Cortland Evening Standard, Wednesday, February 15, 1894.
The License Question.
The question of license or no-license comes before the voters of Cortlandville in a somewhat different shape at this time from what it did a year ago. Then the flagrant abuse of the license-granting power and the reckless disregard of law by many licensed places had aroused public indignation to a high pitch, and an emphatic victory for no-license was the result.
This year, while our town has been nominally a no-license town, liquor has for months been sold without let or hindrance in nearly all if not all the saloons within our borders. And whoever has wanted to set up a saloon has done so when and where he saw fit. The illegal traffic, carried on cautiously and secretly at first, has grown steadily bolder and more open. This has not been because the friends of temperance have made no effort to enforce the law. They have made earnest efforts. They have contributed of their time, their energy and their money liberally to make the town in fact as well as in name a no-license town. That they have not succeeded has been due to no fault of theirs. It has been due to legislation which has put the burden and expense of punishing violation of the liquor laws—imperfect and inadequate as these laws are—upon individual citizens unassisted by the legal machinery which brings other violators of law to justice.
Formerly it was the duty of district attorneys to take cognizance of violations of the excise laws, to present the guilty parties to the grand jury, to prosecute them and secure their punishment, at the expense of the people of the county. Now private citizens must bring offenders against the liquor laws before a justice of the peace or police justice and bear the expense of trying them before that august tribunal a justice's jury. In other words the offense of willfully breaking as important laws as there are on the statute books is placed on a par with being a vagrant, or getting drunk or disorderly.
It has required the experience of the past year to show how skillfully the liquor interest has contrived to make it next to impossible for the laws affecting it to be enforced.
We do not wish to indulge in any reproaches or recriminations, or to question the sincerity of action of any extreme advocate of temperance, but we cannot help asking whether those who have refused to support the Republican party because it would not go far enough in restricting liquor-selling are not a trifle disappointed at the present condition of affairs, and whether they do not really believe that the situation would be far better if, instead of weakening the only party in this state which has done anything in behalf of temperance, they, had acted with it and helped defeat the legislators and governors who have united in giving us our present mockeries in the shape of liquor laws.
We would like to see Cortlandville a really no-license town, but we regret to say that the only alternatives which are presented to the people this year seem to be whether this community shall be a license community or whether whiskey is to be sold without license—as every one knows that it has been for the past few months—and with the certainty that the longer it is sold in violation of law without the sellers being prosecuted and punished the more open and defiant the sale will become. The question is one which every voter must settle with his own conscience.
Mr. Courtenay de Kalb tries in The Forum to arouse the American people to the danger and disgrace of allowing the Nicaragua canal to lie unfinished while England is quietly maneuvering to get hold of it herself. In the concession granted by Nicaragua to the Nicaragua Canal Construction company was included the right to differentiate the canal tolls in favor of the United States provided the structure was built by citizens of this country. This grant alone is worth millions of dollars a year. Undoubtedly if the grants made to the old company are allowed to lapse through neglect the same privilege will be accorded England or any other nation whose citizens carry the work through to completion. The concession expires in 7 1/2 years from this time.
The Maritime Canal company has succeeded the old Construction company, which spent $7,000,000 on the work and then was forced to abandon it for lack of funds. Mr. de Kalb upbraids roundly the apathy of American capitalists, who sit still and see the greatest enterprise of modern times falling into ruin before their eyes. It is time they waked up. The tonnage on a Nicaragua canal such as has been projected would pay, Mr. de Kalb says, interest and principal on $150,000,000 of bonds in less than 80 years.
What is wanted now is for congress to guarantee the payment of these bonds, so that the investors will feel secure. With that guarantee at its back, the company doubtless could get capital enough to complete the work. Senator Sherman has been trying to make congress do something for the past three years, but in vain. If it does not, then congress will fly in the face of the wish of the American people and stand in the way of American manifest destiny.
The great peace navies that have cost so much money appear to be catching it all around now, when there is a prospect of any of them being wanted for actual use. The charges in England against the weakness and inefficiency of the naval fighting outfit are a menace to the Gladstone administration. In the French chamber of deputies M. Lockroy, son-in-law of Victor Hugo, declared that the French war vessels are inferior in speed, number and everything else to those of the other nations of Europe. Much the same statement was made in Great Britain with regard to the navy of that country, where it was said the Gladstone government had permitted the British navy to run down till it was far inferior to that of France.
