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the command of the election managers, or their political career is ended.
The next step in corruption often and surely follows. Men who once form the habit of selling appointments, official action of one kind, soon learn to sell official action of all kinds. And men who sell places and official action for place will learn to sell them for money. But it is not the manner of payment that concerns the people. what difference is it to the people, when official action is sold, whether payment is made in money, or some other thing of value? (8) The system gives the control of the public service to the great money powers.
There is always a set of rich and powerful interests in the land that can be helped or injured by the official action of our public officers. There are the iron and coal interests, the railroads, the telegraphs, the oil monopoly, and many others which need not be mentioned. In former years, our legislators were men in whose hands property of all kinds, the interests of the rich and poor alike, were safe, It is not so now. The election machine has driven our best men out of the public service, and has lowered the standards of many of the men who are left in the service, until property is not safe from their attacks. The men who manage the election organizations, and who are thereby enabled to control the action of our public officials, are compelled to use large amounts of money. The result is that the professional politicians have become. (with, of course, many honorable exceptions of men who resist temptation, and are true to their own sense of right and justice) an army of marauders. They plunder every rich enterprise which comes within their reach. They are the feudal barons of this country and this age, with new methods. The bludgeon of the law has taken the place of the spear and battle-ax. It is a weapon much more deadly to the victim, and much safer to the thief who uses it. The great corporations, like the wealthy Hebrew merchants of the Middle Ages, are compelled, in self-protection, to pay tribute to these brigands, under what we call a free government. It is a very costly investment to the corporations. No one gets any solid good from it. No honest citizen is a gainer, nor is the free-lance, who gets the plunder. If he could only be put in the way of earning honest wages by an honest service of any kind, all parties would be greatly benefited. However, so it is, that the rich corporations find it necessary to pay ransom
money to the managers of the election machine, and they do so regularly, to the men on both sides. These rich corporations are now the powers who control the machinery of this Government, National, State, and local, as to measures which affect any interests of theirs, and they are enabled to do so by keeping regularly in their pay the men who control the election machine, both parts of it. It makes to them no difference which part of the machine happens for the time to be in office, as the term is. They pay both sides, at the same time. It is all one concern. What is the reason that nothing is done about the tariff in Congress? The old professional political hacks on both sides, the men who control the election machinery, are in the pay of the iron and coal interests. In the State of New York, it is the railroad and canal and oil interests that control our legislation. The principles have been laid down for us, in the testimony given under oath before a committee of the Assembly of the State of New York, by one of the leading railroad men in the country. He says, as to his regular method of operations: "We had to look after four States-New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio; and have helped men in all of them; it was the custom, when men received nominations, to come to me for contributions; and I made them, and considered them good paying investments for the company. In a Republican district I was a strong Republican; in a Democratic district I was Democratic; in doubtful districts I was doubtful; in politics I was an Erie Railroad man every time." And his successors are so still.
(9) This election machine defies the people's will.
It is true that our public servants, for many years, until the growing mass of election work in time developed this election machinery, did represent public opinion. They were, in substance, chosen by the people, and they respected the people's wishes. There were, from time to time, many instances when public officials did acts which public opinion did not approve. But, so far as I am aware, the year 1870 was the first time in our history when the men who were, in form, elected by the people, to be the people's servants, said, in so many words, that they would use the people's power and the people's treasury according to their own will. The result was not doubtful. That one set of men went down before the people's wrath. The
figure-heads and leaders of the machine had to be changed. Ten years later, another set of men, emboldened by their repeated successes, took the same position, with the same result. Men may change, but the methods remain. Can we say that there is any limit to the boldness of these men, and where shall we place the limit of their power?
(10) In such a state of things a healthy national life and growth is an impossible thing. These periodical convulsions of the whole national fabric (which we call elections) waste the people's money, derange the people's industries, divide the people's strength, waste the people's time in fruitless strife over dead issues of the past, and corrupt the people's conscience.
The cost to the people of operating this election machinery is something enormous. The cost of general parliamentary elections. in England, as shown by official reports, would seem to be not far from one pound sterling to the vote. In many instances it is much more. That figure does not cover all the real cost, only the acknowledged cost. When we take into view the great number of offices here to be voted for, the vast extent of country over which this election work is to be done, the number of ballots to be printed, the meetings to be held, the processions, the banners, the bands of music, I cannot see how the expense of a general election in a Presidential year can possibly be less than five dollars a vote, laying out of consideration any items which would be called improper. At the last election, over nine million votes were cast. That would make an expenditure of forty-five millions of dollars. In some form the people pay all this. When, then, we consider the injury to the people's interests from the neglect that the public work suffers, no one can estimate the money loss to the public which results from this never-ending series of elections. If there were any sufficient or satisfactory result, we could endure it. But to pay forty-five million dollars for a change from Mr. John Kelly to Mr. Roscoe Conkling is an unwise expenditure.
