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sota, forbidingly entitled “A Social and the country girls dress in the styles of the cities. Economic Survey of a Rural Township Not one farmer in the township has ever heard in Southern Minnesota.” Under this dry- of the new agitation for better agricultural as-dust title is Mr. G. P. Warber's sym- credit. Interest in politics has very greatly pathetic and luminous study of the life declined. Although farm journals are kept in of a group of farmers in the Northwest.
84 per cent. of the homes, only 47 per cent.
of the farmers read them. The farmers read Mr. Warber spent three months — June, little of their newspapers except the headlines, July, and August of last year — visiting and rarely ever the editorials. Only 14 per and questioning the inhabitants of a cent. of the farmers ever attended farmers' typical farming community six miles institutes, and a majority are prejudiced square. He learned from the men how against scientific methods of farming. farming has changed and what the change Only two schools are well enough equipped means in money and labor; from the
to get first-class state aid. Teachers' salaries women, what housework on the farm is vary from $30 to $50 a month. The farmers to-day; from the boys and girls, why generally believe that the high schools in the country life does not attract them.' Here nearby towns tend to lower the moral stand
ards of the children. Membership in and are a few of his observations and conclu- attendance at church have fallen off — partly, sions, from seventy-five pages that are again, because of the unremitting care of livecrowded with many interesting human stock. Social distinctions have grown up experiences:
between rich and poor and between the country
folk and the townspeople. Dancing is the Under the old-fashioned system of grain most popular recreation of the boys and girls. farming, the rush of work was limited to a few Baseball is the most popular strictly-boys' months of the year, and the labor was made amusement. The girls are leaving the farms easier by the use of farm machinery. Under in larger numbers than the boys, though among the new diversified farming, and especially the grown people the men are more anxious because of the care of more live stock, farm to move to town. Social causes account for work demands the farmers' whole time the the removal in most instances. year round; and consequently social life, in spite of rural telephones, has declined. Twenty
These quotations give only some of the three per cent. of the farmers declared that results of Mr. Warber's researches; they their “biggest problem is to get satisfactory do not even suggest the freshness of his help.” Women's work on the farm has been viewpoint nor the convincing verisimilitude eased by running water, washing machines, of his narrative. Any one who wishes to etc., but in 29 per cent. of the homes the women run the lawnmower to keep the front yard acteristic American farming community,
understand what country life is in a char(average size, one eighth of an acre) neat and trimmed; in 32 per cent. of the families the
as distinguished from our conventionalized women help with the milking and the barn
or preconceived notions of it, cannot do yard chores; in 16 per cent. the women help better than to read this pamphlet. It in the field work at the rush season; and in makes plain nearly every aspect of the practically all the families the women work problem that lies before those earnest from five o'clock in the morning until nine or folk who are trying to organize rural life later at night.
and, of course, such surveys are the The marketing of farm products is much foundation upon which improvement can more convenient and efficient than it was in be effected. They form the diagnosis of earlier days because the railroads, grain ele- our rural ills. vators, and creameries have brought the markets nearer. Coöperative enterprises have generally succeeded, but oddly enough many of
A MEETING OF SHOVELS the farmers - even those who belong to the
N MAY 24th two big steam shovsuccessful associations - doubt the capacity of their own class to coöperate.
els met at the canal level in the
Culebra Cut. Thousands of men The rural free delivery service has finished the work of the railroads and the towns in stopped work and hundreds of whistles putting the crossroads stores out of business. announced that a canal existed from ocean Most of the trading is done in the towns, and to ocean.
