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QUEEN MARY's HOLDFAST.
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SCENERY AND THE IMAGINATION. By Sir Archibald Geikie,
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The political and financial condition of with the single exception of the Cleveland the United States at the present time is Administration, has been in power since so complicated and in the opinion of many the War of Secession, now finds itself in so critical, that it gives to the coming great danger. Its chief weapon, both of Presidential election more than usual in- offence and defence, has been the tariff, terest, and some remarks on the causes but this is now proving itself a two-edged which have produced it and the results to sword, as dangerous to those who wield which it is likely to lead any prove of it as it has hitherto been to their oppointercst to English rcaders.
nents. As a means to pay off the exThe origin of all the evil may probably penses of the war and to re-establish the be summed up in the one word-party. credit of the country it was most effecIt may be, and possibly always will be, tive ; and we doubt if any party in any necessary that there should be at least two country can conpare with the Republican parties in the government of all states ; party in the United States for the stupenbut when these parties have advanced to dous nature of the work it undertook, and the point that they are willing to sacrifice the success which crowned its effcrts. public safety and public morality to their That the wonderful prosperity which folown advantage in the struggle for suprem- lowed the war should have been claimed acy, the situation cannot fail to be fraught by that party as the direct result of their with much danger to the commonwealth. policy was, perhaps, not unnatural. While Such is the position at the present mo- ibeir leaders could justly point to the rement. The Republican party, which, duction of the national debt as one of the
Now SERIES. -Voz, LVII., No. 1. 1
greatest achievements of any government, more for free trade than any other man they could also point to an equally rapid in America. Let us hope, for the sake of increase in manufactures, in population, his descendants, that postcrity will never and in wealth generally, which had taken know that the benefit was quite unintenplace at the same time, as the direct re- tional.
Should this anticipation prove sults of a protective policy ; and for more correct, it will then be seen that protecthan twenty-five years their claim has been tion, which has carried the Republican accepted without question by a majority party to repeated victories for ihe last of the nation.
twenty five years, will at last prove the Fortunately it is not necessary to ex- cause of its downfall.
On this question plain to English readers the folly of pro- the Deniocratic party is solid, and is tection ; but it has one inherent character. pledged, if not to absolute free-trade, at istic, which I may point out : it can never least to a very considerable approach to it. be satisfied. Like the daughter of the There has, however, recently. come upon horse-leech, its cry is, and ever must be, the stage another, and practically an en" Give! give !" Industries which are tirey new factor in American politics not protected demand protection, those the American farmer. We have heard a already protected find the ever-increasing great deal in late years of the depression competition, both from within and with- in English agriculture and the miserable out, has curtailed their profits, and clamor condition of the English farmer. He has for higher duties. Thus, as some poison- coinplained of the American competition, ous reptiles were supposed to do, protec- and has asked with apparent reason how tion may be said to carry its antidote with he could be expected to compete with a it ; for it is evident that it may, and in man who owns his own land while he has the end will, be carried to a point where to pay his landlord a heavy rent. Unfor even the most ignorant and the niost long- tunately this is all too true.
It might suffering must rebel.
prore some satisfaction, if not to him, at The Jast Presidential election, there- least to others, if some good had come fore, was fought on the question of pro- out of so much eril, and if the American tection ; but, unfortunately for the Deino- farmer had made the money which he has cratic party, toward the close of the cam- lost. Such is, however, not the case. paign the cause of free, or at least freer That there are farmers in America who trade, became involved with other issues. bave made money, even in recent years, The battle was lost and protection was is beyond. doubt, but this is equally the victorious, not, perhaps, entirely on its case with English farmers.
There are own merits.
