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THE AMERICAN MONTHLY

VOL. XXIV.

Review of Reviews.

NEW YORK, JULY, 1901.

No. 1.

Another

Year.

THE PROGRESS OF THE WORLD.

The harvesting of the wheat crop beGreat Crop gan about the middle of June along the southern line of our vast cerealgrowing area. A splendid crop is reported from California, and the Kansas yield, if not so prodigious as had been hoped for in April, proves highly satisfactory. As the army of harvesters has moved steadily northward to the chief regions of spring-wheat production, it has become certain that the aggregate crop of this particular cereal would be the greatest in acreage, and probably in aggregate yield, in the entire history of the country. The weather of spring and early summer was not favorable to the growth of the maize crop, although the high price of corn in the market has this year induced farmers to plant more acres by far than ever before. It is too early to make any predictions or estimates about this year's production of corn; but it is likely that the wheat crop of the United States will exceed 700,000,000 bushels, and surpass that of the record year, 1898, which was about 675,000,000. Last year's (about 550,000,000 bushels) was the largest crop ever produced, except that of 1898. The reports of the Department of Agriculture at Washington have. been watched with keen interest by the business world, and their favorable character has been reflected in a tone of renewed confidence all along the line. While American trade and industry have become so vast and varied that the agricul tural conditions are no longer in any given year the supreme factor that they formerly were in the prosperity of the railroads and in the nation's business life at large, it remains true that farming is at the very basis of our wealth-production, and that a high average yield of the three great staple crops,-wheat, corn, and cotton,-must for years to come be regarded as the most important and vitalizing element in our economic life. And with the scientific methods that are coming into use, American farming has a better prospect before it than ever.

Prosperity and

Trend.

Prudent and careful management the Economic through a period of several years in which good crops and good prices have very generally prevailed, has wrought a marked transformation in the farming States of the Mississippi Valley. Mortgages have been so generally paid off that what was once the immense business of loaning Eastern money on Western farms has been almost entirely eliminated. The West itself has an ample amount of free capital; and nowadays when farmers wish to anticipate. the future by borrowing money to make improvements they can find plenty of money in their own neighborhoods to be loaned at easy rates on good security. One result of these prevailing and favorable conditions of agriculture and business has been to dull the keen edge of popular interest in subjects related to the financial and industrial policy of the country. Great consolidations of railroad systems are going steadily forward under these prosperous conditions without exciting the amount of opposition from so-called antimonopolists that movements of a far less significant and even revolutionary character were accustomed to provoke only a few years ago. The Wall Street panic of the early part of May seems not to have disturbed the actual business life of the country to any extent whatever. It checked for a time the spirit of wild speculation on the stock exchanges, and such a result was desirable rather than otherwise. More lately, the principal causes of speculative activity have been the reports that one railroad or another was about to be purchased for amalgamation with some larger system. In our next number our readers may expect to find from one or more especially competent contributors a summing-up and review of what has actually taken place in the United States in the last two years in the direction of railroad consolidation. Each month, moreover, adds new chapters to the record. The re-making of the railroad map of America marks a great epoch in the history of transportation.

An Unprece

The year 1901 promises to surpass dented Trust- very greatly, indeed, the wonderful Making Season. record of 1899 in the matter of form. ing great combinations of capital. The so-called trusts of this year will probably average larger in the amount of their capitalization than those of last year or the year before. The average would, of course, be brought very high by the fact of the immense capitalization of the United States Steel Corporation, which is $1,100,000,000. The recent combinations have covered widely different fields. At Salt Lake City, for example, early in the year there came together a great number of cattleraisers, who formed the American Cattle Growers' Association. This we do not understand to be an outright consolidation of interests, but a union that might well lead in the future to a unified corporation. The pineapple-growers of Florida, in like manner, formed a combination for the sake of controlling the marketing and transportation of their product. In New England there has been a great consolidation of brickyards. In the South the Planters' Distributing Company, so called, has brought together sugar-cane interests. A great many flour mills in Pennsylvania and Maryland have come under unified control this year, and there have been several other recent combines that are concerned with the production of supplies of food, one of the important ones being that which is to control the greater part of the salmon fishing and canning industry. Among these combinations having to do with food supplies may be mentioned one to control the market

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1901.

