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May II, 1901.
RECORD AND GUIDE.
Dt^rifl) TO REX.L EsTAjE. Buildij/g ^^cKiTEcnnip .Kousniou) Dsanpioil
BiJsii^ESS AttoTHEitES Of GejIer^ lirto?^Â«
PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS.
PuMisIicd every Saturday.
TELEPHONE, CORTLANDT 1370.
-Communications should be addtessed to
C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street.
./. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager.
â– â– Entered al. lite Post-Office of New York, 2f. 7., as second-class mailer.'
MAY 11, 1901,
ALL stock market booms end with an explosion, and that
which occiirred this week, although apparently produced
hy the accidental cornering of Northern Pacific, is a natural
outcome of the injudicious use. of explosivesâ€”the Northern
Pacific corner was the match that is all. When the community
buys securities without regard to values, so that prices advance,
on patriotic enthusiasm, or a passion for gambling, instead of
upon facts and figures, trouble must ensue. The loosening of
the first stone may be said to cause the fall of a huilding,
but investigation will show that that was only a symptom of
constitutional weakness. So it was with the stock marketâ€”conÂ¬
ditions were stretched and strained so that it could not sustain
the shock of losses in Northern Pacific, and collapse was the
result. The danger at the moment is that the public may overÂ¬
look the disease in the passing of the symptom and resume those
operations that can only aggravate it. Panics are usually folÂ¬
lowed by a quick substantial rally, and then by a long decline
that brings prices down to less than value, and it is reasonable
to suppose the same result will follow this one. Tbe gambling
spirit was so prevalent that it may be taken that the losses are
equally widespread, and the drop in prices has correspondingly
shrunk the available resources of the community. It apÂ¬
pears, too, that the insensate struggle for control, at boom
prices, of the railroad business of the West is still on, and until
decided for one or other of the contestants will obscure and
endanger the situation. Then, too, prices in only too many inÂ¬
stances still reflect more than values. Buyers have mentally
so underwritten the prosperity of the railroads and of the counÂ¬
try for many years to come, as they always do in good times,
forgetting the accidents and relapses that inevitably occur, that
they have more than discounted any proflts reason can expect.
The one great good feature of the situation is that general busiÂ¬
ness is so good that the effect of the panic will be felt outside of
speculative circles only in a moderate degree. But it will be felt
nevertheless, and this should engender caution until the power
direction of its infiuence are determined.
IT looks as if the Natioual Board of Conciliation and ArbiÂ¬
tration, which certain important representative organizaÂ¬
tions of employers and laborers are trying to form, might
accomplish something. Nothing could be more encouraging
than the spirit of mutual accommodation and confidence which
has marked their conferences: and there can be no doubt that
such a spirit will do more to remove disagreements between
capital and labor than any other single agency. Witliout it any
Board of Conciliation would be useless; with such an attitude
behind it a Board might well be able to do good work. The
weakness of the proposed machinery, as far as it can be tested
by past experience, is its large and national character. Hitherto,
boards of conciliation and arbitration have succeeded only when
organized in particular trades; and within such limits they
have heen extremely useful. But when an attempt has been
made to make them generally useful, they have been much less
influential, because when any disagreement broke out, the actual
parties to the quarrel had no assurance that a national board
would possess the necessary special knowledge to arbitrate their
peculiar disagreement. The circumstance, however, which may
make a National Board a helpful piece of machinery is the inÂ¬
creasingly national character of American industries. Nearly all
the organizations, both of employers and laborers, represented
in the conference had behind them industries of more than local
importance, so that a National Board of Conciliation and ArbiÂ¬
tration would be the really appropriate body to which to submit
tlieir differences. So far as can be judged at present, the tenÂ¬
dency of large consolidations is on the whole to improve the relaÂ¬
tions between capital and labor. The bigger interests involved
make both employer and employee more responsible, and less
ready to strike or lockout, except as a last resort. Furthermore,
large and prosperous corporations, such as the Pennsylvania R. R..
for instance, can offer more permanent employment and better
chances of advancement than a small railroad, whose business
is comparatively precar^^ous; and so it is with other industries.
