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Theodore E[manuel] Schmauk.

The year of our Lord, 1904; a survey of the world online

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ries out the terms of the Piatt amendment. It ratified the Pan-
ama Canal Treaty and provided a bill for the government of
the Canal zone. It ratified a treaty with China providing for
two open ports in Manchuria, and reinforced the Chinese ex-
clusion laws. It provided a joint Commission to study meth-
ods of upbuilding the American Merchant Marine. It loaned
$4,600,000 to the St. Louis Exposition. It ordered the
Department of Commerce to make an inquiry into the beef
trust. It lined the Philippines under the coast wide wise trade
laws. Altogether it lias passed T400 bills, mostly of a special



II

character, and its appropriations reached nearly $800,000,000.
This Fall it has instituted a searching' investigation into the
qualifications of Senator Smoot, and has brought out some
startling evidence respecting Mormonism which the American
people has never yet had before it.*

Congress has also agreed to the impeachment of Judge
Swayne, of Florida, of whose doings we happen to know a great
deal in a private way. On the other hand Congress has post-
poned action on measures for the benefit of the Philippines,!
Hawaii and Porto Rico. It has not taken decided action
against the trusts, nor increased the power of the Interstate
Commerce Commission.f

A popular revolution in the state of Missouri has over-
thrown the corruption that centered in the political powers at
St. Louis, and has elected the District Attorney who convicted
the corrupt politicians to the governorship of the state.

ANOTHER signal illustration of the tendency to brush
aside technical discussion on great issues and to return
to primal moral principles is to be found in the sudden
development of the moral obligations of Telegraph Companies

*The counsel against Smoot expect to show that the Mormon Church in
morals, politics, and business, is a menace to American institutions, and
that a man identified with the Mormon hierarchy is unfit to be a United
States Senator, and incapable of performing the duty of that office. It is
claimed that the Mormon Church has violated the compact under which
Utah was admitted as a State, and that the violations have been connived at
by the officers of the Church. The counsel has brought to light terrible
Mormon oaths which members of the church are required to take.

The chairman of the Democratic State Committee of Idaho testified,
only a week or two ago, that the growing power of the Mormon church was
made the leading issue by the Democrats and Independents in the last cam-
paign. He said that the Mormon population of Idaho is instructed by apos-
tles from Utah as to how to vote. He declared that it is impossible for
any man or any party to stand against the Mormon church in Idaho. Six of
the twenty-one counties are known as solidly Mormon, and in all the south-
ern counties the Mormon church is practically in charge of the legislature,
and of political and delegate conventions. The delegates elected are not al-
ways Mormon in religion, but they are. always Mormon in political action.
He said further that if one who has been a Mormon were to vote a Demo-
cratic ticket and it were known, he would be ruined in business.

jOn December 16th the. Senate after all passed a Philippine bill relating
to customs, exemption of municipal bonds from taxation, the issuance of
bonds for public improvements, sewers, and drainage systems, primary
schools, and railroads, whose stock issues are to be restricted to the amount,
of actual cash investment.

tSecretary Garfield has just brought his plan of a federal license of cor-
porations before Congress.



12

I '

which arose last May like a storm-cloud out of a clear sky, and
which obliged one of the most powerful corporations in the
land, the Western Union Telegraph Company, to change its
business course and make a complete tack in its sailing.

It is quite true that there is some ground for the cynicism
which sneers at the motives often found beneath a popular out-
break of feeling against large organizations that are indirect
abettors of law-breaking. But Christians may be glad for
such reaction. The weakening of the sense of responsibility,
in men, for the moral influence of their property and their acts,
under corporate relationships, is one of the evils of modern
business life. The common promptings of sound humanity are
disregarded. Men who would not dream of renting their own
buildings for doubtful or immoral purposes do not consider
their share of responsibility when the same thing is done
through a company in which they are interested. We are told
that men who would not bribe a legislator to accomplish the
dearest wish of their lives, are content not to inquire too closely
into the contingent expenses of a great corporation to which
they lend their names or from which they draw their money.
And the reason for this neglect of duty is clear. It has not
been made sufficiently plain to the conscience of the American
public that the act of a corporation is in theory the act of those
who compose it, and that the introduction of intermediaries
does not break the chain of responsibility. Truly edifying is
it to hear a secular paper announce that "the old notion that
a corporation has no soul to save, leads men to forget that,
after all, a corporation is only a shell containing many men
with souls to save."

