Abbildungen der Seite

spirit of the tongue is the same in every corruption, and certainly the corruption hotel from Ontario to California. There is more shameless. This article proare the same social and political ideals ; poses to give some facts in an account every newspaper proves this to any one of a particular election. Democracy is who has lived in the two continents. on its trial, it is said, and so is the utilCanada, where it differs from Europe, ity of party government in new coundiffers as an American country, though tries. And to get at facts about Canada it be not without distinctions sufficient is daily more and more useful, since to make a nation. The French there Canada is of such growing importance are themselves Americanized ; one ven- for herself and for others. tures to say that even the Roman Cath- The election is a provincial election. olic Church herself is bound more and Some readers may need to be reminded more to be so. And Canada has much that there is a Parliament for all Canof what is good in Americanism, as well ada at Ottawa in Ontario, and that there as what is repulsive ; only let her ac- is a local Parliament in each province, knowledge always what is so true, and even when there are not a quarter of a never put herself in the absurd position million people. The Ottawa Parliaof claiming to be New World when ment has to do with customs, militia, there is praise of the New, and then the post-office, and so on ; to the local turning to the Old when the New is to parliaments are left police, education, be blamed. She is thus herself some- public lands, roads and bridges, which times the cause why she is found so latter things greatly, and inevitably, uninteresting to English people in com- occupy the public mind. Elections of parison with the United States ; though members for the two Parliaments are of course there are other obvious causes quite distinct in every way. For the for this comparative lack of English Dominion Parliament a certain propinterest. But as a help to understand erty or income qualification is demanded Canada, let Englishmen begin by gen- in a voter. And there is vote by secret erally applying what they mean by ballot, — not that bribery and corrupAmericanism to their great colony as tion are killed by that. well as to the greater independent na- In this provincial election, which is tion. They will thus come not far from a fairly typical one, there is manhood a true estimate.

suffrage. There is also vote by ballot ; And so in this present matter of pol- but you can go into the polling-booth itics.

Institutions differ in the two with a man and see him vote ; and that countries, and differ much ; Canada has is important, if you are an agent, or, in the advantage, many think. But the other words, a briber. For no election relation of politics to the public and is carried in Canada without bribery ; private life of the country is in Canada, such a thing is unanimously declared, as in the United States, what one un- by speech and by writing, to be absoderstands by American. In both coun- lutely impossible. No one attempts it. tries members represent much the same Each side, therefore, set out this time public interests and the same classes ; with its pockets as full of money as they are paid ; they are rarely men of possible. “Now, boys” (this half cultivation ; they are without the great vulgarizing, half friendly Americanism, fighting causes which stir older coun- is noteworthy) — “Now, boys, you may tries, and are expressive of the great as well go home; I have come here difficulties from which America is par- prepared.” So a contractor on the tially free; there is less disinterested government side called out at one poll, enthusiasm in American legislatures, as le tapped his coat, well lined with though perhaps not less hard work ; dollar bills, and added in a loud voice, there may be less hypocrisy ; politics - Ten dollars for a vote.” It should in America (including Canada) may be be said here, perhaps, that nothing is as useful, but they seem to have less of being stated but what both sides admit high ideal; they probably have more to be facts. “I guess the money gave


out at that poll,” said a politician's wife In other cases fifteen dollars at least quite unconcernedly, " for I saw a man were paid for each vote ; and once a drive to the bank near my house, and prosperous farmer and his seven sons rush in after hours by a back way, and drove up, and offered themselves for come out replenished.” This man ap- sale at one hundred dollars. Under peared at the poll shortly after, and the receiving officer's very nose you pulling out one roll of notes from one hear, “Well, you're going to vote ; pocket and one from another, handed how much will you take ?" No statethem to his confederates, and again ment can exaggerate the openness of you heard the shout, “ Ten dollars the barter and sale. And it is so well now!” At that poll it was allowed recognized that a man may make somethat at least two hundred voters out of thing out of his vote, that to challenge three hundred were bribed; others put votes is unpopular and considered bad the figures still higher.

