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charge of the House, and I'll tell you right now,
ARCHITECTURE AND every time one of these Yankees get a ham I'm PUBLIC BUILDINGS going to get a hog.
It would be hard to locate a public In providing public buildings the country pronouncement which was is thus confronted with two problems : first, of meat and yet which seemed to betray so the impossibility of supposing that Congress great a misunderstanding of the relations can determine, within many thousands of dol- of architecture to the public buildings of a lars, just the sum required for a public build- great nation," comments Mr. Charles Harris ing; and, second, the fact which Mr. Garner Whitaker, of Washington, the editor of the points out in homely but forceful language, “ Journal of the American Institute of Archithat so long as public buildings are provided tects." He adds : as a basis for political prestige and as a satis- How is it possible that men have come to faction for private greed, a system of graft think that because a building is to be erected must continue. As an evidence that one or for utilitarian purposes it has no connection both of these defects are involved we have
with architecture-except to satisfy the archibut to glance at some examples from the
tectural requirements “in a reasonable degree." latest building appropriations of Congress.
The House of Representatives betrayed the We find, for instance, that the town of Vernal,
same attitude when it applauded the reference
to the "æsthetic dreamers” in the supervising Utah, with a population of 836, with postal architect's office. Æsthetic dreamers indeed ! receipts of about $6,400, and with a yearly What else can they be when they are handed rental for its present quarters of $836, is to the order to design a $50,000 building, and when have a new building costing no less than the most elementary knowledge of architecture $50,000. Nor is this all. It will cost the tells them that a $20,000 building would serve Government $3,565 yearly to maintain that every purpose and permit architecture to play building.
an honest rôle? This is the kind of thing which has been
For years they [Congressmen) have encourgoing on in shameless fashion for years.
aged a public building policy which ignores the
first elements of architecture-that the building his minority report to the Public Buildings
shall be worthy of the purpose and the purpose Commission, appointed by Congress in 1913
worthy of the building. to make a study of this whole question, Post- ! On every public building authorized for a master-General Burleson stated :
community . . . where the appropriation proNo standard whatever has apparently been vided for a building is out of all proportion to the observed in authorizing buildings or determin- needs of the community, every participant being in advance the limits of cost. As a conse- comes a party to the crime against architecture. quence many expensive buildings have been Wherever an architect allows his love of the authorized for places where the needs of the monumental to interfere with his duty of planGovernment do not warrant their construction, ning and designing a building which shall give and widely varying limits of cost have been the maximum convenience, comfort, and effifixed for buildings in which the needs are the ciency with the minimum of expense
other crime is committed in the name of arcbiMr. Burleson recommended, therefore,
tecture. that no appropriations be made where the How may inaccuracy of estimate, eliminapostal receipts were less than $15,000, where tion of graft, and proper æsthetic embodithe population was less than five thousand, ment be attained ? Mr. Whitaker suggests or where the annual rental was not in excess the following method: of $1,000. As to determining the size of The supervising architect's work should the building, Mr. Burleson said :
begin with a bureau of estimates. This The definition of the public building policy
bureau should examine and report upon must rest upon the decision of the question as every request for a public building, and to whether authorizations of buildings shall be would thus provide Congress with an intellibased upon political or economic grounds. If "gent survey of the situation. In the case of the former, the policy depends for its justifica
a post-office, for example, the bureau would tion upon the Nationalizing influence of Govern
make a study of the needs of the town ; its ment architecture. ... The true policy is one under which buildings will be authorized pri
past and probable future rate of growth; the marily for utilitarian purposes. . . . At the
amount of postal receipts; the character of same time requirements of broad public policy
the postal service, whether concentrated or as well as ideals of architecture may be satis. widely distributed; the floor space required fied in a reasonable degree.
to take care of present needs and provide for
expansion ; finally, the cost of the building for the building of a farm prison colony which these needs would justify. In the where prisoners will have a chance for reform course of a year or two, as Mr. Whitaker as they have not in a prison of the cell-block adds, such a bureau would have accumulated type. sufficient data to enable it to deal with these To fasten upon the State the old cell-block problems without labor or expense.
idea in the form of a modern building would Is it too much to hope that Congress will be to hamper the whole movement for prison see this opportunity and provide means reform in which Thomas Mott Osborne has whereby accurate knowledge may be obtained succeeded in interesting the entire counand laid before it ?
try. The right solution of New York's
prison system is a matter of National conA SUBSTITUTE FOR
cern, for not only will it affect the greatest SING SING
congested population in the country, but it Among the measures passed by the New will have much to do with the solution of the York Legislature there are two which deal prison problem in every other State. with a subject of National importance. These are the Sage Bill and the Towner Bill for the
CERVANTES AND selection of a site for a prison to take the SHAKESPEARE place of Sing Sing. There are two sites The date of the tercentenary anniversary owned by the State, both in Dutchess County. of Shakespeare's death can be said to have Each bill provides a method for deciding a double claim to fame, if we
are lenient between these two sites, but the methods enough to disregard the discrepancy between differ. The Legislature evaded the responsi- the Gregorian and the Julian calendars. It bility of making a decision between these was on April 23, 1616, that Cervantes died two methods by passing both bills and leav- at Madrid. ing it to the Governor to decide between The life story of Cervantes could have them.
