Items of Interest

The Merchant Marine Com nission, whose establishment was authorized by Congress as a substitute for the passage of a subsidy act, will probably present a bill to Congress the first day of the December session embodying its recommendations. It will probably propose an increase in the tonnage taxes to be levied on the ships of all nations. American and foreign. In this way several million dollars of additional revenue can be seeured for use in the payment of subsidies. It is also proposed to revise the ocean mail act of 1891. Postal subsidies will be recommended to encourage the establishment of regular American lines to trade points not now directly reached. These vessels, it is proposed, should be equipped to act as cruisers in ease of war. The Commission will probably recommend that the United States Government turn its Philippine transport business over to commercial lines under special conditions for the encouragement of the Pacifie trade.

The next Congress of the Universal Postal Union, to be held in April, at Rome, will consider two matters of preeminent importance: the reduction of the five-cent rate of international postage, and perhaps the issue of a universal stamp for the international mails. The lack of uniformity of monetary standards is the chief obstacle to the issuing of a universal stamp. The franc is the recognized standard of the Postal Union. We commonly compute this as equivalent to 20 cents of our money. Speaking accurately, however, the franc is only 19.3 cents of our money. Therefore, 25 centimes, the nearest practicable approach in value to our fivecent piece, would actually be worth $.04825, or nearly a fifth of a cent less. It would. then, be possible with our money to buy a stamp in France for $.04825 and sell it in the United States for five cents, netting a profit of a little less than four per eent on the investment.

Miss Annie S. Peck, the American mountain climber, has ascended Huascan Mountain in South America to a height of 21,000 feet. She was prevented from reaching the summit by crevices and snow. Huascan is 22,050 feet high. On this hemisphere only two persons have excelled her, S. Vines, who ascended Mount Aconcagua, 22,860 feet, in 1897, and W. M. Conway, who ascended Mount Illimani, 21,030 feet, in 1898. W. W. Graham, who reached a point on Mount Kabru in the Himalayas, 24,015 feet above sea level, in 1883, reached the highest point known to man. Dr. and Mrs. W. H. Workman reached a height of 21,010 feet on Koser Gunge in 1898, and Dr. Workman and his guides reached an elevation of 23,400 on the Lungma Mountain.

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The Now of Spiritual Being
October 22, 1904

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