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The distribution of campaign funds by States, a constitutional change is necessary. the boss is supplemented, no doubt, by his As an illustration of what is needed, a conequally shrewd distribution of salaried stitutional amendment, in substance such offices. But even though civil-service as has been proposed in Rhode Island, is reform were fully established in any State, hereby given: the boss, if well supplied with the sinews of war, would find no difficulty in maintaining his hold upon its policies. Boss rule exists, and year by year be
The senate shall consist of thirty-six mem
bers. The State shall be divided into three comes more complete, by reason of our
senatorial districts, to be kept substantially outgrown system of elections. The choice equal in population. Each district shall elect of members of the legislature by single dis- twelve senators. The vote of no elector shall tricts gives power to the caucus, invites the be counted for more than one candidate. expenditure of money, and renders the In each district, any political party or other great body of the voters comparatively considerable group of voters may nominate for powerless. The spirit of party is so strong
the office of senator not exceeding twelve canas to assure the continuous
didates: and each of such parties, or groups, support
shall be represented in the senate in the proporhaps four fifths of its members for the reg
tion which the number of votes cast for its canularly nominated candidate; and the party didates bears to the total number of votes cast machine is kept in such good order, and so for all candidates; and whenever so reprewell fed with pecuniary oil, that only at the sented, it shall be by such of its candidates as rarest intervals does it fail to produce the receive the highest number of votes. result aimed at by the boss. The Mugwump vote, which is ready to abandon its In order to apply the above amendment, party when provoked by unfit nominations, let it be assumed that a senatorial district is not very numerous, and often may be casts a total of 12,000 votes. It is evident offset by another independent element, the that the twelve senators will be elected, corrupt voter of the minority party. each by a separate constituency; that any
In the game of politics, therefore, which candidate who receives 1000 votes is absogoes on year after year between the boss, lutely sure of an election; that any party on the one side, and liberty-loving voters, or group which casts a total of 3000 votes on the other, the boss plays with the dice will certainly elect three senators; that any loaded and the cards stacked in his favor. party casting 5000 votes will elect five senAfter losing time and again, the patriotic ators, and so on. It follows, moreover, that citizen gets discouraged, and either aban- a weak candidate will get few votes and dons the game by staying away from the fail of an election; that a strong candidate polls, or votes his party ticket while he will be elected, and, if upon a ticket with grumbles.
other candidates, may aid his party to elect Therefore the question presents itself, as his colleagues those standing next to What change can be made in our system him in popularity. Since, under this sysof electing legislators that will rob the cau- tem, every tub must stand on its own botcus of its tyrannical power, and at the same tom, the manner of nomination will have time render money of little avail in deter- but little influence upon the result. A wellmining the result of an election ? Such a known and well-liked citizen, whether put system has been invented and is in partial forward upon nomination papers or placed operation in some of the cantons of Swit- upon a ticket with others by a party conzerland, in Belgium, and in portions of vention, will be about equally sure of an Australasia. Its essential features are: that election. As a consequence, the party single districts shall be abolished; that a machinery will be robbed of the power it considerable number of legislators shall be now possesses of making or marring a politelected from each district; that the mem- ical career. To expend money for the purbers chosen shall be apportioned to each pose of controlling primaries would be to party, however small, in the ratio of the waste it. Every mere tool placed upon the vote cast by the several parties; and that ballot by the boss would only serve to lesthe vote of each elector shall be counted sen the vote for the ticket as a whole, and for one candidate only.
consequently to reduce the party's repreFor application in any one of the United sentation in the senate. To exclude from
the ticket a strong and popular member of It is, however, conceivable that an exthe party would only lead to his indepen- tremely rich candidate may enter the field, dent nomination and probable election and even at a high market price buy the
. Caucuses would again become, what ori- necessary quota of one thousand votes. ginally they were, conferences of voters That is true; and it is far better that all the holding like political views.
