Puslapio vaizdai

terrestrial tragedies and which fears not even a disembodied phantom, "being a thing immortal as itself."

The Greeks conceived their gods to be almost as powerless as a human protagonist to divert the tides of circumstance, and postulated a Destiny above them all. The dramatists of Christendom, while also impelled to treat life as it is, its best and its worst, recognize no conflict between Deity and Destiny. Pagan and Christian alike present man, the image of his Maker, as exercising his highest function when he rises superior to fate. Thus Job rises, and thus rise Prometheus, Edipus, Brutus, Hamlet, Wallenstein, Faust, Van Artevelde, and Gregory VII.; and likewise their fine heroic countertypes, Electra, Alcestis, Antigone, Cordelia, Desdemona, Thekla, Jeanne D'Arc, Doña Sol, and all the feminine martyrs of the grand drama.

In arguing that the strength of a play is in ratio to its objectivity, I assume, of course, that other things are equal. After all, the statements are the same, for only the poet endowed with insight and passion can give a truthful, forcible transcript of life. Otherwise many would outrank Shakspere, being equally impersonal, more artistic in plot-structure, truer perhaps to history and to the possibilities of events. They often compose successful plays, striking as to incident and use of stage accessories: but more is required—the imagination that creates brave personalities, the cognate high poetic gifts to make a composition entirely great. Add to such endowments the faculty of self-effacement, and Shakspere stands at the head thus far. His period fitted him—one of action and adventurous zest rather than of introspection. At that time, moreover, literary fame and subsistence were won by play-writing. His mind caught fire by its own friction, as he wrote play after play directly for the stage, knowing himself to be in constant touch with the people for whom and from whom he drew his abundant types.

I HAVE often thought upon the relative stations of the various classes of poetry, and am disposed to deem eminence in the grand drama the supreme eminence; and this because, at its highest, the drama includes all other forms and classes, whether considered technically or essentially. Its plot requires as much inventive and constructive faculty as any epic or other narrative. Action is its glory, and characterization must be as various and vivid as life itself. The dialogue is written in the most noble, yet flexible measure of a language; if English, in the blank verse that combines the freedom of prose with the stateliness of accentual rhythm. The gravest speech, the lightest and sweetest,

find their best vehicle in our unrhymed pentameter; again, a poetic drama contains songs and other interludes which exercise the lyrical gift so captivating in the works, for example, of our English playwrights: the Elizabethans having been lions in their heroics, eagles in their wisdom, and skylarks in their rare madrigals and part-songs. Tragedy and comedy alike are unlimited with respect to contrasts of incident and utterance, light and shadow of experience; they embrace whatsoever is poetic in mirth, woe, learning, law, religion--above all, in passion and action. So that the drama is like a stately architectural structure; a cathedral that includes every part essential to minor buildings, and calls upon the entire artistic brotherhood for its shape and beauty: upon the carver and the sculptor for its reliefs and imagery; upon the painter and the decorative artist for its wall-color and stained glass; upon the molder to fashion its altar-rail, and the founder to cast the bells that give out its knell or pean to the land about. The drama is thus more inclusive than the epic. There is little in Homer that is not true to nature, but there is no phase of nature that is not in Shakspere.

Analyze the components of a Shaksperean play, and you will see that I make no overstatement.

"The Tempest," a romantic play, is as notable as any for poetic quality and varied conception. It takes elemental nature for its scenes and background, the unbarred sky, the sea in storm and calm, the enchanted flowery isle, so Full of noises,

Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt


The personages comprise many types-king, noble, sage, low-born sailor, boisterous vagabond, youth and maiden in the heyday of their innocent love. To them are superadded beings of the earth and air, Caliban and Ariel, creations of the purest imagination. All these reveal their natures by speech and action with a realism impossible to the tamer method of a narrative poem. Consider the poetic thought and diction: what can excel Prospero's vision of the world's dissolution that shall leave" not a rack behind," or his stately abjuration of the magic art? Listen, here and there, to the songs of his tricksy spirit, his brave chick, Ariel: "Come unto these yellow sands,"" Full fathom five thy father lies," "Where the bee sucks, there suck I." Then we have a play within a play, lightening and decorating it, the masque of Iris, Ceres, and Juno. I recapitulate these details to give a perfectly familiar illustration of the scope of the drama. True, this was Shakspere, but the ideal should be studied in a masterpiece; and such a play as "The Tempest "

shows the possibilities of invention and imagination in the most sympathetic poetic form over which genius has extended its domain. For one, I think that Sophocles and Shakspere have taught us, by example, that greatness in the noblest of poetic structures must be impersonal. The magician must not directly appear; though, from reflecting upon a Prospero, a Benedick, or a Hamlet, we may guess at certain of his maker's traits; and in sooth he must know his own heart to read the heart of the world, even while he stands so far aloof that it may be said of him, as of one translated,

Far off is he-

No more subjected to the change and chance
Of the unsteady planets.

Yet there is a subjective drama which, as we
have learned in our day, is not without great-
ness derived from the unique genius of its con-
structor. The poet of England and Italy, whose
ashes Venice has so recently surrendered to their
shrine in Westminster, doubtless possessed a
sturdier dramatic spirit than any Briton since
the days of John Webster and John Ford.
Browning was a masterful poet in his temper
and insight, his flashes of power and passion,
his metaphors, and distinguished for his recog-
-nition of national and historic
types, his ассер-
tance of life, his profound conviction that the
system of things is all right, that we can trust
it to the end. But his incessant recurrence to
this conviction was a personal factor significant
of many others. There are numerous and dis-
tinct characters in his repertory, but it requires
study to apprehend them, for they have but one
habit of speech, whatsoever their age or country.
They all indulge, moreover, in that trick of
self-analysis which Shakspere confines to the
soliloquies of special personages at critical
moments. Even Browning's little maids study
their own cases in the spirit of Sordello or
Paracelsus. Finally, his whole work is char-
acterized by a strangely individual style and
atmosphere. True, it is difficult to mistake an
excerpt from Shakspere at his prime. But why
is this? Because Shakspere's style has unap-
proachable beauty, strength, flexibility, within
the natural method of English verse; his in-
imitableness is due not to eccentricity, but to a
grandeur of quality. His tone, characterization,
and dialogue are as varied as nature. Brown-
ing's method hardly suggests either our native
order of thought or nature's universality. It
seems the result of a decision to compose in a
peculiar way, but more likely is the honest re-
flex of his analytic mental processes. That at

times it is great, and above that of his contemporaries, must be acknowledged, for his intellect was of a high order.

79 66

Swinburne calls his plays "monodramas, or soliloquies of the spirit." The subjectivity which blends their various personages in a common atmosphere does not detract from the effect of his powerful dramatic lyrics and monologues, each the study of a single character. The most striking of these pieces,― their abundance is prodigal, and not one is without excuse for being,- from "My Last Duchess," "Bishop Blougram,' Childe Roland," "Saul," to "A Forgiveness," including nearly all the "Dramatic Lyrics," and "Men and Women," place him among the century's foremost masters. In such studies, and in certain of his dramas, he has created a new type of English poetry that is second only to the Elizabethan. His eminence is taken for granted when we begin to measure him, if only in contrast, by Shakspere himself: a tribute rendered to scarcely any other poet save John Keats, and, in that instance, not on the score of mature dramatic quality, but for a diction so prophetic of what in time might be that the world thinks of his youthful shade among the blest as the one permitted to sit at Shakspere's feet.