There is still much dirt to dig. There every year. Their true significance has is still much work to do, but the minute not taken hold of the public mind. This the water gates are opened, North and spring there were floods in parts of Ohio South America are divided, the Atlantic and Indiana, where they were unusual, and and the Pacific are joined (not literally, for all eyes were focussed on the stricken it is not a sea level canal, but commer- districts. The cost of the destruction was cially). When the ships begin to pass figured and discussed. Yet the tremendthrough, the trade maps of the world will ous direct losses and suffering on the Ohio have to be drawn again. Our East and our and Mississippi rivers every year, and the West will be many dollars a hundred tons even greater indirect losses that we bear nearer together, for that is the measure- because of the backward state of the Misment of distance that counts in the heavy sissippi Valley, passes with little attention. freight of the world. “Rounding the Now that the Panama Canal is nearing Horn,” on which hangs so much of the completion it is time to turn our attenromance of the sea, will dwindle in signi- tion to the even more important task ficance, and the change will make our nearer home, the control of the Mississippi battle fleet as two. The continents that River and its tributaries. Nature has joined, man has put asunder. Even our long mental preparation for the THE PHYSICAL VALUATION event can not rob of its dramatic signifi
OF RAILROADS cance the meeting of the shovels in the canal at Panama.
T HE first steps have been taken by
the Interstate Commerce ComTHE UNNOTICED FLOODS
mission in the organization of its
small army of experts and assistants who FEW days before the first of June are to make a physical valuation of the the following newspaper item ap- railroads. peared:
There are in the United States 250,000
miles of railroad lines, with a combined Guards are being withdrawn from the levee
capital value of more than 15 billion doldistricts of Vicksburg on both sides of the
lars. By the Act of Congress which proMississippi, although the distribution of supplies has not yet wholly ceased. Planting of
vided for the valuation, the Interstate cotton and corn will be general by the beginning
Commerce Commission is required, among of the coming week in Red River districts.
other things, to “ascertain and report in Congressman James B. Aswell, of Louisiana, detail as to each piece of property owned has toured the parish of La Salle and the by every common carrier, the original cost Black River section. He reports that water to date, the cost of reproduction, the cost covers the entire territory for a stretch of of reproduction less depreciation;" to fifty miles. At the end of last week there were analyze the methods by which these costs 800 families in need of help, and the greatest
are obtained; and to “ascertain and report need was for seed for planting and feed for
separately other values and elements of livestock. Crop conditions in the Melville district of
value, if any." Louisiana, where the overflow from the Atcha
Put briefly, what this contemplates is a falaya break occurred, are excellent. Water is huge inventory, which the Commission is receding slowly.
allowed five years to complete, and which
it is estimated will cost the Government This news was printed in the Wall Street $6,000,000 and the railroads themselves Journal, not as human news but as crop as much more. news. The ordinary newspapers in New The Commission has always contended York, as elsewhere in the country, had that it could not determine the reasonableby this time ceased to regard the floods on ness of railroad rates, as it is expected to the Mississippi or their after effects. The do, without knowing the actual value of papers reflect a common attitude. The railroad property; though there are a good floods are an old story. They happen many people, even outside the ranks of the
railroad men, who believe that it would AN ENGLISH VIEW OF THE be difficult to show that such value pro
JAPANESE QUESTION perly enters into the question of ratemaking at all. But there is less difference
ITH few exceptions the Ameriof opinion about the suggestion that the
can newspapers have main
tained a cordial attitude figures of the railroads' valuation could be used to determine their proper capitaliza- toward Japan. Even those which contion. The Commerce Commission, how
sidered its protests groundless and its
wishes inimical to our welfare phrased ever, does not now have the power to regulate the issuance of railroad securities,
their beliefs in a way that showed all and though it believes it ought to have this friendliness underneath their disagree
ment. power, that is a question for some future
It was treated as a temporary
difficulty. Congress to settle. Meanwhile, the railroad officials are
The English, on the other hand, if the
London Times voices their views, look giving to the Commission their most cordial support and cooperation. They upon the California anti-alien agitation as make no secret of their belief that a fair
a little part of a great question. Editorappraisal of their properties will show the ially the Times said: actual value to be much in excess of the The ultimate point in dispute does not affect present capitalization, and that they will, the United States alone, still less the state of therefore, benefit ultimately by having California. It is essentially a world question. much of the investors' lost confidence That Japan's claim should first have become an restored to them.
