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The Record and guide: v. 40, no. 1030: December 10, 1887

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December 10, 1887 The Record and Guide. 1539 THE RECORD AND GUIDE, JPublished every Saturday. 1©1 Broad^w^ay, IST. 'X'- Onr Telephone Call la - - - - JOHN 370. TERMS: ONE TEAR, in advance, SIX DOLLARS. Commuuicatious should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 191 Broadway. J. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. Vol. XL. DECEMBER 10. 1887. No. 1,030 It is clear that President Cleveland's message was designed for a campaign document. He evidently intends to pursue au aggres¬ sive campaign, and proposes to unite his adherents on the one ques¬ tion of revenue and reform. There will not be much said in the canvass about the civil service, nor any other topic thac will dis¬ tract the attention of the public from the issue he has raised. His dismissal of Commissioner Sparks means that he does not intend to antagonize the land grant railroad corporations, while his inter- fer'snce on behalf of Colonel Fellows shows that he proposes to keep in harmony hereafter with the regular Democratic machines. He will probably loje some of the Mugwump vote, but he evidently thinks that he will gain adherents among our farming population, especially in the Northwest, The President may not succeed in inducing Congress to agree upon the reduction of the tariff, but all he cares for apparently is to make an issue upon which to go to the country. It does not appear that he is at all anxious to get lid of the surplus in the Treasury, for if a business depression results from the abstraction of funds from general trade he will charge the disturbance to the opponents of his scheme of tariff reduction. Is it not possible also that the great railroad organizations may favor putting coal on the free list? The operating expenses of tbe railroad lines has been largely increased by the unnatural price for coal. Were we to throw our markets open for lumber and coal, Canada could supply the one and New Brunswick and Great Britain the other, in quan¬ tities large enough to give us cheaper fuel. Whatever the final resu t, we are in for an exciting debate on the tariff. Secretary Fairchild follows his predecessors in trying to put a stop to the coinage of the silver dollar. For doing this he has been applauded by the Tribune and other Eastern Republican papers; yet who can honestly say that the past silver policy of the govern¬ ment has not been a splendid success? What would we have done without the 280,000,000 coined silver dollars ? In the form of one, two and five-dollar certificates they have, the Secretary admits, been of inestimable value to the retail trade of the country. He says we need more of them; but he wants the silver to be put in bars instead of dollars. He admits also that he is piling up gold bullion in the Treasury instead of coining it for use in general business. He seems lo labor under a curious hallucination that ther© is danger of too much metallic currency; yet, as a writer in the Mining Record points out, if we keep on our silver coinage until the close of December, 1890, we will only have $5.65 per capita. Yet France, as we have often stated, has over |14 per capita. The French people, in addition, have $32.50 in gold per head, and legal tender bank notes of $14.50 per head. That is to say, France has an aggregate of legal tender money of $51.47J^ per head, of which no less than 37>^ is metallic. The total metallic and paper circulation of this country amounts to but about 23.20 per head, or less than half that of France. Yet France is more densely populated than the United States and its exchanges more easily made. Our people are more scattered and, with normal conditions, should have more rather than less currency. Yet Secretary Fairchild deliberately proposes, in face of our swiflly increasing population, to cut off our supplies of currency. He asks to be allowed discretion to stop the coinage of silver. He has shown what his discretion is in the matter of gold, for he han exercised his power by putting a stop to the gold coinage so far as he can. Surely the time ought to come when our national finances should be managed in the interests of the business of the country, and not solely to add to the value of the money controlled by tbe banking and money-lending classes. An engineer replaced a lawyer as President of the French Repub¬ lic. The grandfather of Sadi Carnot was the famous *' organizer of victory " during the French Revolution. In the choice of a new President it would seem as if the French Deputies and Senators were anticipating possible war ; in which case an engineer would be a fitter head of the State than a lawyer. Mr. Chauncey M. Depew thinks it is a blemish in the French Constitution that the Ugitlative body can practically force the Executive to resign if he is out of relation with the two Chambers, The President of the Central road thinks our system is