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Our Unpopularity Abroad

Our Unpopularity Abroad image
Parent Issue
Day
3
Month
February
Year
1899
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

In a talk at the State Miliers' banqnet, recently, on "The New Relatiou of Onr Nation to Enorpe," President Angelí said that we as a people were most nordially disliked ia Bnrope ab the beginning of the SpanisJi war; that the feeling was one of extreme disapprobation and contempt; that England ■was the only country that expressed ympathy; that on the continent, cpecially in France, Germany and Italy, the Spaniard was more popular than the American. Why shonld this have been the case? That it was a surprise to Atnericans generally is undoubtedly a fact. Onr astonishing victories wrought a considerable change in this faeling and largely increased our prestige, still the fact remains that the American personality is unpopular over there. Ia view -of onr closer relations with Europe !?uxe to follow as a result of (he late war, it may be well to inqaire what the graver criticisms are that Che better class of Enropeaus maka upon us. It is proper tbat we should have abiding faith in the American, cüaracter, bnt this shonld not preclnda the poesibility of recognition of our shortcomings and a willingness to benefit by just criticism. Francis Bellamy in writing of the nnpopnlarity of Americana abroad and the graver criticisms the more thinking Europeans make says: "They say that we disappoiut them. The United States carne forward as the nation of ideáis. Onr country startod n business by tnrning away from the artiflciality and the inequalify of the old nations, and proclaiming itself ft'ee from fetters on mind or aotioti. Bnt instead of keeping np to those professious, Earopeans see, in even the bettt'T class of American visitors abroad, ;i forsaking of proper ideáis, and a chasing after some of the least worthy of the Old World cnstoms aud traditions. They observe that wc toady to titles, instflad of adhering, like Benjamin Franklin, to the simple republicin dignity of character whioh once fascinated France. They notica that "when they talk with us we ofteu seem to feel we shonld apologize for the distinctive characteristics whioh grow out of onr democratie institntions. TJbey acense their American acquaintances of not looking at things in the large way which such principies as onr republic professes shonld suggest. Worst of all, they declare that, as far as they have observed, we are not true to onr national doctrine of equality. " The Do3ge commission wlaicii has feeën investigating the legión of charges and counter charges growing out of the war is abont ready to make its report. 'Forecasts of the report, frotn uobody knows what sources, allege that it ■vvill be a masterful job of whitewaahing. Tbere has been a lingeriug suspicion frem the orgamzatiou oL the commission that this was its object. We shall soon know. The Army and 2íavy Register which is very careful in all it says, remarks as follows abont the commission : "If any observer be besieged with grievons donbts that the war iiivestigating coiumission is a fair uniuded, nnbiased board of inquiry, bebas bot to read certain extracts of the reports of the proceedings of that body dnriug the past eight or uine days to come to the opinión that the commission has outlived its purpose. lts comrse is au sample of arbitrary, prejudiced aud nnwarranted investigatiou, that savors of partisan inquisition. lts methods are arrogant where they are not grotesque. lts prodnct, in the sbape of testimony elicited, is nullified aud discouraged whenever it does not suit prematnrely acquired views of leaders in thís peculiar pursuit. lts results ire destined to be valuless, begotten in bigorty and developed in prejadioe. " Trades-unionism is on trial for its ïife inEngland. It has]responded to the challenge of the" employers, who adopted the principie of coiabination gainst strikes, byj a [meeting at Manchester in which the represeotatives of the various branches of labor adopted a plan of federated trade-unionism alnaost, on the lines of the employers' leagoe. This organization will in tiiiuc, probably, result in an offousive jand defensive alliance betwaon all the Wjrades of Great Britian. Out of this nuion of employers on the one aide and rganized trades on the other may yet prcrw a gigantic war of capital against labcr. It said that the federated nnion starts with a membership of 600,000 and a yfarly revouoe of $300,600. Generally in contesta between capital and labor, employers by ineans of their greater capital aud greater . tical influence succeed iu placing the ; rueii at the losing eud of the garue. But if this centralizaron soheme provea a success, the men will stand a better chance of success through the power of nuinbers. This is au age of combination and eeutralization. These are the principies of all the gigantic trusts which practioally control the great commercial uudertakings of the present time. They may not necesaarily be evils in themselves, but the great power wbich they exercisejnvariably resnlts in oppression and wrong. Thero is apparently no way of preventing them, however, without overthrowing the existing basis of commercial activity. But there should be soine way of controlling them after the combiuation is formed aud makiug thein amena ble to the welfare of society in general. Germán papers are qnoting General Miles as high anthority in support of their contention as to the bad quality of American cauned meats. This has greatly alarmed and worried the Honorable John A. Kasson, special reciprocity commissioner.'who fears the facts about the "embalmed beef" which was furnished our soldiers will hurt our export trade. He says: "I tbink that ifc ís high time for the American people to learn tbat if they must wash soiled linen it should be done behind a screen. Snch publio agitation is taken advantage of by the agrarian interests ou the other side and by people who have selflsh motives in opposing policies rather than justice and right. ' ' In other words, it is a matter of small concern that the brave fellows who responded to their country's cali and risked everything for their country's welfare, should have had their lives endangered for the flnancial benefit of dishoaest and rascally contractors, ut it is a very serious thing to have these facts become public and be talked about, for the reason