Tuesday, November 25, 2014


U. S. Senator Roger Q. Mills

The Cortland Democrat, Friday, August 10, 1888.

The Mills Bill.
   The first tariff for the protection of our "infant industries," was passed in 1789. The average rate on all dutiable imports was then fixed at 8 per cent.
   The tariff of 1824 raised the rate to 38 per cent.
   Four years later, in 1828, it was increased to 40 per cent.
   The tariff law of 1842 reduced the rate to 32 per cent.
   The next raise was in 1861 when the rate was fixed at 35 1/2 per cent.
   The tariff in 1864 for war purposes was 47 1/2 per cent.
   The Mills bill fixes the rate at 40 per cent—only seven per cent less than in war times, and 32 per cent higher than was necessary to protect our "industries" in their infancy in 1789.
   We ask all fair minded men if the Mill's bill, which leaves the tariff higher than it ever was, with the single exception of the war tax of 1864, is a free trade measure?—Ithaca Democrat.

U. S. General Philip Sheridan
Death of General Sheridan.
   General Philip H. Sheridan died at Nonquitt, Mass., at 10:30 o'clock last Sunday. While his death was not unexpected, the public were given to understand just previous thereto, that there was no immediate danger. His death is said to have occurred from heart failure. "Little Phil," as his soldiers called him, was a born fighter, and was almost invariably successful in his battles. About the only adversary he ever met that he could not overcome was the grim monster death. He was born at Somerset, Ohio in 1833.

   If a tariff tax of 47 1/2 per cent helps the working man, why not double the tax and possibly he might not have to work at all? If the first proposition is sound, the latter ought to be.
   The republican doctrine can be summed up in this sentence: The more taxes the people have to pay the more prosperous they become. In other words the more money a man is compelled to disgorge for taxes the more he will have left in his wallet.
   Chairman Mills owns more sheep on his Texas ranch than do all the Republican editors and politicians put together who are shouting that he is ruining sheep raising by declaring in favor of untaxed wool. Intelligent people know that between 1867, when the taxes on wool were raised, and 1872, only five years, the number of sheep in this country decreased nearly eight millions.
   How many diamonds, stuffed birds, cabinets of coins, snails, quoits, tortoise shells, and how much attar of roses, mother of pearl, rosewood and mahogany, meerschaum, and jewelry, do the railroad laborer, mechanic and farmer have use for during a year? Is it for their interest that these articles should be free of duty; or would they gain more by cheapening handsaws, cream of tartar, rice, garden seeds, books, boards, hats, thread and clothing?—Exchange.
   Republican papers are now claiming that taking the tax off whiskey is "in harmonious accord with the most advanced and enlightened views of those who are honestly striving to promote the cause of temperance reform." In other words our friends profess to believe that to lower the price will lessen the consumption of whiskey, make it easy to get and it will not be required. Evidently our friends have placed the appetite for stimulants in the toper’s mind instead of his palate. To be consistent they must also reason that to make clothing cheaper would reduce the necessity and inclination for its use. Reduce the price of coal and fires will not be needed when the thermometer goes down below zero. If this reasoning be sound, why not put all the necessaries of life on the free list and thus abolish the term. It would be a great saving to poor people.

   The peach crop to Ontario and Niagara counties promises splendidly.
   Horseheads [New York] claims to have a colored man 150 years old, employed in a livery stable.
   The goblets and lamp shimmys that the glass eaters in the dime museums eat are made for this special purpose of isinglass and silicate, and are comparatively harmless.
   Joshua Hirst, the aged janitor of Cornell University, was found dead in bed Tuesday morning of last week. Some years ago Hirst willed his body to the anatomical department of the University to be dissected and the skeleton to be mounted and preserved. He left no family.
   A break in the Erie canal was discovered at one o'clock, Thursday morning, a little east of Brighton. The heel-path side of the canal was washed away for a considerable distance. The break was caused by rats. Thirty-nine boats were caught in the three mile cut east of Rochester, and with their cargoes are badly damaged.
   A case that has battled the skill of the best physicians in Western New York for the past three years just reached its climax and is a large-sized surprise party to the physicians. Four years ago this summer, Nina, the 2 year old daughter of Dr. S. G. Lewis of Olean, while playing with other children swallowed a piece of dirt. The other children thought it contained a small angle worm, but the child's parents thought not, and paid no attention to the matter and soon forgot it. Nearly a year later the child began to complain of its stomach feeling badly, and said that something was alive and wiggling about therein. She grew worse and became so nervous that it was impossible for her to keep quiet more than a moment at a time. The little girl, now 6 years of age, was taken with a violent fit of vomiting, Wednesday, and in her struggle threw forth the little angle worm which had reposed in her stomach for four years. The worm had grown to an enormous size, it measuring nearly ten inches long and as large around as one's finger. The child is rapidly recovering.


