Page images

the feelings of men, on which, after all. everything must depend, or else remain forever" sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought," will not fail to expose the presence there of a sentiment corresponding to the condition discovered historically to be essential to social welfare. As the correspondence between that feeling and the required actions is very close, the former may be called for convenience the sentiment of justice. If it does not exist, and if it is not necessary to social welfare, the foregoing remarks will, of course, as they will then deserve, be held very cheaply. But if that condition of social welfare exists, and if the corresponding sentiment is equally real, then it must be admitted, for the present at any rate, that men have certain natural rights, even although Rousseau was a prattler and a reprobate, and he certainly was both.

When these natural rights have been violated, then has the condition of social welfare been disregarded, and, it may be, outraged; then have actions been performed which have passed the fixed distance from a given point; then it becomes matter for consideration how far and how reparative justice may restore the disturbed equilibrium.

(To be continued.)


[ocr errors]

North American Review: A Word as to the Speakership, by JAMES BRYCE. The Pan-American Conference, II., by M. ROMERO. A Key to Municipal Reform, by E. L. GODKIN. The Peculiarities of the South, by N. S. SHALER. It is not too much to say that Mr. Bryce has spoken the wisest word which has yet been spoken as to the change made in the rules of the House, although he does not discuss the question directly, but contents himself with stating some considerations suggested by the recent experience of the British Parliament." Until very recently, in England as in this country, no limit whatever was placed upon debate; motions to adjourn were always in order. In 1882, ten years after systematic obstruction had been first tried in recent times, the House of Commons enacted a new set of regulations, one of which

provided for the power of closure, or, as we say, the previous question. In 1887, a still stricter code of rules was adopted.

"Under this code, which is that now in force, any member may move that the question be now put,' and unless it shall appear to the

Chair that such motion is an abuse of the rules

of the House or an infringement of the rights of the majority,' the question shall be put forthwith and decided without debate. It is, however, required that at least one hundred members shall vote in the majority for closure The Chair has also the power to refuse to put a motion that the House do adjourn,' or that the chairman do report progress,' or leave the chair, if he thinks such motion an abuse of the rules; and he has further the power of calling on members who, in his opinion, frivolously or vexatiously claim a division, to rise and be counted in their places. But there is no limication on the length of speeches or on the number of times the same member may speak in committee."

These are plainly very large powers to intrust to the Speaker, though it appears from the last sentence quoted that debate is not quite so likely to be strangled in England as in this country. The love of fair play seems to be much stronger in the House of Commons than in the House of Representatives, for the Speaker of the former body is expected to protect the minority at his own discretion by refusing to let a closure motion be voted on. "The Chair has latterly tended to take a somewhat wider view of its functions, and has frequently refused to put a closure motion even when the leader of the majority claimed to have it put, declaring that, as it was not clear that the main question had been fully discussed, debate ought to be suffered to proceed."

The Speaker of the House of Commons is supposed to be, and has always been thus far, absolutely impartial; the Speaker of the House of Representatives has always been a partisan, and never more so than at present. The wisdom of the English and American systems might be contrasted as the conduct of a man who should choose a known thief to have charge of his money, and never call him to account, and that of one who should take pains to select an honest man for the office. Mr. Bryce foresees the gravest evils for his country if ever a parliamentary majority should choose a partisan Speaker. The bitterness of party conflicts would be greatly intensified. "A majority is the least scrupulous thing imaginable, because everybody puts his conscience into the keeping of his party, and the party justifies its conduct, sometimes by supposed zeal for the public interest, always by its corporate spirit. Nothing restrains it but the fear of public opinioa. . . . As in the civil wars of the Roman republic, each faction, when it


came into power, took a more ferocious revenge upon its enemies than those enemies had taken upon it before, so the tyranny of a majority in the Legislature is likely to become more and more pronounced on every change of power from party to party."

Parliament has, in Mr. Bryce's opinion, derived advantage from the introduction of the principle of closure, and has escaped evils because the Chair has been ready to check abuse of this power by the majority. He is very careful not to express an opinion as to what the effect will be here, where such abuse will be aided rather than checked by a partisan speaker. It is, of course, too early to predict what the effects will be in the end, but it may be permissible to call attention to one in connection with the rule of the majority about which so much clap-trap was so eagerly swallowed last winter by the public. The most conspicuous effect of the new rules thus far has been the domination of the House by the smallest minority that ever obtained the chief power in that body.

The account of the Pan-American Conference, continued from the September number, is interesting, but not very valuable. The first part of the present paper is taken up with a description of the quarrels among the members regarding precedence, of several misunderstandings that occurred, and of many things which Mr. Blaine said, wished, and did.

