THE BEGINNINGS OF CRITICISM
For many thoughtful Americans the welter of frontier individualism was a severe trial to their faith in American institutions. An ambitious industrialism colliding with a shambling Jacksonian democracy was forecasting consequences to government and to society that intelligent men could not shut their eyes to. The America of Fisk and Gould, of Boss Tweed and the Crédit Mobilier scandal, was far from satisfying the requirements of any rational civilization. After a hundred years to have come to such heroes, to have bogged down in such filth, was an outcome to the great experiment that one could not contemplate with pride. It was no time to be silent. No people was ever saved by dumb preachers. The present generation was answerable for the new evils that were springing from the graves of the old, and intelligent Americans must not lose their heads in the thick of the common hurly-burly. So amidst the ruck and clamor of the times a tiny note of criticism was lifted up, timid and uncertain at first, but growing more confident and more strident as the decade grew older. It was not searching criticism. Sooner or later it was pretty certain to run into a blind alley of moral indignation, overlooking the major issues and leaving the vital factors of the problem unconsidered. Yet such as it was--shallow and feeble enough often to excite wonder in a later generation--it marks the rise of a spirit of skepticism towards the blowsy doctrine of manifest destiny that since the fifties had been blowing about the land.
The determining factors in the situation confronting criticism were political and economic, and the immediate problem that pressed for solution was the problem whether an undisciplined people, wedded to an old-fashioned agrarian democracy, could cope with an ambitious industrialism that was quite cynically buying and selling the political state. To deal with that problem most of the critics were singularly ill equipped. Two generations of constitutional debate, seasoned with a dash of equalitarian dogma, had left them intellectually lean and impoverished. They had forgotten the sober realism of the eighteenth century that never overlooked the intimate ties between economics and politics, and with no anchors down in the plebeian mud they were likely to drift helplessly in the moral squalls they were always blowing up. The more distinguished critics--those who commanded the most serious attention--were in a particularly unfortunate situation, for not only were they uninstructed idealists with no understanding of Realpolitik, but they had been reared in the classical tradition and their minds were saturated with a decadent aristocratic culture. To many of them the present evils of America served only to quicken an inherited skepticism of democracy. How can society expect to function adequately, they asked, without capable and honest leadership; and how can such leadership be hoped for in a rough and tumble democracy that loves the noisiest demagogue? Of this very considerable group of belated Federalists James Russell Lowell was the most distinguished representative. In the middle seventies he had come to believe that America was suffering from too much democracy, and that competent government could be had only by working back to the responsible Federalism of earlier times, with leadership reclaimed by the better elements of society. To the economics of the problem--the antagonistic interests of capitalist, proletarian, and farmer, with their struggles to control the political state--he gave no serious thought, but he viewed with instinctive suspicion the mounting ambitions of labor and he foresaw only evil from the bitter unrest of the farmers.
A second very considerable group, of which George William Curtis may be taken as spokesman, rejected all such antiquated Federalistic hopes as the foolish dreams of defeatists. They held fast to their faith in democracy, but they were convinced that more adequate democratic machinery must be provided. The root of the evil, they had come to believe, was political and must be sought in the vicious Jacksonian spoils system. With every change of administration to turn over the country to hungry partisans to devour, was not democracy but the negation of democracy? Government would not function satisfactorily until a trained civil service was provided, and the need of the hour, they pointed out, was an honest civil service reform. A third group, very much smaller than the others, of which Edwin Lawrence Godkin was the spokesman, was inclined to trace the plentiful evils of the times to an unwise paternalism, asserting that the real source of the common political scoundrelism was the lauded American System devised by Henry Clay, as a result of which government was seduced from its proper business of keeping the peace and was turned into a fairy godmother to shower gifts on favored interests. The only cure for the evil was to divorce business and politics and reëstablish in practice the police theory of government.
In the thinking of all three groups little consideration was given to the social consequences of the venture on which America had entered with the vigor of thoughtless youth. Concerning the ultimate consequences of the collision between a shambling democracy and an ambitious industrialism, few troubled themselves greatly. To find those who confronted the problem frankly and realistically, one must search out obscure men, labor leaders for the most part, or déclassé radicals like Wendell Phillips. The middle-class mind refused to see what its feet were stumbling over. In consequence the Gilded Age produced no critics of industrialism comparable to the great English critics--Carlyle, Kingsley, Ruskin, Morris, Tawney; no social philosophers like the great continental expounders of proletarian ideals--Marx, Engels, Bakunin, Sorel; no left-wing economists like the great French school--Louis Blanc, Bastiat, Proudhon. The genteel culture of America was no better than bankrupt in presence of brutal reality, quite unequipped to interpret the sprawling America that was transforming itself before its eyes into something it hated but did not understand. The time for searching criticism had not come, and would not come until the Industrial Revolution had created in America a proletariat such as swarmed in the English black country and amongst the hovels of continental cities. Nevertheless such criticism as there was must be taken into consideration, and for our present purpose it will suffice to single out three spokesmen--a grizzled warrior of the earlier renaissance who had the courage to face unpleasant fact, and two critics who brought to bear on political themes the best culture of the time. With these may be conveniently grouped certain novelists who more or less casually suffered their pens to deal with social problems.
THE NEW ENGLAND CONSCIENCE AND CAPITALISM-WENDELL PHILLIPS
Social criticism was by no means a new thing in America. For half a century it had filled all ears with its strident clamors, and from it had issued the motley group of reform movements that had been cheered or mocked at by thousands. From Charming and Cooper down to Parke Godwin and Horace Greeley it had been mustering its forces, vivid and picturesque figures for the most part--men and women like Fanny Wright, George Henry Evans, and Hinton R. Helper; ardent souls who beyond the dun horizon discovered a golden morrow that only awaited the rising of a new sun, and who lectured and wrote and argued till pretty much all America had caught something of their contagious enthusiasm. In this work New England came eventually to take the lead, and the golden forties were a time when in many an obscure Yankee head programs of reform were fermenting like a vat of malt. But unfortunately an excess of eagerness wore out the first enthusiasm, and when the shackles had been loosened from the negro bondmen the militancy of the New England leadership subsided and the tired New England conscience went on vacation.
But in these slothful times the conscience of one great New Englander was not tired, though he gave it no rest while life lasted. Wendell Phillips was a soldier of Puritan soul who did not lay down his arms in '65, but for nearly a score of years warred upon the injustices of the Gilded Age as he had warred before upon the obscenities of negro slavery. No sooner was the cause of abolitionism won--a cause to which he had sacrificed much in ease and the good opinion of Beacon Street, but from which he had gained more in self-respect and the decent opinion of mankind--than he turned to whatever new work offered. The lovers of justice, he knew very well, can indulge themselves in no vacations, for the devil is on the job day and night, and while the assailants sleep he is at work repairing any breaches in the walls of his citadel. When conscience is tired he counts on gaining his greatest victories.
The love of freedom has always been a dangerous possession in Massachusetts, given to exploding in unforeseen moments and unexpected places. No one could have foretold--certainly not he himself--that Wendell Phillips would put away all his Brahmin loyalties and devote forty-seven years to an unresting attack on the diverse Toryisms from which he and his class had hitherto prospered. Son of the first mayor of the city and a distinguished member of the Boston gentry, he was a patrician in the fullest Boston sense. All the loyalties of his caste summoned him to uphold the Brahmin authorities, but something deep within him, a loyalty to other and higher ideals, held him back. When a frock-coated mob laid its hands on Garrison to lynch him for abolition propaganda, he drew back; he refused to follow the Mayor and the Colonel of his regiment and other gentlemen if they betrayed the Boston for which their grandfathers had fought. An instinctive love of justice held him back. A fierce indignation flamed up within him at the wrong done a citizen of Massachusetts for exercising his natural right of free speech, and in that wild hour he discovered that he was a child of '76 with the mentality of a revolutionist. His conscience was aroused and he proceeded to put it in the safe keeping of Ann Terry Greene, a brilliant young woman of radical mind, who quickened his sense of social justice as Maria White was to quicken Lowell's. There was to be no backsliding in his case. From the December day in 1837 when he replied to Attorney-General Austin's slanders of the Revolutionary fathers in Faneuil Hall, to the end of a life filled with enormous labors--a life daily stabbed by Tory hornets, and that at the last is said to have inspired the remark of Judge Hoar that he did not attend the funeral of Wendell Phillips but he approved of it1--he followed his conscience into many an unpopular cause and spoke for those for whom few were willing to speak.
The story of his anti-slavery labors belongs to an earlier time and need not be recounted here. His devotion to abolitionism equaled Garrison's and his services were as great. It is rather the nineteen years that remained to him after Appomattox that are of present concern--what later battles he fought and how he bore himself in those battles. It was a difficult time for Puritan liberalism, face to face with a new age that had forgotten the old liberalisms. The Grand Army of Abolitionism had disbanded and new armies of other causes had not yet been recruited. Garrison and Edmund Quincy and Whittier had laid aside their arms, and Lowell had long since settled back into a comfortable Brahminism; the long struggle had left them drained of their energy. But for Wendell Phillips the battle was not over; it was unending and he was enlisted for life. At a vast meeting that marked the formal close of the abolition movement he took leave of his old associates with these words: "We will not say 'Farewell,' but 'all hail.' Welcome, new duties! We sheathe no sword. We only turn the front of the army upon a new foe."2 He had long spoken for prohibition, woman's rights, the abolition of capital punishment, and he now joined heartily with the courageous women engaged in such reform work. But more provocative business was at hand, and more dangerous--causes that touched the northern pocketbook as abolitionism had touched the southern. The banker's exploitation of the national currency, and the manufacturer's exploitation of factory labor--these were issues that a cautious man who was careful of his good name would not meddle with. But Wendell Phillips was never cautious and his good name had long since been flung to the wolves. And so in the evening of his days, with a courage that took little counsel of expediency, he embarked on a campaign that had for its ultimate objective the impregnable citadel of State Street. He would destroy capitalistic exploitation in all its works. It was as hopeless a battle as King Arthur's "last, dim, weird battle of the west," and entered upon as courageously.
How he came to hold the heretical views on money and labor that he expounded from the lecture platform cannot easily be traced. Perhaps they came from the radical fringe that envelops every great social movement; perhaps they were the inevitable expression of his left-wing temper. A man who had fought all Tory programs for thirty years must eventually come to hate the ways of capitalism, and so confirmed a democrat as Wendell Phillips would be certain to espouse the doctrine of thorough. One who had passed through the fires of abolition nullification, who had spoken of the Union as "built i' the eclipse and rigged with curses dark," who had repudiated his citizenship and equaled Garrison in contempt for a slave-protecting Constitution, would have pretty well cleared his mind of conventional respect for capitalistic law and order. He was not impressed by political cant. He had taken the measure of existing law and order and was casting about for a juster law and a more generous order.
In these later years, as a program of social reconstruction took shape in his mind, he was coming to essential agreement with the program of socialism. With the Marxians he based his thinking upon economics, and his final objective came to be the substitution of cooperation for the profit-motive. As ardently as Horace Greeley he asserted the rights of labor. As early as 1860-1861 he had come to recognize a similarity in the economic status of the wage-slave and the bond-slave, and in 1865, in a speech on the eight-hour movement, he accepted as true the southern thesis that in western civilization all labor, whether bond or wage, was unfree, held in the grip of a master, bought and sold in the market;3 and now that the shackles had been struck from the negro, it remained to strike them from the wage-earner. To turn the negro from a bond-slave to a wage-slave would be a sorry ending of abolitionism; but such must be the inevitable outcome, he believed, unless all labor should win freedom. The question of the hour for Wendell Phillips had become the question of the relation of labor and capital.
In his thinking on the currency question--a question that became acute in the seventies--he was soon caught up by the Greenback movement. It may have been that his contact with Thaddeus Stevens helped to mold his views on the money question; yet that he should have become a Greenbacker was foreordained. He had no amiable illusions in regard to State Street. As a tribune of the people he had long been intimately acquainted with its ambitions, and he would not turn over the country to its custodianship. He would have no bankers' control of the national currency, to augment or deflate as banking profits dictated. His democratic sympathies recoiled from a class control of the common medium of exchange, and in 1875 he offered a drastic solution of the vexing question that brought down on his head all the wrath of State Street. His plan provided for three things: the rejection of the national banknote system; the issue of honest greenbacks, secured by the wealth of the country, and receivable in payment for all debts public and private--not dishonest greenbacks like the old, which the government had repudiated at issue by refusing to accept them in payment of custom dues; and finally the retirement of interest-bearing bonds and the return to a cash basis for government business. How deeply he felt in the notorious matter of credit manipulation is suggested in the following passage with its echoes of an older America that looked with suspicion on a consolidating capitalism.
