Puslapio vaizdai

been absorbed, to re-appear in flowers of light.

This species also gives forth the finest music to the wind. After listening to it in all kinds of winds, night and day, season after season, I think I could approximate to my position on the mountains by this pinemusic alone. If you would catch the tones of separate needles, climb a tree. They are well tempered, and give forth no uncertain sound, each standing out, with no interference excepting during heavy gales; then you may detect the click of one needle upon another, readily distinguishable from their free, wing-like hum. Some idea of their temper may be drawn from the fact that, notwithstanding they are so long, the vibrations that give rise to the peculiar shimmering of the light are made at the rate of about two hundred and fifty per minute.

When a sugar-pine and one of this species equal in size are observed together, the latter is seen to be far more simple in manners, more lithely graceful, and its beauty is of a kind more easily appreciated; but then, it is, on the other hand, much less dignified and original in demeanor. The silver-pine seems eager to shoot aloft. Even while it is drowsing in autumn sun-gold, you may still detect a skyward aspiration. But the sugar-pine seems too unconsciously noble, and too complete in every way, to leave room for even a heavenward care.


(Abies Douglasii.)

THIS tree is the king of the spruces, as the sugar-pine is king of pines. It is by far the most majestic abies I ever beheld in any forest, one of the largest and longest-lived of the giants that flourish throughout the main pine zone, often attaining a height of nearly two hundred feet, and a diameter of six or seven. Where the growth is not too close, the strong, spreading branches come more than half-way down the trunk, and these are hung with innumerable slender, swaying sprays, that are handsomely feathered with the short leaves which radiate at right angles all around them. This vigorous spruce is ever beautiful, welcoming the mountain winds and the snow as well as the mellow summer light, and maintaining its youthful freshness undiminished from century to century through a thousand


VOL. XXII.-56.


It makes its finest appearance in the months of June and July. The rich brown buds, with which all its sprays are tipped, swell and break about this time, revealing the young leaves, which at first are bright yellow, making the tree appear as if covered with gay blossoms; while the pendulous bracted cones with their shell-like scales are a constant adornment.

The young trees are mostly gathered into beautiful family groups, each sapling exquisitely symmetrical. The primary branches

of granite that have been shaken from the precipitous front of the Liberty Cap near the Nevada Fall. No other tree seems so capable of adapting itself to earthquake taluses, and many of these rough bowlderslopes are occupied by it almost exclusively, especially in Yosemite gorges moistened by the spray of water-falls.


are whorled regularly around the axis, generally in fives, while each is draped with long, feathery sprays, that descend in curves as free and as finely drawn as those of falling water.

In Oregon and Washington Territory it grows in dense forests, growing tall and mast-like to a height, it is said, of three hundred feet, and is greatly prized as a lumber tree. But in the Sierra it is scattered sparsely among other trees, or forms small groves, seldom ascending higher than five thousand five hundred feet, and never making what would be called a forest. It is not particular in its choice of soil-wet or dry, smooth or rocky, it makes out to live well on them all. Two of the largest specimens I have measured are in Yosemite Valley, one of which surpasses eight feet in diameter, and is growing upon the terminal moraine of the residual glacier that occupied the South Fork Cañon; the other is nearly as large, growing upon angular blocks

[merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small]
[blocks in formation]


irregular and picturesque. Large special branches put out at right angles from the trunk, form big, stubborn elbows, and then shoot up parallel with the axis. Very old trees are usually dead at the top, the main axis protruding above ample masses of green plumes, gray and lichen-covered, and drilled full of acorn holes by the woodpeckers. The plumes are exceedingly beautiful. No waving fern-frond in shady dell is more unreservedly beautiful in form and texture, or half so inspiring in color and spicy fragrance. In its prime, the whole tree is thatched with them, so that they shed off rain and snow like a roof, making fine mansions for storm-bound birds and mountaineers. But if you would see the Libocedrus in all its glory, you must go to the woods in winter. Then it is laden with myriads of four-sided staminate cones about the size of wheat grains,-winter wheat,producing a golden tinge, and forming a noble illustration of Nature's immortal vigor and virility. The fertile cones are about three-fourths of an inch long, borne on the outside of the plumy branchlets, where they serve to enrich still more the surpassing beauty of this grand winterblooming golden-rod.


