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simultaneous action, looking toward the same end, of the National Council of the Congregational Churches, and in the readiness of other denominations to fall into line as this forward movement becomes organized and sweeps on? Its momentum no man can stop, and no sect can withstand. It means that something is being done to render the vision of church unity real. The work so auspiciously undertaken. will require several years of preparation; it will involve a campaign of mutual educa
tion before it can be brought to successful issue. But it means that unity is henceforth to be made the business of the church. It is not longer to be tolerated that the several denominations shall remain side by side like so many disconnected and ineffectual cells; they are to be bound together as in a live battery; they are to gain dynamic unity, so that their full energy may be transmitted wherever moral and religious power and light are needed.
TOPICS OF THE TIME
TAKING AMBITION OUT OF
T has been the crowning boast of the
IT has been the crow government that
whatever may be its defects, it offers, by its freedom of play, to the citizen of humblest means and station an opportunity to acquire any reward of honor or fortune to which his deserts, his labor, or his public services may entitle him. The history of our country is full of examples of those who have risen from the ranks to positions of legislative, executive, or financial eminence, and, with all our increase of wealth, it is still a point in favor of a man that he should have made his initial successes against the handicap of poverty or despite intellectual disadvantages. Twenty-five years ago there were no limits to the ambition of the working-man. Strangely enough, the limits which it is now sought to place to his ambition are made by some of those of his own class who profess to lead him to a better day.
However selfish, greedy, and oppressive individual employers may be, there is, in the main, in the United States nothing but good-will toward the laboring classes, and it is deeply to be regretted that some of their leaders have hastily put themselves into antagonism to one recent movement which not only promises to do much for the health and prosperity of the workingman, by promoting his efficiency through
the scientific management of certain businesses, but also promises to do much to civilize certain employers of large numbers of men and women.
We have already set forth in THE CENTURY the achievement of Mr. Frank B. Gilbreth in economizing the motions. of bricklayers. This system, reducing these motions from eighteen to five or six, enables a first-class workman to lay 350 bricks an hour with less effort than he formerly expended in laying one third that number. The benefits of the system are shared by employer and employed, since it enables Mr. Gilbreth to pay, and his men to earn, $6.50 per day instead of the old rate of $4.50. Demonstrably productive though it was of economic gain and advantage to all the parties to the contract, Mr. Gilbreth's men refused to permit its introduction. They went on strike virtually against a raise of wages! The strike was ordered by the Glens Falls (New York) local union on the representations of some of the less efficient of Mr. Gilbreth's men who were unable to earn more than the minimum wage of fifty-five cents an hour, while the competent men earned seventy-five cents. They feared. that the new system would lead to the dismissal of the men who could not do an average day's work.
This appears to be the view quite generally taken by organized labor. In the discussion of the scientific management of
contrary, were not these destroyers of machines egregiously wrong?
industrial plants that followed a recent dinner of the Economic Club, a representative of the unions, Mr. James Duncan, Vice-President of the American Federation of Labor, declared that it meant simply "speeding up"; that the extra wage earned at first would be blood-money; that the system would turn normal laborers into specialists, condemned to monotonous tasks month after month, until they were driven to the verge of insanity. They would be worn out, health and strength would fail, discharge would follow, and new men would take their places. This view, as must appear from any intelligent study of the system itself, is wrong as to facts, and wholly erroneous in its assumption of the effect of scientific management on the workmen. The error is exposed, too, by the testimony of those by whom it has been applied. In saving motion,-useless motion, - the system saves backaches, sore muscles, strain, fatigue, and exhaustion. Saving labor cannot exhaust the laborer any more than saving money can exhaust the purse. Glaring as is labor's error in respect to the facts, its blunder in theory is yet more deplorable. What it amounts to is that organized labor puts its veto on the general introduction of better methods of work, which, as Mr. Brandeis puts it, by "removing the obstacles which annoy and exhaust the workman" would result in larger production with less expenditure of labor and money. Here is a reform that, if its apostles may be believed, would save in the industries of this country hundreds of millions annually. Labor forbids its adoption. It means real economic gain. Labor decrees that economic waste shall continue. Why? Avowedly because of labor's fear that fewer men will be employed, or only the best, the most efficient men, the unskilful and the incompetent thereby being doomed to unemployment.