supplied enough material for a dozen plays The Towner Bill provides for a commis- from the pen of Shakespeare. Indeed, the sion, the majority of which are to be chosen story of Cervantes reminds one in many ways by the Governor. This commission is to of the adventurous days which attended upon choose between the Wingdale and the Beek- so many of Shakespeare's contemporaries. man sites. It, however, would provide for The Spanish novelist would not have felt a the erection on that site of an old-fashioned stranger to the soldierly labors of Ben Jonprison with cell-block and other features son, for he himself served gallantly in war. which modern views of punishment and And Christopher Marlowe, Robert Greene, reform condemn. It sanctions plans that Thomas Dekker, George Peele, and Thomas have already been drawn, authorizes the Kyd, each and all would have felt a sympaemployment of the architect who drew the thetic understanding for the Spanish writer plans, and specifies the fee that he should who suffered so inuch both from the toils of receive.
the law and the hardships of fate. The Sage Bill, which was drawn up after a The greatest of Cervantes's adventures is personal investigation by Mr. Sage, the intro- paralleled only in the romances of Defoe, ducer of the bill, and which has the approval and not even Defoe has imagined a more of the Prison Association, provides for a perilous experience than befell the great commission, of which three State administra- Spanish novelist at the hands of the Barbary tive officers shall be members ; and it leaves pirates. It is not surprising that one who, to this cominission authority to decide not like Cervantes, had seen war and the results only between the sites but also as to the plan of war at first hand, and who had experienced of the building and the character of the prison, in such bitter form the disillusionment of great and enables the commission to save money adventures, should have taken upon himself in the use of funds for the plans and erection the task of satirizing the old romantic tradiof the building.
tion which came to his contemporaries through Of these two bills the Sage Bill is mani- the imitators of Amadís de Gaula. festly the better one. It not only provides How far the development of his satire on for a new prison as a substitute for mediæval the current literary tradition of Spain carried Sing Sing, as the Towner Bill does, but it also him beyond his original intent is a familiar makes it possible, as the Towner Bill does not, story to all those who have read the always modern story of “Don Quixote." Cer: and almost simultaneously with the announced vantes's presentation of the manners and purpose of Dr. Mains not to stand for rethe customs of his time belongs among the election because of his years. He has few great efforts to crystallize within the passed threescore years and ten. The limits of a single writer's work the follies, character of the charge against him may be failures, and successes of an age. The deduced by our readers from his accuser's coarse humor of Boccaccio, the catholic un- quotation of the following sentence from his derstanding of Chaucer, the vision of Shake- supposedly heretical book : speare, the humanity of Cervantes—it would
I have learned to accept the fact that the be an ungracious task to attempt to appor- Bible, as other great literatures, takes into itself tion to each of these its separate fund of the elements of social development, including tribute from the commonwealth of literary tradition and fable, and, however it may be distinction.
shot through with the sun rays of inspiration, it It is interesting to remember that, just as is a book very human in its character, faithfully Cervantes in his attempt to satirize an older
reflecting the thought processes, early and late, literature created a new medium of expression,
of the races with which it deals. so Fielding, in attempting to satirize (in simi- We may add that in this book there is lar manner) the repellent virtues of Pamela, nothing out of harmony with the doctrines added to the world of English letters a taught concerning the Bible and theology by broadened understanding of the function of many, if not by most, of the orthodox theothe novel. The parallel between the devel- logical seminaries in the United States. opment of “Don Quixote ” and “ Joseph We suppose that the Methodist Church Andrews” supplies an interesting incident will recognize the right of Dr. Mains at for literary discussion.
seventy-one years of age to lay aside the
onerous duties of his office, and we write this ANOTHER HERESY HUNT
paragraph simply to advise our readers that In 1903 charges of heresy were brought his non-election will not indicate that the against Professor Borden E. Bowne, of Bos- Methodist Church has gone back on its ton University, one of the keenest and most previous decision in the case of Dr. Bowne. scholarly theological teachers in the Meth- We venture to say for that Church that, while odist Church. His supposed heresy con- it neither accepts nor rejects the modern sisted in holding what may be entitled the view of the Bible and of theology, it will connew theology. As soon as the case could tinue to hold to the right of its members and legitimately be brought before the Court the its ministers to discuss all such questions charges were dismissed. Similar charges freely within the Church, and it will continue have now been brought by the same com- to measure both members and ministers by plainant against Dr. George P. Mains, though their spiritual faith, not by their conformity they are not brought in the same fashion. to ancient tradition. He has been the publishing agent of the Methodist Church for the last ten years. THE CITY CHILD, PLAYGROUNDS Four years ago he published a book entitled AND THE POLICE " Modern Thought and Traditional Faith,” A useful neighborhood conference took in which he took substantially the same place the other day in a big kindergarten positions as those maintained by Dr. Bowne. room of the New York Teachers College. One of the heresy hunters in the Church has It was called by a Mothers' Association now written “ An Open Letter to the Meth- interested in getting more play space for the odist Public," the object of which is to pre- children of the upper West Side-where the vent the re-election of Dr. Mains as publish- parks are green and ample, but also where ing agent. The writer of this letter frankly the policeman is ever vigilant to keep restconfesses that he takes this method to oust less young feet on the hard asphalt walks. Dr. Mains from his position because it is These mothers wanted to know what lies impossible to secure his conviction by the behind the rough shout of the cop,
Hey, Conference to which Dr. Mains belongs. you kids, beat it off that grass !"--what the It is a curious and somewhat suspicious police themselves think about it.
So they coincidence that his charge against Dr. Mains asked the Police Commissioner to come and is not brought until more than four years talk. He did not come, but he sent Sergeant after the publication of his objectionable book Ferré, an embarrassed, upstanding officer