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Questions of the Day

This Department is for the use of our readers, and expressions limited to six hundred words, are solicited on subjects relating to any social, religious or political question. All manuscript sent in must bear the author's name, though a nom de plume will be printed if so desired. The publishers will not, of course, be understood as necessarily endorsing any of the views expressed.

NEW ELEMENTS IN THE NATIONAL POLITICAL SITUATION.

By O. F. PAXTON.

As a result with the war with Spain, the United States has acquired Porto Rico and the adjacent islands in the West Indies, the Philippine group and the island of Guam in the Pacific. The questions of governmental power and national policy that have arisen with reference to these possessions and their government are the principal new elements in the present national political situation.

Two classes of questions have arisen. The first class may broadly be said to include two questions (1) Has the United States power to acquire. hold and govern the islands, and, (2) conceding that power, Does the Constitution, of its own force extend over them

So

that its limitations and restrictions apply to them without congressional action? or does Congress possess the power to govern the islands at will and provide different regulations. for each, according to their peculiar conditions and needs? These are questions of governmental power.

Questions of policy constitute the second class. How shall the new possessions be best governed? To what extent are their inhabitants qualified to participate in their local governmental affairs? How shall revenues be raised necessary for the support of their municipal governments, for the establishment and maintenance of schools and for the construction of highways and other necessary public works? The questions of power being determined, these are questions of policy only.

Although the subject of fresh debate at the present time, the power of the United States, as a sovereign nation, to acquire by conquest or treaty and hold and govern new territory, is really not a new question; nor can that power, in the light of our national history, be successfully denied. That power has been assumed and exercised by the United States from an early period. Louisiana was acquired by the United States from France by treaty in 1803. Florida was ceded to us in 1819 by Spain. The Texas territory was annexed in 1845. California was acquired in 1848, by treaty, the fruit, like the treaty of Paris, of successful war. In 1853 the Gadsden purchase was made. Alaska was acquired from Russia in 1867, and in 1898 the Hawaiian islands were annexed. The government of these new territories was provided for by Congress as they were in turn acquired. In the light of these historical precedents, the power of the United States to acquire and govern the islands cannot be denied.

It is contended upon the part of some that the Constitution, by its own force, extends over all of the territory that we acquire, without any congressional action, just as Calhoun contended that slavery extended to all the territories by virtue of the provision in the constitution protecting slavery. This question as to whether the provisions of the Constitution ex proprio vigore extend to all territory acquired by the United States has never been directly decided by the Supreme Court,

but the practical exposition of the Constitution has ever been against that contention. "The Constitution follows the flag," is a fine-sounding phrase, but such has never been the construction given to the Constitution, and such does not seem to have been the intention of its framers, for they provided, in Section 3, of Article IV, that "The Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property of the United States." Congress and the people have always understood that the restrictions and limitations of the Constitution do not apply to newly-acquired territory until they are extended over it by appropriate congressional action. Such was the view in the case of Louisiana. The government of that newly-acquired territory was provided for by Congress, according to the peculiar needs of the territory, and irrespective of the Constitution. This course has been followed in other cases. Taking the expressed declaration of the Constitution and the construction given it for nearly a hundred years, it would seem to be well settled that the United States may govern the newly-acquired islands in such manner as the wisdom of Congress shall determine, and without regard to restrictions contained in the Constitution, until such time as Congress shall extend the provisions of the Constitution to these territories.

The conditions which surround these last-acquired possessions are different from the conditions which surrounded any territory previously acquired by the United States. It is out of these different conditions that the questions of National policy, which are the really new questions confronting us, arise.

The case of Porto Rico well illustrates the peculiar conditions and the difficulties which surround the establishment of governments in the islands. Porto Rico has a population of about one million people, of whom three-fourths or more are unable to read or write and own no property. They are without experience in self-government and unacquainted with the spirit of our institutions. The cost of governing the islands under

Spanish rule exceeded $6,000,000 per annum, and nothing was done for schools, roads, or public improvements. It is estimated that the government of the islands will cost, under American sovreignty, $3,000,000 annually, and an additional $1,000,000 per annum should be provided to establish schools and construct highways and necessary public works.

