Imagens das páginas

to the

part of the total number of voters, are They are seldom men who appeal to the distributed so evenly among the congres- better judgment of the public for apsional districts as to be rendered abso proval, but rather such as can manipulate lutely helpless. They have no more hope the majority party in any given district. of being represented in the Congress at Public apathy leaving, as it does, the Washington than if they had no vote at nominations of candidates in the control all; they have but the shadow of polit of the “rings” and “machines,” these ical liberty, the substance being de conscienceless mechanical contrivances nied them as much as it is the Russian naturally name such as will best serve peasant or the Indian ryot. The evil re their interests. Moral and intellectual sults of such a political system extend in worth are useless as political factors, untwo directions. In most of the congres less coupled with the power to crush the sional districts, one party or the other “machine" or the willingness to bow to has such a clear majority that the minor its dictation. A premium is put upon ity parties have absolutely no hope of mediocrity; a rewar

mediocrity ; a reward is offered for disdefeating it, and their members take lit

honesty. tle interest in elections. Conscious of the Suppose now the introduction of the fact that the election was decided when system of proportional representation, as the district was laid out, the legally dis suggested. To begin with, the districts franchised voters are soon thrown into are abolished, leaving the voter in any that state of mind which bodes no good part of the State free to combine with

permanency of our political institu his fellows in all other parts of the tions, -- the conviction that might makes State. Every man votes for Congressright. The certainty of success, when men, and every vote counts; there are no long continued, no less than foregone de permanently disfranchised voters; there feat, is a cause of apathy; and the care are none even temporarily disfranchised. lessness of election day soon extends to Every citizen is conscious of the fact that the primaries, where the real elections the last representative on the list may be are now decided. Having crushed the chosen by a single vote, and will make spirit of political activity by certain de it a point to see that all his friends vote. feat on the one hand, and lulled it to There will be no despair from foresleep by assured success on the other, ordained defeat; there will be no overthe present system offers golden oppor confidence from the certainty of victory. tunities for the professional politicians. The state delegations will represent the of which they are not slow to avail parties and the people in the exact prothemselves. Not only may these delecta- portion of the votes cast. As the voter ble public servants so construct congres- is freed from the necessity of voting for sional districts that the minority party a certain man and party, or “throwing of the time shall be disfranchised, but away” his vote, and may pick and choose they may make them up in such a way in the political field, better men will be that the two principal parties shall be named as candidates for his approval. If evenly divided, and thus the balance of one party does not present men of charpower be thrown into the hands of a acter, another may; if none of the old small number of voters, bound together, parties do, an independent one will. We it may be, by fanaticism or a mutual shall not then witness the spectacle of a desire for plunder. In such a case, the body of men deeply imbued with princityranny of the majority makes way for ple leading the forlorn hope, and voting that of a small minority.

year after year without avail, simply beLegal disfranchisement is equally bad cause their numbers are scattered about in its effects upon the representatives. the State in a dozen or twenty congresNO. 414.



sional districts. They will have represen- telligence may be, he is not responsible tation as soon as they have votes enough for the failure. In 1888, the Democrats to fill one quota. The very fact that an polled in the thirteen States of Maine, independent ticket can so easily be put New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachuin the field, and with such hopes of suc- setts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Ohio, cess, will have a tendency to purify the Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, dominant parties, and render such action Kansas, and Nebraska forty-one per cent largely unnecessary.

of the vote, but secured only 13.8 per Upon Independence Day, and upon cent of the representatives: they got but all national fête days, the air is laden thirteen Congressmen when their vote enwith appeals for purer patriotism, for titled them to forty-one. In 1890, the greater public spirit. But of what avail Republicans of the thirteen States of are such words when addressed to the New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, West permanently and legally disfranchised Virginia, North and South Carolina, Kenvoters of whom Garfield spoke, and who tucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, are to be found in hundreds of districts Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin polled throughout the country? What does it forty-one per cent of the vote, and got matter to the Democrats of Minnesota ten per cent of the representatives : they or the Republicans of Texas how patri- got twelve Congressmen when their vote otic and public-spirited they may be? entitled them to forty-eight. In 1888, They have absolutely no means of give the Democrats of the seven States of ing expression to their ideas of national Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode polity; as for having any part in the Island, Minnesota, Kansas, and Nebraschoice of members of Congress, they ka polled 38.5 per cent of the total vote might as well be in equatorial Africa. for Congressmen without electing one: Few men have the moral stamina to they got no representatives at all, though maintain a protracted fight for principle; their vote entitled them to ten. practical results must be forthcoming, This is not representation; it is the or they will turn their attention in other grossest misrepresentation. It is a flat directions. When the voter has been sup- denial of the very rights guaranteed us plied with the best possible tools, and in the Constitution; it is an outrage fails to use them well, he may be cen- upon simple justice and common sense; sured; but so long as he must use tools and to permit its continuance, when so which, from their very nature, render it complete and perfect a remedy as proutterly impossible for him to perform his portional representation is at hand, is work, no matter what his will and in- nothing less than a crime.


