Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

from heaven, or the restoration of Paradise itself by Milton's greater man,” and its extension over all the earth ; rather than a restoration of the state of the world as it existed outside of Paradise before man's fall. This view would be confirmed by the apocalyptic vision of the “new heaven and the new earth ;'' Rev. xxi. and xxii. This is represented as “the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven.".... "and in the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."

But beside and beyond all these suggestions there is one feature of “the new earth," taken even in the strictly literal and physical aspect, and whether referring to its condition before or after the descent of the new Jerusalem, which demonstrates that it is not to be a restoration of the earth to its condition before the Fall of man. Unquestionably, before Adam was made, and when he was made, a large portion of the surface of the earth was occupied, as it is now, by the sea. This appears expressly from the account of the six days' work in Genesis ; for, on the third day, “the gathering together of the waters God called seas," and when he blessed his creature, man, he gave him “dominion over the fish of the sea.” But in that "new earth,'' which the Revelator saw, we are expressly told, “there was no more sea.”

Now poetry is good, and rhetoric is good, and fanciful speculations may be good, in their places. But sober truth and facts are also good; and such being the truth and the facts, why should we longer insist upon burdening our religion with a load of scientific absurdities which neither we nor our fathers were able to bear?

D. R. GOODWIN.

THE MONTH.

[It is not designed to discuss here all the chief topics of current

interest, but only those upon which we have something to say.]

The establishment of the republic in Spain is the event of the month. Our experience of the Spanish-American republics makes most people discount the prospects of the new order of things. The immediate future is not promising. A Federalist and a Centralist party already divide the Republican ranks; the former apparently in the majority. They hope to propitiate the different sections of the country by giving some political scope to those local peculiarities that have come down from the ancient history of the country, and are, therefore, associated with its most ancient traditions. There are very decided and marked differences between the different provinces—once kingdoms-of Spain. The infusion of Moorish and German elements in the southern and Mediterranean provinces, as well the larger presence of the old Gothic and Vandal blood, has produced a more varied and mobile population, open to the influence of new ideas. The northern or more Celtic provinces are far less intelligent, and, therefore, more under the influence of the only educated class or clerisy that are widely spread among them—the church clergy. Hence the prevalence of conservative ideas in this Spanish Brittany,-among these Basques and Celtiberians of a past world, where Don Carlos seems to be de facto the sovereign.

We can hardly indorse the language in which Gen. Sickles congratulates the new republic (in our behalf) on the dignified me. thod of its inauguration. The quarrel with the young king was in regard to the appointment of a notorious assassin to an important position in the army during the resistance to the Carlists. The king demanded his removal, and when the Cortes sustained the ministry in refusing it, he made his departing bow—the most graceful and dignified proceeding of his whole life.

QUR Constitutional Convention marks a new era in the history of politics in our State. The day has gone by when our people are to be led by the nose by catch-words and phrases. Fifty years ago men dared hardly speak under their breath against that notorious instrument of all corruptionists, the quasi secret ballot. More has been said against it in a single week, than was said during half a century, and measures to abolish it have been boldly proposed, with what result we, at this writing, cannot say. Among the objectors to the change are some who plead that the voter's freedom is as much endangered by great corporations in the mining districts, as it is in the country parts of England by the great land-owners. As the case actually is, with all the protection that the ballot-box gives, the great corporations lead their employees to the polls like sheep, and vote them in masses. The ballot-box secures no secrecy to the voter; it protects nobody but the “repeater" and the “ stuffer." Every one in our city, for instance, that votes at all, votes with virtual publicity, or is looked upon as exceptionally close and secret about it. Thus we have heard the president of our greatest corporation found fault with because “nobody ever knew how he voted.”

A VERY considerable stir has been caused in the coal trade by the Reading R.R. proposing to undertake the sale of coal in the great cities. This great corporation is a vast mining corporation, and has a controlling interest in most of the mining companies. It has no means to protect the capital invested in the coal regions, while the price of coal is left in control of other parties at our end of the line. Its proposal is, therefore, natural and right enough, whether it be the best for the interest of its own stockholders or not. There is also, we believe, some truth in the statement that the coal that the corporation is most interested in pressing on the market, is of a quality inferior to that of some other mines.