Meantime in America the United States government was considering the purchase of the Ericsson torpedo boat Destroyer. About that time the Brazilian government came along, however, and purchased her for service against the rebels. When she reached Rio from New York, she was found to be leaking badly and was said to be utterly unfit for fighting service. The Brazilians refused to accept her, though they had bought her. This, with the fact that our crack gunboats, Machias and Castine, have to be cut in two and pieced because they are top-heavy, looks as though our navy was not much better than the rest of them that are built in time of peace. Italy's is perhaps the weakest and rottenest of all, owing to the corruption in the state departments of that unhappy country.
THE TESTIMONY AT ALBANY CAUSES HIM TO SMILE.
The Witnesses Unanimous In Contradicting the Allegations Made Against Him. Dr. Wey's Evidence Particularly Favorable to the Superintendent—Witnesses Severely Cross-examined—Prisoners Convicted on Forced Statements.
ALBANY, Feb. 15.—The witnesses sworn in the Elmira reformatory investigation were unanimous in contradicting the allegations made against Mr. Brockway, while the superintendent sat and smiled. In contradiction to the charges of brutality made by former inmates, Dr. Wey swore positively that he had never seen an inmate of the institution who was suffering from more than a black eye or slight bruise.
Judge Gilbert said: "Do you mean that you never saw any instance where the blood flowed?"
"Will you swear that all wounds you dressed were not received in the bathroom?"
"I have no knowledge that they were."
"Do you mean to swear that there was not one in your whole experience?"
Oscar Hoppe testified that he was one of a courtmarshall for the investigation for licentiousness in January, 1893. The other members were Messrs. Bryant, Holpin and Barnett. Over 100 inmates were examined, and 48 were found guilty by confession and 16 by examination. The method of inquiry was by accusing the boys suspected and asking them for statements in relation to the same. The boys were not sworn. No stenographer's notes were taken. After the investigation closed the statements were typewritten and filed with the record of the man accused. All records were submitted to the superintendent.
Witness next gave testimony relative to the state prisons, submitting a table of statistics of the quantity and quality of food furnished the inmates. Also of the comparative death rate in 1890, 1891 and 1892 in Auburn, Sing Sing, Clinton and Elmira.
He had seen blood on the halls and corridors, near the solitary cells. It was near the dentist's room, where a number of men, who had their teeth drawn were expectorating. He had received letters and complaints of the treatment which they had received from Mr. Brockway.
He was severely cross-examined by Judge Gilbert. He admitted that some of those sent to Auburn after the sodomy investigation had never been present when the charges had been preferred against them and they had been convicted.
He showered a storm of questions as to extorting testimony from the witnesses and procured an indirect admission as to the truth of the same. He also admitted that the man Facey, whose evidence convicted a number of the convicts, had been whipped into the statement which caused the conviction.
At this stage of the examination Judge Gilbert said that he did not examine in this line so much to prove anything against Mr. Brockway as to show the legislature the evil resulting from the present law governing the institution.
H. G. REYNOLDS INTERVIEWED.
He Gives His Views on the License Question.
A STANDARD reporter called Tuesday afternoon on Mr. Horace G. Reynolds, who was nominated for excise commissioner at a citizens' caucus held in the Miller block Monday evening. Mr. Reynolds said that this was the first information he had that he had been nominated, but knew it had been talked of. In answer to an inquiry as to how he stood on the license question, he said:
"I believe in temperance. I believe that the suppression of all kinds of intoxicants is, to a great extent, in the power of the people. Liquor is, in my opinion, a curse to this great land not second to what the slave trade was. It brings untold misery into the homes of the people of this town. It makes widows and orphans. It breaks up the peace of households. It fills almshouses, jails and penitentiaries and fattens pauper graveyards with the remains of its victims. Indeed, no language is adequate to portray the awful affliction caused by this infamous traffic.
"Now, the serious question which confronts the people of this town, and which has baffled the ablest and most noble minds for years past, is, How can this rum traffic be put down? There are many good people, having the cause of temperance at heart, who firmly believe that the great work of reform can be best accomplished by legal and forcible, rather than by moral and persuasive influences. It is my individual conviction that infinitely more can be accomplished toward the reform of drunkards and the suppression of drunkenness by organized and persistent effort along moral lines then in another way. I further fail to see what conceivable benefit can be accomplished by doing away entirely with town licenses where there is not a public sentiment which will at least curtail in some small degree the free and open sale of intoxicating beverages. Such a course not only fails of its object, but brings the laws into disrepute, ferments local animosities and most of all, emboldens the defiant breaking of the law, so that a positive injury is done to the cause of true reform.
