Imágenes de páginas

study of the silver question. The final result of this study was his conversion to the free-coinage doctrine, and readiness to sacrifice himself for it.

The report of the Government finances for the year ending with last month shows a deficit of $26,000,000, as against one of $43,000,000 a year ago. Most of this gain is due to increased receipts, especially from customs. The aggregate from this source was $161,000,000, as against $152,000,000 last year and $132,000,000 in 1894. As 1894 was the last year of the McKinley Law, some of the advocates of the Wilson Law have claimed that it is a far better revenue measure than its predecessor. The comparison between '96 and '94, however, is hardly fair to the McKinley Law, as importations under it in 1894 were restricted by the prospect of lower duties when the Wilson Law changes went into effect. The average customs revenue under the McKinley Law (during the three years '92, '93, and '94) was $171,000,000, or $10,000,000 more than those under the Wilson Law last year. This difference, however, is chiefly to be attributed to the higher prices prevailing throughout the world when the McKinley Law was in force. Had the importations under it been appraised at present European prices, the taxes received by our Government would have been much less. The internal revenue receipts last year were $147,000,000— $3,000,000 more than last year, but $10,000,000 less than the average during the three years preceding. This falling off is, of course, a disappointment to the framers of the present law, as an increase in internal revenue was anticipated from the increased tax upon spirits. The decrease is probably due, not to a decrease in the consumption of liquor, but to a decrease in the amount manufactured and put upon the market. Hard times affect public revenues as quickly as private. The Government's expenditures during the year just ended were $352,000,000, or $4,000,000 less than in 1895, $16,000,000 less than in 1894, and $31,000,000 less than in 1893. They are, however, $53,000,000 greater than during the last year of Mr. Cleveland's previous administration. The great increase in expenditures during the present decade has been chiefly. due to increased pension appropriations, which last year aggregated $130,000,000, as against $88,000,000 in 1889. There have also been serious increases in the appropriations for the navy and for rivers and harbors. The amount of money held in the Treasury over and above liabilities is $267,000,000, or $160,000,000 more than three years ago. The bond issues have aggregated $262,000,000. The present National debt is $1,222,000,000, or about $100 per family of five.

The Louisiana Legislature has partially fulfilled the pledges of reform made to the representatives of the New Orleans Citizens' League in order to secure Governor Foster's reinauguration. It has, however, fulfilled them in a disappointing fashion. A Constitutional Convention is to be called if the voters so order, but its work is to be so limited that no new election can be held to determine who was rightfully elected Governor in the recent contest. Governor Foster's message to the Legislature on this point was on the same level as his failure to give the New Orleans Citizens' League representation at the polls in the November election. Rarely has a Governor so distinctly avowed that his actions were governed by partisan considerations. "As chief executive of the State," he says, "I fully realize that I am the public servant of the whole people. As a representative, however, of that great major

ity of the people whose political principles and opinions on public questions I share, I would deem myself recreant to the trust imposed on me by them if I should surrender a dearly won victory after a hard-contested political battle, to be again struggled for at the instance of the defeated party." The Citizens' League is thus defeated in its effort to secure an honest election to determine the question whether Governor Foster represents a "great majority" or a fraudulent majority of the people of the State. Regarding a reform in the election laws, the Governor is a trifle more public-spirited. He modifies his opposition to the Australian ballot system, but urges its adoption in the larger towns only. Respecting the registration lists he urges a complete and satisfactory revision. The majority of the Legislature has accepted the Governor's programme. Most of the members of the New Orleans League voted with the Republicans and Populists against limiting the work of the proposed Constitutional Convention, but a few were absent, and the partisan Democratic measure secured a majority. If the Convention is held, its revision of the Constitution need not be submitted to the voters. It is

possible, however, that the voters may decide that no Convention shall be held. Apart from these matters affecting the franchise, the most important bill yet acted upon by the Legislature was one permitting the Sunday opening of saloons except between the hours of nine and twelve in the morning. This measure was advocated not only by the liquor interests, but by many public officials of the city of New Orleans. The position taken was that the present laws could not be enforced. The Legislature, however, refused to be guided in this matter by lawbreakers and those who connived at lawbreaking. After considerable discussion the bill was sent back to the committee. The fact that Sunday-closing laws have been enforced in New York has apparently strengthened the cause of Sunday closing throughout the