In the case of the Western Union Telegraph Company it
appears that Captain Norton Goddard approached the com-
pany last April in the guise of a poolroom magnate and found
that the company was ready to run a wire down the chimney
of his house to supply his supposed poolroom with news of
the races, and to send him an operator who was an expert at
jumping out of the window. The captain made all this public
through the papers.

Now the Western Union Telegraph Company is com-



13

posed of such respectable and eminent directors as Chauncey
Depew, Morris K. Jesup, George J. Gould, Jacob H, Schiff,
and J. P. Morgan. Several of these men felt themselves scan-
dalized in these deeds, and Senator Depew threatened to re-
sign from the Board. President Clowry, who originally came
to New York with an excellent reputation, defended his com-
pany by a plea in the papers that the Western Union is bound
to transmit any message offered, and he said that he would
withdraw the telegraph wire from any poolroom when notified
of its existence by the police. He said that the Western Union
is not authorized to scrutinize messages with reference to their
moral burden and it is bound under the law to transmit ail
messages if couched in decent language. "This company has
nothing to do with the racing Associations nor with the race
track. It does not own a share of stock in any race associa-
tion. We have one of the largest directories in the world and
each one is a good, moral man. I have never been in a gamb-
ling house or poolroom in all my life. I want to do the right
thing and so do all our directors."

This excuse of the Western Union was sustained as ade-
quate by eminent private authorities, including the Philadel-
phia Ledger, which raised the question as to how far a pri-
vate corporation operating telegraph lines would be justified
in setting up as a censor of morals and in ascribing motives to
those offering messages. It claimed that the company is a
private person whose duties are exhausted in the transmission
of messages, and it must not be assumed that a corporation en-
gaged in sending telegraph messages is bound or is free to
inquire into their morality.

Unfortunately, for the Western Union and for the wise
dictum of the Public Ledger, no less a personage than the po-
lice commissioner of New York reported that the Western
Union had a far better knowledge of the inner side of the pool-
rooms than his own police, that Western Union operators were
in them, that Western Union inspectors were on guard, and
that a Western Union treasurer was in receipt of daily exor-
bitant tribute. It was also shown that the Western Union
Company instead of merely transmitting messages of the races



14

was itself collecting - this class of news and selling- it to the pool-
rooms at exorbitant prices. In fact the police Commissioner
charged that the Western Union has a distinct department of
its business specially organized to facilitate law-breaking, and
that it receives special prices for this disgraceful work.

Evidently it is no part of the legitimate business of a tele-
graph company, whether it be a private person or a common
carrier, to maintain a crew of men skilled to string wires in
secret places where the officers of the law will not detect them.
to maintain hidden exchanges whence with the aid of pass
words, known law-breakers can receive information necessary
to their criminal business. When a telegraph operator is in-
structed by his company to jump out of a window in case of a
police raid, and to cooperate with his patrons in covering up
their offences, he is certainly doing something more than his
duty as an agent for the delivery of messages. The assistance
given by the company to gamblers is not incidental, and this
assistance was not beyond the control of the President of the
company.

We enlarge upon this discussion because it is an unusually
good illustration of the sophistry that is employed to justify
doubtful business dealings. No company is under obligations
to furnish news to people engaged in a criminal business. The
use of the United States mail is forbidden to these people.
Their existence depends on the favor of the Telegraph Com-
pany. The directors may say that there is no law to forbid
them to furnish this service or to compel them to inquire into
the use which is to be made of it. But neither is there any law
which obliges them to permit themselves to he used as instru-
ments of crime. Many wrongs not under statutory interdict,
are such that no business man of sound morality can or should
tolerate.

