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authors in trying to secure international copyright legislation this winter. The absence of this cooperation has been until now one of the great difficulties in the way of success; publishers, as "practical men" and extensive employers of labor, having more weight with Congressmen than writers of books. As long, too, as there was enough comity between publishers to secure respect for any arrangement which any one of them might make with foreign authors, they were not very zealous in favor of a copyright treaty. The pirate has destroyed all that, however, and convinced them that there is no security except in legislation. This will go far to narrow the opposition down to simple enjoyment of theft—or, in other words, of benefit of some kind at another man's expense. Nothing is more comic or more novel, and yet more characteristic of our age, than the argument which one frequently hears in opposition to international copyright, that although it is wrong to clothe or feed yourself, it is quite right, and even praiseworthy, to develop yourself mentally, with the proceeds of another man's labor.
'Whatever may be^done about the case of Dakota, it is to be hoped that nothing will come of the scheme reported to be under consideration at Washington for admitting several Territories as States at the same time. New Mexico and Montana, which are said to be included in this scheme, are not fit to become States, and will not be for some time to come. New Mexico is still largely a foreign community, and has no just claim to exercise an equal influence in the Senate with great States like New York and Pennsylvania. Montana still retains many of the elements of a frontier region, and it is not yet certain that it will not prove well to change the boundaries between Montana and adjoining Territories. Washington Territory has been so long settled by a homogeneous population that it has a just claim to admission as soon as the question of rectifying its eastern boundary line is settled; but Montana and New Mexico ought to serve a long apprenticeship yet. The evils of the Territorial condition are grossly exaggerated by the politicians who hope to get the State offices, and they are really but small. Even if they were much greater, they should not offset the evils to the nation of making States too soon—evils which have been forcibly illustrated in the case of Nevada. One experience of that sort is quite enough for all time.
We did not know how largely the national prosperity is due to the tariff on potatoes until we read Monday's Tribune. We then learned from an interview with a dealer in the article that if the duty of 15 cents per bushel were repealed or materially lowered, we should i >i «i be able to compete with European potatoes in our own markets. Scotland, it appears, is our fiercest competitor at Washington Market, but England, Holland, Belgium, Germany, and Denmark are pressing the Long Island farmer with great energy. "If,"
says this New York dealer, "they send as much as they do while there is still a fifteen-cent tariff on potatoes, what would be the limit of this supply if that much profit is added to each bushel? It would, I think, soon be found unprofitable to raise potatoes in America." It might be added—and the reflection will occur to every logical mind—that if we cannot raise potatoes without a tariff, we shall soon be unable to raise wheat or cotton without it, and that we are rapidly approaching the condition of not being able to earn a living off the most bountiful land in the world without a system of taxation that locks up $100,000,000 a year of our money. The poultry dealers are already complaining of the competition of foreign-laid eggs. The ice-cutters a few years ago wanted a duty on foreign ice, and thought that they were ill used because they didn't get it. The fishermen have upset the Treaty of Washington and got us into a deal of trouble for the sake of a duty on salt fish. And now the sorghum-boilers in Kansas are protesting against any meddling with the duty on sugar because they say that they can make sugar as cheaply as it can be made in Louisiana. A hod-carrier in this city lifted up his voice the other day against any disturbance of the tariff, fearing apparently that brick buildings erected by pauper labor might rush in here from Europe. As to coal, how often have we been told that although we have about thirty times as much of this mineral as Great Britain and Canada combined, we should be compelled to leave it in the earth and depend upon foreign supplies if the duty were removed. Indeed, we can imagine a condition in which we should all be thrown helpless on our backs, and be compelled to receive our food, clothing, and fuel from foreigners, giving them nothing in return. How long they would continue to supply us on those terms, heaven only knows.