Three times within a dozen years, [he said] capitalists with their knives on the throat of the Government, have compelled it to cheat its largest creditor, the people; whose claim, Burke said, was the most sacred. First, the pledge that greenbacks should be exchangeable with bonds was broken. Secondly, debts originally payable in paper . . . were made payable in gold. Thirdly, silver was demonetized, and gold made the only tender. A thousand millions were thus stolen from the people.4
At other times he went further. Speaking on the labor question in 1872, he said:
I say, let the debts of the country be paid, abolish the banks, and let the government lend every Illinois farmer (if he wants it), who is now borrowing money at ten per cent., money on the half-value of his land at three per cent. The same policy that gave a million acres to the Pacific Railroad, because it was a great national effort, will allow of our lending Chicago twenty millions of money, at three per cent., to rebuild it.5
When we get into power, there is one thing we mean to do. If a man owns a single house, we will tax him one hundred dollars. If he owns ten houses of like value, we won't tax him one thousand dollars, but two thousand dollars. . . . We'll double and treble and quintuple and sextuple and increase tenfold the taxes. . . . We'll crumple up wealth by making it unprofitable to be rich. . . . You will say, "Is that just?" My friends, it is safe. Man is more valuable than money. You say, "Then capital will go to Europe." Good heavens, let it go! If other States wish to make themselves vassals of wealth, so will not we. We will save a country equal from end to end. Land, private property, all sorts of property, shall be so dearly taxed that it shall be impossible to be rich; for it is in wealth, in incorporated, combining, perpetuated wealth, that the danger of labor lies.6
The mad wicked ravings of a demagogue, such talk was accounted by sober financiers of Boston. But it was rather the talk of an honest equalitarian who understood how incompatible was property rule and the ideal of equality. The arch-enemy of a worthy civilization, Wendell Phillips had become convinced, was private capitalism with its dehumanizing profit-motive. There could be no adequate civilization, no Christianity, until cooperation had displaced competition, and men were become equal in economic rights as they were in franchise rights. At a LaborReform Convention held at Worcester on September 4, 1871, resolutions drafted by him were adopted--resolutions that reveal "just where Mr. Phillips stood for the last thirteen years of his life." In this "full body of faith," and in two later speeches--The Foundation of the Labor Movement, and The Labor Question--the man who called himself "a Jeffersonian democrat in the darkest hour," wrote down as the great objective of the labor party the principle that has long been accepted as the cardinal plank of the Socialist platform.
We affirm, as a fundamental principle, that labor, the creator of wealth, is entitled to all it creates.
Affirming this, we avow ourselves willing to accept the final results of the operation of a principle so radical,--such as the overthrow of the whole profit-making system, the extinction of all monopolies, the abolition of privileged classes, universal education and fraternity, perfect freedom of exchange, and . . . the final obliteration of that foul stigma upon our so-called Christian civilization--the poverty of the masses. . . . Resolved,--That we declare war with the wages system, which demoralizes alike the hirer and the hired, cheats both, and enslaves the workingman; war with the present system of finance, which robs labor, and gorges capital, . . . war with these lavish grants of the public lands to speculating companies, and whenever in power, we pledge ourselves to use every just and legal means to resume all such grants heretofore made; war with the system of enriching capitalists by the creation and increase of public interestbearing debts. We demand that every facility, and all encouragement, shall be given by law to co-operation in all branches of industry and trade, and that the same aid be given to co-operative efforts that has heretofore been given to railroads and other enterprises. . . .7
When he was about to take the platform on another occasion his wife is reported to have said to him, "Wendell, don't shillyshally!" Certainly in this pronouncement, and in the speeches supporting it, there is no shilly-shallying. He will have no halfway measures, but goes straight to the economic core of the problem. Pretty much all of Marxianism is there, even to the class war. The capitalists had whetted their swords and he would have labor put its sword likewise to the grindstone. If the war were cruel, where did labor learn it-"learned it of capital, learned it of our enemies." In a world of economic concentration where caste follows property accumulation he had come to rest his hopes on the international solidarity of labor. The cause of democratic justice was committed to the keeping of the workingman, and if he were defeated in his hopes the future was black indeed. The American Revolution and the French Revolution had prepared the way gloriously for a greater event, the revolution of labor. He was not afraid of revolution. In America he hoped the battle would be fought with ballots, but if it must come to bullets, so be it. The Paris Commune met with his heartiest approval: "I have not a word to utter--far be it from me!--against the grandest declaration of popular indignation which Paris wrote on the pages of history in fire and blood. I honor Paris as the vanguard of the Internationals of the world."8 And in the Phi Beta Kappa address, delivered in 1881 before all the assembled conservatisms of Boston, the old warrior with seventy years upon his head, went so far as to defend Russian Nihilism.
Nihilism is the righteous and honorable resistance of a people crushed under an iron rule. Nihilism is evidence of life . . . the last weapon of victims choked and manacled beyond all other resistance. . . . I honor Nihilism, since it redeems human nature from the suspicion of being utterly vile, made up only of heartless oppressors and contented slaves. . . . This is the only view an American, the child of 1620 and 1776, can take of Nihilism. Any other unsettles and perplexes the ethics of our civilization. Born within sight of Bunker Hill, in a commonwealth which adopts the motto of Algernon Sydney, sub libertate quietem ("accept no peace without liberty"); son of Harvard, whose first pledge was "Truth"; citizen of a republic based on the claim that no government is rightful unless resting on the consent of the people, and which assumes to lead in asserting the rights of humanity,--I at least can say nothing else and nothing less; no, not if every tile on Cambridge roofs were a devil hooting my words!9
"It was a delightful discourse," said one gentleman, "but preposterous from beginning to end." The doctrine was strange to Harvard ears--wicked and perverse. And strange and disconcerting also was his roll-call of great and noble deeds done in America in which Harvard scholarship had had no part. To an audience of Brahmin scholars it was not kind to say, "The greatest things have not been done for the world by its bookmen"; nor this, "It is not the masses who have most disgraced our political annals. I have seen many mobs . . . I never saw or heard of any but welldressed mobs, assembled and countenanced, if not always led in person, by respectability and what called itself education."10 It was a curious scene--that gathering in a Harvard hall listening to a son of Harvard who had gone to school to other teachers than those brought up on Brahmin culture. The liberalism of the forties was speaking to a generation that was concerned about other things than a just and humane civilization. Wendell Phillips was hopelessly old-fashioned in America of the Gilded Age--a lone Puritan in a land of Yankees. He used to speak of himself grimly as "that Ishmael"; his home, he said, was the sleeping-car and his only friends the brakeman and the porter. He spent his strength and his earnings with generous prodigality, and when he died the only treasures he had laid up were in heaven. He was the last survivor of the great age of Puritan conscience, and the words he spoke of Theodore Parker may well stand for his epitaph: "The child of Puritanism is not mere Calvinism--it is the loyalty to justice which tramples under foot the wicked laws of its own epoch."
MORALITY AND POLITICS--GEORGE WILLIAM CURTIS
A child of Puritan conscience also was George William Curtis, like Wendell Phillips sprung from the Puritan gentry, but unlike him wanting in a passionate Hebraism that sought justice in all the byways and would not turn aside from pursuing it. A reformer but never a radical, he was a gentleman who was a lifelong friend of civilization. An idealist, he refused to serve the gross materialisms that swept so many of his fellows from the old moorings, but throughout a long and honorable career he preserved unshaken his early faith in republican ideals and the way of liberty. As an abolitionist he faced hostile audiences with admirable poise, and as a civil service reformer he fought off the attacks of greasy politicians with quiet contempt. A cultivated gentleman, high-bred if not heroic, was George William Curtis.
Born in Providence, Rhode Island, of excellent stock, living most of his life in New York City whither his father had removed to engage in the banking business, he was brought up in affluence and spent his days amidst dignified surroundings. Broad-minded and generous, with wide sympathies and urbane manners, he followed his conscience and weighed life in the scales of Puritan morality. He was no friend to compromise or expediency, yet he was content to serve God in the station whereunto he had been called, declining to turn rebel and become an outcast and pariah. Endowed with excellent parts, his training was unusually fortunate. At eighteen with his brother Burrill he went to Brook Farm, where he spent two profitable years in an atmosphere he found stimulating. After quitting Brook Farm he passed the better part of two years at Concord with his brother, living at farmhouses, helping with the crops, and for a time indulging in an experiment not unlike Thoreau's at Walden Pond. Then followed four years overseas--from 1846 to 1850--rambling about the continent, sloughing off the provincial asceticism of New England, and practicing his pen by means of letters and diaries. On his return he drifted into journalism, wrote several volumes of travel essays and social satire, caught the Lyceum infection, then at its malignant stage, lectured voluminously to pay off an unfortunate debt, wrote for Putnam's Magazine, became connected with Harper's Weekly, finally settling into the Easy Chair of Harper's Magazine, from which comfortable seat for years he sent forth gracefully pointed comments on manners, society, politics, life, yet more and more turning to politics as his particular field and serving as volunteer political mentor and critic to the Gilded Age.
Of his several early ventures into the field of polite letters little need be said. The work of a high-spirited young man, they were a cross between Nathaniel Parker Willis and Thackeray with a suggestion of Disraeli. He took his place naturally as a member of the New York group of littérateurs who were gaily exploiting the conventional sentimentalism of the fifties. With its pose of clever sophistication the New York school could do no good to a serious young writer, and the pretensions of the new-rich society of the town were a cordial invitation to go wrong. Nile Notes of a Howadji (1851), written before the young traveler had caught the current note of social satire, was a conscious correction of the ascetic Puritanism imbibed at Concord, and with its frank delight in the sensuousness of the East it gave offense to the professional bluestockings of the time. But in The Potiphar Papers (1853) he turned to satirize New York society, then hastening to transform itself from a staid Knickerbocker world into a Gold Coast of social climbers. That his treatment of the theme should have been a slighter edition of Thackeray's Vanity Fair--less searching and more sentimental--might be guessed even if we did not know how greatly Curtis loved and admired the English satirist. "He seems to be the one of all authors who takes life precisely as he finds it," he wrote of him. "If he finds it sad, he makes it sad: if gay, gay. You discover in him the flexible adaptability of Horace, but with a deep and consuming sadness which the Roman never knew, and which in the Englishman seems to be almost sentimentality."11
But in spite of their excellent model these sketches do not now seem so sprightly as they seemed to his fellows on the staff of Putnam's Magazine. Moralism scented with patchouli is no longer the vogue, and they have long since been laid away with the hoops and crinoline of the fifties. His most important venture in polite literature--if indeed even that deserves the name important--was Prue and I (1856), written in a golden summer when his pen was dipped into the inkwell of love and he foresaw the years of his life lengthening out in the most intimate of companionships. They are charming essays in contentment that teach the familiar lesson that the only abiding riches are the riches of mind and character. The old bookkeeper in black coat and white tie who voyages to the realms of romance while watching from the Battery outgoing ships, has discovered the vicarious pleasure of the imagination, and the Aurelia of his dreams is Prue as she was in her youth, and both are Anna Shaw to whom soon after he was married. The first three sketches--"Dinner Time," "My Chateaux," and "Sea from the Shore"--are humorous and tender fancies in the graceful Victorian manner; but "Titbottom's Spectacles" is Hawthorne-like in the tenuous play of a grotesquely moralistic fancy, and the succeeding sketches reveal the exhaustion of the vein. Later he tried his hand at a novel--Trumps--but it refused to turn into anything but a tract and in the early sixties he settled down in the Easy Chair which he had first occupied as early as 1853.
Thereafter to his death in 1892 his work followed three diverse lines. For thirty years he was essayist, orator, and political critic, to a generation sorely in need of wise and urbane counsel. His audience was wide and his influence great, and to his work he brought the weight of his sane and just character. Not a great scholar and not an acute critic, he was an enlightened and sensitive conscience, and to the bar of his conscience he summoned the parties and policies of a heedless and selfish generation. From the Easy Chair he sent forth his genial comment on matters of current interest, satisfying his love of creative writing by the grace of his talk, and recognizing his kinship with the age of Queen Ann by adopting the words of The Tatler, "I shall from time to time Report and Consider all Matters of what Kind soever that shall occur to me." But such work at the best is ephemeral, and ephemeral likewise were the polished pronouncements of the occasional orator on which far too much time and labor were expended. But New York City must have its spokesman for formal occasions, and after Bryant's death George William Curtis was summoned with increasing frequency. The rich context of his speeches, elaborated with formal dignity and embellished with literary allusions, hit to a nicety the taste of a generation that still delighted in oratory and preferred dignity to informality. His addresses on Charles Sumner, Wendell Phillips, Bryant, and Lowell, are excellent examples of a style that is no longer the fashion. In their polished sentences eulogy is tempered with criticism, but the criticism is sympathetic and refuses to render judgments that may strike his hearers as severe. It would be ungracious to intrude unpleasant facts on dignified occasions.
