THE ARGUS DEMOCRAT
YPSILANTI WEEKLY TIMES.
The Democrat Publishing Company.
D. A. Hammond, President.
EUGENE K. FRUEAUFF, Vice President.
S. W. Beakes, Secy. and Treas.
PUBLISED EVERY FRIDAY
for $1.00 per year strictly in advance.
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FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 1899.
A NOTABLE CONGRESS
The 55th congress has rounded out its career and become a thing of the past, a matter of history. While no individual member rose to prominence in statesmanship, as did Dewey in the naval service, yet the congress, when judged by what it did, must be recorded amongst the notable ones of our history. It was elected in a time of great industrial distress and after one of the most remarkable campaigns in our history. Nevertheless it, in large measure, fulfilled the platform pledges of the party which elected it. It did this, however, in reverse order after the manner of the scriptural precept that "the first shall be last and the last first." The financial question which was of first importance throughout the campaign being left to the last and practically untouched. At the special session it repealed the Wilson tariff as it was pledged to do substituting therefore the Dingley tariff, carrying the highest protective duties of any tariff in our history. It did not, however meet its pledge to give the country a tariff law which would produce sufficient revenue to meet the needs of the government. The duties imposed were too near the prohibitive line to do that, and but for the war taxes subsequently laid, the weakness of the measure as a revenue producer would have long since become painfully apparent. The congress kept faith with the people relative to Cuba and the struggle her people were making for relief from Spanish spolation and misgovernment. The temper of congress on this question was clearly manifested during the special session by the appropriation of $50,000 for the relief of our citizens on the island. The regular session was marked by still stronger sentiment and the destruction of the Maine brought the issue to a climax. Acts for the relief of the sufferers, for the temporary increase of the military establishment and placing $50,000.000 in the hands of the president for the national defense, followed each other in rapid succession. The independence of the people of Cuba was recognized on April 20, and Spain was directed to withdraw her military forces from the island and on April 25 congress declared that a state of war existed between Spain and the United States. Early in June congress passed a war tax measure 'which it was thought would raise $150,000,000 of revenue and authorized the president to raise $200,000,000 by a sale of bonds. It also passed a national bankruptcy act and annexed the Hawaiian Islands:. The most important act of the session which has just closed, the one which will probably be most far reaching in its results, the one which bids fair to work a radical change of national policy and which changed in considerable degree the map lo the world and bundled the Dons on of the western hemisphere, was the ratification of the treaty of peace. In this connection congress also appropriated 120,000,000 to compensate Spain for the Philippines in accordance with the terms of the treaty.
The army reorganization is another important piece of legislation enacted by this congress, although this can be considered only in the light of a temporary measure. It is not probable, however that the army will ever again be reduced to the old figure. The Nicaragua Canal bill failed of enactment. A million dollars were placed at the disposal of the president, however, with instructions to investigate he whole project and report at the next session of congress. Undoubtedly transisthmian canal will be an undertaking of the near future. The war focused attention upon the project and made it necessity more apparent than ever before. The only other important acts were the one making provision for the taking of the 12th census and the appropriation of $1,000,000 for the Paris exposition.The 12th census act is thoroughly bad in that it places this great work in the hands of the spoilsmen. We make ourselves ridiculous by committing so stupendous an undertaking, and one which depends for its value upon its accuracy alone, to an army of men who may have no single justification for the work except the favor of a congressman who desires thereby to pay a political debt. It was this same principle which rendered the 11th census practically worthless and prevented its issue so long that its statistics, had they been originally correct, were ancient history when they reached the people. The congress just closed was extravagant beyond compare. Deducting the expenses of the war from tho total of $1,566,890,816.28, and comparing the ordinary appropriations with those of the preceeding congress, shows large increases in various lines.
Why did the house pass the Atkinson bill so precipitately last Tuesday? What caused the antis to lie down so unresistingly? Did they fear to meet the representatives fresh from the people in the state convention while every pledge made last fall remained unfulfilled? Did they think they could thus dispel any possible storm which might be threatening in the state convention and still depend on the senate, after the convention was over to put the measure to sleep? Did they have a tip that the stories recently sent out from Lansing as to Senator McMillan's change of heart toward the Michigan Central were true? Had they discovered and hitherto unseen merits in the Atkinson bill? Was it a frank acknowledgment on their part of a lack of ability to frame a better taxation measure? Was it brought about by a revolt in their ranks caused by disgust at the long continued trifling? Or was it passed in entire good faith There is no risk to run in answering the final question in the negative. Evidence is abundant that there has been and is no intention of meeting platform pledges of last fall relative to the Atkinson bill. It is not thinkable that the influences typified by Sky Olds, which have been at work to defeat the will of the people as expressed at the polls are not just as strongly and actively against the measure now as they have been from the beginning. Will the senate pass it? If it does, it will do so in opposition to the latest pronouncement of the party on the subject. Is this likely to be done? The exigencies of the campaign may change present conditions. Otherwise the outlook for the Atkinson bill or any similar measure is not bright.
President McKinley performed a piece of public service the other day which it is safe to say will be the only one during his administration to meet the unanimous approval of the American people the naming of George Dewey for the highest rank in the American navy. The honor goes to him with the congratulations and blessing of every man, woman and child of this great nation, and he is worthy of it all. It is said that Dewey was hurt when, at the beginning of the war, he was sent to the Asiatic station, but his patriotism is such that this supposed exclusion from the principal theatre of the war and the probability of winning glory, in no sense cooled his ardor. He was ready to perform his full duty any where with the result that he fought the first and last battle of the war and won higher rank than anyone else in either branch of the servioe. He is emphatically the right man for the place and his countrymen delight to honor him.
On Friday occurred tho first break from Senator Quay in the Pennsylvania legislature. For two long months his friends, and some others members who considered themselves bound by caucus action, have stood faithfully by him to the practical exclusion of all other business This steadfastness is worthy of a better cause. In staying by their discredited candidate they have wronged the people of the whole state and neglected their business. How long will the people, because of conservative habit, and mere opposition to change, continue an antequated method of electing senators which has not a single argument in its favor .How long will they permit the time of the legislature to be wasted and the members corrupted by these conests and themselves, as a result, misrepresented in the senate? Everybody knows there is a better way. The present method is in the interest of the politicians alone. The people should shake off this control and elect the senators themselves.
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