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human labor have long been felt by most ing about 425,000 acres of land, 58 per European countries and attempts have cent. of which belonged to the governbeen made to remedy them. France in ment, 25 per cent. to communities and 17 particular has learned by bitter experi
per cent. to private individuals. France ence how terrible the lowlands suffer has now a far-reaching plan for bringing when the mountains lose their forest under control about 3,000 torrential cover, and has now proved by practical streams in the Alps, Pyrenees, Ardennes, demonstrations that the losses produced Cevennes and the central plateaus, at a by forest destruction can be repaired only cost of $40,000,000. Of this 35 per cent., by reforestation.
or $14,000,000, is for reforestation alone. During the French revolution of 1789 In Austria, attention was attracted to extensive clearings were made in the for- reforestation of watersheds as a means of ests of the Provençal Alps. The French regulating stream flow by the great floods Government early recognized the danger in the Tyrol and Kärnton. Austrian forwhich bare areas threatened to property esters enumerate over 500 torrents in the and industry, and emphasized the import | Tyrol, whose basins need reforesting, and ance of reforestation. In 1842 the clas
on 100 streams the work has already besical investigations by Surell made it gun. Similar work is being extensively evident that forest clearing was responsi- carried on elsewhere among the Austrian ble for most of the damage caused by mountains. mountain torrents, and that in reforesta- In Italy the pressing need of reforesting tion lay the remedy. Laws were enacted land in the Apennines and the southern in 1860 and 1864 which recognized that slopes of the Alps has long been urged reforestation, to improve streamflow, to upon the government by the people on acrestore the soil, and to regulate torrents count of the immense destruction wrought was of public utility, and therefore that annually by the Po, which is now three it was the duty of the government. Two times as destructive to land as it was in methods were adopted to carry out the the past century. As a result of numerwork. Government assistance for refor- ous petitions, a bill was passed in 1882, estation voluntarily undertaken by com- whereby waste land amounting to nearly munities or private individuals; and a million acres was to be gradually recompulsory reforestation by means of forested, involving an initial cost of $8.40 temporary dispossession, whereby the op- per acre beside current expenses. tion was left with the owner of recov- The great efforts of nearly all the ering his lands, either by reimbursement states of Europe to counteract the effects of cost or by surrendering one-half the of indiscriminate forest clearing, effc
efforts area to the government. The work was which involve an outlay of scores of milentrusted to the French Forest Service, lions of dollars, show how important the and from 1861 to 1877, inclusive, an area mountain forests are. They should be of 233,590 acres of mountain land was regarded as a sort of capital, whose funcput into forest or grass at a cost, includ- tion in the national economy is far higher ing certain incidental expenses, of $2,900,- than the income which the timber may 000. At the close of the last century the yield. fund appropriated by the French Gov- Forests at high altitudes, at the sources ernment for protective afforestation of navigable streams, on shifting sands, on amounted to $12,500,000 in round num- banks of large rivers, and on steep, exbers, of which $4,900,000 went toward posed slopes are recognized in most of purchase of land and $7,600,000 was spent the European countries as "protective forin improvement of streams and reforesta- ests,” and are managed with the prime tion of their drainage basins. The work object of preventing washing and erosion resulted in bringing under control a num- of soil. Thus at high altitudes on steep, ber of torrential streams and in reforest- exposed slopes and near the timber line,
clear cutting as a rule is forbidden and private lands are common in Europe.
nar- There can be little doubt that similar ac
. Se- tion vere governmental regulations controlling States by the results of destroying our the management of protective forests on mountain forests.