The raising of these funds is a problem of much difficulty. The total value of the property of the islands is about $150,000,000. Two-thirds of this actual value, or $100,000,000, is a fair valuation for the purpose of taxation. To raise the the $4,000,000 per annum necessary for the proper government of the islands by direct taxation upon their property would necessitate a tax of four per cent per annum, a rate which no community could bear, and which Porto Ricans are unable to pay. In all territories previously acquired by the United States funds for their local government were raised by direct taxes upon the property of the territories, and, in addition, those territories paid all of the internal revenue taxes and tariff duties paid in other parts of the United States. In Porto Rico this is out of the question. Some other method had to be devised.

Congress has lately passed an act for the government of Porto Rico. It has been the subject of much discussion, and I think that neither the difficulties surrounding the case nor the provisions of the act have been well understood. It was first proposed that tariff full rates should be collected on all imports into Porto Rico from countries other than the United States, and that full internal revenue taxes should be collected within the islands, but that all these tariff duties and internal revenue SO collected should be paid into the local treasury of Porto Rico to be employed in defraying the expenses of the government of the island, so as to relieve the people of the island from direct taxation upon their property. It was found, however, that not exceeding $2,000,000 per annum could be raised in this way, and that it is but half enough. To provide the addition

taxes

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all taxes upon their property, but to relieve them as well from all tariff duties and internal revenue taxes, and, in addition, pay the expenses of the insular government and of establishing and maintaining its schools and constructing its public works out of the treasury of the United States. Requiring the Porto Ricans to pay a small percentum of the ordinary tariff duties upon imports into their island as a contribution towards the expenses of maintaining their government, while exempting them entirely from direct taxes upon their property, and turning over to the insular treasury all the internal revenue taxes collected within the island, would seem to be a very liberal and generous arrangement, and quite beneficial to the people of Porto Rico. Under this arrangement they bear but a small portion. of the expenses of their local govern

ment.

Such were the conditions surrounding the establishment of government in Porto Rico, and such is the method adopted by Congress for the present, of providing for the expenses of that gov

ernment.

In the Philippines the insurrection must be quelled and order established before we are called upon to decide questions concerning their local government. When quiet is restored, suitable civil government will be established, and in the local government the Filipinos will share according to their capacity. To what extent they may be fitted for local self-government trial only can determine. Upon this question much difference of opinion exists. A supreme court with a majority of native judges has already been created at Manila. There are some who assert that the United States should establish order in the Philippines. and then turn them over to the native tribes, but that the United States should maintain there a military and naval force sufficient to preserve order and protect the islands from European encroachment or seizure. There are, too, some who liken Aguinaldo to Washington! I have no sympathy with such vagaries. The American people can and will govern the islands better than the native tribes. The Filipinos will have security, liberty and happiness under the sovereignty of the United States, which they never had under the dominion of Spain, and would not have under native rule.

Whatever individual views we may hold as to how the various newlyacquired islands should be governed, one fact is clear and certain. The new possessions are ours. They will remain ours. The American people will no more surrender or abandon the islands than they will retrocede the Louisiana purchase to France, surrender California to Mexico, or restore Florida to Spain. The Stars and Stripes wave over the islands and will wave there forever. Expansion is our national policy, and new territory has ever added to our dignity and power. Possession of these islands will enlarge our markets, increase our commerce, and add to our wealth. The United States has dealt justly with the inhabitants of every new territory acquired in the past. I have confidence in the justice and wisdom of my countrymen. I believe they will deal justly and wisely with the inhabitants of the islands, and extend to them the

blessings of civilization and free govern

ment.

All of these are political questions, and it is important to note the attitude of the political parties toward them. The Republican party proposes to retain the new territories, to govern them justly, accorrding to their needs, to give their inhabitants at all times the largest share of local self-government of which they are capable, to educate and teach them the morals, arts and industries of Christianity and civilization, and to develop the resources and commerce of the islands for the general good. The Democratic party may be fairly said to have no policy regarding the new possessions. It merely opposes whatever the Republican party advocates or does. Democratic platforms and orators declaim

Measure by Calms and Gales.

Is success the measure true
Measuring you?

If a field of ripening grain
Molds beneath a summer rain,
And no harvest thou wilt find-
Bear in mind

It is not a measure true Measuring you.

