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Uhc ©pen Court
A MONTHLY MAGAZINE
2>e\?oteo to tbe Science of Religion, tbe fRelfgion of Science, ano tbe
Extension of tbe IReligious parliament Hoea
Founded by Edward C. Hegeler
VOL. XXXII (No. 5) MAY, 1918 NO. 744
Frontispiece. A Sermon of Skarga's.
The Secular Objection to Religion in the Public Schools. The Hon. Justin
Henry Shaw 257
Macaulay's Criticism of Democracy and Garfield's Reply. Charles H. Betts 273
Jan Alojsius Matejko, 1838-1893, (Illustrated). Polonius 281
Petrus Skarga Pazvenski S. J. A Prophet of Poland. A Friend of Free
Hebrew Education in School and Society. II. Woman and the Education of
Girls. Fletcher H. Swift 312
Morality by Regulation. In Answer to C. E. Sparks. Arthur J. Wester-
Book Review 320
TLhc ©pen Court publishing Company
Per copy, 10 cents (sixpence). Yearly, $1.00 (in the U.P.U., 5s. 6d.).
Entered as Second-Class Matter March 26, 1897, at the Post Office at Chicago, 111., under Act of March 3, 1879
Copyright by The Open Court Publishing Company, 191S
Xlbe ©pen Court
A MONTHLY MAGAZINE
2>ex?oteo to tbe Science of Iteifgion, tfce IReliGion of Science, ant) tbe
Extension of the IReligious parliament ffoea
Founded by Edward C. Hegeler
VOL. XXXII (No. 5) MAY, 1918 NO. 744
Frontispiece. A Sermon of Skarga's.
The Secular Objection to Religion in the Public Schools. The Hon. Justin
Henry Shaw 257
Macaulay's Criticism of Democracy and Garfield's Reply. Charles H. Betts 273
Jan Alojsius Matejko, 1838-1893, (Illustrated). Polonius 281
Petrus Skarga Pazvenski S. J. A Prophet of Poland. A Friend of Free
Hebrew Education in School and Society. II. Woman and the Education of
Girls. Fletcher H. Swift 312
Morality by Regulation. In Answer to C. E. Sparks. Arthur J. Wester-
Book Review 320
XTbe ©pen Court publishing Company
Per copy, 10 cents (sixpence). Yearly, $1.00 (in the U.P.U., 5s. 6d.).
Entered as Second-Class Matter March 26, 1897, at the Post Office at Chicago, 111., under Act of March 3, 1879
Copyright by The Open Court Publishing Company, 1918
THE GOSPEL OF BUDDHA
DR. PAUL CARUS
Pocket Edition. Illustrated. Cloth, $1.00; flexible leather, $1.50
This edition is a photographic reproduction of the edition de luxe
which was printed in Leipsic in 1913 and ready for shipment in time to
be caught by the embargo Great Britain put on all articles exported
from Germany. Luckily two copies of the above edition escaped, and
these were used to make the photographic reproduction of this latest
edition. While the Buddhist Bible could not in any way be consid-
ered a contraband of war yet the publishers were forced to hold back
many hundred orders for the book on account of orders in council of
When the book was first published His Majesty, the King of Siam,
sent the following communication through his private secretary :
"Dear Sir: I am commanded by His Most Gracious Majesty, the King of Siam,
to acknowledge, with many thanks, the receipt of your letter and the book, The
Gospel of Buddha, which he esteems very much; and he expresses his sincerest
thanks for the very hard and difficult task of compilation you have considerately
undertaken in the interest of our religion. I avail myself of this favorable oppor-
tunity to wish the book every success."
His Royal Highness, Prince Chandradat Chudhadharn, official dele-
gate of Siamese Buddhism to the Chicago Parliament of Religions, writes :
"As regards the contents of the book, and as far as I could see, it is one of the
best Buddhist Scriptures ever published. Those who wish to know the life of
Buddha and the spirit of his Dharma may be recommended to read this work which
ii so ably edited that it comprises almost all knowledge of Buddhism itself."
