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JANUARY 9, 1918
On account of the war and the consequent delays in the mails, both in New York City and on the railways, this copy of
THE GOVERNMENT BEGINS ITS RAILWAY OPERATION gains head, it should be supported by England, France, and
To the ordinary traveler and even to the ordinary shipper America. of freight, the transfer of the entire railway property of the England and France have indirectly refused to join Russia United States from private to public management made no and Germany in peace parleying under present conditions. obvious difference. Trains ran as usual-except for the extreme Lloyd George, in a letter to the British National Labor Concold weather, for which the Government was hardly responsi- ference, declared : “ Achievement of the purposes for which the ble and the same conductors punched the same kinds of Allies are fighting is essential to the future freedom and peace tickets that they had always punched. Nevertheless, there was of mankind.” a change at once made which is bound to have immediate prac The French Premier, M. Clemenceau, refused to give passtical effect.
ports to Petrograd to Socialist delegates to a conference, saying Mr. McAdoo, the new Director-General of Railroads, that, if he should, many people would not fail to say that France promptly declared that priority of shipment over all other com- was taking part in preliminary negotiations for peace, which modities should be given to coal. The fuel shortage is so pro was in nowise thought of in the absence of any propositions nounced, on account of the congestion on the railways, that not from the enemy. only is the welfare of the people disturbed through lack of fuel Count Czernin, the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister, in to heat dwellings, but the very production of goods, including his proposal on Christmas Day at Brest-Litovsk, accepted Rusmunitions, has been threatened for lack of fuel to fire the fur sia's “ basic ideas” of no annexation and no indemnities, but naces of factories. By giving to coal the priority of shipment was subtly and intentionally confusing in his comment and defiMr. McAdoo has recognized the basic quality of this commod nitions. Thus, he declared, first, that the Russian proposals
could be realized only in the event that all belligerents obligated More than that, He has made a special and interesting order themselves to adhere to the terms of such a peace; second, that that affects New York City. As many Americans who have not
the Central Powers did not intend forcibly to annex territories happened to visit the metropolis may not realize, the only way seized during the war, nor to deprive nations of political indeby which coal can be brought into New York from the South, pendence lost in the war; and, third, that "the question of the and specifically from the Pennsylvania fields, has been by con subjection of nationalities who have not political independence veying it across the Hudson River, or the North River as it is to another country cannot be solved internationally, and must known in New York City, Except for the railway tubes under be met by each government and its people in the manner estabthe river, the only means for carrying it from the New Jersey lished by the constitution of that government.” He added, “ The shore has been by barges. This way requires the unloading of protection of the right of minorities is an essential part of the the coal into the barges and then the unloading of it again from right of peoples to self-definition.” the barges.
The American Secretary of State has confessed his inability Mr. McAdoo has ordered that the under-river tubes of the to understand what the quoted phrases mean, and The Outlook Pennsylvania Railroad, which have been heretofore used prac- joins in this confession. tically for passenger service only, be used for coal trains, and If the German idea of peace seems impossible of acceptance that these coal trains be given preference over passenger trains. by Lenine, still more unlikely is it that Germany would accept The astonishing statement is made that this order of Mr. Russia's terms, for they would check Germany's Mittel-Europa McAdoo's will mean a saving of from three to seven days in dis- scheme. tributing coal to consumers.
We treat of the proposal of peace in an editorial on another These two orders issued by Mr. McAdoo are illustrative of page. the advantage of Government operation. No private railway company could have the authority to issue either of them. Gov. ernment operation has thus made the impossible possible. THE LAST WEEK OF 1917
On another page we report various opinions on this new ON THE BATTLE-LINES enterprise of the United States Government.
