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Probing A Tariff Trust

Probing A Tariff Trust image
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The sugar trust has been undergoing investigation by committee of the New York legislatnre. In this investigation some evidence was brought out which illustrates the stock watering operalions of the trust. During this investigation a Mr. John Moller, of Brooklyn, was examined. He testified that he was a stockholder of the Baltimora Sngar Refining company, that the capital of this concern was $310,000, and that the trust gave the stockholders $l,050,000 in certiiicates when thia concern was absorbed. This was in October, 1887. The trast soon after put up the price of sugar and closed up the refinery in Baltiraore. F. O. Matthiessen, of the P. O. Matthiessen & Wiechers refinery, said that his company was capitalized at $1,000,000. When it went into the trust $5,635,000 of certiücates were given for the $1,600,000. Claus Doscher, of the Brooklyn Reflning company, testified that the amount of sugar trust certificates given the Brooklyn Refining company for its $300,000 of capital stock and a bonded indebtedness of $1,300,000 waa $3,613,500. The capital stock of the trust as thus watered is $50,000,000, but the actual valué of the properties of the concerns entering the trust was $15,000,000. When, therefore, it is stated by Willet & Gray, the highest authority on matters pertaining to the sugar trade, that the profits of the trost have been $10,000,000 per annum the apparent profits were equal to 30 per cant., bnt the actual profits were not less than 64 per cent. per annum. The sugar trust is one of the best known of our many tariff trusts that the people have been taxing themselves to make rich. It has conducted its business with great secrecy. During the investigation just mentioned the president and the treasurer of the trust could not be found. The latter, it was announced by the lawyers of the trust, had gone to New Orleans "on business." On a previous occasion when the trust was tobe investigated the treasurer disappearedin the same way "on business." The people are now to have what ia called free sugar, but they have not yet escaped from the power of the trust. The McKinley law leaves a duty of fifty cents per 100 pounds on refined sugar. Even streng protectionist papers protested at the time when the tariff bill was under discussion that there was no need for a duty on refined sngar. The New York Tribune said, "No good reason whatever can be given for retaining any duty whatever on refined sugar if unrefined is admitted free." The New York Press, another high tariff organ, said, "The president of the sugar trust once said that they could refine cheaper than the English could anyhow, and that thy did not need any duty at all on refined if they got raw sugar free." McKinley passed his tariff bill throngh the house with a duty of 40 cents per 100 potinds on refined sugar; the senate raised this to 60 cents. In the conference committee of the senate and house there was a protracted fight over this duty. Here is one little episode in that fight as reported at the time by the Washington correspondent of The New York Tribune: "Mr. Searles, of the sugar trust, and other well known operators established themselves in the senate wing of the Capítol, and Senator Quay and other friends of the higher rates kept up constant Communications with the conferrees on the subject of restoring the duties down to No. 13." The duty was fixed at 50 cents a 100; and this Mr. Searles, the treasurer of the trust, said this duty would enable the renners to do "an enormous business."