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large property filled the highest places in the government. This was true even of the Republics of Greece and Rome in their most democratic days. It was true also of all other ancient communities of which we have any record. It was true of every country of Europe down to the French Revolution. The great landholders ruled the country; the great merchants ruled the town. But in our day the government has passed or is passing almost completely into the hands of the poor, while the masses of property in the hands of the rich, or within reach of the legislature, has enormously increased. There is a great deal to be said on this topic, some of it obvious enough. Its connection with modern socialism and anarchism I think might easily be traced. I must pass it by here, with a mere mention, but its bearing on the difficulties of city government in a democratic State seems plain.

The determination of the legislature to rule the city, that is, to impose charters on it without the consent or approbation of the inhabitants, first became apparent in 1857. It had two causes. One was the passage of the State into the hands of the then growing Republican party, while the city remained overwhelmingly Democratic. The other was the appearance in the city of the first of the demagogues, known as Fernando Wood, at the head of a large body of immigrant voters. Wood's origin, like that of all men of his class, was obscure. Where he came from, or what his beginnings were, was not known. There was a story current during the two campaigns which the good citizens carried on against him, that his first appearance in New York, was as the leg of an artificial elephant in a traveling show. went into business here, however, and carried it on in the fashion of men of his kind. I happened to be in court when he was proved to have raised, as against his partner, in a joint shipping venture to California, all the bills sent in to him as ship's husband, by adding figures or ciphers, as might best suit the occasion. This little incident was made

very public in his canvass, but I never could learn that it injured him in the least. His distinction was that he was the first to perceive the use which might be made of the change which immigration had wrought in the character of the voting population of the city. In fact he may be said to have discovered the electoral value of the Irish. He organized them in such fashion that he was able for the first time to cast their vote solid, in the manner now so well known under Croker, McKane and the like, and thus made himself a power to be treated with, or overthrown. His methods were all corrupt, and the police were then wholly under him, and may be said to have been composed of the riff-raff of the population, the strikers, "heelers' and shoulder-hitters, who in those old days before registration were all powerful on election day.

His goings on, however, seriously alarmed the property holders who were then less familiar with bosses than they are now, and had not learned the various ways of turning away their wrath. So the Republican Legislature at Albany made up their minds to take charge of the city government, and made a beginning by taking the police out of the mayor's hands and handing it over to a commission appointed by the governor. The creation and maintenance of the Central Park was provided for in the same manner, and interference with the city government in the Republican interest continued all through the war, until about 1868, when Tweed began to rise into prominence as a successor to Wood. He showed the danger of the system by getting control of the legislature himself and having a charter enacted of his own drafting and to suit his own purposes. From that moment government of the city from Albany fell into a discredit from which it has never recovered, and which the events of every session fully justify.

At this point there appeared on the scene in the governor's chair, a man who in the field of federal politics has received a good deal of abuse, but whose service to his own

State can hardly be overestimated. I mean Samuel J. Tilden. If I called him the last of the New York Democrats, I do not think I should be far wrong. There remain behind many men in the party doubtless as able as he, and as eager for the public good, but there remains no man possessing the same influence over the party at large, and bred in its earlier and better traditions. He was fully conscious of the evils of special legislation for municipal purposes, and of the importance of providing a general framework of city government under which all the cities of the State might come. He appointed a commission in 1876, for the purpose of drafting a scheme of legislation for that purpose. This commission, after a year of incubation, reported in 1877 an amendment to the constitution, absolutely forbidding legislative interference "in the organization of or the distribution of powers in a city government or in the terms and tenure of office therein, except by an act passed upon the application of the city, made by resolution both of the Board of Aldermen and of the Board of Finance respectively, approved by the mayor, or by an act which shall have received the sanction of two successive legislatures."

The principal feature in this amendment, and the one which ultimately led to its defeat, was the Board of Finance. That board, which was to have the exclusive control of the city finances, was to consist of persons who should for "two years preceding the election have paid an annual tax on property owned by them, and officially assessed for taxation, of the assessed value of not less than $500, or should have actually paid during the same period a yearly rent for premises occupied by them for purposes of residence or lawful business, of not less than $250. It was to be elected by "qualified electors who for two years preceding the election should have paid a yearly rent on premises occupied by them as a residence or for business purposes, of not less than $125." This property qualification for the

board of the electors caused the amendment to be dropped after having passed one legislature.

The considerations which led the commission to propose a Board of Finance, to be thus composed and elected, were simply those which govern the management of every other corporation. Directors or trustees of all other corporations are men who have a direct pecuniary interest in it, and it is considered desirable, on principles of human nature, that they should themselves be the possessors of some property, as a guarantee of care and responsibility in the management of that of other people. It desired, in short, to exclude from the management of the corporate funds absolutely penniless and obscure adventurers, such as, as a matter of fact, now climb into city offices, and such as no private corporation would think of employing in any capacity. In prescribing, also, a small property qualification for the electors of the board, they were much influenced by the wise provision of the English electoral laws, which require every voter to be a rate payer, that is, to pay some direct tax however small. For there can, I think, be no question, that the population of our great cities will never be got to believe that they pay taxes, or that the amount of the municipal expenditures makes any difference to them, unless the tax collector calls on them for a direct contribution to the public treasury. fact a very large mass of the voters of New York, are in the mental condition of a genuine proletariat, that is, of a body which feels no interest in the amount of the public burdens, and looks on the wealth around them as the true and proper source of municipal expenditure. That they are made to contribute to the city outlay through their rent is very true, but you cannot bring the fact home to them. To them truly and literally, as to the schoolmen, things which they cannot see, do not exist. Neither party in the legislature was willing, however, to shoulder the responsibility of re-introducing that odious thing a property qualification, for any purpose whatever, although debts in the New York villages can


only be incurred by the vote of the taxpayers and although in all corporative undertakings of civilized men, except cities, the man who handles the money is expected to have an actual interest in its safe keeping and proper expenditure.

Since then no other attempt has been made to procure a general law for the incorporation of cities and I see no prospect of any. Both political parties consider the city government a very important centre in the political game, and neither would be quite willing to surrender the chance of it by putting the city out of reach. They divide the offices through "deals," and make changes in the charter without any regard to the needs or demands of the city population whose corporate existence, in fact, receives hardly any recognition from the State government. It is quite easy for the boss of either party, by coming to terms with his opponents, to have offices created and their terms lengthened for his special benefit. When the medical committee which advised the Chamber of Commerce during the cholera crisis in 1892, reported that the health officer was incompetent, his brother-in-law, Croker, retorted by going up to Albany and having the term doubled in length. And when some years ago the Republican boss wished to have some bills passed for his own benefit, he accomplished it easily by consenting to the creation of a large and wholly useless addition to the number of police justices, which Tammany appointed.

One other important change has occurred for which it is difficult to think of a legal remedy. One of the strongest correctives of the evils of universal suffrage is the habit of electing notables to the leading public offices. As long as there is a feeling in the popular mind that the man who has succeeded in business or in a profession, or in any of the lawful and respectable pursuits of the community in which he lives, has the best title to such offices as the mayoralty, you have an excellent guarantee against any very gross misuse of it. What I am about to say now is the more important, because the tendency in all the recent charters is to

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