But his most significant work during these busy years lay in the field of political criticism, and it was as editor of Harper's Weekly, from 1863 to his death, and as a leader in the movement of civil service reform, that he made the deepest impress on the age. The Weekly, with Nast as cartoonist, was then at the height of its popularity and influence, and by means of its editorial page Curtis was able to marshal a very considerable following for whatever cause or party he espoused. He had long taken part in practical politics, was active in caucuses and conventions, was much on the stump and kept his fingers on party wires. Yet influential as he was--the scholar in politics, as his own generation loved to say--he was never a serious student of politics in the broader meaning. He was essentially an English gentleman politician, with a fine scorn of mean and sordid policies, a warm love of country but an equally warm love of civilization, devoted to the cause of liberty, a friend of justice, yet with all his excellent traits an inadequate political philosopher. Like Lowell's his horizon was curiously limited. Abstract political theory did not interest him and he never critically examined diverse systems of government. Of economics he was as ignorant as his generation. Again like Lowell the single standard by which he judged politics was the moral standard, and in his anxious concern for "good government" he failed to probe deeply the sources of "bad government." In presence of the vast corruptions of the Gilded Age he was as helpless in diagnosing the evil as Lowell or Norton.
Such helplessness is the more surprising considering what rare opportunities he had enjoyed for intelligent understanding. During the impressionable years of youth he daily associated with the most militant group of intellectual radicals in America and heard the ideas of Saint-Simon and Fourier and Owen eagerly canvassed. Associationism as a cure for the evils of competition was the cardinal doctrine of the Brook Farmists; yet his individualism passed unaffected through all such discussions. He seems to have sympathized with the skepticism of Hawthorne rather than the faith of Ripley and Dana. Writing to his father from Brook Farm he fell into the genial transcendental vein and gaily poked fun at those who would make the world over.
No wise man is long a reformer, [he wrote] for Wisdom sees plainly that growth is steady, sure, and neither condemns nor rejects what is, or has been. Reform is organized distrust. It says to the universe fresh from God's hand, "You are a miserable business; lo! I will make you fairer!" and so deputes some Fourier or Robert Owen to improve the bungling work of the Creator.12
It was as a transcendental optimist that he set out on his travels in 1846. The Europe he visited at the age of twenty was seething with discontent that was to flame up in the revolutionary year of '48, yet though he wandered leisurely through Italy, Hungary, Germany, France, and was at Paris during the great overturn, the evidence that his biographer has gathered indicates that he was not deeply affected by the experience. Unlike his friend Margaret Fuller, who was a passionate volunteer in the struggle of Mazzini at Rome, or like Dana, who followed the movement closely as foreign correspondent, he felt none of the promptings of a revolutionist. A romantic sympathy for Kossuth is clearly indicated, but his feelings carried him little further than that. Even in England, seething as it was with the proletarian unrest that culminated in the great Chartist movement, he came upon little to quicken his transcendental pulse. It was not till he got back home and found himself in presence of negro slavery that his reforming ardor took fire and he proposed to engage in the business of "organized distrust." He threw himself into the cause with enthusiasm and spoke from many an abolition platform. Then came the war and during those passionate years he was swept unconsciously along the path of consolidation, emerging from the fire a confirmed Hamiltonian with transcendental democratic leanings.
Have you thought [he wrote Charles Eliot Norton in 1864] what a vindication this war is of Alexander Hamilton? I wish somebody would write his life as it ought to be written, for surely he was one of the greatest of our great men, as Jefferson was the least of the truly great; or am I wrong? Hamilton was generous and sincere. Was Jefferson either?13
Such Hamiltonian sympathies suffice to explain some of his votes in the New York Constitutional Convention of 1867, of which he was a member. He advocated the appointment of the attorney-general and certain other state officers, opposed the principle of municipal home rule, and approved the extension of the authority of the state over local police systems. With Tammany Hall and Boss Tweed before his eyes it was perhaps natural that he should have sought in the power of the up-state voter some external control over the city machine. But in spite of such obvious leanings towards the Whig branch of the Republican party Curtis was never a Whig. The transcendentalism he had imbibed at Brook Farm remained with him to color much of his thinking and restrain him from an uncritical advocacy of capitalism. He never went over body and soul to the new gospel of exploitation. He never lent a willing ear to the seductive appeals of the American System. He early became a free-trader and throughout his life was opposed to all tariffs and grants and subsidies. Discovering in the principle of liberty the cardinal principles of American democracy, he was disposed to accept a wide application of laissez faire; yet when it opened the door to extortion he was willing to curb an anti-social individualism. When in the seventies it was proposed by the western farmers that a national railroad should be built from Chicago to the Atlantic seaboard, Curtis looked upon the proposal with sympathy as likely to rescue the farmer from extortionate tolls. 14 Unlike Dana and Godkin, he declined to grow bitter and lose his head over the economic proposals of the western agrarians. In the sharp alignment between agrarianism and capitalism he stood in the main outside both parties, and although opposed to greenbackism he discussed the question with moderation and good sense--a rare thing in those blatant times.
But it was political decency rather than capitalistic or agrarian programs that he was chiefly concerned about. He looked to his conscience as guide and as editor of Harper's Weekly he used his influence to cleanse America of the corruption he abhorred. Week after week he appealed to the American voter to turn rascals out of office and put honest men in. The corrupt political machine was the source of the evil, and the machine had grown powerful through its control of patronage. There would be vicious government so long as politicians could create a machine by means of the spoils system. Two remedies, he believed, were necessary to cure the evil--independent voting and civil service reform; and to the spread of these two ideas he devoted the last twenty years of his life, thereby bringing on his head much abuse and incurring eventually a break with the Republican party.
His troubles began with his proposal of independent voting. To that party-ridden generation on whom the passions of war had fastened a tyrannical machine, the scratching of the party ticket seemed no better than treason. It was a Copperhead device to undo the results of the war and reestablish the rebel leaders at Washington, and it needed courage to advocate it publicly. Curtis put the matter fairly in a speech to Independent Republicans at New York in 1880:
The first powerful and conclusive remedy for the tyranny of the machine . . . is scratching. The word has become a sneer, a taunt, a bitter reproach, but the test of the power and effectiveness of the remedy is the fury with which it is assailed. . . . The machine denounces scratchers as lustily as Laud denounced the Puritans, or George III the rebellious Yankees, or slave-driving Democrats Republican woolly heads. . . . The scratcher is the minute-man of politics. He is always in light marching order. He has only to consult his own knowledge and conscience, and with one stroke his work is done. Fortunately, also, his stroke may be as secret as his ballot. Those who do not choose to publish the fact need not be known, and may smile serenely at the blind fury of those whose plots are quietly foiled. This is the reason of the impotent anger with which scratching is assailed. It cannot be reached. . . . Scratching is denounced as dishonorable. Oh, no! the secret ballot is not dishonorable. The shot of the Middlesex farmer from behind a tree was no more dishonorable than the immortal volley from behind the breastworks of Bunker Hill. 15
He then proceeded to lay open what seemed to him the core of the problem:
But useful as scratching is as a corrective, it does not strike at the heart of the machine, and it is therefore only a corrective and not a radical remedy. That remedy can be found only by finding the source of the power of the machine, and that source is official patronage. It is the command of millions of the public money spent in public administration; the control of the vast labyrinth of place, with its enormous emoluments; the system which makes the whole Civil Service, to the least detail and most significant position, the spoils of party victory; which perverts necessary party organization into intolerable party despotism. It is upon this that the hierarchy of the machine is erected. Strike at this system strongly, steadily, persistently, and you shiver the machine to pieces.16
Seeing his duty clearly, Curtis did not spare himself, but while most of his fellows were seeking fame or wealth for themselves he gave his time and strength without stint to the cause, and it was due to his efforts more than to those of any other man that a reform in the civil service was eventually brought about. He had to fight his way against bitter opposition. It was charged that he was seeking to create in America an undemocratic bureaucracy. His old friend Charles A. Dana--from whom he had become estranged--was quite frank. "Above all I do not believe," he said, "in the establishment in this country of the German bureaucratic system, with its permanent staff of office-holders who are not responsible to the people, and whose tenure of place knows no variation and no end except the end of life."17 But it was the politicians who fought most bitterly, and when to civil service reform he added the sin of bolting the party, throwing over Blaine and supporting Cleveland, he was subjected to plentiful insults. Nevertheless as the leader of the Mugwumps, preaching to a party-ridden generation the gospel of independency, he did his country a real service. He could not foresee, of course, how easily the menace of the independent voter was to be met; how through the control of both party machines and both nominees by the political bosses the independent would have only the choice betwixt tweedledum and tweedledee, and in disgust would largely refrain from voting. But the open and crying political evils of the Gilded Age he saw clearly, and in seeking to lessen them he proved himself a useful citizen as well as a cultivated American.
ENGLISH LIBERALISM AND POLITICS--GODKIN AND "THE NATION"
The severest critic of the Gilded Age was Edwin Lawrence Godkin, founder of the Nation. More caustic than George William Curtis, equipped with a complete social philosophy, and armed with perfect self-assurance, he devoted thirty-five years to the task of instructing America in the principles of government as those principles were understood by John Stuart Mill. He was at once an idealist and a realist, and the intellectual history of the critic is revealed in the shift from the one to the other. To Godkin the English liberal--who had studied the American experiment from overseas--as to Karl Schurz the German liberal, America was the torchbearer of the democratic faith; and any defection from the cause, any betrayal of that faith, was a desecration of the temple of liberalism by its own priesthood. Liberalism, he was persuaded, was the handmaid of civilization; the hope of any rational progress, rested on the principle of free inquiry and free endeavor. To Godkin, therefore, and to Schutz and the hundreds of European liberals who sought refuge here following the débâcle of the revolutionary hopes of 1848, it was a matter of deep import that America should remain true to its liberal tradition, trusting freedom, refusing to repeat the unhappy experience of a Tory Europe. He would say to America what John Wise had said nearly two centuries before: "Ye have been called unto liberty, therefore hold your hold, brethren! Pull up well upon the oars, you have a rich cargo, and I hope . . . day-light and good piloting will secure all." But he would do more than that; he would pull an oar himself; and with high hopes, at the age of twenty-five, he cast in his lot with America to serve the cause in whatever ways might offer.
Godkin came of an English Protestant strain that for seven centuries had lived in County Wexford, at the extreme southeastern point of Ireland. He was neither Scotch like the men of Ulster, nor Irish like his neighbors of Kilkenny and Wicklow, but as English in blood and temperament as Jonathan Swift. Educated at Queen's College, Belfast, he studied law for a time at Lincoln's Inn, went through the revolutionary years of 1848-1851 with their great hopes, and entered the field of journalism as correspondent for the London Daily News during the Crimean War. In 1856 he came to America with the intention of entering the law, but returned to journalism. During the Civil War he was correspondent for the Daily News of London, laboring to counteract British Tory opinion that ran strongly pro-South, and marshal the forces of English liberalism on the side of the North. Three months after Appomattox he founded the Nation as an organ of criticism, through the columns of which he proposed to appeal to the intelligence and the conscience of America in support of the principles of Victorian liberalism.
For this excellent work of criticism Godkin was provided with a sound equipment. Endowed with a vigorous intellect, he kept his mind free from shifting fogs and rarely mistook immediate for ultimate ends. His training had been in a distinguished tradition. His father was a Presbyterian minister and journalist, and the strain of robust dissent that contributed so richly to Victorian liberalism came to him as a birthright. He was "brought up," he said, "in the Mill-Grote school of radicals." "When I was in college," he wrote in later years, "I and the young men of my acquaintance were Liberals, in the English sense. John Stuart Mill was our prophet, and Grote and Bentham were our daily food."18 Already his heart was overseas; America as it had been described by de Tocqueville was his "promised land," the home of a free democracy on which his hopes for civilization were fixed. His first book, written at the early age of twenty-two, was a history of the land Kossuth was striving to set free, and he there defined the word democrat as he had come to interpret it--the democrats, he said, are "all those whose hopes and sympathies are not bound up in a party or class, but look for the welfare and progress of humanity as the goal of their striving."19
Thus he wrote in the aftermath of the revolutionary years of 1848-1851. But the glowing idealism of the young radical was to suffer discouragements and setbacks from the experience of later years. One suspects that his liberalism never possessed the whole of him, never grew from within out, but was overlaid on a nature fundamentally aristocratic that at heart preferred Tory to liberal ends. Though as a young man he spred his canvas to the winds of liberalism, he was always a little distrustful of the bellying sails and he never quite liked the crew. There is a curious suggestiveness in his changing attitude towards England and English society. He had quitted the old world out of dislike for it, and a dozen years later he declined to go back except as a "last extremity." "It would be going back," he said, "into an atmosphere that I detest and a social system that I have hated since I was fourteen years old."20 At the bottom of this repugnance was an obstinate pride. He was ambitious, capable, and sensitive, and a caste society that refused to open its doors to him he looked upon as pernicious. To assert that his espousal of democracy was due to his brusque rejection by a more distinguished mistress, is a severe judgment, yet it is a judgment that his friend Henry Holt quite frankly implied.21
He had come to America in the hope of getting on in the world. He had a strong regard for social position. His standards were severe and his sympathies so narrow as to lay him open to the frequent charge of snobbery. He would mingle in none but good society, and it was easier in America than in England to gain entrance to good society. Until he had made his mark he would not go back; but when as a distinguished editor he ventured to return, and found himself accepted by the best people, his hatred for the English social system oozed away, and the eager delight he experienced in upper-class society was an unconscious testimony to the value he had set upon a system from which as a young man he had been excluded. Godkin was too English to make himself over into an American, too natively aristocratic to be a democrat. A disciple of John Stuart Mill, he lacked the complete intellectual integrity of Mill that brushed aside all caste prejudices and personal ambitions, as he lacked his vast intellectual accumulation. Godkin's liberalism was founded on Mill, but it was never quite Mill.
