« AnteriorContinuar »
than those with the shot-gun. In the latter case, the man aggressed upon has at least the chance to die fighting, and to do some injury to his assailants before he dies; but in a case like that described above, there is absolutely no redress. As an isolated case, this one is of little importance; but it is typical of hundreds of cases. Cases like this are as common in the North as cases of shot-gun intimidation at the South. Is it surprising that the States of that section strenously object to the proposition that a party whose candidates for office are guilty of such practices as this shall do its own registration and its own counting within their borders?
AN INTERESTING illustration of laws producing unforeseen and injurious effects without accomplishing the effect aimed at is given by Prof. N. S. Shaler in the North American for October. Speaking of the difference between the people of the Northern and Southern States in the regard for their own and others' lives, he says:
"The explanation of the disgraceful Southern street fights which take place between men of good social estate is partly to be found in the history of the duel in that part of the country. Up to about fifty years ago the wager of battle there was still a common way of settling serious disputes. The soberminded people, even those who under certain circumstances would themselves resort to the
but the feelings remaining unchanged by the law, as feelings always do, they continue as ready as ever to risk their own lives, and to take the lives of others, in a quarrel that concerns their honor. The social code which made it absolutely necessary for a man to challenge his adversary, and fight an at least superficially fair duel, has been relaxed in proportion as the legal restraints tightened. Men now take each other's lives with impunity, in ways that would formerly have entailed social ostracism on them; while if the survivor can make a jury believe that he was the aggrieved party, he escapes altogether. The law has changed the mode of private warfare; the loss of life is the same, and the attendant practices are worse. And if the law has had the further effect, as I insinuated above, of making men carry arms more constantly, in order to adapt themselves to the changed conditions of duelling, it is probable that the number of duels has been increased. This would be true even if by actual count the number of such duels should be found less than the number of the old-fashioned duels. For the inference would be that in the meanwhile an essential change has been taking place in the feeling and motives of the community, and that the decrease in the number of duels had not been as great as it otherwise would have been.
The interview with Mr. Joseph Chamber
attention to one aspect of the tariff controversy, although not in a very intelligent Mr. Chamberlain is reported as
duel, endeavored to crush the evil by legisla-lain, published in the New York Times, calls tion. Laws of the utmost severity were passed which made it a crime to take any part, either as principal or second, in such contests; all persons engaged in them were liable to be disfranchised. The result was such as is usually found in the effort to regulate social evils by enactments: duelling became rare or ceased altogether, and much more deplorable ways of fighting took its place. It has been found impossible to convict men of murder for such crimes, provided the jury is convinced that the assailant's honor was aggrieved, and that he gave his adversary notice of his intention to assail him.”
So here is the miscarriage of law even in such an important matter as the protection of life. Men have taken to carrying arms more constantly, it is probable, because instantaneous summons has taken the place of formal notice and meeting. The law has made men more chary of engaging in duels as seconds;
"As an Englishman," he said, "I am glad to see the United States adopt the McKinley or any other bill that will serve to maintain the bulwark of protection that has been erected around this country. The high tariffs which the United States has exacted for years have served to increase England's trade and enrich her merchants. I have repeatedly said in public at home what I now say to you, that England would suffer great loss if the protective system should be abolished in the United States. We have built up an enormous trade with the countries of South America, with Australia and other countries, which we could not hold if free trade were adopted here. You have enormous resources in raw material, in workmanship, and in machinery, against which England would cut a sorry figure, if both countries were placed on
in England who have expressed themselves in opposition to the measure, evidently have not studied the question as they should. They need to examine America's resources.
"As an Englishman, therefore, I hope your policy of protection will be kept up indefinitely. The higher the tariffs, the better will I be satisfled, for I cannot imagine a severer blow to my country than the United States could deal by declaring for free trade."
Although at first glance this view appears sound, it is in reality much too narrow. It may make good campaign fodder for the Democrats, but it is unsound, unsound. The most that can be said is, that England is benefitted in some respects by our aggressive tariff; but it is indisputable that in other respects, at least equivalent to the gain, she is injured. No doubt England's trade with countries foreign to her and to the United States is improved by the absence of American competition in those markets. But, on the other hand, that part of her foreign trade that would come to this country is undoubtedly restricted by our tariff, and in other, less direct but equally real, ways, her people suffer by the same restraints that injure the consumers here. Thus, England has to pay more for imported commodities, which, but for our tariff, might be produced and exported from here, lowering by our competition the general market rate. A restraint of trade does not really act as an unearned benefit to a foreign country, as is sometimes claimed by opponents of our present tariff. The foreign country may gain in one direction, but is quite sure to lose, perhaps in some unseen manner, in other directions. The advantages of exchange are mutual, and so are the disadvantages of restriction.