acute cause of trouble in California is due to the accident of propinquity. California is now
the frontier line of white races, beyond which POSTAL SAVINGS BANK
are the teeming populations of Asia. We shall SUCCESS
not judge this question aright unless we first
seek to make allowance for the nervous appreHE United States postal savings hension which undoubtedly pervades the inbanks have been in operation for
habitants of the Pacific slope. Their fears are two years. In their first year they exaggerated and premature but they are not had deposits of $11,000,000 which in the entirely groundless. second year rose to $28,000,000. The
No useful purpose will be served by blind money orders sent abroad in the mean- opinion in Western states. They spring not
condemnation of the tendencies of public while dropped $12,000,000.
so much from race hatred as from the instinct of The success of these Government banks self-preservation, and even if the present minor has not lain altogether in expected lines. dispute is disposed of they will assuredly recur. They have not tempted the savings of the It is an issue that will become more and more farmer to any great extent. They have insistent whatever may be settled now, and it not been as well patronized in the South or will have to receive the earnest attention of all in New England as Government officials white races in time to come. had expected. On the other hand, in the Wherever the Japanese as settlers have large cities in the other parts of the coun- come in contact with the Anglo-Saxons in try, particularly among the foreigners, the same capacity, in British Columbia, they have been popular. Chiefly from this in Australia, and in California, the result foreign patronage the postal savings banks has been mutually unsatisfactory. The have brought nearly $30,000,000 into cir- two peoples do not mix well. The culation in the United States which other- restrictions that Japan has maintained wise would have been hoarded or sent against American land-owning within its abroad.
borders would seem proper to continue, From a financial standpoint, as well as and wherever the owning of land by from a wish to give encouragement and Japanese in this country would lead to safety to the men who can save only a little unpleasantness
unpleasantness it would seem wise not to money, the postal banks have deserved allow it, providing, of course, that all their place in our scheme of things. treaties shall be observed.
MORE WINE AND OSTRICH and building them is proposed and acFEATHERS
cepted by popular vote. Yet there is
every indication from the past that the URING the nine months from roads built with this $50,000,000 will have August 1, 1912, to May 1, 1913, to be rebuilt with more borrowed money
more than $50,000,000 worth of two or three times before this present loan works of art were imported into the United is paid off. States. During the same period in 1911-12 An average tax of $40 a head all over the corresponding figure was $30,000,000 the country means that a family of five and the year before that $20,000,000. The pays $200. A man earning $3 a day earns importations this year are a new high only a little more than $900 in a year. record in value.
The $200 is a large proportion of that. The In the same nine months $35,000,000 $200 is just 5 per cent. of a salary of $4,000 worth of diamonds and other precious a year. Of course, if the tax were collected stones came in; and this figure has been directly and the facts of the situation exceeded only once.
touched everyone's pocket nerve in a way The $7,500,000 worth of wines that that could not be disguised, there would came in in these nine months is more be a tremendous outcry immediately. by a half million dollars' worth than came But a large proportion of the population in the previous year, and the $9,500,000 lives in the ignorant belief that it pays paid for imported feathers is three and no taxes at all, or, if any, only a negligible a quarter million dollars more than was amount. The taxes that it pays under the paid in 1910.
disguise of rent, transportation, food, and Certainly there are some classes at least clothing do not appear as taxes at all. that are not feeling the effects of the high But the remedy for the situation is not cost of living when wines, diamonds, and to abandon any good works which are ostrich feathers are coming into the coun- being done in order thereby to decrease try in increasing volume. And these the burden of taxation. On the conthings are not like the much abused trary, true economy calls for us to refarmer's automobile. They do not double our efforts in the improvement of increase the efficiency of living among our roads, schools, sanitation, and many the producing classes.