I spoke of our sovereign dramatist as being in spirit with his own people, and writing directly for their stage. Browning's earlier plays were written for enactment, and one or two were produced with some success. These, however, to my mind, are not his best work, and his most effective dramas are not, as we say, adapted to stage performance. Yet I rebuke myself, when repeating this cant of the coulisses, as I reflect upon the quality that does find vogue with managers and audiences at the present time. Who can predict what will be thought best "adapted to stage performance" when Jove lets down" in his golden chain the Age of better metal" for which Ben Jonson prayed-the age, at least, of different metal ? Even now we follow a grand drama, though it be one of the outlived classical and recitative cast, with absorbed delight, when it is revived by a Salvini. But I believe that Browning himself would have written more and greater dramas, and of an impersonal order, if there had been a theatrical demand for his work after the performances of "Strafford" and "A Blot in the 'Scutcheon." Mischance, and the spirit of the time, may have lost to us a modern Shakspere. As it is, we have gained a new avatar of dramatic poetry in the works of our Victorian Browning.

Edmund Clarence Stedman.


The People's Money.

WHAT is the best kind of money for the people using the latter word in the sense in which it is em ployed by the advocates of free silver coinage? These advocates, like the champions of all other forms of cheap money during the past three centuries, speak of gold as the money of the rich, of bankers and money. lenders, of capitalists and rich corporations, whom they denominate "gold-bugs," and whose center of activity is Wall street. All the remaining elements of the population are classed together as "the people," to whom, it is now claimed, free silver is the money which would bring the largest measure of prosperity and happiness. Is this claim well founded; or is it, like all other alleged cheap-money benefits, a delusion founded partly upon ignorance of economic laws and principles, and partly upon private and personal greed?

The silver dollar which the free-coinage advocates desire to have bestowed upon the people is one containing 371% grains of pure silver, worth in the markets of the world, at the present writing, about 70 cents. The proposition is that the United States government shall take this amount of silver, coin it free of charge, stamp it “one dollar,” and make it a legal tender for all public and private debts. That means that the United States shall pay $1.29 an ounce for silver, in any and all amounts from any and every quarter, though the market price is only 90 cents an ounce, and shall make payment in legal-tender money interconvertible with gold at par. What would be the first effect of the passage of this law? There is not an economist of any standing any where in the world who will not say that the first effect would be the disappearance of gold entirely from our circulation, and the descent of the country to the silver standard. The silver advocates claim that the mere passage of the law would force the price of silver from 90 cents up to $1.29 an ounce, but there is no possibility of such an effect. They claim that silver has fallen in value because of its demonetization by nearly all the nations of the world, whereas the real cause is an enormous increase in production, and great improvements in mining, by which the cost of production has been diminished. The yearly average product of silver from 1851 to 1875 was $51,000,000, and from 1876 to 1890 it was $116,000,000, an increase of 127 per cent. The yearly average product of gold between 1851 and 1875 was $127,000,000, and between 1876 and 1890 $108,000,000, a decrease of 15 per cent. That is why gold has more than maintained its value, while silver has depreciated. In 1873 silver was worth $1.30 an ounce, in 1874 it had dropped to $1.27, in 1875 to $1.24, and in 1876 to $1.15. In 1877 a free-coinage bill was introduced in Congress, and in 1878 it was amended so as to provide for the coinage of not less than two million nor more than four million doilars' worth of silver bullion per month into dollars to be full legal tender at their nominal value. This was passed, vetoed by President Hayes, and passed over his vet. It was claimed that this would raise the price of silver. Since it became a law 405,000,000 silver dollars VOL. XLIV.-21.

have been coined, 348,000,000 of which are locked up in the Treasury vaults, never having passed into circulation. The price of silver dropped to $1.12 an ounce in 1879, reached $1.14 in 1880, $1.13 in 1881 and 1882, fell to $1.11 in 1883, to 99 cents in 1886, to 931⁄2 cents in 1889, and to 90 cents in 1892. In 1890 Congress enacted a law which authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to purchase four and a half million ounces of silver bullion per month at the market price, and to give in return for it legal-tender notes redeemable in gold or silver at the option of the Government. Even this enforced purchase of 54,000,000 ounces of silver a year has not stayed the downward progress of the price.

