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Federal Constitution is dealt with skilfully, and the book closes with A few Words about Politics.
The appendix, besides the usual constituents, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, etc., contains the Ballot-Reform law recently enacted in New York, and the form of the Australian ballot adopted in Massachusetts in 1889. In the latter case, a full sample ballot is given with all the names and markings. There is even a wood-cut representing the polling booth in operation on Election day. The indispensable index is also provided.
While the style used is one adapted rather to entertain young people, the contents may be perused to advantage by every one. It is to be hoped, however, that the book will be substituted by teachers as rapidly as possible for the other secondary histories now in use. Indeed, it would be a happy consummation if the study of history, so called, were deferred until the age when the scholar could be trained in the line suggested by Mr. Fiske's book. The filling of children's minds with a confused mass of chronology and anecdote is worse than useless. With few alterations this work might be made a first book in American history. But the chapter on Taxation should be changed. No suggestion of the proper function of taxation should be conveyed to an immature mind. A bias thus unconsciously imposed may be of lasting injury. A statement like the following should be altered fundamentally:
"[The exercise of eminent domain] is only occasional, and affects only certain persons here and there, whereas taxation goes on perpetually, and affects all persons who own property.”
If the fact that taxation affects all persons cannot be conveyed consistently with the needs of exposition, no reference should be made to the effects of taxation. But if the effects of taxation are to be alluded to, it should not be suggested by indirection that any members of a community can or do escape.
POLITICS IN THE MAGAZINES. OCTOBER.
Mr. BELLAMY enumerates the first five steps toward Nationalism:
Government operation of the telegraph and telephone services; an extension of the present post-office business by the establishment of a parcel-express service; national assumption of control over the railroads of the country; Government control of coal mines; municipal supply of light, heat, water,
means of transit, etc.; forced public education of children up to the age of seventeen. Mr. Bellamy looks forward with great anticipations to the time when the Government employees will number two million, instead of a beggarly two hundred thousand, as now. Politicians who are harassed to find places for their friends can get many points from the article.
The Popular Science Monthly prints a reply to Dr. W. A. HAMMOND'S recent article on sumptuary laws. The criticism is written by the Rev. GEORGE F. MAGOUN, and is called by him, Liquor Laurs not Sumptuary. It is difficult to see why such a trivial performance should be published by the editor of the Popular Science, except on the principle of presenting the other side, science or no science. The substance of the article is to prove that the so-called prohibition laws of Iowa and other States are not sumptuary. This word, says Dr. Magoun, was defined by Dr. Johnson a century and a half ago: Sumptuary [sumptuarius, Lat.]: Relating to expense; regulating the cost of life." If this sort of thing is to be dragged into a discussion of legislation, why stop with Dr. Johnson? Why not pass from sumptuarius to sumptus, to sumo, to sub and emo? Sumpta virili toga, says Cicero, leave childish things behind. Dr. Magoun contents himself with the tunic.
But, seriously, if Dr. Hammond is wrong in his use of a word, it is perfectly proper that the error should be corrected; but for this purpose a few lines would be enough. Without doubt, Dr. Magoun is right in asserting a distinction between laws primarily regulating expense and laws primarily regulating other things, affecting expense only indirectly. But his contention that the proper description of the nature of laws may be derived from the intentions of the lawgivers is more than dubious. Even if the question is to be restricted to classification merely, the students of legislation might be listened to in preference to students of words. Prof. J. K. Ingram says: "Sumptuary laws are those intended to limit or regulate the private expenditure of the citizens of a community. They may be dictated by political, or economic, or moral considerations." (Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1887.) This definition has not the advantage of having been formulated "a century and a half ago"; but perhaps it should be. given some weight for all that.
To expose the futility of Dr. Magoun's argumentation in a word: it is that laws are only sumptuary when designed to limit expenditure. That is, he excludes laws whose effect is to regu
late expenditure, if that was not the intention of the makers of the laws.
He gives some interesting cases of Colonial regulations of drinking, and punishments for drunkenness.
The Arena: The Death Penalty, GEORGE F. SHRADY; The Postmaster-General and the Censorship of Morals, No NAME SERIES; The Race Problem, W. S. SCARBOROUGH; Behind The Mask, EDWARD P. FOSTER; Development of Character in Schools, ABBEY MORTON DIAZ.
The article on the Death Penalty is interesting, as the subject is discussed in a thoroughly scientific spirit and the facts are viewed from every side. The writer first discusses the effectiveness and humanity of different modes of execution (here he introduces a new word, electricide, to describe the recent execution at Auburn, N. Y.). The rest of the article is devoted to an argument against capital punishment, and a very strong case is made out in favor of imprisonment for life. The only point on which the argument seems to fail, at least conspicu. ously, is in the contention that capital punishment has no deterrent effect. The ground is not well covered here. Especially is the defect plain when the deterrent effect on the individual murderer is considered. In the present state of criminal jurisprudence, it cannot be claimed that "imprisonment-for-life" sentences are anywhere near so effective as capital sentences. Escape is not unfrequent; commutation and pardon are still more common. Neither can it be shown that capital punishment does not have a deterrent effect upon others. The effect may be only indirect: the potential murderer must not be considered at the instant of the crime merely; the antecedents, such as his state of mind, his tendency to carry arms, etc., must be taken into account. It can hardly be denied that the prospect of death has a more restraining effect on men than the prospect of confinement. Of course, when a man has once arrived at the state of mind which is the immediate antecedent of murder, no motive will probably be effective. But it is not enough to consider the immediate antecedent only.