WHY A CLASSIC IS A CLASSIC
ARNOLD BENNETT Arnold Bennett (1867- ) is a business man of letters. His keen eyes run over the literary public, appraise their wants, and fill them. Consequently he writes popular philosophical essays (How to Live on Twenty-four Hours a Day) and popular fiction (The Pretty Lady), as well as fiction of genuine literary power, such as the Clayhanger trilogy and the Old Wives' Tale, which so largely influenced contemporary novelists. But, despite his ability to give the public what it wants, Mr. Bennett tells us in The Truth About an Author that he has never written down to the public taste in any work of any length, and he has always held Beauty before him as his object. "Why a Classic Is a Classic" (1909), from Literary Taste, How to Form It, a series of essays on literature, shows Mr. Bennett at his best in freeing a time-worn subject from cant phrases and wearisome formality.
The large majority of our fellow- is that the fame of classical authors is encitizens care as much about literature as tirely independent of the majority. Do they care about aëroplanes or the pro- you suppose that if the fame of Shakesgramme of the Legislature. They do not peare depended on the man in the street ignore it; they are not quite indifferent to it would survive a fortnight? The fame it. But their interest in it is faint and of classical authors is originally made, perfunctory; or, if their interest happens and it is maintained, by a passionate few. to be violent, it is spasmodic. Ask the Even when a first-class author has entwo hundred thousand persons whose en- joyed immense success during his lifetime, thusiasm made the vogue of a popular the majority have never appreciated him novel ten years ago what they think of so sincerely as they have appreciated secthat novel now, and you will gather that ond-rate men. He has always been reinthey have utterly forgotten it, and that forced by the ardor of the passionate few. they would no more dream of reading it And in the case of an author who has again than of reading Bishop Stubb's emerged into glory after his death, the Select Charters. Probably if they did happy sequel has been due solely to the read it again they would not enjoy it- obstinate perseverance of the few. They not because the said novel is a whit worse could not leave him alone; they would now than it was ten years ago; not be- not. They kept on savoring him, and cause their taste has improved—but be- talking about him, and buying him, and cause they have not had sufficient practice they generally behaved with such eager to be able to rely on their taste as a means zeal, and they were so authoritative and of permanent pleasure. They simply sure of themselves, that at last the madon't know from one day to the next jority grew accustomed to the sound of what will please them.
his name and placidly agreed to the propo
sition that he was a genius; the majority In the face of this one may ask: Why really did not care very much either way. does the great and universal fame of classical authors continue? The answer And it is by the passionate few that
the renown of genius is kept alive from From Literary Taste, How Form It by Arnold Bennett. George H. Doran
one generation to another. These few Company, Publishers. Reprinted by permis
are always at work. They are always rediscovering genius. Their curiosity and
enthusiasm are exhaustless, so that there new researches, for ever practising on is little chance of genius being ignored. themselves.
themselves. They learn to understand And, moreover, they are always working themselves. They learn to know what either for or against the verdicts of the they want. Their taste becomes surer majority. The majority can make a and surer as their experience lengthens. reputation, but it is too careless to main- They do not enjoy to-day what will seem tain it. If, by accident, the passionate tedious to them to-morrow. When they
with the majority in a particu- find a book tedious, no amount of popular instance, they will frequently remind lar clatter will persuade them that it is the majority that such and such a reputa- pleasurable; and when they find it pleastion has been made, and the majority will urable no chill silence of the street-crowds idly concur: “Ah, yes. By the way, will affect their conviction that the book we must not forget that such and such a is good and permanent. They have reputation exists." Without that per- faith in themselves. What are the qualisistent memory-jogging the reputation ties in a book which give keen and lasting would quickly fall into the oblivion which pleasure to the passionate few? This is is death. The passionate few only have a question so difficult that it has never yet their way by reason of the fact that they been completely answered. You may talk are genuinely interested in literature, that lightly about truth, insight, knowledge, literature matters to them. They con- wisdom, humor, and beauty. But these quer by their obstinacy alone, by their comfortable words do not really carry eternal repetition of the same statements. you very far, for each of them has to be Do you suppose they could prove to the defined, especially the first and last. It man in the street that Shakespeare was a is all very
well for Keats in his airy mangreat artist? The said man would not ner to assert that beauty is truth, truth even understand the terms they employed. | beauty, and that that is all he knows or But when he is told ten thousand times, needs to know. I, for one, need to know and generation after generation, that a lot more. And I never shall know. NoShakespeare was a great artist, the said body, not even Hazlitt nor Sainte-Beuve, man believes—not by reason, but by faith. has ever finally explained why he thought And he, too, repeats that Shakespeare was a book beautiful. I take the first fine a great artist, and he buys the complete lines that come to handworks of Shakespeare and puts them on his shelves, and he goes to see the mar- The woods of Arcady are dead, velous stage-effects which accompany
And over is their antique joyKing Lear or Hamlet, and comes back religiously convinced that Shakespeare was and I say that those lines are beautiful a great artist. All because the passion- because they give me pleasure. But why? ate few could not keep their admiration of No answer! I only know that the pasShakespeare to themselves. This is not sionate few will broadly agree with me in cynicism; but truth. And it is important deriving this mysterious pleasure from that those who wish to form their literary these lines. I am only convinced that the taste should grasp it.