The troubles of the English Ministry are not confined to domestic matters. Our recent comment on the withdrawal of the Education Bill needs to be supplemented by a comment on the singular ill luck which has attended the Ministry in foreign affairs. It is the misfortune of Governments that they are always held responsible for disasters which occur while they are in power, even though, as in many cases, these disasters are the direct results of policies initiated by political opponents. It is impossible at this moment to determine intelligently how far Lord Salisbury has been responsible for the untoward results of the foreign policy of the Conservative Ministry up to date, but it is certain that that Ministry has met with a series of humiliating reverses. When the Conservatives went into power, there was a great deal of talk about a vigorous and creditable foreign policy, it being a commonly accepted maxim among the Conservatives in England that Liberal Ministries are always weak in foreign matters and Conservative Ministries strong. Lord Salisbury, especially, has been held up as what is popularly called a strong man, and there were hopes that Mr. Chamberlain would develop the same sort of aggressiveness. The Ministry had hardly taken office before the massacres in Armenia were crying aloud for vengeance, and instead of vigor, decision, and action the English Government not only did nothing, but appeared almost insensible to the shocking brutalities which stirred the conscience of Europe. The Great Power which has often, under the dictates of conscience, interfered at great risk in behalf of oppressed peoples, remained silent. and with folded hands, the Sultan apparently entirely in

different to English representations and threats, and the Russians scornful of them.

In the Farther East Russian diplomacy has, for the moment at least, established Russian influence in China as firmly as it has been established at Constantinople. In South Africa, where one of the strongest Englishmen of the day was practically in command, with one of the most skillful and daring of colonial ministers behind him, there has been a succession of disasters, which have in turn humiliated Mr. Rhodes and Mr. Chamberlain. Mr. Chamberlain has shown a good deal of ability and frankness in dealing with South African matters, but the fates have been against him, and President Kruger has so far beaten him at every point. When the foolhardy invasion headed by Dr. Jameson failed, those who wanted a strong policy expected Mr. Chamberlain to take advantage of the situation and establish English authority in the Transvaal, and there is good reason to believe that Mr. Chamberlain would have been glad to carry out this policy; but there was no moral ground on which it could have been made respectable. It only remained for him to disclaim any knowledge of or sympathy with the attack on the Boer power, and at the same time to insist upon all the rights which belonged to England in South Africa. He is reported to have notified President Kruger privately that he was quite ready to fight if he had the opportunity. He then invited President Kruger to London, with the suggestion that the grievances of the Uitlanders should be redressed by amicable discussion, to which "Oom Paul " replied that Great Britain was bound to respect the independence of the Transvaal and that the grievances would be cared for at home. Matters were at this stage when the leaders of the insurrection pleaded guilty of the charges of treason against them, and their four leading men were sentenced to death. At the very moment when the tide of sympathy set in motion by these sentences was at its height, President Kruger published the cipher telegrams which threw such a light on the origin of the movement against the Boers and the connection of certain leading Englishmen with it as to give what first appeared to be a movement for the redress of outrageous wrongs a purely commercial character. In other words, a crusade in behalf of the rights of outsiders in the Transvaal was transformed into a violent attempt to overthrow the Boerish power for commercial ends. The publication of the cipher dispatches left the Boers master of the situation. The remission of the sentences of death was another master-stroke on their part, and "Oom Paul" now has the satisfaction of having outwitted the shrewd and able English Minister, protected his own country, postponed the granting of just reforms, and put into the Transvaal treasury, from fines, something more than a million dollars. This brief survey makes it clear that, despite the enormous majority behind it, the Conservative Ministry is still to justify its existence in foreign as well as in domestic affairs.