policy for your own side. Again at another polling centre the Is there, then, no law against such government agent stands on the court- things ? There is ; but yet, as one house steps and offers his price — five Canadian writer puts it, perhaps with dollars this time. “ Listen to him, some exaggeration : 6. Within the last boys,” says the Opposition agent, “lis- few years the number of the bribed ten how he offers the public money, has increased to an alarming extent, which ought to be in the treasury, and until it has become the exception rather which he has got from the government than the rule for a man to refuse to be to be used for election purposes. Would bribed to vote contrary to his ideas of you not rather take two dollars from what is right.” In the particular prov

we have not the public purse to ince I have in my mind the government draw on — and so be paid for your day has lately passed an act by which it off work, than take his live dollar- seems to be made more difficult to unbribe ?” And many did take the two seat for bribery, since you must first dollars, and so saved their conscience, prove that there was no corrupt prachad their cake, though they ate two- tice on your own side. fifths of it. Besides, the other cor- As was said above, there is not in rupter, rum, had been doing its work the province even the secret ballot of here, and had turned many to look favor- Dominion elections, under which sysably on the two-dollar man. He man- tem, though a man can be bribed, yet it aged the business, as he told me, on is possible to vote as you think fit. this wise. The scene of operation is And in that system is a safeguard, under a prohibition law, which means though a certain moral standard may in Canada that much liquor is sold, interfere with it; for some men, who

; though more or less on the sly. Of find no shame in taking bribes, yet find course every one knows where the stuff it against their conscience to afterwards can be got. So 0. (Opposition) proposes vote against the briber. The difficulty to G. (Government) to join and get in the way of reform must be scen in something for the “boys.” “They public opinion not demanding it, or not must be cold after coming in a long way being able to enforce its demand. The to vote."

But G. would not. So 0. general tone is, such and such a gov(who, it should be added, was the leader ernment has been in a long time ; govof the party supposed specially to favor ernments get corrupt gradually, so we'll teetotalism) calls the men together, and turn this one out. The government publicly repeats his offer of hospitality ; then uses money to circumvent its eneand when G. as publicly refuses, and is mies ; and the latter say, “We must voted mean, O., boldly generous, de- fight the devil with his own weapons." clares, “Well, I'll not see you left, ! What will you have ? No one pretends boys.” As 0. reflected, “G. must have that the evil can be got rid of, at presbeen green at his work, or he never ent, in any way. would have let me do this."

And yet there is a shrinking from it.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Men will be heard saying they could | Yet a decent Canadian newspaper falls not have believed what it was really foul of a decent Scotch professor, who, like till they went out into the cam-on witnessing these things, said that paign-field. Young men, fresh from the politicians debauch the electorsome ideals taught or heard of in school ate," and spoke unhesitatingly of their or college are pained at first, but grad- shamelessness." Nothing is more ually grow in cynicism, and come fairly obvious than the truth of the latter to disbelieve in popular voting and low saying. Every one you meet, without franchise, which yet they glorify more exception, let it be repeated, allows and more with their lips. Here are that elections can be safely carried in some instances which made even old no other way than by bribery ; and hands feel a bit ashamed. It will be even strenuous supporters of one side recollected that you can accompany a or the other sneer at the notion of man to the very moment of his drop- Government and Opposition meaning ping his ballot. So Mephistopheles anything but Ins and Outs. Is party claims that act of accompanying as his government under such conditions an right when he has once bought his absurd anomaly? But there is no need victim. M. enters with V., and the for reflection and sentiment; the facts vote is challenged; V. swears that not speak for themselves. No doubt cirdirectly nor indirectly has he received, cumstances have to be considered, as or will he receive, a bribe, kisses the was said at the beginning — circumbook, and outside the door gets his pay stances, and times, and places. Still for perjury; he had asked for it before, these facts are in no sense isolated ; but the master was determined to see they are typical, and acknowledged to he got his money's worth. And yet be so. It is true there is something to this Mephisto was a good comrade. fall back on ; but one would think there

But sometimes the victim quails, would be less rather than more of this poor countryman, insulting one of his instinct for public right in the generatwo sacraments (the Bible and the tions succeeding this, if such be the Sabbath), though to be sure he can present training. It is unwise to familthen compound with the latter; and iarize one with vice or crime. And yet when one such was offered the book he there was the England under Walpole, turned tail and went out. But Me- and the England before 1883. And phisto got him outside, and jeered, and even now there is indeed a comelier coaxed, and threatened, and roused his veil thrown over things in Europe. But valor with liquor ; and so again he went no veil that any Englishman could in, and again turned tail ; and yet again weave would cover the corruption of a a third time, and at the last perjured Canadian election in 1892. To measure himself. Another, an old negro, hesi- the country's morality by its politics tated ; and the man of superior race would indeed be monstrous. This hissed at him, “Kiss the book, damn morality does make its protests from you !” So the older rascal kissed it; time to time, and tries, as yet sadly and then, in presence of officials and in vain, to force its way into politics. every one, exclaimed, Well, now, Tennyson would have to be replaced you'll pay me my money that you here by one who could speak truth more promised."

