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Farmers To ... Laws

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A recent dispatch from Raleigh, N. C, to The New York Times contains the fojlowing: There are 115 members of the legislature who are also members of tas Farmers' Alliance, and these men ar all determined on tho passage of a bilí establishing a railroad cominission, with power to fix passenger fares and freight rates. Bills of this character have been defeated in every legislatare during the past eight years. The demand of the Alliance is for an ironclad commission to regulate and fix paasenger fares and freight rates, and the strong possibility is that such an act will be passed. The legislature will be called upon to find new subjects of taxation to raise $150,000, which has been withdrawn from the state treasury by decisions of the United States circuit court declaring the tax on commercial drummers and on the sale of guano to be unconstitutional. The guano tai went to the support of the agricultural department and the agricultural and mechanical school. This school is in the nature of a manual training college, and ia very popular among the people of the state, and there is a universal desire that the money be provided to continue the schoil. In order to raise the money needed it is proposed to levy a tax of, $1 on every ton ot' guano sold in this state either by principal or agent, .which would bring I in 150,000, and thus snpply the deficit. There ia a general demand foï more money for the free public schools. These schools ave not now kepc open more than two months iu the year, and uj teacher receives more than $10 per month as salary. As the law now stands, the school fund iü divided pro rataaccording to the number of school children. The penitentiary system is becoming a heavy burden to the taxpayers. There are now $1,500 convicts in the penitentiary near the city - 1,200 negroes and 300 whites. The expense, all told, to keep up this system is $300,000 per yar. The people of the state are opposed to the penitentiary because they believe it does not decrease crime and because it is a heavy expense. In its place they are in favor of the old Mosaic punishinent of nine-and-tbirty lasues well laid on the bare bitcks of all offenders who are not to be imprisoned for life. One of the demanda of the Farmers' Alliance in this state is largely increased criminal jurisdiction for the justices of the peace, so that one-half of the cases which now cumber the dockets of the superior courts would bo triable before the justices, with the right of appeal to the superior court. The Alliance members ought to be able to get such a bül through at the next session, but they will meet with strong opposition from the lawyers. The enactment of such a law would reduce the criminal expenses of the superior courts at least one-half, the laws would be just as well administered, and there would be no more crime than there is now. There is a strong desire for the amendment of the civil jurisdiction of the justices, so as to give them the right to hear and determine all civil matters where the sum sued for does not exceed $500. The limit is now $200. The Alliance people are also bitterly opposed to the law which permite farmers to execute a lien on the erop to be made. This law makes the farmer or renter, as the case may be, both lazy and extravagant - lazy because he goes to town and buys guano instead of drawing on the product of his own farm, and extravagant because, having credit by virtue of his Hen, he buys many things that he does not need, and would not purchase if he were obliged to pay cash. The interest he pays for this indulgence ranges from 25 to 100 per cent. As a matter of course this enormous charge, coupled with several successive years of bad crops, brought almost every farmer in debt to the landlords and merchants. It is believed by the Alliance people that the repeal of thi3 law, to take effect Jan. 1, 1892, would prove of great benefit to the men ■who till the soil by forcing them to pay cash. The repeal of the lien law would also open the way for the investment of the capital of the merchants ■now used in the commission and lien business in other channels, such as cotton factories and similar manufacturing establishinents. There is also a strong feeling against the law of contributory negligence on the part of the employés of railroad and other corporations which prevenís the recovery of damages for any injury received by the employé while in the employ of the Corporation if by his act he contributed thereto. An effort will be made to repeal this law and make the injury itself prima facie evidence that the employé is entitled to recover, leaving only the question of the aniount of damages to be found by the jury. Of course this innovation will be fought by the various corporations, but the opinión prevails that the opposition will not avail to prevent the amendment of the law as stated.