Of course, the danger of extensive and costly labor disputes is
as much present now as it ever was; but the tendency to higher
industrial organization certainly tends to make the situation
better rather than worse.
HE explanation of the platform adopted by the Citizens'
Union, which has been offered by Mr. R. Fulton Cutting
and other members of that organization, shows that these genÂ¬
tlemen understand the way to build up a municipal party and
m.ake it most useful to the city. The Citizen's Union is organized
not to preach reform or to denounce Tammany, but to insist that
questions of municipal policy be seriously studied and be treated
on their own merits. "It is aiming." says Mr. John Brooks
Leavitt. "to build up a great municipal party whose battle cry*
shall be 'Progress.' Many of us who have been crying 'Reform'
these many years have grown sick of that self-righteous word.
We have learned lessons from our chastening experiences, that
reform, like charity, should begin at home; tbat a professional
reformer is no better than a professional politician; that municiÂ¬
pal government is politics as well as business; that our youthful
talk about getting rid of professional politcians was callow nonÂ¬
sense; that as the three great requisites of oratory are action,
action, action, so the three indispensable things for success in
any political movement are organization, organization, organizaÂ¬
tion; and that if the citizens who really want good municipal
government are to do anything except fight as the child fightsâ€”
scratch, kick and biteâ€”they must follow tbe example of experts,
and construct tbe necessary plant to turn out the product
desired. ... No party of negation ever did anything.
The Strong administration was tossed into offlce by a hurricane
and tossed out by a breeze. It had no organization behind it
standing for principles. If the Citizens' Union is to gain public
confidence it must do more than promise to be 'good.' It must
define what it means by being good, so that its performances
may be measured by its promises." This is sound doctrine, and
it is the one way in which an organization can in the long run
make itself efficient and popular. Americans do not care for a
policy of mere protest and a platform of mere scolding. They
are interested for the most part in doing some particular thing;
and they succeed in what they are doing not only because of
their adaptability, biut because of their peculiar powers of organÂ¬
ization. They can understand a party with principles that sets
out to achieve certain definite and desirable results, and if the
Citizens' Union is becoming tbat kind of a party, it is on the
high road to being a really useful instrument in the great aud
difficult task of making New York an elficiently and economicÂ¬
ally governed city. The public resources cannot be wasted in
the future as they have been in the past. They must be careÂ¬
fully husbanded, yet liberally and wisely expended; and the
party that can secure the best results will be the party to gain
THE gentleman from whom we have quoted, however, is
right in asserting that municipal government is politics
as well as business. It is politics because in the conduct
of municipal government other considerations besides busiÂ¬
ness consideration must be kept in mind. Any municipal
party which is to get and keep control of the government must
be in some sense and meaning of the word a "people's" party,
and Tammany has in tbe main kept its power because it sucÂ¬
ceeded in being, by whatever means, a people's party. More
than ten years ago Heury George was almost elected mayor
because he appealed to the sympathies and support, as merely
reform parties never do, of a large number of ordinary voters.
The Citizens' Union Is making a distinct effort to win general
popular support; and that is doubtless the meaning of the
planks in its platform about the municipality doing its own
work, and about the "prevailing rate of wages." We cannot
approve its countenance of either the delusion or the ambiguity,
which hide behind such a phrase as the "prevailing rate of
wages," but the purpose which has prompted these declarations
is a laudable purpose, and one which must play an importÂ¬
ant part in the success of any municipal party. Nothing is
plainer from the history of municipal employment during the
past fifteen years than that a city must pay a somewhat higher
average for its labor than do private employers, and any
municipal party which flatly opposes this tendency could never
be victorious at the polls. On the other hand, any city which
does pay good wages should insist, as Col. Waring did, upon
getting good work, in which case it will not be much the loser.