Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

districts, and we have in the City of New York districts where one tenement house will turn out more people than are found in an election district in a portion of the city where the more well-to-do

a and better educated reside. Do not understand me as making any reflection on these people; God knows that their kindness to me, their loyalty and response to anything that is true and manly has always been such as to hold me personally under such an obligation to them that no word should come from me or will come from me reflecting on them. But God Almighty did not make mountains all of the same size, nor did He ordain that trees should all grow to the same height. And it may not be good politics, but it is one of the eternal verities that men differ from men, and while they may be free and equal before the law, and should be, any doctrine that does not take into account that men differ from one another as vastly as it is possible for any one thing to differ from another is false and not based upon fact. And the idea that a man in politics cannot recognize facts and realities, but that he has to trim, and hedge, and turn, is false. The plain people of this great nation, whom only one man since it has been a nation absolutely trustedand that man was Abraham Lincoln-ring true each and every time to every man who has the element of true manhood in him and appeals to them on the basis of true manhood. The struggle of those people to give their children a better chance in life is a tacit recognition of the fact that men do differ from one another. And no man ever found an American electorate, even those electorates made up of the most heterogenous population, that took offense at such doctrines or such ideas and that were not quick to recognize it where they felt that the man who put it to them was putting it to them honestly and true. Nevertheless, there is the situation, and there, as a consequence, is the obligation put upon those of us who differ from those unfortunates, not from any merit of our own, it may be, but because we have had advantages of birth or education or one of the thousand fortunes of life that come to one.

But the result of that intense-if I may so say-party organization is the development of the boss. Now, I hear continually among reformers, with whom my associations have been most, peo

ple who in my mind I love rather to call professional citizens—I hear much about killing the boss. Why, you cannot kill the boss;

, you cannot have a disorganized rabble in politics any more than in industry or war. You have got to have the leader, and it is a question of getting a person to lead who is a man.

And when you study up the situation you find that the people have come pretty near getting men to lead them. The boss is not an accident by any means. He is a result of causes that are inherent in our system and will continue to be as long as our system is what it is. You take greatness as you see it in history; you take three men like Cromwell, Napoleon and Washington_history says they are great men—and you study their lives and try to find out some common ground, something that is common to all three of them. You can find practically nothing that is common to them except this: they were forceful. Do you suppose that a man like Croker arose from a mere plug-ugly, a member of a so-called tunnel gang and a fireman on a fire engine in the City of New York, and dominated for years a great city and held thousands of men absolutely at his disposal, by accident? Why, it brings back that old story of when Tennyson and Carlyle were going through a gallery of Greek sculpture in London and Tennyson turned to Carlyle and said: “What do you think of that, Thomas?" "Ah, mon,” said ('arlyle, “it is a sad sight.” “Why?" said Tennyson. "Because,” said Carlyle, “there's nae mon of them that has a jaw.” It is the man with the jaw that rules and has got to rule. You cannot beat that game; but it is up to us to see that that strong man has something more than strength; and it is up to us, if he has nothing but that brutal strength, to grapple with him and cither have him do us or else do him, and put in his place a man who possesses coupled with that strength some moral elevation and some appreciation of the responsibility that power brings with it. And that clement of saddling the boss with responsibility is one of the great problems which we have to deal with wherever we have this perfect form of political organization. Ind there is where the reform element is almost always weak. They have the infinite yearning for goodness, but they haven't much in them for a fight, and there has got to be a fight. You cannot walk up to the boss, who has nothing but brutal strength, and ask him to dethrone himself and expect him to do it.

I am classed as a reformer, and I am. I have stood with them and shall stand with them so long, I think, as I may live; but too often they remind me of that song of the Bandar Log:

"Here we sit in a branchy row
Thinking of beautiful things we know-
Things that are wonderful, great and good-
Won by simply wishing we could.
Now we are going to-never mind,
Brother, your tail hangs down behind."

Why, ideals amount to nothing; you must have steam back of them. I think Dr. Parkluurst's parting shot when he went to Europe, on the subject of reform, was not a bad one, that a masterful devil from hell was a much more inspiring spectacle than an angel suffering from nervous prostration. And we couple all these conditions with education.