Gov. Hill has certainly done himself credit by his message sent to the Legislature on Tuesday. It is a plain, sensible, straightforward document, without any bunkum or demagogy in it, or anything on which one cannot differ with him respectfully. His recommendations are in the main very good. He advocates spring municipal elections and a revision of the charter of this city ; the provision of a special counsel to the Legislature, to revise bills before they become laws—an excellent suggestion, which he has already made; a revision of the tax laws of the State, with the view of making personal property "pay its just share"—a chimerical idea, against which the experience of the civilized world is every where running. Personal property in our day is too readily concealed to be a proper object of taxation at all. He recommends the abolition of the State Board of Charities and of the State Board of Health, and the transfer of their powers respectively to a single officer—a step in the right direction—and of the Board of Regents as a useless and purely ornamental body; the calling of the Constitutional Convention"; the permission to the Court of Appeals
to affirm a conviction if, in its opinion, there was sufficient evidence to warrant it besides testimony improperly admitted—a much-needed reform, which would save the court from much popular distrust. He argues at much length, and with force, in favor of the restriction of the confirming power of the Senate to the cases in which it is called for by the Constitution ; but reserves his heaviest artillery for the refusal of the Legislature to provide for the State enumeration and apportionment. On the liquor question he is as dumb as an oyster, and has hardly a word to say for "labor"—except that the Board of Arbitration is in "fairly successful operation," which will be news to most people. Some of his topics need more comment than is possible in a mere summary; but, on the whole, he has acquitted himself much more like Gov. David B. Hill than the " Dave Hill" of last year, who has hitherto afforded so much sport to the Republicans by allowing himself to be put "in a hole."
Gov. Bill's removal of Messrs. Jay and Richmond from the State Civil-Service Commission has been looked for every day since he asked for their resignations last July, without giving any reason. They refused to resign on the very good ground that such places as theirs ought not to be vacated without some explanation to the public of the cause of the change. The usefulness of these gentlemen, however, was greatly diminished by the Governor's unconcealed hostility to the law which they were trying to enforce, and the influence of his example in instigating nearly all the State officials to violate or ignore it in a greater or less degree. Mr. Jay and Mr. Richmond had the prime qualification of thorough devotion to their duty, and gave their time and attention unstintingly for what was to men in their position practically no compensation. What the Governor's motives in removing them are, can of course only be guessed at. His new appointments do not shed much light on the matter. From Mr. Manning and Mr. Treadwell it is perhaps fair to expect an honest attempt to execute the law. As regards the new President of the Board, Gen. Sickles, we shall have to get used to him in the character of a reformer before being able to pass any judgment on his merits. It will not do, however, to condemn the new Commissioners in advance. No matter what we may think of the motives or manner of their appointment, we are bound to give them a fair trial, and, hope for the best from them. Possibly the fact that they are the Governor's own selection may help to secure from him more cordial cooperation than he was willing to give their predecessors.
Col. Fellows has begun his term of office as District Attorney in a somewhat unusual manner by giving a public feast. At the same time he makes this sweeping promise: "For the next three years I shall endeavor to make the city of New York on unhealthy and unpleasant place for /'"• criminally disposed." This lays out as large a field of work as any man would wish to enter upon. The Mayor, who naturally feels some responsibility for the Colonel's "simple Christian life " in the District Attorney's office, hastens to remind him on his entrance upon its duties that there are 15,000 bail cases awaiting trial in the pigeonholes of the office, and says: "I know that you are sensible of the deplorable consequences which result from the failure to dispose of criminal charges and to assure a prompt trial and speedy punishment in case of conviction." Now the District Attorney can in no way make New York more "unhealthy and unpleasant for the criminally disposed" than by bringing these bail cases to trial. They are nearly all for violations of the excise laws, and the greater part of them are against men who have "pulls" in politics. For years the criminal machinery of the city has been paralyzed by "pulls " of this kind, and the reason is that the violators of the laws are also political workers, whose liquor-saloons and gambling-dens are centres of political activity. The Colonel has a great opportunity before him by striking down this most pernicious conspiracy against the laws.
A despatch from St. Paul, Minn., makes this announcement: "The State Railroad Commissioners to-day issued orders that after January 1 each upper berth in any sleepingcar run or operated upon any railroad in this State shall remain closed whenever the berth beneath the same shall be occupied by a passenger, until such upper berth shall be needed for actual occupancy." If this brief order could be put in force all over the country, one of the meanest advantages taken of the travelling public by the sleeping-car companies would no longer have to be submitted to. In explanation of this order it may be stated that the aim of the sleeping-car companies (after charging, in addition to the regular railroad rate, as much for a sleeping accommodation as is charged for a room and board in our best hotels) is to make every passenger pay as much as can be extorted from him. Each "section" of a sleeping-car contains two "berths." If a passenger hires a lower berth and the one above him is not taken, the porters are compelled by the company, under a severe penalty, to let down the upper berth when the lower one is made by, thus cutting off air and light and boxing up the lower occupant as closely as possible. The object of this order is to compel the lower occupant to pay for the breathing-room above him as well as his bed beneath.
