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reader has no feeling of utter discouragement such as that with which he concludes the perusal of Rowntree's description of the very poor in York. The average income of these two hundred families was $851, and their annual expenditure was $836, leaving an annual surplus of $15. This is a very slight margin between independence and poverty, and in the case of one hundred and fifty-three families there was either a deficit or no surplus. The families with a large number of small children showed the largest deficits. The sickness of the wage-earner, an industrial depression, or other similar cause may easily bring such a family-industrious, sober, and thrifty-below the margin. Mr. Hobson held that irregularity of employment was the greatest evil of the working classes, and the present study goes to verify that contention. Mrs. More emphasizes a fact which doubtless appealed to her with peculiar force the importance of the housewife. Through her hands pass about nine-tenths of the average expenditures and upon her character and training depends in large measure the standard of living and of comfort of the family. Mrs. More finds that the wife who has had training in domestic service does best, but all do surprisingly well, though the need of systematic training in sewing, cooking, etc., is woefully apparent. There is no sentimentalism in the portrayal of conditions or appeal to the emotions in this book, which may safely be commended to the thoughtful and well-to-do citizen who wishes to know from evidence furnished by themselves how the other half lives.
The book by Professor Commons1 is written with his customary vigor; though the author's thesis nowhere obtrudes itself, the object of the work seems to be to prove the desirability of selection of immigration, not merely its restriction. The viewpoint from which immigration is first regarded is that of the political scientist. Democracy consists not merely in equal opportunities before the law; its successful operation requires also equal ability of classes and races to use these opportunities. Lacking either of these, democracy becomes in fact oligarchy. For the success of democratic government Professor Commons holds that three basic qualities must be present: intelligence, manliness, coöperation. How far these conditions have been, or are being, met in our foreign-born citizens is the test which must be applied in judging the whole question of immigration. The author discredits the theory which finds in race ancestry or race intermixture the explanation of American eminence, and finds the reason rather in the choice selection which-at least until recentlyhas obtained among immigrants, and the opportunities for development
1Races and Immigrants in America. By John R. Commons. New York: The Macmillan Company.
which this country has always afforded. The changed character of recent immigration is attributed largely to the changed character of industry; races that would have failed utterly as pioneers are now able to find places as unskilled laborers in our complex industrial organization. This movement has been induced and fostered by ship-owners and employers of labor. Our attitude towards the question of immigration will be determined, thinks Professor Commons, according to whether we view it from the standpoint of the production or distribution of wealth. If we fasten our attention on the enormous undeveloped resources of our country we will approve of the incoming of additional laborers. If, on the other hand, we regard rather the severe competition, the low wages, and the threatened reduction in the standard of living, then we will favor the restriction of immigration. Professor Commons's attitude is influenced decidedly by the latter considerations, and he advocates raising the standard of immigrants-possibly by the application of a physical test.
In his latest book1 Mr. Haines tells us he intends to discuss the relations of railways as servants of the public-their privileges and obligations as common carriers. His training and traditional prejudices as ex-vice-president of an important railroad soon prove too much, however, for his good intentions, and he lapses into the orthodox individualistic attitude of a practical railroad man. He attacks, naturally enough, the "cost-of-service" theory as a basis for fixing rates, and proceeds to elaborate a theory of his own which shall be free from the vagueness of the theorists. A reasonable rate, he thinks, should be "an average rate for an average service." How such a rate could be determined, whether it would be reasonable in all cases, and how it could be applied, are left quite unsettled, nor do they seem quite clear to the author. His idea seems to be, however, that somewhere between the cost of service to the railroad as a minimum and the value of the service to the shipper as a maximum, the reasonable rate must exist, "and the most reasonable rate ought to be that in which the profit to each of the parties to the transaction is most evenly balanced." So the difficult question of rates is found after all to be merely a problem in division. Mr. Haines thoroughly approves of the principle of pooling; of federal legislation regulating the railroads he has little good to say, and of government ownership still less. He condemns the wastefulness of the freight service of the American railways because the average speed of freight trains is only twenty-five miles a day, when it might be twenty-five miles an hour, including stops for loading and unloading! Coming from a practical
'Railway Corporations as Public Servants. By Henry S. Haines. New York: The Macmillan Company.
railroad man and engineer, such a statement is astonishing, to say the least. Other similar utterances seem to indicate that the book was hurriedly compiled and failed to receive proper revision; it certainly did not receive adequate proof-reading.
