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Scotch writer says: “ The 15,000 employes in Glasgow's municipal corporations may become a danger to be dealt with if the city is to maintain municipal independence.” God save Chicago from the horde of city employes when we have city operation of public service corporations! What would be the oracle? Several regiments of fighting soldiers would be required to dislodye the politicians from power.
The traction companies improve service as franchises are about to expire. I believe they would do just as well by the public as any other private business enterprise if the city handled them aright-would put golden wheels on street cars, and to each passenger would give a gold watch as a premiumif it were profitable. Engage in the business of real estate, merchandizing, preaching, medicine or the law, and no matter how much money you make, you have the “immunity bath” against public condemnation. You hear no cry of “robber; stop thief.''
But investigation is helpful; stirring times are needed to make people think, to stimulate thought. Even catastrophes and frightful disasters do some good. So, what a world of service was the political campaign of 1896 ? Municipal ownership is like the other questions that arise to publicity and then subside; the year 1905 was its high water mark with a flood of literature. The adherents of the I. M. 0. hierarchy step to the foot
. lights and court further investigation, ven up to the exits. Like the man at the St. Louis World's Fair; he had inspected about all the side shows, and seeing the sign “exit,” he went in and examined that.
Of the series of clever orators who so graciously have espoused the cause, I am unwilling to believe that even they would prefer Glasgow's cars to ours for a trip from here to the heart of the city. It would cost them eight cents, or more, instead of five, and double the time for the ride—excepting they waited till dinner time and had annual incomes of less than $300. But that is their prerogative; they have a right to their
convictions, and must not be deprived of them. England's greatest statesman used this passage: “It is better that all England should go home drunk than that one of her citizens should be deprived of that right.”
This ownership doctrine is socialism; with the American, an idle speculation. It's a thing to conjure with, and to ride into political office. But when the indefinable Utopian Era of absolute socialism is come. then municipalization, nationalization-aye, internationalization--of all public functions shall triumph. It is obvious that we are approaching the whirlpool in a “maze" of industrialism. These great problems of the future are to be wrought out by the republican party and the party of socialism. And more. The democratic party may be eliminated from the political horizon. Meanwhile the sun of Individualism is rising all over the civilized world. Germany supports public savings banks, accident and death insurance; Italy municipal bakeries; however, owing to conflicting interests, municipal ownership is growing in disfavor in London ; and with us Americans it is amusing to see Tom Browne's cartoon illustrating a British view of “A ride in our (Chicago's) municipally repaired streets." A glorious tribute to our city's handiwork.
As no city of the United States has undertaken the task, we must be cautious in proceeding to city ownership and operation of street railway properties. Now that city growth outrivals our growing ability to govern it. The state is more readily handled than the city within the state. The big cities dominate the affairs of the state, and politics dominate the big cities. Everybody knows the conditions; we are in the caterpillar state. As a token, though, the war for civic righteousness is pressing forward. The benighted people of this country must get an uplift in civic pride so that patriotic duty in seasons of peace shall be more than a dream.
Traction expert James Dalrymple. whose opinion has weight, believes obstacles would be encountered should we adopt
city ownership. I have read the famous Dalrymple Report, and the accompanying letters of explanation, all of which the handful of M. O. enthusiasts tried to suppress. It is to be regretted, too, that certain newspapers failed to get their information at the fountain head. In his parting adieu to the American public, Ir. Dalrymple expressed some very discouraging words. He said in part: “The people of Chicago would consider municipal ownership, as we have it in Glasgow, a setback.” He was farseeing enough to recognize our national traits of character. The Scotch are like the family with generations of wooden legs—it runs in the blood, and so the Scotch can't help running street cars. And now to this picture add a streak of colorless Presbyterianism, and you have the temper and characteristics of the man from Glasgow—Glasgow, whose matters municipal are Europe's envy.
Max O’Rell said the Scotch people religiously keep three things: first, the Sabbath ; second, the Ten Commandments; and third, everything else that is good. There is a slang phrase that "if a Glasgow man doesn't go to heaven when he dies he will make it very uncomfortable for the devil.”