66

ing and price of eggs that come from the so western part of the country by way of Ka City; another is a union of companies mak oatmeal and other cereals; and another is a packing, or meat supply combination, the Ca dian salt industry also having been firmly o solidated. In March the American Can Compa commonly known as the tin can trust,' incorporated in New Jersey with a capital st of $88,000,000. This corporation now contro very great part of the business of making tin c in all parts of the country. In coal-mining, the electric and gas supply business, and in ot enterprises of a local-service nature, it is scarc necessary to say that the tendency toward c solidation goes steadily on throughout the co try, and every month supplies new instances One of the most important new co Some Large Companies of binations is known as the mach ery trust," its title being the All Chalmers Company, formed about the beginni of May with a capital stock of $50,000,000. T firms that have gone into this union were la manufacturers of steam-engines, mining mach ery, and the like, and one object of the corpo tion is both to keep and to extend the forei market that has been found for heavy Americ machinery, such as that needed by the mines South Africa and other parts of the world fo merly supplied, in general, from England. The seems to have been some delay in carrying o the plan of consolidating various shipyards, mentioned in these pages a month or two ag but it is understood that the project is not aba doned, and that it is to be taken up at an ear day. Another very important movement rel ing to the future of American machinery is t new locomotive combine, of which Mr. Samu R. Callaway is to be the head, and on account which he has resigned from the presidency of t New York Central Railroad, to be succeeded Mr. W. H. Newman, an active and success railway administrator who comes to the N York Central from the presidency of the La Shore road. Mr. Callaway's American Lo motive Company has a capital of $50,000,00 and it includes, it is stated, most of the locom tive works of the country excepting the Baldw works at Philadelphia and a company at Pit burg. It is reported that several independe competitors of the Standard Oil Company in Oh have surrendered and are to be absorbed in t great combination. It is also understood th much of the best of the new oil-producing pro erty in Texas and elsewhere will pass into t hands of the Standard. The lighting compani of Cincinnati are said to be consolidating with

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largest of the street-railway projects is that which, according to reports, is to combine the traction companies of Philadelphia and Pittsburg, and to have a capitalization of $65,000,000. Tremendous excitement was caused in Philadelphia last month by the granting of franchises for the additional street-railway lines on many miles of streets. According to the best public opinion, the local authorities made these grants with scandalous disregard of the interests of the taxpayers and the public treasury. Before the mayor had signed the ordinances conferring these grants, the Hon. John Wanamaker, by way of making his protest emphatic, offered to pay $2,500,000 for the privileges, depositing $250,000 as a guarantee of good faith. In a letter to the mayor, Mr. Wanamaker stated that the amount he was offering was only a fraction of what the franchises were really worth, although the city authorities were granting them to favored private interests without compensation. The mayor, however, signed the ordinances. The agitation in Philadelphia marks at least a great advance in public opinion. Neither in Chicago nor in New York would it now be possible to do anything at all comparable with what the Philadelphia authorities have done, although eight or ten years ago exactly such transactions would have been perfectly easy in almost any city in the United States. Some of

MR. SAMUEL R. CALLAWAY. (President of American Locomotive Company.)

fa

us, indeed, who ten or fifteen years ago were trying to persuade the average American business man to believe that valuable municipal franchises were public assets, and ought not to be parted with except for a suitable consideration, were held up as dangerous characters seeking to instill principles of revolutionary socialism, or something worse, in the public mind. The people of the United States have learned a great deal in the past ten years, and these things are no longer a question of intelligence, but one of public morals. Philadelphia business men, for some reason which Philadelphians alone are competent to explain, do not take the effective interest in municipal finance and kindred topics that such bodies as the Chamber of Commerce and the Merchants' Association take in New York. And Boston now has a new record in these respects.

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Where Are the Anti-Trust Leaders?

As we have already remarked, the new movement toward consolidation and the creation of great corporations has been going forward of late with almost none of that bitter antagonism toward it which was so manifest even a year ago. It is a striking fact that some of the most intense of the former anti-corporation leaders are themselves going actively into the company-promoting business. ExSenator Pettigrew, of South Dakota, is said to have been both active and successful in the stock market of late, and in various projects not precisely compatible with the position he had been understood to hold for some years toward the modern financial world. Mr. Towne, of Minnesota, who was the most prominent of

THE TAMMANY TIGER: "I am only an amateur compared with those Philadelphia fellows."

From the Herald (New York).

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