In that way and for that reason, more than half a century ago, labor set its veto on the introduction of labor-saving machinery. In English factories hand operatives smashed the machines. In Ohio the men of the sickle and the grain-cradle destroyed the wheat-harvesting machine. All the work would be done by the machines, they said, and they would be left Was their prediction true? Have their fears been realized? On the
What they failed to see and understand is precisely the truth to which labor is now blind in its opposition to motionsaving systems, namely, that increase in product means increase in demand for labor. Commodities produced cheaply through economies, through labor- and cost-saving processes, find a ready market, for they can be sold at prices within the consumer's reach. Agricultural machinery brought our prairies under cultivation, made us among all the nations first in exports of food-stuffs, and more than quintupled the number of men engaged in tilling the soil. Would labor have been the gainer if, under its ukase, we had stuck to the hand-loom and put a ban on spinningmachinery? In 1905 our textile industries employed 1,156,305 operatives and the wages paid amounted to $419,841,630.
There is another fundamental truth that labor altogether ignores. Merit, ability, and efficiency will not long continue to be unequally yoked with mediocrity and incompetence. The strike was caused by the men who could not "keep up" with Mr. Gilbreth's best bricklayers. Is it the policy of the unions to safeguard the interests of the men only who cannot "keep up"? (Is the pace of the marching column to be the pace of the slowest man in the ranks? This policy must eternally be at war with the inborn ambition of the better
man, with his desire to rise in the world, to earn more money, to enjoy new comforts and higher conditions) It introduces an element of division in the unions themselves, a sundering force that tends inevitably to break the iron yoke of uniformity on the lower level. The capable, the industrious, and the thrifty will not forever submit to that self-denying ordinance. There will be two kinds of labor-unions. (The higher wage always in view of those who know that they can earn it will powerfully move them to break the thrall laid upon them by this short-sighted policy of organized labor.)
In general, what the working-men most need at the present time is to bring forward as leaders their conservative, intelligent, law-abiding men-leaders who will set their faces against violence, men with apostolic devotion to their fellows, and with clearness of vision to see that their
cause cannot be advanced by injustice to others, whether working-men or capitalists, or by flying in the face of human nature.
topic became necessary, he would take the
MR. HENEY, the distinguished San indulge was first called for. He had simply
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE BANANA PEEL
cized severely the lack of patriotism of a man whom he overheard saying that he "would like to leave this country and move to England, where 'Keep off the Grass' means keep off the grass,' a significance, he said, that does not attach to
the phrase in America. We sympathize with Mr. Heney: the discontented American ought to remain here and fight for the grass,-even against Mr. Heney's willing ness to destroy Hetch Hetchy Valley. But we regret that Mr. Heney did not also say that the man had hit the target exactly that the fundamental difficulty we have is to obtain respect for law as a principle. Nor is this an academic question. In all our cities it is one of great practical importance. Take, for instance, the unrestrained littering of the streets with paper and banana peels. To object to this, while, every day burglaries and murders are being committed, seems to many an undue anxiety about the anise and cummin of good government. They do not see the value of enforcing public cleanliness not only for itself but as a discipline in obedience to law.
But what is the effect, present and remote, upon the newly arrived immigrantto say nothing of the more settled population of seeing that laws are not made to be enforced?