What did education ever do for a man unless he had force? Give a man an education, and if he be forceful you do wonders for him; and nothing speaks more of that than this great country that you are living in now, this great West. But give him education alone and you have nothing but umrest. Now, in that portion of New York where I live, the most densely populated portion of this whole world, Canton and Peking and London included-I live right in the so-called Ghetto, the Jewish region—a very significant thing is found in the library returns of the so-called IIebrew Educational Alliance there. Ilere are real Orientals, people who have the imaginative faculty such as we of Anglo-Saxon stock do. not have, and yet what does their reading show as contrasted with the up-town libraries in the silk-stocking and brown-stone districts? In the latter districts it is fiction which is most generally read; in the districts of those poor fellow's who toil and sweat for their living in the most unimaginable conditions, who work ten and twelve hours a day in those sweat shops in spite of factory laws, their reading is economies, history and biography, with fiction trailing

a

on at the end. And yet they are not of a masterful race, but subtle and keen and nimble-minded, misunderstood by us of an alien race because we touch them perhaps only in commercial transactions, and then perhaps the worst of them, having ideals and strivings that would put us who claim to be native born to shame. They have the education but they need the steam. It is up to us again as members of the profession, in whom trust is placed and who, after all, in the last analysis, are a pretty decent lot, although rather timid, to see that our institutions work right among such a people.

Then, as another condition markedly dissimilar from those under which democratic institutions based upon universal suffrage were developed, we have the elective judiciary, and that is a thing that the bar of these whole United States sooner or later will have to meet and down. With an elective judiciary, in which judges are rewarded for partisan political services; with an elective judiciary in which political assessments are an essential ingredient to nomination and election; and with short tenures of office on top of it all, how are you going to get the scales of justice held even? You may, here and there, but you cannot generally. Contrast the judges of the Federal Courts, who hold for life, and the judges of Massachusetts, who hold for life, with those of the States where judges are elected and hold for short tenures. I go every year to a little camp in the hills on the Connecticut and Massachusetts line at which a number of lawyers gather, and of course as we get about the fire at night we naturally talk of topics that interest us, and you hear Judge So-and-so commented upon, his idiosyncrasies and his peculiarities, but you never hear a breath of suggestion that there is any

reason why you should pick this judge to apply for an injunction or that judge for an attachment; that

you had better, if So-and-so was against you, not get before that judge-never a breath of suspicion. But in the great city of New York, where there is as important litigation coming up as there is anywhere in the world, a group of lawyers in large practice hardly ever get together, where they are on terms of intimacy, but there is a canvass of judges that would bring the blush of

a

a

I no

shame to their cheeks if they could hear it.' That the cases against the Metropolitan Street Railway had better not get before such a judge; that an application for injunction against such a concern had better not get before such a judge; if it involves your domestic relations you had better not get before such a judge; and as the hour of election is approaching, even with their fourteen-year term, we find judges over-ruling the Court of Appeals on the constitutionality of laws to placate the liquor element in the State and City of New York.

These things make lawyers think, if they have the stuff in them that is needed, of ways to better conditions. I know nothing of your local condition here; it strikes me as something like the South, where, when you say "Colonel,” everybody gets up. ticed coming in on the train that if anyone said “Judge," a dozen men responded. I have no doubt from the examples I have seen that the judiciary of this State is very different; but have pity on us in the East and realize that as brothers in professional work we must stand together. I would rather see a bad man on the bench for life than a weak man elected for a limited term.

Another element that comes into this whole business, complicating conditions with our democratic institutions based upon universal suffrage, is the trust. I hold no brief for the trusts. I hold a public office based upon universal suffrage. I ought not to be prejudiced. But this perpetual tail-twisting of the trusts, this 'secing in it nothing but iniquity, is not the best attitude. be fair and let us look things in the face as they are. That the trust has tended to bring stability in prices, to prevent economic crises by preventing over-production, that it has tended to cheapen prices by the quick turning over of capital and small profits, I think is understood by anybody who has studied the situation. That it has wrought great evils no one can doubt who has seen what it has done. It is nothing more or less than a great labor-saving device. When natural gas was introduced into Pittsburg there was in one of the steel works there ninety men employed in the boiler room; after the introduction of natural gas three were emploved. Those eighty-seven men who went out suffered, but in

Let us

« ZurückWeiter »