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Another extraordinary moral consequence flows from this insufficiency of the defence :- "If the enemy fails to defend his country, we may rightfully appropriate what we want.” Here now is a nice question of martial law or casuistry, solved with the simplicity of an ancient Roman. In other words: “When in the enemy's country, the army shall be strictly careful not to seize, capture, or appropriate to military or private uses, any property — that it can not get!” Hans Breitmann himself would have respected that general order.
“They ” [the Southern people] “ have lost all title to property, and can lose nothing not already forfeited.” What, nothing? Not merely the houses we had built, the lands we had tilled, the churches we worshipped in — had we forfeited the right to drink of the streams, to behold the sun, to breathe the free air of heaven? What unheard-of, what inconceivable crime had we committed that thus closed every gate of mercy and compassion against us, and provoked an utterance which has but one parallel - the death-warrant signed by Philip II. against all the Netherlanders ? Gen. Sherman has himself told us what it was: we had dared to act on “the truth that liberty and government are worth fighting for."
On March 15 he writes to Gen. Gillmore advising him to draw forces from Charleston and Savannah (both then in Federal hands) to destroy a railroad, etc. “As to the garrisons of those places I don't
“ feel disposed to be over-generous, and should not hesitate to burn Savannah, Charleston and Wilmington, or either of them, if the garrisons were needed.”
Such are some of the results of our gleanings in this field. Is it any wonder that after reading them, we fervently echo Gen. Sherman's devout aspiration : “I do wish the fine race of men that people our Northern States should rule and determine the future destiny of America " ?
Enigmas of Life. By W. R. Greg. Boston: Jas. R. Osgood & Co.
E have not for some time opened a book that is so active
a stimulant to thought as this volume. The author, a wellknown thinker and philosophical writer, now arrived at that period of life when views are widest and opinions least dogmatic, brings the maturity of his intellect and experience to bear upon those profound enigmas which perplex every thinker who meditates on the future of the Individual or of the Race, against which the radiant theories of the optimist burst like a bubble. Of these Mr. Greg does not presume to offer the solution : what he brings is his mode of reflecting upon them, an analysis of their causes and bearing, or, at most, ar indication of the direction in which he believes the solution, if ever, may be found.
The first which he examines is the apparently insuperable difficulty of Humanity's reaching anything like an ideal condition. That a race should start in any condition, no matter how low, and should, in spite of all drawbacks and apparent retrogressions, gradually work its way to a higher, and towards the highest, state, would be intelligible; but the difficulty lies in the fact that the evils which bafile this advance seem not adventitious but intrinsic ; seem, so far as observation can show, inseparable from the existence of humanity and the conditions of its progress; and though the theorist may demonstrate that they need not be, experience proves that they must and will exist.
The great social evils he classes under three heads: pain and disease, destitution, and vice. That is, an inability of the individual to place himself in proper relations with nature and his fellows, from (1) defect or damage of physical organisation, (2) want of external conditions, (3) impotence or misdirection of will. The first of these is dealt with by hygienic and medical authorities, now, perhaps, more skilfully than at any previous time in the world's history ;. and yet the inevitable draw-back follows. The advance of civilisation, while it brings a better knowledge of the laws of health, also multiplies those circumstances that vitiate health. While we are improving our knowledge of ventilation and drainage, we are crowding our workmen more and more, and increasing unhealthy occupations. Again, the improvement in medical science, while it increases the average length of life, lowers the average of health by preserving alive a population of the feeble and diseased, who under a ruder system would have succumbed early in life, but now live and propagate an unhealthy or feeble offspring. Suppose medicine had reached a point that while disease could no more be prevented or entirely eradicated than now, its mortality could be entirely prevented, and the feeblest valetudinary could reach the full term of years. Would not the result be that the
streets of our cities would resemble the wards of hospitals ? Nay, suppose the glorious result attained that all idiopathic disease was curable, and the puniest child retain its frail hold on life, would not the average vigor of the race be disastrously lowered ? As it is we can see that such, to some extent, has been the result.
Omitting pauperism, we pass to the social problem of crime. The tendency of modern civilisation and so-called philanthropy is to be ever tenderer and tenderer with our criminals. “Don't cut them off; don't be harsh or cruel with them ; reform them ; lead them back to light and virtue.” A most specious cry, and yet what is the result ?
