Page images
PDF
EPUB

tants per mile average, and even in the Republic not many over thirty, and all free for sale or purchase without any general restrictive law, taxes in all cases assessed according to value, whether town, city, urban or agricultural land, and whether fallow or under cultivation. Britain cannot follow entirely the example of her children in legislating upon the land question, conditions being different. Denmark seems to point the way to her for the solution of that problem. It is, however, significant that Australia already levies progressive taxation upon land holding, and charges non-residents higher rates than residents.

It is obvious that just as the masses grow in intelligence (and the school systems ensure this) they will demand in all lands and obtain a fairer distribution of the comforts, rights, and privileges of their day; especially is this true of men of our own race in the old home, who have before them the rights already enjoyed by their fellows in the other lands of their race. What the people of Canada, Australia, and America have to-day, the Britons will soon demand and obtain. Yor must we of the newer lands fail to remember how much beyond all that our fellow-men have now, they must, by a law of their being, steadily demand and obtain, especially a more equal distribution of wealth. under Adam Smith's law that citizens must contribute to the expenses of the State “according to their ability to pay."

We even in the new lands labor under no delusion in this matter; while the condition of the masses is infinitely better under the colonial system than under the British, there is to be no rest in the march of progress with us towards greater uniformity of material conditions. Political rights in the Republic and the Colonies all already enjoy; one man's privilege every man's right. This is perfect and cannot be

improved upon; it is final, because any change would produce inequality, the foe of democracy. No citizen of Republic, Dominion, or Commonwealth is denied equality under the law, his vote weighs as much as the millionaire's. His religion enjoys equality with all others. As child of his parents he shares equally under the law with his brothers and sisters. His rank is equal with others. Equality of citizenship is the foundation of a democratic State, and until this is reached in the old home rest is impossible. It should therefore be matter of serious consideration with all parties in the old home whether the lamentable condition of affairs as shown is to be permitted to differentiate more and more the Colonies and the Republic from the old Motherland, which seems unwise in retaining so many unjust measures, contrary to the spirit of the age, which tends to draw people together, not to divide them into classes.

Elections in the new lands occur at stated times, and in all cases for fixed terms of service; thus in the Republic members of the House serve for two years, the two State Senators for six, but these draw lots at the first election after a State is admitted into the Union, for a short or long term, two years or six; thus one-third of the senators have to appeal to the State legislatures for re-election every two years, and are thus kept amenable to public sentiment. All States vote upon the same day, and the presidential election occurring every second State election only requires an additional ballot to be cast. The result, unless unusually close, is known before the crowds retire, by midnight and generally earlier, even although between six and seven millions of votes are cast.

The fixed term of service gives the nation a respite between contests, and the party in power sufficient time to produce results, regardless of passing

gusts of passion. This feature is com- system. Since these have been prommended to the attention of the old ised to Ireland, it seems highly probhome, where the leaders in Parliament able that the opportunity will be emresemble so many performers balanc- braced to extend the same to England, ing themselves on the tight rope, liable Scotland, and Wales, thus bringing the at any moment to fall, the nation ab- whole English-speaking race under the sorbed looking on. As no other Eng. Federal system. The closest governlish-speaking people follow the British ment of the parts we find makes the but all follow the American plan, it strongest government of the whole, i.e. may well be worth while for the old local resident people are the best gorhome seriously to consider the subject. ernors of local affairs.

There remains another American in- This general divergence of all her stitution wbich every British land has offspring in political conditions from adopted, always excepting, of course, those of the old home makes the the dear old-fashioned mother. This Motherland appear to the onlooker a is the Federal system, which Bryce hen with ducks for chickens, spending pronounces the greatest contribution her energies loudly cackling on the the Republic has made to the political shore while her adventurous brooil world. The Republic now has forty- breasts the waves. The propensity seven States, each with its own State which the stay-at-home Briton has so legislature-not congress, please note, far shown for adhering to ancient laws for this distinction is important. There has compelled her hardy sons abroad to is only one Congress, and that is over look for guidance to Britain's first-born. all, and it will be well for Britain to the Republic, which has hewn her way note this fact when she adopts devolu- to pre-eminence in political develoption, for there is much in the name ment, keeping up with the times, anil “Legislatures" for the parts, and in not afraid to march forward. the word "Parliament," being supreme, An illustration of this British trait sacred, and reserved for the whole. of a version to change was until reHow surprising, how strange it is for cently found in the tenacity with which one to sit in the House of Commons, British manufacturers held to old-fashattracted as the writer was by an ex- ioned machinery. When the United pected debate upon a question of inter- States broke all records in steel-making. national importance, only to find that her reported results were discredited, the sewerage of a Midland city had but after an interval one leading comprecedence. It was said of the Nas.

