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thirty to sixty per cent more than buildings of the same class erected by private individuals. A great saving could be accomplished for the city by abolishing the Architect's department and calling for open competition among the Boston architects for designs, and also by establishing an expert draughtsman, under the Superintendent of Pablic Buildings, to examine carefully all plans and working drawings. After plans are accepted by the Mayor or School Board, working drawings should be given out to competent builders and contractors for competition. Final bids shall then be accepted and signed by the Mayor, and contracts should be of a minimum number, four or five, not forty contracts, as was the case in one building. This would insure better construction, with a considerable saving in the cost of ea h building.


"The city of Boston has, in its history, expended a great deal of money in widening streets, the sum total up to date being $31,000,000, exclusive of the Fort Hill, Church street, and Northampton street districts. In some instances these expenditures have been of great benefit to the city, in others none whatever, except to make corner lots. extension of Harrison Avenue to Bedford Street, for instance, is nothing more than a blind alley. Such expenditures come home forcibly to us when we realize that the gross debt has been gradually increasing since 1880. $42 030,135.36, and amounted in January, 1890, to $51,185,741.09 (to-day $51,000,000). The interest on debt and temporary loans, amounting this year to $2,990,942, is required to come out of annual taxes."

The superintendent of the Chicago public schools is shocked by the discovery he has made that the teachers and pupils are very fond of fiction, and draw from the public library, almost exclusively, novels of a sensational and lurid character. The superintendent has issued a general warning, requesting instructors to devote their attention to works having a direct bearing upon school-room subjects. It is suggested that all other cities having public libraries might easily and profitably make similar investigations.

The Chicago Herald charges that the police force of that city are guilty not only of passive violations of the law, but of open, frequent, and flagrant illegal actions, which, it says, seem to be committed with the silent approval. if not with the actual concurrence of those kept at the head of the police by the mayor. Meanwhile the Chicago aldermen are engaged in forming plans for municipal ownership of gas-works, water-works, electric-light plants, etc. They think the time has come when the city should furnish gas as well as electric light and water to its inhabitants," and have unanimously passed

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miles in length. In 1888, with a population of 28,000,000 odd, the amount expended in poor law relief was £8,440,821, or a cost of 5s. 11 d. per head of the population.

An Ottawa press correspondent writes that the Canadian workmen are agitated over the question of State-aided immigration. The Dominion government has for years been paying so much per head to steamship and railroad companies on imm grants carried by them. Quite a lucrative business has sprung up in the importation of waifs and strays and children of criminals.

A press dispatch from Calcutta announced the other day the outbreak of a serious revolt in Cambey, Guzerat, against taxation. In an encounter between the rioters and the troops many were wounded and killed.

On Sept. 5th the hearing of the New York Central Strike case before the Board of Arbitration was closed. Mr. Purcell, the president of the Board, said the Board was not allowed by the law to render a decision, except when both parties consented to arbitrate. In this case of the strike, the Board could do no more than make certain recommendations for an amicable settlement, and that their announcement would be made through the Legislature (according to the law). Jan. 1st will probably be the date when their views will be made public.

"The New York State Board of Mediation and Arbitration, which has been investigating the recent strike on the Central, was established by Act of the Legislature in 1886, in response to the demand of labor organizations for legislation in the interest of labor. It consists of three persons appointed by the Governor and Senate for the term of one year. The Act requires that one arbitrator be selected from the party which at the last general election cast the greatest number of votes for Governor of the State, and one from the party which cast the next greatest number of votes for the same officer, the third to be selected from a bona fide labor organization of the State. The Board is authorized to enforce the production of documents, and appearance of witnesses, in the same manner as courts of record. It is made the duty of the Board to hear appeals from the decisions of local Boards, and whenever a strike or lockout shall occur, or is seriously threatened. in any part of the State, and shall come to the knowledge of the Board, it shall be its duty to proceed to the locality of such strike or lockout and endeavor by mediation to effect an amicable settlement of the controversy. The Board is

required to report to the Legislature annually, and is directed to include therein such facts and explanations as will disclose the actual working of the Board, and such suggestions as to legislation as may seem to them conducive to harmonizing the relations of employers and the wage-earning masses, and the improvement of the present system of production. The term of office of the arbitrators is fixed at three years, with annual compensation of $3,000 each."

It has so far done nothing, and the workingmen of other States, who at first demanded of their respective Legislatures the establishment of similar Boards, seem to have discovered the uselessness of such bodies.

The Miners' Congress at Halle, which closed Sept. 19th, decided to send petitions to the Reichstag and Diets, asking that the following mining laws be passed:

"That a shift shall not exceed eight hours; that overtime be abolished; that the shifts he reduced when the men are working in wet or heated places; that the minimum wages of pickmen shall be four marks daily; that the wages of others shall be fixed in proportion; that wages shall be paid weekly; that a universal system of pay books be adopted in all mines; that a court of arbitration be formed to settle disputes; that the sanitary arrangements of the mines shall be improved; that the restrictions now placed on miners moving from one district to another be removed; that the workmen be given control of the miners' co-operative unions; that foreign labor be excluded; that the power of employers to dismiss their workingmen be limited, and that capitalist rings against labor be suppressed."

