« PredošláPokračovať »
SATURDAY, JANUARY 5, 1907
The suggestion is of the Senate to investigate the BrownsCongress ard the
made by certain ville incident, or any other incident it Brownsville Incident newspaper
wishes to know about, but we think it spondents that Congress may attempt is a palpable waste of time for it to do by law to reinstate in the army the so; for it can take no action as to what members of the Brownsville battalion has been done, whatever may be the result discharged from the service by the Presi- of its investigation, and its opinion based dent, and a correspondent in the New on that investigation will have no legal York Times even suggests that the Presi- authority, and no more moral authority dent has intimated that he would refuse than that of any other number of equaliy to obey such a law if it should be passed, estimable gentlemen of National reputhat the only remedy for the refusal tation. The President, and the Presiwould be impeachment, and that it is dent alone, is charged with the duty of not likely that the House would go so maintaining discipline in the army, far as to impeach him. All this is prob- and the President is responsible to the ably newspaper gossip; there is too Nation, not to Congress, for maintaining much good sense in Congress to allow that discipline in a manner at once just the passage of the law suggested by the and efficient. fertile mind of the newspaper writer; and if such a law were passed, it would clearly be the duty of the President to
While it was perfectly
Insurance Officers disregard it. It is just as much a viola
proper for the Grand tion of the Constitution for Congress to
Jury of New York usurp the functions of the President as City, in presenting indictments against it is for the President to usurp the func- Mr. George W. Perkins and Mr. Charles tions of Congress. The President is S. Fairchild on charges growing out of made by the Constitution the Command- the Armstrong investigation, to point out er-in-Chief of the army, and if Congress that the policy-holders of the New York were to attempt to execute the functions Life Insurance Company actually beneof Commander-in-Chief it would clearly fited by the transaction in question, and be the duty of the President to resist the the men indicted did not personally usurpation. Congress can by law deter- profit by their act, nevertheless the conmine the terms and conditions of en- clusion should not be drawn hastily that listment; it can probably deprive the for these reasons the illegal transaction President in the future of the power to was not morally reprehensible and condischarge enlisted men without trial, trary to public interest. If the facts are which he now possesses.
But it cannot as stated in the indictments, there would exercise the power of discipline over the be a fair parallel between this case and army. It can no more discharge an that of the executor of an estate who officer or soldier, or reinstate an officer should by false affidavits save the estate or soldier who has been discharged, than from paying tax under a State inheritance it could assume to direct military opera- law—that is to say, the executor could tions in the field in time of war, or pro- truly assert that those whose trust he held mote or degrade officers, or direct the were financially benefited, and that he President whom to promote and whom made no wrongful gain personally—yet to degrade. We do not deny the right the moral as well as the legal turpitude
of such an act is perfectly evident. The Fairchild, of the country at large; and charges against Mr. Perkins, who was that public opinion should await their formerly the Vice-President of the New defense before passing judgment on York Life Insurance Company as well them. as a member of the firm of J. P. Morgan & Co., and against Mr. Fairchild, formerly President of the New York
Four weeks ago the
From Rodman to Security and Trust Company, and at
country was shocked one time Secretary of the United States
by the announcement Treasury, are, in brief, that the New of the sudden death of Samuel Spencer, York Life Insurance Company was in President of the Southern Railway; last danger of being refused permission to week Alexander Johnston Cassatt, Presicarry on business in Prussia because the dent of the Pennsylvania system, died Prussian authorities insisted as a pre- almost as suddenly, though not by accirequisite that insurance companies should dent. The passing of Mr. Cassatt was hold only certain classes of investments. possibly more pathetic; whatever its The New York Life held certain se- proximate cause, its ultimate cause is curities which did not come within the believed by many to have been grief at classification laid down by the Prussian the discovery of graft on the part of Government. It went through the form certain officials in his own company. of selling the securities in question to For this Mr. Cassatt was not responthe New York Security and Trust Com- sible; but the discovery weighed on him pany, which was really subsidiary to the as much as if he had been.
Such a New York Life. On the books of the feeling was natural in one who had fitted insurance company the transaction ap- himself thoroughly for his life-work. peared as a sale, but on the books of the There was no financial necessity for Mr. subsidiary company the same transaction Cassatt to choose any work; he was appeared as a loan. To add to the evi- born a rich boy; he loved his pleasures dence of subterfuge, it is pointed out quite as much as his books; he could that the note on which the supposed look forward to a life of ease. But loan was based was signed by two totally an increasing number of rich Ameriirresponsible persons, financially speak- cans feel it incumbent upon them to ing, one of whom was a colored employee choose a profession and to work at it as of low grade. If these facts, which were hard as though they were poor.