There were cheering incidents for America's allies in the battling of the week ending January 2. Italy still held its own
on the Piave River and in the Asiago region where the GerTHE RUSSIAN BEAR IN A TRAP
mans and Austrians have now for weeks tried to force their way So far as Lenine's Government stands for Russia, there is past the foothills of the Alps and into the Italian plains. Better no hope that western Russia can escape German domination. news than this was that of an attack by French troops in the Whether that domination is military or moral does not much Piave sector; their success was notable in itself and also as matter. If Lenine declines Germany's terms, German troops showing Italy and the world that France is ready to take the can and will occupy Petrograd and Moscow. It might almost offensive for Italy. The French army drove back and across the be said that there are Russian soldiers but no Russian army on river the Austrians who have long had a lodgment on the Russia's western front. When the discussion of peace terms is farther side; moreover, the French took about 1,400 prisoners over and the effort to get Russia's betrayed allies to join in the and many guns, large and small. The French have also repulsed scheme has failed, as fail it must. Lenine's Government, so with their usual firmness a new and violent German thrust at called, is, we believe, doomed, and Germany will do what she Verdun. chooses with western Russia. Help must come from the south
The British on their Cambrai sector finally won back “ Welsh and east of Russia ; those who may perhaps bring it must be Ridge,” in a beavy counter-attack following some successes by I adverse to anarchy and Bolshevikism: and, if such an effort the Germans in this vicinity. In Palestine, despite activity by
mans andave River andling January 2, America's alli
the Turks, General Allenby has taken three hundred square by an earthquake, and its population of one hundred and miles of country and his front is nine miles beyond Jerusalem. twenty-five thousand made homeless. A message made public A lamentable British loss (on December 22, but just reported) by our Navy Department stated that a series of earthquakes. was that of three destroyers and nearly two hundred men off beginning on December 25 and continuing for several days, weré 'the Dutch coast.
responsible for the great disaster. Eighty per cent of the buildThe chief German war exploit of the week seems to have ings of the city were destroyed in the earlier earthquake, and been the destruction by airplane bombs of part of Padua's beau- the remaining buildings brought down in the earth-tremors tiful cathedral and of other churches and a museum, with the which followed. accompanying loss of those works of art which were not capable No figures have yet been received as to the extent of the of removal.
destruction of life, but unless the account of the destruction of In one sense there is now no Russian battle front. Yet head property is exaggerated, the loss of life must have been large. lines read “ Big Losses in Three Days. Battle Near Moscow.” The Navy Department has ordered all United States vessels Russia's civil war is on, and Kaledine's Cossacks are at least in the vicinity of the Gulf of Honduras and the Pacific coast half-way between the Don River and Moscow.
of Guatemala to render all the assistance possible to the stricken population. The American Red Cross has made a preliminary
appropriation of ten thousand dollars for the immediate purTHE LIQUOR QUESTION AND OUR
chase of supplies, and a steamer now at a Gulf port is being EXPEDITIONARY FORCE
loaded with large quantities of flour, potatoes, crackers, disinGeneral Pershing has given an interview to representatives fectants, stores of galvanized iron for temporary buildings, and of the Associated Press which ought to set at rest the anxiety certain staple foodstuffs, and will set sail for Barrios, on the of those men and women who have been concerned over the east coast of Guatemala, as soon as possible. The American fact that the commanding general of our expeditionary forces Minister to Guatemala has also been asked to organize a relief has permitted the men under him to drink light wines and beers. committee among the American residents of that city.
It is not always easy to interpret justly the actions of a man Guatemala City was situated about five thousand feet above when the attendant circumstances are only partly known. sea level in a wide table-land traversed by the Rio de Las Vacas. For this reason many people familar with conditions in France Deep ravines surround this table-land and beyond it high mounhave been loth to criticise General Pershing's failure to prevent tains rise on every side. Guatemala City was three times as the sale of light wines and beers to his troops. That this large as any other city in the Republic. It was laid out with wide, instinctive trust in General Pershing's judgment has been justi regular streets, many of which were planted with avenues of trees. fied is now a self-evident fact.
Most of the houses of the city were only of one story, but they In the interview to which we have already referred General were solidly and comfortably constructed and frequently surPershing said:
rounded by large gardens and courts. The theater, which is The question of prohibiting the sale of all intoxicants to Amer
reported to have collapsed while occupied by a large audience, ican troops is under discussion with the French Government, was one of the best in Central America. Guatemala City has been but of course there are difficulties here in France that do not called the Paris of Central America. The chief trade of the city exist in the United States. The general order issued December has been centered largely in coffee. .18 was a long step toward the prevention of drinking among Guatemala City was the third capital of the country, the our men.
two earlier capitals having been successively destroyed by a It was not by any means intended to convey an injunction to
volcanic deluge of water and an earthquake. The city which the American troops to drink light wine and beer, but quite the reverse. It was drawn to conform to French regulations on the
has now been destroyed became the seat of government in 1779. subject.