Each one of these great national excitements, which we call a presidential election, makes a serious disturbance of the nation's industries. No one can tell what will be the result to commerce and manufactures from a change in the men who are at the head of our national affairs. It is not that the new men will really have bad intentions,
or that they have any new set of measures which they propose to carry into effect. But they are almost invariably ignorant of the nation's affairs. Even if their purposes be the best, a new administration, from mere ignorance of the laws of money and trade, may adopt measures which will make a money loss of many millions of dollars, and throw out of employment many thousands of poor men. We know, indeed, that the people will survive these troubles; the Government will go on in spite of them; but the injury is there, and cannot be avoided. The fear of it alone is enough to cause for a time a stagnation in all business enterprises.
These contests between the two parts of the election machine do, moreover, an injury which cannot be weighed, in dividing the people's strength in times of danger. In the war of the rebellion we had practically half the Northern people arrayed in active opposition to the Government. In the war of 1812, we had the same thing. In the history of the last few years in England, nearly one-half the House of Commons and of the English people has been actively engaged in embarrassing the operations of the Government at a time when a people should be united. At this present time, the people of the United States, North and South, sincerely wish for peace and rest, for simply an opportunity to work. But once in four years-in fact, all the time-the men of the election machine, for their own purposes, stir up all the angry feelings of the past, and leave untouched all the measures of the future. The people have no sound interest in these contests. They have at last learned that no changes in policy result from them; that the most they are to look for at a presidential election is a period of anxious suspense, followed perhaps by a great loss from the ignorance of a set of new and inexperienced officials, and at the end a feeling of temporary relief that the loss is no greater than it is, and that they may have for the rest of the new four years a state of comparative quiet.
The system destroys a healthy interest in public affairs. We hear much said as to the lack of interest in public affairs on the part of the business men and the educated men. On the face of things, there is a lack of interest, but it is the result of the present unnatural condition of affairs. Men have become discouraged; they have in a degree lost their interest in elections for the reason that they know that they can accomplish nothing. It is the indifference of despair. There is really
enough of true public spirit. The business men are willing to give their time and money freely, if any good will come of it, but not otherwise. Once in ten years they rouse themselves for a revolution against some one set of men, when the tyranny of the election machine becomes unendurable. But the men of business cannot be leading a new revolution every day. It has been at times a current idea that we must have periodical national elections in order to keep alive the popular interest in public affairs. That is much as if a physician should recommend a patient to contract a severe case of intermittent fever by way of improving the circulation of his blood. These struggles for place between the two sets of office-seekers, do not tend, as far as I can learn, to the elucidation of any of the great problems of political science.
It corrupts the public conscience. There can hardly be a greater influence for evil than to have widely spread among a people the belief that the official action of public officers is bought and sold. That belief is now widely spread among us, and there are facts enough on which to base the belief. Few measures in our legislatures, National, State, or local, are now honestly considered on their merits. The combined influence of our whole government is largely thrown against honest dealing, and in favor of bribery and corruption. And no one can estimate the evil that comes from that state of things. It was not so before the growth of the election machine. It comes from the fact that our public officers are not free; they cannot follow the dictates of their own consciences, and their own ideas of what would be for their own individual interests.
So long ago as in 1714, it was said in the British House of Commons, in the debate on the bill for lengthening the term of Parliaments from three years to seven, by Mr. Richard Hampden:
"The reasons why I am now for the bill are: To dispose the people to follow their callings and to be industrious, by taking from them, for a time, the opportunity of distracting one another by elections; to prevent such who have the will from the power of giving any new disturbance to the Government; to prevent another rebellion, there being just as much reason to expect one this year as there was the last; to check that evil spirit in those who have sworn to the King and rose in arms against
him, or abetted such who have; to discountenance that spirit which lately did so far prevail in this nation as to approve of a most ignominious conclusion of a successful war by a ruinous peace; to render fruitless any concerted project of the Regent or any other foreign princes to disturb this nation at a
time when elections, or the approach of them, have raised a ferment in the minds of the people; and to procure the clergy an interval from being politicians that they may be the better able to take care of their flocks in the manner the Scripture has prescribed.
The argument here has brought us to this result.
The purpose in framing our system had been to create a people's government. It was the purpose, that the people themselves should by turns do the public work, that the people should elect their chief public officers, that they should control all their officers, that public officers should represent the will of the people, should be responsible to the people, that power should be kept in the hands of the people, and not be centralized in the hands of public officials.
That purpose has failed. The system has developed into an election machine. This election machine has disfranchised the people, has enslaved their servants, has centralized power in the hands of an oligarchy, has destroyed the responsibility of our public servants, destroys the efficiency of the public service, corrupts the public service, sells the control of the public service to the great monopolies, defies the people's will, and makes the people's healthy life and growth an impossible thing. We have, not a people's government, but the tyranny of an election machine.