The article on the Censorship of Morals and Literature exercised by the postmaster-general on a recent occasion is admirably conceived and well written. It is a little unfortunate that the author should have deemed it necessary to enter into the question of the real character of the Kreutzer Sonata, — excluded from the mail by an order from Washington, for the rest of the article shows that he could have written quite as effectively from a broader political basis.
However, the case is not without logical propriety, for it is the inseparable accompaniment of censorship that just such cases should arise. The writer does not confine himself to a discussion of the interference of the post-office merely, but deals with the other cases of censorship now so familiar to the American people, as the performances of the Society for the Suppression of Vice. Illustrations are given of the exercise of tyrannical power over individuals by the agents of this society. The tendency toward political aggrandizement and the restriction of personal liberty is ably described. The case against the Government and in favor of the individual is presented with clearness and force. It is much the best political essay in this number of the magazine. It is just as well that the article was published without the name of the writer; for it is one of the few that can stand on its own merits, and lose nothing by the absence of the fictitious value given by signatures.
The article on the Race Problem, by W. S. SCARBOROUGH, is one where the signature is of use. The writer is of the race whose destiny is being worked out under such peculiar and trying conditions in the recent slave States of the South. The conditions are trying, not only for the negro but for the whites as well. Starting with this moderate view of the situation, it is not surprising that the writer has succeeded in impressing the reader favorably.
"The blacks are quietly disposed and inclined to accept any amicable terms of peace that may be proposed by either North or South in the interest of the common good. They are not aggressive nor vindictive, nor are they hostile to national prosperity. Negro supremacy or negro domination is a thought entirely foreign to their plans, and those who would insinuate that the demand for fair play is a cry for this or social equality surely do not understand the negro or his desires in the matter. His demand for fair play is not unreasonable, and why should the whole country be so stirred up over the subject?"
Particular projects for changing the relations of the negro to his surroundings are judiciously avoided, except the proposition to encourage his wholesale migration to Africa, which is condemned without qualification. A more favorable view is taken of dispersion over the Western States. No direct allusion is made to legislation for these or for any other purposes. The tone of the article is judicial. The notion that great transformations can be brought about by hasty and violent measures is deplored. The problem must be left to solve itself: must be left to individual conduct. Such is evidently the mean
ing of the writer, although not expressed in these words.
Behind the Mask is an article written in favor of the variety of Socialism that presently goes by the name of Nationalism. I refrain from calling it an argument, for obvious reasons. If, nevertheless, a reason for the discrimination is desired, it may be conveyed in a quotation from the text:
"State Socialism, as of Germany, with the power concentrated in the hands of the emperor, may become unlimited absolutism, when the conviction of the ruler is 'Ich genüge' or 'L'Etat, c'est moi,' but the mask of tyranny' will be torn into harmless shreds so fine as to be invisible before it can be stretched enough to cover the face of an entire nation such as the republic in which we dwell.
"Socialists might shiver with dismay under 'the irony of the proposition that a government which has strangled its foreign shipping by suicidal tariffs should be allowed to direct all commerce,' if they had made any such proposition 'gravely,' or otherwise. The one grand monopolist,' which, it is complacently assumed by Nationalism,' will make all well, is not 'the Government,' as so persistently assumed by individualists, but the people acting in their collective capacity.” — (Italics mine.)
The controversy about the nature and origin of mythology is as yet unsettled. It has been thought necessary by some to assume the existence of a distinct mythopoeic faculty. In the same sense in which men may be said to have scientific or mathematical, or logical or musical faculties, much may be said in favor of the mythological faculty. At any rate, it is admitted on all hands that the problem is chiefly a psychological inquiry The students of mythology need not despair of bringing their problem to a final solution. The connection between the stuff that myths are made of and living rulers has long been recognized. In the contemporary transition from the worship of political fetiches, represented in imagination as the abodes or embodiments of particular persons, to the worship of the pandemic fetich, it may be that the student of mythology will find the elements for the solution of his problem. The mythical faculty and the reasoning faculty, when they coexist, are the most loosely connected of mental powers. It is a fortunate circumstance that, as a general thing, these faculties arrive at perfection only in different minds. Thus the labor of distinguishing between sense and nonsense is much diminished. As for the Nationalists, they will no doubt find lucrative employment in the capacity of mystagogues in the Comtist Temple of Humanity.
