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oppose such a measure, are more occupied with similar schemes of local interest, which they regard as their own business, than with the protection of the general interest which is everybody's business—and therefore proverbially nobody's business.

What holds true of the member holds true of his constituents. They give him credit for what he has done for the district in the way of appropriations and privileges; they do not debit him with his share in saddling the country with the burden of unwise appropriations. The total burden is too big for them to see; the individual share of responsibility is too small for them to see. The resultant of the two, though a grievance, is accepted as inevitable rather then debited to the account of the member when he seeks reëlection. Probably at least half the members of Congress look no further in seeking reasons for courses of action, than their effect on the chances of renomination and reëlection; and with the other half, a consideration of these chances, while by no means the sole motive, cannot fail to remain a very powerful one.

The effect of these conditions in giving shape to appropriation bills has been seen for a long time; and it has made river and harbor expenditures a public scandal. The tendency to apply the same principle to the shaping of revenue bills is more recent in acquiring its full development, and threatens to be far worse in its effects because of the greater magnitude and variety of the interests involved. The treatment of the tariff bill in the Senate furnishes a conspicuous example. That bill as reported from the committee had been framed with much regard for the general interests of the country. These interests demanded that the government should be put on a paying basis. Mr. Aldrich and his fellow members of the committee devised rates of taxation which were calculated to do this. But when the bill came before the Senate, one revenue feature after another was abandoned, at the dictates of individual senators who demanded modifications to suit the views of their constituents, until the surplus provided by Mr. Aldrich was changed to an all but certain deficit. It is hardly too much to say that if an organized interest brought pressure to bear on a few senators to demand the repeal of a tax which produced revenue

at its expense, the chances for such repeal were very good indeed; while if it demanded the imposition of a tax which compelled the unorganized consumers to pay revenue into its treasury, instead of paying a somewhat lower rate to the government in the form of a revenue duty, this demand also stood a good chance of satisfaction. The climax was reached in the case of white pine lumber, where a prohibitory tax was placed upon the imported product; lessening our revenue, exhausting our forests, and increasing the cost of houses, for the avowed purpose of putting $6,000,000 annually in the hands of the organized lumber interests. The story seems incredible; but the charge that this was the motive was publicly made in Congress and not denied by those against whom it was directed. In fact the pretense of framing a tariff in the public interest is thrown aside by many who until recently would have avowed it as a creed, whether they really acted on it or not. A considerable portion of the Democrats have abandoned the theory of a tariff for revenue, and substituted a theory of a tariff for the protection of the localities which they represent.

The most ominous thing about all this is that it is a logical result of our present theory of government, which combines district representation with wide duties of general legislation. It makes a man responsible to a part of those for whom he legislates. The theory has been that the independent action of the several parts would protect the general good. But that theory fails in practice—more and more so with each year. Its failure is most conspicuous in the United States, where the theory of district representation is most fully carried out. We should be wrong in inferring that our public men are worse than they were in previous generations; but we are fully justified in saying that our system works worse in this matter than it ever did before.

The reason for this is twofold. In the first place, our representative assemblies have gradually abandoned their function as deliberative bodies, and have become legislative ones. The reasons which have led to this change have been discussed in previous numbers of the YALE REVIEW: it is hardly worth

1 Vol. ii, p. 225 : v, p. 346.

while to go over them now. It is enough for our present purpose that the fact stands. Now district representation is the best possible constitution for a deliberative body. It gives the assurance of the fullest discussion, and the most chance of mutual enlightenment on the part of the representatives and the people for whom they speak. But for a legislative body district representation presents no such advantages. Instead of offering laws devised by experts and submitted by an authority which is responsible to the whole people, it submits laws resulting from a compromise of conflicting interests, in which no one is responsible for the whole. As we have the traditions of the deliberative assembly farther and farther behind us, the demoralizing effect of this process becomes ever more apparent.