A striking demonstration of the utter folly of the claim that free coinage would lift the price of silver from 90 cents to $1.29 an ounce is made by Mr. Louis R. Ehrich of Colorado Springs, to whose luminous and valuable publications upon the silver question we are indebted for much exact information. At the time he wrote silver was 95 cents an ounce, but his demonstration is none the less effective. He says:

nine hundred million dollars' worth of silver held as money There is on our planet, in round figures, three billion or as a fund for money redemption. That is to-day all tell us that the natural alchemy of free coinage by the worth about 95 cents an ounce. Now these free-silver men United States all alone is going to raise these thirty-nine hundred millions from 95 cents to $1.29. That is, it is going to add a value of over a billion dollars to the world's silver stock. Astonishing proposition!

All authorities agree that the silver of the world would be dumped almost in a body upon us, at the advanced coinage price which our Government would have to pay till we abandoned the gold standard, or gold went to a premium, which would be in a very short time after the law went into operation. We should then have only one kind of money, a dollar worth 70 cents, which every man who had a debt the payment of which was not stipulated to be in gold, could use to pay off 100 cents' worth of debt, and which every man who earned money in any way would have to receive for a 100 cents' worth of work. All debts would therefore be scaled down 30 per cent., except those with a goldpayment stipulation, and all wages, pensions, salaries, life-insurance policies, and savings-bank deposits would be cut down in the same way. There would be no escape. The dear money, gold, would be driven out of circulation by the cheaper money, silver, by the working of a law as inexorable as the law of gravitation.

Attention was called to this effect upon the pensioners of the Government in a circular which Congressman Harter of Ohio sent to all the Grand Army Posts a few weeks ago. In that he said:

If a Free-Silver Bill becomes law, a veteran who now gets a pension worth to him $4.00 per month would receive actually but $2.80, with the chance of it going down to an actual value of $2.40. Take the case of a soldier who is a total physical wreck and utterly unable to do for himself. Such a man gets $72.00 per month. If a Free-Silwould really get but $50.40, with a strong probability that ver Bill passes, while he would nominally get the same, he in the early future his $72.00 of monthly pension would be


worth not over $43.20. This coinage question should not be one of party politics. It rises above partizanship. The honor of the country is at stake. Its business interests from ocean to ocean and from lake to gulf are jeopardized. Its good faith not only to its living soldiers is brought in question, but if a so-called free-coinage bill becomes law, the widows and orphans of the nation's dead will be robbed by the laws of the land they died to save. law would work a monstrous wrong, for from the moment it goes upon the statute book it represents over $45,000,000 per year taken from the ex-soldiers, their widows, and their orphans.


That would be the effect upon the pensioners, with out a doubt. No man who has a rudimentary knowledge of economic laws can question that for a moment. Let us see what would be the effect upon savings-bank deposits and life-insurance policies.

There are deposited in our savings-banks sixteen hundred millions of dollars, a sum greater than the entire amount of money in active circulation in this country. These deposits are for the most part made up of small amounts, and represent the savings of the working-classes. Of these savings a thousand millions are invested in mortgages. Many of these mortgages are made payable in gold, but many others are not. Every one of them which has not a gold-paying clause can be paid off in silver; that is, the holder of it can be compelled to receive $700 as full payment for every $1000 of money lent. Is this honest or wise? Would a man who paid his honest debts in that way ever be able to secure another loan? Every mortgage in future would bear a gold-paying clause, and it would be very difficult to induce lenders who had been cheated once to trust the persons who had cheated them with a further loan on any terms.

Who are the lenders who would be cheated if mortgage indebtedness were to be paid in silver at 70 cents on a dollar? Are they "gold-bugs"? On the contrary, in many cases they are widows and orphans who are living on the hard earnings of industrious people, saved through many years of economy and toil. The "gold-bugs" have been merely the agents for the investment of this money, seeking for it a sure and safe return to the people who have put it in their care. The indispensable requisite for such return is the most sure and unvarying standard of value known to man - that is, the gold standard. The "gold-bug" who insists upon that is the truest possible friend and servant of the people, whether he be acting as their agent in lending them money, or investing and caring for it at the head of an insurance company, or in any other capacity. Rich men do not lend money; they borrow it borrow it from the banks and insurance companies to invest it for their profit, and for the profit of its owners. They are the agents for all the money-savers of the land, seeking to win for them the best income possible upon their savings. They place the mortgages upon the western farms, and upon the buildings and other property in western cities, and the money which they use for that purpose is the money which the people, the workers and savers of the land, place in banks and insurance companies for their families and for use in their hour of need.