Development of Character in Schools, by ABBEY MORTON DIAZ, must unfortunately be added to
the list of political articles. After showing how mistaken the opinion is that education — in the usual narrow sense — conduces to morality, the writer remarks:
"Allowing that home is the place for that character work so essential to the State's salvation, yet, in view of all the thoughtless, careless, foolish, forceless, aimless, ignorant, and injudicious mothers and fathers, and of the abjectly degraded and vicious ones, it must be acknowledged that this home work needs to be supplemented by other endeavors."
"It is not wisdom only which demands this of the State, justice demands it. If she punishes her subjects for going astray, justice demands that she set their feet surely in the right paths."
Is it not marvellous that a matter of such great importance as justice should be regarded as a fit subject for glib declamation? What is justice? We are flippantly assured that it is unjust for the State to demand of citizens what the State has not given them. But how can we determine whether this demand is just or unjust until we have examined a little what justice is?
See how readily the great political fetich is worshipped! The moment the conclusion is reached that "something must be done," in that very breath, without pause or hesitation, appeals go up to the State, the State! O great and mighty State, once a lecherous tyrant, now a stupid majority of blockheads, have pity on our suffering children! Hearken, O benighted parents! so long as you are regarded separately, or in groups of two, you are "thoughtless, careless, foolish, forceless, aimless, ignorant, injudicious, abject, degraded, vicious." No longer can we reconcile it with our knowledge of your character to worship you singly or in pairs, therefore we will carefully disregard your personal quality; few of you succeed in combining more than two or three of the elements of imbecility and crime. But by combining all your thoughtlessness, carelessness, foolishness, ignorance, meanness, and vice to form a State, - there is an object worthy of admirationthere is the intelligence to illuminate the universe, there is the virtue to redeem hell, there is the power to move worlds!
It is suggestive of error that the detailed examination of the particular individuals who compose the State should impress us chiefly with their inaptness for refomation, but that when they are considered en masse, without close inspection of the character of the units, we should be impressed in an exactly contrary sense. It is possible, perhaps, that the first impression is wrong and the second right; but it is exceedingly improbable.
The trick by which a State Legislature is enabled to exert no inconsiderable influence on the composition of the National House of Representatives is to mark out the districts of the State so as to produce the maximum representation for the party in control. The device is said to have been used as early as 1788 in Virginia, in order to prevent the election of Madison to the first Congress. The fraud was, however, most successfully practised by the Republicans (Democrats) in Massachusetts in 1812, while Elbridge Gerry was governor. A district in Essex County was then invented, which, when laid in outline on a map, resembled a dragon. Benjamin Russel, a Federalist editor, had a map of this district hung over his desk. One day, Gilbert Stuart, the painter, came into the office, and, having added a head, wings, and claws to the already grotesque figure, remarked, That will do very well for a salamander." "Better say a Gerrymander," growled the discomfited editor. From that day the gerrymander has been an important factor in American politics.
It was a justice of the Supreme Court of Wisconsin who remarked that he and his colleagues on the bench were always right on a matter of law, because they had the last guess.
Thursday was a day of extreme excitement in the Oklahoma Legislature, the occasion being the consideration of the bill for the permanent location of the territorial capital. Before action had been taken on the bill in the upper House a motion in the lower House to reconsider the action of Wednesday was adopted. The friends of the measure, however, prevailed upon Speaker Daniels to sign the bill after the vote on reconsideration, and Representative Perry quietly took the bill and started for the chamber of the upper House to obtain the signature of the presiding officer of that body.
The enemies of the measure observed the move, and the legislslative body became a howling mob. The spectators joined the members on the floor, and an attack was made upon Speaker Daniels. It was demanded that he see to it that the bill be returned to the clerk. Daniels referred the crowd to Perry, who was just about to escape from the hall, and who in the meantime had handed the bill to Representative Nesbitt. Perry ran into the street with the mob at his heels. He was caught. Some one cried, "Hang him!" The cry was taken up and became general. The crowd was in earnest. Perry begged for mercy, and turned his pockets inside out. "Nesbitt has the bill," he cried. Nesbitt was in the crowd, and a rush was made for him. Nesbitt kept ahead of the mob for four blocks, then his strength failed him and he surrendered. He was marched
back to Representatives' Hall, where he was compelled to deposit the bill on the clerk's desk.
Speaker Daniels took the bill, and, accompanied by W. C. Thompson, of the News, as a witness, repaired to the governor's residence, where, in the presence of the governor, he erased his name, saying, “I signed this bill under misapprehension.” In the meantime Capt. Cavanaugh and United States Marshal Grimes appeared in Representatives' Hall, and calmed the excited crowd, which still demanded the punishment of Perry and Nesbitt. Great excitement prevailed in Guthrie after the Legislature scene. Associated Press Dispatch, Oct. 3d.
Even comparatively recent settlers on the coast must have been struck with the astonishing progress in culture and refinement made by our rough Western communities in the last few years. At Bodie, for illustration, not five years ago, when a man was shot, the chances were he was allowed to lie just where he fell, to be muddled up by passing stages and stray mules. Now, such is the improved tone of public opinion that even the most ignorant shooter hangs the corpse over some fence, where its friends can find it, and not a few even drop a postal card to the widow. - San Francisco News-Letter.
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