liveliness of our pleasure in those and
many other lines by the same author will What causes the passionate few to make ultimately cause the majority to believe, such a fuss about literature? There can by faith, that W. B. Yeats is a genius. be only one reply. They find a keen and The one reassuring aspect of the literary lasting pleasure in literature. They en- affair is that the passionate few are pasjoy literature as some men enjoy beer. sionate about the same things. A conThe recurrence of this pleasure naturally tinuance of interest does, in actual prackeeps their interest in literature very tice, lead ultimately to the same judgmuch alive. They are for ever making I ments. There is only the difference in
width of interest. Some of the passion- sionate few can no more neglect it than ate few lack catholicity, or, rather, the a bee can neglect a flower. The passionwhole of their interest is confined to one ate few do not read “the right things" narrow channel; they have none left because they are right. That is to put over. These men help specially to vital- the cart before the horse. “The right ize the reputations of the narrower gen- things” are the right things solely because iuses, such as Crashaw. But their active the passionate few like reading them. predilections never contradict the general | Hence and I now arrive at my pointverdict of the passionate few ; rather they the one primary essential to literary taste reinforce it.
is a hot interest in literature. If you
have that, all the rest will come. It matA classic is a work which gives pleasure ters nothing that at present you fail to to the minority which is intensely and find pleasure in certain classics. The permanently interested in literature. It driving impulse of your interest will force lives on because the minority, eager to re- you to acquire experience, and experience new the sensation of pleasure, is eternally will teach you the use of the means of curious and is therefore engaged in an pleasure. You do not know the secret eternal process of rediscovery. A classic ways of yourself: that is all. A continudoes not survive for any ethical reason. ance of interest must inevitably bring you It does not survive because it conforms to to the keenest joys. But, of course, expericertain canons, or because neglect would ence may be acquired judiciously or injunot kill it. It survives because it is a diciously, just as Putney may be reached source of pleasure, and because the pas- via Walham Green or via St. Petersburg.
HOW THE PROMISE HAS BEEN REALIZED
Herbert Croly (1869- ) has been an editor of the New Republic since 1914. In that capacity he has to a great extent determined the attitude of that magazine toward public questions, and is largely responsible for its fearless frankness. Mr. Croly tells us, in the World's Work for June, 1910, that The Promise of American Life (1909) was the result of a growing conviction, first suggested by Judge Robert Grant's novel Unleavened Bread, that it was deplorable that "American patriotic formulas could be used to discourage competent and specialized individual effort.” To remedy the evils of a "chaotic mixture of alien and shifting elements” in our social and political structures he urges a constructive relation between nationality and democracy.