But the axiom, To the some who from exceptional circumstances victors the spoils,” holds good in Ameri- have done well ; but I speak of the great ca, even outside of office-holding, and the majority of farmers in both countries, manufacturers now demanded more pro- and I have no hesitation in saying that tection as the price of their support in the the position of the English fariner to-day contest, insisting that the result of the is immeasurably superior to that of his election proved that the people were in competitor in America. As regards the favor of such a policy. Mure protection rent, the difference between them is rather they got in the shape of the now famous apparent than real. It is true that the McKinley Bill, passed, I believe, with English farmer pays rent, but it is equally very considerable misgivings by a majority true that no landlord can afford (to put it of the party, which had no alternative but
on no bigher grounds) to see his farmers to quarrel with the most powerful section ruined, and in bad years, whether he of its supporters or to accept the measure. wishes it or not, he has to take his share They had, however, not long to wait for of the loss, by making some abatement in the verdict of the country. At the elec- the rent, while any permanent reduction tions of 1890 it spoke out with no uncer- in the prices of agricultural produce must tain sound, and if, as seems not improb- be borne altogether by the landlord, who able, the Democratic party is successful at bas to make an equivalent permanent rethe next election, Major McKinley will duction of rent. In the ineantime the probably descend to posterity as one of English farmer lives well, perbaps too ihe great benefactors of his country--the well
, all things considered ; he pajs only. man who in his day and generation did his fair share of taxation, and he pags
laborers rather under than over what may This diet he shares with his workmen, be considered fair wages, as gauged either who, as a rule, live with bim. The meals by his own expenditure or by the wages are cooked by his wife and family, who paid in other industries. He does little also do all the washing, baking, etc., and, or no work with his own hands. His hard as an American farmer works, I queswife and daughters are well educated, and tion if the women of his family do not live in comfort, at the most superintend- work even harder. He hiniself labors ing the dairy and henhouse, and having a with his men, and generally harder than servant, or perhaps two, to cook and do any of them, for he has the impending all the work of comfortable, well ap- mortgage ever before his eyes. The pointed English farmhouse. I do not wages he has to pay are out of all proporblame him. Long may he continue so to tion to bis own expenditure and that of live, and with the returning prosperity his family, being necessarily regulated by which I venture to predict for him, it is the wages paid in protected industries in not improbable that he will do so. But the neighboring town ; nay more,
he must let him not envy bis American rival, at pay even higher wages to induce men to least not until he knows something more leave the comforts and amusements of a about him.
town, to share his poor fare and hard lot It is true that the American farmer pass in the country. For ererything which he no rent; but as a rule be pays a niuch buys he has to pay a protected price. worse thing—interest on bis mortgage. The village storekeeper who supplies bim In every state in the Union mortgages are with groceries, the smith wbo inends his increasing with amazing rapidity, and, fast ploughs and wagons, the lawyer who as they are increasing, they are not keep- draws his mortgage, the doctor who ating pace with the necessities of the farmer. tends his family, even the undertaker who Ordinary lenders, who require a regular at last buries him, all require and obtain a income from their investments, are begin- protected price for their services. Ragged, ning to get rather shy of farming land as or at best patched, he stands alone, the a security for their money.
one unprotected man in all America. too often udable to pay the interest when Recently, when passing through one of it is duc ; and too often it bas to be added the largest towns in the United States, in to the principal, and then wiped out by a one of the principal thoroughfares I nofurther loan at a higher rate of interest. ticed a huge sign which stated that “ free In bad seasons the American farmer has land made frec men, " and that these were no landlord to share the loss with him. the offices of the Single Tax Association. The mortgagee cares nothing about liim We have heard a deal about Mr. Henry or bis land as long as he receives bis 10, George and bis theories during the past 12, or even 18 per cent., which, if not ten or fifteen years, and he is said to have paid at due date, runs at compound inter- a considerable following both here and in est until payment is made. When there America. We are told by some that Mr. is a permanent reduction in prices, which George's idea will prove the panacea for naturally affects the value of the land, all our social distresses, by others that it there is no landlord by whom the loss will prove the reverse ; but while we have must eventually be borne. When such a been wrangling over the question, it seems fall takes place, the mortgagee either calls to have escaped our notice that Mr. in his money at the first opportunity, or, George's theory is in full operation in the if he is still satisfied with the security, United States, and still the millennium bas probably contents himself with raising the not yet arrived. The whole of the taxarate of interest. If tbe former course is tion falls on the land, in other words on adopted, it generally results in foreclosure; the fainers who own the land, and the if the latter, it as often as not leads to the result is the impending insolvency of the same thing at a later period.
whole of the agricultural classes throughSo much for the rent ; let us now sco
out the country.
