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Whitmore's Picnic

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Saturday- the day to whichthe farmers of Wayne, Washtenaw, Livingston and Oakland counties have been looking forward for many weeks - dawned bright and warm. In the morning sis heavily loaded cars brought hundreds of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti people to Whitmore Lak , aud on another train carne many froin the north. The farmers' teams followed one after ano'her from nine o'clock tili tn'tpr one. O i the verandas of the two hotels were crowded many visitors and the yards were scarcely large enough for the large number of carriages standing there. The peanut-vender, the "merry Andrew," the musical showman and other thrifty persons made the air ring with yocal advertisements. The two steamers carried many sight-seers across the lake and the smaller row-boat was in great demand. After dinner had been eateti, under the trees or in the hotels, hundreds of men and women gathered around the speakers' platform. H. D. Platt, president of the picnic association, acted as chairman. Prayer was offered by Rev. Y. H. Shannon, of Salem, and then Mr. Platt, without the formality of a speech, presented the orator of the day, HON. J. J. WOODMAN, of Paw Paw, formerly president of the Michigan State Grange and at the present time chairman of the national executive committee. Mr. Woodman wasan interesting.but not flowery, speaker. He was candid, as well as conservative, in his assertions. After a few prelitninary words, he said, "Until late years it was not the custom to have farmers speak, but now this happily is changed. I infer that this is essentially a farmers' gathering before me, but I believe th?t there are others here. I believe that I see before me a fair representation of the 04,000,000 people who constitute the population of this vast country. I reioice that this is KOT A POOF. COUNTRY but an immensely wealthy one. We have 2,000,000,000 acres of fertile soil and our resources are measured only by our capacity to deyelop them. In twenty-fi ve years, our country has outstripped every nation in the world. Our immense wealth has increased untilnowitamountsto$30,000,000,000. During this period the value of agricultural producís alone has amounted to 844,000,000,000. If there is poverty and wretchedness in the land they cannot be attributed to a lack of wealth but to the fact that it is uotdistributed according to a system of equity and justice. Yet we are too apt to overlook the fact that an EQUAL DISTRIHUTION IS AN IMPOSSIBILITY. Even were the doctrines of the communists put into effect, equality could not exist for a single day. In every community there are those that accumulate aDd those that spend. One man will be a millionaire while another will be duced to abject poverty. Nine tenths of the stupendous fortunes in New York are squandered by their owners before they die. Thus the accumulation and distnbution of wealth are constantly going on. We cannot legislate so as to make all stand on a Dlatform of equality. "Who are the millionaires and monopolists of today? In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, they are the sons of farmers, mechanics and laborers, whose early education, training, development of muscle and active mental powers have fitted them to grasp gigantic schemes and to handle them in such a way as to bring great wealth. "Equality is impossible, yet in this country, where liberty and self-governMent are guaranteed in the constitution, there should certainly be a fairer distribution of wealth than in the old coun'ries where liberty is denied and property is entailed. "As a rule supply and demand govern e price of commodities. Yet there Me that rule. Today the farmers complain of oppression. Proba"ly never before have they complained So much as during the past seven years. 'ïhat is the CAWsk OV l)KPRB8SIOJi IN AGEICÜLTUBB? I A second question arises, what is I toe remedy? I am expected, at a farmI re meeting, to speak from the standI Point of a farmer, but I cannot ignore ■ ?'aer classes. All are so many wheels one grand machine. Yet agriculture I 'the great motive power- the great I ive-wheel. I "I pause to inquire what are the priI y sources of wealth. There are but I Sr the soil, mines, forests and waters. ■ 'oen there are no mines, forests or I Iers, there is nothingleft but the soil. I otfcVarmer8 ProsPer. as a "lie, every I .