The philosophy to which, as a disciple of the Bentham-Mill-Grote school, the young Godkin gave his allegiance, was a Utilitarian adaptation of laissez faire--the doctrine that the greatest happiness of the greatest number is the ultimate social objective, and that such objective can be attained only through the completest liberty under the sway of reason and justice. As presented by John Stuart Mill it was a singularly persuasive philosophy that awakened a response in every generous mind. Liberty, he insisted, is the thing chiefly to be desired, for where men are free they will shape social organisms to their needs. Man is both an economic and a political animal, and the difficult problem of the political philosopher is to keep the one from trespassing upon the rights of the other. The economic man, under the drive of the acquisitive instinct, regards the political state as an ally in the present business of acquisition; and the political man looks upon business as subject to strict regulation and control in the interests of the state. To prevent this meddlesome interference of each with the other, Mill laid down the principle of liberty in terms as uncompromising as those of the Physiocrats. The "sole end," he asserted, "for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection," and "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant."22
From this excellent school the young Godkin emerged a political theorist of no mean ability; somewhat too dogmatic, perhaps, a bit overconfident of the finality of his logic, but with a shrewd dialectic, quick to separate reality from pretense, severe upon all flummery and buncombe. That his philosophy was sharply opposed to the current tendencies of American political life he saw clearly: to Whiggery with its ambitious paternalisms; to centralization with its glorification of a Bismarckian state. His thought was erected on a foundation of laissez faire, and he sharply differentiated economics and politics. As a realist he recognized differences in individual capacity, but he was keenly suspicious of any attempt on the part of government to compensate for such differences. Any interference with natural law, he was convinced, entailed greater evils than benefits. Economic competition is a struggle between individuals, and government must content itself with its proper role of policeman to keep the peace. With Mill he refused to recognize the state as a separate entity. He never confused the personnel of government with "what is called 'the state'"; and as he contemplated the honesty and capacity of the several members who administered government in a given commonwealth, he was disinclined to entrust them with regulative powers. Disinterested honesty and capacity, it seemed, too rarely got into office, governments were too little acquainted with common morality, to justify hopes of equalizing the inequality of nature by political means.
To the sound philosophical equipment brought from England Godkin added a very considerable understanding of American political history. The ten years spent here before the founding of the Nation, had been employed in getting at home upon the new scene. He had carefully checked the findings of de Tocqueville and was convinced that the French critic had gone far astray in his interpretation of the great American experiment. In his analysis of democratic tendencies he had fallen into the fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc, with the result that he had got the cart before the horse; and in an article published in the North American Review of January, 1865, Godkin entered the lists in defense of America against the criticisms of English Tories founded on such fallacies. In its emphasis on historical realism "Aristocratic Opinions of Democracy" is a surprisingly modern study that might almost have been written by one of our younger historians. It is an interpretation of our political development in terms of environment, and it traces the rise of democracy to the leveling influence of decentralization. For a hundred and fifty years, he pointed out, old-world habits and customs, the spirit of aristocracy, prevailed in the closely grouped settlements along the Atlantic seaboard, where physical conditions restrained the tendency to social disruption; but with the breaking through of the Appalachian barrier, and the influx of new waves of immigration, the conditions were prepared for a vast movement of decentralization. It was the Inland Empire that made possible the democratic revolution in America. "How was it," he asks, "that that democratic tide, which within the last fifty years, has overwhelmed everything, during the previous hundred and fifty years gave so few signs of rising?" And his reply to the question antedates Professor Turner's theory of the frontier by thirty years:
If we inquire what are those phenomena of American society which it is generally agreed distinguish it from that of older countries, we shall find . . . that by far the larger number of them may be attributed in a great measure to what, for want of a better name, we shall call "the frontier life" led by a large proportion of the inhabitants, and to the influence of this portion on manners and legislation, rather than to political institutions, or even to the equality of conditions. In fact, we think that these phenomena, and particularly those of them which excite most odium in Europe, instead of being the effect of democracy, are partly its cause, and that it has been to their agency more than aught else, that the democratic tide in America has owed most of its force and violence.
The agency which, in our opinion, gave democracy its first great impulse in the United States, which has promoted its spread ever since, and has contributed most powerfully to the production of those phenomena in American society which hostile critics set down as peculiarly democratic, was neither the origin of the Colonists, nor the circumstances under which they came to the country, nor their religious belief; but the great change in the distribution of the population, which began soon after the Revolution, and which continues its operation up to the present time.23
Godkin was thirty-four when he entered upon his life work of pouring a stream of fresh and free thought upon the ways of the Gilded Age. It was somewhat in the spirit of Matthew Arnold that he interpreted the function of criticism. "The highest allegiance of every man," he wrote Norton in 1865, "is due to liberty and civilization, or rather civilization and liberty";24 and the creed of the Nation, which Godkin unconsciously modified as culture dispossessed liberty in his affections, may be summed up in the words democracy, individualism, morality, culture, to the end of a free life in a humane and well-ordered society. Throughout the Gilded Age this transplanted English liberal was the high priest of criticism in America. His caustic intelligence played ironically about the current shibboleths and fetishes, reducing them to shreds and patches. He could discover little that was good in the Gilded Age, in its tariffs and land grants, its Crédit Mobilier and other scandals, its buccaneer plutocracy, its undisciplined proletarianism, its bitter agrarianism; and he was prompted to a severity of judgment that easier-going natures thought harsh. Enemies sprang up in his every footprint; but too much was at stake, he believed, to temper his criticism to flabby minds, and he laid about him with what he considered a fine impartiality.
It was a cold plunge into a dirty pool, and a nature less robust would have scrambled out quickly. His realism was a profound discouragement to his idealism, and his native aristocracy of temperament closed his mind to the virtues of certain homely American liberalisms. As an intellectual he distrusted all Jacksonian frontier freedoms. The doctrine of liberty did not appear to advantage in the garb of agrarians and proletarians; Thaddeus Stevens and Terence V. Powderly were an ungainlier breed of libertarians than Gladstone and Mill; with such leadership it seemed to Godkin that liberty was running away with civilization and a smash-up was likely. It was the duty of the Nation, therefore, to arouse the culture of America to its political obligations, to the end that the custodianship of liberty should be taken over by the intelligence of America. It proved a discouraging job, and slowly on the horizon of his mind rose the shadow of the doubt that had troubled de Tocqueville and Cooper and Fisher Ames-must a democracy prove a leveling influence that destroys a fine individuality and a generous social culture? Careless of his trusteeship, was not the American democrat throwing his heritage to the demagogue and the spoilsman?
As he watched the scrambling heedlessness of the times his liberalism oozed away, his democratic faith lost its sanctions, and he slowly drifted to the right and the dead-sea of pessimism. The mass was too powerful in America, and the mass was shot through with the spirit of selfish leveling. The democracy had been distorted by the frontier, and the sense of responsibility, of individual duty, was well-nigh atrophied. The vulgar West threw its crudity upon all America. "I do not like the western type of man," Godkin confessed to Norton; and to another friend who praised California, he wrote, "No scenery or climate I had to share with western people would charm me." He never spared his mordant adjectives in commenting privately on all America west of the Hudson River. In his gloomy later years he found consolation in Brahmin culture. For years he lived in Cambridge, and in the company of Lowell and Norton he felt at home. Here were democratic gentlemen worthy of his ideal. If all America were only like Cambridge his faith in a cultivated liberalism would be justified. In those years he called himself "an American of the vieille roche," which being interpreted, meant a liberal of the Brahmin school.
The immediate problems on which Godkin was called to pass judgment brought him into the thick of the struggles of the Gilded Age. As an editor he confronted the bitter antagonisms that sprang from the rivalries of the farmer, the wage-earner, and the industrial capitalist. Each group was seeking to enlist government on its side and use the political state for special and narrow ends. To a disciple of Mill all such attempts were no better than treason to democracy, and when such treason was justified by what he considered specious economic theory Godkin's hostility was edged with acerbity. All the trenchant dogmas of his philosophy--his police theory of the state, his Ricardian laissez faire, his individualism--rushed to the attack of such impudent impostors. With no organized forces at his back he made war on every major group in America. He essayed to rally the scattered minority of the intellectuals and overthrow the citadel of economic power by appeal to reason. It was magnificent but it was scarcely war. The culture of the Gilded Age was undisciplined, lacking faith and unnurtured in philosophy, fastidious rather than vigorous--the poorest of material for shock troops. It applauded every clever thrust of its captain, but preferred to keep its own hands unsoiled. In consequence, to the end of his life Godkin was a leader without a following, little more than a voice crying in the wilderness.
For the rising plutocracy Godkin felt the scorn of a gentleman for the vulgar new-rich. Its hands were dirty, and it was soiling all American life. Its gospel of Whiggery, that under pretense of furthering prosperty had turned Congress into an auction room, was an insult to his Manchester liberalism. Just as surely as government meddles with subsidies and tariffs and grants, he pointed out, will it be defiled. Men are but indifferent honest, and if statesmen are not to become mere political hucksters they must stand apart from the temptations of business. The plea for a national economy had brought Congress to the Crédit Mobilier scandals, and it would breed other scandals so long as it was heeded. The only cure for Whiggery was to destroy it. In a scathing leader he early paid his respects to the Whiggish system of governmental subsidies:
The remedy is simple. The Government must get out of the "protective" business and the "subsidy" business and the "improvement" and the "development" business. It must let trade, and commerce, and manufactures, and steamboats, and railroads, and telegraphs alone. It cannot touch them without breeding corruption. We care nothing about the wonderful stories we hear about what can be achieved in the way of "promoting industry" by all these canal and steamboat and railroad schemes. Were the material prospect twice as tempting, the state could not profitably meddle with them, because neither it nor any other government in the world can command the virtue necessary to carry them on. This is not a matter of speculation; we know it as a matter of experience. It is almost as much as this Government can do to maintain order and administer justice. It may one day be able to do a great deal more, but not until a great change has occurred in the social condition of the country. We have gone far enough, heaven knows, on the road of "protection" and "promotion," and have found at every step that it leads straight to the bottomless pit; that for every hundred dollars voted by these poor men to whom we pay scanty wages for passing bills at Washington, we lessen, and perceptibly lessen, the stock of individual honor, of self-respect, and of public spirit, of a loyalty to ideals, to which far more than to any triumphs of material industry, we must look for continued national greatness. We are making money fast enough in all conscience; what needs fostering just now is honesty.25
Godkin found it exceedingly difficult to foster the austere honesty that he desired in the body politic, and in his fury at the common political scoundrelism he came to ascribe much of the virus that was poisoning America to the party of western agrarians. He was rapidly drifting to the right and the defense of capitalism, and as the agrarian platform was slowly built up of successive planks--greenbacks, free silver, subtreasuries, railway regulation, the income tax--he turned upon it all the batteries of his wrath. Godkin never understood the American farmer, but he professed to understand economics and political science, and the agrarian platform aroused his implacable hostility. In his frequent discussions of the currency question, a question that for thirty years was a subject of passionate debate, he was at some disadvantage. Intellectually he was ill equipped to deal with it. Although a Ricardian he failed to grasp Ricardo's quantitative principle of money or the function of paper currency. As a gold-standard advocate he accepted the English monetary system as it was given form by the Parliamentary Bank Act of 1844, and he would have no tampering with it. To Godkin money was a measure of value, and a fluctuating standard, implied in the quantitative theory, was as immoral as a fluctuating yardstick. The use of greenbacks--"rag money"--he reckoned a scheme by which dishonest debtors might cheat their creditors.26 He was forced to regard gold and silver as commodities, fluctuating in price with supply and demand; but he looked upon them as possessing a stable natural value that placed them beyond political manipulation. Any attempt to disturb this natural value by artificial means he called dishonest.27 He was almost indecent in the vehemence of his adjectives applied to the "dishonest money men." He called the Greenbackers "communists,"28 and speaking of the Grangers, he said, "There is nothing unnatural or deplorable in a Granger turning from one form of swindle to another."29
By the middle nineties it was hard to distinguish Godkin's views on the agrarian program from those of a Wall Street banker. In discussing free silver he abandoned economic principles and fell to mouthing like any newspaper writer. The currency question he regarded as a simple question of public morality. There was only one issue, the issue between honest and dishonest money. "The demand for free-silver coinage is a demand for a division of property,"30 he said in the early days of the campaign of 1896, and a fortnight later he took extreme ground:
. . . the bold and wicked scheme of repudiation. . . is presented without a blush in the platform. Upon this question the campaign must be fought. If the party of repudiators cannot be put down, the republic cannot be preserved and is not worth preserving.31
Such pronouncements bear none of the earmarks of dispassionate criticism. It may seem severe to suggest that they are the comments of a very ignorant or shallow critic, blinded by his prejudices; yet it is true. The equipment of Manchester economics with which he had outfitted himself in the late forties, was no longer adequate in the nineties; yet he seems not to have been aware of the fact. The mid-Victorian still regarded himself as an authority on all economic questions, although he seems to have done no serious reading in economic theory for half a century, and was scarcely conscious how far he had drifted towards the right. The old liberal was fighting the battles of capitalism with weapons as antiquated as the old cap-and-ball musket. "The great trouble with all silverites and currency lunatics, North and South," he said, "is that, when monetary crises arise, they cannot be got to go to the right quarter for information"--a comment that one might retort upon Godkin himself. The intellectual knew far less about money than "Coin" Harvey, whom he would have laughed at.