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TO-DAY, OCT. 2, 1890.


WHAT IS obstruction in Congress?

Obstruction is to prolong the session and defer the division by making stump speeches on the floor, in order to get them printed in the Record-speeches neither expected nor intended to influence votes of Representatives, but for the delectation of illiterate constituents.

Obstruction is to intrude irrelevant and

THE TRADE UNION Congress, which assembled in Liverpool early in September, and of which we shall shortly give a more detailed account, was chiefly agitated by the Eight-Hour question. A considerable and very intelligent opposition to appeals to Parliament was developed, and, taking all the circumstances into account, the results of the votes on this question should be regarded as a victory of the Unions over the political agitators. The resolution that Eight Hours could be best secured by the Unions without par

dilatory motions, in order to prevent impor- liamentary interference, was lost by only six

tant divisions.

It is not obstruction to prevent divisions being reached by "breaking a quorum," and thus compelling an affirmative vote for the passage of every bill. That is a performance not to be comprehended within the narrow rules of parliamentary practice; its justification lies in the Democratic necessity, that legislation shall be backed by a real majority. Democracy knows not and recks not of fictitious or constitutional quorums. Acquaintance with the most elementary aspects of constitutional development plainly reveals the reason for the constitutional oversight in not prescribing recourse to a majority vote. The danger which the framers of the Constitution had in mind was the weakness of the federal government. The danger that threatens us now is the power of the federal government.

AS REGARDS the numerous and bulky party platforms which are now being put forth at the average rate of two a day, a variety of opinions may be entertained. A sounder platform, one more relevant to the political needs of the time, might be framed in one sentence, and serve equally well for either party. If both parties should adopt it, POLITICS would take a centennial stride. Here is the missing plank, whose absence is of more consequence than the presence of all the other lumber:

Resolved, That Representatives in Congress and in the Legislatures elected on this platform, shall vote against every bill that they are not herein instructed to vote for.

Democracy is bad enough in all conscience; but when to its faults is added the injury of a defective system of representation, there is reason to fear that all the vices and none of the advantages of democracy will be realized.

votes 181-175. This was really the test vote, for after it had been lost, some who voted for the Unions and against legislation, no doubt went over to the political side.

The resolution in favor of legislative regulation was carried by 193-155; not a bad showing for personal liberty, considering

these times.

A COMMITTEE of the School Board, or of the School Commission, or of the Educational Circumlocution Board, or of some such obstructive contrivance in Massachusetts, it matters not as to the name, has reported in favor of co-education of the sexes in the public schools. Various reasons for the change are urged. One is, that the girls have been neglected, that inferior teachers have been palmed off on them, etc. In order to correct this inequality, it is proposed to combine the classes of girls and boys under the same teachers. How the spirit which has prompted and condoned the offence is to be circumvented by the mechanical expedient of combining the classes, putting the children together in the same room, having them recite to the same teacher the committee does not explain. To a community which has put its faith in the efficacy of machinery for every purpose, as the American community has done, the mode of reform by this means needs no explanation. It is sufficient that the cogs and wheels and clogs of pedagogy should be favored a little this way or that, and the output will be immediately reformed, if not indeed perfected.

It is seldom that the criterion of right which prevails is so wantonly displayed to the astonished gaze of the observer as it was in one of the Boston daily papers on the occasion of the report in favor of co-education in the

public schools. The committee appointed on this question consisted of three persons, two of whom reported in favor of the change, and one against it. Here, apparently, the sapient commissary of public opinion had his cue; and rushing on, he belches up (surely such stuff cannot come from the head) the following:"For the Bostonian who objects to the co-education of boys and girls what can be said? He stands for a minority idea, which is tenaciously held here by a minority, that boys and girls should be kept from all sight and thought of one another from the time they begin to make ready for college," etc.

Does it not pass the wit of man to believe that such egregious imbecility as this is supposed by the writer, acquiesced in by the readers, and accepted, to throw light on the propriety or impropriety of teaching girls and boys in the same classes? Credible or incredible, there is the fact.

Of course, the distressing part of the business is, that this question will really be decided by the majority. It is quite immaterial which mode of classification for the sexes, the separate or the combined, one may regard as the better. The public schools give him an opportunity, which he would otherwise lack, of forcing his opinion on others who do not share it. True, attendance in public schools is not now compulsory; but the indications become plainer every day that the tendency to make private schools conform to the notions of the majority is gaining ground. State inspection extends its octopus arms in every direction, and propositions multiply throughout the States for applying inspection and regulation to private schools.