The only effectual way that has been discovered for transferring money from oue people to foreigners is the subsidy system, and it was reserved for Germany to put this into most successful practice. Germany began to pay export bounties on sugar in 1869, but owing to details of refining and of bountypaying, the effect did not become sensible till about nine years later, say 1878. Then the
refiners began to produce beet-root sugar to which the bounty accrued - specially for exportation. In 1883-84 Germany paid out about $7,000,000 in export bounties on sugar, and more than three fifths of her product was exported. A large part of this went to England, and in that year the per capita consumption in England exceeded seventy pounds; in the same year the per capita consumption in Germany was seventeen pounds! Russia having raised her export bounties on sugar to one half cent per pound, and having, in 1886, permitted unlimited exportation for six months; and France having entered the prize-ring with bounties of from one to two cents a pound, England is estimated by Mr. Samuel Montague, M. P., to have saved in that year $55,000 000 on the cost of her sugar consumption. An immense impetus was also given to confectionery manufacturing, fruit preserving, etc.; so that, although English refiners were no doubt injured, the country as a whole, regarding the question merely as an economical one, was greatly benefitted by the gratuities of Germany, France, and Russia. Nor did the United States stand penuriously by while Europe was pouring out its treasures into the lap (and mouths) f England. Under the guise of a drawback, just as in the case of Germany, we had been paying an export bounty of thirty-nine cents per hundred weight on sugar. This was reduced in 1885 by rulings of the Treasury Department to seventeen cents, but even this reduction, a reduction of fifty-four per cent, succeeded in checking exportation only to the extent of thirty-five per cent, for exports of refined sugar fell off in 1885-86 from 252,579,000 pounds to 164,339,000. At the rate of seventeen cents per hundred, therefore, we were trying to make England a present of about $279,000; and the attempt was probably successful, seeing that on its arrival in Liverpool the sugar had to compete with that exported with yet more magnificent largesses.
While, therefore, Mr. Chamberlain is probably mistaken in urging the United States to keep up its tariffs for eleemosynary reasons, he could make out a very strong case in favor of bounties. Although bounties must do some injury to the persons engaged in the production of the commodity in the importing countries, it is very probable that this is much more than offset, industrially, by the
gain to the consumers of the importing country. Mr. Chamberlain should therefore devote his energies, which are considerable, however slight his ingenuity, to persuading us to substitute as fast as possible bounties for tariffs; and especially should he endeavor to cultivate among us the export bounties, for which the foundation is already laid. These flourish in the United States under the guise of rebates, and are presently to be extended to all commodities in the form of subsidies to ocean steamships. Such means will come nearer to preventing the disadvantages of restriction from being reciprocal, and will tend to confine them to the country practising the hindrance to freedom of trade.
A great deal may be said in support of the proposition that the world ought to be ruled by its wisest men. This is the fundamental assumption of all Socialists, from Plato to Edward Bellamy; and, in order that their dreams may be realized, the primary requisite is that the wise and good shall be in some way selected and got to bear rule over their fellows.
The desideratum is recognized, and men in general are not unwilling to assent to the abstract statement that a nation ruled by its wisest men will achieve more, and be happier, than any other. A few, perhaps, are ready to say, with Carlyle:
"If thou really art my Senior, Seigneur, my Elder, Presbyter, or Priest, if thou art in very deed my Wiser, may a beneficent instinct lead and impel thee to conquer' me, to command me! If thou do know better than I what is good and right, I conjure thee, in the name of God, force me to do it; were it by never such brass collars, whips, and handcuffs, leave me not to walk over precipices! That I have been called, by all the newspapers, a 'free man' will avail me little, if my pilgrimage have ended in death and wreck."
Probably not many are willing to make a personal application of the principle in this way, and the general movement of the human spirit seems to be away from this sentiment; nevertheless, most men are able to look on with great equanimity and see the wise and good compelling the foolish to act wisely and right.