It is a most singular system of slavery. We, the people, have forged our own chains, have put them on, we keep them in repair, and we renew them. Every other oppressed race on the face of the earth hold in their own hands the right of revolution. That right we put in the hands of our masters. The cycle of revolution with us seems to be about ten years. We rebel with our tongues, submitting ourselves strictly to the letter of the law, as do the men who rob us. And the revolution, as its best result, gives us only a change of tyrants. The system is a slavery that is indeed severe for the slaves. But no men would be so blessed by its end as the masters.
V. But what is the reason of the result? The reason why the system has failed is that it is framed, in some of its most important features, in defiance of the laws of political mechanics, and of human nature.
It is framed in defiance of the laws of political mechanics, chiefly in these respects:
(1) It uses the process of election for a wrong purpose. It uses that process for the purpose of enforcing responsibility, of putting men out of office. The true use is the selecting men, the putting them in office.
The system overworks that process. nual elections make a perennial election machine. It is as if we were to build a locomotive, and have it all driving-wheels and no brakes.
(2) It uses the process of election in a wrong form. It is an attempt to have the people vote, at one time, in large districts, where they cannot meet together, talk together, and act together.
(3) As the consequence of these two points, it centralizes power, by centralizing and perverting the process of election.
(4) It destroys responsibility, by dividing it. It divides responsibility, by dividing single powers among different men, instead of centralizing each different power in a different center.
(5) It provides no sufficient means of enforcing responsibility. It makes everything of the process of putting men in office, and forgets the process of putting them out. It is based on the fundamental error that public offices are property, which a man is to hold for so many years, and of which he is not to be deprived unless he is convicted of a crime, on a trial. Public offices are trusts, from which men should be removed as soon as they fail to fulfill them.
(6) The system is an attempt to have the people govern, with their own hands. We have not the time. The work is too great. We have each our special work. The system of having the people themselves do their public work served their needs one hundred years ago, when the work was small. But we have outgrown the system.
Moreover, the system is framed in defiance of the laws of human nature.
he will have neither time nor strength to sit in a legislature. He cannot do the two things. Sir Robert Peel said this many years ago. 2d.. The main reason urged for the proposed measure is that the heads of departments should be compelled to defend their measures in debate. But suppose they should not be men skilled in debate. It puts them to a false test. We want at the heads of departments men of administrative capacity, not orators. 3d. It is said that the measure is desirable, in order that the heads of departments may be able to give information on the floor of the House as to the affairs of their departments, when it is asked. But all men of experience know that information as to matters of administration, if it is to have real value, must be given in detailed printed reports, which can be examined and digested. 4th. The main and final reason against this measure is that it does not touch the roots of the disease. The disease is, that the men at the head of the Government, on whom the working of the whole machinery depends, are the slaves of this election machine, and are compelled to use the powers of their offices in its service. And how is it proposed, by this measure of having cabinet ministers make speeches in the legislature, to deal with that disease?
The other of the two measures is, the having competitive examinations in geography, and history, and grammar, for admission and promotion in the lower grades of the service. To which the comment is, that we must begin at the source of the stream, and not at its mouth. We might as well make the attempt to cleanse the Mississippi River by building a system of weirs at the South-west Pass.
Let us see, then, where the whole argument, thus far, has brought us.
This first experiment in the history of the world, on a grand scale, to establish a people's government, on the fundamental idea of distrust of men, has given us as its result the tyranny of an election machine. The spectacle, looking only at the present condition of affairs, is one that might almost appall the friends of free government.
Is there any remedy? And can it be found? There is no doubt as to the answer to these questions. The people made this Government, and will yet find a remedy for its faults. But the remedy is not to be found by standing still, or by saying that nothing can be done.
In the next paper an attempt will be made to give the outline of a remedy.
WORLD, I have looked upon thy face once more,
AND THE OLD CATHOLIC MOVEMENT IN GERMANY.
THE refusal of this illustrious Munich theologian to be bound by the decrees of the Vatican Council, or to submit to the system of church government embodied in them, constitutes the most remarkable defection from the Roman Church which has occurred in our day. It was not the revolt of a young or undistinguished man, who might crave the notoriety to be gained by a public conflict with the hierarchy to which he had been subject. It was not the result of personal grieving ances, acting upon a sensitive or resentful spirit. Nor was it a sudden outbreaking of disaffection, which might, perhaps, be soothed or be frightened into submission.
| Döllinger was a man of seventy. His birth (on February 28, 1799) preceded the beginning of the century which was now drawing to a close. He had been a life-long defender of the Roman Catholic system, under which in his youth he had been trained. Numerous pupils whom he had taught, belonging to several generations, filled the office of the priesthood in Bavaria and other lands; some of them were prelates in the German Catholic Church. His commandabilities, and unsurpassed learning in the department of ecclesiastical history, church polity, and in theology generally, were acknowledged on all sides. If any candid and well-informed Roman Catholic scholar