In the two books1 by Mr. Meyer we have a severe arraignment of government operation of industry. Mr. Meyer leaves no doubt in the minds of his readers as to his attitude toward state ownership, for in the preface he proclaims himself to be "old-fashioned" enough to oppose it strongly. In a previous book, on Municipal Ownership in Great Britain, he had pictured the complete failure of municipal trading, and in these two volumes he portrays in like manner the utter inefficiency of the national government in its management of the telegraph and in its treatment of the telephone. Government ownership in England is held up as a terrible example to warn the American public from similar ventures and mistakes. And, as pictured by Mr. Meyer, there is no redeeming feature in the long chronicle of stupidity, ignorance, incapacity, mismanagement, and political intrigue which make up the state operation of these industries. A remarkable feature is the regularity with which intelligent business men and statesmen, so soon as they are entrusted with the management of public affairs, are afflicted with incapacity. They seem to lose all business acumen, and unfailingly reduce the industry to an unprofitable basis. Accordingly, Mr. Meyer condemns the nationalization of the telegraphs, and their subsequent operation by the state, especially the reduction in rates. That the government should manage the industry for any other than a purely commercial purpose is inconceivable to the author, whose sole criterion for efficiency is net profits. But the gravest charge that he brings against the policy of government ownership of the telegraphs is that the existence of a large body of civil servants constitutes a dangerous political force; their chief crime so far is that they have successfully electioneered for higher wages. The story of the telephone in Great Britain is not an account of state ownership, but, according to Mr. Meyer, of the indefensible and unfair restriction of a private enterprise by the government, because its telegraph monopoly is threatened by the competition of that business. After reading the catalogue of misdeeds and shortcomings on the part of the government, one cannot but wonder whether "the failure of public opinion to protect the people from abuse and misuse of power by the state and municipality" is as complete or "the blindness of the British people to their interests as consumers of 'The British State Telegraphs. By Hugo R. Meyer. New York: The Macmillan Company.
Public Ownership and the Telephone in Great Britain. By Hugo R. Meyer. New York: The Macmillan Company.
the services offered by the public-service companies" as astounding as Mr. Meyer would have us believe. As may be imagined, such a black case against government management of industry is not secured without some distortion of facts; statistics abound and give a vraisemblance of finality to the discussion, but a careful selection of only those favorable to his case absolutely vitiates the conclusion. It is to be regretted that objectivity and fairness should have been sacrificed so completely to the Moloch of individualism.
In complete contrast with the books just described stands the volume of Professor Dewey. The last published number of the American Nation Series, it fully sustains the reputation of its companion volumes. The author had well qualified himself for his task by writing The Financial History of the United States, for in no period of our history have economic and financial problems pressed to the front so completely as during the years covered by this volume. The silver agitation, the tariff, labor disturbances, trusts, and the national supervision of railroads, constitute the subject matter of just one-half of the sixteen chapters in the book. The period was an unsettled one, and no well-defined policies are discernible in the shifting and confused legislation, while the vacillation of the electorate is shown in the fact that in twelve years the Republican and Democratic parties had simultaneous control of both the executive and legislative branches of the Government only two years each. A silver law enacted and repealed, two tariff laws within four years, an income tax law passed only to be declared unconstitutional-all these indicate inconsistency and uncertainty in legislation. On the other hand, portentous labor disturbances, a severe financial panic and depression, and the rise of a new political party of discontent among the farmers of the West, point to unsettled economic conditions. Consequently, the explanation of the political controversies is to be found in the more fundamental economic and social struggle that was going on, and which found such uneasy expression. Of the men who come to the front during this period, Professor Dewey gives unstinted praise to President Cleveland; the latter's attitude to the civil service, to organized labor, to the tariff, to silver and currency legislation, to expenditures, pensions, and internal improvements, and his foreign policy-all meet with warm approval. The characterizations of other prominent men are eminently fair and generally sympathetic. Forces and measures, however, rather than men, call for treatment in the history of such a period, and in analyzing and estimating these Professor Dewey is at his best. The events described are 'National Problems, 1885-97. By Davis Rich Dewey. New York: Harper and Brothers.
of such recent occurrence that it is not easy to view them in the right perspective. Professor Dewey has, however, been fair, critical, impartial, and discriminating in his judgments, and he has given us the best-as, indeed, almost the only-history of this period.
Ernest L. Bogart.
MEMOIRS OF ALEXANDRE DUMAS1
THE Memoirs of Alexandre Dumas, which were first printed in the original French at a time when Dumas was being widely discussed, acclaimed and abused as a playwright, but had as yet hardly given a thought to those prodigious romances which have carried his name to every corner of the civilized world, are now, after nearly three-quarters of a century, being presented in English in a thoroughly adequate and admirable form. The delay has been a long one; yet there is no reason for expressing astonishment. Vastly interesting as the Memoirs are, they show us a Dumas who was no more the great man of the decade of 1840-50 than the d'Artagnan of the yellow Rosinante, cudgelled by lackeys in the courtyard of the inn at Meung, was the seasoned Lieutenant of Musketeers who conveyed in safety the young King, the Queen Mother, and the Cardinal from the threatened Palais Royal to the Court at St. Germains. To carry on the analogy, it is as if one were to sit down to read of the career of the said Jonas d'Artagnan in a new version of ten volumes and were to find two volumes devoted to anecdotes of the doughty Gascon's doughty ancestors, three or four more filled with stories of his own boyhood pranks and early impressions, and the last chapter of Volume X bringing him, let us say, to the point where, after his sinister experience with Milady De Winter, he is about to set out for the siege of La Rochelle. Very entertaining it all would be, but how about the forty or fifty more unwritten volumes which should have thrown fresh light on the affair at Armentière, told us new adventures of the immortal four during the wars of the Fronde, elaborated the details of their participation in the restoration of Charles the Second and added a deeper poignancy to the chapters dealing with the last melancholy years?
Yet in appraising the Memoirs for what they are, this view of the matter is not even poor criticism-it is no criticism at all. If they do not carry the reader to the point where he can watch the geneses of M. De Monte Cristo, Les Trois Mousquetaires, La Tulipe Noire and Les
'My Memoirs. By Alexandre Dumas. Translated by E. M. Waller. New York: The Macmillan Company. Six volumes.