brutally about The negroes are no worse than the

as this white men, except in so far as they are Raving politics, never at rest, poor.

poor earth's pale history runs
It is the
poor who are debauched

What is it all but a trouble of ants in the explicitly by the system, though, to be

gleam of a million million of suns ? sure, the rest of us are so implicitly, if we refrain from taking bribes only be- What is the use of such politics? Who cause the necessities of life do not goes into them? Why should any one press us. The laboring class, in some go into them? What are they for ? places at least, is almost all bribed. We seem to be raving when talking

[ocr errors]

about such things. But again here, street. Put the bridge there, and you while giving further facts, one has to can tell your government that we busikeep the sense that in America there is ness men will contribute so much to the an attitude towards it all which pre- next election or bribery fund. And the vents these “pothouse politics," as government member answers : “ It is Emerson called them, from being quite your interest to vote for the governas cor

orrupting outside their own limits ment ; if you return opposition candias one would think. At the lowest we dates the government will do nothing find the people who think their votes for the roads and bridges of your town to be some property for sale ; and at or of your county." In fact, one minthe highest you tind the two comic ister is defeated, and in his public papers in New York, Puck and Judge, specch he openly threatens the county coming out after the presidential elec- which had rejected him, and then offers tion with this sort of tone : “ Well, to another constituency to do everythe political season is over ; there are thing for them, and declares to his new new games up, and other business, the county, so we are told, that the old one Chicago Exhibition, for instance ; come may go to the devil. Nobody seems and make that a success.

Politics is astonished at this. It is a game ; your a business.

county played against the government, Still it does excite surprise to find played to be in, in fact, and it is out. men of ability leaving the better outside That is all. So when the House of world for local politics. For one would Assembly meets there is a floating popthink either of two spurs were neces- ulation of those members who want to sary to drive them there - the love of be influential in forming a new govern. a cause, or at least the ambition to suc- ment. They are known to be in this ceed in one, or private gain. The latter unpledged, uncommitted state ; but the is often a delusion, perhaps always ; only difficulty they have is for each to for men do not seem agreed that these know when the others will combine to politicians actually put the money in strike the blow. If it be that they their own pockets ; and for the cause, have any blow they think right to such facts as are given in this article strike, then they are much maligned by are those acknowledged by everybody, the whole of their little world in which

The explanation may perhaps be not one believer in them can be found. found in the words Milton puts into the A paying game somehow or other, mouth of Satan :

that is what Canadians think their polTo reign is worth ambition, though in Hell. tone of their talk about them in private.

itics, according to the almost unvaried For we find men crippled with debt all The better sort of young man, in the the rest of their lives from the sums age of possible high thoughts on all the they have spent on these elections. To framework of the land, will probably be elected means some sort of power; tell you, if he is not yet a political it means the dispensing, though indi- agent, that he does not care which way rectly, of government patronage in their an election goes, that it makes no matconstituencies; it is gratifying to be ter to him. It is impossible to exag. appealed to for the promise of your gerate the extent to which this disbelief help in getting a bridge made near our prevails, in local politics especially.


Fifth Series,

No. 2563.- August 19, 1893.

From Beginning,





[ocr errors]


WORLD. By J. Llewelyn Davies,

Contemporary Review,

All The Year Round,

Blackwood's Magazine,
IV. In The Poets' GARDEN.' By Phil Rob.

Contemporary Review,


Temple Bar,

Gentleman's Magazine,


the Rev. William Cowan,

Good Words,

[blocks in formation]







William Morris,





TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION. For Eight DOLLARS remitted directly to the Publishers, the LIVING AGE will be punctually forwarded for a year, free of postage.

Remittances should be made by bank draft or check, or by post-office money-order, if possible. If neither of these can be procured, the money should be sent in a registered letter. All postmasters are obliged to register letters when requested to do so. Drafts, checks, and money-orders should be made payable to the order of LITTELL & CO.

Single copies of the LIVING AGE, 18 cents.

« ZurückWeiter »