Page images

The name of John Moody is familiar to more than a generation of bankers and business men. He has written extensively on investments, and as president of his own Investors Service he has been responsible for the renowned Moody's Analyses of Investments that have been appearing annually since 1909. Jules Sauerwein, like the good foreign editor of Le Matin he is, spends most of his time on what our salesmen would call 'the road.' Three or four times a week he sends his paper interviews with German industrialists, Italian deputies, Austrian prelates, and the like. Lately he has been conducting an investigation - —or an enquête, as he would say in regard to the relations between the Vatican and Mussolini. His account can be accepted as a nonsectarian and utterly unbiased document with a first-rate European reputation behind it. A Straight from Peking, where he has been living for years and following the perplexing developments in China on the spot, Moore Bennett sends us his discussion of Christianity in the Far East.

We are glad to note that the Atlantic is now considered reasonably reliable. The following naïve statement is taken from the Pittsburgh Observer:

It is now whispered about, on very reliable authority, that the author of the recent series of articles appearing in the Atlantic Monthly really was a Catholic priest, one who is 'absent on leave' from his own diocese and who formerly was on the faculty of a leading Eastern Catholic college. His present status in his own diocese is not known.

Bishop Fiske's article on 'A Bishop Looks at the Church' has brought forth a number of responses from youth in answer to his challenge for constructive suggestions from the new generation. Here is one:

You will doubtless be criticized for 'washing linen in public,' but, after all, the public discussion of the futility of much of our church work will do good. Why? Because it will arouse the ministers and their people from the deadly selfcomplacency of the mass of church people in our well-ordered city congregations. If they can only

be made to see that something is wrong, there is still enough vitality in every church organization to lead to its correction. To me the hopeful sign is that there are so many men and women who still have sufficient faith in the Church's real worth to believe that it can accept the severest criticism from those who still love it.

H. E. F.

From a Methodist young man in the Middle West:


If the Church really wishes to appeal to younger men and women, by all means throw out all the 'hokum.' Here we have our religion presented to us as based on fundamental nonentities -views of the Bible which no intelligent man can accept, coupled with attacks on all whose views are different. Why not give us an honest view of the Old Testament, with clear teaching and its evolution of thought and the gradual growth of a better conception of God? Then make the teaching of Christ the only basis of appeal. Trust us, and allow us to renew our faith in ourselves and in humanity, with confidence in our ability at least to strive to live after the pattern of the Man Jesus.

H. H. W.

From a young woman in western New York:


I believe that the majority of the younger generation are, like myself, agnostic. But that does n't mean that we cannot and will not listen to an inspiring and uplifting service and a persuasive sermon. I believe too that the reason for our agnosticism is that we read. Our maternal parents knew nothing of the controversy over the virgin birth; the Immaculate Conception was a famous painting by a dead artist. I was taught that the Resurrection of the Body meant an opening of millions of graves on a certain longedfor day when everyone walked out in his shroud - pitiful when some are only false fronts. Speaking for youth, I think we need clergy and teaching with tact and courage to give us straight instruction in morals. When I asked the clergyman who 'prepared' me for confirmation, 'What is adultery?' he grew red into his collar and said I should ask my mother. Picturing his embarrassment, how could I ever bring myself to repeat the painful question - least of all to my sweet and lovely mother? My intuition told me that the seventh commandment had to do with the little boy next door whom Mother would n't let me play with. Heavens! What can be expected of a generation fed on milk instead of strong meat?

[blocks in formation]

Bishop Fiske, in his glaringly true current article, asks 'What do young people want?' Supposing they have intelligence to weigh facts, and instinct to be interested in any religious matters, this is the first, basic, test question: Just exactly what is this religion you submit to me for acceptance?

Bishop Primus would say:·

'At the Reformation the Anglican Church, abjuring its errors, built itself on assumed facts, beyond query, and revealed to men. They were these, briefly: Mankind became debased, fell, was cursed, condemned, "justly," without hope. Jesus, being "very God," died to protect "from God's Justice" (see 1927 Church Almanac), and, cursed in man's stead, saved the race from extinction. He founded "One Catholic and Apostolic Church" to preserve these facts till He shall "come again."'


Bishop Secundus would say: 'We know the race has risen not fallen. A wise Creator would not curse His people. His mercy would supersede His justice and have no bounds. He is our Father and we need no mediator, and, there being no curse, a blood sacrifice would be useless. The Jewish tradition may be entirely eliminated. The Church is human, not divine, and a Christian is a man, Jew, Hindoo, or Deist, who adopts a "Way of Life" as he personally interprets Jesus as his pattern.'

The inquiring, interested young person naturally says, "These are two different religions which is the Truth?' He gets no reply; and the best he can do is to say, 'If you, gentlemen, will agree among yourselves and advise me at any time, I will give the matter courteous attention,

[blocks in formation]

I read with great interest, genuine appreciation, and much amusement your recent contribution to the Atlantic, then passed the magazine to a young friend who is a Methodist church member that he might see the article before my copy should start on its usual rounds, his name being last on my own circulation list.

Then I gave it to an older Universalist friend who would also be appreciative; he in turn has lent it to our local Methodist pastor, a 'boy preacher,' who was to return it to me (but has n't) that I might send it promptly, as I have done for years, to Madam Jackson, whose husband wrote the Jackson Life of Martineau and who is certain to be interested in your views, being the widow of a Unitarian clergyman. In her household the Atlantic is kept for weeks, read by all the family, then sent to another dear old friend, nearing ninety, a one-time member of Edward Everett Hale's church, now living here in our town. She won't miss it either; is sure to read what you have written on this subject.

It is a far cry from Maine to California, but you may be interested to know that even here in the Maine woods you have, as the slang is, 'stirred up the monkeys.' Could I write for the Atlantic I should be gratified to know that everybody all over the country was listening in, so to speak. ELIZABETH B. PERLEY

American, Spaniard, and de Madariaga. PARIS, 8 June, 1928


I am struck by Señor de Madariaga's observation in the April Atlantic that the Spaniard, who perhaps enjoys, as an individual, more of this thing we call personal liberty than most of us superior Nordics, actually comes nearer the essence of democracy than the theorists of all ages, even in their voluminous writing on the subject. An American, aware of all that is evolving in his

own country, who has occasion to spend some profitable time in Spain, or, conversely, a Spaniard who knows something of America, can scarcely escape the same conclusion. Nor can the former escape some not altogether pleasant contrasts, if he is of an open mind.

Wandering leisurely down some of the intriguing vistas de Madariaga opens to us, I find myself retracing quite familiar steps. Ever since the war, when I first began in a very, very small way to take cognizance of the world about me, the theory has been slowly forming in my mind that the hypothetical basis of democracy is the natural and unrestricted intercourse between any two individuals who circumstances have decreed shall be neighbors, for at least a space. And I am on the point of accepting the theory in its entirety—namely, that as the scope of what the individual may come to regard as his responsibility toward society widens, the definition of such democracy as he may enjoy narrows, eventually losing all resemblance to the original theory. My attitude toward the 'group mind' functioning within the boundaries of the city ward or incorporated village in which I happen to live will be altogether different from my attitude toward the sort of 'group mind' which permits a native of Kansas to superimpose his theories regarding prohibition on residents of New York City, his glee all the greater for knowing that the residents of New York City, left to their own devices, would not have imposed prohibition on themselves. And I care not how many imposing arguments the native of Kansas brings to his cause, so little do I relish the Roman Catholic theory that the end justifies the means.

Precise definitions are of so little moment in a world of amazing social revolutions and counterrevolutions that, if we Americans have stumbled on something better than our forefathers' conception of democracy, we have nothing to regret. But have we stumbled on to something better? We have certainly made deeper inroads on every form of social disorder known to history than any other nation in the world. And if we have brought every individual and every section of the United States to within as near a dead level of efficiency as is humanly possible at the expense of art, which can be democratized but never legislated, perhaps we have paid only a fair, if dear, price for sunlit tenements, wholesome milk, and a shiny automobile for one out of every four of us. We Americans are more wrapped up in the idea of fraternity than the Frenchmen who invented the word. Who would define it? What our feeling of responsibility toward the weak actually means to us is charity. Charity looks down, as de Madariaga observes, while fraternity looks level. No, we are more like our ancestral Britons than the Spanish. We have neither

democracy nor fraternity. A good many years ago charity blossomed into patronage, and patronage begat class-consciousness, and class-conscious folk began to talk about government by 'those fit to govern' and criticize their neighbors' careless method of bringing up children.

Poor Britain! For a thousand years the rank and file who have inhabited those isles have been taught, like children, to look to 'those fit to govern' for their salvation. Something rather dreadful has happened to the Empire, and most of 'those fit to govern' are still too nonplused to plan their own salvation, much less that of their quota of 'children.'