Mr. Joseph Chamberlain's speech at the Toronto Board of Trade dinner was encouraging in the sense that it promised an amicable settlement of the fishery dispute. Whether the settlement comes through arbitration (which was recommended as a last resort by the New York Chamber of Commerce) or otherwise, the country will be thankful, and accordingly has reason to be thankful when Bo cool a participant as Mr. Chamberlain K41» us that, in his opinion, a sejtlcjfienl wiJJ
be reached. Mr. Chamberlain is opposed to commercial union between Canada and the United States, because it would lead shortly to political union, and he does not want to bring on political union by roundabout means. But he does not say, and probably he does not mean, that he would oppose political union coming by direct means, in obedience to the mutual wishes of the two countries uninfluenced by trade relations. As an English diplomat, he could not favor any step looking to the loss of Canada, although the loss itself he might acquiesce in when it comes without his active agency.
The London correspondent of the Tribune ought to be a little more careful about the facts in forwarding "free-trade" stories to his paper. He said on Thursday morning that'' if anything is certain, it is certain that an Irish Parliament would adopt a policy of protection," and that, therefore, "home rule once granted, the Liberals will be in as much trouble as the Tories about fair trade." If he had ever taken the trouble to read Gladstone's Home-Rule Bill—the most extreme yet spoken of—he would know that the right of levying customs duties was reserved to the British Parliament, and that the Irish Parliament would have no power whatever to make a tariff. But what can we expect from a correspondent of the Tribune when the editor says he never maintained that the election of Cleveland would endanger American industry?
The uproar in England over the fresh reductions made in the Irish rents is another very curious illustration of the way the government of that unfortunate country is carried on. The process of reducing the rents by a Government Commission so as to make them accord with the reduced price of produce was begun in 1881 under Mr. Gladstone's Land Act. They were cut down on an average about 20 per cent., and any rent so reduced Whs called a "judicial rent." The work had hardly been done, however, when produce began to fall still further, and it became evident that the tenants would find it just as hard to pay the judicial as the ante-judicial rent. When the Tories came into power in 1885, an appeal was made to them to revise the judicial rents, but it was sternly denied, and the "Planof Campaign," i. e., refusal to pay any rent unless the landlord agreed to further reduction, was adopted by the National League. When the Tories returned to office the second time after Gladstone's defeat on the home-rule issue, Parnell introduced a bill prov^uUpg for further revision, but it was rejected with horror, Goschen denouncing it as a characteristically dishonest proposal, and one which, if adopted, would weaken the framework of society. Gladstone's revision of rents was bad enough; it would not do to repeat it. It was soon found, however, that the Liberal-Unionists would not support this position, and that if it were adhered to.there would have to be a dissolution of Parliament. 80 a bill was introduced providing that the accursed thing should be done, ani} we now see the result. Jt left
poor Mr. Goschen, who had to push it through the House of Commons, in a pitiable condition about the framework of society. Neither he nor Lord Salisbury, however, probably expected such sweeping reductions as the Commissioners have made, because they not only put the landlords in a worse position than ever, but they go far to whitewash the "Plan of Campaign" and justify Parnell.
The " war scare" in Europe is kept up X with reasonable diligence, but does not seem to make much progress. Side by side with the accounts of the military preparations, there are always accounts of a disposition to settle on easy terms. Most of the trouble comes from the existence of semi-official or "inspired" newspapers in the Continental capitals. Now and then—perhaps once in four or five years—they get "the straight tip" from their respective governments, and the result is that everything they say in the interval has a factitious weight, although it may be pure speculation. A war scare is the best mode of running up "sales" known to them, because, as long as the armaments are so large, war will always seem a not improbable contingency, and the "movements" of troops near the frontier a good thing to "work up," either editorially or "reportorially." The way Lord Randolph Churchill has turned this to account by appearing on the scene himself, shows what a talent he has for advertising, and what a man he would be to push a ready-made clothing business. His visit to St. Petersburg is of no more importance than that of any John Smith, but all Europe is w^>nd%inf? what it means.
