« AnteriorContinuar »
prominence of General Butler caused a Democratic candidates for the presiden" bolt” in Massachusetts. The cynical cy there is only one who could command indifference of the Republican party to their support. Governor Hill inspires its promise of civil service reform led no more confidence than Mr. Blaine, nor to the revolt of 1882, which sent Theo- is Mr. Gorman clearly better than Mr. dore Lyman, among others, to Congress, Quay. and changed entirely the political com- The result is that there is a large plexion of the House of Representatives. body of citizens who believe earnestly in When finally the corrupt forces of the civil service reform, tariff reform, honest party triumphed in the nomination of money, fair elections, and economical adMr. Blaine, the conscience of the coun
ministration, who find no political party try was startled, and a large and impor which really seeks to accomplish these tant part of the Republican party voted political objects. These are the real pracagainst its candidate. One by one the tical demands of the day, and the record men whose names are associated with of both parties shows that neither can the best days of that party have, with be trusted to labor for them all. These a few exceptions, been driven from its men are equally opposed to the corrupt ranks, and the result is apparent. When methods of both parties, and to men who Mr. Blaine first sought the presidency are prominent in both. They adopt an in 1876, he was beaten so badly that eclectic course, voting at each election he had little influence with the next ad- for those who, under the circumstances, ministration. In 1880 he was beaten, misrepresent them the least. To a great indeed, but came out of the conflict at extent, by voting on opposite sides, they the right hand of President Garfield. neutralize each other's action. They are Four years later he won the nomina- numerous and intelligent, and they should tion against a fierce opposition, but his be influential. While they stand apart nomination divided the party. Now he from existing political organizations they seems to be the party's idol, the typi- exert no direct influence upon either. cal Republican of to-day. Look where Candidates are selected, policies adoptwe will, the same tendency is evident ed, methods approved, without consultthroughout the Republican party. In ing them, and thus their attitude de New York Mr. White yields to Mr. prives them of their legitimate weight in Fassett. In Ohio Mr. Sherman strug- determining the political course of the gles for reëlection against Governor For- country. aker. In Pennsylvania Mr. Quay and Is there no way out of this situation ? his associates are supreme.
Mr. Clark- Cannot citizens who think alike forget son leads the national organization, while, names which have lost their meaning, as he complains, the great newspapers and unite in the endeavor to adjust the and magazines of the country, which for- parties “to living issues, and to make merly supported the Republican party, them effective agencies of political proare now contending against it. The edu- gress and reform" cation and intelligence of the country are No man counts for less politically than naturally repelled by the Republicanism he whose party allegiance is assured, of to-day.
who votes for his party's candidate unOn the other hand, the Democrats der all circumstances, who cannot be dishave, until recently, offered little which gusted or persuaded into revolt. Why could attract the men whom the Re- should any party leader abandon evil publicans have alienated. Tammany and methods for fear of alienating, or adopt its methods do not suggest reform, and sound principles and nominate good men among those who are named as possible for the sake of attracting, such voters ?
They belong to the boss," and he may ing delusions. They frighten the timid well ask, “ Is it not lawful for me to do leaders in both parties, but no more afwhat I will with mine own?” Does not ford a foundation for a new organization the recent election in Pennsylvania show than would an attack on the law of that it is lawful? How can this fetich gravitation. worship of party be broken up?
Nor can a new party be formed now The difficulties of the problem are on the issue of civil service reform. Its great. Political parties are not lightly friends are strong enough to compel the created nor easily destroyed. The life respect of both parties, who on public of the Democratic party, in spite of its occasions are never tired of denouncing almost absolute annihilation during the the failures of their opponents to act civil war, is a proof of this wonderful upon its principles, and of expressing vitality. Parties are born when the time their own unqualified support of the reis ripe. A handful of reformers cannot form ; but it is difficult to create a new will a new party into existence, though party for the purpose of doing what when public opinion is ready they can two existing parties strongly pretend to raise the standard and fire the beacon. favor, especially when, as in this case, A political party in a country like ours the cause does not inspire any burning is a complicated organization, and de- enthusiasm in large sections of the counpends for its success on the active ef- try, but at best commands only passive forts of many men. The legitimate ex- support. penses of a campaign are great, and men The dominating issue is tariff reform, who are busy in their respective employ- and in its support are enlisted a large ments shrink from the sacrifice of time majority of the active men who alone and money which is necessary to create can be relied on to join any new movea national organization and to conduct ment. The Democratic party is fully a national campaign, until there comes committed to this cause, and the proone of those moments in a country's his- spect of success is brilliant. In the battory when some great cause stirs men tle now going on these reformers find deeply, and they forget to be lazy and abundant opportunity for their zeal, and prudent.
