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until Augustus sat in the place of the consuls, and the Republic had fallen. An American looks at the appearance of parallel evils in our own history as calls to a reformation, not as indications of the downfall of our republic. And yet the most optimistic of Americans may well see danger signals in many a sharply contested rural election. The ordinary party machinery is changed at once into something closely approximating an organization for traffic in votes; men who have taken little or no interest in more languid contests now begin to appear and reappear at the polling places, each bringing with him, at each return, a voter of that large class of indifferent men who need the spur of personal and persistent solicitation, or a bribe, to undertake what they consider a burdensome task-for the sole benefit of the candidate for whom they are asked to vote. The appearance of bribery is always exaggerated, partly through braggadocio, partly through the desire of the "worker" to exalt himself before the party-managers and the people — there is never any fear of punishment. But there is bribery enough to be a danger, though the disgusted spectator may attempt to find comfort by persuading himself that after all, in the long run, each party will buy about the same number of votes, and the honest vote will decide the election.
Such comfort is of the very barrenest. It pays no regard to the most serious evil of all, the constantly increasing degeneration of our political ideals, with all the consequences which in practice have their root here. The degeneration of ideals shows itself in the fact that bribery is no longer confined to the originally purchasable class, the hirelings who vote for the side which bids highest; the virus has already spread farther. Political managers know that it is now not at all uncommon for well-to-do voters of good repute in the community to refuse to vote for their own party unless they are paid for the trouble of doing so; while lump sums to secure the presence of entire families at the polls have taken their place among the fixed expenses of party organizations. The venal vote may be overslaughed again and again by the honest vote; but an exclusive reliance on this remedy must result only in the decrease of the honest vote itself. And yet, what other remedy is open to us? The anti-bribery laws are notoriously the most difficult of all laws to be enforced, under present conditions. We have left the voter so utterly unguarded at the polls that the attractiveness of an offense so easy of commission quite outweighs any terrors to be found in an almost impossible detec
How is the voter to be guarded further? In answering the question, we may as well get rid of the notion that there is honor among thieves, or among other rogues: on the contrary, the surest way to destroy the rogues' trade is to drive the rogues into a compulsory reliance upon honor, trust, and confidence. The first step of a prosecuting attorney, in attacking a criminal conspiracy, is to spread abroad the rumor that this, that, or the other confederate is about to “squeal "; he knows that it will be but a few days before one or more of the rogues will hurry to his office to anticipate the traitors by turning State's evidence. Bribery at elections is possible still, mainly because our laws release the briber from any necessity for reposing special trust and confidence in the voter whom he bribes: the VOL. XXXV. — 88.
briber is allowed to accompany the voter all the way to the polling-window, and to see that the vote paid for is deposited. Let communication between briber and voter be cut off for even a brief period just before the deposit of the ballot, and it is easy to see that the foundation of the trade of bribery at elections is greatly weakened.
Indirectly, then, honesty at elections outside of the cities ought to be very greatly promoted by the provisions, common to the English and Australian plans, that the voter, just before entering the polling-place to deposit his ballot, shall pass through another room and there have a few minutes of absolute seclusion. That seclusion, it is true, is primarily intended to give the voter an opportunity to prepare his ballot; but it just as certainly applies with peculiar force to a large part of our elections, in that it cuts the connection between the voter and any possible briber, and compels the latter, if he will pay money, to get in return only the bare word of the venal voter. Such an influence cannot but show itself in a steady decrease of the purchasable class, but the effects could not well stop there. Neither party dares now to enforce the statutory punishments for bribery at elections, for the offense is too common to all parties. But, as the of fense itself lessens and becomes a less important weapon in the party armory, a party which feels itself to have been injured at any election by bribery will for the first time have an interest in seeing that the laws against bribery are enforced. This one provision, then, of the separation of the voter from other persons, not only makes bribery more difficult, but increases the probability of its punishment, while our present system makes the offense easy and its punishment difficult.
It is the unanimous testimony of those who have studied the working of the English and Australian laws that the complete exclusion of the voter from espionage or supervision while he is preparing and depositing his ballot has of itself put a stop to bribery.