It suffered severely from earthquake in 1874. In less troubled It stated only that light wine and beer would be permitted
times its destruction would have rivaled the destruction of and prohibited the purchase of and acceptance of gifts of
Messina or of St. Pierre as a matter of international concern. whisky, brandy, champagne, or similar beverages. It ordered that all drinking places where such articles are sold be forbidden American soldiers. It is the same regulation made in France by
EARNED AND UNEARNED INCOMES the British army and by the French
The present War Revenue Law imposes a so-called General Pershing said that he, personally, was heartily in “excess profits” tax of eight per cent on all earned incomes over favor of prohibition for the American expeditionary force, $6,000; this in addition to the heavy income tax. but he pointed out that grave objections existed to the adoption Let us suppose that a lawyer or clergyman, a physician or of a policy which would mean the imposition of prohibition dentist, has worked his way up in his profession enough to upon a foreign country totally unprepared for such a course. receive $10,000 a year. He pays his individual income The adoption of absolute prohibition within the American forces tax on the $10,000 and this tax of eight per cent on every. would mean the closing of all wine-shops in the region where thing over $6,000 in excess of his deductions. The provision our soldiers operate. The feasibility of such an action can be was doubtless aimed at the professional men who enjoy abnor determined only by those actually on the ground. It is not a mally large incomes, such as corporation lawyers with their decision which can rightly be made by the American Congress. rumored $100,000 fees.
As The Outlook pointed out last week, General Pershing's The provision was adopted in the final hours of a committee original order abolishing the use of heavy liquors was coupled conference of Congress, and was so framed as apparently to with rigid regulations to prevent the spread of social diseases. exempt members of Congress from its operation. Since then General Pershing in his latest interview calls attention to this members of Congress have been hearing from their constituents fact and adds:
as to the justice of such an exemption. The result was that the Thus far the record of the army in both respects has been most Representatives thereupon voted distinctly to include themexcellent. It is highly gratifying to me and is a testimonial to selves, and, so that they might have good company in their the high character of the American soldier. Everything possible resolution, they also subjected Federal officers and employees is being done to protect his morals and his health, and to make
to the operation of this tax. Thus it now includes among others him an honor to himself and his countrymen.
the President of the United States, with a salary of $75,000; the To those who are hastening upon incomplete information to Vice-President and the Cabinet officers, each with a salary of criticise the action of our commander in France we suggest the $12,000; the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, with a salary motto, “ Trust Pershing."
of $15,000; the Associate Justices, each with a salary of $14; 500 ; and the Circuit Court Judges, each with a salary of $7,000.
We are glad that the Congressmen are willing to assume the A GREAT CITY STRICKEN
obligations which they would place on other men. But, after On December 30 the wireless brought news from Guate- having thus put themselves on record, they might well have mala of the destruction of the capital of that neighbor Republic. repealed the whole provision.
Guatemala City, it is reported, has been completely destroyed It provides for a vicious tax. It puts an extra penalty ou
incomes derived from brains compared to those derived from to this district. It is intolerable that so much material help invested capital. Incomes from invested capital may, it is true, should be thrown away when it is so sorely needed. belong to those who are running up incomes by their own Surely such a plea to be permitted to help should not fall on exertions; but such incomes may also belong to the idle rich, to deaf ears. It is not often that a nation is criticised for asking those who merely sit at their desks and clip coupons, to those too little rather than too much from its citizens. with no purposeful occupations, to those of no particular use to the community. If not to-day, the day will come when the Government will have to discriminate between earned and
SOME DIFFICULTIES OF WEEKLY JOURNALISM unearned incomes.
In these stirring times, when things of great importance in It ought to be a fundamental principle of taxation that the the world history are happening every day, the trials of the Government should impose a higher rate on incomes from investo editors of a weekly newspaper like The Outlook are greatly ment than on incomes from brains and industry. Certainly in augmented. The last forms of The Outlook go to press about ten comes earned by the efforts of individuals and where no capital or eleven o'clock on Wednesday evening of each week. Our is invested ought not to be regarded as excess profits or taxed composing-room is kept open to this hour on Wednesdays in as such.
order that the latest possible news may reach our readers. The worst of this provision is that though it pretends to be sometimes an event so important happens on Thursday, after an “excess profits” tax, it is nothing of the sort. No matter the edition is on the press, that we stop the presses, take out a what the individual earned before the war, the entire income form of two or three pages, reshape and recast it. Usually this above the sum of $6,000 bears the unusually heavy and discrim can be done without delay or mishap in getting the edition inating tax of eight per cent. It is not a tax on war profits in promptly to our subscribers, but in the issue of The Outlook any sense whatever. It is a special additional income tax with for last week, January 2, a slight mishap did occur. The anout reason laid upon a special class.
nouncement of the President's taking over the railways of To our regret, Representative Longworth's amendment to the country was not made until Thursday morning, December 27. rectify the excess profits tax was defeated. This may not mean The edition of The Outlook dated January 2 was then in its final defeat, however. We hope that it will pass the Senate process of being printed. We stopped the presses, took out from and be reconsidered in the House. If not, as Representative the forms one or two articles and substituted an article on the Lenroot remarked during the debate, “We will take it to the new policy of Federal railway control as announced by the people of the country in the next election.”