Monday, November 24, 2014





Albert Einstein is justly famous for his theory of relativity, but I know him best for his definition of insanity.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Following along, I've decided to abandon my efforts to convince people that they should use their votes to protest against corruption in DC as well as my efforts to enlist people in any way to involve themselves in actions to eliminate said corruption. You may be interested in my reasons.
To begin, my own efforts will continue; I will support Rootstrikers, Lawrence Lessig, and others in spite of my conviction that these groups have allowed themselves to slip into a diffuse, 'Occupy Wall Street' rabble. Still, their energy is bringing the 'root problem' to the forefront with a growing number of voters.
My reasons: To the best of my knowledge, I've failed to convince a single person to use his/her ballot to express disgust with the corruption of special interest money in DC. Curiosity has led me to search for why.

My conclusions--why we vote:

1/ Out of a sense of duty.

2/ Loyalty (however reluctant) to our party.

3/ Our own vested interest (where our paycheck, our benefits, or welfare come from).

4/ The media frenzy catching everyone up in the excitement of the moment--a turning point in history.

5/ We're passionate for a specific issue--welfare--too much/too little, the tax code, immigration, and see our party's version as best.

6/ Our selective listening, and the pleasure we get from our own party's propaganda--the fear factor. This last is where most of the money is spent, creating distrust and loathing for the 'other' party. How can we risk those bastards winning? And it's not just voters who are effected; politicians don't want to be seen with those ^%^#$%. So much for bi-partisan cooperation.

All of this is well understood by our political class, and is how they insure their incumbencies with special interest money.

P. S. Several people have reacted to my 'Last Essay'. Further clarification seems in order.

For clarity: I am not discouraged by my failure to persuade people to my point of view, but rather, I recognize the difficulty in accepting my radical concept. I firmly believe that our democracy is broken, and that the only votes that count are those cast on behalf of a well-funded special interest. (Not all special interests are evil.)

To effect change in any organization (government, business, your local garden club), one must understand the natural (sometimes base) motivations of its members. Our elected officials in DC seem to be motivated overwhelmingly by power, and a comfortable retirement. The current system of corruption serves these motivations very well, especially for incumbents. With so many citizens not voting (disgust etc.), an incumbent can count on his/her party base for most of the votes needed, and on special interests for enough money to be reelected. And, should the opponent win, we have a new incumbent. There is no chance that either party will change this system unless a large number of voters withhold their support unequivocally on this condition. A vote for a candidate of either party sends the opposite message. Meanwhile, we will continue to see issues important to the American people ignored, or dealt with largely to the satisfaction of special interests.

I continue my efforts as an individual.

P. P. S. I received an email from Ben Cohen (Ben&Jerry's). nhRebellion looks more focused than Lessig.
Joseph –
Hi, it’s Ben, the guy on the left, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and now Head Stamper at StampStampede.org and we’ve teamed up with our friends at the New Hampshire Rebellion to create a customized stamp to stamp money out of politics and end the system of legalized bribery. 

The Stampede helps to build the movement by encouraging Americans to legally rubber stamp paper currency with a demand to get money out of politics. So far there are over 25,000 of us! We are literally making our money talk by turning it into media.

What we are creating together is a “Petition on Steroids,” because once it goes into circulation, each stamped dollar is seen by 875 people.
If 1 person stamps 3 bills a day for a year, the message will reach 1 MILLION people. It’s totally legal, slightly subversive, and fun too. 
Click here to get a stamp (or get a few for the holidays!) They cost $10.50 a piece and the first 25 people to order get a FREE PINT OF BEN AND JERRY’S ICE CREAM.

And please don't forget to join us in New Hampshire this January. Spaces are filling fast so be sure to register to walk today!
Thanks for helping us fix this root problem together!

Ben Cohen

NH Rebellion

P.S. I continue to write, making slow progress on a new novel and I plan to post occasional personal (not about corruption) essays and short stories on my blog.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


The Cortland Democrat, Friday, August 3, 1888.

A Request.