venal vote of a multiple district should be Thus deprived of what has been the most concentrated upon one candidate rather effective method of using party funds, in than to have it, as too often now, hold the the making of nominations, it may be balance of power between the two leading thought that by concentrating all expendi- candidates in many districts. In a senate ture upon the hiring of workers and the nearly every member of which was elected buying of votes on election day the boss upon his merits a candidate successful by may still retain his supremacy. But the means of a purchased constituency, as a power of corruption at the polls will like- known representative of boodlers, would wise be reduced to a minimum. With the find his influence nil. A senator elected people freed from party tyranny at the by the proposed system would be both able primaries, able to make their votes count and independent. The boss, having no on election day for the man of their choice, power to defeat his renomination or reëleccorrupt methods will lose their force, for tion, would be powerless to exercise control two reasons :
over him by any other means than that of 1. When it becomes evident that the direct bribery. If bribed to vote against the managers of the machine are buying interests of his constituents, they would votes, that large majority in every party have the easy redress of preventing his rewhich desires honesty in politics, being no turn to office. Any people who, under such longer confined to a choice between evils, a free electoral system, cannot choose to a will refuse to vote the party ticket. Corrupt legislative body an incorruptible majority, expenditure, therefore, may thus have the are not capable of self-government. effect of hurting rather than helping the The other important advantages to result chances of victory.
from the election of legislators by the sys2. The number of purchasable votes tem here proposed necessarily cannot rewill be very much lessened. Or, if it beceive full consideration in this article. The said that most men have their price, the chief objection which has been raised, in market price of votes will take an enormous England especially, to this method of electrise. Electors now sell their votes very ing representatives is that it will do away readily for from two to five dollars, because, with party government. Such has not been so far as the voter can see, his ballot is of its effect in Switzerland or Belgium. That no appreciable benefit to himself. He has it will modify party government, as now no particular choice between the parties or existing in the United States, is to be exthe candidates, and does not think it will pected and most devoutly desired. That make any perceptible difference to his fu- a representative body composed of able ture whichever of the two sides wins. But men, who are genuinely representative of with the power given to select from two and amenable to public opinion, would give dozen candidates for the office of senator, as bad a government as the boss rule of he will certainly find one in whose election, to-day, is beyond the bounds of possibility. for some definite and weighty reason, he From what has preceded, two conclufeels a personal interest. No doubt, with sions may logically be drawn: the opportunities and hopes given to every 1. That to overthrow a particular boss candidate by such a law, the canvass con- is but a short and ineffectual step in ducted would be so active as to create a the direction of destroying bossism. If no general public interest and, in many cases, radical change is made in the present elecgreatly to arouse popular enthusiasm. All toral system, his successor will soon appear; this would tend strongly to do away with and, judging by the past, each new boss that indifference, as to both men and issues will be more powerful, more unscrupulous, which, prevailing so largely under present and more piratical than his predecessor. conditions, invites and almost forces the 2. That any slight reform in existing ambitious, in order to be successful, to electoral methods will not put an end make use of corrupt methods.
to bossism. Even the Australian ballot, made compulsory for the nomination of all richer, it is safe to assume that managers candidates in a legalized caucus, will no can be hired of sufficient ability to overmore remedy the evil than its adoption for come far greater obstructions to the attainelections has stopped bribery at the polls. ment of office by the unworthy than those It may be that some other reform than the which now exist. one here advocated can be found, which But the remedy herein set forth, judging will force the boss to be less brazen than by its recent partial application in other now in the use of corrupt measures, and countries and by the obvious merits of even demand of him an increased outlay of the system itself, will render the corrupt party funds; but, with political prizes al- expenditure of money in elections of no ready large and growing larger, with many avail, thereby dethroning the State boss ambitious men already rich and growing for all time.