There is, therefore, no shadow of reason why any reader, in any part of the country, should look upon the proposals of Mr. Bishop and Mr. Ivins as foreign to his interests, or as relating exclusively to New York or any other large city. The Ballot Act, on the general lines of the English statute, is essential as a foundation for the laws against bribery at elections, and it is therefore of interest everywhere. The effort is to be made, in several of our legislatures, at their sessions this winter, to pass such a ballot act, making the expense of printing and distributing the ballots a charge upon the State, providing for double rooms, or rooms with compartments, at polling-places, and securing to the voter a period of separation from all other persons while in the act of voting.
A bill providing for both these reforms was passed by one branch of the Michigan legislature last year, and we trust will be revived and made a law this year. It was based, in its main provision, upon the principles of the English law, and was the most carefully considered application of those principles to the needs of our American system which has yet been made. A similar application has been made in a bill which has been prepared for the New York legislature, and which ought to be made a law at this session. It places the expense of printing and distributing the ballots upon the State,
provides for secret ballot-rooms, with compartments in the proportion of one to every fifty voters, into which a voter can retire and, free from all observation, prepare his ballots, which he folds and deposits in the boxes. No "boss" or briber can follow him to see how he votes. As the State has entire charge of the ballots, there can be no peddlers of tickets about the polls. As the State pays the expense of printing and distributing, there will be no excuse for raising funds; and there being no funds, there will be no money with which to employ workers.
A law has already been adopted in Wisconsin, putting the work of distributing the ballots into the hands of the State, and providing for two polling-rooms, one in which sworn State officials shall distribute the ballots, and another, connected by a hall-way or passage, to which the voter shall pass and deposit his ballot without observation. But the printing of the ballots is left with the political parties, as heretofore. A bill providing for the State printing and charge of ballots was prepared, but not introduced, in the Connecticut legislature last year.
There is no State of the Union where honest and intelligent men have not reason to work for the adoption of a reform ballot act, not only as a positive good in itself, but as an essential prerequisite to the real and earnest enforcement of the laws prescribing punishments for bribery at elections.
"No Successful Substitute for Justice."
It is somewhat surprising that the agitation in favor of abolishing, by means of just laws, the disgrace of American literary piracy should have been until lately carried on almost exclusively by those supposed to be directly interested: namely, writers and publishers.
books with which the country is deluged are read by the country. How many among our citizens are alive to the shameful fact that American pirates and the American public have for generations been living upon stolen literature? Congress has been blamed for its indifference- but who among us can escape reproach; who among us has done his whole duty in attempting to right this gigantic wrong; to wipe out this unendurable national disgrace?
Mr. Lowell, in presiding over the very successful Author's Readings in New York last November, added to the number of his admirable sayings in favor of international copyright. He repeated two most fortunate phrases of his own on this subject — phrases used by him in his notable address to a committee of Congress: "There is one thing better than a cheap book, and that is a book honestly come by"; "Our authors are the only workers among us who are forced to compete with men who receive no wages at all.”
In the course of his Chickering Hall address, in which the above watch-words were again given out, Mr. Lowell said: "To steal a book I have bought is theft; to steal a book I have made- what is that?" In referring to the effect of the absence of international copyright upon the country at large, he put the question, "Whether it be prudent in a nation to allow its literature, or a great part of its literature, to be made for it by another nation - in other words, to allow the shaping of its thought, and therefore of its character, to be done by that other"? But the deepest word of all was this: "I prefer that the argument should rest, not upon interest and expediency, but upon honesty and justice. No successful substitute for justice has ever been discovered - nothing with the lasting quality of justice."
These are golden words, the key-note of a great national reform; or, to take another figure, shafts of light heralding the dawn of a new era of justice, a new era in the literature of the English-speaking race.
About Mr. Irving.
