a large portion of the Increased prices paid by
consumers is due to the rapacity of the retailer.
Probably some testimony may be, marshaled to
prove that this is true, but such evidence will
bear careful analysis. One reason for doubting
its accuracy is that there is no trust among re
tailers, but competition of a very lively character.
Trusts possess the power to raise prices and to
maintain them, common sense, if not experience,
demonstrating that a man naturally raises prices
to the extent that he is guarded against com
petition. But who has ever heard or known of
competition raising prices? Insofar as the tariff
furnishes a defense against competition from
foreign countries where the cost of production
is less than here prices will be" raised by the
'manufacturer that is the object of a tariff in
the first place. When these manufacturers act in
concert either through general ownership or
agreement the level of prices will be measured
by the extent of tho protection afforded against
that competition. This is the primer of tariff
logic, and can not be successfully disputed.
Every consumer is familiar with the fact that
in many lines manufacturers actually dictate
prices to retailers. This is possible where tho
articles offered for sale are of a standard char
acter or have been so well advertised as to in
duce a general demand for them. Every bargain
sale advertised by merchants contains reserva
tions of certain articles, not patented which, un
der a contract, can not be disposed of for less
than a fixed price. The sales departments of
many of these big combinations is the highest
developed portion of th,eir business. The Iron
Age is the leading periodical dealing with the
business affairs of the dealers in hardware and
kindred lines. During the consideration of that
schedule by congress, it editorially charged, in
express terms that the retailers, the wholesalers
and the jobbers were at the mercy of the man
ufacturers, who had effected trusts and selling,
combinations to protect themselves, from -each,"
other, and fixed the price at which goods should
be sold. The retailer who violated the instruc
tion could get no more goods from the jobber,
under direction of the manufacturer. At tho
same time, said the Iron Age, many manufactur
ers sold to catalogue houses at prices that en
abled them to demoralize retail trade.
The same condition of affairs, it was. charged
in congress by Senator Owen and not seriously
disputed, exists in the cotton goods manufac-.
tures of New England. The American Print com
pany handles most of the product, and it im
posed a rule upon the wholesaler and the jobber
handling its products and upon the retailer that
if the goods were sold for less than the price at
which the retailer should sell them he would
be cut off from the handling of those goods.
This amounts to a blacklist. This statement of
Senator Owen was denied by Senator Gallinger
and by Senator Smoot, but neither furnished any
proof in contradiction. Later when Senator Flint
and Senator Scott had sought to place the burden
of increased prices upon the retailer, the demo
cratic members introduced a resolution provid
ing for a searching inquiry as to the facts, over
which there seemed to be an irreconcilable dis
pute, but the republican regulars to a man and
several insurgents voted in favor of Senator Aid
rich's motion to refer the resolution to the
finance committed, where it slumbered thenceforth.
A test might be made by comparing the num
ber of failures among retailers with tho failures
among jobbers and manufacturers in the pro
tected industry. Another test might be made by
comparing the number of millionaire "retailers,
with the number of millionaire manufacturers.
It Js true that there are many department stores,
but they form but a small numerical portion of
the retail traders of the country. One of these,
Edward A. Filene of Boston, interviewed at the
time of the debate in congress, said: "Retail
competition is so untrammeled that it is im
possible for a man familiar with the actual con
ditions to conceive of such large profits being
made as was referred to by ?ome of the senators
in debate. The average net profits of retail
stores are not more than 5 per cent. I know no
store that averages 10 per cent net on its sales."
C. Q. D.
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