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gressional districts in this state in efforts made therein to elect congressmen and to secure electors believed to be favorable to the policy of fostering private interests.

After bringing a serious indictment against the conduct of electors in the Empire State, Gov. Hill deliberately draws the sting by quoting in evidence facts that place the blame upon the republicans. He exposes himself to the imputation of using an official document as the vehicle of partisanship. The menace to our institutions in a chattel electorship is that both parties accepted the gauge of battle, and bought freely. His Excellency takes up ten pages out of a message of thirty pages in the discussion of the subject of ballot reform. He praises the election laws of New York, recommends amendments rendering the act of bribery more difficult, and isolating the polls from party runners, favors a law compelling electors to vote and to cast a secret ballot furnished if thought necessary, at the expense of the state, incorrectly states that the English or Australian system compels each candidate to furnish ballots, opposes the marking of ballots by ballot clerks, thinks that the election districts throughout the state should be multiplied in order to facilitate the work of receiving votes, denounces political mottoes on “pay envelopes” to employés, favors a compulsory statement of election expenses to be lodged by each candidate with the Secretary of State immediately after each election, applauds the Massachusetts law giving each employé two hours of working time on election days to perform his political duties and finally warns the Legislature against sudden and radical changes of election laws or the adoption of any “pet scheme of some club, association, or other self-constituted or irresponsible body or individual without any practical experience in the public service and charged with no responsibility for corrupt legislation, but filled with pride of authorship, seeks (seeking ?) to impose upon the Legislature its or his own peculiar plan regardless of its actual merits.” In view of the struggle now at its heat in Albany, in the light of which Gov. Hill's message must be judged, it will be unadvisable to analyze this message here. After his sweeping admissions of bribery and fraud, the wonder is that Gov. Hill should assume the responsibility of obstructing any bill constructed on the general lines of the Australian ballot method. The insinuation concerning irresponsible bodies inspired by “pride of authorship” is the outgrowth of that cynicism which trained politicians of all shades exhibit more and more toward men in private life who discuss affairs of state. Gov. Hill's message is a curious fusion of the spirit of apparent candor and the instincts of the martinet. He is appalled at the spread of bribery, confesses for his enemies, distrusts lay reformers, calls upon the State to force voters to the polls when the stay-at-home contingent is not important enough to be considered a political evil, yet vetoes a ballot bill drafted from laws that have proved successful after years of trial in other countries.

It will be seen by the subjoined extracts from the message of Gov. Robert S. Green of New Jersey, that at least one democratic executive takes issue with the Hill view of intricate election machinery like the Australian method. Gov. Green frankly spreads the untoward fact of bribery upon his page, and then suggests such remedies as appeals to his common


Our statute books are full of laws for the protection of the elector and the punishment of those who seek to improperly influence the exercise of the elective franchise. They seem so far to have utterly failed of their purpose. The corruptor and the corrupt seem willing to take the risk of detection, indictment and conviction. Corruption stalks unpunished around the election polls; and men, dignified by law with the privilege and power of electors barter away their manhood and citizenship as merchandise in the market to the highest bidder. If open corruption of the voter is not carried on, the flimsiest pretexts of employment at exorbitant and extravagant amounts are resorted to, until it is notorious that immense sums of money are spent to effect political results. One of the most astounding incidents of this undermining of our institutions is that public political morals seem to be well nigh debauched, and men who are high in public estimation, who in their lives are exemplary and correct not only look with complacency upon this debasement of the franchise, but willingly contribute sums which they must know will be improperly and illegally expended, and triumphantly exult in the success of the corrupt employment of their contributions. . . . Our system lacks some provision which shall make the use of money in elections and the intimidation of the voters ineffective. Making it a crime and providing for its punishment fails as a preventive remedy, and the time has come when some other remedial provision should be adopted. No other plan seems to offer so

many advantages as the complete isolation of the voter in preparing and casting his ballot. . . . The details of the system may require much care in their preparation, but the plan of furnishing the voter with his ticket and his perfect isolation while preparing it give more promise of preventing the growing evil of corruption and intimidation at the polls than any other which has been brought to my attention. I again recommend that violation of the election laws be made a cause of challenge. . . I also recommend that the law with reference to what shall be considered as intimidation or corrupt practices shall be made more clear by defining more fully what acts shall constitute such offenses. ... The election laws in England, once notorious for corruption, have through the operation of law been made free from that vice. They are subject to the review of the judges, whose determination settles the question, a system which cannot be adopted here as to our legislative bodies, as each is by the constitution made the sole judge of the election of its own members ; but the other system which has been adopted and tried successfully in Australia and certain parts of this country can with proper care as to its details, be constitutionally put into operation.