other functions, particularly of the local
and state governments. But in redoubling II
our energy in the betterment of these inThe high cost of living has not pinched stitutions of progress we can well quadus desperately. We are still importing ruple the scrutiny that we bestow upon the more and more luxuries and wasting money expenditure of the public funds. at home, wasting money not only privately but publicly. Ours is not a paternalistic STUDYING FOREIGN FARMING Government. It is not burdened with all the complexities of the German Govern
HE American commission that is ment, for example. Compared with other
abroad studying agricultural cocountries, our city, state, and National
operation, marketing, and credit governments engage in few commercial en- will return in the latter part of this month. terprises. Yet the combined taxes to meet Soon after that the seven members apour local, state, and National needs amount pointed by the President will render their to nearly $40 for every man, woman, and report to Congress. Awaiting their report child in the United States. The recent is a committee of seven governors who popular vote of the state of New York to intend to draft state legislation to further make a second bond issue of $50,000,000 coöperation and other improvements in for roads is a fair example of our careless the organization of country life. attitude toward public expenditures. The It is difficult to know what legislative people in New York want good roads. results to expect from the commission's The simple method of borrowing the money report. There is not likely to be much information in it that is not already acces- bonds for $1,250,000 to improve 110 miles sible in this country.
of connecting roads. Commercial bodies But from the trip of the commission in twenty other counties are coöperating itself a great deal is to be expected. It is with the public officials to provide bond composed of more than a hundred mem- issues for similar local systems of good bers, and they represent three fourths of roads. Every county in the state has the states. Every one of these men will be agreed to furnish all rights of way and to a centre of inspiration for the better organ- construct all necessary bridges for the ization of country living. They will have trunk lines within its jurisdiction, without the conviction and enthusiasm that men get cost to the state. from seeing things themselves. The knowl- If every state would solve its roads probedge which they gain abroad will be a living lem in some such way as this, the work of knowledge ready to produce results. connectingthe statesystemsinto"national"
highways would be simple, and these FOR A NATURAL NATIONAL
interstate highways would then be really HIGHWAY
national, for they would be intercommuni
cating north and south as well as east and ALIFORNIA is now at work upon west. And national legislators would be
an unusual plan of state highway freed of the embarrassments and tempta
building. Two years ago the state tions of that new "pork barrel” which is bonded itself for $18,000,000 for public so difficult to divorce from the scheme for road improvement upon two original Federal aid to a “national” system of roads. principles: First, that none of the usual
II restrictions were placed upon the time in which the highways should be built except But there is one difficulty which the that the work should be done as fast as California plan would encounter, a diffipossible; and second, that the routes of culty which California has already enthese roads were practically pre-deter- countered. The state authorized the sale mined by the law, because they were of $18,000,000 worth of bonds. It has limited to two trunk lines from Oregon to sold about a third of them in a reluctant Mexico - one line along the coast and market. The same difficulty would unone line down the great central valley — doubtedly confront other states if they that should be as direct as possible, with were to begin to bond themselves upon a only those laterals that might be indis- large scale for road-building. pensable to connect centres of population Senator Bourne, of Oregon, has prepared with the trunk roads. About 1,800 miles a scheme for national aid to the states in of trunk line road and about 900 miles of their road-building campaigns which would lateral roads will be built.
in a large measure overcome this financial The purpose behind this plan was to difficulty, and which would at the same provide an object lesson in road-making to time allow a smaller opportunity for a the counties and an irresistible incentive raid upon the Federal Treasury than any to them to build local systems of good of the other plans of Federal aid which roads that should connect with the trunk have been proposed. lines. Under direction of the state high- His plan is much the same as the plan way commission, contractors are already that was proposed in North Carolina for building 206 miles of the system; and the state to pursue in helping the counties. plans and routes for 74 miles more have It amounts practically to a guarantee of been approved. The stimulating effect the counties' bonds so that they may upon the cities and counties is already utilize the better credit facilities of the apparent. Four cities are at work spend state. Senator Bourne's plan similarly ing altogether $164,000 on the permanent means the guarantee of the state bonds so improvement of the streets within their that they may use the better credit facililimits that carry the highway through their ties of the National Government. territory. San Mateo County has issued Under the Senator's plan every state