pany engaged an American engineer to myth hammer when invented that it remodel their works and practice, and could forge anything from a pin to an in due time others followed. In shipanchor. So it seems to be with Par- building the same result ensued. We liament, but we never heard of the are informed that not one shipyard in hammer being devoted to the trifling Britain exists to-day which does not work of pin-forging. It was reserved use American tools. Imagine a manfor tasks worthy of it. So should the ufacturer who boasted to-day that he Mother of Parliaments be reserved for used the same tools his father did. national and international problems Machinery that is old is prima facie worthy of her powers. Canada, Aus- evidence that it needs reconstruction tralia, the Transvaal have here all fol. and improvement, or should be dislowed the example, not of the mon- carded, and equally so with political inarchy but of the Republic, and all en- stitutions which are bound to improve joy the fruits of the American Federal or become useless. The proud boast of the Briton is that his parliamentary will be peacefully adjusted, the rich system is centuries old, his not a writ. saving common sense of the race will ten constitution as modern constitu- secure strict adherence to law. The tions are in new lands, but handed grand old Motherland, God bless her, down from precedent to precedent. is to renew her youth and add triumphs When, however, the strain of modern worthy of those of her glorious past conditions recently came to bear upon

when she led the world in establishit, alas! the rickety old machine was ing the germs of constitutional governfound unequal to its work, and to-day, ment of the people, for the people and in order to meet the emergency, there by the people, which her children in is already in Parliament a written doc- other lands have so successfully develument which is without precedent, oped. Thus steadily, from this time awaiting acceptance, very modern in- forth, the dear old Mother and her deed and up to date, making sure rec. children are to draw closer together in ord of the coming change. Nothing their political institutions, until our stands still, all moves forward in hu- entire English-speaking race enjoy the man society; that which has been, bet- blessings flowing from government ter than that which was, and that to founded upon the equality of the citicome better than what exists to-day, zen, one man's privilege every man's constitutions not excepted. There is right. never a time in which one or more of the State constitutions in America are March 24, 1911.-Reading this proof not being “improved,” all constitutional to-day all seems so trifling, so unimchanges, however, being submitted to portant, that the writer hesitates to a vote of the people.

send it for publication. Since it was We have seen that the antiquated in- begun, a bugle blast has blown which stitutions of the old home have com- has startled the civilized world. A pelled her sons abroad to follow the year ago we stood in the venerable example of Britain's first-born, the Guildhall, London, and revealed to a American Republic, and now a con- crowded audience what President Taft stitutional crisis has arisen in the old has since dared to proclaim—viz., all home, created by the irrepressible con- international disputes should be subAlict between the old and new political mitted to arbitration, questions of ideas-Elective v. Hereditary Cham- honor, territory, money, or anything bers of Legislation; Equality of the else. Never did bugle blast affect the Citizen 1. Hereditary Rank; Church of writer as that message did, upon reada Sect v. Equality of all Sects. Fortu- ing it at the Grand Canyon, Arizonanately, the grand old mother finds as of Nature's grandest wonder. He immeyore that she has worthy patriotic sons diately wrote to the bold President, true to the sacred trust reposed in hailing him as the foremost leader in them, able and resolved to guide her in the greatest of all causes, predicting treading the true path of ordered po- that if he adhered heroically to this litical development, drawing her standard, and won, he would be the nearer and nearer to the standard at- greatest ruler of men known to histained by her worthy children who tory, since no man can be credited with know nothing of hereditary privilege, so sublime a world triumph as the exor primogeniture and entail, religious pulsion from earth of brutal war, "the preference, or inequality of citizenship. foulest fiend ever loosed from hell."

None need fear the result; there will To read of the fervid conversion of be no violence, no law-breaking-all Sir Edward Grey-usually so calm and self-poised; of Mr. Balfour-Conserva- ing, to ask himself, "Can such things tive leader-breaking irresistibly forth, be and overcome us like a summer revealing that in this holy cause he cloud without our special wonder?" was no partisan, but a patriot, declar- Daily the cable added new proofs that ing that from no quarter would Presi- our race in every land had felt the imdent Taft receive warmer support; of press of a mighty power, lifting it into Mr. Redmond following in the same the higher regions where visions of the lofty strain; of the Archbishop of Can- coming day are seen, when men "sball terbury from his lofty pedestal calling beat their swords into plowshares and a meeting in Albert Hall and inviting their spears into pruning hooks,” and prominent members of all sects to join learn war no more, our own Republic with him in a service for what had grandly responding. come to pass; Canada and Australasia Should the writer be spared to see joining in the chorus of approval; to his native and adopted lands—Motherread every morning added proof that at land and Wifeland-united hand in last the dear old Homeland had been hand, never again to part, but ever stirred to the heart, and that partisans, to stand shoulder to shoulder leading drawn togetber by the majesty of the world in all that elevates man, huthe cause, had united as patriots vying man life will possess for him a charm with each other in their devotion to unknown before, creating within him the cause of blessed peace soon to pre- sweet grateful happiness for the blessvail, when war (international) will be ing which makes earth to him banished as duelling (private war) has heaven, yea. almost leading him to been from within the wide boundaries murmur with bowed head, "Now let of our race-all this caused the writer, thy servant depart in peace." wondering whether he was not dream