GREAT deal of space has been devoted in THE CENTURY, early and late, to the discussion of Mr. Irving's characteristics as an actor and as a manager. I should like, however, to tell briefly what it is that I like about this extraordinarily individual actor. I delight in going to see Mr. Irving; I delight more and more in going. I discover, in fact, that I give myself up more and more completely to the enjoyment of what I do find in him,— after having ceased to look for what I did not find.
Although so much has been said about Mr. Irving's pictorial qualities, I do not think that his pictorial genius is even yet duly appreciated. It is true that at times he does appear to think too much of this side of the dramatic art. But even if the virtue be overdone, for how much pleasure and satisfaction must we thank the virtue! Now, I do not refer merely to the general setting of the stage, the costumes and grouping, his own
costume and get-up- all generously done and with an exquisite pictorial sense; - I mean something more subtile, more rare, and to me more remarkable than these. Mr. Irving is always making a picture of his own person, of his own figure and face: he is always in the right relation to the picture, which includes the whole stage; and the picture that he himself makes, by himself, is almost always fine. I follow him about with my eyes, fearing to miss each new, effective design. If it were pigments alone that he used, one would say that Mr. Irving had a strong feeling for landscape and was at the same time one of the most admirable figure-painters of our day. He is a master of color and of intense, picturesque expression.
I like Mr. Irving's humor. I like it immensely. It fascinates, it genuinely amuses me. It is a very individual and grotesque sort of humor. I never saw anything like it before and never expect to again. The more Mr. Irving gives me of his humor, the better I am pleased. "Jingle " races on so merrily, with such
a quick and saucy wit, that it is all over in the crack of a whip. I like the humor of Mr. Irving's Mephistopheles. The conception of the part is open to criticism. That uncertain-stepping, much-illuminated harlequin-devil seldom really scares me; but I often greatly admire his picturesqueness and sometimes his unearthly dignity, as when he warns his creature Faust, "I am a spirit! the finest piece of acting in the play; and I am entertained by his impish, satanic waggishness. It is, moreover, the humor of Irving's Louis XI. that adds force and humanity to the part.
In fact, I would almost wish Mr. Irving to play only a certain sort of comedy, did I not remember with what expressiveness he can interpret, in his own peculiar way, ideas of tragic intensity. Salvini is my ideal of tragedy — of perfection in detail and of sublimity in feeling. Two actors more unlike than Salvini and Irving cannot be named. But along with my most ineffaceable tragic impressions are certain memories of Irving-in "The Bells," in Hamlet." But, no; it was not Irving, it was Shylock himself that I saw one night in Venice,— hunted, foiled, perplexed, dismayed; his sinister face and form sublimed for the moment by the shadow of all the woe and wrong wrought upon that race, which, in the language of Emma Lazarus, has “served through history as the type of suffering." I like, it seems, many things about Mr. Irving aside from his managerial rôle; but I like him because he has brought before English and American audiences the world-tragedy of " Faust." He has led, as no one else has led, the English-speaking people, “the masses,"
to the study of Goethe's immortal poem. He has, in his own way, put a version of this work effectively upon the stage. It is right that the version and the way should be gravely reviewed, and that exceptions should be taken to them; but the obligation to Mr. Irving for what he has actually accomplished in this play, and in his whole interesting career as actor and manager in the Old World and the New, must never be lost sight of. It is for the serious, intellectual aims and accomplishments of his career that I like Mr. Irving; and, let me add, I like him too for letting us in America see, and see again, so individual and delightful an actress as Miss Ellen Terry,-one who so gracefully complements the sterner and more graphic qualities of the leading English-speaking actor-manager of our time.
Miss Terry as Gretchen.
FROM Mr. Irving's production of" Faust "I brought away the deepest impression of the art value of Miss Terry's impersonation of the heroine. By her emotional genius she seemed to heighten the spiritual sig
nificance of the play. In the scene where the jewels are found, her simplicity divested the gewgaw motive of worldly taint; and at the crowning point of the action, kneeling before the Mater Dolorosa, she reached a height of human despair and devotional fervor which for its rarity on the stage and its spiritual elevation might well be noted as the greatest achievement of this remarkable actress. Coming after such a supreme revelation of human feeling, the closing scene of madness and death has in some degree the elements of an anticlimax, while the tableau at the end relieves by enforcing the sentiment of forgiveness and rest.