that it may deprive some of these same sharks of a portion of their foreign patronage, by oausing foreigners to be suspicious of our meats. We have altogether toomany of that kind of patriota in this country, as has been demoustrated by the "embalmed beef" scandals, patriots, who without a twinge of conscience, take advantage of the government's uecessities.and the ■weakness or worse of high officials, to work off a stock of spoiled and worthless goods. But, thank hearven, public disoussion of the infamy cannot be stopped, even if it does make some of our Europeau patrons suspicious. May the washing of the "soiled linen" go right on, and not behind a screen either, until those responsible for the "embalmed beef" are brought to book. The governor's suggestion of a constitutional amendment providing a salary of at least $750 a session for members of the legislature, without any other perquisites whatsoever, has much to comraend it. It would do away with all unnecessary junketing and shorten the sessions. Under such a system of compensation, no member would think of proposing such a trip as that which was brought to shame Wednesday by the governor's message. There would be little attraction in it if it had to be paid for by those taking it. As every day's unnecessary extensión of the session would be at the expense of the members, the state's business would be proinptly done. If far less legislation was enacted than now, the state would be the gainer. Under exisiting conditions there is time enough wasted before the legislature settles down to business, to do all the legislating that is neccssary. Fifty days are allowed for the introduction of bilis aud until the expiration of that time very little work is ever done. In Indiana the session is limited to 60 days, that is, if the session continúes longer than that, the members serve without pay, and the work of the session is pretty nearly finished before our legislatura gets down to business. There is no evidenoe, however, that the state is a loser by this limitation. Finally, it would raise the average of ability in the legislature, and secure better legislation. The court martial has found Commissary General Eagan guilty and sentenced him to dismissal frorn the military service of the United States with a recommendation for clemency. It is difficult to understand how any other verdict could havo been reached. His offense was delibérate and prerneditated. His language was studied and committed to writing. It was the language of the slums applied to the commanding general of the army. It was a disgrace to the uniform he wears and his only defenso is to plead the baby act. The American people are babitually lenient in dealing with offenders, too lenient iu fact, but to permit snch an offense as Geu. Eagan's to go nnpunished woold be to deliberately abandon all discipline and cleconcy in tho army. Whatever synipathy one may bave for the man in his distress, that can in ao wise be allowed to govern to the extent of relieving hiin of responsibility for his conduct. There is no defense for such conduct. Whatever the condition of mind rnight have been which inade this ontbreak possible, it unfits the man for the position he oocupies. The good of the service requiresthat it be protected from farther assanlts from the same source. One of the members of Chicago's school board is said to have remarked : "That's right, we've all tried to get in oar friends, bat conldn't. " The frankness of the statement is refreshing. This method of filling positions in the public schools is too general, but it is seldom so frankly acknowledged. A strouger endorsement of Supt. Andrews could not be made. This getting in friends of members of the board without due regard for fitness is one of the most serious difficulties that school superintendents have to meet. Onr public service everywhere is so permeated with the spoils system that its efficiency is greatly lowered. It would seem that in edncational matters, light at home, where the children of members of the board are the sufferers, self interest ought to be sufficient to prevent such things, but it is not. The schools will never attain to the efficiency they ought until members of school boards cease to make spoils of the positions under their control. With the tragic death of ex-Attorney General A. H. Garlaud yesterday, while arguing a case before the United States supreme cour', there passes from the stage of Ufe a man who has occupied a large place in his country's history. He was on the wrong side in the great civil contest, but his pnblic career since has convinced everybody that he was honest and sincere. When the war was over he hastened to accept its results and gave his large talent and best efforts to the building up of his section on the new liues. As governor of Arkansas, United States senator and attorney general, he rendered good service to his reunited country. Our owii Senator Palmer at the time he sat in the senate pronounced Garland one of its brainiest members. He was a great constitutional lawyer also, ranking with Geo. F. Edmunds. Governor Pingree's message to the legislature relative to the proposed big junket of the 100 members of the house to the upper península, together with the caustio comments of the press on the proposed per diem and mileage steal, caused the house to execute a quick somersault. The members declared it was none of the governor's business, nevertheless they did not care to challenge public opinión any furtber on the issue. Hizzexcellency was on the right side of the question and nobody understood this any better than the members of the house. There was no necessity for the junkot and there would have been no adequate return to the state for the expense incurred. All commercial agencies agree that the volume of business in this country is steadily increasing. Much is said about the excess of exports over imports and the statement is made that this excess is creating an indebtedness to the country of more than $2,000,000 a day. All this is probably true, but why do not these people who exploit the rising tide of prosperity explain the lack of profits and dullness in retail business? If there is the great increase in the volume of trade why are they not receiving their share? There is abun dance of money lying idle in the banks and interest is low, but there seems to be none with sufficient courage to launch out iu any new business undertaking.