Andrew Carnegie. The Nineteenth Century and After.

THE RISING CRIME-RATE.

Nothing is more likely than that Probably the proportionate increase of there will be more crimes committed these crimes will be greater in Lonin this country during the present year don than in other parts of the kingdom. than during any previous period of Such predictions may be made with twelve months. There will also be a very good confidence by those who less complaint from the suffering-public. are well acquainted with some of the The list of offences against society and circumstances and tendencies of the the law will be swollen chiefly by time in regard to criminal affairs and thefts and burglaries accomplished the attitude of the general public with careful intention and by well- towards them. It was shown in a practised system rather than by mis- blue-book that was issued recently that deeds of the savage and vulgar kind the number of persons who were tried arising from bad instincts, degenerate for indictable offences in the year 1909 natures, and uncontrollable excesses was nearly seventy thousand, which of passionate feeling, in which class exceeded any previous year except the are to be included bodily injuries ma- one immediately before it, when there liciously inflicted by men upon men and were about a thousand more. The fig. women, manslaughter, and murder. ures for last year are not yet available;

seasons.

summer

but in the light of the circumstances the monarch, and all the attendant and tendencies which have been re- ceremonies, celebrations, and displays, ferred to one should be prepared for make the spectacle of a lifetime; and, another very probable increase—a rec- happening as they do when London ord. Trade depression and shortage is at its best and brightest, they conof work for the bumbler classes are not stitute a reason for coming up to town enough to account for the growth of for a visit of a few days or weeks these criminal statistics; indeed, it is which is appreciably stronger than the doubtful whether they should be al- reasons afforded in other lowed as the reason for any part what- Months ago, when the winter was only ever of the increase, since such condi- just begun, there were indications in tions of trade and labor tend only to London that a larger crowd of visitthe committing of comparatively ors was expected and was being preminor, and in a sense more excusable, pared for than ever before. Apartoffences such as the stealing of food ments were even then being engaged and clothing needed for immediate use; very extensively for the and in a large proportion of cases there months; and so noticeable was the de. is a reluctance on the part of the suf- mand in this respect that large numferers either through their sense of bers of people of a speculative disposicompassion or their desire not to be tion, particularly middle-aged and elinconvenienced any further with a bus- derly ladies of the spinster and widow iness which generally cannot be rarieties, determined upon becoming mended, and had therefore better be temporary boarding-house keepers, and ended as quickly as possible-to pros- prospected about the suburbs, making ecute. It is held also that the rising seductive offers to private housecrime-rate is not due to an increase of holders to take their furnished places habitual and regularly professional from them for periods of from three to criminals. It is simply that criminal- six months at rentals considerably ity of a more or less casual kind has higher than are generally obtained. been more prevalent in the community; London is more attractive as a showbut of course, in the processes of time place and a holiday resort in these and habit, many of the offenders in present times than it has ever been these cases must develop into regular before; and it is a circumstance that is criminals.

becoming well understood and appreThe prophecy of a substantial in- ciated by the people outside, who realcrease during the present year is based ize that this year it must be most partly on the general tendency towards particularly attractive. Getting about increase as shown in the figures which the town is an easier, cheaper, and have been published, and partly upon quicker matter than it used to be in the fact that this year is to be one of days not long gone by, and the result great excitement, disturbance from the is that more can be seen and done in a normal state of life, more numerous given space of time, and at less cost. and prolonged absences of people from Then there is more to see and more to their homes, and a greater laxity of do, and the attractions are better fitted precautions for the safety of their be- to modern moods and tastes than was longings. This is because of the once the case. The change in some reCoronation, which will bring the people spects may not be altogether for the from the country to London as noth- better; but it is certain that the proing else has done since the Coronation portion of visitors who are happiest in of the late King. The crowning of doing a round of calls at Westminster

« PreviousContinue »