So clearly was this position brought out that the direc-
tors of the company decided to quit gathering and selling race
news. Mr. Clowry, the Superintendent, no doubt under or-
ders from the Executive Committee, announced to the com-
pany's General Superintendents at New York, Chicago, San
Francisco and Atlanta that it had been decided to discontinue



i5

forthwith "the collection and distribution" of horse race re-
ports and directed them to act accordingly. It is said that
George Gould cooperated in this reform.

All right minded persons should hope that this is a perma-
nent and not temporary decision, and that the general principle
of a deeper sense of moral responsibility as applied to modern
cooperative action will be extended to other cases, and the
minds of the American people be opened more clearly to moral
issues.

LAST year there was no question more widely discussed
than the morality of the action of the President in the es-
tablishment of the independence of Panama, in order to
further the completion of the Isthmian canal. More recently the
Panama republic itself has gotten into difficulties with the Pres-
ident and our government, because it feared that we would
either prevent or absorb the whole of its commercial income.
The new Secretary of War, Taft, was despatched to Panama,
and, on December 12th, arrived at a complete understanding
with that republic. No trade for the canal zone or Panama
can enter the United States ports at either end of the canal.
The United States agrees that Panama is to have full authority
over her own citizens, and Panama agrees to a reduction in
tariff and postage rates.

Judge Taft reports that a great deal of work has already
been done under American supervision. The former owners
of the site left machinery, dredges and rolling stock to the
value of twenty million dollars, but only two million dollars'
worth of this property could be utilized. The canal commis-
sion has invited bids for a supply of steam dredges, and the
makers of these dredges must demonstrate their capacity by ac-
tual use in the canal for two weeks prior to receiving payment.
It has been discovered that the French engineers made some
important errors in their data. One of these is that the height
of the Culebra has been over-estimated, and another that clay
and sand are found at some spots in bottoms where the French
engineers reported solid rock. The coming year will be one
of great progress on this waterway which is destined to bear



i6

the commerce of the world from the sea of the East to that of
the West at an enormous saving of time and expense.



IF we lift our eye from America to the circle of the nations,
the most prominent event to stand before our vision is the

war that broke out between Russia and Japan on the 6th
of last February, by severance of diplomatic relations. Dis-
cussion as to the technical responsibility of each party for be-
ginning hostilities, the wrong of Russia in delaying diplomacy,
and the wrong of Japan in brushing it aside, — soon gave way
to a more substantial consideration of the real and larger
causes of war in the background ; and to a premonition of grave
consequences.

The whole question between Europe and Asia loomed like
a specter of the ages to the thoughtful mind. The check given
to the Arab at Tours, and to the Tartar six centuries later by
the Poles, the repulse of the Turks from the siege of Vienna,
and the organization of the British East India Company, were
recalled. That to-day all the North in Asia is held by Russia
and all the South by England, with Persia under Russian con-
trol, and the Turkish Empire surviving only through European
jealousy, is regarded as the subconscious cause of driving
Japan into the lists. If Japan wins, a half of Asia and a third
of the human race will retain its own self-development and
self-rule. If Russia wins, the Asian sun sets not to rise.
Japan is fighting the battle of the Orient against the Occident.
Civilized as Japan is, and full of European science, she is at
bottom still Asiatic, pagan, a hater of the selfish intruders of
the West, and a believer in the fate and the future power of the
Asiatic races. On the other hand little Japan well knew that
the day might shortly come when the great Russian Bear*
would strike down her own life with his mighty paw; and she

*"It was largely the cumulative effect of repeated acts of Russian ag-
gression that led to the present war. Not for any one of half a dozen of
Russia's acts would Japan have gone to war. But she remembered them all,
and treasured them up, adding each new one to the sum of its predecessors,
until the grand total strained her forbearance to the breaking point." — From
a New York Editorial.



17

determined to strike him first. In this plucky act she had the
sympathy of the American people.

It is curious to note how the rights and wrongs of this
whole war have been argued, and how a stand is taken for or
against one or the other party not on the basis of a calm con-
sideration of the facts, but with the facts obscured either by
sentiment, or by self-interest. This enlightened, philosophic,
far advanced twentieth century world betrays an illogical and
sentimental outlook, where self-interest is far enough away not
to push in as a controlling factor. Neither France, Germany,
England, nor America, has regarded this affair in a judicial man-
ner. With all his civilization and education, the old Adam is
still deeper and more potent than abstract reason, and moves
the world to-day.