a conciliatory policy and of pacifying his Cretan subjects, but the Cretans do not believe him and are not willing to trust themselves in his hands. When the Assembly of the island met last year, a serious effort was made to deal with the financial situation, which was and continues to be extremely involved. Among other remedies proposed for immediate relief was a project for a loan, but although this project had behind it a large majority of deputies and the approval of the Governor, the Sublime Porte refused to act upon it. Distress has steadily increased, and as it has increased the feeling against Turkey has grown. The Porte is now desirous of acceding to the demands of the Cretans, and has taken steps in that direction. It proposes, among other things, a convocation of the Assembly of the island, to which will be submitted for discussion a scheme for the general reform of the administration of Crete; but one, Christian member of the Assembly has already expressed a general suspicion when he said that the Sultan proposes by a convocation of the Assembly to secure in one place the attendance of the representative men of the island and then to quietly lay hands on them either for slaughter or imprisonment. It looks now as if the insurgents in the island would stand their ground until a definite joint action of the Great Powers has assured them that they may safely lay down their arms and discuss their grievances under the forms of law. If Turkey imagines that the crimes in Armenia are to go unpunished, she is even more short-sighted than people have believed. She is already bearing the punishment. No country has ever stood lower in the estimation of the world.

The Turkish Government is now reaping the harvest which it has sown with such a prodigal hand. Its evasions, delays, and falsehoods have not only forfeited the confidence of the entire Western world, but that of its own subject peoples. It is safe to say that nobody in Turkey or out of Turkey believes anything the Government says. This does not mean that the Turkish Government always lies, but it does mean that it has used the arts of lying so long that no one is now able to discriminate between truth and falsehood in its statements. This is strikingly shown in Crete, where, if appearances are to be trusted (and the word "if" is significant), the Sultan is desirous of pursuing

He says

Nothing shows more strikingly the general acceptance of the democratic idea and the dominance of the democratic movement than the language of the claimants to the vanished throne of France. Comment was made in these columns not many weeks ago on the declaration of the representative of the older and younger branches of the historic royal family of France that he was quite ready to rise to power through popular suffrage. About the time. this manifesto was issued there was an interview between its author, the Duc d'Orléans, and the ex-Empress Eugénie. This interview was very widely discussed, and it was believed in some quarters that an endeavor had been made to effect a fusion of the claims of the two houses, the Bonapartist interest to be thrown into a kind of pool with the Legitimist interest. Prince Victor Napoleon has, however, promptly denied this report, and he has denied it in words of thoroughly democratic purport. that he has not abandoned his rights, because the rights of the Bonapartist dynasty are not vested in that dynasty, but in the people themselves. If the people want him to rule, he is willing to rule; that must be his permanent attitude. He cannot abandon his duties. This is shrewd talk, like that of his rival on the other side of the line. It shows that the consciousness of democracy has penetrated even through the non-communicating atmosphere which usually surrounds claimants to thrones. It does not seem to have occurred to these gentlemen, however, that in abandoning the divine right to rule for the privilege of ruling by popular suffrage, they have yielded all that was distinctive in their positions. For the sake of a possible immediate advantage they are bartering the hopes of their grandchildren-if it may be said that the grandchildren of princes in this day have any hopes.

Professor Peabody, of Harvard, presents in the current "Forum" an interesting summary of an inquiry made in Boston last summer on behalf of the Committee of Fifty for the Investigation of the Liquor Problem. The inquiry

embraced the patronage of the saloons and the patronage of the substitutes for the saloons. Among substitutes for the saloons were included all places which offered their patrons some degree of sociability without intoxicating liquor. Regarding the patronage of each saloon, the investigators received the statement of the patrolman on the beat-supplementing it in case of doubt by that of the saloon-keeper himself. Regarding the patronage of the substitutes for the saloon, an independent investigation was conducted. The results reached were as follows: Number. Daily Patronage. 606 226,752

Saloons... Pool-rooms.



Reading-rooms. Clubs.....

