The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, February 01, 1914, Page 8, Image 8

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The Commoner
VOL. 14, NO. 2
The Work of the President's Cabinet
Three months ago bankers throughout the
country wore cither hostile or lukewarm In their
attitude to the now curroncy law. Today they
aro racing with each other to got within Its pro
vision. Tlioro are 7,493 national banks In the
United States and on February 0, the treasury
department at Washington had received accep
tances from 0,314 of them. That is more than
8 V) per cent of tho total number and it Is expected
that before March 1 nearly or quite the full
number will havo formally accepted tho provi
sions of tho new federal reserve act. Ten trust
companies and twelve state banks have indicated
their lntentlojv-to enter the now system and with
tho majority of tho formal acceptances have
co mo lottors from tho heads of tho institutions
expressing tho belief that the now law will prove
very Iboneflcial to tho business interests of tho
Tho 6,314 national banks accepting the pro
visions of tho act havo an aggregate capital of
$971,507,005 and an aggregate surplus of $G15,
233,220. Tho pa'd in capital of all the national
banks in tho United States is $1,008,271,261;
theroforo more than 90 per cent of the total
capital of all national banks in the United States
is now represented by the national banks which
havo accepted tho provisions of tho new currency
Such results as these ought to bo very reassur
ing to tho country at largo and especially gratify
ing to tho men at Washington who brought tho
now law into existence. When President Wilson
signed tho currency bill on Christmas eve, there
oxistod in many sections of the country a feeling
of apprehension among bankers and business
men as to how tho now law would work out.
Today that feeling has almost entirely disap
peared. In Its place there is a pronounced feel
ing of optimism and business everywhere is
showing tho result.
A great deal of good has been accomplished
along these linos by tho tour made by Secretary
of tho Treasury McAdoo and Secretary of Agri
culture Houston through tho country immediate
ly after tho signing of the bill. This trip was
made for the purpose of locating tho federal re
serve cities and to obtain information for the
location of tho reserve districts. Secretary Mc
Adoo was very active in the work of drafting the
new law and has been able to meet tho business
men of tho country face to faco and explain to
them just what the now law means.
Their trip through tho country has been some
thing new in tho lino of official "junkets." It
has boon a business trip from start to finish,
with no time wasted in politics or oratory. The
tour of tho country will have occupied less than
thirty days and meetings w itli business men and
bankers have been held in the following cities:
New York, Boston, Washington, Chicago, St.
Louis, Kansas City, Lincoln, Denver, Seattle,
Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, El Paso,
Austin, New Orleans, Atlanta, Cincinnati and
On tho completion of tho trip Secretary Mc
Adoo will return to Washington and no an
nouncements will be mado as to the selection of
federal reserve cities or districts until that time.
In the treasury building at Washington a large
suite of offices is being prepared for the federal
reserve board, which will consist of the secretary
of the treasury, the comptroller of the currency
and five members to bo named by the president.
When this board shall have been organized the
machinery of the new law will be quickly set in
Extracts from report of Secretary of the In
terior Lane:
U is known that there exists a feeling in the
west that its affairs and needs havo not been
given that consideration at the hands of the na
tional government which they merit. This feel
ing is not confined to speculators or exploiters
It is tho sentiment of many who are without
selfish motive and regard the matter wholly from
the standpoint of national growth. They point
to the conditions which obtain in Alaska as un
paralleled among people of our aggressive and
aation-building stock. So, too, thoy are unable
to understand why ways have not been found
by which the great bodies of coal and oil lands,
and tho waters of the mountains made available
for the generation of power and tho redemption
of tho desert.
There is one simple explanation for the exist
nece of this feeling. We have adventured upon
a now policy of administering our affairs and
havo not developed adequate machinery. We
have called a halt on methods of spoliation
which existed, to the great benefit of many, but
we have failed to substitute methods, sane,
healthful, and progressive, by which the normal
enterprise of an ambitious people can make full
use of their own resources. We abruptly closed
opportunities to the monopolist, but did not open
them to tho developer.
1 have said that wo had put into force a new
land policy, which caused dismay and discontent
Let me explain what I mean by this. It was, in
fact, but a new application of an old policy.
Congress has always been most generous as to
the disposition of the national lands. One can
not read our land laws without being struck with
the fixed determination which they show that it
was wisest to be quit of our lands as quickly as
possible. It might almost be said that the gov
ernment regarded its lands as a burden rather
than an asset. We gave generously to our rail
roads and to the states. There was land for all,
and it was the government's glad function to dis
tribute it and let those profit who could. There
was no thought then of creatine timber barons
or cattle kings, or of coal ironopoly. The sooner
the land got into hands other than those of the
government the better. And this generous donor
was not so petty as to discriminate between
kinds of lands, the uses to which they could be
put, or the purposes which those might have who
got them. Land is land, save when it contains
minerals ; this was roughtly the broad principle
adopted. To classify was a task too difficult or
not worth while. The lands would classify
themselves when they arrived in individual
ownership. And so the door was opened for
monopoly and for fraud.
If the government did not appreciate the in
valuable nature of its assets there were men who
did. Great fortunes were laid in the vast hold
ings of what had but a short time since been the
property of the peop.le. There was danger that
tho many still to pour intc the west would by
necessity become the servitors of a fortunate and
early few. On this discovery our indifference at
once took flight. And so out of the abuse of the
nation's generosity there came a reaction egainst
a policy that was so liberal as to be dmgorojis
The nation wanted homo makers, but found
its lands drifting into the hands of corporations
which were withdrawing them from the market
awaiting a time when lands would be more
scarce; it gave opportunity by many competing
coal operators and iron manufacturers, but
found the sources of raw material centering into
a few large holdings; it wished its lands "to be
cleared of forests to make way for farms, but it
found hundreds of consecutive miles reserved
from use by the fiat of those who appreciated
their worth and many more miles of watershed
despoiled of its needed covering in places where
homes were not possible.
