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worth of some acquaintance with the literature of the Bible. Undoubtedly there is a small fraction of unbelievers who have no more sweetness than light, and who are belligerent in their attitude toward religion. This class, having men in it ready with voice and pen, make more noise than their number warrants. They are implacables; and as to them, if they have children, society has only to determine whether it will insist on its right to give them religious training while in the public school, or whether, for the sake of peace, it will allow the parent to keep them at home during religious exercises. But if some must lose their benefit, this surely is no reason why all should.
And now as to the Roman Catholics. It may at least be said that they would have no new grievance. More than that, I think many would feel that there was a distinct gain in removing from the schools the reproach of being "godless." I realize that the Catholics are a large class of our fellow citizens, and that they are sensitive as to all matters affecting the religious belief of their children. The state should in good faith undertake, in the manner and to the extent I have indicated, unsectarian religious instruction. No trouble is apprehended from Frotestants. If the Catholics, whether reasonably or unreasonably, have any jealousy or distrust of such teaching, I should be disposed to hand over these departments, for the instruction of their children, to teachers of their own faith, under such arrangements as should insure an intelligent, systematic, and faithful performance of that duty. Such provisions are not uncommon in the continental countries of Europe. As the state, in its opinion, at least, would provide for the impartial performance of all its obligations by its own competent teachers, this permission to those dissatisfied, to do the work by their own instrumentalities, would not, of course, create any claim on the state for compensation.
I do not pretend that the irenical scheme of religious instruction which I have proposed will satisfy the leading ecclesiastics of the Roman Catholic Church. It will make our schools better,
but it will not take away their desire for schools of their own. And what shall we say of these parochial schools? That the separation of our children into two distinct classes, divided by
religious differences and almost identically so by social condition, is unfortunate, especially so for those who, in any event, have to fight the battle of life under natural disadvantages; but unfortunate also for the more favored class, who need, for their own good and for the good of the state, to be brought into brotherly relations of sympathy and of insight with the others, I most strongly believe. But we must remember that, though the state has both the right and the duty of seeing that the obligation of primary education is discharged by somebody, it has no right to determine by whom. The Catholic has the same right to his parochial school that the fastidious Protestant has to the ordinary private school or seminary. And, as a mere matter of policy, he must be a dull student of history or of human nature who does not know that any attempt of the state to use unfriendly legislation against the parochial school will arouse that spirit of religious partisanship which has ever proved stronger than laws or even arms. We must, therefore, frankly and heartily concede to the Catholics all we claim for ourselves, and seek to win and not to coerce.
I do not believe it wise to indulge in any panic upon this question, still less to introduce any shibboleth about it into party politics. If we are patient, I have faith that the American system of public education of the masses in common schools will triumph over the old-world theories of training by ecclesiastics. One thing is sure: the Roman Catholic layman in this country of the people must have a recognition not accorded him in Europe; and the style of Catholicism which will ultimately predominate will not be ultramontane. To the practical judgment of the Catholic masses must the determination of this question finally be left, and all that we can do is to maintain and increase the superiority of the common school. I, for one, do not believe that the American citizen, whatever his ancestry or his creed, will, in the long run, be inclined to pay for an inferior article when he can get a superior at the public expense.
ROBERT C. PITMAN.
NATIONAL CONTROL OF RAILWAYS.
THE first railroad in this country was built in the year 1826. It was four miles long, including branches, and its cost was $50,000. The railway system of the country to-day comprises 150,000 miles of track, represents about $8,000,000,000 of capitalization, and affords employment to nearly a million of men. In the way of statistics these figures stand alone; the history of the world presents nothing to compare with them. They show that for sixty years we have built and equipped, on an average, 2,500 miles of railway per annum-that we have laid down nearly ten miles of track every day for 18,000 consecutive working days. Within the lifetime of a not very old man our railway system has had its beginning, and has grown to be the most important and dominant interest of the country.
