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1855 edition of the "Leaves." It runs as follows:
"I cannot be awake, for nothing looks to me as it did before,
Or else I am awake for the first time, and all before has been a mean sleep."
The key once found, it became easy to follow Whitman through winding corridors, sometimes made purposely confusing, and past doors that seem intentionally locked to bar the approach of unbidden feet; and what seemed at first a pathless wilderness or a tangled jungle is revealed as a gracious, well-ordered garden of exquisite lawns, shrubs and flowers. All becomes clear; his optimism, unexampled except in men who belong to the same order as himself, is explained; we understand clearly his almost total absorption in religion; as for instance:
"Each is not for its own sake,
I say the whole earth, and all the stars in the sky, are for religion's sake.
I say no man has ever yet been half devout enough;
None has ever yet adored or worshipped half enough;
None has begun to think how divine he himself is, and how certain the future is."
We understand his about God and immortality—the convictions of a man who has seen and who knows; we see whence comes what must be called his passion for God-a passion as real, warm and intense as any emotion ever felt by one human being for another; and whence came his devotion to man, which led him to sacrifice his health and life for the sick and wounded soldiers of the war. We comprehend his exalted patriotism, his love for the common people, his scorn of money, his hatred of tyranny, his compassion for all suffering, his pity for all weakness, his forbearance with all error. The passages in which these ideas and sentiments are expressed, and which, as long as we supposed they proceeded from an ordinary man, seemed
So too we can follow him when, as in "Passage to India" and "Prayer of Columbus," he represents himself as the discoverer and announcer of a new world; for he is so. It is true that this new world had been visited and proclaimed by others before he was born; but of most of the announcers he knew nothing, and his discovery was none the less really such because others had made it-as that of Columbus was not less genuine because of the voyage of Eric.
Again we can see what he means, and realize, though perhaps somewhat dimly, its truth, when he enunciates, as he does over and over again in ever-varying language, the great verity (true of all men, but only seen
to be true by a small class of men): "I and my Father are one"-expressed by Whitman in such utterances as: "To be indeed a god," "Divine am I inside and out," "There is no god any more divine than yourself," or "I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better, God, beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself." It becomes clear to us whence he derived "the urge, the ardor, the unconquerable will" that sustained him, in opposition to friends, enemies, critics, publishers and the world at large, in his almost desperate attempt to "clarify and transfigure" heretofore "indecent and forbidden voices." We see whence came to him "the potent, felt, interior command stronger than words."
When I say, then, that Whitman is a seer, I mean that he belongs to a family, the members of which, limited in number, are spread abroad throughout the advanced races of mankind and throughout the last forty centuries of the world's history. The trait that distinguishes these people from other men is this: their spiritual eyes have been opened and they have seen. The better-known members of this group, who, were they collected together, could be ac
commodated all at one time in a modern drawing room, have created all the great modern religions, beginning with Taoism and Buddhism, and, speaking generally, have created, through religion and literature, modern civilization. Not that they have contributed any large numerical proportion of the books which have been written, but that they have produced the few books which have inspired the larger number of all that have been written in modern times. These men dominate the last twenty-five, especially the last five, centuries as stars of the first magnitude dominate the midnight sky.
A man is identified as a member of this family by the fact that at a certain age he passes through a new birth and rises to a higher spiritual plane. The reality of the new birth is demonstrated by the subjective light and otherwise. Of this new race, which seems to be increasing in number gradually as the generations succeed one another, Whitman stands among the foremost members. We cannot condemn him unless we condemn his brethren also. It is true that they were condemned each in his own day. It is also true that they all triumphed at last; and so also undoubtedly will he.
THE PHILANTHROPIST'S LEGISLATIVE FUNCTION.
By Joseph Lee.
POOR man was once walking home after his day's work, when he slipped on an icy place on the sidewalk and fell and broke his leg. A passer-by saw him fall and came up to him and, seeing that he was a poor man and that he had hurt himself, gave him a dollar and passed on. Presently another person came along the street and, seeing the man sitting there, went up to see what was the matter. Finding that the man was seriously hurt and could not walk, this second person sent for an ambulance and had him taken to the hospital, took his address, called on his wife and children to tell them what had happened, procured for them the needed assistance to tide over the time that the man could not work, and went to see him and cheer him up until he got well. And this second passer-by, who had thought not of alleviation, but of cure, who had taken the trouble to really find out what was needed and to get it, and had seen how serious the mischief was, how hard it was to cure it, and how great had been the danger of permanent injury to the man and to his family, this second philanthropist then went and called upon the proper authorities, and stayed with them until that sidewalk and other sidewalks were put into such condition that people could
walk on them with comparative safety."
In the above parable, taken from an annual report of one of our charity organization societies, the first passerby represents charity as it used to be; the second, in his way of going to work to help the poor man, in his thoroughness and in his efficiency, is a fair type of charity as it is to-day, while in his resort to preventive measures he is a prophecy of a development, already begun indeed, but which is still further to characterize the charity of the future. It is in behalf of the speedier fulfilment of this prophecy, so far as its fulfilment is to be sought in the promotion of public action and especially of legislation, that I wish to speak. I believe that our philanthropists have a duty to perform in the systematic study and promotion of progressive social legislation. I believe that in our existing theory of legislation, or at least in our customary practice, an important function is left unfulfilled, the function, namely, of deliberate, thoughtful leadership; and that because of his superior qualifications, through familiarity with the facts on which progressive legislation should be based, the discharge of this function belongs, as regards a considerable range of subjects, to the practical philanthropic worker.