better, where the Executive department is independent of the legislative and the one can nullify the action of the other. But is this good reasoning? Would Mr. Depew care to be the head of the Central road if the Board of Directors were generally at variance with him ? To be efficient the various officers should work together. This harmony of action is provided for in all the parliamentary governments of Europe. The real Executive—that is, the Cabinet—resigns when it cannot command a majority in the legislative chambers. When the Southern Confederacy was organized it was provided that the Cabinet members should sit in its Congress and should remain in authority only so long as they could command a majority of the members of both Houses. In point of fact, it is our own Constitution that ie defective, not that of France. The retirement of Marshal McMahon, Thiers and Grevy, in obedience of a demand of the legislative body and of the nation, prevented a possible revolution. In this case the govern¬ mental machine worked smoothly. If ever a Constitutional Con¬ vention is brought into existence to amend our organic law, on© of the first reforms it wiil recommend will be to bring our Execu¬ tive into closer relations with Congress. It is quite absurd for the head of the nation and his Cabinet to have one policy and Congress quite a different one. This produces needless friction, much use¬ less debate, prolongations of the sessions of Congress, and very often failure of needful legislation. How much belter it would be even now if both the Senate and House could be depended on for majorities to support President Cleveland's policy. We may as well acknowledge it firet as last, that our Constitution is an exceed¬ ingly defective one. It should be vitally altered and recon¬ structed to bring it into harmony with an age of steam and elec¬ tricity. It is eo difficult to amend it by the machinery provided by law that there is danger of serious complications later on in our history._____________ It will be noticed, however, that the French bave either uncon¬ sciously imitated or have deliberately taken a lesson from our practice in choosing Presidents. We never select our foremost statesmen to be occupants of the White House. It is always som© second or third-rate lawyer. The only exceptions are in the case of generals, and of these w© pick out the best and strongest. Mr. Sadi Carnot was not much better known in France than Grover Cleveland was in the United States, yet all the foremost statesmen in France were passed by and a third-rate public servant chosen to be Chief Executive. This is what we always do. The members of our Cabinets generally embrace the names of some of our foremost statesmen, and so it is in France, but the French Cabinet Ministers have the advantage of initiating and carrying out lines of public policy. All that our Secretaries can do is to make recommenda¬ tions to Congress, which in nine cases out of ten are disregarded. The report of th© Interstate Commerce Commission is not a very able or suggestive document. The law has worked well, but it needs amendment both in the interests of th© railroads and the community. The danger is that the great corporations will secure such a legislation as will help them, while the representatives of the people will overlook the interests of their clients. Among the amendments to the law should be a provision ordering full and accurate reports of the earnings, expenses and projected improve¬ ments of all the transportation lines. It is strange how apathetic our security holders have been respecting this matter ; they have allowed boards of directors to keep all the details of the business of the companies to themselves, which were used, of course, for their personal advantage in the stock market. Every bond and stock, holder has the sam© right as have the directors to know every fact connected with the finances of the corporation in which his money is invested. Congressman Townshend proposes a new Cabinet office, to be called a Department of Industries and Public Works. To this he would transfer a number of bureaus—the agricultural, weather, labor, patents, improvements of rivers and harbors, commerce, and several others less known. This should be done. As the interests and industries of the country grows there should be bureaus to represent them in the chief councils of the nation. In the evolution of all countries the central government necessarily takes on the headships of new departments. Compare, for instance, the advisers of a Tudor king with the Cabinet of Queen Victoria. The latter in its departments and bureaus represents all the great interests of the State—industrial, financial, and political. Our fossil politicians and editors, of course, object to this kind of centralization, but in doing so they show their blindness to the obvious tendencies of the ag© and of all history. ----------» We ought, indeed, to largely increase the number of our Cabinet Secretaries. Transportation, agriculture, labor, education, com-