While today we may endorse ownership of certain public utilities. most assuredly we lack implicit faith in city operation of street railways. I am of the belief, however, that private functions belong to private enterprise and public functions to public enterprise. But above all, am I of the sturdy conviction that the season is not ripe for any further municipalizing. Our cities are exceptionally overburdened with financial cares, despite the fact that we are making rapid strides in remedies. Barring few exceptions, the larger cities are hopelessly in debt, and withal, see no money forthcoming either to purchase existing car lines or to equip competing lines. Nevertheless we have the proverbial Seven Wise Men (pretty foxy ones, too) in the Mayor's Traction Cabinet whom we suspect are able to solve Why is- Why?
One advantage, however, would arise from our adoption of Old World Systems, fares, “zones,” and labor wages-immigra
tion would be curbed. The suggestion is tendered to President Roosevelt and the congress as the one most effectual plan that can be devised wherewith to suppress undesirable immigration. I believe it would work like a charm.
Though one member of our board of education is a member of a learned profession, yet he is so unlearned as to be unknown in the world of his profession. And further: I surmise there is a teacher in our schools who moraliy and mentally is utterly unfit to be given the training of the moral and intellectual career of our Young America. Another monument to municipal mismanagement.
The first question, then, for the public ownership propagandists is, how and where to get the price. They are like the penniless girl anxious for a diamond necklace. Not a few of the M. 0. Pilgrims, so zealous in their advocacy of I. M. 0. P. D. Quicker, pay little or no taxes, and consequently contribute not the widow's mite material to immediate possession. A city can buy without money only by mortgaging the inheritance of posterity. The lawyer who would now advise Chicago, as a client, to purchase and run the present systems, or to build and equip entirely competing street car lines, ought to be unable to recover by lawsuit for that legal service.
It takes money to buy whisky. The city now has more burdens than it can bear. It is unwise to bite off more than we can chew.
MR. BARTON: Mr. President, I have listened to these various arguments, and with close attention, and yet I am unable to form any conclusion as to which side any one of the gentlemen has advocated during this discussion. (Laughter.) I will say that I have no doubt that if I had heard the first speaker all the way through, I should be able to get some idea of what he was referring to (laughter); I only heard the conclusion of the argument, that had some reference to, I think, the disadvantage of hiring men who would work cheap. I think that we ail ought to advocate this. There is no man, whoever he is, I
don't care whether he is white or black, whether he comes from Peoria or Kankakee-let it be anywhere that he comes from, who will hire a man who will work cheap and render the equivalent of his wage. I don't know much about this subject, and that ought to make me fluent. I am usually not very fluent, but I am so ignorant on this subject that I almost feel that I could talk at length. (Laughter and applause.) If I thought the distinguished lawyers would stay here-I don't know whether the presiding officer has power to keep them here or not, but I never spoke before a meeting of this kind before, and I don't know what the courtesies of the occasion require. I will talk, though, just as long as you will listen. (Laughter.) If I am too slow in getting at the point of this argument, I will stand here and work it out, and you will all be pleased, I am sure. You can have the benefit of this just as long as you wish it. (Laughter.) But I want to say to you that in all the talk on this subject, noi one has said on which side he stands; I will say now on which side I stand, for I have most positive convictions on the subject. Now, this is Dreyfus day. I remember years ago when the trial took place, the witnesses said something like this: “I
I believe on my soul he is guilty. “I believe on my soul he is hot guilty.” Now, that was the kind of evidence they introduced there. They were entirely inside of the facts. Now I will say in that same way, on my soul I believe in municipal ownership, and so my position here is clearly defined, and having said that, I have no doubt that this audience will come right along with me and in line walk to the tune of immediate municipal ownership, and if they will do it why, we will have it, of course, in no time, if they will follow me just as they would the distinguished person who opened this arguinent.
Now, I am in favor of buying all these roads and paying for them at once. (Laughter.) I do not know where the money comes from; I know this, that there is some one, I will not tell you who he is, but I hope it is not my personal enemy, who was so foolish as to invest some years ago some trust funds in some