These are the people who would suffer by the swindle of making 70 cents do the work of a dollar by process of law. Every workingman in the land, every person drawing a salary, would suffer in the same way. He would receive the same number of dollars as before,

but each dollar would buy only 70 cents' worth of commodities. He is in fact a creditor for every day's or every week's work, and he is cheated of more than a third of his earnings if, when pay-day comes around, he must take $7 in place of $10, or $14 in place of $20.

The true "people's money" is the best money; that is, the money which will buy the most of what every man needs, and which will be worth the same this week as it was last, the same next year as this year. There is no security for savings of any kind with any other standard of value, no safety for loans, no interest on bank deposits. The man who declares cheap money in any form to be the "people's money " is the worst possible enemy of the people, for his policy, if carried out by the Government, would rob the people of a large portion of their hard-earned savings; would cut down their wages, and would throw the whole business of the country into confusion and doubt, sending paralysis and disaster into every industry and into every branch of trade and commerce. The worst sufferers would be the toilers of all kinds, the people of moderate means, and the poor. If the advocates of free coinage were honest in their contention that the country's welfare would be enhanced by having both silver and gold as a basis for its currency, they would consent to the coinage of a silver dollar worth 100 cents; but this they refuse to do. They refuse to accept an honest dollar, and insist upon a dishonest dollar. They are not serving the people, but are serving the devil, and the issue which they raise, far from being a political one, is a moral one of the first magnitude.

No great party in the United States, in national convention assembled, will dare make itself responsible for the distress that would fall upon the masses of our population from free and unlimited silver coinage.

The Machine versus the People.

IT has been our custom for many years to discuss in this department of THE CENTURY questions of political science, that is, of politics in the widest and truest sense of the word, which is the attainment of that method of administering public affairs which will best promote the safety, peace, and prosperity of the whole people. Into the wrangles of partizan politics this magazine cannot enter. It can concern itself only with general movements and tendencies which promise on the one hand to promote the cause of good government, or threaten, on the other, to retard or even to destroy it. If in criticizing and condemning bad political methods and schemes for dishonest government we seem to be condemning any particular politician or class of politicians, the fault will not be with us, but with him or them; for the politician whose champions hasten to say that he is assailed whenever dishonest political methods are attacked, has become so identified with those methods that the public instinctively thinks of him when they are mentioned. No man gets a reputation of this kind save by his own conduct.

The most dangerous tendency in this country during the past twenty-five years has been the steadily increasing power of the political machines. From being the necessary organizations through which the voters of the great political parties were enabled to express their will in an orderly and authoritative manner, they have been developed into compact and disciplined bod

ies of political workers, blindly subservient to a few leaders, or to a single leader or boss. Instead of registering the will of the whole party, a machine of this character uses all its power to suppress that will, and to force upon the party the will of the leaders or boss. The party is forced to acquiesce or to overthrow its own recognized organization and to subject itself to the danger of defeat. Rather than incur this danger, both political parties have frequently rallied to the support of notoriously unfit candidates for State and minor offices, and not infrequently have elected them. By general consensus of opinion, the harm which has been caused to good government in States and cities by this abuse of the legitimate use of political organization is incalculable. It has given the believers in popular government in all parts of the world serious misgivings as to its capabilities and its perpetuity-misgivings which we do not share, but which cannot be ignored.

This abuse of machine power is bad enough, and disastrous enough, when applied to State and municipal politics. If now it shall be extended to National politics, and if it shall prove strong enough to secure a presidential nomination by suppressing the will of a great party, the issue made will be so serious as to rise at once above politics and to become purely a question of morals. From the nature of the case this must be the outcome, for machine power is never exerted to extreme ends save in the interest of the worst and most objectionable politics.

