« ElőzőTovább »
mental to its future standing and usefulness. But it was quite evident, on the other hand, that the Academy, a creature of Congress, could not well join issue with the latter on the question of its proper functions. Moreover, an opportunity of rendering a great service to the Government should not be lost for so slight a reason. The membership included not only men connected with both surveys, but many others acquainted with every aspect of the case, and able to take a broad view of the whole question.
As might have been expected under the circumstances, the report of the committee was radical, drastic and comprehensive. All the work of surveying and mapping the territories was considered as a whole; and it was to be prosecuted under a single department. The co-operating bureaus would thus be placed in close communication with each other, and their proper limits defined by superior authority. The interior work of the Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories, the surveys of the Land Office, and the preparation of maps of the whole region were all to be carried out as parts of one and the same general plan.
Such a proposal was too radical to receive the immediate and unqualified assent of Congress. The most powerful and active opposition came from the Surveyors-General of the Land Office, who succeeded in having their own department dropped from the scheme. The Coast and Geodetic Survey, while raising no strong objection to the change, did not actively favor it. From a purely official point of view the army survey made the most vigorous fight against extinction. But it was unsuccessful, and the two rival surveys were both wiped out and replaced by the Geological Survey of the public domain.
If the success of an organization is to be measured by the amount of public support which it has received; by the constant extension of its work and influence, and by the gradual dying out of all opposition, then must the plan be considered a brilliant success. In this connection it must be remarked that the Academy is in no way responsible for the extension of the Geological Survey into the States. Its plan was in terms limited to the national domain. The membership of the Academy was so cautious and conservative that it may well be doubted whether a plan for extending the survey into the States would have met with its approval. Whatever view we may entertain on this question, it
is certain that the extension by Congress, on its own motion, of the plan devised by the Academy cannot be regarded as anything but a compliment to the work of this body.
A question of even greater importance than that of surveying the public domain is that of the administration of the forest land under control of the general Government. Our forest administration is principally under control of the Interior Department. Heads of that department have long met with insuperable difficulty in protecting the public interests vested in the forests against the encroachment of private parties. Mining companies, ostensibly cutting timber for their use, were really lumber companies selling it for their own private purposes. Pretended settlers entitled to the use of the timber were really the agents of corporations. Regulations for the protection of the forests against depredation were found incapable of enforcement. These depredations increased with the growth of population, until, a few years ago, we were confronted with the prospect of the entire destruction of all the timber worth cutting from the public lands.
In 1896 Secretary Hoke Smith called upon the National Academy of Sciences for a report on the subject. In his letter to the President of the Academy he said:
“My predecessors in office for the last twenty years have vainly called attention to the inadequacy and confusion of existing laws relating to the public timber lands and consequent absence of an intelligent policy in their administration, resulting in such conditions as may, if not speedily stopped, prevent a proper development of a large portion of our country; and because the evil grows more and more as the years go by, I am impelled to emphasize the importance of the question by calling upon you for the opinion and advice of that body of scientists which is officially empowered to act in such cases as this."
The Academy commission devoted more than a year to an extensive investigation of the whole subject. Its report included not only a study of the conditions in our own country, but of the policies adopted by foreign countries, especially Germany, and their results. But no sooner did Congress begin to act on the report by enacting the legislation recommended in it, than its conclusions were violently attacked. Such a result was both right and natural. · For the same reason that the Anglo-Saxon race find it wise that the conclusions of one legislative body should
be independently examined and reviewed by a second, it is always fitting that any proposals on so complicated a question as this should be put to the test of the closest examination and criticism before being accepted. The question whether the criticisms originated with men who were profiting by the lax system in vogue might well arise, but need not be considered.
In the discussion which followed, the interests of the public were at a disadvantage. The assailants wielded great political power in their respective States. They had against them only the moral force behind a report made by men of the highest authority, who had no personal end in view. Fer a time it seemed as if they would be successful and the Academy would suffer rather than gain in the opinion of the Government by the report it had made. But the moral force behind the report was such that, in the long run, some of the severest critics saw their error, and the most essential features of the plan were carried into effect by legislation and executive action. The Interior Department, the Geological Survey and the Department of Agriculture are all prosecuting different branches of the work with harmony and success, a consummation in strong contrast with the state of things which formerly prevailed.