"For the past year Cortland has been without a hotel or saloon license, the drug stores having a license to sell only upon medical prescriptions. Yet it is a notorious fact that there has been more drunkenness in town during this period of no-license than for many years previous, and this, too, in face of a supreme effort on the part of many of our best citizens, who have devoted their time and given liberal financial aid in an effort to enforce the no-license law. No one will question the zeal or deny the ability which has been brought to bear in the vain effort to bring the defiant breakers of the law to justice.
"Granting that this town continues to elect a no-license board of excise, is there any reason to hope that future results will be more favorable to temperance reform? If so, the new sources of strength do not appear on the surface. I do not believe that the interests of temperance can be promoted, under present conditions, by doing away entirely with town licenses. Better, for the present at least, to grant licenses judiciously, with a purpose to restrict the sale of liquor to the greatest extent possible.
"Quite a step in the direction of reform would be accomplished in this town if by united effort the traffic could be even confined to six days in the week, thus prohibiting the sale on Sunday; and until a wholesome public sentiment can be aroused so as to prevent the flagrant violation of the law on Sunday it would seem quite useless to attempt total prohibition.
"It is to be hoped that the people of this town will place themselves upon record at our approaching town meeting with a clear and full appreciation of their personal duty and responsibility. If it is true that the interests of temperance can be best promoted by not granting a single license, then it is to be hoped that the voters will rally to the support of the no-license candidate, giving to that ticket an overwhelming majority even more decisive than that of a year ago. And may every voter supporting no-license realize that with a decree at the ballot box totally prohibiting the sale of liquor as a beverage, he is morally pledged to use his utmost influence to enforce that decree to the end, that our laws shall not be trampled under foot and violated with impunity, and a great and humanitarian cause thus rendered farcical in the extreme. It is too grave a question to be trifled with and further made the butt of ridicule.
"On the other hand, should it seem more practicable for the present to try and curtail the traffic by limiting the number of licensed places, and by the enforcement of restrictive measures, even this work is likely to require all the support possible to be secured in order to put a stop to the double iniquity of Sunday selling, the inevitable result of which, if long continued, can hardly fail of infinitely greater demoralization.
"It is not putting it too strong to say, that this community owes a duty to itself to calmly consider the present situation, to vote understandingly and conscientiously upon this question, and then, to go forward and vindicate the majesty of the law."
W. C. T. U. Notes.
The regular meeting of the W. C. T. U. will be held in the rooms (over Collins' store) Saturday, Feb. 17, at 2:30 P. M. Consecration service from 2:30 to 3 P.M. At the close of miscellaneous business the time will be given to the superintendent of the literature department, and will be full of interest. A cordial invitation is extended to all ladies to be present.
—By reason of the great press of matter to-day a number of interesting local items had to be omitted until to-morrow.
—The Woman's Relief corps will hold its regular meeting next Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 20, at 3:30 o'clock. Please note change of time.
—The reports of the president and secretary of the Hospital association were to-day crowded out by other local items. They will appear to-morrow.
—The Prohibition candidate for collector in the town of Cortlandville is Albert Allport, his name having been substituted for that of Byron Phelps, who refused to be a candidate.
—The Republicans of Marathon recognized the ability of their late supervisor, Walter A. Brink, and expressed their satisfaction with his work and their confidence in him by unanimously instructing the secretary of their town convention to cast a single ballot for his nomination for the same office.
—Every voter should read the article on the fourth page concerning the Myers voting machines. We place the facts therein contained before our leaders at the suggestion of a member of our town board, who believes and rightly, that the people should be fully informed on the subject before they vote to invest nearly $2,000 in one.
—While Miss Grace Stoker was driving quite a high-spirited horse down Port Watson-st. yesterday afternoon, in turning out, the lines slipped in her hands, which were encased in woolen gloves, and the cutter struck a telephone pole. Miss Stoker jumped out, but not in time to get hold of the bit. The horse broke from the cutter and ran to Niver's livery stable, where it was captured.