To a man who thinks it absolutely essential to human progress and well-being that the affairs of nations shall be directed by
wisdom, the prospect must indeed be disheartening. How many times in the whole history of the world have governments been in the wisest hands? The only forms of government possible are Monarchy, Oligarchy, and Democracy; that is, the sovereignty must reside in one man, or in a part of the people, or in the whole people. There have so far been tried three ways of determining (peacefully) who shall bear rule in a nation; bereditary succession, choice by lot, and choice by suffrage, either limited or unlimited. Can any one suggest another way? for we know by experience that the chances are greatly against getting good rulers by any of these. Moreover, what do we mean by a wise king? Take the one who has enjoyed the widest reputation for wisdom. According to Renan, It is because Solomon is a wise man that he is able to find a pretext for slaying Joab, and evading the oath made to Shimei." And so in general; the kings who have most excited admiration have been shrewd and cunning men, who have been able to get the better of their enemies, both within and without their kingdoms. Oligarchies, by whatever name they have been called, have been even more notorious than kings for consulting their own interest first, whenever they have had intelligence enough to perceive what their own interest was, and the interest of the people subject to them scarcely at all.
There seems left only Democracy on which to base our hopes - Democracy which has excited so much enthusiasm the last two centuries, towards which about a fifth of the world has been moving for that time. What hope is there that wise rulers will be selected in a Democracy? If the people as a whole is said to be the ruler, then the ruler cannot be said to be wise; there would, on the principle with which we started, be more hope in a Monarcy or in an Oligarchy; for kings and aristocracies must be conceded to have had more intelligence and wisdom than the average men of the nations which they have governed. As an English writer says:·
"To say that the sole function of the wise and good is to preach to their neighbors, and that every one indiscriminately should be left to do what he likes, and should be provided with a ratable share of the sovereign power in the shape of a vote, and that the result of this will be the direction of power by wisdom, seems to me to be the wildest dream that ever got possession of any considerable number of minds."
In a Democracy, the only influence the wise and good can have, in addition to their votes and the votes they are able to buy, is that of persuasion. So the probability that the power of the State will be wisely directed in a Democracy is very small. Still, the hope that a Democracy will be a rule of the wise does not seem much more of a delusion than the same hope for any other form of Govern
Thus, whatever form of Government we consider, whatever conceivable mode of selecting rulers, the chances are almost infinite against securing wise and good men to govern the foolish and the bad; and if the progress of the human race depends upon getting the wisest and best to govern the rest, the prospect is indeed discouraging. It would hardly be worth while to examine the subject, just to draw a pessimistic conclusion. But the human race certainly has made some progress in the past, without being directed by wise rulers. This fact ought to make us suspect that there is something wrong with our premise. It may even show us that human progress does not depend entirely upon who are the rulers. There must always be some portion of the life of citizens which is not regulated by the governing power, and when this is sufficiently large there is chance for improvement. A strong historical argument could be made that this is the portion of life which has improved, and that improvement in this part has reacted upon Government, and improved that also. The theory with which we set out that wise and good men ought to rule over those who are foolish and bad is very plausible until the facts are examined. It is not so very different from the theory that slavery is the ideal industrial system, and, indeed, absolutely necessary. It is certain that labor is irksome, and one might plausibly say that if men are not compelled to work, they will not work; that slavery will be the most efficient system for getting things done, though it has not much regard for the happiness of the doer.
makes the working group' into an army where the general is absolute, and desertion penal." But experience shows that with men as they are now, it is the most inefficient of all systems; that nature supplies a better stimulus to work than the whip of the overseer. So it may be that nature supplies a better force, working towards progress, than
a Government of wise men, even, would be able to supply.
It being impossible to secure wise and good men to bear rule by any method of selection that has yet been tried, any scheme for the improvement of humanity which depends upon securing such rulers, is out of court until some new method, reasonably sure to succeed, has been devised. Coercion is not a pleasant thing, even when it is in the right direction; but unless we can be tolerably sure that this or that coercive measure which is proposed is in the right direction, there is little reason for submitting to it. The wages of sin, we are told, is death. And the wages of folly is wretchedness and misery, and ultimately extinction. There can be no greater folly than choosing out foolish and wicked men to rule over us; and the more their rule is extended, the greater is our folly. According to the parable, the blind do not better their condition by choosing other blind men to lead them.
Civil Government in the United States. Considered with some reference to its origins. By JOHN FISKE. Boston and New York: Houghton, Miflin & Co., Riverside Press.
This is a most useful and interesting book. According to the preface, the work is designed primarily as a text-book, and only secondarily for the general reader. In either light, the matter will contrast favorably with anything of the kind; while, so far as it is strictly a description of the governments of the United States, it is quite unrivalled.