A reaction was inevitable. If lands were to be
withdrawn from public service, why might not
the government do the withdrawing itself ? The
,ifl?fo250pliy that "land is nd" was evidently
unfitted to a country where land is sometimes
timber and sometimes coal; indeed, whSe land
may mean waterwater for tens of thousands
of needy neighboring acres. For the lS of
the west differ as men do, in character and con
dition and degree of usefulness. Wo had nof
recognized this fact when we said "land is Ian 5
Lands fitted for dry farming and lands that m2if
forever le unused without irrigation; landshat
aro worthless save for their timber; lands that
are rich in grasses and lands that are noor S,
grasses; lands underlain with the nonpSous
minerals essential to industry or agriculture
lands that are invaluable for reservoir or -dam
Bites-these varieties may be multiplied aJd
each new variety emphasizes the fact that nnoT,
kind of land has its own future i and afloitoS
own opportunity for contributing te nation's
So there has slowly evolved in the public mind
the conception of a new policy-that land should
be used for that purpose to which it is best fitted,
and it should be disposed of by the government
with respect to the use. To this policy I believe
the west is now reconciled. Tho west no longer
urges a return to the hazards of the "land is
land" policy. But it does ask action. It is
reconciled to the government making all proper
safeguards against monopoly and against the
subversion of the spirit of 11 our land laws,
which is in essence that all suitable lands shall
go into homes, and all other lands shall be de
veloped for that purpose which shall make theiri
of greatest service. But it asks 'that the ma
chinery be promptly established in the law by
which the lands may be used. And this demand
is reasonable. Already congress has recognized
in many ways the appositeness of this policy, but
it is for yourself and congress to further extend
this thought into our legislation.
Surely this is not a task that may be adven
tured upon with recklessness or without respect
for the opinions of others. And the suggestions
which shall be made by me are so made in the
hope that they will form a basis upon which the
constructive mind may work and bring forth a
more efficient working plan.
The largest body of unused and neglected land
in the United States is Alaska. It is now nearly
half a century since we purchased this territory,
and it contains today less than 40,000 white in
habitants, less than 1,000 for each year it has
been in our possession. The purchase was made
as a means of protection against the possible
aggression of a foreign nation and without the
hope that it would be even self-supporting. In
the intervening forty-six years we have given it
little more than the most casual concern, yet its
mines, fisheries, and furs alone have added to
our wealth the grand sum of $500,000,000.
For almost a generation it was the rich har
vest field of a single company. Individual for
tunes have been made in that country larger
than the price paid to Russia for the whole terri
tory. How rich its waters are we know, because
they have been proved; but how rich its lands
0 are in gold and copper, coal and oil, iron and
zinc, no one knows. The prospector -has gone
far enough, however, to tell us that, no other sec
tion of our land today makes so rich a mineral
promise. And in agriculture the government
itself has demonstrated that it will produce in
abundance all that can be raised in the Scandi
navian countries, the hardy cereals and vege
tables, the meats and the berries off which
9,000,000 people live in Norway, Sweden, and
MSaJ1 has been estimated that there are
50,000,000 acres of this land that will make
homes for a people as sturdy as those of New
England. Whether this is so or not, it would
appear that Alaska can be made self-sustaininir
This vast and unsurpassed asset lies almost
u,n(teyeJoped A territory one-fifth the size of
the United States contains less than a thousand
miles of anything that can be called a wagon
!n I Hi151 ew considerable stretches of
oftwa? which terminate, with one exception,
either in the wilderness or at a private industry.
Only the richest of its mines can be worked, and
one of its resources of greatest immediate value
to the people its coal lands lies unworked.
. ?Ue co"structive thing done by this gov
ernment on behalf of Alaska in nearly half a
Sti7 7H? Variation of reindeer for the
Jlfit of the Eskimo on the border of the Arctic
?n2 in mS th? W man WG have do oth
wTiL U-tle' ln.fact' that t0 mention what we
T wl ?ie? irIor chasrIn and humiliation.
linvS !iJ22U8hJ -hat. PerhaPs the scandals that
J? M?V?0pe,? '? Alaska have been in some
m' fnfUlti0f a fGeliri& that it was a no
mans land, where the primal instincts and
powers were tho only law. "ounces ana
This unfortunate condition can not be ex
plained on the ground of the inhospitality of the
nit wf ?w A Careful study of isothermal
w l l that some Gf southeastern Alaska'
?w ? matGmore temperate and more equable
nor i aJ0tVWB J.V118 llluch of e greater
Stockholm nr TV?8 S kindlIer clImat than
btockholm or St. Petersburg Moreover our
oreteeanhebvnStTd in the io
SnfrTf 1 1 y the rlgors Gf a lon& wInter. The
P rinan ?nriT,e which brousht them from
SimPemt0 yirSnIa. and tG Massachusetts take
United aS ?nana and, Sackatchewan: The
land ?n MnS?nlately PG,1ed to eniT a tract of
Ti AMontana for which there were 46 000
applicants for registration and only 7 000 of
TCeTmo IT "t unity toVmeateaA
Jneie is more railroad building 500 miles north
gfc tiV LawdfeiiiCfrfl