The same drift to the right is evident in the pronouncements on the Populist movement of the times. Writing on "The Kansas Situation," when the farmers' unrest was becoming militant, he remarked:
Such an unexpected outbreak as this of the last two or three years shows at least that it is not only in the cities, where the foreign-born swarm, that demagogues may thrive and the doctrine of revolution be preached.32
The "ravings of the Farmers' movement" he regarded as no more than a "vague and visionary discontent," that was seeking political cures for its economic ills. The hard times from which the West was suffering were the result of economic law. It was not the currency or excessive railway rates that were the cause. The vast extension of railway systems had brought under cultivation too many acres, and the reduction of transportation costs would serve only to bring additional acres under cultivation, thereby increasing competition and forcing prices still lower. High railway rates were the surest safeguard against further extension of an industry much overdeveloped; and for state legislatures to attempt to fix railway tariffs by law--to attempt to control economic forces by statutes--was sheer folly. In discussing the celebrated Illinois railway legislation Godkin spoke in defense of the roads:
The locomotive is coming in contact with the framework of our institutions. In this country of simple government, the most powerful centralizing force which civilization has yet produced has within the next score years, yet to assume its relation to that political machinery which is to control and regulate it. . . . The corporations of course contested the validity of the law. If the legislature could establish one rate at which they should do the work of transportation, it could establish another. They were fighting for their lives and property; it was against taxation without representation. . . . An arbitrary power is claimed in the supreme legislative body to decide on the reasonable rates of the cost of private services. Just as three hundred years ago the price of bread and labor was regulated by act of Parliament, so now the cost of transportation is to be fixed by a jury of twelve men. . . . Thus far, therefore, the results of the Illinois railroad war must be regarded as rather portentous than satisfactory.33
The "watered-stock hallucination," that had taken possession of the agrarian mind and aroused such bitterness, he dismissed with a curious comment that did no great credit to his intelligence.
There is . . . one difficulty in the way, which is the difficulty common to many of the proposed reforms in railroad management--the practice alleged has absolutely no existence except in the heated brain of the agitators who have imagined it. There are no roads in the United States on which any attempt has been made to increase the freight earnings in proportion to the watered stock or debt.34
The passions aroused by the campaign of '96 swept Godkin from his moorings and left him adrift. He quickly convinced himself that the real issue at stake was the moral integrity of the nation. As he studied the platforms and leaders he found little comfort in either. For McKinley he had the contempt of the intellectual for a purveyor of heavy platitudes, and he flayed him in a twocolumn leader with his old skill.35 But for Bryan, the "boy orator of the Platte," his dislike passed the bounds of decency; and for the Chicago convention that put him in nomination--"the roaring mob" with its "Populistic, anarchistic platform"--his contempt outran his command of invective.
No such collection of inflammatory and reckless men ever put themselves on exhibition in a national convention. Beside them the Populists are lamb-like, and the socialists sucking doves. The country has watched their mad proceedings with disgust and shuddering, only impatient for the coming of November to stamp out them and their incendiary doctrines.36
To what lengths his overheated brain carried him in those political dogdays, how starkly reactionary he had become, is suggested by his comment on the plank in the Democratic platform attacking the scandal of injunctions:
This blow at the courts shows how true are the instincts of the revolutionaries. They know their most formidable enemies. Judicial decisions have again and again drawn the fangs of confiscatory and revolutionary legislation, and the courts have come more and more to stand as the great bulwarks of property and personal rights.37
Godkin's last years were not happy. The wave of imperialism that swept over England and America, with its Boer War and Spanish War, brought him acute concern. The world that he knew was slipping from its moorings, and he was fearful of the seas into which it was plunging. The conquest of the Philippines seemed to him a badge of national degradation. Writing in November, 1899, he said:
We are dragging wearily in the old way, killing half a dozen Filipinos every week, and continually "near the end." The folly of ignorance and rascality we are displaying in the attempt to conquer and have "subjects" would disgrace a trades union.38
As he watched the tedious process of subjugation he inclined to attribute to Kipling a large share of the current imperialism. "I think most of the current jingoism on both sides of the water is due to him," he wrote a few weeks later. "He is the poet of the barrack-room cads," a "most pernicious, vulgar person"; and his "White Man's Burden," cabled to America and printed on the front pages of the newspapers as a message to imperialist America, must have rubbed across Godkin's raw nerves. The pious cant of Kipling's imperialism was a bitter cup for a disillusioned liberal. The Jubilee with its fulsome laudation of "fat, useless royalty," was fittingly commemorated by this noisy poet of imperialism, and Godkin turned away from it all in disgust.
But turn where he might he found no comfort. His old dreams of a free and enlightened democracy rising in America, were dead. Victorian liberalism had been laid away in the grave of John Stuart Mill, and only its ghost was walking in these latter times. Godkin's last days were bitter, and the gloom that was settling upon him crept into his letters. It is a malady common amongst liberals, and how deeply it had struck in is revealed in such passages as these:
I am not sanguine about the future of democracy. I think we shall have a long period of decline . . . and then a recrudescence under some other form of society.39
I do not know what the future of our modern civilization is to be. But I stumble where I firmly trod.40
Things look very black. I think that while money-making will long continue on a great scale, the government will shortly undergo great changes which will be presided over not by men of light and learning, but by capitalists and adroit politicians.41
I came here fifty years ago with high and fond ideals about America. . . . They are now all shattered, and I have apparently to look elsewhere to keep even moderate hopes about the human race alive.42
The idealist is prone to be exigent in his demands upon civilization. He marks out a straight path to the goal of his hopes, and takes it greatly to heart when society chooses to follow other ways to other ends. Godkin's mind was keenly critical, but his sympathies were narrow and his prejudices great. It is well to be a friend to civilization, but it is foolish to set up as a custodian; for civilization, like Topsy, will shift for itself. A just and liberal government is an excellent ideal, but it is one for which few amongst the mass of men greatly care; and because America chose to follow its own nose, because it would not become like the America of his dreams, Godkin allowed his heart to fill with bitterness. It is true that his recompense for long years of labor was scanty; the Gilded Age was not to be frightened from its fleshpots by his warnings. But long ago it was said, "Wisdom crieth in the streets and no man regardeth her," and why should Godkin have become discouraged with civilization because certain blackguard years clove to their blackguardry, instead of mounting to the somewhat arid heights he pointed out? One must choose at the last between tolerance and pessimism, and Godkin chose pessimism.
It is difficult today to understand his great influence with cultivated readers of his generation. In part perhaps it was due to his crisp assurance. He put things so plumply, he wrote so brilliantly, that his readers were persuaded he must think as neatly. Yet his trenchant prose style cannot hide a certain slightness of matter. His later comments tended to become ever thinner and shriller--not criticism at all, but the sharp expression of aging prejudice. When he talked about the tariff he had Mill at his elbow; but when he talked about the agrarian or the proletarian movements he was little more than a blue-jay scolding at a world he disliked. Unlike his great master he did not go forward to meet new times; he did not reinterpret Victorian liberalism in the light of the lessons taught by the Industrial Revolution; but by standing still he did liberalism a real disservice.
FICTION CONSIDERS THE STATE OF THE COUNTRY
It was only a question of time before the novel would throw off the inhibitions of the genteel and turn to consider the state of the country. A changing social order would not fail of reflection in the pages of fiction, and as the novelists fell to scrutinizing the familiar scene, comparing the reality with the patriotic professions, it was certain that the workings of democracy would come in for sharp criticism. In the last decades of the century the problem novel spread swiftly, expanding the field of its inquiry, and seeking to understand the new ways. Making its first essays in the familiar field of the political, it soon turned to consider the economic problems arising out of the new industrialism, espousing either capitalism or labor as the social sympathies of the author might determine. The class passions of the times found a reflection in its pages, and in consequence the sociological novel became increasingly a repository of the social ideas of a perplexed and troubled generation.
THE POLITICAL NOVEL
Of the early political novels three are of sufficient interest to reward attention: The Gilded Age (1873), Democracy (1881), and An American Politician (1884). The first, written by Mark Twain in collaboration with Charles Dudley Warner, is a satire of Gilded Age ways with particular attention to the political corruption of General Grant's administration. The fictional disguise is slight. The actual Washington is presented vividly and familiar figures--Ben Butler, Oakes Ames, President Grant, Secretary Boutwell--move through the scene. The central figure, Senator Dillworthy, was modeled upon Senator Pomeroy of Kansas, who had recently lost a reelection through an unlucky exposure of an attempt to bribe the Kansas legislature. The heroine, Laura Hawkins, is a western lobbyist who in order to put through a congressional steal under pretense of providing an industrial school for the freedmen, twists Congressmen about her fingers, turns adventuress and ends in tragedy. Out of the West comes the spirit of corruption that the respectable East is unable to withstand, until the itch of speculation infects the whole country. It is Colonel Sellers who embodies the slackness of frontier political morals, that in turn vitiates his political principles. The genial Colonel is quite frankly a Greenbacker.
The country is getting along very well, [he said] but our public men are too timid. What we want is more money. I've told Boutwell so. Talk of basing the currency on gold; you might as well base it on pork. Gold is only one product. Base it on everything! You've got to do something for the West. How am I to move my crops? We must have improvements. Grant's got the idea. We want a canal from the James River to the Mississippi. Government ought to build it. 43
The analysis is not penetrating. The real sources of political corruption-the rapacious railway lobbyists that camped in brigades about the capitol building-are passed over, and attention is fastened on small steals--the Knobs University bill and the Columbus River Navigation scheme--that do not touch the real rascals of the day. The implication is unmistakable that the source of corruption is the Jacksonian West with its heritage of the spoils spirit. The Federalistic East is victimized by the rapacities of mid-western politicians with their religious cant, their talk of the rights of the people and the greatness of the plain democracy. Senator Dillworthy is fairly unctuous in his oily Christian spirit, and Brother Balaam is his fellow. The portraits, one suspects, need not be taken seriously as pictures of the chief apostles of preemption and exploitation. To have sketched the real leaders of the great barbecue might have involved too many unpleasantries.
Democracy, written seven years later, is an inferior book in every way, less penetrating, less amusing, less creative. To essay to penetrate the dark places of political jobbery through the eyes of a society woman, too high-bred to turn lobbyist and inveigle secrets out of ambitious politicians, is sufficiently absurd, yet not uncharacteristic of the Henry Adams whose home was a distinguished salon and who in pottering about the political world of Washington deceived himself in thinking he had his finger on the web of intrigue. It is an amazing book for such a man to write. The attitude is that of the kid-gloved reformer who goes in for civil service reform, and who views the uncultivated West as the source of all political corruption. The hero, Senator Silas Ratcliffe of Peoria, Illinois, like Senator Dillworthy, is a past master in political organization who covers his dishonesty with religious cant. The economic sources of political corruption are ignored, and the evil is traced to the principle of democracy. Whatever political convictions are in the book are expressed by Representative Gore, a civil service reformer from Massachusetts, and quite evidently Henry Adams himself; and the conclusion is thus set forth:
"Do you yourself think democracy the best government, and universal suffrage a success?" Mr. Gore saw himself pinned to the wall, and he turned at bay with almost the energy of despair: "These are matters about which I rarely talk in society. . . . But since you ask for my political creed, you shall have it. I only condition that it shall be for you alone, never to be repeated or quoted as mine. I believe in democracy. I accept it. I will faithfully serve and defend it. I believe in it because it appears to me the inevitable consequence of what has gone before it. Democracy asserts the fact that the masses are now raised to a higher intelligence than formerly. All our civilization aims at this mark. We want to do what we can to help it. I myself want to see the result. I grant it is an experiment, but it is the only direction society can take that is worth its taking; the only conception of its duty large enough to satisfy its instincts; the only result that is worth an effort or a risk. Every other step is backward, and I do not want to repeat the past. I am glad to see society grapple with issues in which no one can afford to be neutral."
