Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub
[graphic]

the Adriatic. Avlona is the key. But Austria was just as anxious to control the Straits of Otranto. To avoid fighting over it, the two nations entered the Triple Alliance with Germany. To make assurance doubly sure they signed a dual treaty on the side, in which they both pledged themselves to maintain the status quo in the Balkan Peninsula. Neither felt strong enough to take Avlona, so each made the other promise to keep hands off.

When the Austrians took Bosnia and Herzegovina-a step in the direction of the coveted port-Italy protested, but did not feel strong enough to fight.

When the Christian Allies of the Balkans tore up the status quo, Italy was in an embarrassing position. The Greeks laid claims to Avlona. Italy drew closer to Austria in a joint project-the creation of a principality of Albania. This appealed to Austria as a blow at Servia, and by this scheme the Italians kept the Greeks away from the Straits.

The Bulgarian and Servian diplomatists, who were then working in concert, framed up a deal at this stage, of which the history has

not yet been written. Its object was to pry Italy loose from the Triple Alliance-it probably had the approval of the Powers of the Entente and may even have originated with Russia. Greece has a surfeit of coast line and no special interests in the Adriatic; she wanted territory more than harbors, so she was to give up her claims to Avlona. The harbor, and enough of the hinterland to protect it, were offered to Italy on condition: that she should flop to the Balkan side in the Albanian controversy.

But for Italy to have occupied Avlona at that time meant immediate war with Austria. Her hands were full with the work of pacify-: ing Tripoli. The Marquis di San Giuliano, the Foreign Minister, felt that his personal honor was involved on the side of the Triple Alliance. So Italy refused the bribe.

The Marquis di San Giuliano is dead. Austria is too busy to be dangerous. And Italian marines have landed in Avlona. Their mission is said to be one of mercy. But the chances of their ever leaving Avlona are about on a par with the prospects of Great Britain's giving up Gibraltar.

New York City, October 28, 1914.

[ocr errors]

THE SIXTY-THIRD CONGRESS

THE WEEK

When the Sixty-third Congress adjourned on October 24, it had completed a notable record for endurance. It had been in continuous session since April 7, 1913, a period of 567 days.

President Wilson called the Sixty-third Congress into extraordinary session a month after his inauguration, and this extra session merged into the first regular session on December 1, 1913. When the final curtain fell, neither the Senate nor the House had a quorum present as the vote for adjournment was taken. Only eighty-three Representa

tives and about a dozen Senators held on to the last. So impatient were these few remaining members to get away that in both chambers resort was had to the time-honored prank of meddling with the hands of the clock.

More than eighteen thousand pages of the "Congressional Record" have been filled by this Congress-a longer history than any preceding Congress ever wrote for itself. In

other ways, too, this body has been concerned in the upsetting of tradition. At the instance of President Wilson, its members reverted to the old practice of holding joint sessions of the two houses to hear Messages presented in person by the President. Furthermore, Congress adjourned, for the first time in the memory of old inhabitants of Washington, while the President was absent from the Capitol.

WHAT CONGRESS HAS ACHIEVED

The Sixty-third Congress has been one of the busiest in the history of the United States, and, whatever criticism may be brought against it, that of idleness-save in the case of certain absentee Congressmen-does not fairly apply. The presence of Democratic majorities in both houses after the elections of 1912 gave the President a free hand, and few Executives have so held together and dominated the legislative body as he has held together and dominated the Sixty-third Congress.

The most determinative transactions of the

[blocks in formation]

Congress, and those upon which the success or failure of the Democratic party in the future most depends, are, of course, the important measures in its programme of financial and economic reform, the revision of the tariff, the income tax law, the establishment of the Federal Reserve system, the Clayton Anti-Trust Bill, the Trade Commission Act, and the bills still pending in the Senate to regulate stock exchanges and to regulate the issuance of railway stocks and bonds. Then the Smith-Lever Act granting Federal appropriations to aid in the establishment of farm bureaus throughout the several States, the law for direct election of Senators, the Industrial Employees' Arbitration Act, the Alaskan Railway Act, the bill passed by the House for the development of water power on navigable streams, the admission of foreign-built ships to American registry, the modification of the Aldrich-Vreeland Law to make easier the issuance of emergency currency, the appropriations for relief of American citizens stranded in war-involved Europe, the War Revenue Bill, and the tax on transactions in cotton futures, are all important measures. The repeal of the Panama tolls exemption clause will not soon be forgotten by the political opponents of the Democrats.