TOPICS OF THE TIME
THE WORSE THINGS BECOME, THE movement to erect a monument to him LONGER THEY WILL STAY BAD who was afterward discovered to be the
arch conspirator and thief. Things got SHALL WE HAVE AN ETHICAL CIVIC REVIVAL?
worse with a vengeance, and stayed worse, N the discussion of public corruption, cit- till at last came the long-delayed exposure
I zehe disometimes promifore rrehemselves and explosion.
with the saying that the sooner things get The election to the "overshadowing worse the quicker they will get better. Senate" (Mr. Nelson's now popular While there is some truth in the idea that phrase) 1 of one prominent corruptionist the more outrageous and notorious become after another has so hardened the conevil conditions, the more certain are they to science of the American people that the meet with discovery, exposure, and remedy, other day, openly and notoriously and it can also be said with truth that the shamelessly, an infamous political dicker worse things become, the longer they will was made which resulted in placing in stay bad, the harder it will be to work an the Senate of the United States the alleged improvement in them, and the longer it will agent and understudy of the most notoritake to make them better. This is often ous corruptionist in America. There was so in physical and mental illness. It is so a time when such callous indifference to in the history of individual health and the honest sentiment of the country could morals, and it is so with the health and not have been so publicly exhibited. morals of communities. If so-called good So far as the composition of the United citizens, through cowardice and indiffer- States Senate goes, while it may be true ence, allow corrupt practices to continue, that conditions as to membership there will these corrupt practices grow more and have to get worse before they get better, it more corrupt, till there is danger that the is also true that things have so long been whole body politic will be morally de- bad there, in this respect, that they are getbilitated.
ting worse continually, and there are those This is shown in the history of more than who either boastfully or regretfully predict one American community where there has that within two years the capstone of pubbeen governmental corruption. In New lic shame will be put upon the edifice of York in the days of Tweed there was either senatorial corruption. interested acquiescence or complaisant and If Minneapolis had not kept on electing well-nigh criminal ignorance on the part of and reëlecting men notoriously unfit, it leading citizens, to such an extent that de- would not have taken such a convulsion to cent names were obtained not only for the throw off the incubus of corrupt city govdenial of wrong-doing, but actually for a ernment; and it has been conspicuously
1 See THE CENTURY for February, 1903.
shown of late that St. Louis's long accep with many politicians and men of affairs, tance of foul conditions deadened the there was an insufficient connection bepublic conscience to a degree truly dis- tween his religion and his daily activities. couraging and alarming. In Rhode Island In business circles in New York the story political corruption has been permitted so is well known of one of our leading citizens, long that honest men have had to go out- a man who had held high office in the side of the State to gain assistance in arous- national government, who resigned his ing the conscience of the people. There is position on the board of a rich corporaa psychological side to public corruption, tion because he would be no party, by as to all forms of crime; and the continu- direct affirmation or tacit consent, to the ance and constant repetition of evil “sug- corrupt and secret appropriation of a cergestion " gradually spreads the moral dis- tain sum of money, a sort of appropriation ease, like a foul infection, in all directions. notoriously common in connection with the Speaking psychologically, the" suggestion” boss and legislative systems of the Empire toward morality is made more and more State. There is another and similar story of difficult the longer the opposite “sugges- a scene at a board meeting of another large tion" is given opportunity.
corporation, where was present as member What is to be done to overcome the and as legal counsel one of our ablest lawpresent tendency to corrupt practices in yers. The question was as to an appropriaAmerica ? It is all a matter of individual tion the purpose of which was not to be spread conscience: if individuals are good, the upon the official books. “What is it for?” government, of course, will be virtuous. asked the lawyer; "why this secrecy?" It Then, it may be said, let the pulpits and was for something that the corporation let the unbought press preach individual wanted, replied a posted member of the virtue! They are, however, always doing board. “Are we honestly entitled to it?” that in a general way, sometimes in a spe- asked the lawyer. “We are,” was the ancific. Meantime, so far as the church goes, swer. “Then,” he asked, “why not fight for the community is keenly aware of the fact it ? ” It was explained that such a course that church connection is no guaranty of would be less certain and convenient. scrupulousness in either business or politics. Whereupon the lawyer, being no hypocrite, Even apparently sincere religiousness resigned his place both on the board and seems often to be as queerly separated from as counsel. We are not assured that his ethics in the case of some of our capitalists action aroused the consciences of his fellowand managers of corporations as in the trustees; on the contrary, it is shrewdly suscase of the pietistic colored brother who pected that matters took their course as appropriates a chicken on the way home originally intended.
a from a vociferous revival meeting.