"And supposing your experiment fails," said Mrs. Lee; "suppose society destroys itself with universal suffrage, corruption, and communism." ". . . I have faith; not perhaps in the old dogmas, but in the new ones. . . . faith in science; faith in the survival of the fittest. Let us be true to our time, Mrs. Lee! If our age is to be beaten, let us die in the ranks. If it is to be victorious, let us be first to lead the column. Anyway, let us not be skulkers or grumblers. There! have I repeated my catechism correctly? You would have it! Now oblige me by forgetting it. I should lose my character at home if it got out."44
And the conclusion of the matter is thus summed up:
"I want to go to Egypt," said Madelaine, still smiling faintly; "democracy has shaken my nerves to pieces. Oh, what rest it would be to live in the Great Pyramid and look out forever at the polar star!"
Not a hint of the Industrial Revolution; not a hint of the sordid Whiggery that was fouling American politics; not a suggestion of any creative social philosophy on which to establish an adequate theory of democracy. A dreary place at best, with no faith in human nature and no trust in democratic machinery, but only a gentlemanly belief that an antiquated Federalism may somehow pull this venture in republicanism out of the bog in which Jacksonanism had mired it. No wonder Henry Adams would not set his name on the title-page, but left it an orphan to make its own way in the world. In his Life of John Hay, William Roscoe Thayer has explained the situation thus:
The Adamses, the Hays, and Clarence King formed an inner circle, which somebody named "The Five of Hearts," and out of this came, in 1882, a novel entitled Democracy, a strikingly clever satire on Washington society. Its authorship was at once attributed to them, but one after another denied it. If it was a joint product no individual could monopolize the credit; and as it seems to have been read chapter by chapter to the group, and discussed by them all, it might be said, technically, to be a composite. Clarence King is still commonly regarded as its author; and there are many supporters of Hay; but I believe that only Mr. Adams possessed the substance, and style, and the gift of Voltairean raillery which distinguish it.45
Mr. Thayer is generous in his praise.
An American Politician is even less consequential as a political study than Democracy. Marion Crawford was a professional romancer and in this naive venture into a field little known to him he carried his complete romantic kit. The political theme is tied about with so many love strands as almost to strangle it. The hero, John Harrington, we are assured is a very remarkable man, a Bostonian with a Mayflower teapot in his family treasures, an idealist of primitive Puritan intensity. But we must take him upon hearsay. Nothing that he does or says suggests his greatness. Politically the book is reduced to a little glimpse of the methods of selecting a United States senator-an Irish ward boss with twenty votes in his belt, a gentlemanly railway attorney who handles offal skillfully with a handkerchief at his nose-set in between two set speeches by the hero. The rest is Newport and the Back Bay, not quite stupid yet with no distinction. The romancer does not move easily in an unfamiliar field, and he sends his hero forth to battle for righteousness with small intellectual equipment. His speeches are heavily oratorical and his political philosophy is naive; it is pretty much George William Curtis, the sufficiency of civil service reform and the virtues of non-partisanship.
The unreality of the book is furthered by a conception worthy of Poe--a mysterious council of three that meets in London and directs political movements in America. We are dimly aware that the council is both ancient and honorable; that it goes back historically to post-Revolutionary days and is self-perpetuating; and its uncanny power has resulted from supreme intelligence supplemented by exact information gathered during many years. In its secret archives every public man in America is tagged and docketed; his political and financial affiliations are set down in detail; and on the basis of this knowledge the cryptic three send forth instructions that are faithfully carried out. The danger to America lies in sectionalism-North, South, and West struggling for supremacy in the national councils; and upon the three rests the self-imposed responsibility of saving America from itself. The idea is sufficiently absurd, as the book is absurd. Crawford was a cosmopolitan who knew little about American political conditions, and the crisis of the novel is the Hayes-Tilden impasse of 1876. The influence of the novel, one may safely assume, was negligible.*
* In his original scheme Professor Parrington included Tourgee's A Fool's Errand, but the text shows that he decided against its inclusion. Publisher
THE ECONOMIC NOVEL
The theme of these earlier novels was politics as revealed by the Gilded Age; on the other hand The Bread-winners was one of the early economic novels. Like Democracy it was an outcome of the discussions of the vivacious trio, John Hay, Clarence King, and Henry Adams. Written in 1882 by Hay, it was published anonymously in the Century Magazine from August, 1883, to January, 1884. Hay never publicly acknowledged the authorship, and it was not until the edition of 1915 appeared with an introductory note by his son, that his name appeared on the title-page. It achieved a notable success--far beyond that of Democracy; was warmly praised and sharply criticized; was replied to in other novels; all of which goes to show that it fanned the coals that were smoldering in the industrial life of the day, threatening a general conflagration. It was the first recognition on the part of literature that a class struggle impended in America--a first girding of the loins of polite letters to put down the menace that looked out from the underworld of the proletariat; and as such it assumes importance as an historical document quite beyond its significance as a work of art.
The motive of The Bread-winners is the defense of property against the "dangerous classes"; its immediate theme is a satire of labor unions. In an introductory note to the later edition, Clarence Leonard Hay explicitly denies this. "The Bread-winners," he says, "is not directed against organized labor. It is rather a protest against the disorganization and demoralization of labor by unscrupulous leaders and politicians who, in the guise of helping the workingman, use his earnings to enrich themselves." He then states the theme thus:
It is a defense of the right of an individual to hold property, and a plea for the better protection of that property by law and order. Civilization rests upon law, order, and obedience. The agitator who preaches that obedience to lawful authority is a sin, and patriotism an illusion, is more dangerous to society than the thief who breaks in at night and robs the householder.
The editor thinks well of the American workingmen. At heart they are sound; their motives are honest; but their ignorance of fundamental economic principles too easily suffers them to fall victim to unscrupulous demagogues whose only object is their exploitation. To prevent such "disorganization and demoralization of labor," which can bring only suffering and failure upon men ill prepared to endure them, is therefore the patriotic duty of the educated classes. The proletariat is groping blindly for leadership; it is stirring uneasily; if the educated classes do not offer an enlightened leadership, the laborer will follow low cunning to immoral ends and blind leaders of the blind will bring irretrievable disaster upon civilization. Selfish appeal will kindle envy and hate; the rich and prosperous will go down before brute force; the rights of property will be destroyed; law, order, and obedience will give place to anarchy.
Such, briefly developed, is Clarence Hay's exposition of The Bread-winners; and the exposition seems to suggest the social views of John Hay. He probably had no antipathy to labor unions which are guided in their policy by "sound economic principles" and right "morality"--as the capitalist understands such things. But labor unions which follow their own leaders, which persist in thinking out a proletarian economy, which are bent on substituting a social morality for a property morality, which refuse to be led by the "educated classes," he was bitterly hostile to. It is the unrest furthered by rebellious labor unions that he fears, and it is this that gives point and animus to his satire. That The Bread-winners was conceived in a spirit of beneficent paternalism towards the proletariat, the present-day reader will have difficulty in discovering. It is too frank in defense of vested interests, it looks with too stern a disfavor upon all labor leaders who refuse to accept the finality of the present industrial order, it exudes too strong an odor of property-morality, to deceive an intelligent reader. Read today it is clearly a partisan defense of economic individualism, an attack upon the rising labor movement, a grotesque satire smeared with an unctuous morality--and because of this, a perfect expression of the spirit of upper-class America in those uneasy eighties with their strikes and lockouts and Haymarket riots.
The plot of the book is slight--it is the story of the oily machinations of Ananias Offitt, a professional agitator who lives off simple honest workmen whom he seduces, organizes a secret Brotherhood of the Breadwinners, urges on riot and robbery at the time of a great strike, is checkmated by the hero--a cultivated and elegant clubman by the name of Captain Arthur Farnham--betrays his tool, and in the end is murdered by him. Fortunately for the welfare of property interests there are "honest" workmen, men like Leopold Grosshammer, who rally to the support of law and order and eventually break the strike. The love-story is provided with two heroines, and the contrast between them emphasizes the class line which property draws. The upper-class heroine is as correct and colorless as Cooper's Eve Effingham: the lower-class heroine is as vulgarly handsome and as brazen as "such people" are supposed to be. A high-school education has spoilt her for the factory or domestic service, filling her empty head with foolish ambitions, but it could not make a lady of her.
Hay was in Cleveland at the time of the great strike in 1877, and he was profoundly disturbed by the experience. Writing to his father-in-law, he said:
The prospects of labor and capital both seem gloomy enough. The very devil seems to have entered into the lower classes of workingmen, and there are plenty of scoundrels to encourage them to all lengths. . . . I am thankful you did not see and hear what took place during the strikes. You were saved a very painful experience of human folly and weakness, as well as crime.46
The crying evils of a buccaneer industrialism which lay behind the strikes, Hay ignored completely. To provide his idyllic background of contented labor before it is seduced by demagogues, he goes back to a decadent domestic economy. His "honest and contented workman" is a carpenter who works for another carpenter--not a factory-hand tending a machine; and when the demagogue comes with his specious appeal he is triumphantly refuted.
"What are we, anyhow?" continued the greasy apostle of labor. "We are slaves; we are Roossian scurfs. We work as many hours as our owners like; we take what pay they choose to give us; we ask their permission to live and breathe."
"Oh, that's a lie," Sleeny interrupted, with unbroken calmness. "Old Saul Matchin and me come to an agreement about time and pay, and both of us was suited. Ef he's got his heel onto me, I don't feel it."47
John Hay was convinced that an "educated leadership" alone could save American democracy. But unfortunately--despite his great reputation in diplomacy and statesmanship--his own education seems to have been faulty. He had lately risen into the exploiting class, and he accepted the ready-made opinions of that class. His biographer has admirably stated his position during the days of the strike riots when he was clarifying his views:
Those riots of 1877 burnt deep into Colonel Hay's heart. Like the rest of the world, he had theorized on the likelihood of war between Capital and Labor; but he had reassured himself by the comfortable assumption that under American conditions-equal opportunity for all, high wages, equal laws, and the ballot-box--no angry laboring class could grow up. The riots blew such vaporing away: for they proved that the angry class already existed, that the ballot-box instead of weakening strengthened it, and that not only the politicians of both parties but also the constituted authorities would avoid, as long as possible, grappling with it.
The event was too large to be dismissed as an outburst of temper: it must be accepted as a symptom, a portent. Did it mean that a cancer had attacked the body politic and would spread to the vital organs? Was Democracy a failure,-Democracy-for more than a century the dream of the down-trodden, the ideal of those who loved mankind and believed in its perfectibility, the Utopia which good men predicted should somehow turn out to be a reality? Hay had sung his paean to liberty; Hay had throbbed at the efforts of patriots in Spain and in France to overthrow their despots; he had even exulted over the signs of democratization in England. Had he been the victim of mirage? Was Democracy not the final goal of human society, but only a half-way stage between the despotism of Autocracy and the despotism of Socialism?
These questions he could not evade. . . . But he held, as did many of his contemporaries, that the assaults on Property were inspired by demagogues who used as their tools the loafers, the criminals, the vicious,Society's dregs who have been ready at all times to rise against laws and government. That you have property is proof of industry and foresight on your part or your father's; that you have nothing, is a judgment on your laziness and vices, or on your improvidence. The world is a moral world; which it would not be if virtue and vice received the same rewards. 48
John Hay, it must be recalled, had enjoyed a college education through the aid of relatives, he had been taken under the wing of Lincoln and become his private secretary, he had been thrust forward by influential politicians, and finally he had married wealth-were these things proofs of virtue in a moral world that rewards foresight and punishes improvidence? Or were they rather the marks of a skillful climber? John Hay was a charming and cultivated gentleman, but he was also a child of the Gilded Age, with the materialisms of his generation in his blood. The young man had been an Abolitionist and a political radical; the old man was a McKinley conservative whose chief claim to reputation lay in the "open-door" policy in China. The beginnings of this shift to conservatism seem to have coincided with his marriage to Miss Stone, daughter of a Cleveland capitalist whose interests were threatened by the great strike. He was temperamentally one of John Adams's "natural aristocrats," and having gained entree into aristocratic circles he took the coloring of his new environment. A son of the frontier, he became a man of the world. Prosperity was necessary to him.