Manufacturers, shophow the American farmer compares in keepers, professional men, and laborers are other respects with his English rival. He all protected. They require and obtain certainly does not live well
, unless a diet from their employers a fair, and generally of salt pork and beans nearly all the year an exorbitant, remuneration for their serround can be considered good living. vices. If they have to pay protected
prices for what they buy, they also receive rity. It is obvious that anything like genprotected prices for what they have to eral foreclosure is impossible, and, as the sell, and protection makes little or no mortgages are largely held by the banks, difference to them. But with the farmer and especially by the savings banks, anyit is different. The price he receives for thing approaching general insolvency his product is not fixed by the cost of among the farming classes would produce production in his own protected country, a financial crisis further reaching and more but by the price he obtains for the sur- disastrous than America, or possibly any plas he has to export and sell in a foreign other country, has ever seen before. All market in competition with India, Aus- classes, even the manufacturers, who have tralia, Canada, Russia, and every other ex- apparenily benefited most by protection, porting country. The result is that he would be affected by it ; for, confined as has been working (slaving would be a they are by this policy to their own more appropriate term) for years, and maikets for the sale of their goods, the every year, with perhaps a few exceptions, ruin of the largest consuming class would has scen bim deeper in debt than the pre- be at least as disastrous to them as it vious one.
Not only have his debts been would be to any other section of the comincreasing, but his land has also been de- munity. With certain exceptions, this is teriorating. lle has had no money to buy no exaggerated view of the condition of manure, and has therefore had no alterna- the agricultural classes in the United tive but to go on cropping his land year States, and of the complications which after year, taking all he could get out of their ruin is likely to bring with it. Peoit, and putting nothing back, until, as a ple in England bave often wondered how consequence, it is nearly worn out, and it was that America continued to flourish about ten bushels an acre is considered a notwithstanding protection, and some have fair average crop of wheat as against over even doubted if free trade could be as de. thirty bushels in this country.
we were led to After all, the American farmers are, suppose. Americans, at least those of perbaps, not deserving of very much pity ; the Republican party, bave never ceased for, is the burden bas not been entirely of to ridicule us for our slavish adherence to their own creation, it could only be im- economical principles, which might be all posed on them of their own free will, and right within the walls of a university, but had they scen fit to resist, they ungues- were of no value in practical life ; and they tionably had the power to transfer it to have pointed to their great prosperity as the shoulders of those better able to bear the best possible proof of the soundness of it. But the apathy and ignorance of the their policy. It may now turn out that farming community in America are sim- their saunied prosperity has been rather ply marvellous. It ought to be the most apparent than real, that the profits hare powerful, as it is the most numerons, been fourished in the face of the world, class ; but, while there is not a single while the losses bave been scrupulously manufacturing industry, no matter how kept out of sight, until now they have small, which has not insisted on having its accumulated to such a point that they can claims considered, the voice of the farmers no longer be hidden. It is impossible to has hitherto never been heard protesting make any trustworthy estimate of the against the flagrant injustice of which they profits of any business till both sides of are the victims. Even now it is doubtful The account have been seen ; and if, as if they could have been aroused from their seems only too likely, it should turn out lethargy were it not that the situation is that these apparent profits of a protective becoming serious for other classes of the policy, of which we have heard so much, community, which have hitherto been are more than balanced by the losses, it. willing to enjoy an apparent prosperity at will be found that there is something more their expense, and to profit by their mis- in political economy than has generally fortunes by investing their savings in mort- been supposed on the other side of the gages on farming lands at high rates of Atlantic. interest. They are now beginning to find While on this subject, I may point out out that it is impossible for one section of that it would be extremely interesting to the community to support all the others, know to what extent Americans have been and are getting anxious about their secu- drawing on their capital during these
sirable for a country as