« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
Now this old-time Republican father, are at once the cradle and the bulwark of who believed in free thought, free speech democracy, that David Graham Phillips and just action, took his son into his ample received his early education. Thus in library while David was still quite young. home and school, during the formative “Here are many books, my boy-books period, he had a thoroughly wholesome that you should read. Here are histories and truly democratic environment. In of the great events of civilization, and answer to our question as to his early especially I commend to you the story of schooling, Mr. Phillips recently said: your own country—the struggles, privations and heroism that marked the found- Madison, and I do not know of anything
“Yes, I went to the public-schools in ing and maintenance of the republic. No true American youth should be ignorant
I am more thankful for. If I had my of any of these details. Read much, and way, there should not be any other kind then think for yourself.”
of schools, high or low. It is not fair to Thus the wise father led the boy into the child to handicap it in this country the world of thought and stimulated his with a training at 'exclusive schools and reason. The youth became an omniv- colleges.' orous reader.
From the public-schools he went to His home influence was the best, being DePauw University, then known as Asfundamentally democratic in character bury College, and from this well-known and atmosphere and permeated with western institution he went to Princeton, moral virility and broad culture. His where he was graduated in 1887. Selecting early schooling was equally fortunate, journalism as a profession, he secured a being gained in the public schools of Mad- position, first in Cincinnati. Later for ison. Now the public-schools of Indiana, several years he was on the staff of the for more than a generation at least, have New York World and New York Sun. been justly famous for efficiency, thor- Now, journalism may easily be the oughness and a high standard of ethical making or unmaking of a young man.
If conduct. We believe that to this more he is well grounded in intellectual integthan to any other single influence is due the rity; if he has learned to think broadly fact that Indiana has in recent years taken and fundamentally; if he has been taught such a preëminent place in the world of to be honest with himself and to underletters and has not inaptly been termed stand and prize at their true worth the the Massachusetts of the Middle West. moral verities, then there are few profesIn early times the general intelligence of sions so rich in educational value or which the people and their schools left much to better tend to broaden and enrich the be desired, and the term Hoosier conveyed alert and receptive mind than journalism. anything but the idea of intellectual bril- But for youths whose characters have liancy. In the seventies, however, the never been properly strengthened and schools were greatly strengthened in many developed, for superficial thinkers and cities. New England teachers, thorough- those who have not learned to appreciate ly equipped to instruct and inspire the moral values, journalism is one of the young, entered the work with an enthu- most perilous of professions, leading to siasm that became contagious. We re- cynicism and contempt for the high things member very distinctly the marked de- of life and oftentimes deadening the finer gree in which the teachers in Evansville, and higher sensibilities, because the spirit Indiana, when we were attending the pub- of our materialistic commercialism has lic-schools of that city, succeeded in im- come to exert so tremendous an influence buing a large proportion of the scholars over the press that its blight not unfrewith mental and moral enthusiasm. quently extends to all departments of the
Now it was in the public schools, which paper. Moreover, the journalist sees life as it is; his eyes are constantly being among those who delight in stories, most opened; he has many rude awakenings. of these chapters will prove more comHere, for example, he sees men who have pelling in interest than nine out of ten of stood high in the councils of state, men the short stories that are appearing in who have been regarded as ultra-respect- our leading literary magazines. able and the pillars of society; yet their It is, however, through his long stories lives, both public and private, underneath that our author is best known. Here he the highly-polished surface are loathsome is doing his greatest work for the cause of and corrupt. So on every hand the young democracy and here also he is, we believe, journalist constantly finds his idols shat- destined to do some work that will place tered. Then, too, he sees crime in all its him among the greatest of our novelists multitudinous phases, vice and degrada- and give him a permanent place in the tion, and the falling away of that idealism literature of the world. His early novels, that is the vital breath of true civilization, A Woman Ventures and The Great God before the soul-withering influence of Success, were promising but immature. modern business life. He sees on every They showed the pen of a man of imagihand in society confusion in regard to nation with brain trained to alertness, things fundamentally or conventionally and here also was the human quality and right and proper, and varying standards the ethical impulse; but though they of justice and right applied to the differ- promised much they lacked the finished ent classes in the community.
touch of the master. All his later books, With the foundation which the home Golden Fleece, The Cost, The Plum-Tree, environment and public-school education The Social Secretary and The Deluge, had given Mr. Phillips, and with a keen have, however, showed a steady advance appreciation for the rugged Americanism in many respects; and what is still more or democracy that made our nation the significant of greater things in the future, moral leader of the world, journalism each evinces in a marked degree some proved a great help instead of a handicap special excellence which illustrates the to the young writer. It was a supplemen- versatility of the author and his capacity tary education which broadened his men- to do great work. tal vision and enriched his knowledge of Should you enter the studio of a young the fundamental movements and the sig- artist and see a canvas on which were disnificant events of the ages.