The war began with great reverses for Russia, including
the death of vice-admiral Makaroff, and of the celebrated Rus-
sian painter Verestchagin.

On May ist, the Japanese crossed the Yalu. On May 5th
they cut off Port Arthur from the mainland and blocked the
harbor. In June, General Oku defeated General Stakelberg,
and Kuropatkin began to retreat northward, drawing the Japan-
ese after him. The third week in July Russian cruisers held
up English and German merchantmen in the Red Sea, and
Great Britain despatched war vessels to Alexandria. Interest-
ing questions of the right of search and seizure, in which the
United States has taken a stand against England for a cen-
tury at once arose.

On the second week of August the Czar's squadron in the
far East, including six battleships, four cruisers and a small
flotilla of destroyers emerged from Port Arthur and were scat-
tered and destroyed. Early in September the Russians were
defeated in the terrible battle of Liao-Yang. This appears to
have been one of the great battles of the world, nearly four
hundred thousand men being engaged. Kuropatkin retreated
from his main position.*

*Manchuria, the seat of the war, is said to be a very fertile country, but
only one-fifth of it is under cultivation. The most valuable trade product
is beans, though, owing to a lack of railway facilities, it ie impossible, to sow,
reap and export them the same year. The Russian railways are well run,



In September, some revulsion of feeling against the
Japanese began to manifest itself in America. The fact
pointed out by us long ago, but disputed, viz : that the Japa-
nese is fighting, not as a Christian, but as an ancestor-wor-
shipper, who regards himself as a link in a long chain of hu-
manity, who is brave because he has no Christian valuation of
life, is turning out to be an actual matter of experience.*

All the. war correspondents of Europe and America have
become disillusionized as to Japanese character. The total
disregard of truth and of agreements made, by the Japanese,
their offensive vanity and insolence in consequence of their
victories, have drawn attention to the latent barbarism in
their make-up.

In September America was given a shock by the appear-
ance of Russian war vessels on the Pacific Coast. Later the
Baltic fleet started for the East, and the Czar announced that
he would send a new army of three hundred thousand men to
Manchuria. (The possibility of his doing this has been dis-
puted.) The officials at St. Petersburg expressed themselves



but the rails are light. The Chinese have stipulated that in laying down the
track, cemeteries, villages and towns must be avoided! Standards of educa-
tion are not as high as in China. Brigandage is frequent. Opium is smug-
gled into China. Millet is raised in large quantities and from it the national
drink is distilled. Dogs are raised on farms for their skins and for their
flesh. Tigers are hunted for their skins and for their bones. The Russian
soldier is everywhere in evidence, and in dealing with the Chinese is said to
be generous and social. See "Manchuria: Its People, Resources and Recent
History." By Alexander Hosie. With map and thirty illustrations from
photographs. 8 vo. pp. XII, 293. New York. Scribner.

*A Russian writer last spring drew attention to the strange fact that
there are no less than 30,000 Japanese who have, been converted to Chris-
tianity in Japan by Greek Catholic missionaries and that the number of con-
versions has been increasing est the rate of a 1,000 a year. These Greek Cath-
olics asked the Bishop Nicholas as to whether they ought fight their spirit-
ual benefactors. They were told that 'Christianity taught obedience to the
Emperor and lawful authorities and that they should pray for peace while
responding to the call of duty.' This writer, like many others who know
the situation, says that the educated Japanese, are unfortunately tending
more towards agnosticism, and even atheism, than toward Chfistianity.
He quotes Marquis Ito, "the real ruler of Japan," as saying: "I look upon
religion as a thing wholly unnecessary to the life of a people. Science is
better than superstition, and what is religion — Christian or Buddhist — but
merely credulity and blind faith. And is not superstition necessarily a
source of weakness? I do not deplore, the fact that rationalism is becoming
widespread in Japan, for I do not regard it as a danger to society."