Mr. alleged very plainly in the Armstrong Cassatt was one of these. He chose investigation, are as above stated, and civil engineering. He was fitted for it unless their significance is more favor- at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Instiably interpreted because of new evidence tute at Troy, and was graduated with to be adduced, it seems plain that the honors when but twenty years old. He officers who carried out the scheme were went to work in the lowest grade of guilty of violating the laws of New York engineering on a little railway line in State for the purpose of obtaining a com- Georgia, and the first year of the Civil mercial advantage in Prussia which the War found him a rodman on the Penncompany could not otherwise have had, sylvania system. From this position he and that therefore there was fraudulent rose through the various technical and intent within the meaning of the law. administrative grades until, six years Technically, the charge is forgery. It ago, he became President of a great need not be pointed out that an indict- system. No railway service, it is bement is a very different thing from a lieved, has ever been more efficient. conviction ; that all accused persons are For Mr. Cassatt was not merely technientitled to a fair and full presentation of cally equipped for his task; with faith their defense before the courts; that the in the future, with judgment both sound men under indictment have held posi- and swift, he was a signal example of tions of great prominence in financial broad-gauge energy. He was the first circles and have won the confidence of railway manager to take up the air-brake, their associates and, in the case of Mr. to recognize the merits of the tank
track, and to institute the six-track, long
During the past
Sir Mortimer Durand's distance system. Finally, with the cour
week some silly
Retirement age of a true pioneer, he made his road
stories in the first, among those that reach the metropo- daily press in connection with the retirelis by ferry, to secure entrance by expen- ment from his Washington post of Sir sive tunnels under the rivers. That the Henry Mortimer Durand, the British New York City terminal would involve Ambassador, have aroused indignation the expenditure of a hundred million among Sir Mortimer's friends. His dollars did not check Mr. Cassatt. He diplomacy has been like his personal borrowed that amount, and much more, manner, dignified, simple, straightforfor improvements on his road. He has ward. He has a peculiar charm and made it, among the railways of the worth to those who know him well. A man world, the first in value, as it is in diversi- of wide knowledge and a close student fied commerce.
Mr. Cassatt was of current events in two hemispheres, his ordinary financier, accidentally a railway observations have always been keen and president. When he thought of the incisive. He is also a literary critic of Pennsylvania, he did not think of it as a discrimination, as our readers will shortly sponge to be squeezed dry, nor as a judge upon the publication in The property to be used for the benefit of Outlook of an appreciation of Longfellow Wall Street first and of its patrons only which Sir Mortimer has prepared at the second. He was one of the most effi- request of the editors of The Outlook, cient officials the country has yet seen, in commemoration of the centenary of because he tried to administer a great the poet's birth. In Lenox, Massachuproperty for its own benefit and not at setts, where the Ambassador has spent all for the benefit of the more or less his summers, he has been held in enthusitemporary holders of its stocks and astic esteem by all sorts of boys, because bonds. In his fidelity to this ideal Mr. he welcomed them to his cricket field Cassatt stood out in dramatic contrast to and taught them a game in which they the disquieting spectacle of the financial quickly became proficient. Sir Mortimer speculators, not to say buccaneers, in is fond of all outdoor sports, especially control of certain railways. With these of following the hounds and of big game economic and moral ideals, and with an shooting, his life in India having afforded open mind for any suggestion, he had many an opportunity for the latter pura statesmanlike grasp of the relations suit. It was appropriate that he should between the railways and the Federal enter the Indian service, as the son Government. He was, if not the first of the late Major-General Sir Henry among the very first, to recognize the Durand, whose history of the first Afnecessity of widening the Government's ghan War the son was later to edit, as powers under the inter-State commerce well as to write the biography of his clause of the Constitution, and, as father. After a number of years of trainlogical consequence, he recognized the ing in that service, in 1879, during the right as well as the expediency of co- Kabul campaign, Sir Mortimer was made operation by the railways with the Gov- secretary to Sir Frederick, now. Earl, ernment. His quiet force was felt to Roberts. Later he became Foreign Secthe full in the recent railway reform retary in India, a position which he long regulations. Uniting all these qualities, held. Towards the end of his term he Mr. Cassatt also possessed a strong per- conducted an expedition to the Amir of sonal charm, which gave a compelling Afghanistan. In talking about India, its touch to his influence. It will be hard frontiers, people, government, society, to fill Mr. Cassatt's place. Meanwhile literature, religions, Sir Mortimer conveys men in similar positions will do well to a more vivid notion of the problems there study the aims and achievements of a than do most English officials, and the man whose name promises to take his- world will be the gainer when he decides toric rank among the constructive forces to put his Oriental reminiscences between of an age of great achievements in en
From India the Foreign Secregineering, administration, and finance. tary was transferred as Minister to Per