The second reason is even deeper. The last few years have witnessed a large growth of egoistic morality. The number of people who believe as an axiom in the principle that the nation makes progress by the selfishness of its members—or at least that it must choose between progressing that way or not at all-is very much larger than before. Of the very strict bounds which political science sets to the supposed beneficent effects of rational egoism, they have little or no conception. In business they see what has been done by competitive selfinterest; they credit the good to the selfishness and not to the competition. They hold that all egoism must be treated as rational egoism, because they regard anything except egoism as irrational. So far as these views prevail, we have not the moral basis for holding our representatives to a wide conception of their responsibilities. Improvement in political methods and improvement in ethical understanding must come hand in hand, if they are to come at all.

Congress has adjourned and left the currency question just where it was when the special session was called. It is true that President McKinley sent in a message on the very eve of adjournment, recommending the appointment of a currency commission, as advocated by the Indianapolis convention. It

is also true that the House of Representatives promptly passed a bill providing for such a commission. But, inasmuch as the Senate adjourned without concurring, all of this went for nothing. In the meantime our international bimetallic commissioners have been enjoying the jubilee of Queen Victoria, and may, therefore, well feel that they have not crossed the ocean in vain. Commercial events have, however, been tending at once to lessen the necessity of international bimetallism, and to increase its difficulties. For while the mining world is startled by the fabulous stories told of the gold fields of the Yukon region, silver is slowly falling, having gone below 26d. an ounce for the first time in history, and thus making the reëstablishment of the old ratio more difficult than ever.

In all this turmoil and uncertainty, a few quiet words of Secretary Gage are the most hopeful sign of the times. In a speech made in Boston, July 27th, after regretting the failure of the Senate to pass the Currency Commission bill, he said: “What might have been accomplished through a commission, may be achieved without one." This sentence is capable of but one interpretation. It means that the Secretary of the Treasury himself is intending to elaborate, during the recess of Congress, a bill regarding the currency, which will be presented to it when it meets again in December. Such a solution of the difficulty seems a very good one. It was the apparent inability of Congress to even formulate a plan of currency reform which led the Indianapolis convention of business men to propose a currency commission. A commission promised to be more prolific than Congress. But this plan was proposed before VIr. Gage had been appointed Secretary of the Treasury. In view of the unproductivity of most commissions, except as machines for accumulating great masses of undigested evidence, a bill worked out by a man of the training and character of Mr. Gage is much more likely to present a clean-cut, consistent plan of reform, than one resulting from the discussions even of experts. Moreover, it will have a better chance of being passed by Congress. Many Congressmen have from the beginning resented what they held to be the officious intermeddling of outsiders in a matter that

belonged exclusively to themselves. But the Secretary of the Treasury is the legal adviser of Congress. It is his duty to present, for their consideration, plans for the improvement of our finances. He cannot force his bill through. But he has a rare opportunity to make himself the leader of the forces arrayed in favor of sound currency, and in no more effectual way than under the leadership of one strong man can, we believe, the force of public opinion be brought to bear upon Congress.

Brown University has recently become the subject of much newspaper comment, on account of the publication, on July 23d, of a letter from a committee of the corporation to President Andrews, regarding his views on the free coinage of silver, and his consequent resignation. Matters have been still further complicated by the publication, on August 3d, of a vigorous protest addressed by the faculty of the University to the corporation and signed by some two-thirds of their number. Those who are eager to pronounce judgment on this whole matter should remember that the committee was appointed “to confer with the President in regard to the interests of the University," that it has not yet reported back to the corporation, and that the corporation has not yet authorized any public statement on its behalf. No account of the conference between President Andrews and the committee has been given out, and the letter addressed to him, not having been prepared for publication, cannot be taken as a complete statement of their views. The open letter of the faculty was made public before being formally presented to the corporation, indeed, about a month before the first meeting of that body at which it can be presented and acted upon. Until the corporation itself has had an opportunity to state its side, any judgment on the merits of the case and any confident praise or blame of either party must be, to say the least, premature. As matters stand at present, both have our sincere sympathy. President Andrew's has been a contributor to this review, and though we have not hesitated to express our dissent from him on the silver ques

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