   Only about three weeks remain before the time of holding the State Firemen's Convention in our village. Already the assurances are such as to warrant us in saying that it will be the occasion of the largest gathering of people ever witnessed in Cortland.
   Our citizens take a just pride in the growth and prosperity of the village and should put forth every effort to make it as attractive as possible.
   For a long time the several committees have been at work perfecting the arrangements for the same. Much work remains yet to be done.
   We ask the hearty co-operation of all citizens in this work. Let homes be beautified, decorated, and made attractive. Let the streets be put in order, let places of business be trimmed and decorated, in other words, we want our village "dressed up" in her best clothes.
   Cortland enjoys an enviable reputation abroad of being a beautiful and thriving village of which reputation her citizens are proud, Let us fully sustain that reputation.
   The eyes of the people are turned toward us now.
   The Firemen who are to be present on that occasion come from this State and adjoining States and the British Possessions [Canada], and are comprised of noble men, who are well worthy of every attention we can show them.
   Other cities have been proud to honor them on similar occasions in a royal way. We feel confident in saying that the parade during the convention week will be the finest spectacle ever witnessed in Cortland, or in the State, and we ask our citizens to aid us in every way possible in perfecting the arrangements for the convention.
   By the Committee.
   DORE C. SMITH, Secy.

Union Fire Alarm Company—$100 Reward.
   Whereas, the wires and machinery of the fire alarm, erected by this company in the town of Cortland, have from time to time during said erection, been maliciously tampered with and injured, and are still being injured. This company will pay the above reward for the detection and arrest of any person caught in the act or known to have committed any act to willfully injure said fire alarm. They will also pay the same amount to any person who has been approached by any party at any time within three months to meddle with, or injure in any manner said fire alarm, providing said person or persons will substantiate their charges under oath.
   P. N. RAMSY,
   President U. F. A. Co.
   NEW YORK, July 29, 1888.

A Great Scheme.
   A meeting of the Republican County Committee was held at the Republican headquarters in the Grand Central Block, at which all the towns in the county, with the exception of Harford, were represented. Hon. A. A. Carley, chairman of the County Committee, presided. The date of Friday, Aug. 17th, was fixed for the County Convention, at which time the delegates to the State Convention at Saratoga will be named and the nominations for the county offices made,
   The idea of fixing the convention before the Firemen's Association is a good one and deserves to meet with success. The candidate can, and doubtless will be on the ground early Monday morning and remain during the entire week. He can thus receive very many of his constituents from the "rooral deestricks" who will come in to see the big show, and can explain to them personally, the necessity of his election as they tarry together over the red lemonade or the more potent lager. The disappointed aspirant for political honors will also have the advantage of knowing that there is no further use of his dropping any wealth among the crowd, and will thereby escape the expense and worry which he would otherwise be obliged to undergo.
   The only ones who will suffer from this arrangement are the ones who will be counted on to vote these gentlemen in. They will be obliged to get along with one entertainment where but for this coup d’etat, there might have been three or four or possibly a half dozen. However, as we said before, it's a great scheme and should be crowned with the greatest success.

   Dr. G. W. Hull quotes the price of good teeth at $6 per set, in his card on our first page.
   The bed of Railroad street [Central Avenue] from Main to Church is being lowered about sixteen inches, preparatory to being macadamized.  The material used in macadamizing will be crushed stone.
   In our notice of last week of the portrait of Dr. Frederick Hyde, which was purchased by the trustees of the Idiot Asylum, we omitted to state that the very excellent work was done by Eugene Powers, of this place.
   It was rumored on the streets yesterday, that the latest accession to the ranks of our friends, the enemy, was the saffron hued gentleman who presides over the washee washee opposite the republican headquarters. One by one the clans rally to the support of their Indiana benefactor. [This item refers to a real/imaginary Chinese-American who owned and operated a laundry in Cortland. It appears he was a supporter of Harrison for President—CC editor.]