IN an open letter on the above subject published in the November number of this magazine, the writer says:
The number of reported murders in the United States in 1882 was 1266. There were only 93 persons executed and 118 lynched,— in all, 211. Consequently. . . 1055 criminals escaped.
Judge James A. Creighton of Springfield, Ill., objects to this statement on the ground that all degrees of homicide are here classed as murders, and that the writer has made no mention of the very large number of the 1055 criminals who have been sentenced to imprisonment for terms ranging from one to ninetynine years, or for life, according to the degree of guilt. "escaped criminals," saying that lynching is not reHe also objects to calling the 118 who were lynched sorted to by men who have lost patience because criminals have escaped punishment under the law, but by men excited by aggravated cases of crime not murder, in which the law would in all probability have
taken its course.
Henry A. Davis of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, writes State of the Union is a murderer punishable capitally in relation to the same article as follows: "In no single unless the murder was willful, deliberate, and premeditated,— that is, unless the act was done with the fixed
design and premeditated intent to take life, or was done will be seen that Dr. Deems's statistics, showing only in the attempt to commit some atrocious felony. So it the number of homicides, capital and otherwise, on the one hand, and the number of executions on the other hand, can have no value in showing what proportion of murderers were legally punished. A murder to be punishable capitally must not only be a willful, delib. erate, and premeditated killing, but every element of such offense must be shown beyond a reasonable doubt."
I HAVE heard of men who knew more than they could tell, but I never have met one. If a man has a genuine idea, he can make himself understood. LITERATURE is the diet of the common mind, but genius feeds on the unwritten things.
You may travel a good ways on whisky, and travel fast while you are going, but you can't get back when you want to.
WHEN you have learned to listen, you have already acquired the rudiments of a good education.
FAITH won't enable a man to lift a ton all at once, but it will, ten pounds at a time.
GENIUS invents, talent applies.
I NEVER have seen an idea too big for a sentence, but I have read thousands of sentences too big for an
VANITY and jealousy are the two weakest passions in the human heart, and, strange to tell, they are the most common.
A THOROUGHLY neat woman is a joy unspeakable, but does n't she make it busy for the dust and for the people in her neighborhood!
My young disciple, don't hunt for new things, but study to improve upon the old ones; every flat stone, and most of the bowlders, have been turned over already by the novelty-hunters.
WE find plenty of people who don't average well; they know too much for one man, and not quite enough for two.
THEY were married and settled, and if they repented By times, that wild ride when the horse carried double,
They never confessed it; Papa had relented,
Being old, and averse to a family trouble. And "the poor craven bridegroom" kept wisely afar From the home of Fair Ellen and Young Lochinvar.
But Fair Ellen was moody: she'd answer him shortly, In a way which perplexed him, and which, at the least, He considered uncalled for; and, as he grew portly, She sneered at his fancy for frolic and feast. "Ye 're aften forgettin'," she 'd say, "that ye are No longer a callant, my Lord Lochinvar.' Yet she always went with him to wake or to wedding, Though he kindly excused her, or tried to, poor man! For the watch that she kept, as the dance he was treading,
Made him feel that he somehow was under her ban. And the maidens would whisper, "I'd gladly go far To escape from a dance wi' that puir Lochinvar!" He was nearly worn out with her moods and her tenses; So he collared his courage, and told her, one day, He'd enlist, if she did n't soon come to her senses, And endeavor to fall in the front of the fray. "I can stand this no longer; 't were better, by far, You had minded your father," said poor Lochinvar.
If you'd only just tell me what 's fashin' you, Ellen,” Though what I've put up wi' surpasses all tellin', He mournfully added, "and no be so blate, It may be that yet we could set it all straight; And if we cannot, then I 'm aff to the war; 'T would be peace, just by contrast," said poor Loch
THE DE VINNE PRESS, PRINTERS, NEW YORK.