As the ministerial vocation lies mainly to include it in their own schemes of within its borders, we should naturally study, but they manifest little interest or expect that literature would occupy a concern in regard to the previous literary prominent place in the curriculum of training of their students. Perhaps there theological schools. Yet, so far from

Yet, so far from is no better illustration of the spirit and setting any particular value upon it for policy dominant among them than the their purposes, these schools not only fail professional uses to which they put the Bible. By general consent, it contains haps his position is not essentially differsome of the most extraordinary prose ent from that of Professor Freeman, of and poetry in the world ; but for all that, Oxford, who contends that it should not ignoring the man of letters, they practi- form any part at all of university study, cally give the book over into the hands unless pursued in connection with philoof the historian, the philologist, and the logy and history. He does not leave us theologian.

in doubt concerning his reasons for this This discrimination against literature harsh judgment. They all take their is certainly a matter which requires ex- rise in his favorite doctrine that sentiplanation. In the case of the Bible cer- ment, not fact, is the province of literatain theories of inspiration may be partly ture. The inference is not far to seek, responsible for it, though it is difficult that in subjects of this character, which to see how even the most conservative are chiefly matters of taste, and hence of them necessitate anything of the sort. involve endless differences of opinion, Cardinal Newman, for example, held the student may successfully teach himthat the divine afflatus sometimes took self. such complete possession of the sacred This conception of literature, as I writers as to convert them into mere shall hope to show in the sequel, is inpassive channels of communication. Oc- adequate and misleading. "Sentiment” casional passages, of which the first is altogether too scant a word to embrace chapter in the gospel of St. John fur- its total contents. The whole history of nishes an instance, he did indeed refuse books discredits the supposition that it to call literature. He put them into the is self-interpretative to a degree which category of science, because they were renders exposition and illustration supersupposed to deal with facts rather than fluous. The delays, the indifference and with ideas. Yet, notwithstanding the positive hostility which genius has enpresence of these so-called scientific ele- countered are an old and familiar story. ments, he never dreamed of considering Even the spacious times of the great Elizathe Bible anything else than literature, beth mistook writers of the first rank for and that “in as real and true a sense, “unlearned idiots . . . who endeavor as personal, as rich in emotion and re- continually to publish their folly,” and flection, as Demosthenes and Euripides." sent them for shrift to St. Fool's. The But the hostile influences that may be seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were fairly attributed to old-school doctrines in no haste to appreciate men who have of inspiration affect only the Scriptures, since become their chief glory. It is a and do not account for the neglect of mistake to suppose that the critic has no literature in general as an instrument of vocation other than carrying coals to ministerial training. What is the dis- Newcastle. The present drift of opintrust — for distrust there must have been ion in educational circles, instead of con- which has thrust it so completely into firming the opinion that instruction is the background?

of little consequence in literature, sets John Locke, to whom the cause of strongly toward the conviction that in no education is under lasting obligations, other subject is it of more importance. expresses the opinion, in one of his post- At all events, the outcome of laissezhumous essays, that converse with books faire theories has been sufficiently un“is not the principal part of study." satisfactory. While he does not explain his views so Another explanation of the indifferfully and clearly as we could wish, he ence with which professional schools of seems to question the relative efficiency theology have regarded the study of of literature in educational work. Per- literature is that it tends to create a visionary habit and temper of mind; the Shakespeare of the pulpit. The that it blunts the practical energies, and sources of his inspiration are not doubtconsequently disqualifies men for taking ful. In spite of the vicissitudes of his their proper place in a bustling, worka- troubled career, he managed to read all day world. This phase of the indict- the important publications of the day. ment, although it has had considerable If he did not neglect the soberer writers, vogue of late, is by no means new. John neither was he indifferent to Robert Lyly states it after his peculiar fashion Greene or Mademoiselle de Scudéri. when old Cassander gravely tells Eu- Like Petrarch, he might have fitly died phues that those “who give themselves with his head on a book. Scarcely less to be bookish are often so blockish that were the obligations to literature of anthey forget thrift.” The operations of other great preacher, Robertson of Brighthe Society for the Extension of Univer- ton. So conscious was he of its benefisity Teaching in England have shown cent power in his own experience that that this apprehension exists among the he urged the reading of poetry upon the middle and the laboring classes. workingmen of his parish, as at once a the work of this society, literary courses powerful nepenthe, have commonly suffered when brought

“Which can commute a sentence of sore pain into competition with others which are