President. In making this change, through one of those mishaps which sometimes happen even in the best-regulated newspaper
offices-mishaps which the New York “Sun” used to ascribe THE NEGRO AND THE WAR
to the “ office cat”-some defective copies of The Outlook, lackAn appeal has come to The Outlook from a Negro lawyer ing the editorial article on “ Government Operation of the Railof New York, Mr. Charles A. Smythwick, which ought to ways,” were mailed before the defect was discovered and remereceive very careful consideration of an un-Congressional variety died. The defective copies were only a few hundred in number,
Mr. Smythwick begins by the assertion that less than half of but each one must have been as annoying to the recipient as the ten million Negroes in the United States are at the present though a million had been printed. We shall be glad to mail
rectness of his estimate, we can readily agree with his further be good enough to notify us that their copy was misprinted. statement that such a state of affairs“ raises a serious question ---serious, because the Nation cannot dispense with the services of four or five million citizens in this crisis.” Our corre- NEW LANDS IN THE ARCTIC spondent states that the situation which he condemns has not In our picture section this week will be found a portrait been caused by any lack of patriotism among our Negro citi- of the famous Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson, whose zens, but from the fact that American Negroes have been made safe arrival at Herschel Island has been followed by news of to feel that their assistance was not wanted.
him from Melville Island, in Alaska. Both despatches seem to It is in no spirit of racial antagonism that the criticism of the have come by means of a trading vessel. present conditions is made. “If we are defeated in this war," The later message is extremely interesting and records in we are told,“ race prejudice, social equality, superiority or infe- detail a new Arctic exploit, namely, the discovery by Stefansriority between man and man, will not matter; in that case we son in the summer of 1916 of several small islands and of one shall all-superior and inferior-go down to one common ruin.” of comparatively large size. This larger island has its southManifestations of race prejudice our correspondent condemns, west corner in latitude 79° 50' north and longitude 102° west, not because of their effect upon his own race, but chiefly because and reaches northward for about two degrees. Mr. Stefansson of their effect upon the war. He points out that unfairness to also extended very largely his knowledge of the land which he his people at the present time disturbs labor conditions, pre discovered in 1915. vents Negro soldiers from throwing their hearts into their work,
It is supposed that Stefansson has arrived at Fort Yukon in and results in the wasting of valuable resources in food and Alaska, which is about two hundred and fifty miles southwest supplies.
of Herschel Island. He reports that Captain Beneard, of the Specifically he points out some of the ways in which Negroes Mary Sachs, and a Norwegian named Thomsen lost their lives have been made to feel that their aid was not wanted :
in trying to bring mail to Melville Island in 1916; otherwise : The agents sent out by the Government to sell Liberty bonds, Captain Stefansson's long and arduous Arctic exploration seems to conserve the food supply, and to husband the material re
to have been without serious illness or any disaster. sources of the Nation in general have paid scant attention to the
It is almost exactly four years and a half since Stefansson Negroes. A Negro woman complained to the writer a few days
started on his journey to the Far North. During this time he ago that she was in a certain theater in New York City on the night before the last day of the Liberty bond campaign, when
has been heard from only once, in 1915, when he sent the news
of his first discovery of new land. an agent was present soliciting subscribers for Liberty bonds. There were five other Negroes besides her present; the agent As we pointed out in an article printed in The Outlook solicited subscriptions from all the persons present except those about a year ago called “ An Explorer who Feared to Cross six Negroes.
Broadway,” Stefansson first became known to the general None of these Negroes had bought a Liberty bond up to that public in 1910 because of his discovery of the so-called White time ; and so far as the writer has been able to find out only one
Eskimos of Victoria Island. He is an American citizen, born of them bought Liberty bonds the following day, which was the
in Canada of Icelandic parents, and previous to his discovery last opportunity. ... So little attention was paid to Negroes in
of the blond Eskimos had traveled among the Eskimos of the the campaign for the Second Liberty Loan that “Harlem," in New York City, the richest Negro district in the world, was not
Mackenzie River and had studied them in detail. His prime canvassed. So completely was this district ignored that even in
principle in traveling among the people of the Far North has the height of the canvass one would not have ascertained that been to live as the natives live and to carry the slightest possible the campaign to sell Liberty bonds was in progress from a visit amount of food, clothing, and equipment.