Of perhaps less internal significance are the arbitration and peace treaties ratified by the Senate. More noteworthy is the appropriation of half a million dollars to fight hog cholera, and the passage by the the House of the Philippine Bill and the bill for leasing gas, coal, oil, potassium, and sodium lands.

For the enactment of laws which it promised to the Nation by its platform the Democratic party must receive credit even from its party foes, whether they agree with the policies enacted or not; on the other hand, the Democratic party cannot escape responsibility for its failures-notably the failure to live up to its professed desire for real economy. great deal of the legislation, in this a3 in other Congresses, has been the work of men of all parties.

LOCKING THE STABLE DOOR

A

The plan put forward last winter by the Republican National Committee for reforming the basis of representation in the party convention has now been ratified by a majority vote of the party conventions of the several

513

States. Of the States that have considered the question, Texas alone voted against this proposed revision of Republican representation. Under the new plan the total representation in the National Convention of 1916 will be reduced by eighty-nine votes. Alabama will lose 8, Arkansas 3, Florida 4, Georgia 11, Louisiana 8, Mississippi 8, New York 2, North Carolina 3, South Carolina 7, Tennessee 3, Texas 16, Virginia 8, Hawaii 4, Porto Rico 2, and the Philippine Islands 2.

That even this reformed plan of representation is not wholly satisfactory to the more liberal-minded Republicans may be judged from the following quotation from an editorial in so good a Republican organ as the New York "Tribune :"

The reform effected does not cut as deep as it should have cut. It leaves a great deal of unjustifiable inequality in the distribution of voting power, and gives too much encouragement to the sort of Republicanism which in certain parts of the country exists only for the purpose of producing National Convention delegates.

Yet it will do a good deal to lessen the scandal of "rotten borough" control of the machinery of the National party. The delegations from the States in which the Republican party is only a stalking-horse for capturing Federal patronage under Republican National administrations will exercise much less of a balance of power than formerly, and Republican policies will not be shaped by the controlling influence of merely nominally Republican constituencies.

The reason for the "Tribune's" partial dissatisfaction-and we think its complaint fully justified-is that the new plan for representation is still in some measure based on geographical rather than political units. Under the amended rule there are still districts in which the representation is grossly large, taking into consideration the number of voters having a voice in the election of delegates. Each delegate from South Carolina, for instance, will, on the basis of the vote cast in 1912, represent but 134 voters. Delegates from New York State, however, will probably represent the desires and opinions of well over five thousand voters. It can hardly be said that, so long as such unfairness exists, the "rotten borough" system in the Republican party has been entirely destroyed.

If even only this moderate change had been made before, the whole course of the political history of the United States would have been altered. Now that it has been made, it is

[graphic]

not only inadequate but belated. Nevertheless, such as it is, it ought to be welcomed as a step toward larger measure of self

government.

THE CONFERENCE OF GOVERNORS

Lacking all legal and legislative power, the seventh annual Conference of Governors, which meets at Madison, Wisconsin, from the 10th to the 14th of this month, may nevertheless have great force as a means of influence and persuasion. Having as its aim the promotion of greater uniformity in State legislation and of greater co-operation between the States and the Nation, it may well be what President Wilson called a former Conference which he attended as Governor of New Jersey-" a new instrument of political life, National in its character, scope, and intention 1; an instrument not of legislation, but of opinion, exercising the authority of influence, not of law."

The Outlook has long advocated a higher degree of uniformity in State legislation, pointing out especially with regard to industrial improvement that the chain of States is no stronger than its weakest link, and that it is difficult to get any State to pass needed legislation so long as the lawmakers of other States hold back on the particular subject in question. Almost every big industrial dis

pute in this country within the past two or three decades has brought out the fact that States are backward in alleviating by law unfortunate and unjust industrial conditions so long as such conditions are allowed to exist in competing States. The argument that proposed legislation will injure home industry at the expense of competing industry in other States is nearly always conclusive with legislators.

These considerations are true in regard to almost all subjects of State legislation-banking, taxation, divorce, etc. How absurd it is that a man who inherits stock in an inter-State railway, for instance, may be subject to an inheritance tax in one State in which his testator died, in a second State in which the stock was on deposit with a trust company, in a third State in which the railway was chartered, and in a fourth, a fifth, and a sixth State, perhaps, through which the railway passes.