„?.businesB prospera, but when farm"8 'au to have abundant harvests the I Z? uPn industrial society is like the I 'ngupofa mili pond. I oiíuwhat follws I am going to give I ,r'y e main points. There arealways I 3 who win accuse you of talking I thl 5-f you 8fty ny'Mng from which I 'ay Qiffer, For twenty yeare I have been engaged in building up one of the randest associations ever known - the Patrons of Husban'dry. It 3 composed of men from all political parties and all churche. lts motto is that difference of opinión is no crime. Honest discussion Ieads to truth, but contention and bitter controversy lead to universally bad results. "That agricultural depression exists, no one can deny. While farmers are scarcely making expenses, the mines, fisheries and factories are in a fairly prosperous condition. Why isit? Statesmen and financiers have been honestly working at the problem. There is another class - the disappointed politicians of the old parties who have failed to obtain what they want - and still another, the ranting demagogues, who are attempting to show the farmer the cause of his ills, for the sake of their own aggrandizement. "There are different theori es ad vaneed in explanation of the farmers' troubles. One man saya OYER-PR0DUCTI0N. "If over-production is the cause of low prices, would it not follow that poor crops would bring good prices and good crops low prices? The wheat erop of 1879 was 100,000,000 bushels less than in 1884, yet the price was twenty per cant less. How is that for supply and demand? And with all the accumulation of products from year to year, there is no surplus of food in the world's market. Another says CONSUMPTION. Yet people consume about as much in one year as in another. Corporations are in good cirenmstances and wages are increasing. If under-consumption were the trouble, we should expect to find a surplus on hand, but there is none. Another says tiie protective tariff. If we could, only remove the duties and get the world's markets, it is urged, we could sell more products and get more for them than we do now. Still another says that the tariff must be rnaintained, for it does not affect the price of staple products and protects the farmer by giving him a home market. Foreign countries will not take more grain than necessity conapels them to take. At present only elght per cent. of the product is sent abroad. A nol!; r r says that we haven't CURRENCY enough. If we eau only iucrease the circulation, better prices will come. Our currency is now $23.75 per capita. England has $25, Germany $10.90, and France $55. If a large circulation raisee prices, would we not expect the farmers of France would be more prosperous than those of other countries ? Yet the French farmer, with $55, sells his wheat at the same price as his Germán neighbor, with only $16.90. " I will not say that the amount of currency does not effect prices, butthere is another cause of our poverty more potent than all I have mentioned. Why does the train-robber step up to the expressman, with revolver in hand, and demand that the safe be opened? Simply because he knows that the money is there and that he is bound. to have it. The inordinate love of p":n among business men is so great t they have combined together and (re now able to control the price of every commodity which is placed upon the market. This is the great cause of onr trouble. How are they abletodoit? Simply because farmers do not co-operate, but allow themselves to be driven like dog-ridden sheep, with every keenscented hound ready to grab at them. MONOPOLY is the huge serpent which ramifies throughout the whole land, its slimy folds embracing every business in the country. Take, for instance, the cattle monopoly- the "Big Four"- who control the price of every bullock that is placed upon the market. They have completely prohibited legislation in every state ol the Union for the protection of the cattle grower and have secured a decisión from the supreme court of the nation that a state caunot require that cattle coming into its borders shall be inspected as to health and condition before they are slaughtered, notwithstanding the fact that the constitution saya expressly that the object of governmentis to promote the general welfare. The Big' Four have made cattle raising very unrenumerative and have compelled people in large cities to eat the flesh of diseased southern cattle. BOARDS OF TRADE have as exclusive control of the pricee of commodities as if they posseesed the earth and the fullnesa thereof. Th finger on the dial tells how th game is piayea. vvueat is sold before it is marketed. Speculators prevent any rise in price until it is aearly all out of the farmer' hands. This is a system ofpiracy. It is treason to say that it cannot be put down. It must be put down, or it will destroyjthe naüon. " The coffee trust sticks its felonious fingers into every cup of coffee drunk by man, woman or child. The sugar trust did the same at one time, but its back is broken. It now shows signs of renewed