played wonderful effectiveness in light Journalism alone, however, did not and shade or striking results in foreshortsatisfy him. He soon began to write ening, such as marked the paintings of novels and essays. His style is always Correggio, while beside this canvas were bright, epigrammatic and fascinating; others, some revealing a master's knowlon occasions it is bold and trenchant. He edge in color effect, genius in depicting possesses the rare power of instantly ar- human qualities and an imagination sugresting the attention and holding the in- gesting colossal concepts such as were terest of the reader. This is as true of found in Angelo's work, you would say at his essays as of his novels. His latest once: “If all these canvases are the unwork, The Reign of Gilt, is made up of a aided creative work of the young artist, series of chapters dealing with plutocracy he will some day do some distinctly great and democracy. In the hands of many work; some day he will paint a canvas writers these essays, however important which will reflect the varied excellencies in their facts, would be dry reading. Un- in such a degree that he will take rank der Mr. Phillips' treatment each chapter among the master-artists of the world." is as absorbingly interesting as a well- Now the work of David Graham Philwritten short story. Indeed, we believe lips impresses the critic in a similar manthat for the intelligent readers, even ner. All his best writings reveal the
requisites of a great novelist. First, he the forces that are struggling for suprepossesses the imagination that enables macy in the republic to-day. On the one him to project his consciousness so as to hand is a powerful individuality oversee, feel and understand precisely what mastered by a sordid egoism, by a craze his typical creations are cognizant of, in for gold and for the ease, comfort, gratiall the varied walks of life. This seeing fication and power which it will give the eye, this hearing ear, this feeling heart, individual, unattended by any recognition constitute the first and supreme requisite of moral responsibility or the dignity and for the novelist of the first rank. In the duty of life. Here is the typical modern second place, our author possesses ideal- money magnate, crazed by the materialism, a sense of moral proportion and the ism of the market, insane with the gambrationalistic intellect that enables him to bler's frenzy.
bler's frenzy. And in juxtaposition to see great problems in a fundamental way. this great typical character we have in Furthermore, he possesses the human Scarborough the type of the clean-souled, quality; he knows how to touch the heart- high-minded nature, touched, illuminated chord, to give to fiction that interest that and glorified by the highest idealism appeals compellingly to the popular im- man dominated by the spirit of freedom, agination. His style is plain, direct, at- democracy and human enlightenment, tractive. Often his sentences
as were Jefferson and Lincoln; incorepigrammatic as were Hugo's. He throws ruptible and true, yet withal very human. out thoughts that stick like burrs in the In The Plum-Tree a startling and commind. He is versatile-very versatile. pellingly realistic picture is presented of In Golden Fleece we have the finest satire the overthrow of democracy and the enthat has appeared on the craze of the thronement of plutocracy or privileged newly-rich and the American snobs in wealth, and the degradation of the politigeneral to marry into the broken-down cal life of the nation through the corrupt aristocratic families of the Old World, party-boss and the money-controlled mawhile incidentally with a master-hand he chine. It is a powerful story of contemhits off the peculiar characteristics, and poraneous conditions, almost as compelespecially the weaknesses, of the rich and ling in its influence as the later novels of fashionable in such leading cities as New Zola, such as Truth, Labor and Fecundity. York, Boston, Washington and Chicago. The Deluge is a companion romance
In The Social Secretary he gives a vivid quite as strong as The Plum-Tree. It picture of the undemocratic trend of life tears away the mask from our American in our national capital under the imperial- Monte Carlo, the gambling hell of Wall istic administration of the present incum- street, and introduces the reader to the bent, with a striking picture of the morally money-mad princes of privilege who pose enervating and anti-democratic general as the pillars of society while playing with conditions that are transforming the re- stacked cards and loaded dice and oppresspublic into a class-ruled government. All ing the masses of the nation and debauchthis is presented with charming realism ing the business and political life of Amerthrough the vehicle of a pleasing story. ica.
In The Cost we find the human and love Now each of these works reveals some interest very strong. This story displays special excellence, some element of the development of powers essential to strength, power and popularity less markgreat novels and which have only been ed in the others, and shows the power of foreshadowed in his previous romances.
the author to handle life in all its phases It also gives some splendid examples of and in such varied manner as to make a character drawing in which colossal typi- distinctly great novel when the hour arcal figures are introduced. Dumont and rives in which the author will be able or Scarborough represent the incarnation of wise enough to retire into some secluded fastness of nature and there amid solitude Mr. Phillips possesses all the elements and natural grandeur permit his imagina- essential to the creation of great and imtion to create a rich background for a mortal fiction. All that is necessary is cast that shall be as full of great living, time and patience in the composition of typical figures as Les Miserables, Vanity some great work. Fair, David Copperfield, or any other of
B. 0. FLOWER. the
supreme works in the world of fiction. Boston, Mass.
THE MENACE OF PLUTOCRACY.
A CONVERSATION WITH DAVID GRAHAM PHILLIPS.