The need of such expert knowledge as can be supplied by men who are foremost in every branch of research is one that must constantly grow with the complexity of the problems that face our Government. The problems associated with the initiation of new public works, especially those which involve the application of some new principle, the administration of the national domain, irrigation and the public health are examples. The smallness of the money cost of such knowledge is perhaps one reason why its importance is overlooked. We naturally are inclined to measure value by cost. It would not be surprising if the sums expended a few years ago in bombarding the sky to bring down rain should far exceed the annual average cost of all the expert assistance the Government would ever need for a generation to come.
SIMON NEW COMB.
THE GENESIS OF "AMERICANISM.”
BY J. ST. CLAIR ETHERIDGE,
THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW for March contained an article from the pen of Mgr. Péchenard, the rector of the Catholic University of Paris, on "The End of Americanism in France.” Those who have read with interest this oraison funèbre will desire to hear the story of the genesis of Americanism; for, as Mgr. Péchenard remarks, “Americanism has had a history.” Such a supplement to an article on the passing of the newest heresy is needful; for, even at this late date, the people of America know little or nothing about a movement which is regarded as one of the most deplorable incidents in the history of the Catholic Church in recent times. The literature of Americanism is almost entirely in a foreign language, and Americanism itself was unheard of in the United States until the moment when the news of its condemnation was cabled from Rome.
To the term "Americanism” two widely different meanings have been attached-one political, the other religious. Political Americanism was first brought into prominence forty years ago by Father Hecker, the founder of the Paulist Congregation. It maintains that Catholics accept with the fullest frankness and loyalty the Constitution of the United States as suited in every way to the Church in America, and also that the principles which the Church stands for are of vital importance to the great Republic of the West. Father Hecker realized that the Church in America presented, at least to the superficial glance, a foreign aspect. “It is not natural with us,” he wrote before his conversion; "hence, it does not meet our wants, nor does it fully understand and sympathize with the experiences and dispositions of our people.'
#“Life of Father Flecker," by the Rev. Walter Elliot, page 137.
However, upon a closer acquaintance with the Catholic religion, he discovered the wonderful harmony which exists between the principles that underlie the Constitution of the United States and those which are bound up with the charter of the Church. And when, after many struggles and wanderings, he became a Catholic and entered the priesthood, mindful of his own difficulties, he lost no opportunity of showing his countrymen that America is the congenial home of the Church, and that the Church is the most efficient ally of democracy. Political Americanism, then, simply means that every good Catholic in America should also be a good citizen, that every loyal member of the Church should also be a loyal member of the Commonwealth. It promotes every movement that aims at uplifting the masses politically and socially, and seeks to leaven with the principles of Christianity all the relations of life, public and private. Without abating a jot or tittle of Catholic doctrine, it strives to break down the barriers of bigotry, and to unite Catholics with their non-Catholic fellow citizens in every cause that makes for the welfare of the people. Without sacrificing an essential of Catholic organization, it adapts the external methods of the Church to the needs of the times, and of a people gathered from every land under the sun and chanting the creeds of a hundred denominations. Americanism, in this sense of the term, far from being condemned by Leo XIII., was approved and blessed by him. It is only the embodiment of the principles laid down in his memorable letter to the French people, exhorting the Catholics of France to identify themselves with the nation.
Religious Americanism is that body of crude heretical opinions lately condemned at Rome and contained-s0 Mgr. Péchenard and his school allege—in the same biography of Father Hecker in which political Americanism is also set forth. Father Hecker and they who sanctioned his principles and methods, it is charged, would minimize Catholic doctrine in order to gain adherents to the Church. They would exalt natural qualities of character, but at the expense of supernatural virtues. They would give to the individual a liberty of thought and action incompatible with the scope of ecclesiastical authority. They would advocate the absolute separation of Church and State in all countries and in all circumstances. They would even lay down false principles of piety, and regard as out of date the great religious orders, depre