life, however. THE ADÜLTBRATION OF TOOD BEODÜCTS is a question which should be well xonsidered. There is scareely a single article that is not so adulterated as to be unfit for food. Manufacturera are greedy, customers are anxious to get cheap articlea, and the grocer cannot be blamed." The speaker, treated this subject at some length, asserting that much of the disease prevalent should be attributed to i m pure food. "WHAT IS TO BB DONE in this emergency," said the speaker " There are differences of opinión. Some say we must organizo politically, grasp the powers of government and achieve reform oureelves, and I have been among those who hold to the idea that nothing should come up to divide people into classes, tnat farmers' intere8ts are so interwoven with those of other men that they should all work together for each other's interests. I believe this is our only safety. But some say we must GO ISTO POLITICS. " A few days ago the farmers met in Ohio and nominated a ticket to put in the field against the two pjreat contestante. I hope their action will result in good. They cannot expect to carry the election. One or the other of the two great parties will win. They will surely find themselves in a minority. " Let me ask a question, in all candor. Suppose we should organize a farmers' party and should get every farmer in the land, we could not carry an election without recruits, and would not all other classes naturally combine against us?" The speaker told a story which illustrated the impossibility of agreement among the farmers on any one political question. Said he, "We all want farmers to vote together, but we want the other fellow to vote just as we do. There is no greater politician in the world than the farmer. He has nis opinions and can't be moved. It is utterly impossible to bring about harmony. Can't we do as the Patrons of Husbandry do, work together for good in the parties to which we belong, put down trickory, break up machines and see that honest men are nominated and elected to positions of trust ? There is not a political party in the land which the farmers cannot control if they will. Tuis policy is practicable. The other may be. I leave that for you to decide. "There is another question which is widely discussed. It is not political and there is but little ïeally known about it. Farmers express no opinión, the public press pays it üttle attention, yet many societies have endorsed it. I refer to the scheme introduced by Leland Stanford, the republican senator froin California, called'the TWO PEli CENT. GOVtmXMENT LOAN. "Manythink that if we get money cheap, we could got hogs :ind hominy as cheaply as tobáceo, and open the millenium. May be tliis is true. As Patrick Hemy said, there is only one test - that of experience. "The Argentine Republic of South America is a country lyjng within nearly the same degrees {of latitiuie as the United States. In the development of resources it has surpassed every other nr.tiou. It raises more sheep and exports more wool than any other n'ation oftheworld. Yet in the flood-tide of its prosperity, the farmers conceived the idea of booming agriculture by recommending and insisting upon a bilí requiring government to loan money on real estáte mortgages. It was the same as the Stanford bil], with one exception. The Argentine Republic made the legal rate of interest eight per cent. Stanford made it tvro per cent. The a-guinent was used, that if the rate was üxed ut eight per cent and the interest guaranteed, the currency could never deprecíate in value. Itwas also thought that by making the interest high the farmer would not be induced to mortgage his property. What was the result? In less than three years $464,000,000 in farm mortgages were taken. The currency issued is now worth twenty per cent. Gold is rated at 450. Flour is quoted at $28.00 a barrel. Everything is running wild. Land can hardly be given away. Discord has taken the place of harmony and peace. "If a currency based on a mortgage bond, bearing eight per cent. interest, and that guaranteed, haa depreciated to less than twenty per cent., what would the result be in the case of a currency based on a mortgage bond bearing two per cent? lt is true mat we want to pay our debts, but we want to pay them in an honest currency and not in one that will bring financial distress upon the country. No one desires to see another inflation like that which brought on the panic of 1872-3. "In conclusión, I have this to say, that the time of agricultural depression is passing. Better days are coming. The light behindtheclouds is breaking. Ifalido their duty and work with a wuljthe time will not be far distant when agriculture will enjoy its old-time prosperity. But we must ineist that the