Various si^Eis point to a new era of extravagance in Mexican financiering, after the Irksome economies of the past two years. The loan of $52,500,000 just authorized by Congress is, fi its face, a scheme to pay old debts gf contracting new and more onerous^ones. The terms of the loan are so vacyly defined that a leading commercial jvromal of Mexico is unable to say what they inean; they may imply interest at 6 per cent., or, more likely, 8J£, or, possibly, 15. The Congress, also, after the established and vicious manner of intrusting large powers to thef President during a Congressional interim, gave him authority to renew lapsed subventions' to railroads, to make concessions and grant subsidies to newly projected lines, to make contracts for the survey of public lands, and for the planting of colonies. It is very natural, then, that on the heels of the adjournment of Congress come reports of a multiplicity of new schemes to "develop the resources of the country." There may be little substantial fact back of some of those largcsounding enterprises,but their being talked of is a sure sign that the speculators confidently expect a return of the good times of the lavish Administration of Gonzales. When it is remembered that all this is ac companicd by the same wide gap between governmental receipts and expenditures which has been characteristic of the last three years, it looks a» if the old financial policy of "after us, the deluge" were to be put in force again.
REFORM OF THE HOUSE BY CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.
To the end that the Constitutional Amendment for the reformation of the House of Representatives, which we lately presented, may be more clearly apprehended, we reduce to a few plain, concise points what it will accomplish and what it will not do:
(1.) It now takes thirteen months to pass from a Congressional election to the time when the members elected assemble. The proposed amendment will enable the people to change one-half of the members of the House in one month, and the other half in the same time that they can now do it. With this fact Bo plainly in view, we are at a loss to understand the hallucination which says that the amendment will remove the House further from the people.
(2.) If an important change of public opinion should come over the country, say in two months after an election, it will be about three years, under the existing system, before the people can replace the recently elected House of Representatives. Under the proposed system they could replace one-half of them in eleven months. Constituted as the American Congressman is, we know that a deeided expression of public opinion at these annual elections will be just as potent on the men who are not then elected as on the men who are; in fact, with an election before him "next year," a Congressman will be much more sensitive to public opinion than if he had just gained his seat. We can, indeed, conceive of no possible method for bringing the House of Representatives nearer to the people and making it more sensitive to the public will than that proposed.
(8.) Under the present system all the members of the House hold their seats through half of their operative official life (i. .., through the most important session of Congress) after their successors have been elected, and when nearly two years must expire before another election can be held. Under the proposed system no member will occupy hit teat after hit successor hag been elected, and the monstrous absurdity and abuse of the present system will disappear.
(4.) Under the present system, no matter what the public exigency, no matter what the condition of the legislative business, a law more unalterable than that of the Medes and Persians compels the dissolution of Congress in each alternate year at a fixed day and hour. The inevitable and gross abuses of the system are too well known to need repeating. Under the proposed system that arbitrary dissolution will disappear, the termination of the one session will be as manageable as the termination of the other, and Congress will ha.te no (accuse for doing its work hastily or adjourning before its work is done.
(5.) The present system, bringing dissolution as frequently as it does, involves the most astounding waste of everything that should be economized in the legislative system. Not only does Congress expire, but everything which it has labored upon, if not actually completed, expires with it. As we now go to press, the House of Representatives is still unorganized, and the single indi
vidual who forms the committees and who may, if he pleases, dictate the policy of the House, has not yet completed his selection. Under the proposed system, the Howie will be organized from the hour when the Speaker is elected; a working body equipped for work, and ready for work, and able on the second or third day of the session to take up the work of the nation precisely where the preceding Congress left off.
Let us now turn to the things which the proposed amendment will not do:
(1.) It will not retain the present vicious system of the short session.
(2.) It will not keep members in office after their successors have been elected.
(8.) It will not retain the arbitrary destruction of the legislative organization in each alternate year.
(4.) It will not bring together a large, unorganized mass of new members within a month, or two months, of their election (as proposed by the Grain amendment), with the heat of the election still upon them, and all the dangers of disorganization before them.
(5.) While it will make public sentiment felt annually, and almost instantly in Congress, it will not go to the dangerous extreme of enabling some temporary public excitement to overpower the national legislature.