These words have no uncertain sound. The governor appears to be aiming at general results and spins no fine theories. It remains to be seen what effect his urgent appeal will have upon the New Jersey Legislature.

The last message which we shall examine is that of Gov. Alvin P. Hovey of Indiana, a state that probably felt the shock of the November battle more severely than any in the union. The now common expressions,—“blocks of five” and “the floaters,” designating gangs of purchased voters and the purchasable vote, originated in the Indiana canvass and under circumstances still in dispute and at present a matter of issue in the criminal courts. That there was ground for belief among men entrusted with campaign funds that the “floaters ” of Indiana were numerous may be reasonably inferred from the words of Gov. Hovey to the Legislature after the elections were over and the party to which he is allied had triumphed :

In the late election, charges of fraud and corruption have been freely made by the contending parties, and while we are not authorized to sit in judgment as to the particular acts or cases, we cannot shut our eyes to the facts. There is reason to believe that the ballot has been polluted, not only in this state but in many of the other states of the union and in both political parties, until in the eyes of many respectable men it seems to be no longer regarded as a crime. This cannot continue and

increase if we hope to perpetuate our free institutions. If it does, a moneyed aristocracy will soon control the destinies of our nation, and that liberty which we now so highly prize will be lost to us forever. The demagogue who would buy the vote of his poor and needy neighbor is far more corrupt and vile than his victim and will only wait his chance to sell the liberties of his country for a higher price. As a rule, he who buys a vote will sell his own.

It is greatly to Gov. Hovey's credit that he has had the candor and courage to include his own party in his arraignment of political bribers. He is unsound, we think, in declaring that the bribe-giver is “far more corrupt and vile” than the bribe-taker. However, no good purpose is served by recognizing two degrees of self-abasement in a dishonorable dicker. The legislation suggested by his Excellency is practical and to the point. He reminds the General Assembly that the Indiana constitution has been disregarded in not providing for a registration of voters; he recommends smaller election precincts, polling places isolated from political runners, the disenfranchisement of voters who bribe or are bribed for the first offense, and imprisonment for the second offense, as well as the disenfranchisement of those who exact contributions from candidates, and he favors a law making false challenges of legal voters at the polls punishable by fine and imprisonment.

We have reached the bottom of the list this dismal and alarming succession of executive warnings. Bribery without precedent in our history is pilloried in all modes and considered from all sides. It is not the purpose of the writer to draw a political moral or to examine what he considers the causes for this epidemic of political vice, but simply to place in compact form the various treatments proposed by the governors. Taken as a body, the six republican and the six democratic governors have not spoken the wisest word in a confessedly serious emergency. They are strong in the academic denunciation of political crime, but many of them lack grip in formulating legislation. Political debauchery cannot be cured, it is true, by statutes without the legislation of just minds and the assertion of that popular sentiment which is the genius of our American civilization. Still, the States have a duty in the premises, and the country now looks to the Legislatures to begin the work of reform.



The man who burned his barn to destroy the rats that ate his corn has been much laughed at for his folly. Yet he has many imitators even among those who laugh loudest. For this barn-burning is no imaginary fable ; it is an every day fact which is of late becoming only too common.

Again and again we see this suicidal method of cure applied to the ills of society, and it is growing in favor with those whom it injures most. Men destroy the sources of their own livelihood and doom themselves to poverty or starvation in the vain attempt to injure others who are filching a few handfuls from the store. Hungry mobs, inspired by envy and revenge, set fire to car-loads of corn and other food and in a few hours destroy that which would satisfy their hunger for many days. Restless workers demand higher wages, and if their demands are not promptly met, by wanton acts they empty the treasuries from which their wages come as though wages could be increased by such means. Idlers ask for work, and then, as a means of securing it, block the very industries that would furnish them remunerative employment. And so in many ways wealth is destroyed or production is hindered in the endeavor to punish or to cripple those who are supposed to take more than their share. The result is always the same. The loss sustained in curing the evil is vastly greater than the evil itself. The blow aimed at a real or supposed thief rebounds with double force upon the striker. The rats scamper off in safety to new stores of corn, while he who kindled the flames mourns the loss of both store-house and corn, and perhaps dies of starvation.

In the recent developments of social agitation the strike has become a very popular means of adjusting difficulties. Workmen become dissatisfied with their wages or with the hours of labor or they feel that in some way or other the treatment they receive at the hands of their employers is unjust, and immediately they strike. Or employers have some

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