E WERE seated at a window in
the Manhattan Club. Below nopoly rights had gained ascendency in us the tide of metropolitan life was surg- government, rendered success and happiing up and down Madison and Fifth ave- ness possible to all industrious, struggling nues and Broadway. Here were the car- and ambitious sons and daughters of the riages and automobiles of the very rich land, while furnishing the environment mingling with the cabs, herdics and street- favorable to human development instead cars in the most cosmopolitan center of of inimical to the normal expansion of the the nation. That magnificent equipage best in man. These scenes without the in which were seated two richly-robed window, so thoroughly typical, impressed ladies, that passed down Madison avenue, us with the tremendous significance of contrasted strangely, and to the demo- the present battle against the multitudicratic eye unpleasantly, with the poor nous agencies which are transforming our women and men-human derelicts— republic into a class-dominated and pracseated on the benches of the square be- tically a class-ruled nation, being waged yond the avenue. These latter were by the friends of democracy who hold fractions of the great army of the defeated firmly to the ideals of Jefferson, Lincoln among the struggling human beings, and the great men of their stamp; and merely typical of tens of thousands who, with this thought in mind we turned to hampered by heredity and unfortunate Mr. Phillips with the question: environments, have battled, oftentimes “Is it not true that the march of privibravely and sometimes long, for a footing leged interests has been steady and unamong the struggling army on the pre- interrupted for the last quarter of a cencipitous heights of present-day business life, for independent, self-respecting man- “For a much longer time than that," hood and womanhood, only in the end to replied the novelist. “You see, before fall into the abyss. As our eye wandered the Civil war the privileged class that exfrom the wealth in the magnificent equi- ercised undemocratic influence in governpage to the flotsam and jetsam of human ment and society was the slave-holding life in the square, we found ourselves oligarchy of the South. A large number asking whether or not this was the repub- of the citizens of the Southern States were lic of Jefferson and Lincoln, the republic opposed to slavery long before the war, which had been founded on the idea of many of these holding the views of the equality of opportunity and of rights, and great Southern statesman, Thomas Jef
tury ? "
ferson. Some opposed the 'institution' enslaving power than chattel slavery, because of the ethical influence it exerted; because it permeates all sections of the but a still larger number, a body that was nation and has its ramifications in every rapidly increasing as trade increased and opinion-forming center of society. When cities grew, opposed slavery because of the war was raging, the harpies gathered the autocratic and intolerant attitude of at Washington and began laying the founthe privileged class toward all white men dation for privileged fortunes, often by within their borders who labored for a the most infamous conceivable methods living. The tradesmen were increasing methods that entailed the loss of the all over the South, but on every hand lives of numbers of the true-hearted men they were treated as inferiors by the plant who had hastened to the front to save the ers and the large slave-owners who looked Union. Paper-soled shoes, substitution down on manual labor, precisely as the in clothing, substitution of the gravest privileged aristocracies of the old mon- character in medicine, and so on through archal régimes regard trades-people and the whole line of governmental war suptoilers.
plies. The soldiers were victimized, “How widespread was this sentiment wronged and often killed through crimiagainst slavery, largely because of the nal substitutions. growing democratic protest against the "Then, too, when the nation was abarrogance of a privileged class, was strik- sorbed with the great question of saving ingly illustrated in an election in the fif- the Union, we behold the crafty commerties, when Jefferson Davis ran for govern- cial corruptionists, the promoters of great or of Mississippi on a pro-slavery plat- corporations such as the railways, with form. His antagonist advocated the grad- eyes riveted on the vast stretches of rich ual abolition of slavery, and Jefferson public land and the nation's wealth, and, Davis was defeated in Mississippi—the with graft and greed blinding them to heart of the slave-power. When, ten or sentiments of honor, justice and integrity, twelve years ago, I ran across this tre- beginning their systematic and colossal mendously significant fact, I sat up straight schemes of plunder and the exploitation and began to do some thinking. Here of the public for the enrichment of the was a fact little noticed by historians, and few, for the building up of enormous foryet it was one of the most significant hap- tunes at the expense of the government penings of the period. I at once began and the masses. to study the situation, and I soon found “When the war was over chattel slavery that everywhere in the South the senti- was destroyed. One form of privilege ment against the privileged class and in had been overthrown, but other forms favor of a democracy, that cannot exist had arisen, and the pioneers and prowhere privileged classes are separated moters had gained a firm footing in the from the people by wealth, power or social republic. Their advance has been steady, distinction, was rapidly growing prior to uninterrupted and accelerated.” the spread of the radical abolition senti- “Is it not true," we asked, “ that this ment in the North. Of course when the onward march has been characterized passions and prejudices of the North and by the introduction into government the South were aroused and the issue be- throughout all its ramifications of ideals came one of sections, the South stood on that are reactionary, imperialistic and the whole solidly in opposition to the anti-democratic-innovations which are North.
in alignment with monarchal government “But the Civil war, while it destroyed and entirely inimical to the fundamental one privileged class, gave birth to a mod- principles upon which popular rule or ern commercial feudalism of wealth more democracy rests ?” potential for evil and more general in its “Undoubtedly,” replied Mr. Phillips.