For one of softer sadness," thought to have immediate connection with bread-winning. These men and and an inspiration which could lift them women readily appreciate the relation of into the higher moods of living. No one science to practical affairs, nor is it diffi- who familiar with the remarkable sercult for them to see that history, political mons of the late Canon Liddon will have economy, and sociology have direct and failed to observe that only a man of lethelpful relations to their personal wel- ters could have written them. If there fare. Literature stands, in their judg should be appeal from the discourses of ment, upon a quite different footing. clergymen to the testimony of laymen, I They not only regard it as a luxury should be inclined to quote the opinion rather than a utility, but they have a sus- of Thomas Nash, which deserves whatpicion that, if meddled with very much, ever attention the conclusions of a keen, it might unfit them for their craft. observant Elizabethan may happen to be

The questions that have been raised worth. “ How admirably shine those are doubtless questions of fact, and some divines above the common mediocrity," may think that they can be readily set- he exclaims, “ that have tasted the sweet tled by a little scientific investigation. springs of Parnassus !” Four or five years ago, John Morley met We cannot expect, however, that this the charge that the study of literature line of inquiry will lead to decisive remakes men unpractical by insisting that sults, since, as we have seen, literature it was “ludicrously untrue” in reference has never been a substantial factor in to the existing government of England. the process of ministerial training. In“Some of the most sagacious men in the asmuch as satisfactory data of this sort country," he continued, “ are the most do not exist, we are compelled to resort accomplished bookmen.”

to a priori methods, to attempt some By examining the published sermons analysis of its principal constituents, beof successful preachers we should doubt- fore we can speak very definitely or conless be able to determine with more or fidently. less confidence whether literature had The question What is literature ? does been a chief nourisher of their genius. not involve any serious difficulties. It Take Jeremy Taylor, sometimes called is a matter upon which scholars are in the main agreed. They would hardly the present century, not to speak of other quarrel with a recent writer who says times, they have given much attention to that it consists of all the books — and contemporary religious problems. The they are not so many — where moral poetry of Browning wrestles with questruth and human passion are touched by a tions like the origin of evil, the relation certain largeness, sanity, and attraction of knowledge to morality, and the imof form.” Shelley's description of poet- mortality of the soul. A deep, comprery, as "the record of the best and hap- hensive optimism pervades it, - an optipiest moments of the happiest and best mism which dared to look on men,” strikes the same key, and fits

“Brow - furrowed old age, youth's hollow prose, especially of the imaginative sort

cheek, which Walter Pater calls “ the special Diseased in body, sick in soul, and opportune art of the modern world,” Pinched poverty, satiated wealth, — your quite as happily as it fits poetry. Now


Array of despairs," if clergymen should happen to be "hard sitters” at those greater books which and which survived the tremendous orcontain the noblest thought, emotion, deal. Tennyson's In Memoriam, his and speech of men worthy to represent Palace of Art, and Two Voices cover their kind, and which we call literature, large tracts of modern doubt and perwhat then?

plexity. Clough shows an almost morbid It is plain at the outset that the study eagerness to tear off disguises and break of these books involves a consideration through conventionalities, in order to of the gravest problems of theology. No reach the simple, unalloyed truth. Sheltheories of the Bible and of its relations ley flew in the face of the church and to the church which promise to have theology, yet he did not always escape much currency in our day will diminish from the control of some higher and the importance of this investigation. If mysterious inspiration which overmasliterature is, in any adequate sense, a tered his avowed purposes, so that, like definition of man, — and such is the im- the baffled prophet from Pethor, he spoke port of the descriptions of it which have a message that the Lord put into his been quoted, — it cannot pass by. that mouth. very perplexing subject, the philosophy But elaborate details are unnecessary, of life. The most casual examination since “ the pale cast of thought " is on shows that it does not pass by this ques- the verse of our century. The services tion. On the contrary, ethical and reli- of the poetic intuition as a medium for gious problems largely furnish its mate- the discovery and illustration of truth rials of perennial interest. In our own are so obvious as to save us the necesliterature, the ebb and flow of spirit- sity of appeal to argument. These serual forces are distinctly traceable from vices have been conspicuous not only the times of Chaucer onwards. Taine in the genesis of all the great religions, does not hesitate to say that it is im- but also in the interpretation of nature possible to consider religion and poetry and history. This intuition disclosed to separately, and speaks of that serious Wordsworth the spiritual aspects of the poem which in England is called re- external world ; to Scott a fascinating ligion. Doubtless our bards often sing and forgotten world buried beneath the as the linnet sings, but their prevailing rubbish of mediæval chronicles ; to the strain is of another type. No theme Hebrew prophets the vision of God as all appears to attract them so strongly and and in all. For our present purposes it so constantly as that ancient matter of is only necessary to call attention to justifying the ways of God to men. these extraordinary achievements of the

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