Some day, perhaps, intelligent Englishmen will bury their shattered, outworn illusions and build anew. I hope when that day comes a few of them will spare the time and pains to remind America that our beautiful, smooth-running, dollar-minting, empire-building machine is no nearer perfection and invulnerability than was the Victorian Juggernaut of the '80's to caution Americans concerning the danger of 'putting the individual in his allotted place.'

The Spaniard may never have reached the heights, as we measure such things, of the Briton; I doubt if he has ever tasted the dregs the Briton is tasting at the moment. But, alas! Picturesque people are not apt to have wholesome milk!

May we have more of this Salvador de Madariaga?

[blocks in formation]


I have just finished reading The Stump Farm. I enjoyed it so much more as it is almost as if a page was taken from my own life. It all came back to me as I read. When I read about the baby's coming without doctor's assistance I thought of the time when my last boy was born, on a cold, stormy night with no one but two neighbor women to help me, and when things started to go wrong one of the women (who was supposed to know something about it) started to cry and wring her hands over me and screamed, 'You must n't die and leave your little ones!' over and over until she had everybody all excited. It was I, sick as I was, who had to calm them. I told them I was n't going to die.

I thought of the night I kept watch over what I thought was my dying son. There was a mile to the nearest neighbor; husband was forty miles in the woods, working; no way to get word to him, either; my boy had pneumonia and the night of the crisis I was here alone. Five times he was on his way; there was no life or breath in him. All I could do was to pray; perhaps my prayer saved him. It was the longest night I have ever lived.

I thought of the fall of 1920, after a dry summer when the forest fire went through and we women had to flee with our babies and children and left our men to fight, never thinking, as we left, that we would have a home to come back to; and later how we took turns in watching the remnants of the fire; and the night when I was walking back and forth in the farmyard to keep awake after a week of watching, the blessed rains came. And we were too happy to go to sleep.

Yes, even the Club is ours, only we call it the 'Willing Workers Club,' instead of the 'Helping Hand.' Ours also is the struggle for existence. When we have something to sell, it is never worth anything. If any of us have anything to butcher and go to the trader's with it we are turned down like Hilda Rose was, with the answer, 'We get all our meat from the packing houses.' Here is another thing. A lumber company owns all this land and sells it under promise to help the settler in every way he can. When the settler has opened up some land and raised a little more potatoes than he can use himself, he goes to the lumber camps and tries to sell and always is turned down. They could use more than the settlers could raise that way-feed and food products; but no, they ship it in and we have to ship it out and give the railroad company the profits. It seems all wrong to me, and the way some people live is a pity. People get discouraged when they see that all their hard work is in vain, and they lose interest. So many leave after they have spent all they have and get into debt which they never will be able to pay. Husband is so discouraged now he wants to leave, but I have no

desire to go back to the city. I like it here. Of course we could not sell and get anything for it; it would mean to give up what we have worked so hard for these years and that does n't seem right. Perhaps I too live in a land of make-believe. I am not discouraged or even sorry that we came here; I wouldn't have missed it for anything. I have learned so much which I otherwise would have missed, and I have n't lost my faith in God.

[blocks in formation]

Pearl Elmer's letter in your January issue reminds me of a perfectly true incident that took place in recent months. A wealthy and elderly couple of Anglo-Indians, without encumbrances, visited New Zealand, bringing with them their pet a tame Himalayan rat. Alphonso, as he was called, would perch on his owner's shoulder at mealtimes, and would be fed with titbits from the table. When visiting friends, the question, 'Have you a cat?' was always asked; and if so, Alphonso was not allowed to visit. The couple ultimately returned to India, and recently the following pathetic announcement appeared in the leading New Zealand newspapers:

WYNDHAM. On January 4, 1928, at Longview, T. E. Pankhabari, India, after a few hours' illness, Alphonso, aged 2 years and 7 months. Deeply mourned.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The Trading Post. I

The American Way

An Admirable Variety

Further Diversities of National Character

A Sonnet Sequence

Why Literature Declines.

A French Journal of 1779

The Pedagogue in Revolt
The Curse of Leisure

The Paradox of Efficiency
Buttin' Blood. A Story.
A Daughter of Hawthorne
Lesson. A Poem

A Lonely Log. An Odyssey of Our Times

Capeadores in Wall Street

The Bull Market in Leading Strings


Atlantic Bookshelf: Swan Song- Europe The Battle of the Horizons
Abyss-When West Was West-The Stump Farm-Recommended Books Front Advertising Section
The Financial Counselor: George E. Putnam

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »