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character or distinctive ability, ere the issue was over, was the dictator of his party, and the end might not have been yet had it not been for the interference of that astounding genius Pierpont Morgan. The opposition of such leaders, each to other, is not so much the opposition of vitally different principles as it is the same ambition for power struggling for mastery; but starting from diametrically opposed conditions, the one represents the organized labor trust and the other the organized money trust.
Now, we all know that organization is necessary, and without it all things must fail. Some forms of organization are so palpably wrong that the universe would revolt. Others are so palpably right that no exception is taken. To illustrate, if any corporation bought all the coal lands in the world, and placed the price of coal at, we will say, $100 per ton at the mines, the world would revolt, but if certain ones purchased the coal mines of the United States and placed the price of coal at, we will say, $8.00 a ton, and these organizers should say "we have purchased certain coal properties, and the price, while it may appear high is no more than furnishes the proper return for the capital and brain involved,” then would come the query, are they right? Should a labor leader organize his cohorts and enlist all working men in the world, and demand $25.00 a day for an unskilled laborer, it would be so palpably wrong that the universe would revolt. But if he organizes his cohorts, limiting them to certain branches of work, and demands a price which he says, "while it may appear high, is no more than the labor and the skill and the danger and the necessities of the laborer's support demand," there comes again the query, is he right?
The trust question in its broadest sense is a phase of the is. sue between success and non-success, but it is that phase which at the present moment most dominates, not only that question, but all public questions.
Trusts have been praised to the skies as the ideal develop
ment of modern business, and have been, upon the other hand, condemned as a menace to civilization and as representing the utter depravity of corporate greed. Any question which makes a substantial division among people, even if that division occurs only once, can safely be said to have to it two sides. Where a question has caused a division in the opinion of people for thousands of years, where the appearance of the question is always at base the same, and the multiplications of form in which it ap pears are merely variations of the same fundamental proposition, it must of necessity be a question having two sides and strong arguments on each side.
Trusts or monopolies present from one point of view a modification of the issue between those who are rich and those who are not, but would like to be.
The issue between wealth and poverty is as old as the human race. This issue has varied with varying civilizations. There are various forms of wealth, but at last the basis is the purchasing power. Great combinations are to-day the favorite form of wealth. Jewels in the earliest ages were the most desired form of wealth, and the safest method of hoarding it. We sometimes speak of this as the commercial age-a money-loving age. We are not materially different from our ancestors. When the great descendant of Alexander's general desired to make war upon the Roman world and withdrew Anthony from the triumvirate, her first need was money, and money she found. She entered the tombs of her Egyptian ancestors and brought to light of day the centuries' hoardings of sapphires and rubies, emeralds and pearls, and the glittering gems after their long repose in tombs with mouldering mummies flashed forth before the world and apprised the nations of their awakening by mighty conflicts upon land and sea.
That triumvirate of which great Julius was the head had as its other members Lepidus, a stubborn soldier and fighter, and Bg ba
Crassus, who was neither politician nor soldier, but the richest man in Rome. It has been shrewdly hinted that Warwick, the king-maker, the last of the barons, whom history calls the man on horseback, the last of the mail-clad warriors, the last of the great generals who were equally famous as great fighters in the ranks, was not so much a warrior, soldier and a fighter, as a man of vast wealth, of great financial capacity, enabled by his money to bring to his standard not only the soldier in the rank, but generals and leaders of armies. The question is as old as the hills. Those who, in struggling for wealth, have met with failure, proceed to abuse the times as out of joint, because forsooth, their own merits failed to meet the reward themselves believed they earned.
But this recognition of the issue as old does not mean that it is not now an issue, and while I have said that we are not materially different from our ancestors, I say also, without fear of contradiction, that the mental, physical and political machinery of modern combinations presents new and formidable complications deserving most serious thought. We can never solve these questions completely, they are a part of the great question of poverty and riches—the distribution of wealth, which can be solved only in the dreams of an Utopia or an Atlantis. But we can modify their effects and decrease their dangers.
It is contended by many that the trust question is to-day the most vital of our many national issues. It will be admitted by all that it is a question of greatest moment. The trust is assailed upon one hand as a menace to the nation and the people--as vicious in every respect, without a redeeming feature; on the other hand, it is hailed as an unmixed blessing, and as the greatest development of wise and beneficent modern business.
Both are wrong from a political and ethical point of view. Possibly the greatest danger arising from trusts consists in the enormous salaries by which they are enabled to control the hand
ling of all business, and often also, the best brains of the country. No man can believe it is fortunate for the country to be controlled by any class of men, whether it is a Roman triumvirate, an Athenian autocracy, a French aristocracy; whether it is controlled by Warwick and the steel-clad barons in England, or by steel-making barons in America, or whether it is domination by fear of labor organizations and farmers' alliances, the result is always hurtful to the principles of government, and dangerous in the extreme.
It is essential to know what evils are to be corrected, to determine what courts have the constitutional power to correct these evils and to provide a machinery for their correction. A law which forbids the existence of a powerful monopoly may be, and frequently is, inoperative, because public officials are too often brought under the influence of ingenious representatives of that monopoly. Most frequently this evil is due to the superior intelligence, knowledge and force of the trust representative; sometimes it is due to corruption. I, however, do not belong to those who have little confidence in the world. I believe most of our officials are honest in their purpose. There should, however, be some provision by which the public is advised of large corporate organization and transactions. Space and time do not permit repetition of remedies suggested, nor could a complete remedy ever be found, but there might be improvement.
We are told that trusts cannot be controlled. It occurs to me -as possible, that what we need is not so much more legislation on . the trust question, as men more willing or better fitted to enforce existing laws. Indeed, the most aggressive advocates of trusts are now beginning to attack more savagely common law decisions on the trust question than even they attack legislation on the subject. I have long thought that the great capitalistic question would be approached in a more satisfactory manner if our public officials, federal judges, congressmen, senators and cabinet officers received the salaries they deserve. Judges
should certainly receive salaries equal to the income of the best of the bar who practice in their courts, and yet nowhere, even where the highest salaries are paid, does the income of the judge approximate that of the leaders of the bar. We too often find men on the bench and in public life, when their experience is. most ripe, forced to give up service to the country in order to provide more abundantly for their families. With the progress of the last few decades not only has the cost of the necessaries of life greatly increased, but many things have grown to be neces-sary which heretofore were not.
While, of course, it is true that money and salary are not the only inducements in life, it is also true that all men desire a substantial income for the maintenance of themselves and families in the same manner as their neighbors and friends, and for the accumulation of a competency to provide for a comfortable old age.
Many reasons have been assigned for the law's condemnation of trusts and monopolies; many different and erroneous con-clusions have been reached. In seeking the truth of non-statutory legal propositions, it is necessary to trace the law to its ultimate origin and reason. When these are found and are not forgotten, the law can follow changing conditions and, itself unchanging, solve all problems presented. This course will make clear the error of many statutes and decisions on combinations.
Innumerable statutes have been introduced in State legislatures and in the Federal Congress. Practically the only effective statute is the Sherman Act, passed in 1890, and which has since been amended by an Act passed in the present year. The only effect of the amendment, however, is to permit the government, under certain circumstances, to speed the trial of causes instituted under the Act. As a practical question, the Federal government, and not the State government, must control these questions, excepting only city public utilities. As to public utilities control, and as to whether that control is of them or