Is success the only weight
We create?

He who faithful is today
Has within his heart the pay,
Though his harvest is the mold
And not gold;

Think not they are never great
Who may wait.

If a gallant vessel sails In the gales,

Though by seamen bold 'tis manned, Guided by a skillful hand,

It may yield before the stress

Ah, success. Measure by the calms and gales He who fails.

Valentine Brown.

against imperialism, but there is no imperialism. No imperial policy is proposed. They grow eloquent in denouncing the enslaving of the natives, as though extending our civilization and liberty to the Filipinos were to enslave them! A curious thing about the Democratic position is that they do not seem to question the power to acquire and do not oppose the retention of Porto Rico. They oppose the retention of the Philippines, but offer no alternative. Whether they propose to withdraw our forces and leave the islands to be plundered by the native tribes or turn them over to some European power seeking to rival us in the commerce of the East, I do not know. I am certain, however, that neither will be done.

Mystic Memories.

Had my spirit birth in some mystic clime,
Where softly falls the silvery chime,
Of hours, that mark no flight of time?
The air, perfumed by unseen censers swung,
Steals softly through my waking dreams,
Until my waking, dreaming seems,
And I hear songs by unseen singers sung.

Ah, have I not in days before,

Oft heard those melting strains sung o'er
Upon some starry-lighted shore?

Why should I tremble? should my pulses thrill

With vague regret, as cho' in days,
Long vanished into purple haze,
There lived sweet hopes that lure me still?

And oft I hear when sad and lone,
In cadence sweet, a minor tone

That stirs my heart, as tho' I'd known,
And heard it in some far-off summer land;
I feel the air grow faint and sweet,
And hear the fall of noiseless feet,
And clasp in mine an unseen hand.
Delphene Johnson.

In Politics

The Supreme Court of the United States has rendered a decision upholding the constitutionality of the income

tax.

The Nation holds that "the adminis

tration of the postoffice in Cuba clearly requires investigation by Congress, and not by the Department alone."

The armor-plate controversy still goes on in Congress, likewise the wrangle over the ship-subsidy bill. And the hopelessness of reducing the pension payments of the United States is shown once more by the passage of the "Grand Army Bill."

The American voters in Hawaii are distressed by the fact that they constitute a hopeless minority. The natives and the Portuguese out-number them. many times over.

Mr. Dooley, in commenting upon the candidacy of Admiral Dewey for the Executive of the United States, says, "The reason a sailor thries to ride a horse is because he niver rode wan befure. If he knew anything about it, he wouldn't do it."

Mr. Elihu Root is reported to have said at the dinner of the Grant Memorial Association, "No man who carefully. watches the signs of the times can fail to see that the American people within a few years will have either to abandon the Monroe doctrine or fight for it."

The United States Supreme Court has handed down a decision in favor of Beckham, Democratic governor of Kentucky, and ex-"Governor" Taylor has given up the combat.

In Science

The waterworks of Dawson City are unique. The water is pumped from a well in the river valley into a tank holdiing about 8000 gallons. The tank is enclosed in a house and heated by a stove, maintaining a temperature of 50 deg. Fahr. The water as it comes from the well is about 36 deg. Fahr. From the tank the water is pumped into hydrants, from which it is drawn as required by the consumers. These hydrants are all housed in wooden shelters

heated by stoves and having double walls, the space between being filled in with sawdust.

By alloying aluminum with tungsten," M. II. Pratin has obtained a metal having a specific gravity of 2.89, and a tensile strength of about nine tons to the square inch. This metal, rolled, has a density of 3.09, and a tensile strength of twenty-two tons per square inch.

*

The bacterial treatment of sewage is something new, but has already been proven practicable, and in all the experiments it has been demonstrated without a doubt that there is hardly any organically-polluted liquid which cannot be successfully purified by means of this bacterial treatment.

Marconi's system of wireless telegraphy was recently submitted to a further test at Lavernock. The test was in all ways satisfactory.

*

The Imperial Court of Japan is now partly illuminated by electricity, the Mikado having permitted the introduction of a limited number of lights as an experiment.

Prof. Percival Lowell, and Prof Todd have left New York, equipped with astronomical material, to observe the eclipse of the sun in Algeria.

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