[blocks in formation]

Excluding the pool-rooms, which Professor Peabody regards as nearly as injurious as the saloons, the total patronage of the substitutes was 76,000. The patronage of the saloons was nearly three times as great. In a city with an adult male population of 156,000, the number of persons entering saloons each day is estimated at 226,000. Of course many persons enter saloons more than once a day, and the record kept was one of visits rather than visitors. But, making all allowance for "repeaters," the estimate is still a startling one. Upon the basis of an expenditure of ten cents at each visit, the aggregate outlay in these places is $6,800,000 a year-or an average of $68 for each family in the city. The public schools cost less than a third as much, the parks less than a third as much; indeed, the rent paid by the great mass of families is less than three times as much. Professor Peabody takes the position that the patronage of the saloons is in large part due to their ministry to social needs, and the figures he presents constitute an urgent appeal for further efforts to furnish wholesome means of meeting these needs.

The Raines liquor-tax law in this State went into full effect the first of this month. As a revenue measure it has proven even more successful than its framer estimated. The total receipts are likely to aggregate $10,500,000. In this city the receipts will be in the neighborhood of $5,000,000, and although one-third of this sum will go to the State, the city will still receive nearly twice as much as from the licenses issued under the old law last year. The success of the law, however, from the standpoint of revenue indicates a corresponding failure from the standpoint of saloon restriction. The number of saloons in this city is likely to decrease less than ten per cent., and this ratio will probably hold throughout the State. The taxes for cities and towns of various sizes were carefully graded so as to produce the maximum revenue, and drive as few saloons as possible out of business. They were emphatically tariffs for revenue, and not tariffs for protection. Some of the opponents of the law are attacking it on the ground that it will throw several thousand saloon-keepers and bartenders out of employment. In these criticisms it is uniformly assumed that the money heretofore spent in the closed saloons will hereafter not be spent at all. Our criticism upon the law is that nearly all this money will be spent in other saloons, employing perhaps the same men in the same business. Were one-tenth of the townships and wards of the States made saloon-free, the reduction in the amount of drinking would be of immense value. But with saloons still permitted in nearly every neighborhood, tippling, treating, and loafing places will remain about as convenient as ever to the great body of citizens.

It is a pleasure to commend again the intelligence and energy with which the system of free lectures delivered in

the public schools of this city during the winter, under the authority of the Board of Education, has been managed. Especial credit is due in this connection to Dr. Leipziger, who has devoted himself with the greatest zeal to this method of university extension, as it may be called with very little exaggeration. Dr. Leipziger's annual report shows that nearly 400,000 people listened to these lectures during the five months in which they were delivered. The audiences were very largely made up of those who are not in the habit of hearing lectures of any kind. The lectures carried into every section of the city the results of the latest scientific research and thought. Nearly eight hundred were illustrated by stereopticon views, and many more by experiments of various kinds. The subjects included. physiology, hygiene, travel, civil government, American history, art, literature, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. The lectures were necessarily popular in form, but they were almost without exception serious in intention, and the men who were secured were for the most part experts in their various departments-men, that is, who spoke from a first-hand knowledge of the themes with which they dealt. This is probably but the beginning of a system which is likely to be permanent in the city, and which ought to afford, among other things, the possibility of free communication of thought and knowledge between all classes of citizens. Any man who has mastered any subject ought to be willing to share with others the results of his research and thought, thus making his own rivulet of information tributary to the general stock of knowledge in the municipality. Dr. Leipziger evidently hopes for larger appropriations to make this system of free lectures genuinely and permanently educational in its character, and the results already achieved show that that hope is well grounded.

That salaries have been paid in the New York city departments to men who never did an hour's work has been openly asserted for many years. That there have been "understudies" in many of the departments receiving from the principals appointed a half or two-thirds of the salary apportioned to the position, the difference being retained. by the man appointed by the authorities, is a commonly known fact. It has been found, more than once, that these principals were serving in other of the city departments. To prevent the subletting of positions by the men with a "pull" has been very difficult. The Civil Service Commissioners and the City Comptroller have arranged that the city pay-rolls hereafter shall be compared with the lists of the Civil Service Commissioners. The records of the Civil Service Commissioners contain not only the mental but the physical examination of every man appointed from the eligible lists. The comparison of the pay-rolls with the records of the Commissioners will prevent the employment of "dummies "--the term applied to the men who work in place of the man appointed by the authorities. Politics as a trade is fast becoming unprofitable in New York City.