Professing a deep attachment to democratic institutions and hatred of all monarchical principles--in Spain and France--John Hay ceased to be a Lincoln democrat, and took his place amongst the ruling class, accepting the principles of the rising plutocracy. The Bread-winners is a dramatization of the Federalistic principle that government exists for the protection of property. "Remembering the date when The Bread-winners was written," says his biographer, "we must regard it as the first important polemic in American fiction in defense of Property."49 John Hay had become a thoroughgoing Hamiltonian. In his younger days his sympathies had gone out to radical republicans everywhere, and he watched the rising tide of liberalism with great satisfaction. In his first visits to Europe he followed closely the liberal movements. He was a warm admirer of Castelar, eulogizing him as one of the heroic figures of modern times. In a lecture in 1869 on "The Progress of Democracy in Europe" he spoke with the zeal of an advanced liberal. But soon thereafter the ardor of his zeal lessened. On later trips to Europe he did not display a like sympathy with the program of the Social Democrats. As economic unrest crept into politics, as strikes and boycotts began to disturb his father-in-law's business, he discovered less sympathy for revolutionary movements. Political revolutions sponsored by respectable middle-class leaders, were one thing; economic revolutions sponsored by the proletariat were quite another thing. A democracy that breeds more democracy is clearly dangerous. So much as has already been accomplished is excellent, of course; but nothing further must be attempted.
There is sound strategy in offensive epithets. And so, taking counsel of fear, he applied to the current economic unrest the words most offensive to polite American ears, and called it socialism, anarchism. Without pausing to weigh the demands of the farmer and the workingman, with no understanding of the meaning of the great proletarian movement then going forward in Europe, he appealed in defense of property to the specter of economic leveling before which every good American of the eighties recoiled in horror. As early as 1869, speaking of Castelar, he said: "He has too much sense and integrity to follow the lead of the Socialist fanatics."50 Commenting on the unsettled state of things in Paris in 1883, he wrote: "The laborers have had the mischief put into their heads by trade-unions."51 As he contemplated the agrarian unrest of the seventies and later, he discovered in Greenbackism and Populism only another form of this hateful socialism. It was the work of agitators who were plain rascals.
He was greatly disturbed in 1875 at the state of politics, "with half the Republicans and all the Democrats inflationists at heart, and carrying on a campaign on the bald issue whether the nation shall be a liar and a thief or not."52 And so late as 1900 he exclaimed petulantly: "This last month of Bryan, roaring out his desperate appeals to hate and envy, is having its effect on the dangerous classes. Nothing so monstrous has as yet been seen in our history."53 Unhappily even in free America with its equal opportunity, and equal laws, there had come to be "dangerous classes"--rather a good many of them, taking the populistic farmers and discontented wage-earners into the account-so many, indeed, that John Hay grew gloomy over the outlook. And the outlook was all the gloomier because of our form of government; for is not the ultimate test of our democratic institutions the test of whether they are adequate to protect the property and "civilization" of the few against the "hate and envy" of the discontented many?
That The Bread-winners was a dishonest book Hay certainly could not have been brought to believe; nevertheless a Tory who covers his Tory purpose with a mantle of democracy can scarcely be reckoned intellectually sincere. The men of the seventies and eighties--cultivated and intelligent gentlemen like Godkin and Aldrich and Hay--were little more than demagogues in their fustian attacks on agrarian Greenbackers and militant labor unions; they feared and hated them too much to understand them, and they took advantage of their social position to cry them down. The "educated leadership" of the Gilded Age was a somewhat sorry thing; it was ethically bankrupt while appealing to high moral standards. The best of such leaders were second-rate men--mediocre minds cramped by a selfish environment, imbued with no more than a property-consciousness. Of such a world John Hay in his Bread-winners was a distinguished spokesman and representative.*
THE BEGINNINGS OF THE SOCIOLOGICAL NOVEL
It was in the nineties that the sociological novel expanded into a great movement that in the next decade and a half was to engulf pretty much all American fiction and bring it into service to the social conscience. Such a development was in the nature of things. The artist would not sit forever in his ivory tower, content to carve his statuettes while the country without was turmoiled with revolution. Sooner or later he would venture forth and once he had been caught up in the swirl his art would take new forms and serve other purposes than the traditional genteel. Realism was in the air, the realism of Zola and the Russians, and from such a realism would come in America a more critical attitude towards the social revolution at work in the land.
It was the city that played havoc with our older fictional methods, as it played havoc with our traditional social philosophy. America was late in discovering the import of the huge Babbitt warrens it had been building with such fierce energy; but slowly the realities of the economic city rose to challenge the respectability of the romantic city. It was the discovery of this new lair of business that created the school of sociological fiction. The older city of literature had been a polite world wherein ladies and gentlemen drank tea and made love and talked proper scandal--a pleasant background of clubs and drawing-rooms, against which moved well-dressed figures. It was an echo of Thackeray--the world of the West End and Beacon Street and Fifth Avenue, too well-bred and prosperous to recognize slums or stockyards or stock-gambling. But with the nineties the old complacency was disturbed. A note of unrest crept into the current fiction. As the protégés of Mr. Howells looked out upon their world in search of reality, they discovered that polite society was being undermined. Too many social climbers were thrusting themselves forward; too much vulgarity was displayed by the new-rich. The social primacy of the old families was being challenged by western pork-packers. Here was a rich field to harvest. Le document humain was the latest cry of realism, and so under the inspiration of M. Paul Bourget a new crop of realism came to fruit--clever studies in feminine psychology--the last word in contemporary reality. The social climber was analyzed mercilessly, her shallow and silly ambitions revealed to the least petty maneuver; her blighting influence upon an idealistic husband or her stimulus to a money-grabbing mate, is traced shrewdly. Such are Boyesen's Mammon of Unrighteousness, Robert Grant's Unleavened Bread, and Edith Wharton's House of Mirth-studies that were symptomatic of a generation disturbed by the consciousness of a vulgar plutocracy rising in its midst, and yet ignorant of the nature of the disease.
Nevertheless their vogue was brief. As economic unrest rose more menacingly upon the horizon of the new century, realism quickly tired of its Kate Van Schaaks and Selma Whites and Lily Barts, and turned away to prospect for a richer vein. Psychology was losing its fascination and social analysis was supplying a new inspiration; M. Bourget was yielding authority to Emile Zola. Even so whole-hearted a romantic as Mary Johnston was to turn from tales like To Have and to Hold to write Hagar, a novel of suffrage propaganda. There was to be not less realism but more. The change may be summarized in the word background. The old individualism had unconsciously insulated its hero from economic contacts; he moved in a polite environment detached from the larger play of social forces. An individualism so wanting in sociological verity could make scant appeal to the new spirit of sociology. That old world is dead. With the rise of the philosophy of determinism came another mood. To the realism of environment that conceived of the individual as a pawn on the chessboard of society, M. Zola had given the name naturalism. It was realism wedded to a deterministic sociology-the first reaction of a generation awakening to the subjugating power of the mass, and bent on studying the resultant phenomena in the clear light of science. The change was no less than revolutionary. The new school thought in terms of group and class and movement, rather than in terms of individuals each nursing his petty hopes and fears. The individual counts for so little in the enveloping stream of social tendency. Let us have not more shoddy heroes, foolish little egoisms in an unreal world; but figures of men and women, encompassed by the great stream, carried along on a resistless current. If they prove to be little better than puppets the novelist is not to blame, but society that reduces them to impotency. So the emerging school abandoned Howells and James and followed Frank Norris into the camp of the naturalists. Their work might be bad art--as the critics love to reiterate--but it was the honest voice of a generation bewildered and adrift.
The discovery of environment led imperceptibly to another discovery--the economic basis of society; and this in turn led to the rejection of the polite city of older literature. Once the eyes of the novelist opened to the significance of the economic, the world of the spenders became less significant than the world of the makers, the drones became less interesting than the workers. If a novel were to be true to American life, it must adjust its perspectives to the facts of the great American game of money-chasing; it must shift its habitat from Fifth Avenue to Wall Street, from the club to the factory. So the business man entered the portals of fiction, no longer the stock figure in broadcloth and top-hat who discarded business with his dirty collar in order to shift into respectability; but bringing with him his talk of deals and squeeze-outs, playing the great game of exploitation at his mahogany desk--the central, dominating figure in a capitalistic world. He was subjected to acute analysis--his philosophy, his ethics, the machine of industrialism he was creating, the intricate system of exploitation that he had elaborated, the jungle city that was his lair where he fought his battles. The more acutely he was analyzed the clearer it became that here was a figure greater than kings or presidents--a figure that had taken our traditional American life in his hands and was reshaping it to his ends; and that if realism were to be true to its ideal it must paint him as he was without detraction and without glorification. So of necessity the younger novelists turned from polite society to economics, and fell to dramatizing the life of the city jungle where business men fought their fierce battles.
The forerunner of the new school was a Norwegian-American, Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen. An essayist and philologist, for a number of years professor of German at Columbia University, Boyesen began publishing as early as 1874, and thereafter contributed freely to the several fields of the essay, poetry, and fiction; but it was not until 1891 that he opened the new vein of realism which he worked industriously the remaining four years of his life, the life brought to a premature close in 1895. Three novels belong to this last phase of his work: The Mammon of Unrighteousness (1891), The Golden Calf (1892), and The Social Strugglers (1893). The books made considerable stir upon their publication, for they were the nearest approach to the Tolstoian type of realism which till then had appeared in America. They contain in germ many of the ideas which the later city realists were to amplify and develop; but these ideas were still entangled in the mesh of the current psychological realism and their sociological bearings obscured. In consequence they largely failed of their purpose, and within a decade they had fallen into oblivion. They are of interest today chiefly as historical documents of the early nineties.
In the preface to The Mammon of Unrighteousness Boyesen sets forth his purpose thus:
My one endeavor in this book has been to depict persons and conditions which are profoundly and typically American. I have disregarded all romantic traditions, and simply asked myself in every instance, not whether it was amusing but whether it was true to the logic of reality--true in color and tone to the American sky, the American soil, the American character.
This, very evidently, is the realism of milieu--an endeavor to catch the reality of atmosphere; and as such it is of no great significance. In his choice of "types," moreover, he reflected the current taste. The crude self-made millionaire who dimly conscious of failure founds a university; the young idealist who fails because he is conscientious and the young realist who succeeds because he has no scruples against playing the game; and the aristocratic climber who marries to further her social ambitions--these are the stock figures of the realism that was to culminate in Robert Grant's Unleavened Bread, nine years later. But in the delineation of the character of Horace Larkin-the hero of a book that does not realize its promise--the note of the new realism is heard distinctly for the first time. The business man frankly breaks with the old ethics and erects a new ethics in conformity with his ambition; and it is the elaboration of the ethics of the Will to Power that justifies one in regarding The Mammon of Unrighteousness as a first study in the new city realism.
Horace Larkin, like Herrick's Van Harrington, is a Nietzschean who learned his ethics not from the German philosopher, but from the world of cut-throat business. It is the flower of the competitive system. The old pretense that business is an uplifting and civilizing agency--that trade breaks down barriers and carries in its shipments the gospel of fraternity and good will--is flung out on the scrap heap. Horace Larkin is no smug hypocrite. He faces the facts frankly; he will not deceive others any more than himself.
He was a beast of prey, asserting his right of survival; nothing more. If he succumbed to sentiment (and it is far easier to succumb to it than to resist it) he would merely be eliminating himself from the battle of existence as a potent and considerable force, and consigning himself to the rear ranks. And he felt in every fibre of his being that he was born for leadership.54
. . . nobody has a right to sacrifice himself to anybody else. If he does he simply eliminates himself from the struggle for existence, proves his unfitness to survive. It is natural for every strong man to try to make every other life tributary to his own; but the man who consents to make his life tributary to somebody else's is from Nature's point of view a weak man. . . . She may allow him to exist in a small way; but what is existence without predominance? . . . The man who is in advance of the morality of his age is, for practical purposes, a fool. It is no use quarreling with Fate; and in the United States the average man is the Fate that rules us and determines our place in the world.55
"The majority of our politicians are a low-lived lot, and many of them corrupt. But they have the courage to be American--crudely and uncompromisingly American--and that is, in my eyes, a virtue which is not to be lightly rated."
"And may I ask, Mr. Larkin, what do you mean by being American?"
"Being frankly, ably, enterprisingly plebeian. It is the plebeian after all, who shall inherit the earth--"
"I beg your pardon. According to the Bible it is the meek."