We cannot illustrate this contention better than by enumerating the long-continued series of steps by which a politician of the machine type has advanced to the point at which a presidential nomination is sought to be captured for him. He begins his political career in the ward politics of a small city. He receives his elementary instruction in political methods from a professional corruptionist, and under this tutelage soon becomes an expert in debauching and perverting the suffrage. He is able to get himself elected to the State legislature, and while in that body forms an alliance with the greatest corruptionist of the time. From the legislature he advances by successive stages till he reaches the highest office in the State - becomes its chief executive. He wishes to be reëlected, and needs money to help him to succeed in his purpose. He gives his personal notes for $15,000 to the chairman of his party committee or machine. He has these notes converted into cash by inducing certain political friends to indorse them. The chairman of his machine, who happens to be a large contractor on one of the State's public works, subsequently pays both notes, and charges them against himself upon the books of his contracting firm. He uses his influence to induce a majority of the commission controlling a public work to award to the firm of contractors of which the chairman is a member a contract for which that firm's bid Is $54,000 higher than the lowest competing bid. When the contract has been awarded, it is immediately sold by the chairman to one of the lower competing bidders for $30,000 clear profit, the chairman never having done any work under it. Thus the city has been robbed of $54.000, and the machine chairman has obtained $30,000 of it with which to pay himself for $15,000 which he gave to the chief executive for the latter to use in his reelection.

Let us follow this career a little further. The term

of chief executive, lasting through a period of several years, is devoted to the most untiring and unscrupulous efforts for the building up and strengthening of his personal political machine. To this end the public service, all its offices and patronage, and all the power which the executive's veto-privilege confers over the members of the legislature, are used without scruple, and without regard to anything save the individual advantage of the executive. The most intimate relations are established by the executive with the liquor interests of the State, and with the most unruly and dishonest elements of the population in all the cities. No legislation restricting the spread of liquor-selling is permitted to become law, and all legislation in the interest of honest elections and a secret and untrammeled ballot is either vetoed or, through executive opposition, injuriously modified-as is demonstrated when finally put into practice. So successful are these years of machine-constructing, that when the term of the executive draws near its end he is able to order and secure his own election to a senatorship of the United States. As he wishes to make that a steppingstone to a presidential nomination, he does not go to Washington, but retains possession of both senatorship and governorship at the same time, in order to maintain his control upon his machine. When the election of his successor has been held, and it is found that his party has a majority in one branch of the legislature but not in the other, he at once sets his machine in motion to capture control of the other by manipulating canvassing boards. He is overruled by the courts, and he denounces and defies them. Some of the legal returns are abstracted from the delivered mails in the State offices before they can reach the final canvassing officers, and thus it is made possible for those canvassing officers to count as legal a return which the highest court in the State had declared to be illegal, thereby getting full possession of the legislature. To the most shameless of the minor State officers who help in this theft is awarded, through a subservient successor in the governorship, a judgeship on the bench of the highest court in the State, whose decrees have been defied.

With this theft of a legislature as his crowning achievement he announces himself a candidate for the presidency, his champions pointing with pride to that as his strongest claim upon his party for its highest honor. He then sets his perfected machine in motion to commit his State to his candidacy; calls a convention at an unusual date; leaves his seat in the Senate and personally directs the machine in its work of packing and running his convention; and when all is done appears before the delegates and thanks them for the honor which he has bid them confer upon himself.

When the candidacy has been launched before the country on this record and in this manner, let us suppose that this aspirant for the presidency goes into every State, either personally or by means of his agents, and inspires the political elements in each which correspond to those behind him in his own State to go to work by similar methods to defeat the will of the whole party in the national convention, forming, as it were, a compact union of all the worst members of the party for the defeat of the wishes of all the other members.

Does not a manifestation of machine power like this call for serious attention from all honest men, no matter what their political faith may be? Can a presi

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