All the conditions of American life and less confident of the future. They have tended to encourage an easy, gen- are always by way of fighting for their erous, and irresponsible optimism. As national security and integrity. With compared to Europeans, Americans have possible or actual enemies on their several been very much favored by circumstances. frontiers, and with their land fully occuHad it not been for the Atlantic Ocean pied by their own population, they need and the virgin wilderness, the United above all to be strong, to be cautious, to States would never have been the Land be united, and to be opportune in their of Promise. The European Powers have policy and behavior. The case of France been obliged from the very conditions of shows the danger of neglecting the their existence to be more circumspect sources of internal strength, while at the
same time philandering with ideas and ? From The Promise of American Life by projects of human amelioration. BisHerbert Croly. Published by The Macmillan
marck and Cavour seized the opportunity Company. Reprinted by permission.
of making extremely useful for Germany and Italy the irrelevant and vacillating "What, then, is an American, this new idealism and the timid absolutism of the man?" asks the Pennsylvania farmer. third Napoleon. Great Britain has occupied in this respect a better situation He is either a European or the descendant than have the Continental Powers. Her of a European; hence the strange mixture of insular security made her more independ
blood, which you will find in no other coun
try: ent of the menaces and complications of He becomes an American by being received foreign politics, and left her free to be in the broad lap of our great Alma Mater. measurably liberal at home and immeas- Here individuals of all nations are melted urably imperial abroad. Yet she has into a new race of men, whose labors and
prosperity will one day cause great changes made only a circumspect use of her free
in the world. Here the rewards of his indom. British liberalism was forged al- dustry follow with equal steps the progress of most exclusively for the British people his labor; this labor is founded on the basis and the British peace for colonial sub
of self-interest; can it want a stronger allure
ment? Wives and children, who before in jects. Great Britain could have afforded
vain demanded a morsel of bread, now fat better than France to tie its national life
and frolicsome, gladly help their father to to an overnational idea, but the only idea clear those fields, whence exuberant crops in which Britons have really believed was
are to arise to feed them all; without any that of British security, prosperity, and
part being claimed either by a despotic
prince, a rich abbot, or a mighty lord. power. In the case of our own country The American is a new man, who acts upon the advantages possessed by England have new principles; he must therefore entertain been amplified and extended. The new ideas and form new opinions. From inUnited States was divided from the main
voluntary idleness, servile dependence, pen
ury, and useless labor, he has passed to land of Europe not by a channel but by toils of a very different nature rewarded by an ocean. Its dimensions were conti- ample subsistence. This is an American. nental rather than insular. We were for the most part freed from alien interfer- Although the foregoing is one of the ence, and could, so far as we dared, ex- first, it is also one of the most explicit periment with political and social ideals.descriptions of the fundamental AmerThe land was unoccupied, and its settle-ican; and it deserves to be analyzed with ment offered an unprecedented area and some care. According to this French abundance of economic opportunity. After convert the American is a man, or the the Revolution the whole political and descendant of a man, who has emigrated social organization was renewed, and from Europe chiefly because he expects to made both more serviceable and more be better able in the New World to enflexible. Under such happy
happy circum- joy the fruits of his own labor. The stances the New World was assuredly conception implies, consequently, an Old destined to become to its inhabitants a World, in which the ordinary man canLand of Promise—a land in which men not become independent and prosperous, were offered a fairer chance and a better and, on the other hand, a New World in future than the best which the Old which economic opportunities are much World could afford.
more abundant and accessible. AmerNo more explicit expression has ever ica has been peopled by Europeans pribeen given to the way in which the Land marily because they expected in that of Promise was first conceived by its country to make more money more easily, children than in the “Letters of an Amer- To the European immigrant-that is, to ican Farmer.” This book was written the aliens who have been converted into by a French Immigrant, Hector St. John Americans by the advantage of American de Crèveccur before the Revolution, and life-the Promise of America has conis informed by an intense consciousness sisted largely in the opportunity which it of the difference between conditions in the offered of economic independence and Old and in the New World.
prosperity. Whatever else the better