So far as the public schools are concerned, it is cause for congratulation that the occasions for discontent should spring up. The more the mode of managing them is agitated, the more the methods are changed about, the more will people be made discontented with the results, whatever these may be. First one minority, then another, will discover that its rights are violated by the practice of State education, that it is taxed for the support of a system to which it is unalterably opposed. We are now at that stage of the controversy when the minorities, not yet very numerous or diverse, feel prompted to "reform" the system by applying their notions to its operation in place of those of the majority which is just now in the ascendant. Gradually the

discovery will dawn on the people in general, that State education is inconsistent with the realization of personal liberty; but how slow this light may be in dawning, it is difficult to tell. Perhaps the discovery will come only after a weary journey across the vast desert of Socialism. Any one who realizes the falseness and futility of any part of the socialistic scheme of society should turn his opposition steadfastly against those parts which are already displaying their falseness and futility. Such a part is the public school.

The progress of science is a subject about which men never weary of felicitating themselves. The amount which we know about this world in which we live, what it has been in the past and what it is likely to be in the future, what races of men and other animals lived upon it,- compared to the knowledge which our fathers possessed on these subjects, is very great, however small it may be compared to what yet remains to be known. Take even so unpromising and useless a science as textual criticism of the classics; a modern edition of Eschylus contains more various readings than men of the last century ever dreamed of, contains almost as many lines which Eschylus might have written as lines which he did write. Just to know the names of the different sciences, and the field which each covers, is almost a liberal education.

But there is one science which has made hardly any progress since 1789, namely, POLITICS. Indeed, in this country, it may be doubted whether this science has not progressed backwards. That the best minds are less and less attracted to it is noticeable, and as a consequence, the character and intellect of our public men will not bear comparison with those of a century ago. Why the best minds are not attracted to Politics is plain enough. In any other science, as Biology, any discovery which may be made, immediately becomes the property of all biologists; but politicians are eager to disregard all the discoveries in their science, and to learn everything anew. Moreover, the practical part of the science, the application to affairs of state, cannot advance any faster than the great body of citizens advances; and that, as we know, is very slowly, so there is a terrible monotony in POLITICS, as generally understood.

The issues that confront us to-day are the

same issues that confronted our fathers, and it is to be feared that we have less judgment in dealing with questions than they had. The tariff was an issue with them, and it is an issue with us. The question of currency troubled them, and we are unable to solve it; the limitation of the powers of the General Government is not yet settled; while the question as to the extent of the subjection of the individual to the Government, which formerly received some attention, now receives scarcely any. According to Cowper, the inventive powers of man are divine, and also his stupidity is divine. If it " took centuries of blockheads to raise a joint stool into a chair," how many millenniums will it require to determine where the province of the State should stop, and the rights of the individual begin?

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I have followed the course of your preposterous paper, beginning with the early numbers of Waterman's Journal, but, I confess, with more displeasure than profit. What attendant imp of the ink-pot, bent on confusion worse confounded, tempted you to deceive yourself and to try to deceive others into believing that you understand even the most rudimentary principles of journalism? I will speak of POLITICS further on; though with little hope of ever making you comprehend the details of that profession. As to journalism, the sooner you disabuse your mind of your illusions, the better for yourself, to say nothing of that long-suffering public which, whatever other resemblance it may bear to the biblical ass, has this distinct superiority, that it never speaks. What I wish to suggest to you, perhaps with more force than elegance, is that though you may never hope to excel your prototype in other respects, yet in this, distinction is still within your reach, by the simple expedient of shutting up (shop).

So you pretend to occupy yourself with POLITICS. It would be unkind, as well as superfluous, for me to recall to your attention the estimation his lamented Majesty George III. held this trade in. Superfluous, I say, because I very much fear that the prospect would arouse no aversion in you; and unkind,

The art of Politics, on the other hand, has been greatly simplified and perfected. As in war three things have been found to be necessary: the first, money; the second, money; and the third, more money; so in POLITICS. "With money I will get men, and with men money," was the maxim of Cæsar, when he forced himself, sword in hand, into the treasury of the Roman Commonwealth. "With money we will get partisans, with partisans votes, and with votes money," is the maxim of our public plunderers. There might have been a grave question as to the wisdom of resisting Cæsar; but certainly, only an immortal and infinite stupidity can account for the willingness of the American people to submit to the exactions of those who hold them tributary.

for suggesting an inevitable inference. However this may be, we, the unwilling targets of your weekly balderdash, the innocent victims of your ill-directed spout, we have a right to demand, at least, that we should be kept informed of the more important events of the political world. Yet how do we fare at your hands? I shall not offer to supply your readers with the chronicle which your defective knowledge of political affairs leaves them ignorant of, who rely upon you for information. It would, indeed, be impossible to rehearse, within the limits I purpose to observe, even the principal ones of those recent and striking catastrophes as to which you have cultivated the most leaden silence. But one or two examples may suffice to show some of your readers how incompetent for the pretended task you really are.

Some while ago, and yet not long enough agone for you to have awakened to emergency, there occurred within the walls of our federal Capitol, on the very floor of the House itself, an event of startling and portentous importance. Where is your "record" of that event? A pretty record yours, indeed. Did not the member from Illinois, chairman, too, of one of the chief committees, assault the outraged ears of decency in open and unqualified language, till the entire press of the "country, swayed with one emotion, responded to the indignant denunciations of the most refined community in the world, and the very stones reverberated of one accord the resounding menaces of offended POLITICS? Yet I

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