As I am speaking of the duties of a
class of persons whom I call philanthropists, I ought perhaps to define the class to which I refer. By philanthropists, in this article, I mean all persons who have devoted themselves in any systematic way to charitable or educational work, with the exception of those engaged in the work of education in the narrower sense. What I have to say applies more especially to those whose work, whether paid or unpaid, has made them familiar with the conditions under which the poorer members of the community live, those who know what their family life is, and who in their attempts to help people in distress have become familiar with the forces that are pushing them down and know something of the forces that are capable of giving them lasting help. I am speaking, more especially, that is to say, of people who, like the second passer-by in the parable which I have quoted, have come actually into contact with the difficulties that stand in the way of the unfortunate, and who, by running hard and frequently against these difficulties, know in a lively and feeling manner just what they are. Such a basis of experience is a safe foundation for the attainment of further knowledge, for special investigations into the exact nature of some of the causes of poverty and of lawbreaking, and into the question of remedies and antidotes. But when the knowledge which the philanthropist has gained by his own experience is insufficient to guide him safely in the search for remedies, the question of finding a remedy is, nevertheless, still within his province as a person desiring to do systematic work and to make that work as effective as possible for the welfare of his fellowman. Where his own knowledge is insufficient, he should call in the professional men who have the special knowledge which he lacks. The position of the unpaid leaders of philanthropic enterprises is much like that of the directors in a business corporation. The best directors of railroads are not necessarily experts on the
building or management of cars or locomotives; they are men who know. how to employ experts and to combine their knowledge so as to produce results of which the experts themselves would have been entirely incapable.
Few of our philanthropists as yet realize their responsibility in the direction I have indicated. Few probably are as yet ready to admit that such responsibilities exist, that the guidance of social legislation is any special business of theirs. Not but what there have been beginnings. Already, in many of our cities, those who have seen boys arrested and given their first lesson in a regular course of criminal instruction for the offence of playing ball in the street, have bethought them of the public gymnasium, of public playgrounds and open spaces, and have made a beginning of seeing that these things are provided; those also who have traced a muddy stream of disease and degradation to its source in the dark back room of the tenement house, have, in many instances, supported the remedial action of boards of health, so that a few of the worst nuisances of this sort have been abated, and have secured such amendment to building laws that the indefinite repetition of some of the very worst forms of construction has been in some places prohibited. These and similar cases in which modern philanthropy has turned to legislative and other action on the part of the community for the attainment of its objects are certainly full of significance as to what is to be in the future. Springing up sporadically and without concert in different parts of the country, promoted by practical people, who by personal experience have been made to feel a pressing need, and who have been forced, rather in spite of their theories, to find the effective remedy, they show the logic of the facts and are sure indications of the trend of future activity. But, valuable as these instances are as showing
THE PHILANTHROPIST'S LEGISLATIVE FUNCTION.
what can and ought to be done, they are insignificant when compared with the needs of the situation. They serve rather as a signboard showing us the direction in which we are to travel than as substantial advance along that road.
What deters our philanthropists from taking a more aggressive course is not a lack either of interest or of information. The trouble is not that they lack knowledge, nor that they lack zeal, but that they have not learned to apply their zeal and their knowledge in the direction of public affairs. In private enterprises for the good of the community or of individno limit to the uals, there seems amount of work that they are ready to do; in the matter of public action alone, and especially as regards legislation, they seem to be affected by a sort of aphasia or legislative paralysis, which prevents them from applying to any subject where the making or enforcement of a law is concerned the same intelligence or the same energy which they apply to other mat
The reason of this lack of effectiveness in the matter of legislative or other public action is partly in a lack of realization of the possibilities that lie in this direction, in a failure to appreciate the services such action might be made to perform in the way of the prevention of crime and pauperism, and in a still more general failure to appreciate the opportunities that lie before us, not merely for the prevention of evil, but for the building up of positive good. I believe that in a few years the greatness of the opportunity and the almost pitifully narrow extent to which we have as yet availed ourselves of it will have become apparent to all. If the possible effectiveness of preventive and progressive legislation could be once. really brought home to us, if we could see in the warm coloring of real life the possibilities simply as they exist to-day with only our present degree of understanding of social laws-if,
cational sciences already have to im-
But even if I am wrong in supposing the feasibility of great and radical social improvement through public action, even then the absence of this greater opportunity, in which I personally believe, does not absolve the philanthropist from his responsibility in the promotion and guidance of philanthropic legislation. His existalone in regard is not ing apathy in regard to legislative to radical or far-reaching schemes. of a comparatively speculative dealso characterizes scription, but where the his attitude in legislation needed consists in the adoption of an obvious cure for a pressing evil, cases in which the harm being done is something which he himself comes across daily in the course of his regular work. Zealous as they are to leave no stone unturned for the poor family that has already gone down hill, and zealous as they are beginning to be even in matters of prevention where the prevention is to be found in private action, our philanthropists are yet in the habit of permitting, almost without protest, the continuance of abuses the operation and effect of which they perfectly understand and which go far to undo all that they are striving to accomplish by their personal and individual work, wherever the remedy implies legislation or political action of any sort. Conscientious workers will give, week after week, hours of their time and will labor steadily for years in the effort to understand and to build up