LET us see where the argument thus far has brought us. It has been an examination into the disease of our body politic, and its remedy.

As to the disease, its main features are these:

1. The existing system of having the people, in form, elect many public officers, voting, in their own persons, through large districts, at frequent elections, has made our political life a series of election contests, has taken the choice of our public officials from the people and put it in the hands of professional election managers, has made our public officials serve the election organizations instead of serving the people,-has, in short, turned our government into an election machine.

2. The attempt to enforce the responsibility of public officials by terms of office and periodical elections, thereby making it

at all times necessary for our chief officials to carry the next election in order to keep their places, enforces responsibility to the election machine for election work, instead of to the people for the people's work.

3. The taking from executive officials the power of appointing and removing their subordinates has made them unable to give us good administration.

As to the remedy, its main features are so framed as to meet the precise disease which we find to exist:

1. The proposed system of having the people elect only their chief executive officials, and the members of the supervisory bodies which we call legislatures and common councils, by the votes of delegates, choosing those delegates at meetings of the citizens held in small election districts, where the citizens can meet and act as one body, electing only when there are vacancies, in

stead of at fixed periods, will put the choice | of our chief public officials really in the hands of the people themselves, and will make our public officials free to serve the people, instead of placing them under bonds. to serve the election machine.

2. The simple and direct method of summary removal of the chief executive, as well as all subordinates, for a failure to do official work, not for a failure to carry an election, or for a failure to put a bill through the legislature (as in England), will enforce responsibility for official work instead of for election work or work in the legislature.

3. The giving to all executive officials the sole power of appointing and removing their immediate subordinates will put it in their power to give us efficient administration.

In short, we should have, under such a system, an organization where the selfish interests of each official would lead him to do the people's work instead of election work,-where the doing of the people's work, and not election work, would be the controlling purpose, where the will of the people, and not of the election managers, would be the controlling force. We should have, in short, a government, and not an election machine.

Let there be no misunderstanding. As has been said before, it is not meant that we have, under our present system, no good men in our service, or that the men in our service do no good work; but we have this powerful disturbing force, which operates at all times and with all men in the service, especially with the men at the head on whom the efficiency of the service depends, -to defeat in a great measure the very ends for which the service has its existence. On the other hand, it is not expected that under the system here proposed we should never have bad men in the service, or that the men in the service would never use the powers of their offices for improper purposes. No system of government can be devised which will secure us to that extent. But the influences and tendencies of the system proposed would be in favor of good government, whereas the influences and tendencies of our present system are greatly against it.

So far as to the disease and the remedy. But then comes the question: How is the remedy to be applied? How are we to secure the adoption by the people of this new system, or of any new system, of government? In order to give the argument more clearness, it will be well to state in

order the questions which need here to be answered. These questions are, as it seems to me, as follows:

1. How can the people be brought to an agreement, on this scheme, or on any scheme which involves so great constitutional changes?

2. How can the people be persuaded to surrender power-their right of voting in their own persons at frequent elections, for their own public officers?

3. How can the people be persuaded to make what will seem to them a rash experiment, of which no man can foresee the results?

4. Is it necessary, even if it is practicable, to make any radical constitutional change in our system of government?

5. Even if it be shown that a radical change is needed, and that the people will agree to it, how can the people overthrow the power of the election machine?

To answer these questions is the attempt in the present paper.

I. The first question is: How can the people be brought to agree on this scheme, or on any scheme which involves so great constitutional changes?

As will be seen later, the agreement by the people to the scheme of constitutional reform which is to be adopted will be the last thing to be done, and not the first. The first thing in order is to frame the system to which the people are to agree. This framing of the new system, the devising a comprehensive, rational scheme of thorough constitutional reform, we shall accomplish by using the people's own method-the national convention, the simple old method of one hundred years ago, in combination with the wonderful new forces of to-day.