These stories are in themselves reassurA prominent Philadelphian said, not a ing, inspiring; but the fact that they can be great while ago, that the trouble in that city told as somewhat exceptional would seem was not so much with the “tough” as with to corroborate the suspicions of the people a certain type of “the head of the family” of New York that the system we have rewho goes to church regularly, with his ferred to has long drawn into its vicious hymn-book under his arm, but who will circle any number of our heaviest corporacast his vote for the boodlers every time. tions, managed by some of our most promThere is a strong reform movement in Phil- inent citizens, some of them conspicuous in adelphia, but we are told that the wrong- church affairs as well as in society. voting church-goer is still one of the most What we have said as to general condiserious problems of the reformers there. tions in New York is not based upon We know that one of the most corrupt irresponsible rumor mere newspaper and corrupting of all the politicians we our- innuendos; it is indeed of common knowselves have ever come personally into con- ledge, and has been proclaimed by as retact with had an apparently sincere religious spectable members of the bar as Wheeler side; he was prominent in church affairs H. Peckham, now president of the City and highly exemplary in his family life. He Club, and Joseph H. Choate, now ambaswould one day secretly commit a State- sador to Great Britain. The Rev. Dr. John prison offense and the next morning lead P. Peters, a cou
geous fighter for better earnestly in prayer at the family altar. As things in the metropolis, recently did a pub
lic service in reminding the community - The churches constitute a tremendous in connection with the latest fight against organ for good; they are everywhere more suspected legislative corruption at Albany and more working for ethics, for the unity
, - of a certain frank and moving appeal of the emotional nature with the active exmade by Mr. Choate at a public dinner perience of men; but there is need, at the in New York, just after the election of present crisis in our history, of an ethical Mayor Strong on a reform ticket.
civic revival, both inside and outside the
churches. We have heard and read sugThe only way (said Mr. Choate) in which gestions recently in this direction, and the this legislative corruption can be stopped is by time is ripe for such a movement. It is holding up such men publicly to opprobrium; needed, and it is needed at once, and not they must be driven from the churches; they
merely in certain cities and commonwealths must be branded in society as men dishonest and unworthy for honest men to associate with.
where political corruption has been adverNot until the attack is made directly upon the
tised of late by efforts to overcome the directors of corporations who are responsible evil, but throughout the nation. For, we for this sort of corruption will it be possible to repeat, the worse things are allowed to becure this evil.
come, the longer they will stay bad.
The Sultan of Morocco
make use of their meat for food. In certain EING about to sail for Morocco within the parts of Morocco wild boars are kept among week, and because of the Sultan's promi
the horses, who dilate their nostrils, snort, and, nence in the newspapers of late, I send these so think the natives, “become strong.” few lines to correct false impressions.
New YORK, April 2, 1903. Astounding accounts appear occasionally in the daily papers which certainly must have
Robertson, the Preacher originated from sources where even a poet's license is disregarded.
REV. JESSE H. JONES of Halifax, MassaIn his excellent introduction to my articles, chusetts, writes to us, apropos of the article Mr. Williams naturally supposes that the on Frederick W. Robertson, in THE CENMoors look with disfavor at the Sultan's al- TURY for December, 1902, suggesting a comlowing wild boars in the palace grounds. I memoration of the great preacher throughdo not so understand it, these animals having out the English-speaking world, and the been presented to the Sultan by good Moham- establishment of some fixed memorial, on medans, generally the chiefs of tribes, who ex- August 15 next, the semi-centennial of his pect him to do as he likes with them, except to death.