In a recent comment on the report of the Chinese Imperial Maritime Customs for 1895, the New York "Tribune points out some of the benefits which China is likely to receive in partial compensation for her great losses during the recent war with Japan. Among these is the opening of the Chinese ports more freely to the commerce of the world, and the opening of Chinese territory more generally to the introduction of industrial machinery. The report referred to shows that during the last year, in spite of its recent calamities and present sufferings, a large amount of business

was transacted in the Empire. Money was plentiful, trade excellent, importations of machinery large, and customs receipts in excess of any preceding year; the gross value of imports and exports exceeding that of 1894 by eight per cent. A noticeable decline in the import trade in opium is one of the features of the situation-a decline which indicates, however, not a moral but an industrial change, opium imported from India having considerably advanced in price, while the domestic production has very materially increased. New cotton-mills have been built in the neighborhood of Shanghai and elsewhere, and thousands of acres of new cotton-fields are being planted. There has been a material increase in the exports of silk, tea, and cotton, and China has benefited greatly by using the Pasteur system of dealing with the silkworm disease. The foreign commerce of the Empire is still largely in English hands; second on the list stands Japan, and third the United States. About seventy per cent. of the entire commerce of the Empire is transacted at Shanghai. There are now in China only about ten thousand foreign residents, of whom about four thousand are English and about thirteen hundred Americans. Under good economic conditions China would undoubtedly make a very rapid advance in industrial development of all kinds, and the prospect of securing those conditions is very much brightened by the defeat which the Empire sustained at the hands of Japan.

The defeat of Yale at Henley by the Leander crew on Tuesday morning destroys the hope that the Grand Challenge Cup might be brought to this country. No international intercollegiate athletic event has excited so general public interest since Harvard tried her skill against Oxford with equally disappointing results. In the Yale race just rowed, as well as in the earlier contest referred to, the courtesy toward each other shown by the two crews and the fair and friendly feeling evinced by the English press and people were gratifying to all who care for manly sport carried on under pleasant conditions and with mutual esteem. Yale was, in a way, unfortunate in drawing a formidable opponent for the first heat, and in thus having the struggle ended for her on the first day of the racing. The crew sent from this side of the water was made up of fine material, but the men seem to have been unable to accommodate their stroke to the exigencies of a comparatively short course. The Leander crew won by nearly two lengths in 7 minutes and 14 seconds.

[ocr errors]

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Beecher Stowe, who died at her home in Hartford on Wednesday of last week, was the most widely known of American women; indeed, it is not too much to say that, with the exception of a small group of men, including Washington, Lincoln, and Grant, she was the most widely

known of Americans. The audience which she addressed through "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was made up of readers in all countries and languages. On this continent almost every one of intelligence read the story; and those who know how very shallow, measured by the depth of population, the circulation of even popular books is, will find in this statement some explanation of the extraordinary influence exerted by that story. In England, within a year after its first appearance, forty editions had appeared, and sooner or later it was translated into more than twenty languages. In this country the sale has never ceased; which means that the people have never stopped reading the book. They have seen it in every possible form, both in bound volume

and on the stage; and they know Uncle Tom better than they know any other character in fiction. Such a success is not made by accident; such an achievement rests upon a rational ground of genius, temperament, individuality, and conviction. It may be said that Mrs. Stowe was born to write "Uncle Tom's Cabin." She belonged to a family lavishly endowed with some of the highest intellectual gifts a family intensely in earnest in the enforcement of moral convictions, and passionately sympathetic with their kind. The ethical tendency which has for two and a half centuries been masterful in New England had not spent its force when it reached the children of Lyman Beecher, but it was associated with a profound humanity, with gifts of humor and eloquence, and with the dramatic and poetic imagination. In Mrs. Stowe, as in her great father and her greater brother, there was not only the instinct to right the wrong, but also the dramatic quality which personified the wrong and attacked it with every resource of the heart as well as of the intellect.