PUTTING THINGS THROUGH
E once heard of a man of business whose main principle was never to trust the judgment of the moment. Procrastination was to him the chief of virtues. To-morrow's opinion was always better than to-day's. Present to him a letter or a memorandum on a matter of importance, and he would say, "Yes, I'll give it careful consideration," and straightway would put aside the document, actually believing that something had been accomplished by the process of filing it. When the necessity of dealing with the
It is refreshing to see how promptly the House of Representatives has carried out its proposed program of legislation, and whatever may be done by the Senate, there is no reason it should not be done as promptly. It is not to the interest of anybody that days and weeks and months should pass in an inertia of neglect of public business. Institutions are only men, due to the determination of a few memand that any legislation is accomplished is body of legislators at work in the prompt bers. It is of course surprising to see a and orderly methods of a board of railway does not behoove a coördinate branch to or bank directors, but when this occurs, it questions at issue have not been sprung "plead surprise," as the lawyers say. The upon anybody. Both representatives and senators have been considering them for years. Elaborate committee hearings are not for the purpose of satisfying the legis lator so much as satisfying the public, and permitting those concerned to "blow off
The lawmaker, if he is wide-awake and a man of affairs, has been considering the leading questions in many ways,-in reading, in conversation, in investigation, -and while he must keep himself openminded to the last, he should have large sources of judgment on all current topics.
Sometimes dilatory tactics for the defeat of an obnoxious measure are allowable, and, moreover, with regard to unobnoxious measures there is safety in a multitude of counselors. What we are speaking of is the pigeonholing of measures for sheer lack of willingness to make prompt decisions, such as one has a right to expect from mature minds. What is certain is that the postponement of many questions till the very close of a session has given us not well-considered, but really hasty legis lation. If Raw Haste be half-sister to Delay, then Delay may be assumed to be half-brother to Raw Haste.
Within little more than six weeks of the extra session the House of Representatives
has passed five measures of importance: The Canadian Reciprocity Resolution, the Free List Bill, the Publicity of Campaign Expenses Bill, the Bill to submit the Constitutional Amendment for the Direct Election of Senators, and the resolution to admit New Mexico and Arizona as States of the Union. Whatever may be the judgments of the Senate on these measures, the country has a right to expect that they will be made with no unnecessary delay.
In no administration since the Civil War has there been so nearly a continuous session of Congress as in Mr. Taft's. This is a source of enormous expenditure, and we believe the country would welcome shorter periods of legislative work, and these can be brought about only by more businesslike methods.
The watchword of our commercial world to-day is Efficiency; before long it must become that of our law-makers.
THE THREEFOLD POWER OF
HE centenary of Thackeray, which occurs July 12, has attracted comparatively little attention-nothing like the popular interest already aroused by the centenary of his great contemporary, Dickens, still half a year away. This is natural, and in harmony with the kind of popularity attained by each of these men of genius. We may find a parallel in the United States, where the centenary of Longfellow was celebrated everywhere, while the hundredth birthday of Hawthorne passed almost unobserved. To be sure, Hawthorne had the bad luck to be born on the fourth of July.
It is rather curious how often great writers appear in pairs, and are forced by the reading public into the false position of rivals. This is true not only of Thackeray and Dickens, but of Richardson and Fielding, Goethe and Schiller, Tennyson and Browning, Hardy and Meredith, Longfellow and Whittier, Hauptmann and Sudermann, Björnson and Ibsen, Turgenieff and Tolstoi. There is, however, an advantage to such double stars in our intellectual firmament in the stimulus given to general discussion and analysis of their respective claims to immortality. Although Thackeray's achievements
with pen and pencil were many and various, the five pillars in Thackeray's hall of fame are "Vanity Fair," "Pendennis," "Henry Esmond," "The Newcomes," and "The Virginians"; and they seem built of indestructible material-material that laughs at the capricious winds and storms of public applause and public scorn, that defies even those more dangerous foes, the boring moth of neglect and the corrupting rust of years. The supply of this building material seems exceedingly limited, though it is diligently sought for by all literary architects except those who cater for a short summer season, and whose reputation is like breath on a mirror. Of the dozen names, from DeFoe to De Morgan, that have made English fiction illustrious, he would be a bold critic that should place any above Thackeray. For he excelled in both the great divisions of the novel-realism and romanticism. In "Pendennis" and "Vanity Fair" he gave us permanent and truthful pictures of English life and English character; in "Esmond" he wrote. what is probably the greatest historical romance in our tongue. In the last analysis, the highest distinction of Thackeray is not found in his "fable," or in his style, or in his thought, but in the persons of his imagination into whom he has breathed the breath of life. These people, immense in variety, are all real people, and they are real because they exhibit the marvel and the curse of humanity, the astonishing mixture of good and evil. To know them intimately is to know life.