With these facts plainly in view, we ask every thoughtful person to remember that while everything in our country has grown greater —its territory, its population, its intelligence —the product of our national legislation has not improved, and, indeed, has so deteriorated that the work of the last Congress is not comparable with the work of the first; and then to ponder the following question r What would be thought of a great railroad corporation that in each alternate year, on the 4th of March, at the hour of noon, stopped all of its trains wherever they might chance to be, in the midst of a prairie or crossing a bridge; blew the water out of the boilers, put out the fires, invited the passengers to get out and walk, unloaded the freight, burned the tickets, blanks, and forms, cancelled their contracts, recalled their advertisements, and then took a long breath and began again? And what would be thought of a company that kept on doing this for no better reason than that they feared, if they did not, the brakemen might be a continuing body, and some day run away with the trains?
A plan to change the administrative methods of government will frequently attract no attention whatever, sometimes will arouse warm opposition, occasionally will receive decided approval. The Constitutional Amendment to change inauguration day from the 4th of March to the 30th of April was of the last class. Its merits were instantly perceived; the bar and the bench recognized the practical advantages which would accrue to legislative work; patriotic sentiment felt it to be a graceful commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of Washington's inauguration: the press advocated it, and the militia sent in petitions asking for its adoption. But the Constitutional Amendment to reform the House of Representatives ^ which we have
propounded, has been remarkable in being received in none of these ways. Probably no other ever caused at the same moment and in the same persons so much commendation and so much doubt. Thus, in a very fair and intelligent article, wishing the question to be discussed and settled, the Washington Post says:
"It will require much argument to convince us that this plan is desirable. It is true that the Senate, being not only a continuing body but indirectly responsible to the people, is so slow of political change that the will of the people, expressed every two years in the election of Representatives, is often nullified by the Senate. But this does not seem to be any reason why the House should be less expressive than it is of prevailing political opinion."
And the Buffalo Courier, in a more extended and equally fair article, might be cited to the same purport.
A constitutional scholar who possesses the rare advantage of having lived for many years at the national capital, in familiar and confidential intercourse with the most distinguished statesmen of both parties, without having been in public office himself, and whose name we regretfully withhold at his request, writes:
"I entirely concur with so much of the reasoning of your article as relates to the necessity of modifying the despotic power of the Speaker, and of bringing the meeting of a new Congress into closer contact with each new election for its members. ... As to the expediency of making the House a permanent body like to the Senate, in this respect I confess that I have some demur. Will not such a reformation tend still more to consolidate the power of the legislative branch of the Government—already stronger than the other branches? Will it not make changes in Federal policies and Federal laws still more difficult of attainment? The great vice in the present polity is its ultra-conservatism—the fact that institutional means for effecting political changes do not keep pace with social and economic evolution. Will not the proposed reformation make our polity still more conservative?"
On the other hand, we have seen a private letter from Mr. Robert C. Winthrop, who not only is a veteran statesman, but was for ten years a member of the House of Representatives and repeatedly Speaker of the Massachusetts House, in which he says:
"I had read the article in the Nation with great interest, and have now read it again and with renewed satisfaction. I should gladly see the first amendment (relating to the inauguration) pass separately and on its own merits. But the second (relating to the House of Representatives) seems to me a great improvement on our present system. I heartily hope you may succeed in getting both adopted."
In presenting the proposed change to our readers, we depicted, illustratively, the House as it is and the Senate as it is in this matter of organization. The reference to the Senate, though merely an illustration which everybody knew something about, has led some correspondents and critics to suppose that we advocated changing the House into a body precisely like the Senate. No writer has, indeed, gone so far as to say that we desired secret sessions, or meant to reduce the number to seventy-six members; but the misapprehension has stopped short only at those points. We referred to the fact that the President pro tempore of the Senate is changed with every change of party; but the amendment under consideration will extend neither to the Speakership, nor to any matter of detail. Indeed, the term of the presiding officer of the Louse is not now regulated by the Constitution. "The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker," is all that is written concerning the tenure of the office; and, "A Speaker may be removed at the will of the House," says Jefferson's Manual. In other words, the Speaker of to-day holds his office, just as the President pro temporc of the Senate holds his, "at the will of the House." The end to be kept in view, however, is not the term of the Speaker's office, but his power over and control of the committees. Some thoughtless talk has been indulged in; such as, that in the selection of the Senate committees there is doubtless a friction which the public do not hear and a manipulation which they do not see. Whether there be a friction or not, we neither know nor care—it is a friction which will hurt nobody outside of the Senate Chamber; but concern ing the committees of the Senate three things are undeniable: (1) that there is no barter and trade between the presiding officer and persons who wish to control committees; (2) that there is a natural selection of the fittest, whereby the committees are well made for the work they have to do, and the ablest men of the controlling party are at the head; (3) that they are always organized and ready for work, and have their work well in hand. With a continuity of organization in the House, the actual experience of the Senate warrants a belief that the system of natural selection will naturally be adopted. Under the present disjointed system of biennial disorganization and reorganization, the despotic and dangerous power of the Speaker seems inevitable.