Born in Litchfield, Conn., in the stirring days of 1812, Mrs. Stowe knew the simplicity, the hardness, and the strenuous intellectual life of a New England parsonage. She was a sunny child, of amiable temper and vivid imagination. She turned to books in earliest childhood from an infallible instinct that in them she would find what her rich and aspiring nature needed. She lived in Scott's novels, in "The Arabian Nights," and in "Don Quixote "—a significant selection, which brings out in strong relief the idealism and the insatiable interest in life which were her prime characteristics. Among the many stories which are told of the gifted children in the Litchfield parWard Beecher. It is said that one morning the father oversonage is one which was highly characteristic of Henry heard a noisy discussion among the boys upstairs. Going to the foot of the stairs, he called to one of them and asked what the trouble was. The answer came promptly, "Henry side." Before Mrs. Stowe was twelve years of age, in a says that God can't make a sheet of paper with only one school composition she had answered in the negative the question, "Can the immortality of the soul be proved by the light of nature?" In her thirteenth year she became a pupil in the seminary in Hartford of which her sister Catherine was the principal, and after passing through the course at the school became one of its teachers. In 1832, when her father became President of Lane Theological Seminary, she went with him to Cincinnati, where, four years later, she married Professor Stowe. In 1850 Professor Stowe accepted a position on the Faculty of Bowdoin College, and the family returned to the East. After two years' residence at Brunswick a second removal was made to Andover, Professor Stowe having been appointed Professor of Sacred Literature in the Theological Seminary of that place. He held this position until 1862, when he resigned, and the final move of the family was made to Hartford, where Professor Stowe died in 1886. In a recent article in "McClure's Magazine" Mrs. Elizabeth Stuart Phelps gives us this charming glimpse of Mrs. Stowe in the Andover days:

"My personal remembrances of Mrs. Stowe are those of a young girl whom she entertained at intervals, always delightfully, in the long parlor running the width of the stone house, whose deep-embrasured window-seats seemed to me only less wonderful than the soft and brightly colored, rather worldly-looking pillows with which those attractive nooks were generously filled. There were flowers always, and a bower of ivy made summer of the eternal Andover winters in the stone house; and there were merry girls and boys-Mrs. Stowe was the most unselfish and loving of mothers-and there were always dogs, big and little, curly and straight; but in some form dog life, with its gracious reaction on the gentleness and kindness of family life, abounded in her house. It was an open, hospitable house,

human and hearty and happy, and I have always remembered it affectionately."

Mrs. Stowe was then a woman of world-wide fame, but living a quiet domestic life, deeply religious in tone, profoundly sympathetic with moral movements, and with personal experiences simple, unaffected, and pervaded throughout by an incorruptible integrity.


The anti-slavery agitation was at its height when the Stowes left Cincinnati for Maine. Mrs. Stowe had been near enough to the frontier line between slavery and freedom to enter personally into the great struggle then going It has been said, and with entire truth, that the Dred Scott decision made slavery a National institution, and did more to organize the whole North against it than any other single incident or fact. There were many men who were reluctant to disturb slavery so long as it remained on Southern soil, but they were incapable of becoming parties to the system by assisting in the return of fugitive slaves. Mrs. Stowe lived on the border-line over which such slaves were constantly making their escape. She came into contact with the problem at first hand in many ways, and it took possession of her heart and soul. In Brunswick she conceived of the idea of writing a series of sketches which should portray a slaveholding society as she understood it. A magazine article containing the account of the escape of a slave woman and her child over the ice of the Ohio River suggested the first incident in the story, but the death of Uncle Tom was the initial point. When she had put this scene on paper, the book rapidly assumed shape in her mind, and was written with a running pen. It appeared first in weekly installments in "The National Era" of Washington. On March 20, 1852, it was given to the world in book form. Ten thousand copies were sold in a few days, and the book soon attained a circulation of not less than 300,000 copies. Its influence was instantaneous and almost incalculable, and no one can read the story to-day, when all the passions which raged about it are dead, without understanding the secret of that influence.