they cannot easily be persuaded to abanWhile in the factional quarrels which don a powerful party, which seems on divide both parties in many States there the eve of victory, for the purpose of is evidence that existing organizations forming a new and comparatively weak will not long continue as at present con- organization, and thus dividing the force stituted, while the men who now hold which, united, is not too strong to overprominent office, with few exceptions, come the party of privilege. If the Deare not such as can long control the mocratic party should select as its candestinies of a great nation, there is no didate a leader whose character and reason to think that the country is ripe strength are well known, who is sound for
new party. The demand for free on financial questions, and who has silver seems to have spent its force, shown himself willing to extend the and, like the movements for the pay- principles of civil service reform and to ment of the bonds in “greenbacks” lead his party forward on this question, and for the inflation of the currency by it would be folly to attempt the formafresh issues of paper money, proves to tion of a new party. The active supbe only a temporary craze. Such ebulli- port of such a candidate is practically tions of imaginative finance have been the best service a voter can render to the periodical during our history, but from causes of tariff reform, civil service retheir inherent folly they are mere pass- form, and honest money. But if such a
candidate is not named ; if each of the act together in support of tariff reform, two great parties nominates a man who civil service reform, electoral reform, does not command confidence, but is and honest money, and against corrupt merely a political gambler, playing for men and corrupt methods in politics power, are we bound then to trust the wherever found ? Why should not such great interests of this country, its char- an organization formulate the demands acter and its honor, to a man who has of good citizens, and thus help to eduneither character nor honor of his own? cate public opinion and loosen party The answer to this inquiry should not ties? Why should there not be a branch be doubtful.
in each district and in every town, to The practical question is not whether form a nucleus around which citizens a new party shall be formed, but whether who favor reform can rally? The polimen who desire only to have their coun- ticians would soon see in such a body try well governed cannot, by united ac- a power to be dreaded and conciliated, tion, do something to secure the nomi- and it would be strong enough, in many nation of good men by both parties, cases, to dictate good nominations or desomething to make them both “effective feat bad ones. Such an organization agencies of political progress and re- would be prepared for any emergency ; form” rather than armies engaged in a
and if the time should ever come when battle to determine which shall have neither political party offered a the right to despoil their common coun- and candidates worthy of support, a new try.
party would be ready. We are too apt to think that every- No one can do more than indicate thing depends on the presidential elec- what is possible. We all recognize a tion. It is a dangerous delusion. We steady decadence in our politics. The have more to hope and fear from Con- men in public life to-day are, with few gress than from the President. Be he exceptions, intellectually and morally inas good as we would have him, he can- ferior to the great statesmen of the war not legislate, and even in matters which and the years which preceded it. Polie exclusively within his jurisdiction the litical preferment is less and less temptconstant pressure of office-broking Con- ing to good men. The conditions of gressmen or the loyal support of able public life are more and more repellent. and disinterested representatives may The tendency is dangerous, and it is our mar or make his administration. We duty to arrest it. Is there not in all cannot afford to choose a good President this reason for action ; should we not at and not give him a good Congress. Each least recognize the situation, and seek to congressional district is a field for inde- find a remedy? It would seem that the pendent action, and in many a few ac- first step would be a conference of those tive men will control an election. Why who think alike, in order that, through is it not practicable to form a national a comparison of views, some course of organization of those who, without re- action might be devised. Delays are gard to party, will pledge themselves to dangerous.
RECENT FRENCH LITERATURE.
Two books on Italy which belong to an ardor which leaves little room for two epochs bear on their title-pages the that self-contemplation which is apt to date 1891 : the first a treasured frag- be, perhaps is inevitably, the startingment from the pen of the great resusci- point for our analysis of the life immetator of the past, a journal of Michelet diately about us. The modern Italian written in 1830; the second ? the fruit of was interesting to Michelet as the prea recent journey to the land of the vine sent occupant of the estate of the ancient and the olive, made by the psychologist Roman, and he notes his characteristics and analyzer of the present day, M. in a quick classification, comparing him Paul Bourget. Let us turn first to the with his predecessor, almost equally preItaly of 1830, and note the point of view sent to his mind. He is affamé d'érudiof the older writer, who was young at tion, turns from ruins and pictures to that date. It is easy, in reading these burrow in libraries and translate seeing vivid sentences of Michelet's which have at once into knowledge, and then gazes the piercing virile force that belongs to again, meeting at every turn in Rome his style, and in feeling the unity of the its ancient populations. The monuments impression conveyed, the summing up of of the Forum look to him “as if they Rome in a personality, to forget that his would fain rise by an effort of their own Rome is not really a book, but a few from the depths of the soil.” notes of his itinerary and impressions The Rome in which Michelet beheld during a journey wbich seems to have a suggestion of the fortified Paris of been a brief one, though we have no the time of Philip Augustus," the Rome dates by which to measure it, and was with cows at graze in its Forum, has undertaken for his health when nearly passed away like the ancient city, and given over by the physicians. Some out- seems to us, as we read, to lie already line sketches of Roman emperors, in- beneath a layer of soil. The monuments tended by him for use in teaching, and have been freed since then, and are all a rambling but interesting preface by in view, as are also the improvements of Madame Michelet help to make up
the modern progress.