To speak of the more important characteristics first, the book is full of facts, and these are of two kinds. The existing state of governmental methods and machinery is described with a fulness that shows thorough familiarity; and the history of the institutions on whose present form the reader is made to dwell is elucidated with much success. The key to the author's method of treating his subject may be shown by a quotation:
"If we look at the maps of the States which make up our Union, we see that they are all divided into counties (except that in Louisiana the corresponding divisions are named parishes). The map of England shows that country as similarly divided into counties.
"If we ask why this is so, some people will tell us that it is convenient for purposes of administration to have a state or a kingdom divided into areas that are larger than single
towns. There is much truth in this: it is convenient If it were not so, counties would not have survived, so as to make part of our modern maps. Nevertheless, this is not the historic reason why we have the particular kind of subdivisions known as counties. We have them because our fathers and grandfathers had them; and thus, if we would find out the true reason, we may as well go back to the ancient times when our forefathers were establishing themselves in England."
In other words, we are introduced to the genesis of the county. And so throughout the book. Institutions are not to be explained, according to Mr. Fiske, by inventing some plausible excuse or occasion for having them. But they are to be explained "with reference to their origins," - by tracing their historical development. In the cases he has chosen for explanation, the historical development is not particularly obscure; but this has not prevented it from being overlooked or neglected by the majority of writers. When it comes to the United States, or to the colonies out of which they have been formed, Mr. Fiske's original work in American history becomes of value to the exposition.
To speak of the details and arrangement of the matter, the New England town is the first political organ to receive the author's attention. This is preceded by a chapter on Taxation and Government (which it had been better to omit). The New England town is characterized as in principle the most democratic of all governments; as the simplest; as the oldest. Whether the author may be strictly held to scientific accuracy in these statements is doubtful. As for democracy, the case seems clear enough; but as to priority and simplicity would it not have been better to leave these questions for more special, if not indeed for controversial, writing? Is it perfectly clear that a town-meeting even without the presiding officer and the recording clerk is simpler than the autocratic rule, on the one hand, and the timid obedience or implicit confidence, on the other, of a selfappointed chief and a warlike tribe? Is it quite certain that the first chiefs did not appoint themselves, and that government did not exist before even the rudiments of a town or clanmeeting? Of course the clan was the first collection of individuals to have a government; of course the town is the lineal descendant of the clan But there is some confusion or inaccuracy in speaking with confidence of the earliest form of government to prevail within the clan. The confusion may be accidental; it should be avoided. Similar remarks suggest
themselves in reading the chapter on Taxation. But these features are not obtrusive; it is perhaps hypercritical to speak of them. The narrative and the discussion are throughout full of interest, and no doubt trustworthy. After the townships come the counties, and a very interesting description is given of the different values of these divisions in different sections and States. The principal contrast is between the New England county and the county of Virginia, but other variations, some of them less familiar, are also traced out. These diversities depend upon antecedent differences in the part played by town-government; and these in turn, depend upon economic conditions, and also on the mode of settlement. For instance, the emigrants to New England were generally the members of a congregation, and the grants of land were made to the congregation, and this facilitated the development of the town.
The emigrants to Virginia, on the contrary, did not come in groups, even when they came in numbers; and the grants of land were made to individuals. These differences, co-operating with economic factors, lead to a very different political development. Mr. Fiske concludes that the one set of conditions gave us democracy, the other set gave us leaders, especially at the time of the revolution. All this is set forth however not as a bold statement of fact but in the course of an entertaining narrative.
"The Virginia system, concentrating the administration of local affairs in the hands of a few county families, was eminently favorable for developing skilful and vigorous leadership. And while in the history of Massachusetts during the revolution we are chiefly impressed with the wonderful degree in which the mass of the people exhibited the kind of political training that nothing in the world except the habit of parliamentary discussion can impart, on the other hand, Virginia at that time gave us in Washington, Jefferson, Henry, Madison, and Marshall, to mention no others, - such a group of consummate leaders as the world has seldom seen equalled."
From the counties we pass to the cities, and having collected the several political elements, all with different antecedents and significance, the aggregation of these into colonies, which afterwards become States, combinations quite different from preceding groups, is ably described. While it is evident that the historical side is the one that interests the writer most, the description of the existing conditions and relations, the uses to which Government is put, the functions and relations of officers, is not neglected. Finally, the development of the