The chief questions which were discussed in the Conference were arbitration, reciprocity, monetary union, treaties on trade-marks, copyrights, patents, extradition, and others of minor importance. Only on the question of arbitration, apparently, did the Conference reach any important agreement; if this shall be ratified by the different governments it will be a measure of some moment. The chief result of the Conference, however, seems to have been "the mutual acquaintance, through their representatives, of the different nations, which, being great distances apart, and without any communication among themselves, were almost unknown to each other. The daily intercourse of the delegates for nearly six months, discussing important questions, which affect the paramount interests of their respective countries, was to many of them a revelation of the importance and the condition of the States represented."

This may not seem to be a very large result from a thing which was heralded so largely, but perhaps more important results will be consequent upon this one.

Mr. Godkin's Key to Municipal Reform turns out to be the somewhat familiar discovery that the saving of cities really depends upon educa

[ocr errors]


tion - not the education of schools or of books, but of life. The lesson must be learned here, which has already been learned in most European cities, to treat cleanliness and police, and drainage and water supply as questions of business and philanthropy to be settled on their own merits, from which there is, for honest and humane men, no escape." This may be very true, but whether it forms a key which will unlock the gate leading to good municipal government is open to question; for it offers no means of making men learn the necessary lesson until the evils of bad city government become intolerable.

[ocr errors]

Nevertheless, Mr. Godkin's analysis of the causes which have depraved city government are interesting, and throw some light upon the problem. He confines his attention wholly to New York, which, as it is the largest, so it is the worst governed city in this country, and perhaps in the world. But this has not always been so; there was a time when the city officials were honest and respectable men, and when a municipal pride was shared by the citizens. As the city grew, however, and especially as it grew by receiving large numbers of immigrants from Ireland and Europe, this feeling was greatly lessened. Then the politics of the city differed from those of the State, and this caused a great temptation to the Republicans, comprising the more intelligent and well-to-do portion of the population to ask of the State government protection against Democratic ignorance and corruption. The result of this has probably been to corrupt the Legislature and to intensify in many ways the evils in the city. Very likely the Assembly at Albany has been as potent an influence for degrading the administration of the city affairs as the character of the immigrants.

Mr. Godkin asserts that the view prevails, not only among the poor and ignorant but almost as widely among the intelligent and wealthy, that "the main object of elections is to decide which of the two parties shall have the control and distribution of the salaried municipal offices....


Of an election as a means of deciding which of two conflicting policies in the management of city affairs shall prevail, the very memory has almost all been lost." He is probably right in maintaining that there is little hope for better things as long as this state of mind on the part of the voters shall prevail; but it is difficult to see the propriety of calling this conclusion "a key to municipal reform."

Many particular peculiarities of the South have been described by novelists and story-tellers, and the general peculiarities by historians and other writers. Nevertheless, the people of the two sections are to a great degree strangers to each other. Perhaps it is impossible for a people to enter sympathetically into the life of another people whose feelings and mode of life are much different from their own. Professer Shaler's paper contains nothing that is new, except perhaps a few anecdotes, but it is pleasing and entertaining, and may, for a few, afford a sort of corrective to the misrepresentations made by designing politicians for their own



Subscriptions for Police Gazette, Police News, Congressional Record, and Town Topics will be received at reduced rates (by special arrangement with the Post-Office Department) at John Wanamaker's, Philadelphia. A suit of clothes given to each subscriber.

One morning a farmer living near the line on the American side found that his old turkey had made her nest over in Canada, his farm being iu both countries. He decided to bring the old bird back into the States with her nest and eggs. In doing so he was met by a customs officer, and accused of smuggling both bird and eggs. The surprise of the old gentleman cannot be imag ined. He voted for Harrison, and at first was inclined to contest the affair by force. He has given bonds, however, and appealed to the Secretary of the Treasury. The case is complicated, since the duty on the eggs under the new tariff is five cen's per dozen, while on the live fowl it is three cents per pound, but on the same fowl killed and dressed it is five cents. The customs official declines to say whether the gov-, ernment will continue the hatching, operation or risk the spoiling of the eggs pending the decision. St. Albans (Vt.) cor. Chicago Tribune.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Who were you?"


I was a Master Workman of

ST. PETER. NEW SPIRIT. the Knights of Labor." ST. PETER. Do you belong to the Celestial Harp Tuners' Union or the Halo Repairers' Mutual Aid Association?" NEW SPIRIT. — “N-0 " ST. PETER. 66 They don't allow scabs in here. Good-by. Fan department on the left." Life There has not been much done so far concerning the World's Columbian Exposition, but it may be remarked en passant, that the salaries of its officers have been running along smoothly for some time. - St. Paul Pioneer Press.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »