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their hands of the whole affair. “It is only the politicians —what can you expect from the politicians ?" But there are also many who are shocked, and who, as already observed, exert themselves through the press, and by agitating where they see an opportunity of catching the public ear, to purify politics. Leaving out the cynics on the one side, and the perfectionist reformers on the other, and looking at the bulk of ordinary citizens, the fair conclusion from the facts is that many do not realize the evil who ought to realize it and be alarmed, and that those who do realize it are not sufficiently alarmed. They take it too easily. Yet now and then when roused they will inflict severe penalties on the givers and receivers of bribes."

Election Frauds. — As these are offences against popular government and injure the opposite party, they excite stronger, or at least more general disapproval than do acts of venality, from which only the public purse suffers. No one attempts to palliate them ; but it is hard to prove, and therefore hard to punish or suppress them. Legislative remedies have been tried, and fresh ones are constantly being tried.

If people are less indignant than they would be in England, it is because they are less surprised. The evil is, however, not widespread, chiefly occurring in large cities. There is one exception to the general condemnation of the practice. In the Southern States negro suffrage produced, during the few years of “carpet-bagging" and military government which followed the war, incredible mischief. When these States recovered full self-government, and the former “rebels” were readmitted to the suffrage, the upper class of the white population “took hold” again, and in order, as they expressed it, “to save civilization,” resolved that come what might the negro and white Republican vote should not, by obtaining a majority in the State legislatures, be in a position to play these pranks further. The negroes were at first roughly handled or, to use the technical term, “bulldosed,” but as this excited anger at the North, it was found better to attain the desired result by manipulating the elections in various ways, “ using no more fraud than was necessary in the premises,” as the pleaders say. As the negroes are obviously unfit for the suffrage, these services to civilization have been leniently regarded even at the North, and are justified at the South by men quite above the suspicion of personal corruption.

1 A recent instance is afforded in the punishment of the New York aldermen who sold the right of laying a horse-car line in Broad

See also Chapter LXXXIX. in Vol. III. on the Philadelphia Gas Ring


The Machine.—The perversion by Rings and Bosses of the nominating machinery of primaries and conventions excites a disgust whose strength is proportioned to the amount of fraud and trickery employed, which of course is not great when the “good citizens” make no counter exertions. The disgust is everywhere less than a European expects, for it is mingled with amusement. The Boss is a sort of joke, albeit an expensive joke.

After all,” people say, “it is our own fault. If we all went to the primaries, or if we all voted an Independent ticket, we could make an end of the boss." There is an odd sort of fatalism in their view of democracy. If a thing exists in a free country, it has a right to exist, for it exists by the leave of the people, who may be deemed to acquiesce in what they do not extinguish.

The Spoils System.—As to favouritism in patronage and spoils, I have already explained why the average citizen tolerates both. He has been accustomed to think rotation in office a recognition of equality, and a check

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on the growth of that old bugbear, an “aristocracy of office-holders.” He does not see how favouritism can be prevented, for competitive examinations have seemed pedantic. Usage has sanctioned a certain amount of jobbery, so you must not be too hard on a man who does no more than others have done before him.

The conduct, as well as the sentiment, of the people is so much better than the practice of politicians that it is hard to understand why the latter are judged so leniently. No ordinary citizen, much less a man of social standing and high education, would do in his private dealings what many politicians do with little fear of disgrace. The career of the latter is not destroyed, while the former would lose the respect of his neighbours, and probably his chances in the world. Europe presents no similar contrast between the tone of public and that of private life.

There is, however, one respect in which a comparison of the political morality of the United States with that of England does injustice to the former.

The English have two moralities for public life, the one conventional or ideal, the other actual. The conventional finds expression not merely in the pulpit, but also in the speeches of public men, in the articles in leading newspapers and magazines. Assuming the normal British statesman to be patriotic, disinterested, truthful, and magnanimous, it treats every fault as a dereliction from a well-settled standard of duty, a quite exceptional dereliction which disentitles the culprit to the confidence even of his own party, but does not affect the generally high tone of British political life. The actual morality, as one gathers it in the lobbies of the legislative chambers, or the smoking-rooms of political clubs, or committee-rooms at contested elections, is a different affair. It regards (or has till very lately regarded) the bribery of voters as an offence, only when detection has followed; it assumes that a minister will use his patronage to strengthen his party or bimself; it smiles at election pledges as the gods smiled at lovers' vows; it defends the abuse of parliamentary rules ; it tolerates equivocations and misleading statements proceeding from an official even when they have not the excuse of state necessity.

Perhaps this is only an instance of the tendency in all professions to develop a special code of rules less exacting than those of the community at large. As a profession holds some things to be wrong, because contrary to its etiquette, which are in themselves harmless, so it justifies other things in themselves blamable. In the mercantile world, agents play sad tricks on their principals in the matter of commissions, and their fellow merchants are astonished when the courts of law compel the ill-gotten gains to be disgorged. At the English universities, everybody who took a Master of Arts degree was, until lately, required to sign the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England. Hundreds of men signed who did not believe, and admitted that they did not believe, the dogmas of this formulary; but nobody in Oxford thought the worse of them for a solemn falsehood. We all know what latitude, as regards truth, a "scientific witness," honourable enough in his private life, permits himself in the witness box. Each profession indulges in deviations from the established rule of morals, but takes pains to conceal these deviations from the general public, and continues to talk about itself and its traditions with an air of unsullied virtue. What each profession does for itself most individual men do for themselves. They judge themselves by themselves, that is to say, by their surroundings and their own past acts, and thus erect in the inner forum of conscience a more lenient code for their own transgressions than that which they apply to others. We all know that a fault which a man has often committed seems to him slighter than one he has refrained from and sees others committing. Often he gets

others to take the same view. “It is only his way,” they say ; “it is just like Roger.” The same thing happens with nations. The particular forms in which faults like corruption, or falsehood, or unscrupulous partisanship have appeared in the recent political history of a nation shock its moral sense less than similar offences which have taken a different form in some other country.

Now England, while accustomed to judge her own statesmen, as well as her national behaviour generally, by the actual standard, and therefore to overlook many deflections from the ideal, always applies the conventional or absolute standard to other countries, and particularly to America, which has been subjected to that censorious scrutiny which the children of an emigrant brother receive on their return from aunts and uncles.

How then does America deal with herself?

She is so far lenient to her own defects asto judge them by her past practice; that is to say, she is less shocked by certain political vices, because these vices are familiar, than might have been expected from the generally high tone of her people. But so far from covering things up as the English do, professing a high standard, and applying it rigorously to other countries, but leniently to her own offspring, she gives an exceptionally free course to publicity of all kinds, and allows writers and speakers to paint the faults of her politicians in strong, not to say exaggerated, colours. Such excessive candour is not an

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