Agricultural Depression Again
A writer in tho Prairie FannerJJthus discourses on the discontent which is now prevalent among thej agricultural classes: "Many of our farmers who are complaining of hard times are themselves alone responsible for their condition. You know that it is not "the tarifP' that ia to blame, nor "railroadextortion" nor "unfriendly legislation" nor any of the cauces that are so glibly put forward by demagogues and that are echoed by secret and other political organizations. You know and I know and _every farmer who keep his eyes open knows that it is the farmer's own actions, or sometimes want of action, that has placed themajority where it is." And then he scores the wastefulness of which he alleges, almost every agriculturalist is guilty. "As a rule, says he, in the firet place he tries to do too much - attempts to farm 160 acres when he should not have more than 40. I claim that with 40 acres farmed, and everything properly and earefully taken care of, he can inake more net than is generally done off the 160. I can show you farmers in Indiana, Illinois and Iowa, who year in and year outinake eighty to one hundred bushels of corn to the acrejwhile their immediate neighbor will not average thirty-fiveThe man that grows the eighty or one hundred bushels to the acre saves it too, and has no cause to complain against the laws, or unequal taxation, or want of free coinage of sil ver, or against railroad rates, or the hundred other scarecrows the political demagogues are talking about. Look at our Germán farmers. They nearly all get rich, and get it simply by carefulness and saving and thrift and reasonable foresight. I have looked the field over from Eaatern Ohio to the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, and I see the state of facts existing, and find waste and want of thrift nearly every where, and grieve to see so few who will see the real cause of the trouble. No matter what laws you make, not even Stanford's flat bond law, will help you in the least. I am firmly of the opinión that the saving that the farmers can make in the lines I have indicated would, in five years, pay off every farm mortgage in the northwest, and another five years would make the same farmers wealthy, having no debts, no mortgages, their farms well stocked and themselves and their families well housed, well ciad and well educated." This all sounds very pretty, coming, as it probably does, from a farmer who has succeeded.inspiteofobstacles, inobtaining a large fortune. It is to be observed, however, that.most of his class are men who, starting out in an early day, when land waB cheap, the soil unexhausted and prices high, had little difliculty in lieaping up a fortune. Conditions are different today. Railroad corporations, susbidized by an altogether too generous government, have gained control over whole states. Manufaoturing trusts have set prices on their goods quite incommensurate with the farmer's ability to pay. Pricesofwheat.owingtothecompetition of Indian barbarían farmers, have, until the last year, shown a constant downward tendency. Boards of trade and other gambling institutions have filched from the farmer much of his hard earned gains. In view of these facts, it is either hypocrisy or simplicity that causes the writer to make the statements q uoted above. Not only the farmer, but the laborer as well, is by our unjust social system deprived of his rightful share in the total product of industrial society. It is true that both the farmer and the laborer make fooli&h demands and advocate impracticable schemes, such as free coinage, government loans, i(nd the like, but this fact does not, in the least, cover up the grievances of which both justly complain. We believe that these grievances are real and that in course of time they will be removed. Mr. Wickliffe, one of the speakers at tho commercial congress in Kansas City, said, after a long speech on the evils of unrestricted immigration: "Iam.assome of you know, a state's rights Democrat, but I belitTe the power to make Amercan citizens ought to be taken from the state courts and given to the genera! government." Mr. Wickliffe is quite right. He miglit have gone farther and said, no person should vote at any election.naMonal, state or local, who has not been naturalized according to the provisions of the constitution. It is said that one-third of the voters in Michigan are not citizens of the United States, but have only declared their intention to become citizens. This seems like a rank injustice, when we consider that the native bom American must wait twenty-one years before he is entitled to exercise the function of a voter. If the suffrage could be restricted in the manner suggested above, the right to vote would be prizedinuch more highly and politics would as a consequence be rendered much purer than they have been for many years.
Ann Arbor Register