Besides the divine power of creation which inspired Thackeray, he enjoyed to a high degree the less rare faculty of criticism-the criticism of men and the criticism of books. This was developed early in his life by his skill and practice with the crayon, for he was a born artist in caricature. A large amount of his thirteen solid volumes consists of critical work, sometimes in the shape of formal literary essays, sometimes in the more charming manner of firelight conversation, reminiscence, and speculation. His lectures, which delighted American audiences on two memorable journeys, naturally exhibit some of the range of his reading and the extent of his sympathies. But the real charm of these disquisitions on Swift, Sterne, and the four Georges, lies almost wholly in the revelation of their maker's
personality. It was the author of "Vanity Fair" that filled the halls in New York, Boston, Savannah, and St. Louis; but as the crowd passed into the night, they carried away to their homes the memory of a big, lovable man. He closed the first series in New York by saying, "I may quarrel with Mr. Dickens's art a thousand and a thousand times, I delight and wonder at his genius; I recognize in itI speak with awe and reverence-a commission from that Divine Beneficence whose blessed task we know it will one day be to wipe every tear from every eye. Thankfully I take my share of the feast of love and kindness which this gentle, and generous, and charitable soul has contributed to the happiness of the world."
Thackeray was not only a great creative artist and a notable critic; he was a tremendous moral force. He was not content with finding sermons in stones; he thrust them into all his books. He was always on the side of the angels, and
struck redoubtable blows at sin, whether it appeared in uniform or in disguise. He cheerfully sacrifices the canons of art to drive home a moral idea. Never was a man more ineptly called a cynic; for his nature was the exact opposite: he was an arch-sentimentalist. His life was filled with
. . little, nameless, unremembered acts Of kindness and of love.
Some one has said that the function of religion is to add zest to life. Perhaps there never lived a man who got more fun out of good deeds. In 1853, a writer in "Putnam's Magazine" said that the popular notion of Thackeray before his arrival was that of a scoffer and sneerer; but that, after he was known, he convinced all of his intellectual integrity; "there is no man more humble, none more simple." Whatever in the future may be thought of his work, no matter how high his genius may be rated, it is now abundantly clear that his character was as great as his mind.
ON A CERTAIN KIND OF TABLE-TALK
Being a Remonstrance Offered by Miss Agatha Reynolds to her Unoffending Friend Mrs. Felix Mackenzie
No, Sara dear, I am not going to dine with you, nor with any one else, until I am robustly capable of dining. I know that you are ready to soften the brilliant iniquities of your table to meet my limitations, and I know that you are able to surround me with fellow-sufferers;
but a dinner-party is one thing, and a clinic is another, and the combination does n't suit my taste. You see, I was brought up in an age which talked a great deal about food until it was eaten, and about drink until it was drunk, but which preserved a decent silence as to what happened afterward. Our personal
relations with our nourishment was held to be a topic unfit for polite conversation. The nearest approach to it I can remember was when dear old Dick Chisholm (who died of gout like a gentleman thirty years ago) gave me the menu of a supper he had eaten at Wallace Rendle's two weeks before. "Now, that was n't a heaven-defying supper, was it?" he asked, with his queer, twisted smile, made up of fun and pain. "Yet I have n't crawled into the sunshine since.”
But in these well-informed days my neigh