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profound and intimate connection with all the sources of a nation's welfare. Friends, brothers, and sisters, even parents and children, separate to pass the rest of their lives apart. Why is it that, in time, they become almost strangers to one another ? Young men and women leave their homes for business, for service, for school. Why does not a letter sent and received two or three times a week, every day, keep up their interest in their homes, renew constantly a pure enjoyment and afford the best security against every moral danger ? Simply because it would cost too much time and money.
Never was a simpler mechanism devised for working out great and good effects. A more beneficent agency can scarcely be imagined, and before long this nation and Christendom will
Every word of this grand utterance of the noted historian of New England applies to our proposed postage scheme, but with ten thousand times greater force. The choice is before us. On the one hand we have this bright picture portrayed by Palfrey, on the other the fearful contrast painted by the graphic pen of Lloyd. I will not doubt the issue.
PRUSSIAN RAILWAY ADMINISTRATION.
THE Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, for November, 1897, contains a most interesting paper on Prussian Railroad Administration, written by Dr. B. H. Meyer, of the University of Wisconsin. This paper is of such inestimable value in view of our proposed scheme of government management of railways that, with the permission of Dr. Meyer, I shall give a part of it to my readers :
On the first of April, 1895, there were in Prussia 2200 kilometres of private and 27,060 kilometres of state roads, all, however, subject to the double control of the government and of the people. “ On the one hand we have a group
organs which represent railroad interests in particular, and which take the railroad point of view. The Minister of Public Works, the railroad directories, the general conference and tariff commission, and the Society of German Railroads fall into this group, although the two latter stand in a measure on the border line, and of them are none confined exclusively to railroad interests. Legal responsibility is fixed in the first two. On the other hand we have the national and circuit councils with their standing committee of shippers. These primarily take the social and economic point of view. They are not legally responsible for the conduct of the railroads, but act as advisory bodies. They represent all the different interests of the nation, and through them every citizen has not only an opportunity but a right to make his wants known. A fair and prompt hearing can be denied to no man, rich or poor. The railroads are made real servants. All the administrative, legal, and advisory bodies are organically connected with one another and with the parliament. The lines may be drawn taut from above as well as from below. The elaborate system of local offices makes the system democratic, and the cabinet office and the directories give it the necessary centralization. The system presents that unity which a great business requires on the one hand, and on the other that ramification and elasticity which the diverse and manifold interests of a great nation need for their growth and expansion. It reveals the railroads to the public, and the public to the railroads. It would be difficult to find in Prussia to-day, among the representatives of any class or interest, objections to the entire railroad system which are not relatively insignificant. Both the public and the railroads have gained more and more as the system has developed.
“Were we to trace the development of the Prussian system we should find that most of the railroads have been built from social and economic considerations, although political and military consideration have at times been dominant factors. It is absolutely untenable, however, to maintain, as is sometimes done, that Prussia makes her railroads a military and a political machine. Certainly these elements may be discovered in the history of Prussian railroads, but one may unhesitatingly say that if there is any system of railroads in the world which truly and effectively serves all the interests of a nation, that system is the Prussian.
"The constitution of the German Empire makes it the duty of the government to cause the German railroads to be managed as a uniform network in the interests of the general traffic, and that end is well attained under the German system of railroad management.
“Coming now to a particular description of the various organs which make up the Prussian Railroad Administration we find that the chief executive officer of the system is the Minister of Public Works. Under him are twenty Royal State Directories, composed of a president appointed by the king and the requisite number of associates, two of whom, an Ober-Regierungsrath and an OberBaurath, may act as substitutes of the president under the direction of the minister. Each directory has complete control of all the railways within its limits, although the subordinate civil administrative organs of the state have certain powers in the granting of concessions, police regulations, etc., powers that would probably be exercised in this country by our state and municipal officers.” Dr. Meyer characterizes these directories as general administrative organs, one of whose chief functions is the proper co-ordination of all the parts of the railroad system.
“Below and subordinated to them are special administrative organs, upon whom falls the duty of local adaptation and supervision. There are six classes of these local offices, whose functions are quite clearly indicated by their names-operating, machine, traffic, shop, telegraph, and building. Special instructions are sent to each class of these offices from the Ministry of Public works, setting forth (1) the position of the office in the railroad service, (2) its jurisdiction in matters of business, and (3) general provisions.
“One of the foremost duties of the local traffic office is to maintain a living union' between the railroad administration and the public. For this purpose the chief of the office is in duty bound, by means of personal interviews and observations, to inform himself concerning the needs of the service in his district, to investigate and to remedy complaints and evils without delay, and to take such measures as will secure the most efficient service. It is also one of his duties to inform the public concerning the organization and administration of the railroads, so as to avoid idle complaints. This single provision in the rules governing one of the local offices illustrates the spirit of them all."