The black wooden volume. It gives us one thing well worth cross which then stood in the arena of having: Michelet's first eager glance at the Coliseum, and which Michelet saItaly, his first impressions face to face lutes as the symbol of its greatest memwith the actual Rome, the scene of his ories, is gone. But the glories of the reading and his dreams. What an ani- Easter Sunday display in Rome, which mated, animating glance it is! Miche
Miche- drove Michelet to seek the shelter of let's vision of the past is never merely the smallest and most obscure church to meditative; it is energetic, as if scanning be found, have not all passed away, and 'a vast active future. To make that past his reflection, summing up his impresalive again for the quickening of the im- sions of religious Rome, that “he who agination and the life of to-day is a task has lost his faith cannot hope to find it that absorbs and satisfies him. He gives here,” is not less true since the days of few generalizations on the contrasts or infallibility than it was before. The Roaffinities between that life and this, hav- man churches are not those to which the ing thrown his heart into the past with imagination clings; their polished mar
1 Rome. Par J. MICHELET. Paris : Librai- 2 Sensations d'Italie. Par Paul BOURGET. rie Marpon et Flammarion. 1891.
Paris: Alphonse Lemerre. 1891.
bles do not rouse the religious feeling; portion and tending towards one end; the concentration in Rome of the pomp it was active, not arrested development. of the Church has banished from it the In the civilisé, whether an individual or sweetness of religion.
a world, a large number of faculties deM. Bourget's Sensations d'Italie may velop in exquisite perfection, but remain almost be taken as the record of a quest' unrelated, or even tend to prey upon one for a faith ; in fact, demands to be read another, as microbes devour microbes. as a spiritual confession of some sort, The melancholy of a generation “ venu though it comes to hand as a piece of trop tard dans un monde trop vieux" light literature, informal, polished, and has not spared M. Bourget, but there artistic. M. Bourget has not sought his are other elements in his sadness, which faith in Rome. Among the byways of is more austere, altruistic, and invigorTuscany and Umbria, with their crum- ating than the usual plaint of French bling frescoes in neglected monasteries literature. No reader can take up Senand their precious pictures enshrined in sations d'Italie and wander through its the quiet of lonely churches, and along Italian autumn landscape, so true in atthe coasts where relics and suggestions mosphere and full of subtle touches of of Greece are to be found, he has made color, nor linger upon its faithful reprohis way in a tour which report describes duction of the spirit of old pictures, nor as a wedding journey, but which his enjoy its intellectual comment upon volume, the only document with which things or its evidences of reading and a reviewer has to deal, sets down as information, now and then a little ostena pilgrimage of a solemn order. M. tatiously displayed, without being aware Bourget is a civilisé; he is a product at every moment of an interpenetraof the most refined civilization of this tive moral feeling so intense and perlatter day, and when he speaks of this sonal as to tinge the whole book. It is civilization as “barbarous” compared something as distinctive and haunting as with that of the ancient Greeks, it is the melancholy of Obermann or René; with the tone of one so thoroughly as representative, too, of an epoch and initiated into an art as to be able to exponent of other minds than that of judge intimately, if not condescendingly, its author. It will hardly prove as inof a performance superior to his own. fectious, for M. Bourget is not a great The Roman faculty for government creative artist ; and though he appeals to seems to have descended in a measure an intimate public, he is more likely to to the English of modern times, while a find it waiting for him than to stamp smaller portion of the mantle of Greek the impress of his special Weltschmerz civilization has fallen upon French soil; upon his own or succeeding generations, if it be not the authentic garment, there as the great sentimental and introspecare at least no rival relics to dispute its tive travelers of a bygone day have claim. This claim is not invalidated done. by the highest single examples of culture The ancient Greek was not troubled among other nations. The individuals by the social problem, that being solved of highest culture in modern times have for him, as M. Bourget remarks in this not always been the outcome of such re- book, by slavery. Neither did it affect finement of an entire society; Goethe Alfred de Musset in his despair over the was not, nor Turgeneff, and both gained miseries of an overripo age and of indiin fineness by nearness to simpler con- vidual destiny. But the human intelditions. In Goethe, the modern type lect of the present day has undertaken of culture in its largest and most per- the double problem of adjusting the sonal sense, all the faculties were in pro- subtle conditions and faculties of refine