It has been said of the Senate that it is further removed from the people than the House. If that means that the Senate is less observant of the public will than the House, it is an error which every year of legislation contradicts. We cannot at the moment recall a single important non-political measure, such as the Presidential Succession Act, the Electoral Count Bill, the National Library measure, in which the Senate has not been years in advance of the House. It must be remembered that the Senate is part of the legislative power, part of the treaty-making power, part of the appointing power. The element of secret sessions, and the "courtesy of the Senate," which this paper has steadfastly opposed and condemned, spring out of the latter powers; but the legislative work of the Senate, considering what slovenly statutory work comes from the House, and the shameful manner in which appropriation bills have been held back, is, as a general rule, well done. Indeed, if there be one legislative body in the world which has been characterized during the last ten or fifteen years by dignity, decorum, freedom, and yet commendable temperatencss of debate, and in keeping its own share of the legislative work always in advance of the other house —in short, a body which the intelligent citizens of a civilized country may look upon with reasonable satisfaction—it is the Senate of the United States.
That "continuity of organization" can render dangerous a legislative body half of
whose members will go out of office every year is certainly an extraordinary fallacy. The Long Parliament was a usurpation, because for twelve years and more the people of England could hold no election of members. Organization is nothing more than machinery in working order. Dislocating the engine will not lessen the power of the engineer. No nation is ever going to be enslaved by legislators whose term of office is so short-lived as that of our Representatives in Congress. If usurpation comes, it will be the work of the bad and the unprincipled, who can find no instrumentality better fitted for their purpose than an unscru pulous Speaker and an unorganized House. The break between one Congress and another happens now to be an interval of some months, but it is only a few yean since Congress was sitting almost continuously. The Thirtyninth Congress expired on the 4th of March, 1867, and " the first session of the Fortieth Congress was begun, and held in the city of Washington on the 4th day of March, A. D. 1867." The interval of disorganization, the reelection of the Speaker, Clerk, and other officers, the fresh deal and dicker of committees, did not lessen the power of the dominant party in that House, nor hinder the mad impeachment of the President during the ensuing winter.
In conclusion, we desire to impress upon our readers the simple fact that the constitutional continuity of the House of Representatives means simply continuity of organization; that organization means simply the machinery for doing its proper work; that a new Congress does not mean philosophically or practically the same set of politicians reappearing under a new name, but a new set of members, newly elected, bringing with them a new exposition of the public will; that the proposed amendment will secure two different but desirable results : (1) the unbroken business organization of the House; (2) the annual and immediate appearance of new members whenever they may be needed.
THE BLAIR BILL ONCE MORE.
The question whether the Federal Government ought to appropriate money from the national Treasury to aid in the support of schools in the States, for the especial benefit of the South, received a thorough discussion while the proposition was before the Fortyninth Congress. The scheme had been urged for some years before, without ever being subjected to careful scrutiny, and the public had inclined to give it a thoughtless approval. But during the early months of 1886 the facts and figures regarding the actual educational condition of the South, which were presented from time to time in the Keening Po«t and Nation, caused former supporters of the project to change their views, and resulted in a popular verdict against the bill, so that its failure to pass Congress was generally welcomed. The completeness of this revolution in public sentiment was shown in the most striking way possible by the action of the New Hampshire Legislature last summer. Mr. Blair appealed to the law
makers of his own State for a resolution of hearty endorsement to serve as a lever in the Fiftieth Congress. The resolution went to the Committee on National Affairs, two-thirds of whom were Republicans, but by a vote of nine to two the Committee reported "inexpedient to legislate," and the greatest effort* of Mr. Blair's friends were required to save him from the humiliation of an adverse majority in the Legislature—a cold " approval" being finally granted, only by a vote of 188 to 127.
As the New Hampshire Senator insists upon being beaten again, it is well to restate the considerations which were urged against his bill two years ago, and to reinforce them with the new objections which have developed in the meantime. The plea for the measure is based upon the statistics of illiteracy furnished by the census of 1880, which showed that in a number of the Southern States nearly or quite half of the voters were unable to read and write. This fact is always presented by advocates of the bill as conclusive evidence that the South must have help from Washington; but, properly understood, it bears a very different aspect. While it is true that in 1880 there were in the South 4,7^395 persons over ten years of age who could not write,2,961,871, or about two-thirds of the whole number, were men and women over twenty-one years old, who would never go to school if they had a chance. In other words, by far the greater part of the illiteracy which existed in the South in 1880 was hopeless, because by far the greater part of the illiterates were too old to attend school. It is absurd to say that the South in 1888 needs Federal aid to educate her children because in 1880 there were three million grownup illiterates, born either slaves or " poor whites" of the slavery era.
The vital question is, whether the South is now herself educating her children so that they will not be illiterates when they grow up. Advocates of the Blair bill always insist that it is not, because the South does not have as good schools as cities in the North have. We have heretofore pointed out that the proper comparison is with thinly settled agricultural States, like Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, and have shown that illiteracy has been avoided in these New England States by a school system no better than that which many Southern States already have, and which the others will soon have at their present rate of progress. It was a great surprise to Northern people when we demonstrated that a number of Southern States keep their children in school more days in the year than New Hampshire docs hers, but the truth is at last accepted even by New Hampshire, and the Concord Monitor, which is generally known as the "organ" of Mr. Blair's colleague, Senator Chandler, last April told iu readers that "New Hampshire has less schooling than Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, or Missouri"—to which it should have added Texas and Kentucky, while Florida and two or ihree others are within a few days of the New Hampshire average. In like manner the Monitor might have shown that a larger percentage of the children of school age are enrolled in the public schools of some Southern States than in New Hampshire, while even South Carolina, which has the largest propor tion of negroes, falls only a trifle behind New Hampshire in this respect.
The latest reports of the Superintendents of Education in the Southern States teem With proofs that outside help is not needed, a few of which must be cited. The average length of the school year in Virginia is al ready nearly six months, and the Superintendent recommends as perfectly practicable a further extension through the increase of local assessments. In West Virginia the average length is nearly five months, and the Superintendent urges an increase, remarking that "the additional tax for two months would scarcely be felt." In Tennessee the Superintendent reported that "our publicschool system is growing in favor with the people," and the Legislature justified his statement by more than doubling the school tax within a month after the Blair bill lapsed by the expiration of the Forty-ninth Congress, while the counties in their turn are doubling the local fund raised for education. In Alabama the Superintendent recites the growth of the system four years from 4,634 schools with pupils and a school fund of $392,904, to 5,595 schools with 252,967 pupils and a school fund of $523,353; he says that "our educational facilities must be increased to keep abreast with the material prosperity of the State," and adds that" all know there has been a gratifying increase in the resources of the State during the past few years which requires an increase in the annual appropriation for schools." In Arkansas the Superinten'dent reports that "we are making rapid progress in our educational interests, and in a few more years Arkansas will stand side by side with the most favored of her sister States in the educational advantages she offers to her children"—a statement which is certainly warranted by the increase between 1883 and 1886 from 2,462 teachers, 112,233 pupils, and $479,471 expenditure, to 3,691 teachers, 175,935 pupils, and $866,892 expenditure. In Georgia the Superintendent reported an increase within four years of pupils from 244,197 to 309,594, and of expenditure from $498,533 to $723,161, while he showed once more that a small increase in the tax, which could belaid "without unduly burdening the people," would enable Vie State to keep the schools in operation loY six months of the year. In Florida the Superintendent reports that the amount expended upon schools has risen within four years from $133,260 to $400,000, while the school year falls only a few days short of New Hampshire and Maine. In Texas the Superintendent reports a steady and rapid advance in the cause of popular education, and insists that " the school term throughout the State should not be less than seven months."