By making the operation of laws elastic through the use of administrative commissions, the value of uniformity in legislation

may be retained, and at the same time allowance for conditions which vary with the different States. Familiar examples of such commissions are the public service commissions which administer laws regarding public utilities, and labor commissions which administer laws regarding wages and conditions of labor.

The overlapping of Federal and State functions is almost as great an evil as the conflict and unconformity of State legislation. Such an organization as the Conference of Governors can promote harmonious action between the Nation and its constituent States.

IN MEXICO.

No further confirmation of the report, to which The Outlook alluded in its issue of last week, that Villa has massed troops for the purpose of overawing the conference at Aguas Calientes has come to us from Mexico. In fact, the American consular agent, Mr. Carothers, has telegraphed word that Villa said he had purposely withdrawn his forces from the vicinity of the conference so as not to appear to be coercing the assembly. Be that as it may, perhaps Villa's attitude towards the Carranza faction may be judged fairly by the following ultimatum recently issued over Villa's signature:

Venustiano Carranza has offended the honor and dignity of our Republic by his usurpation of the supreme powers under the pretext of acting in the bounds of the First Chief. I have watched his actions, and I can no longer endure the caprices of an old man who seems to have no more lofty motive than his own selfish ambitions. He had leagued himself with the Cientifico element in order to further his ambitions, and my generals and myself have agreed that we can no longer tolerate such action by one who claims to represent us.

Unless he is removed from his self-appointed position as the de facto President of Mexico, I promise, with the consent of my commanders and my people, to go to Mexico City and remove him by force.

Villa's laudable and professed intention of exerting no force upon the delegates in conference. at Aguas Calientes seems practically to be somewhat similar to the still more laudable and justifiable intention of the old Quaker who had covered a chicken thief with the muzzle of his gun. "Surely," said the thief, "you wouldn't shoot me. You're a Quaker." 'Well," came the determined reply, "I'm going to shoot right where thee

[blocks in formation]

stands. If thee don't want to get shot, get away quick."

General Carranza, after reciprocating by giving an equally candid opinion of Villa's administration in the northern part of Mexico and of Villa's personal character, has now offered to resign. According to the opinion expressed by a well-known supporter of Carranza, we are to presume that his resignation, conditioned upon the similar retirement of General Villa, is offered without relation to any threats that may have been made, solely to prove the disinterestedness and patriotism of General Carranza! Carranza's supporter is reported as saying, "The followers of General Carranza are willing to let history judge us by this act of disinterestedness on his part, for we can make no greater sacrifice in the interest of peace and patriotism." It may be simply a coincidence, then, that this opportunity for patriotic self-sacrifice was discovered only after Villa's reported ultimatum.

THE SEIZURE OF AMERICAN SHIPS

British cruisers have recently seized and detained three ships of American registry carrying cargoes from American ports to neutral nations. One of these, the Brindilla, gave satisfactory proof that her destination was Alexandria, Egypt, and she was therefore released. The second, the John D. Rockefeller, bound for a Danish port and carrying illuminating oil consigned "to order," was likewise detained until evidence was afforded of the neutral destination of her cargo and the intention of the Danish Government to prevent re-export. The case of the oil steamer Platuria is still under investigation, for there is a question of the ultimate destination of her cargo.

In the case of the Brindilla and the Rockefeller two questions of international import have arisen. First, were the destination and the character of the cargo transported by these vessels such as to make them seizable as contraband of war? Second, were the vessels themselves of bona-fide American registry? It will be remembered that these two steamers were among the fleet of American-owned but foreign-built vessels which was transferred to the American flag after the declaration of war, in accordance with the American registry laws as recently revised by our Congress. At the time of the passage of the Registry Bill, it will also be

ure.

515

remembered, there were many authorities who believed that its provisions would not and could not be recognized by the belligerent nations. As most of the ships transferred under this bill were changed from German registry, the Allies are naturally most concerned over the legality of this measNevertheless, England has in these two cases declined to raise this point for contention. Doubtless she has done this from a desire to avoid irritating American public opinion by interfering with American trade. This point of law may not be finally settled until some case arises that vitally, affects England's position as a belligerent.

In reference to the first question raised, Sir Cecil Spring-Rice, the British Ambassador to America, has said in an official communication to the State Department:

I think it would be opportune were I to make some remarks on the general question of contraband and the attitude of the British Government.

You are doubtless aware that in the last few weeks there has been a marked increase of the export of certain articles as compared with previous years to those neutral countries which are in direct communication with the beiiigerent nations.