"I must differ with the Bible, then; for the meek, in my experience, if they inherit anything, never manage to keep it. It passes, sooner or later, into the hands of the strong, the self-assertive, the grasping. But these, as you will admit, are plebeian characteristics. A universally prosperous, comfortable, impudent, and enterprising mob--that is the goal toward which we are steering; and in my opinion it is a good and desirable one." 56
This is a note that is to be heard more insistently as the new realism went further in its probing. Armed with this conviction Horace Larkin set forth as a conqueror, and it only adds to the dramatic fitness of things that in his rise he came across a will to power stronger, cleverer, than his own. Kate Van Schaak climbs upon his back to rise with him; she buys him with her money and social position, and having made the deal she realizes on the investment. She is mistress henceforth, and the Nietzschean smiles at the irony of the situation.
In the third work Boyesen fails to maintain the level of The Mammon of Unrighteousness. Social Strugglers is simpler, more dramatic, better told. It carries the reader forward more easily. But it belongs with such novels of social analysis as Charles Dudley Warner's The Golden House--mildly critical of the vulgarizing influence of the new-rich, mildly sympathetic with the slum workers--rather than to the new realism. The heroine--daughter of a newrich family that has come to New York to climb socially--awakens to the realization of parting ways: one the path of luxury which the four hundred travel, the other the path of service which leads to the slums and settlement work. It is a sentimental awakening, not an intellectual, induced by the hero, who on the fringe of the four hundred is mildly discontented with the ways of luxury. The vague idealism of the latter has been stirred by the Toynbee Hall experiment in London, and the persuasiveness of the lover rather than the conclusions of the thinker carries Maud Bulkley away from her conventional moorings.
The movement of the book is little clogged with sociological discussions; there is too little, indeed, to justify the conclusion. Only once does Philip Warburton lift the curtain upon the idealism which ostensibly is the determining factor in his life.
"I frankly confess that I am something of a red. I think the world is out of gear, and I can perfectly well conceive of a civilization far better than ours, without yet proposing any radical amendment to human nature. . . ."
There was to Maud something so wholly unexpected in this ebullition that she scarcely knew what to say. She had never philosophized concerning life and its problems; nay, she had never suspected that to a person who had money enough, and the access to good society, it could present any problems whatever. She knew that some terribly disreputable, shaggy, and wild-faced foreigners came here from Europe and proposed to turn our admirable civilization upside down; but that a gentleman of Warburton's culture and social standing could sympathize with such criminals had never occurred to her as a remote possibility. . . .
After this disturbing introduction Warburton proceeds to disclose what being "a red" means to him in the way of social revolutions:
"Have you ever heard of a London experiment known as Toynbee Hall?" he asked. . . .
"Yes: it's a place in the slums, where young men of good family go to live; isn't that it?"
"Yes; and, do you know, that is to me the most beautiful modern instance of a real desire to help the poor and helpless--to lift the world to a higher level. It is what I should like to do myself--and what I shall hope some day to do. . . ."
"Then you really think it a misfortune to be rich?" she ejaculated. . . .
"Yes, if wealth entails the loss of human sympathies, as in nine cases out of ten it seems to do, I regard it as a misfortune. If it means, as in this country it seems to mean, the loss of vital contact with humanity, the contraction of one's mental and spiritual horizon, a callous insensibility to social wrongs and individual sorrows, a brutal induration in creature comforts and mere animal well-being, the loss of that divine discontent and noble aspiration which alone makes us human--if it means this or any part of it, it is the greatest calamity which can befall a man. And it is because Christ foresaw that these were the natural effects of great wealth, and the security and ease which it engenders, that he declared that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." 57
That is all. There is no dramatic justification of Warburton's views; they are without motive and foundation. Social Strugglers does not advance far along the path of the new realism.
As the years drew nearer the new century, the business man usurped an ever larger place in American fiction; the romance which had been sought in the deeds of 1776 was now discovered in the achievements of enterprise. It was the unconscious testimony of literature to the hold which business had got on the imagination of Americans. In the golden days of the "full dinner-pail," following the great victory of '96, the Captain of Industry reached the apogee of his fame. The voice of detraction had not yet been lifted against him; the muckraker had not yet set forth on his devastating career. To young reporters on city papers looking ambitiously towards fiction as the goal of success, what could offer greater appeal than the unwritten romance of Wall Street and the Stock Exchange? They had described it for the daily news columns, they had seen it extolled on the editorial page, why not dramatize it in fiction? Here was the real interest of America--the only reality that signified; yet the novelists had stupidly overlooked it, because they lacked the journalist's sense of news values, his flair.
Of the abundant crop of fiction which resulted from this discovery, no more characteristic examples need be sought than The Short Line War (1899) and Calumet "K" (1901), written in collaboration by Samuel Merwin and H. K. Webster. Their popular success was immediate and maintained surprisingly. The former ran to six editions, the last in 1909; the latter, to twelve editions, the last so late as 1915. They are brisk stories, all action stripped of descriptive superfluities, with plenty of newspaper punch: dramatizations of hustle and bluff and the tricks of a cut-throat game. Charlie Bannon, hero of Calumet "K," is the boss who does things, who is on the job, who takes long shots and "makes good"--a "movie" hero of efficiency. He has no time nor inclination to think, possesses no philosophy, asks no questions and is troubled by no doubts or scruples; his fertile brain and cool nerve make him a first-class fighting man, and he fights as the good soldier should on orders from above. The hero of The Short Line War, Jim Weeks, is another Bannon with the same fertile brain, cool nerve, calm tenacity of purpose, quick decisiveness, and the same lack of intellectual interests. In war it is sound strategy to strike quick and hard; and the Captain of Industry, let it be clearly known, is a war captain. To play the game hard, to beat the other fellow by whatever means serve, that is the ideal of a competitive bourgeoisie: not to be too nice about the law, for everybody knows that the law is the chief weapon of the strong; not to cherish foolish idealisms, for everybody knows that success alone pays. No more heartless, brutal, anarchistic books could be conceived--a mad philosophy for a mad world.
The broad movement towards a realistic portrayal of the economic city produced its eddies and minor currents, which at times brought such a commotion of the waters as to appear like the main current. Such was the flood of political novels which came with the new century and lasted well upwards of a decade. These were a byproduct of the muckraking movement-a part of the propaganda of the group of young insurgents within the Republican party who were bent on rescuing the party from control of the old bosses, and who prepared the way for the more significant movement of Progressivism which followed. Such studies as Francis Churchill Williams's J. Devlin-Boss (1901), and Elliott Flower's The Spoilsmen (1903), were early examples; and Winston Churchill's Coniston and Mr. Crewe's Career were probably the most notable. They were journalistic for the most part, exposés of the "Boss" and the evils of the political machine. The "Boss" is painted in various guises, as brutal, cunning, thoroughly vicious, or as a man who plays the game with the same unsocial conscience that marks the capitalist. Most frequently Lincoln Steffens is followed and the human side of the "Boss" is "played up" equally with his political cunning. It is the characteristic journalistic touch--a bit cheap but immensely effective. As the movement of naturalism gained headway it became increasingly apparent that the "Boss" was only a part of the "System," and the political novel merged in the economic. These brisk studies constitute, however, a suggestive episode in our history-the literary echo of our political history between the years 1900 and 1910.
Little in the way of social analysis was to be expected from a group of clever journalists. They were reporters of fact, transcribers of externals. They note the social unrest, but it is little more than an undertone of the chorus of prosperity-a snarl of inconsequential criticism. It is the sting of a troublesome mosquito that is brushed off by the Captain of Industry who is too busy with big projects to bother about insects. Such is Will Payne's Mr. Salt (1903)--a sympathetic study of a coal-baron who is caught in the panic of '93 but pulls out and rises higher. To provide dramatic contrast there is the ineffective idealist who is growly and surly-"The whole thing is rotten--the whole business scheme. It's just a gold brick game operated by Salt and his kind. I'd like to stick a fuse to it and touch it off."58 It is feeble enough--this protest. The rebel joins wildly in the great strike, is struck down by the hand of the law, rebels and strikes again and gets nowhere. Only a bitter, ineffective hate rankles in his heart, while Salt goes on triumphantly to greater power and a sort of moral regeneration through love--a regeneration that does not interfere with his keeping the title-deeds to his loot. An earlier study--The Money Captain (1898)--seemed to give promise of honester work than this. It is the story of a struggle between a corrupt gas-magnate and an enterprising editor whose exposé puts the magnate afoul of the law as interpreted by the magnate's judges, and who is saved from disaster by the timely death of the "duke." At the end is a touch of prophecy, quite startling in its forecast. These money-kings with their strong prehensile fingers are the spawn of a common plebeian America; the world of the makers is vulgarly democratic; but there follows the age of the spenders, and that shall be finely, altruistically aristocratic. The death of the hero "expunged from his fortune that color of greedy vulgarity and left its gold untarnished."
Dexter, for all his success, was a figure in the common democratic foreground of business; he was intimately and solely of the great everyday warp and woof of toil. He bore all his fruit at once--when he died. An heirship was required to give the fortune value. . . .
In a way it was fine and beautiful--all that huge accumulation of pillage coming to the white, firm hands of this pretty, amiable capable, goodhearted woman. The sudden substitution of her graceful and gracious figure for the swart and iron figure of the duke was like an apt transformation scene, prophetic of the future.59
These earlier books are mere preliminary sketches--first studies in economic backgrounds, hesitating between admiration and censure--satisfied to exploit the "human interest" in the dour figure of the money-grabber. The clever newspaper men did not know enough to do better, more realistic work; they saw the daily activities of business but they understood little of economics, less of sociology. And the new realism was soon to yield itself captive to sociology--to inscribe the name of Zola boldly on its pennant and go forth to conquer. It was Frank Norris who wrote the pronunciamiento of the new school, boldly, magnificently, with immense faith in the finality of his own conclusions. The Responsibilities of the Novelist was to become the textbook of the young naturalists.
1 See Charles Edward Russell, The Story of Wendell Phillips, p. 53.
2 Quoted in Martyn, Wendell Phillips: The Agitator, p. 372.
3 See Speeches, Second Series, p. 139.
4 Quoted in Martyn, op. cit., pp. 412-413.
5 Speeches, Second Series, p. 176.
6 Ibid., p. 167.
7 Ibid., pp. 152-153.
8 Ibid., p. 154.
9 See Ibid., pp. 356-359.
10 See Ibid., p. 347.
11 Edward Cary, George William Curtis, p. 78.
12 See Ibid., pp. 25-26.
13 See Ibid., pp. 180-181.
14 See Harper's Weekly, Sept. 20, 1873.
15 Orations and Addresses, "Machine Politics and the Remedy," Vol. II, pp. 157-159.
16 See Ibid., p. 160.
17 J. H. Wilson, The Life of Charles A. Dana, p. 466.
18 Ogden, Life and Letters of Edwin Lawrence Godkin, Vol. I, P. 11.
19 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 17.
20 Ibid., Vol. II, p. 140.
21 Nation, July 8, 1915, p. 47.
22 0n Liberty, Chapter I.
23 "Aristocratic Opinions of Democracy," in Problems of Modern Democracy, pp. 25-26, 30-31.
24 Ogden, op. cit., Vol. II, p. 48.
25 Nation, January 30,. 1873, p. 68.
26 See "Public Opinion and the Currency," Ibid., February 27, 1873; "The Political Situation in 1896," in Problems of Modern Democracy.
27 See "On Gold and Silver," Ibid., July 6, 1876.
28 Ibid., May 25, 1876.
29 Ibid., June 1, 1876.
30 "The Issue of the Campaign," Ibid., July 2, 1896.
31 "The Platform of Revolution," Ibid., July 16, 1896.
32 Ibid., January 19, 1893.
33 Ibid., April 10, 1873.
34 "The Watered Stock Hallucination," Ibid., October 9, 1873.
35 "Prosperity's Advance Orator," Ibid., June 18, 1896.
36 "The Chicago Platform," Ibid., July 16, 1896.
37 "The Platform of Revolution," Ibid., July 23, 1896.
38 Ogden, op. cit., Vol. II, pp. 238-239.
39 Ibid., Vol. II, p. 199.
40 Ibid., Vol. II, p. 217.
41 Ibid., Vol. II, p. 243.
42 Ibid., Vol. II, p. 237.
43 Vol. II, Chapter 13, p. 128.
44 Chapter 4, p. 78.
45 Vol. II, pp. 58-59.
46 William Roscoe Thayer, Life and Letters of John Hay, Vol. II, pp. 5-6.
47 Chapter V.
48 Thayer, op. cit., Vol. I. pp. 6-7.
49 Ibid., Vol. II, p. 15.
50 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 321.
51 Ibid., p. 414.
52 Ibid., p. 426.
53 Ibid., Vol. II, p. 256.
54 Chapter XXXI.
55 Chapter XXXVI.
56 Chapter XXXIII.
57 Chapter VII.
58 Chapter IX.
59 The Money Captain, Chapter 22.