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of duty to use power righteously, consciousness of power is vicious. So pleasant a phrase as “civic sense” should connote public duty as well as public power, but the “civic sense” aroused in Cleveland by Mayor Johnson is to be reckoned in the price paid and not as part of the good obtained.
The price paid is the cost of the war, and, of course, cannot be exactly expressed. In making up the total for an industrial community of half a million people account must be made of years of delay in the reduction of fares; industries sent and kept away from Cleveland by supposed hostility to capital at the city hall; hindrance to extension of plants through lack of car service; neglect of public improvement because the war absorbed attention and energy.
Worse than the money cost are items of another sort. Malignant envy has been fostered among humble folk. Among the better-to-do, men of mind and conscience have doubted the good intention of the city government and feared its policies. Hatred has divided classes and invaded neighborhoods and even families. It is not extravagant to say war when these things are considered.
The result is not worth the price. It was right that the railway company be denied a franchise until, for good service, it was willing to take a very moderate return upon its capital. To reach such agreement, intelligence and firmness were necessary, but a sensational raid, to say nothing of protracted war, was not justified. Since the railway company's offer of 1906 nothing has been gained which is worth a fraction of the cost.
When all is said the best result is peace, and peace is so welcome that it is almost possible to forget that, but for war, there is always peace. In all these years, Cleveland has gained in wealth and population, and an era of peace will show how much more she might have gained.
Crusades Against Graft.
A. LEO. WEIL, PITTSBURGH,
“Graft” is now generally understood to mean rewards corruptly obtained, but in this paper it will be considered only with reference to municipalities, in which relation, it may be defined as rewards obtained by corrupt agreements with or among municipal authorities or those controlling the same. Segregated instances where votes are bought or contracts, franchises and the like are purchased are not here referred to. In the minds of the public, graft is associated with some general system or arrangement whereby rewards are corruptly demanded and secured for votes or influence in the interest of those dealing with the city. It will be observed that the very definition of graft implies numbers. Its prevalence to any extent necessarily involves the co-operation of so many, that its presence becomes at once manifest, and is soon commented upon in the press and on the street. The longer graft continues, the bolder the grafters grow, until they begin to criticise their critics and to resent as impertinence the murmurs of discontent. As a rule the protestants are content with protest. Yet so manifest is the existence of graft, so easy is proof of its prevalence obtained, and evidence of the crime secured, that in no city has there been failure where a determined man or body of men, with sufficient means at their disposal, have sought such proof and evidence.
Graft is its own trumpeter, blazes its own trail and heralds its own pals, and humanity must change, tradition belie itself, if detection, when sought becomes not sure.
Then why does graft continue? It is because time and money are required to run the crime down and bring the criminals to
trial. On former occasions I have referred to Why Does
this inaction as “criminal complacency", which Graft Continue ?
sees crime, knows its blighting effects, notices its growth, while waiting, watching, hoping that somehow some one like the prophets of old will arise as the Lord's anointed, to fight the cause of his people. Meanwhile graft goes on with no thought of the coming avenger.
There is explanation if not excuse for this complacency on the part of each citizen.
The punishment of graft is the public business. No one more than another is called upon to act. It involves the expenditure of much time, effort and money. It invariably makes powerful enemies. It brings upon those in charge vituperation, abuse and attacks of all kinds. In most cases the public soon becomes tired of the agitation. The crusade against graft meets with opposition, not only from those directly affected, and their friends and sympathizers, but also from that larger number who think that such exposures reflect upon the good name of the city and injure business. There is still another element in every community that opposes these crusades. It is the partisans of the political party in control, who themselves unwilling to personally participate in the crime, are not so horrified as to be willing to suffer party defeat in order to purify their organization. Still others are found among the opposition, namely: those who regard as emoluments of office the opportunities official position gives to improve private fortune at public expense. Many cannot conceive of men being influenced by such public spirit as for that alone to be willing to endure the opprobrium incident to active participation in a graft crusade, and therefore assume some ulterior motive which forfeits their right to support, and this class will be among the opposing forces. The number of these enrolled among the opposition is in some communities larger than in others, depending in each case upon the moral tone of the city.
The greatest of all retarding and deterrent elements, however, is the difficulty of securing financial support. The cost of these
crusades is large. During the period of preparPrivately
ation when the evidence is being collected, pubSupported
licity means failure, yet that is the very time Prosecutions
when the largest expenditures must be made. General solicitation of funds, under such circumstances, is equivalent to publication, and publication, as above stated, to failure. If there was a specific for graft there would be no round table conference on graft to-day, and our presence here would be a work of supererogation.
It is submitted that some of these deterrent forces can be removed altogether and some reduced to a negligible quantity. If it were possible even, it would be impolitic for a single individual to do this public service. It is work in which the whole community is concerned, and in which no one citizen should have more interest than another. It should be done by a voluntary, non-political, non-partisan, organization, in which the power is vested in a small committee. The organization should be open to all, but must have among its enrollment men of such probity and repute that it will command the confidence of the public. The financial scheme must be comprehensive and the public spirited of large and small means alike invited to contribute, but in special graft crusades the principal contributions must come from a few, who can be trusted for their secretiveness. If in a community among the men of wealth a few can not be found, willing to give out of their abundance for their city's purification, then that community is indeed to be piticd, deserving the sucers and the scorn of the world. The reason a few must shoulder the burden of the many is that in the general financial scheme for the ordinary work of such an organization, it is unnecessary to make provision for these extraordinary expenditures, and when the necessity arises secrecy is imperative, hence resort can be had only to a few, and the fewer the better. When will the time come when these few will regard the opportunity as a privilege to be gratefully embraced? More of such crusades have foundered upon the financial rock than upon any other. Ample pro vision inust be made in time, in the beginning of the crusade, before the influences are aroused that keep men and money aloof.
When the investigation has been completed, and the proofs secured, the movement must not be allowed to drag. The prosecution must be pushed vigorously and expeditiously.
To the leaden heel of justice may be traced more of the opposition to these crusades than to any other cause. The longcontinued agitation, the accusations without prompt justification, the suspicion in which many, even the innocent are enshrouded, conspire to alienate the support even of the well-meaning, and give to the guilty and their friends, to the weak and nervous, to
the doubters and sneerers, to the political partiDelays of Justice
sans and spoilsmen, to the selfish citizens who feel for their pockets more than for their morals, the opportunity to turn the public sentiment against the crusade. The criminal laws should be always promptly enforced and if the prosecutions involve public interests and large numbers, then the greater these interests and numbers, the more important does it become to have prompt enforcement and an end put to accusations by conviction or acquittal. Conviction by the sober
. judgment of the community, upon the evidence submitted, is as important as by the jury, and frequently will just as well serve the purpose of the crusade. The prominent man, who falls in the estimation of the community, suffers as much, sometimes more, from this cause, as from the sentence of the court. It is prevention such crusades should seek; punishment belongs to other trib inals, human and divine.
When informed by the disclosures of the crusade, the duly constituted law officers have the legal machinery to continue the investigation, and are the only authority with power to bring the accused to trial.
Graft trials, like other criminal trials, are effective or otherwise, as the criminal administration of the community is effective or otherwise. An aroused and intelligent public sentiment, indignant and militant, usually gets what it wants, here as elsewhere.
With our vast urban aggregations the old town meetings are now impossible and belong only to history. The exercise of the public will is now limited to the elections, usually on partisan lines. The expression of the public opinion is in these days volunteered by the press and is influenced, biased or representative, as the press is venal, partisan or independent.
The public interests by which the citizen is directly affected are now far greater than ever before. The city which was once merely "an agency instituted by the sovereign for the purpose of carrying out in detail the objects of government,” has be