What shall we say of Colfax? All who thought well of the man in the past are puzzled to know what to think of him, although a few of his political opponents seem inclined to accept his explanations as satisfactory. There are but three possible hypotheses, (I) that the man is guilty and has forced several members of his own family into committing perjury in order to set up a weak defense. (2.) His memory has been destroyed by the excessive use of tobacco, which has once already occasioned him a severe illness. This theory would have seemed more plausible before the recent defense than since. (3). That Mr. Colfax is an innocent man and has told the whole truth in regard to the matter, but is the victim of a wonderful concatenation of circumstances, and a not less wonderful (because useless) conspiracy of individuals. The likelihood of this theory, however, is fatally impaired by the manner in which Mr. Colfax repudiated ail connection with the Credit Mobilier last summer.

The shortness of the popular memory is strikingly exemplified by the common remark that this is the severest winter of recent years. It has been a winter of very extensive and destructive storms, and has given us the worst walking and the most sleighing of any since 1856–7. But an unusually severe winter it has not been, that which just preceded it being far more marked by protracted cold weather. The severe and bitter frosts of a year ago have had no parallel in our recent experiences.

The counting of the electoral vote for President and Vice President has brought to public notice the dangers and absurdities of the present system of choosing our Chief Magistrate, and the consequent propriety of sweeping changes in the Constitution. The main purpose of the authors of our present arrangements has been entirely defeated by the shape that partisan organizations and methods have taken, and the cumbersome machinery of the electoral colleges now serves no purpose whatever. It is to be hoped that this is not the only part of the Constitution that will be changed. Let the Presidential term be extended to ten years and a re-election forbidden. Bring all civil officials exce pt members of the Cabinet and foreign Ministers, under the tenure of office that now applies to the judges—" for life or good behavior." And abolish all the local restrictions that prevent citizens of one State from being elected to the service of another, either in the State Government or in Congress. This last amendment would do much to give breadth and true nationality of spirit to our public men. It would deter men of foresight from giving themselves up to the petty and selfish aims of a district, by the hope that their self-denial and really public spirit would meet with appreciation elsewhere; “a prophet hath honor save in his own country and in his father's house.” It would relieve our younger and weaker States from the neccessity of sending Caldwells, Pomeroys, and other corruptibilities and vacuities to the United States Senate, without impairing beyond measure the care exercised by Congressmen to promote the special interests of their constituents. As it is, Congressmen are mere local errand-boys to the national struggle for the loaves and the fishes, and Ruskin's gibe was not without its truth: “There is no res publica in America, only a multitudinous res privata."

NEW BOOKS.

The HistorY OF THE CONSOLIDATION OF THE CITY OF PHila

DELPHIA. By Eli K.Price. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, & Co., 1873. Pp. 140.

Mr. Price, the honored father of the Consolidation Act under which Philadelphia exists, has done both well and wisely in gathering together and perpetuating in one record the story of the evils of the old system of the city, with its pine surrounding districts and its one overriding county; the method adopted for the cure of these evils by a law to consolidate all in one government for the city of Philadelphia, and the good results that have shown themselves in the score of years that have passed since the Act of Consolidation became the fundamental law of the city. No one better knows the history that needed to be told, and the necessity for telling it; for the generations that have come and gone since 1854 look on the existing system as one that must always have existed, since it seems tu be so natural that the city, with its common interests running into every part of its breadth and width, should almost of necessity have one common government. Yet Mr. Price, as one of our own municipal legislators, and as a representative of the city in the State legislature, as a busy and successful lawyer, as a man entrusted with the management of large estates and conversant with the interests of men of all classes and occupations, was one of the first to see that the accident of half a score of municipalities where one city now governs, was an anomaly that could be cured, and he now sees how well his work has stood the test of time. Fortunately, twenty years ago it was easy to secure the co-operation of men representing the most important interests of all parts of the city in a task for the public good, and their services met a prompt recognition in the almost unopposed passage of the measures recommended by them. Their names and their action deserve to be perpetuated, that they may be honored and their examples followed; and this task Mr. Price has performed with loving fidelity-unless, indeed, his modest mention and reference to his own services may fail to do full justice to his zealous labor in this, as in so many other, important reforms in our municipal government.

The opinion that Mr. Price expresses as to the necessity of preserving the events of our city history, by retrospective publications from decade to decade, is well supported by the clear, succinct and satisfactory manner in which he has executed the task in his history of the city's consolidation.

We commend it, therefore, very heartily to all our citizens— to the old, as a grateful reminiscence of their earlier lives; to the

« VorigeDoorgaan »