Press enter after choosing selection

Fruitful Discussion

Fruitful Discussion image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

The Washtenaw Farmers' Association met in the court house on Thursday anemoon last. Delegates from eighteen organizations were present. In the absence of the president, Morton F. Case occupied the chair. Aftersomepreliminary business had been completed, the managing committee reported that the proposed two-per-cent loan to farmeis had been selected as the topic for dis cussion. Geo. McDougal was the essayist of the day. He introdn-rd the unbject with the assertion that trade and industry should notbe placed undergovernmental aid or restriction, but should take a purely natural course. This principie, he held, would be violated should the proposed two-per-cent loan law be enacted. This is, said he, " A proposition so preposterous, notwithstandin? the considerable weight of its friends and supporters, that not a few in the highest standing have deemed it only worthy of contempt, But the position of the Farmers' Alliance and the National Grange on the question compels us as farmers to a serious consideralion of the subject, both as individuals and in our organizations. The aetion of Michigan State Grangein opposing the scheme is a credit both to the courage and the good sense of that body, and as the moral obliquity of the measure is wt-llsetforth in the report of its executive tommittee, I will confine myself to an examination of what pertains more strictly to its economie side, and for the sake of making the argument as clear as may be will divide the question thus: lst - What is the government asked to do? 2d - How, if done, must the government do it? 3d- If done, what would be the economie effect? 1. The demand is that the government establish subtreasuries in the several states, which shall loan money direct to the people at a low rate of interest, not to exceed two per cent., and that all national and state revenues shall be limited to the necessary expenses of the government, economically and honestly administered. It is not stated in the resolution whether or not in this limited revenue to be economically and honestly administered is included the amount to be loaned at not more than two per cent., but if not, the government is asked to loan what it has not got, and is debarred by the resolution from getting. And the second question presenta itself, How is the government to fill these sub-treasuries? Governments have never been yery successful producers of any exchangeable commodities. They have been regarded as especially fortúnate and thrifty in any commercial transaction where ends were found to meet. The only way for capital to find its way into these sub-treasuries is for the government to borrow at the market price and place it there, take it by force in taxes. or issue its own promises in the shape of treasury notes, and force their acceptance. I have no hesitation in saying that of the three methods for raising the necessary funds, that by direct taxation on incomes and on accumulated capital would be far the best; but because the nature of the plan could be easily seen and understood, there is no danger of its ever being put in operation. The same may be aaid of borrowing on the part of the government, even at the lowest rate it now pays, and reloaning it at a less rate. It would be readily seen in either case that the strong hand of the government was reaching out and fi Hing its treasuries from the savings of the people for the benefit of those who were in debt. The plan of issuing legal tender notes and loaning them, therefore, is the favorite one, not because it ia in any respect better but because the evil and injustice are not so plain. In the plan of issuing notes, everything would depend upon the attitude of the government toward its own notes. If they were redeemable and kept at par by redemption on presen tation, the amount issued would be so restricted that there would be practically nothing to lend. If they were not redeemable, and were issued in large amounts,their value would rapidly change for the worse. Of course, debtors would then be permitted to pay easily in depreciated currency, but all the transactions of trade would be plunged into a chaos of uncertainty. The sole benefit to any from a depreciated currency is to fortúnate speculators and to debtors. I now come to the examination of the effect it would have upon agriculture if farmers were to have capital at two per cent, or less, at their disposal. In the report of the finance committee of the Michigan State Grange, referring to the past sil ver legislation, the committee says: Beneficial as this iaw has been and will be, the present universal financial stringency which prevails in this country demonstrates to a certainty that the relief afforded by the bill is insufficient. You will perceive tbat this committee is laboring under the delusion that a finan cial stringency is something which it is the province of government toeradicate like piracy from the high seas. This very irregularity in production and consumption, together with the dispositions in men thernselves, make it inevitable thst trade should ebb and flow, and the stringency in the money market is the result of and serves to regúlate these movements. In times when loanable capital is to be had oh easy terms, trade and production expand faster in many directions than the general economie condition willjustify. The demand for money increases at such times, the price of loanable capital rises and checks speeulation.and brings those enterprises which have had an abnormal expansión back within their relatively proper limits. From var ous causes, many of them too well known to you to need mention, too much capital is invested in agricultural pursuits. Relief from such a condition comes far more slowly in farming than in manufacture and trade. The manufacturer and tradesnan, when eonfronted with thie problem, well understand that they must either find a wider market or reduce the volume of their business. The same rule applies to agriculture. What folly then to think of relieving it of its present congested state by forcing more capital into it through the aid of the general government. If the scheme wrre practicable it would, under surrounding eircumstances, simplv aggravate the disorder and delay rccovery." A lively discussion followed the reading of the paper. Andrew Campbell, the first speaker, said that if farmers are to influence public opinión they must get away from the idea of looking at things from the selfish standpoint only. They must cease making demands which in the nature of thingfl cannot be granted. It is trne that, owing to the contraction of the currency, the debtor class has been wronged, but the sub-treasury scheme could not remedy this evil. E. A. Nordman called attention to the fact that every agricultural and industrial organization in the United States has declared that more money is needed. One of our conservative financiers, vho does not believe in the two-rer-cent. loan, says we are to get this by means of free coinage of silver. But the executive committee of the state grange contends that the silver production of the whole United SUtes cannot keep pace with the population. It therefore becomes necessary to resort to gome other scheme. The government cannot cause money to circuíate among the people unless means are provided for them to get possession of it. This might be accomplished by issuing notes upon landed property. Mr. Nordman did not, however, endorse Senator Stanford's bill, because from that the corporations would derive the greatest benefits. G. A. Peters astonished his hearers by the assertion that he was opposed to a two-per-cent loan. For twenty-eight years, he said, the government had been lending money to the bankers at one per cent., and it was time that the farmers had equal advantages. He did not think that rich men would rush in and avail themselves of the loan privilege, for, said he, "who ever heard of a rich man paying interest?" Ex-Senator William Hall, who was the nest speaker, thought that there was already enough money in the country. The question is, ia there not too large an amount of produce for the consumere? Then again, is not the depression due rather to the absorption than to the lack of money? Said he, "I don't understand that the lack of money has much to do with it, for the reason that we have money enough to move business." The two-per-cent loan, he held, would not apply to those who need it, and henee wae not only impracticable but useless. He thought that farmers would be better off if they would pay stricter attention to tbeir business. A lively discussion ensued, in which Messrs. Nordman, Ball and Peters participated. The latter took occasion to attack the national banks, saying that the government had no right to delégate to them the sovereign power of issuing money. It had been asserted by previous speakers that if the two-per-cent loan were adopted, the government would, through foreclosure, soon have a large quantity of farining land on its hands, but Mr. Peters claimed, in reply, that the farmers, by means of the two-per-cent. loans, would become so prosperous that they could easily lift their mortgages. Henry Stumpenhusen thought that farmers bad been too extravagant in the ílueh times, thus contracting debts which might have been avoided. S. Gridley said that the last speaker had spoken from the money-loaner's standpoint. He thought that it was the duty of the government to help the debtor class. William Ball called attention to the fact that interest has decreased during the past twenty-five years. Mr. Peters, argued, in reply, that debtp, nevertheless, were much more burdensome now than they were just after the war. Jas. Wing tbought the times were not so very bad, after all. Farmers had a good deal to be thankful for. Horace Balilwin asserted that thetwoper-cent loan bilí was framed in the interest of monopolista. The government he held, should not take mortgages on any tracts of land larger than eighty acres. S. Gridley thought it would be unwise for the government to tax the people in order to obtain rnoney to loan back to them, and John Campbell ende.d the discussion by taking strong ground against the two-per-cent loan srheme. Poiuological Meeting. Emil Baur, secretary of the Washtenaw Pomological Society, submits the following repcr;: "The February meeting was of unusual interest. Presidr-nt J. Austin Scott, who had just returned from the inaiiguration of his son t.o the presidency of Rutgers College, one of the oldest colleges of the country, char tered in 1870 by Gov. Win. Franklin of New Jersey (since 1804 by an act of Congress the State college for the benefit of agricultura and inechanic arts became attached to Rutgers College) was in the chair fnh of youthful vigor I and good will toward every one. After the reading of the minutes of last meeting, a letter by C. F. Parshall was read, eontaining a statement of expenses incurred by transportaron of berries by the Ann Arbor fruit car and a request by Mr. Parshall to be relieved fromtht' chairtnanhip of the committee on transportatior. J. C. Schenek was adJed to Ihe committee and intnibted with the charge to flnd out the shipments of those who shipped with this To make the bun] en easier for MrSchenck, all the shippers with the Ann Arbor fruit car by freight are requested to report the number of bushels shipped to L. Gruner and pay two cents per bnshel to cover expenses. A lett r by W. F. Bird was read, in which lie very mach rfgretted his nability to be present, on ace. tint of au attack by influenza, and ae-ked tbat his report on fruit exchange raight be deferred to next meeting. The corresponding secretary read a petition to the leislature of the state, in which that honorable body is requested to enact tuch laws as wilt give to the state a uniform system for the improvement of the highways by the appointment of a state commissioner of roads and bridges, who should be an engineer, and by building of some roads between the large cities and villages by general taxation or by any measure that honorable body may devise. After a very animated discussion the petition was adopted and signed by the officers and members of the society and other citizens. G. F. Allmendinger's address on adulteration of fruit producís recei ved a very hearty response, and aseries of resolutions were adopted asking the representatives and senator from this county to use their influence in the legislature to créate a food, Wisconsin, Minnesota) Iowa and other states have done. The people of this state are paying many thousands of dollars yearly for adulterated fruit products which are sold for one reason only, to allow some one an unreasonable and undeserved profit. The sale of sucb producís is an outrage upon the producer and consumer plike. It hurts every farmer and fruit grower especially, and the cost of supporting a commiBsion which will relieve the people of the extortions practiced will be saved many times, besides providing a purer food supply.tbe value of whicli cannot be estimated by dollars and cents. Stuff which never saw an apple, sold for eider vinegar, and bogus jellies, manufactured by the most noxious methods, Bhould be branded by their true name. The corresponding secretary read a paper on the origin of the socalled Sickel pear, proving that this pear was misnamed. The benefactor who gave us this highest type of the American pear was a Germán by the name of Sichel, who raised this pear tree from seed at Baltimore, Md., and that this pear should be called Sichel, or, if this name should be translated into English, Sickle would be more proper. There is no such name as Sickel in all Christendom. The writer saw a tree at Economy, Pa., obtained about seventy years ago from Mr. Sichel, of Baltimore. Mr. Ganzhorn remarked that it was desirable to address Thos. Mehan, of Philadelphia, who claims that the pear in question originated in Pennsylvania by a Mr. Seckel, and if Mr. Sichel was really the originator the American Pomological Society should be requested to change the name of this ear. Herman Markham had a fine exhibit of fifteen varieties of potatoes, which were of the finest kinds grown. His interesting and very inftructive discourse on the special virtues of the different varieties and on the culture of this much desired fruit of the earth received a vote of thanks by the society. J. J. Parshall gave notice that the name pomologioal should be changed to horticultural at the next meeting. This change, he thinks, would induce many horticulturists to join our society."


Old News
Ann Arbor Register