Space will _not permit a full presentation for each State of the wonderful progress which has been made in developing the school system of the South within the past few years. The Blah- bill was introduced in December, 1881, upon the ground that the South was so "impoverished by the war"
that it could not raise any more money for schools than it was then raising, and that Federal aid ought to be granted for eight years. Six of the eight years have passed ; the amount raised for schools has been largely increased in every State, and doubled or trebled in some, while the man who should now talk about the South being " impoverished by the war " would provoke the derision of every self-respecting Southerner. The rigorous test of time has been applied to the plausible pleas which were originally made for the passage of this bill, and their fallacy has been clearly exposed. The South has shown herself able to overcome the difficulties of the situation, and her success is another tribute to American self-reliance. The most satisfactory feature of the matter is the fact that the opposition which has defeated the " Bill to Promote Mendicancy" was largely the opposition of self-respecting Southern men, like Senator Butler of South Carolina, who put the case against it most forcibly four years ago, when he said:
"We ought to pause and reflect, for fear that in throwing this large amount of money into the States you will check the effort in those States to develop their own common-school system in their own way. Why, Mr. President, there is no success in 111e comparable to the success which attends individual effort, none so enduring, none so satisfactory. I would, therefore, be very cautious before I would appropriate money and put it with the States, the effect of which, I am afraid, would be, among others, to induce a very great many men wno are now earnestly struggling to build up their own local i i Im i 1111 i111 H. t i.i put their hands in their pockets and say: 'The general Government is going to educate everybody—what is the use of any man paying taxes for education?'"
PICTURES AND PICTURE-BUYERS.
A Correspondent in the West writes, on t>ehalf of some local economists who are just now occupied with the tariff discussion, to ask us whether we set paintings down among the things known as 'luxuries," and therefore a fair subject for "'iisiiini imiisi' taxation. The question will most probably come up this winter in connection with the 30 per cent, duty which we now levy on the works of foreign artists, and which we believe nobody any longer defends on the ground that it is egitimate protection for native industry against foreign competition. Thirty years ago there were American artists who dreamed of the possibility of making by the aid of the tariff a sort of art vacuum in this country which native talent would fill with a jurely and distinctively American school, owing nothing whatever to European precept, spirit, or example. But this dream has 'or the most part passed away, and American artists have resigned themselves to takng part in the general struggle for distinction and a market without any adventitious aid.
If any are now disposed to rely on the tariff at all, it is rather for protection against the dealers in this country than against profesional rivals abroad. They say, and with a ;ood deal of force, that in no country is the dealer so powerful an influence in the picture market as in this, because in none are there so many buyers with long purses who do not
venture to rely on their own judgment in making their purchases. When the time comes in their career, therefore, at which they think it is incumbent on them to fill their houses with works of art, they put themselves unhesitatingly into the hands of an importer, and he generally covers their walls with the products of foreign studios, and, if he allows them to buy American pictures at all, recommends them only for bedrooms and the less frequented parts of the house.
Against this discrimination the human nature in American art naturally revolts, and if the tariff would do anything towards repressing it, we imagine a good many advocates for the duty on foreign pictures would be found among American painters. But as a matter of fact the duty on foreign pictures, although it may in some degree prevent importations being as large as they would be in its absence, has not perceptibly diminished them. The ebb and flow of the American demand for European pictures seems to be more affected by the condition of the stock market than by any other influence known to us. In truth, the ordinary American picture-buyer is rather stimulated than deterred by dearness. The addition of 30 per cent, to the price is in nine cases out of ten more likely to increase than to cool his ardor. In his own ignorance of the conditions which fix the value of a picture in money, he is apt to defer to the judgment of those who profess to know something about them, and to conclude that their asking a very high price is a sort of confession of the importance of what they have to sell. He does not know, what is literally true, that the picture market now closely resembles the stock market—that it has its bulls and bears and corners, just as Wall Street has, and that dealers not infrequently "sell short" works which they know are held in considerable quantity by a rival, in order to break him down, or "make corners" in works which they know he is seeking, and unload freely on "lambs" from the West works in which their own expectations have been disappointed.
So that, on the whole, the effect of the tariff on the sale of foreign pictures, though doubtless considerable, can hardly be said to t>e perceptible. It keeps foreign pictures out x> some extent, but we do not know to what extent. The only aid in approximating to an estimate of it is to be found in the large numaer of counterfeits of distinguished European artists which are to be found all over the counay. A French connoisseur came here a few years ago to catalogue, if possible, the more valuable works of French art to be found in this country in private collections and public galleries. He had not gone very far, however, before he came on forgeries, enough to astonish him, of the more readily imitable works of such painters as Corot and Rousseau. In fact, we have ourselves seen assured by a leading American Miinter that there is in one of the sujurbs of New York a Corot factory, from which you can obtain works of this master of any size or in any quantity you please—either by the dozen or the single copy. That the