But, continues the writer, the mass of the Japanese are still in the lowest
stage of heathen superstition. They have tens of thousands of Buddhist and
Shintoist temples and believe in all kinds of gods, the principal ones being
the god of fire, the god of war, and the god of earthquakes, who does not
even spare the churches.



19

on President Roosevelt's proposition of a "Peace Confer-
ence," regarding it "as not exactly opportune." Russia would
be unwilling to be a party to a Conference in which the neu-
trals would have a preponderance, and could restrict the
belligerents. One of her papers, the Novosti, of St. Peters-
burg, declares that international law is a polite myth which
is continually violated when it suits the convenience of some
strong nation to do it. This is not the. exact truth. Interna-
tional law is, indeed, a very vague science, yet many of its
important principles are obeyed by civilized powers to their
own inconvenience, as our own country proved, in her war
with Spain. Startling as it may seem, time of war is an ex-
ceedingly good time for the meeting of a peace Congress.
The realities of the situation are all the more potent, and if
there were a clear understanding that nations of war would not
be called on to compromise their independent position, or
have their conduct in a contemporary war placed under criti-
cism, they might be able to attend it with advantage to them -
selves and to the world. Although the call at the present
moment may seem a trifle too suggestive, yet it is even more
ridiculous to wait until universal peace has come before trying
to hold a peace conference.

On Oct. 6th Kuropatkin's army left Mukden and at-
tacked the Japanese, fighting for three days, but was hurled
back in disorder on Wednesday by the Japanese driving a
wedge into the. middle of his line. Nevertheless Kuropatkin
made such a stubborn stand that the Japanese did not benefit
by their victory.

On midnight, October 21st, the Baltic fleet committed a
terrible mistake, by firing at British fishing vessels in the
North Sea, killing several fishermen and wounding many
others. The bombardment continued for nearly a half hour,
and then the fleet steamed away without any offer of help.
England was aroused, and there was a strong sentiment to
prevent the Baltic fleet going through the strait of Gibraltar,
but the matter was settled by a promise of arbitration.

At the present writing the likelihood is that the Russian
and the Japanese armies will be obliged to go into winter



20

quarters with the decisive battle untaught. Meantime Port
Arthur, contrary to every prediction, at this writing, Decem-
ber 17, continues to hold out, and Gen. Stoessel is the hero
of the war.

EVEN though Russia had not been involved in a war with
Japan, the year 1904 would have been a momentous one
to her. Her internal situation has some very serious
elements in it. Great changes have taken place in the empire
within the last twelve months, and more may still be expected.
It is supposed that the Russian financial situation is worse than
appears on the face. Although her recent minister of finance,
M. Witte, has made vast expenditures for internal improve-
ment, his wisdom is open to question. Defeat for Russia in
this war might involve her in financial perils without limit.

It is true, that Russia is enormously rich, far more so than
Japan, and that the Russian budget each year shows a hand-
some surplus. No other European country has so great a
budget or so great a surplus. It is also held that the agri-
cultural resources of Russia are marvelous. But, if we ex-
cept the rich fields of Finland and Poland, such is not the case
in European Russia. The soil is usually not rich, and is not
well tilled. Our readers will be surprised to learn that Russia
proper produces only about one-fourth as much wheat as
Great Britain, one-third as much as Germany and Sweden,
and one-half as much as Hungary. Twenty-two per cent, of
seed must be used for her crop, while in America less than
six per cent, is used. Her grain yield has been decreasing for
40 years and is thirty-five per cent, less than it was then. Her
exports of grain are large because her people at home, where
there is chronic danger of famine, do not receive enough to
eat. Sixty years ago Russia had no debt, but no other nation
in the world has increased its national indebtedness so greatly
as Russia did between 1885 and 1902. The increase was 133
per cent.

In the ten years following 1889, in a time of peace, the
increase in the admitted bonded indebtedness of the national
government was eight hundred millions of dollars. In 1900,


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Online LibraryTheodore E[manuel] SchmaukThe year of our Lord, 1904; a survey of the world → online text (page 2 of 11)