When men speak of the difficulty, the impossibility, of getting the people to agree on a new scheme of government, they forget our own history; they lose sight of what we have already done-of the great results we wrought with the most slender means in the earliest days of our national existence, in the days when, in fact, we had no national existence, before we became, even in form, a people, while we were still in embryo. It will be well to make a short study of the introductory chapter of our national history, to see what we then accomplishedthe result; and how we then accomplished it-the process.

As to the result:

The result was a creation, out of a politi cal chaos, of a large, comprehensive system

of national government. When the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which framed our present national Constitution, met, such a thing as a national government had no existence. The old Confederation was nothing but a league on paper. It was not even an election machine. There was a legislature which could not pass a law. There was no executive to enforce a law, had any been passed. There was a body called. Congress, which had power to appoint a commander-in-chief for an army which it could not raise, to spend money from a treasury which it could not fill, to create a debt which it could not pay, and to make requests for men and money which it could never enforce. The old Continental Congress was nothing but a debating society, which spent its time in moaning over evils which it had no power to heal, and in wellintentioned, mischievous interference with the commander of our armies, whom it had no power to help. But out of this state of things there came a government, a legislature which could make laws, a judiciary which could interpret them, and an executive which could enforce them; a power was created which could raise money and armies and navies, which could regulate with authority the common affairs in which the people of all the States had a common interest-leaving in existence and in full strength the State and local governments to regulate State and local affairs; and these different governments were to exist together, and have their distinct operation, each in its own sphere, each within its own limits, giving, however, to the common national organization (within its limits) a complete supremacy. The whole made a harmonious system, flexible yet firm.

This supreme national government was voluntarily adopted by the peoples of thirteen independent sovereign States. Of their own will they established a central authority over themselves.

This new national government was an organization of which, as far as I am aware, no human being had any conception before the sittings of the Constitutional Convention began. Single individuals did indeed have an idea of framing some system which should be a modification of the Articles of Confederation—which should be something in the nature of a general government. But they were very few. The members of the federal Convention had before them a new problem. That Convention had, as it were, to evolve out of its

own consciousness a free national government for a union of free States. The framing a government was a thing not originally intended when the Convention was called. The Convention was only to revise that thing of paper called the Articles of Confederation. The resolution for calling the Convention said, in so many words, that the Convention should meet "for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation." The needs of the country were great, as many men were well aware. But few men had given careful thought to the practical measures which were required to meet those needs. And it is safe to say that no man had any clear idea of any system of government such as was finally adopted, such as was absolutely indispensable to cope with what seemed at the time to be a nearly hopeless state of affairs. Even after the Constitution was framed, the government which it was to create was an object of great fear and distrust to a very large proportion of the people who adopted it. There were probably very few individuals in the whole country who did not think that the establishment of this central national organization, with a power unlimited of raising money, of raising men, of keeping a standing army, was a step full of danger to the liberties of the people. Many men of that time had the fear that this establishment of a new government, superior to and independent of the State governments, was the first step toward the establishment of a new tyranny. This fear was wide-spread. It was held even by the members of the Convention itself. The expressions of that fear, as it then lay in the minds of very able men, now read almost like a burlesque. Mr. Yates and Mr. Lansing, two of the three New York delegates to the Convention, wrote of the new Constitution :

"Exclusive of our objections originating from the want of power, we entertained an opinion that the general government, however guarded by declarations of rights, or cautionary provisions, must unavoidably, in a short time, be productive of the destruction of the civil liberty of such citizens who could be effectually coerced by it, by reason of the extensive territory of the United States, the dispersed situation of its inhabitants, and the insuperable difficulty of controlling or counteracting the views of a set of men (however unconstitutional and oppressive their acts might be), possessed of all the powers of government, and who, from their remoteness from their constituents, could not be supposed to be uniformly actuated by an attention to their welfare and happiness; that, however wise and energetic the principles of the general government might

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