As you are aware, the Supreme Court of the United States in 1863 considered vessels as carrying contraband, although sailing from one neutral port to another, if the goods concerned were destined to be transported by land or sea from the neutral port of landing into the enemy's territory. It then decided that the character of the goods is determined by their ultimate and not their immediate destination, and this doctrine was at the time acquiesced in by Great Britain, though her own trade was the chief sufferer.

I may observe, in conclusion, that, although the British Government have detained cargoes of contraband in order to make sure that they are really intended for neutral countries, and have retained some cargoes, such as copper destined for Krupp's ammunition works, they have not yet taken a single cargo without paying for it, and have allowed every cargo really destined for neutral countries to proceed to its destination.

The question of the seizure of ships destined for Danish ports by England has been raised in the Parliament at Copenhagen by the query of a member as to whether the Government could guarantee that corn and foodstuffs imported from America were not re-exported to Germany. The Danish Premier replied that the Government was ready

[graphic]

to guarantee to England that no illegal exports from Denmark would Occur. The Premier added that investigation proved that rumors of recent illegal re-export were unfounded.

That oil is contraband if destined for a belligerent seems indisputable, since it is as indispensable in modern warfare as coal, or even as arms and ammunition. The way by which Americans can best understand the merits of this case is to imagine that we were at war with Mexico and that English shippers were sending arms and ammunition to Guatemala.

A UNIQUE AMERICAN HOSPITAL

In the midst of the terrible carnage, brutality, and suffering of the European war it is comforting now and then to remember that the awful conflict has its finer side. It has brought out the unselfish and altruistic qualities of human nature as well as the qualities of primitive savagery.

The

One of the most striking examples of this fine side of the war is found in the " American Ambulance "in Paris. There has been some confusion in this country on account of the name of this institution. The word ambulance in French means a military hospital. American Ambulance Hospital, which has been organized and is being managed by Americans, is lodged in the building of the Lycée Pasteur in Paris, a Government building which on the outbreak of the war was turned over to the administration of the hospital. The interior of the building was redesigned and reconstructed for its present hospital use by an American architect, Carroll Greenough, of New York, now living in Paris. The medical, surgical, and nursing staff of the hospital is composed entirely of Americans who have volunteered their services. Dr. Joseph Blake, the eminent New York surgeon, for example, is one of those in charge. The head of the hospital is Dr. Winchester Dubouchet, an American in spite of his French name. He was formerly at the head of the American Hospital of Paris, an institution of many years' standing. Even the orderlies are American young men, many of them art students, who have temporarily abandoned the brush and pencil for dish-washing! The professional nurses are largely American. Many American women who have not had a hospital training have volunteered their services and may be seen in uniform doing such work as making bandages and performing

other necessary and useful duties which do not require technical training.

As may be seen from the illustration on another page, the ambulances of the hospital are Ford motor cars. These cars were donated to the hospital while in their original shipping cases. As most of the mechanics of Paris had gone to the front, young Americans attached as volunteer workers to the hospital took these cars from their cases and used the lumber of the cases to make the ambulance bodies as shown in the illustration. Military and hospital experts in Paris have pronounced these ambulance bodies, made in this emergency fashion, to be the best of their type, and they are now being copied by other hospitals in France.

The general verdict of European experts who have seen the hospital in operation is that it is the only one of its kind in existence. Its reputation has become so extended that the word has been passed along among the officers of the Allies on the fighting lines that, if severely wounded, they should ask to be sent for treatment to the American Ambulance Hospital.

The institution is wholly neutral, and the patients are wounded soldiers without discrimination of race or military affiliation. Naturally, as it is within the lines of the Allies, its patients have been chiefly French and British; but some of its inmates have been German soldiers. While the troops were fighting in the neighborhood of Paris during the first German advance the ambulances of this hospital went to the battlefield and collected the wounded. As a matter of fact, they were the first ambulances on the scene.

A GOOD EXAMPLE OF EFFICIENCY

The American Ambulance Hospital has several features which probably have never before been employed in a military hospital. One of these is the use of ultra-violet rays for sterilizing water. There are three ultraviolet sterilizing plants in the hospital with which water is prepared not only for drinking purposes but for the antiseptic bathing of wounds.

Another unique work is the keeping of accurate histories of every case that comes into the hospital. Complete records of all patients and of all operations are kept by volunteer clerical help. Such records have never been possible before in military

« PredošláPokračovať »