“We have fostered our criminal population till it has become a flourishing established class, to be numbered, not by tens, but by hundreds of thousands. . . . The most mawkish sentimentality is suffered to prevent the infliction of the only punishments which are really dreaded by the hardened and the ruffianly, as well as those which alone could rescue and restore the incipient criminal. We will not hang the murderer, and have only lately and gingerly begun to flog the garroter and the mutilator; nor will we give adequately long terms of imprisonment to the less atrocious and confirmed class of malefactors.' We persist, in spite of all warning and of all experience, in turning loose our villains on the world, time after time, as soon as a moderate term of detention has finished their education and defined their future course. All who have really studied the question feel satisfied that professional crime, and the class that habitually live by violation of the law, might be well-nigh exterminated by the perpetual seclusion of the incorrigible, and by the infliction of the special penalties which are truly deterrent. Yet still we go on from day to day, making the criminals as comfortable as we can, pitying them and petting them, when an opportunity occurs, raising an outcry against any penalties which are painful, and thinking we have done enough, and arguing as if we had done all we had a right to do, if we tie the hands of the most practised robber and ruffian for a time. All wholesomeness of notion in reference to this subject seems to have gone out of us, and to be replaced by sentiment at once shallow and morbid. We have been feeling toward the criminal neither as Christians, nor as statesmen, nor as philosophers, nor even as men of the world. We do not act on the reformatory, or the retributive, or the purely defensive principle, but on a feeble muddle of all three. So he lives, thrives, and multiplies, nourished in the bosom of the silly society on which he preys."
Or to turn from the negative to the positive aspects of the problem, from modes of preventing or minimising evils, to those of promoting the good of society, and leading it to a higher station, we are confronted with the problem of government. We can see that the tendency of the present age is to the prevalence of democratic ideas, and the establishment of republics. Now the democratic idea is, when plainly stated, government by the least fitted. It is true that theoretically it is a system by which the people choose their rulers; but experience has shown that, in the end, they will only choose those whom they believe thoroughly to represent them, and who will carry out their wishes, wise or unwise. “Now,” says Mr. Greg, “as civilised and social life grows daily more rapid and complex, and the problems with which it has to deal therefore at once vaster, more difficult, and more urgent; the largest intellects and the widest knowledge are needed to handle them and solve them; intellects the least liable to be clouded by interest or passion, and the most qualified by training and study to foresee the consequences, and detect the correlations and reciprocal operation on different classes, of each law or executive proceeding The science of government is the most intricate and perplexing of all, demanding mental and moral qualities of a higher order than any other. Self-government, as it is not very correctly
, termed, is assuredly not the simplest form of rule. Yet at the very time when the influences which determine the well-being of the community are growing more numerous and involved and the problems of social life more complicated and more vast, the spread of democratic ideas and institutions is throwing the control, the management, the ultimate decision at least, of all these influences and problems, the final guidance of all administrative and legislative action, in short, into the hands of the numerical majority,- of those classes, that is, which, however their condition as to property, education, and morals may be raised, must always be the least educated portion of the community, the least endowed with political capacity, the least possessed of either the leisure, the characteristics, or the knowledge requisite for the functions assigned to them or assumed by them..
Yet. unquestionably, the tendency of events in our days, and in all civilised countries, is to take political power from the few, and confer it on the many; and in the view of Tocqueville and his disciples this tendency is absolutely irresistible. If so, what must be its operation on those who wish to look sanguinely on the prospects of humanity ? For the few can not easily take back power from the many on whom they have conferred it, and history records no encouraging instances of the mass voluntarily surrendering a supremacy they have once enjoyed. Nor does our observation of democratic communities, even the most favored, do much to alter or impair the conclusion at which, d priori, we have arrived. The United States, France, and even Switzerland, at present, are not consoling spectacles."
In regard to this state of things, Mr. Greg has but two suggestions to offer. One is that the increasing tendency of the masses will drive all the “possessional classes” into a defensive league - a result which, with its consequence of dividing the community into two great and avowedly hostile classes, with mutual jealousy, fear, and hate, seems to us a worse evil than that which it is suggested to remedy. The other is the idea that as the condition of the masses is improved (if it be improved) and as they are more wisely governed (if this comes to pass) they will care less and less for politics, and be willing to leave the task of government to the wiser and better informed. This, with the example of our own country before us, strikes us as chimerical.
The next great problem of which he treats is the famous thesis of Malthus, who pointed out that the two facts that the population of any country increases in a geometrical ratio, and that the means of subsistence can only increase in an arithmetical ratio, lead irresistibly to the inference that a time must come when the earth will no longer