monster, monopoly, shall be killed. When this is done, this great country will be free, indeed." EXTEMPORANEOUS DISCUSSION. Chairman Platt at this time called for impromptu speeches. Geo. S. Wheeler, responding to an invitation, stepped to the platform. ;He thought that the people themselves were responsible foir the impure goods to which Mr. Woodman had referred. They insisted on having the cheaper article. Mr. Wheeler thought that even the monopoly was not the worst thing in wórld. It was true that gigantic profits were made, vet the masses derived som of the benefits, in the shape of cheaper gooda, which carne from the consolidation of industries. He, too, would like to see gambling in grain stopped, but how was it to be done? It sometimos happened that this gambling brought the farmer higher prices. The speaker thou(?ht that the proposed alliance combine was notwise.forthereason that it had a tendency to raise the price above what foreigners could pay, and thus curtailed the demand. William Ball, of Hamburg, said that he, like many others, feit as if he would like to choke the Big Four combine. bilt the fact remained that it ie Btill in existence and that everyone is in its I grasp. He advised the farmers to cultívate their land better nnd raise more sheep to the acre. They should not be satistied with working five or six I months in the year, but should follow I the example of all successful business I men. What the farmers want is a I stable market. That is why the boards I of trade should be suppressed. Their I business should be made crimina] I The speaker told the story of the beef till whicb. was offered in the legislatura two years ago, and he asserted that rholesale toribery was employed by the 3ig Four in order to defeat the bill. kir. Ball did not believe in the two-per:ent loan, because it was practically a oan from the people to themselves. G. A. Peters, of Scio, in response to I epeated calle, stepped upon the platorm. His remarks had a decidedly Greenback tinge. He compared the new Alliance party to the Republican ' party at the time of its formation. In reply to Mr. Woodman, he urged that the reason Frencli farmers did not prosper, although France had a large per capita circulation.was that the farmers' croDs had been faflures. His old friend Ricardo, and all succeeding economista, had shown that tle amount of money in circulation goyams the price of farm producís. "Don't )he men who hold indebtedness underatand that point? It is they who have contracted the currency and made the dollar more valuable. As for the Argentino Republic," said Mr. Peters, " that is a country with about one man to ten square miles. The English syndicates bought up the government and got the legislature to pass lawsto their liking. "The United States government now loans $500,000,000 to corporations at one per cent. Are they any better than we are? I say, stop loaning to them at one per cent, or we wlïï mak e the government loan to us at the same rate. One of those fellows down in Ann Arbor with a one-per-cent loan, goes around in fine clothes, while Peters, of Scio, can't even get a two-per-cent loan. I teil you, that isn't fair. What we want is better pricea. We don't want to work longer. We know now how to raiseas much as the season will permit." Mr. Peters illustrated the effect of the currency upon the condition of tbe farmers by means of figures, and concluded by explaining how themonopolists ground the farmer by fixing the prices both of what he produced and of what he consumed. E. A. Nordman, who spoke next, confined his remarks to the adulteration of food products. The Farmers' Alliance excluded from ís membership lawyers, bankers and saloon-keepers. He thought, in viesv of what had been said, that retail merebants ought tobeadded. HEKE AND THEEE. Immediately after the exercises, the following officers of the picnic association were electad : President, George S. Wheeler, of Salem; secretary, H. B. Thayer, of Salem; treasurer, Henry Pinckney, of Hamburg. The old board of directora was re-elected. The boat-landintr in front of the Clifton House gave Way in the afternoon, precipitating about twenty-five persons into the water. They escaped other injury thanathorough drenching. There was dancing during the afternoon and even ing at the Clifton and Lake Houses. Many Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti young people were present. Old Sam Wooeter, the octogenarian tramp, was on hand. He was bitter in hia denunciations of Qovernor Winans, who, he thought, ought to be impeached. The number of persons who attended the picnic was not so large as in some previous years. There were probably from 3,000 to 4,000 at the lake.


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