   Gas has been struck at Waterloo at a depth of 1,586 feet.
   Buffalo’s new directory places the population of that city at 258,560.
   The colored citizens of Ithaca will conduct an emancipation celebration August 9th.
   Eli Austin had a leg broken at a railroad crossing in Elmira a few months [ago.] July 5th he was run over and killed by the same train at the same crossing.
   Mike Conley, the Ithaca Giant, has challenged Jem Smith, the English pugilist, and the latter has accepted. The fight is to take place on the continent and the stakes to be from $5,000 to $10,000 a side.
   Work has begun on the proposed tunnel at the "zig zag" between Sidney and Walton, on the Ontario & Western railroad. The length of the tunnel will be 1,420 feet. The earth taken from the cavity will be used in filling up the trestles on the road.
Suicide at Preble.
   Lafayette Knowlton is a farmer living in Bennett Hollow, about 1 1/2 miles from the village of Preble. His family is composed of himself,  wife, her son Henry Parks, aged 21 years, by her first husband,  and a girl, 18 years of age, named Mary E., he had adopted from the Cortland County Alms House, four years ago, since his marriage with his present wife. She had been previously adopted by a family named Beebe, but Mr. and Mrs. Beebe both died and the girl was placed in the Alms House where Mr. Knowlton found her.
   She was in good health and spirits last Sunday, the 29th inst. She arose that morning and went about her household duties as usual. After breakfast she went, at about 9 o'clock, to the milk room to work. Soon after Mrs. Knowlton heard a noise like a fall and hastening to the milk room she saw Mary lying on the floor in spasms.
   Mrs. Knowlton was at once impressed with the thought that she had taken poison and asked her what she had taken. The girl as soon as she could speak, at first denied having taken anything but soon admitted that she had taken poison and begged her mother to give her something to save her life, saying she thought she wanted to die but she did not.
   The mother at once gave her some coffee and some salt and water, then she ran and called her husband who was out in the field. When he reached the room she had vomited and lay on the floor unconscious. He took her in his arms and carried her to the sitting room and laid her on the lounge and dispatched Henry Parks in haste for the family physician who soon arrived. He gave her some stimulants and she rallied so as to tell him what she had taken and where the balance of the drug was. It was found to be strychnine in the original bottle in which it was put up by the manufacturer, properly labeled and wrapped in the original blue wrapper, upon which the druggist's cost mark and selling price were plainly marked.
   In answer to the doctor's question she said she took as much of the poison as would make a pill the size of a pea. The doctor administered such remedies as are indicated in such cases but without the desired effect. She lingered in great agony until about 1 o'clock P. M., and died.
   Coroner Bradford was notified who summoned the following jury: J. D. Haynes, R. Van Buskirk, O. Pratt, R. Egbertson, A. V. H. Cummings, J. A. Gay, A. Van Denberg, John Ackles, A. Francisco. After the jury had viewed the body Dr. Hunt and the Coroner made a thorough and careful post mortem examination and no evidence of any disease was to be found.
   Mr. Knowlton and his wife were sworn. They related substantially the above facts, also that she had been corresponding with a man in Michigan, who had advertised for a wife, and they had opposed her corresponding with him. Last week she received a letter from him asking her to become his wife. Under her pillow was found a letter addressed to "Dear Father" which expressed much love and affection for him and the other members of the family, containing no word of reproach, except toward herself. She said perhaps she had not done as well for them as she ought; also a request that he send the enclosed letter to C. W. Hugill. the Michigan correspondent, stating it would be the last request she should ever make, that her soul would go to her maker, stained by the darkest of crimes, that of self murder.
   The enclosed letter, referred to by her, was a reply to Hugill's last letter. She did not reply to his proposal of marriage for further than after expressing her love for him, she said things had changed and she should never see him.
   After the examination of these witnesses the inquest was adjourned to August 6 at 10 o 'clock A. M.

Suicide at Virgil.
   Horace Henion. a respected and prosperous farmer living about four miles southeast of Virgil, on Snyder hill, committed suicide by hanging last Monday night. During the forenoon he had been engaged with work around his house and in the afternoon started for a back lot in which some cattle were pasturing, saying he was going to dig out a spring for them.
   As he did not return during the evening his wife became alarmed at his absence and went to the neighbors to start someone in search and on Tuesday morning he was found in a barn belonging to A. T. Dickerson. He had fastened a rope to the pole and jumped from a wagon standing in the barn. His neck was broken in the fall.
   Coroner Moore was at once notified, but decided on his arrival that no inquest was necessary. The body was then turned over to Undertaker Crain of Virgil, for burial which took place Wednesday noon.


   TOMPKINS.—A black snake which measured five feet in length was killed by John Burns in the marsh at Fall Creek, near Ithaca, one day last week.
   The State Chemist has been testing the brine from the Ithaca test well, and states that a superior article of salt can be made.
   As we go to press we learn that the wife of Ben Dutton, the prime actor in the Dryden tragedy [attempted murder and suicide—CC editor], is in town with a man to whom she is very anxious to be married. They have gone to the minister's. Wonder if they will attend Dutton's funeral?—Groton Journal. 
   Ithaca offers to give to the proprietors of the Remington Type Writer business, which is now carried on at Ilion, a plant once owned by the Ithaca Organ Company, but now lying idle. The plant is estimated to be worth [$69,000.] Ithaca also agrees to exempt the property from taxation for a term of years and to transport the machinery from Ilion to Ithaca, set it up, and get it in a condition to run, making all necessary repairs throughout the building.