It has been said, and with a degree of truth, that "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was not an entirely accurate description of a slaveholding community. There were hosts of considerate and merciful slave-owners. It was not Mrs. Stowe's purpose to describe this class. She was not attempting to portray dispassionately a social institution in all its phases; she was attempting to portray, and she succeeded in portraying, with passionate power, possible conditions of life under the system of slavery. It was a fair thing to do, because a system ought to be held responsible for the worst conditions which naturally arise under it. The only other book in modern literature which has produced an effect at all commensurate with that produced by "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is Tourguéneff's "Sketches of a Sportsman." In these sketches the great Russian novelist, with an artistic skill and poise which were beyond the command of Mrs. Stowe, set down with dispassionate accuracy the condition of things as he saw it among the Russian serfs. The book is a series of studies done by one of the greatest masters of fiction from a literary standpoint. Its power lay, not in the dramatic intensity with which the institution of serfdom was thrown into bold relief, but in the almost judicial calmness with which it was pictured. When the book fell into the hands of the Czar, Alexander II., it brought home to him for the first time the full meaning of serfdom, and it bore its fruit in the emancipation of the serf. Mrs. Stowe's method was different, and was more immediately effective. Tourguéneff reached the mind and convinced the reason of an absolute sovereign; Mrs. Stowe awoke the conscience of a whole people. In the light of this supreme achieve

ment, an estimate of Mrs. Stowe's later work may for the moment be postponed. From a literary point of view her studies of New England character and life are distinctly her best work; but it must not be assumed that "Uncle Tom's Cabin" owed its success entirely to the theme and the hour; it discloses literary power of a very high order. Defective as it is in construction and style, it has, nevertheless, elements of greatness in it. Mrs. Stowe was first and foremost the author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," the most influential woman of her time in this country, and in all probability one of the marked women of the century in the eyes of the future.

The Pope on Christian Unity

Generous quotations from Pope Leo's Encyclical Letter on Christian Unity will be found in the Religious World in The Outlook of this week. Like all communications of the kind which the present Pope has made to the world, it is eminently courteous, moderate, and kindly in tone. The immediate occasion for its preparation was probably the publication of Mr. Gladstone's letter, which has already been commented upon in The Outlook. It is needless to say that while Pope Leo is in thoroughgoing and honest antagonism to the reactionary tendencies within the Roman Catholic Church, and is in more senses than one a leader of its progressive element, in hearty sympathy with his times and with the democratic movement, and to a certain extent open-minded to the discoveries of truth and fact along scientific lines, he is also an uncompromising exponent of the Roman Catholic doctrine of the exclusive and supreme authority of the Church. He is eager to bring the Church into closer relations with modern life, but he abandons no whit of the claims of his most reactionary predecessors. His argument for the authority of the Church is clear, definite, and convincing, provided one accepts the premises on which it rests. That, however, is, as Matthew Arnold said of Cardinal Newman's solution of the problem of life, simply impossible to the Protestant world. The humorous aspect of the Christian unity proposed by various religious bodies, which is embodied in the suggestion on the part of each body that all other communions shall come to its point of view, has more than once been pointed out. The kindly and courteous Encyclical of a Pope whom all Protestants respect throws the humor of that proposition into still bolder relief. There can never be a reunion of Christendom on ground held exclusively by any one body of Christians. When such a reunion comes about, it will be because an inward and spiritual conviction and faith draws each body away from its particular position to the central point where truth in its highest aspects is one. Organic unity can never be effected on the basis of an infallible authority vested either in a line of Popes or in a succession of councils. The spiritual conception of the nature of the Christian religion and of the functions of the Christian Church has sunk so deeply into the heart of a large part of the world that a consensus of opinion which would rest the authority of that religion and of that Church upon an external tradition of any kind can never be obtained.

This does not mean, however, that the hope of a union of Christians throughout the world large enough to include not only all Protestants, but all Roman Catholics and members of the Greek Church as well, is a pure illusion. The constant discussion of the subject shows how much the divisions of the Church weigh upon the noblest spirits among religious people; and the marked change in the temper and character of the discussion evidences in

« AnteriorContinuar »