Though the railroads have probably contributed more than all other agencies combined to make the United States what they are, no one will deny that the incalculable benefit which we have derived from their growth and development has not been, and is not, wholly "unmixed of evil." Leaving out other considerations, it is not unfair to say that three-quarters of all the legislative corruption from which we have suffered during the past fifty years have been directly chargeable to the railways; and that a very large proportion, perhaps nearly as much as half, of the litigation that has occupied our courts during the same period has been directly connected with railway matters. We could forget and forgive both the corruption and the litigation, if we now enjoyed a perfected railway system, smoothly working like a vast machine for the general welfare. But the machine does not work smoothly; on the contrary, it is sadly out of joint somewhere all the time, often out of joint in a dozen different places, and in as many different ways, at the same time; and the machine is so vast and complex, it so completely covers
the whole country, and is so directly and so intimately connected with all our financial and business interests, that there is never a time when some of these interests are not in a state of uncertainty or disquiet; and not infrequently they are in a state of anxiety, and sometimes of collapse, by reason of trouble, financial or otherwise, among the railroads.
To demonstrate, let us go back, say, fifteen years. Since 1873 the time of the national Congress has been largely taken up with discussion of, and legislation about, railroad matters, and during the same time the legislatures of almost all the States have been, to a great extent, occupied in the same way. How much corruption has been connected with this legislation nobody knows precisely, but that there has been corruption, "goes without saying." The court records show how large a proportion of all the litigation of the country since 1873 has been about railway matters. Much litigation is a boon to the lawyers, but it involves a corresponding expense to the people.
In the year 1873 a financial panic swept over the country. Its cause was the overbuilding of railways. Following it, and as its immediate result, came several years of terrible business depression throughout the country, during which much time, labor, and money were spent in trying to clear away the wrecks and to rebuild the roads, both old and new, that had collapsed with such fearful loss of the people's money. In 1877, when the general business of the country had begun to recover from the shock and losses of '73, it was seriously disturbed and depressed again, and so continued for a long period, by reason of the troubles between the railroads and their operatives, which, in many instances, involved riot and bloodshed. In 1878, the past had been so far forgotten that railway building was resumed, and by 1879 we were again constructing roads far beyond the country's needs. As a result, of course, general business was stimulated to an unnatural degree, and a period of wild speculation ensued, which culminated in 1881. After that, railway building stopped, the rolling-mills shut down, and all the industries dependent on railway construction were paralyzed. There were railway breakdowns on every hand, with the general financial suffering that such collapses always imply. "Hard times"
came again, and with them the memorable railway war which disturbed every business interest, caused countless millions of loss, and reached its crisis in the panic of 1884. Toward the close of 1885, peace among the railroads having been achieved, business prosperity began to be re-established; but in 1886 there were again disquiet and alarm everywhere, because of the many threatened and actual strikes on the part of railway employees. And, more recently, who does not recall how, during the summer of 1887, every interest in the country was set back and halting, because of a widespread fear that another panic was near at hand, the direct cause of the alarm being still the overbuilding of railways? These are only the more prominent features of the past fifteen years' experience. Want of space, of course, prevents any attempt to recount the innumerable minor occurrences in our railway world, which, during the same period, exerted, to a greater or less extent, a continually disturbing influence upon financial and business affairs.
Thus it will be seen that for fifteen years not only have railway matters largely occupied the time of Congress and the State legislatures, and, to a great extent, of the federal and State courts, but that, because of the overbuilding or underbuilding of railways, because of their capitalization and financiering, because of their combinations and consolidations, because of the rivalries and wars between them, because of the uncertainty and instability of their tariffs, because of their troubles with employees, because of their bankruptcies and reorganizations, the financial and business interests of the country have not been permitted, for any length of time, to "rest upon an even keel;" that, in short, for fifteen years, the railways and their concerns have been a constantly disturbing element in the country's affairs.
Such having been the case with reference to the past, what are the probabilities as to the future? Clearly that, with the increase in our area and population, and with the further growth of the railway system, together with its consequently greater complexities, we shall continue to suffer to a greater extent, and in a still more aggravated form, all the evils that we have suffered in the past. Now, if our fair land was created for no