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Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

INSTITUTIONS,  LOCAL AND  SELF  GOVERNMENTS.     379

them on trial.* As for the police itself, to make it possible
for the dangerous classes in a city to choose, or indirectly
control the choice of those whose work it is to ferret them
out, and bring them to justice, seems so absurd that it can
hardly meet with favor except from rogues and demagogues.
Still more important is the question whether all the citizens
ought to be allowed to vote on, or indirectly through their
representatives in town councils, to influence the raising of
taxes. If our principle is correct, that none who do not own
property should vote for representatives who lay taxes on
property, the mass of city proletariats ought to be excluded
from the polls where tax-levying councilmen or officers are
elected. That for some reason or other our present system
is exceedingly bad, the experience of New York will prove.
In 1850 the population of that city was a little over half a
million, the tax levy somewhat over three millions, the esti-
mate of taxable property, 286 millions, the tax-rate 1.13 per
cent, and the debt over twelve millions. In 1877 the debt
had arisen to 113 millions, the tax levy to twenty -eight mil-
lions, and the rate to 2.67 per cent "The increase in the
annual expenditure since 1850, as compared with the increased
population, is more than four hundred per cent., and as com-
pared with the increase of taxable property, more than two
hundred, "t The causes of this alarming state of things,
which, if not checked, must end in the ruin of the city, is
attributed by the commission referred to in the note, to in-
competent and unfaithful governing boards and officers, to
the introduction of state and national politics into municipal
affairs, and to the assumption, by the legislature of the state,

*See " Our Police Courts," a pamphlet published by Mr. Dorman
B. Eaton, and especially his speech there found (pp. 16-36), before

the judiciary committee of the New York Assembly, in 1873. .
Eaton has done more than almost all other men in this country in
making public, and trying to remedy, municipal abuses. He deserves
the thanks of all.
t See the report of the commission to devise a plan for the gov-
ernment of cities in the State of New York (March 6, 1877). This
report I received after finishing the present work,