The book has been introduced as a reader in private Buddhist schools
of Ceylon. Mrs. Marie H. Higgins, Principal of the Musaeus School and
Orphanage for Buddhist Girls, Cinnamon Gardens, Ceylon, writes as
"It is the best work I have read on Buddhism. This opinion is endorsed by all
who read it here. I propose to make it a text-book of study for my girls."
THE OPEN COURT PUBLISHING COMPANY
122 S. MICHIGAN AVENUE
The Open Court
A MONTHLY MAGAZINE
Devoted to the Science of Religion, the Religion of Science, and
the Extension of the Religious Parliament Idea.
VOL. XXXII (No. 5) MAY, 1918 NO. 744
Copyright by The Open Court Publishing Company, 1918
THE SECULAR OBJECTION TO RELIGION IN
THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
BY THE HON. JUSTIN HENRY SHAW.
Trial Justice, Municipal Criminal Court, Kittery, Maine.
THE Open Court for February, 1918, finds some considerable
space for two interesting articles which rather unexpectedly
continue the historic attempt to meddle with the public schools by
a union of the religious cults if it were possible that such a union
might be accomplished. The first is under the quite familiar title of
"Bible-Reading and Religious Instruction in the Public Schools ;
from the Catholic Point of View," which is entirely an anonymous
statement only of the Catholic position. The other, probably in-
tended as a sort of concurrent contradiction and of immediate bal-
ance, is a Protestant plan of momentum, and entitled, "Religious
Education in the Public Schools," by Mr. C. E. Sparks.
One cannot say that either of these articles is of intimate con-
sequence on these questions. These religionists come to us even in
the same number of this magazine, with the customary different
meanings to their religions ; differences of authority, differences in
what they please to call their text-book ; independent and separate
interpretations ; and obviously with a religious quarrel among them-
selves that cannot possibly be concealed. It is plainly admitted by
the Catholic and emphasized by the Protestant. They necessarily
present themselves under the motive of morality, because one must
approve of morality, although neither seems to know just the mean-
ing of the term ; but they appear together with a theological, sec-
tarian disturbance which is not a new one, and ask to have a hand
in the public schools. Of course they will not be more generally
permitted to do so, and I shall perhaps hastily attempt to tell them
258 THE OPEN COURT.
why, and the reasons are substantial and convincing ones, I think —
historical, legal and moral. They involve briefly the purpose of
education, the purport of our national and many state constitutions,
and some better ethical considerations.
Therefore, in view of the more clearly recognized absolute
separation of the Church and State in America, as intended by our
National Constitution, and with some better knowledge of recent
state constitutional provisions and of decisions in the courts there-
under ; and particularly in the face of the unprecedented expulsion
of religion from the affairs of the commonwealth in a leading state
like Massachusetts in the adoption of its sweeping Forty-sixth
Article of Amendment to the Constitution, which I append, 1 one
must gladly feel that these religious articles are to be regarded as
untimely, and to a great extent socially as almost impudent.
The religious standpoint in these times can never be a very
cheerful one. Everything is usually very nearly all wrong with the
world. The religionist usually has the attitude of Dean Mansel,
that "the adversity of the good, the prosperity of the wicked, the
tardy appearance of moral and religious knowledge in the world,
are facts which no doubt are reconcilable, we know not how, with
the infinite goodness of God."
"Irreligion and religious indifferences are gaining day by day
an increasingly firmer hold upon society here in America," is the
1 Article XLVI, Constitution of Massachusetts.
(In place of article xviii of the articles of amendment of the constitution
ratified and adopted April 9, 1821, the following article of amendment, sub-
mitted by the constitutional convention, was ratified and adopted November 6,
1917. Effective October 1, 1918.)
Article xviii. Section 1. No law shall be passed prohibiting the free
exercise of religion.
Section 2. All moneys raised by taxation in the towns and cities for the
support of public schools, and all moneys which may be appropriated by the
commonwealth for the support of common schools shall be applied to, and
expended in, no other schools than those which are conducted according to
law, under the order and superintendence of the authorities of the town or city
in which the money is expended ; and no grant, appropriation or use of public
money or property or loan of public credit shall be made or authorized by the
commonwealth or any political division thereof for the purpose of founding,
maintaining or aiding any school or institution of learning, whether under
public control or otherwise, wherein any denominational doctrine is inculcated,
or any other school, or any college, infirmary, hospital, institution, or educa-
tional, charitable or religious undertaking which is not publicly owned and
under the exclusive control, order, and superintendence of public officers or
public agents authorized by the commonwealth or federal authority or both,
except that appropriations may be made for the maintenance and support of
the Soldiers' Home in Massachusetts and for free public libraries in any city
or town, and to carry out legal obligations, if any, already entered into; and
no such grant, appropriation or use of public money or property or loan of
public credit shall be made or authorized for the purpose of founding, main-
taining or aiding any church, religious denomination or society.
SECULAR OBJECTION TO RELIGION IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. 259
lament of the Catholic author in The Open Court, and fear is ex-
pressed "that we are reverting to the Greek type of paganism,"
and paganism is intentionally made a common name for evil, in
self-defense. I shall hope to add a little to the religious disquietude,
from Pagan motives.
This must be a very strange condition, if true, with approxi-
mately 175,000 Christian priests and ministers in the land ; probably
200,000 untaxed churches and billions of dollars in church buildings
and endowments and advantages ; with the influence and activities
of 35,000,000 organized Christians in the country, with numberless
Christian institutions, missions, parochial schools, parish settlements,
Bible publishing houses and unlimited opportunities. Something
would seem to be wrong with Christian "education," if the pessi-
mistic complaint were well founded, and that it were important
some other plan of teaching should be worked out. It would be a
great satisfaction if we could feel that this religious depression
were entirely justified. For religion to have thus fallen is indeed
a great gain. But I suspect that religion were never more contemp-
tible than it is at the present moment.
One can only regard the Catholic article as showing how im-
possible it is for the educated world at this time to seriously con-
sider its theology or its theory of education. The Church would
appear by its admission not only to have failed in its plan of sal-
vation, but also in religious education and in promoting what it
terms as morality. This is a serious admission to make for the
purpose of asking the privilege to introduce religion in the public
schools, so far as the Catholic is concerned, if he intends to do so.
One must say that the Catholic article is apparently intended
to be entirely frank and consistent, and of course religious. It is
impossible to credit the Protestant writer with such consistency
or with very much social integrity, as I shall show, because he
intends that his terms shall be deceiving. The Catholic writer does
not. He has nothing to say about the "ungodly American public
schools," nor any intimation of their "immoral output." The article
is fair and without unkindness. One may question, however, how
far this Catholic is permitted to suggest any cooperation or agree-
ment with any Protestant plan for religious instruction in the
schools, as the article at least in a way implies, but this may be
treated as a defect in any Catholic plan. It says nothing new about
the Catholic standpoint, except perhaps in this one implied par-
ticular, and it very honestly states apparently the Catholic position,
but of course in a hopeless way to ever make this religion intelligible
260 THE OPEN COURT.
or sensible. It does not attempt to say that if Catholics were allowed
to introduce religion in the public schools that Catholics would teach
the Protestant religion. But Mr. Sparks plainly wishes to teach the
Protestant religion in the schools and would call it "morality."
The Catholic writer very properly recognizes and also honestly
admits that "Our public schools have been made non-sectarian by
legislative act. There can be no question," he says, "of promoting
religious life in these schools at present." And then he obviously
observes that "in certain quarters Bible-reading has been recom-
mended to remedy this defect (and I will emphasize his comment)
— Biblc-rcading as it is pracitised by certain Protestant denomina-
tions." And so he raises the question now "whether Catholic pupils
can take part in this reading without doing violence to their religious
convictions." Of course it hardly ever occurs to the religionists
that the intrusion of their religions where religions are not wanted
and are not intended, might be a violence to the conscience or con-
viction of the secular American rationalist. Happily The Open
Court is such a publication where this may be freely discussed.
But I have no interest in what is regarded by Dr. Carus in his
philosophy as the "purification" of religions, although I must ac-
knowledge with gratitude his tremendous service to liberalism in all
I do not believe that these two religious articles should be con-
sidered with any great concern by Americans. The efforts have
been simultaneous suicides, and I think I might very well be in a
better business just now in the more serious affairs of the country
than in taking the time to attempt a reply to these religionists. I
should suppose that if religion were good for peoples that Spain,
Russia, Mexico and other religious and Christian communities ought
to be most beautiful countries and that there could be no great ob-
jections to the Christian religion in this country. But I would
hopefully prefer to reach if possible those of The Open Court
readers who perhaps may still have an undecided interest in the
question, and I cannot think that there are many who would care
to see the plan of these sectarians promoted in the least in our
schools. I would prefer to win those who may be reached with
what I am pleased to think are sufficient reasons for the opposition,
if they may care to consider them.
I doubt very much if regular readers of The Open Court are
likely to become greatly befuddled by the medieval theology of these
articles. Regular readers of this magazine or of general modern
literature are likely to leave it wholly alone. For instance, what
SECULAR OBJECTION TO RELIGION IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. 261
can one say to this religions recognition by the Catholic writer?
(and I have copied it carefully, it being somewhat of an exertion
even from the mechanical standpoint:) "Theology recognizes gladly
and frankly that the concepts which express revealed, supernatural
reality do not represent it in its own peculiar way but only by anal-
ogy. The analogy between revealed supernatural reality and the
concepts which express it is not an attributive analogy but an
analog ia proportionalis, and in certain cases only proportionalitatis,
as P. Sertillanges calls it ('Agnosticisme et anthropomorphisme.')"
I should suppose good-naturedly that the theological case had
never been more scholarly expressed than . in this ponderous quo-
tation. But one must leave that to the use of the theologians. By
this sort of analogy one could hardly be more successfully direct
in teaching the law of gravitation than by employing the pigs-in-
clover problem, and perhaps without the pigs, "Depositum custodi."
"The Catholic Church," it is again authoritatively explained,
"alone possesses the whole of the divine revelation and regards it
as her most sacred duty to preserve it faithfully and without modi-
fication." Consequently, "the Catholic Church is likewise opposed
to every sort of pure and exclusive voluntarism, which deprives the
theoretic truth of all its static element and degrades the truth to
an exclusive instrument of action." The most positive injunction,
from the Catholic standpoint of authority is that "there must be no
Protestant Bible-reading (in the public schools) because, (a) Prot-
estant Bible-reading is founded upon an entirely false idea of in-
spiration which, a posteriori at least, has proved untrue; and (b) no
Catholic layman may read any Bible whose text has not been ap-
proved by the competent ecclesiastical authorities and accompanied
with the required commentaries." Here is the positive asserted
authority of the Catholic Church against the Protestant pretense,
and its reasons. Obviously its authority must be true, or else it
is not true. The religious dispute therefore begins here. If it
affected them only, we would not be further concerned.
Then we turn to the lubricated Protestant plan and "the dom-
inating note in (his) religion is authority," says the Protestant
Mr. Sparks, which is a strange suggestion for a Protestant to make.
And again he makes the same sort of blunder for a Protestant to
make in an article that appears concurrently with a Catholic article,
in saying that "in moral training it is absolutely necessary to develop
a reverent respect for authority." (A part of the italics are un-
wisely his own.) "And the first point in this (Protestant) plan
that is now presented is the introduction of (Protestant) Bible-study
262 THE OPEN COURT.
into the curriculum of the public school. And again he says, un-
guardedly, or unblushingly as I regard it, that "The Bible is the
text-book of ethics." This has been forever disposed of by better
scholars and moralists than I. There remains the task of more
When the Catholic writer may be able to show conclusively to
his Protestant friend that the Catholic Church still possesses the
entire "divine revelation" and that Mr. Sparks has none of it ; or
when the Protestant Mr. Sparks may submit properly to the "divine"
authority conferred upon the institution of his Catholic friend, and
feels that a parochial religious school is better than an American
public school, then these gentlemen will be in a better position to
argue together effectively in the same number of The Open Court
about the benefits of religion in the schools, and the argument will be
entirely Catholic. It is necessary to kindly remind our religious
friends of this before they reach the schoolhouse doors with an un-
ended quarrel of three hundred years.
But a single comment should be made on one of Mr. Sparks's
assertions. "The Bible is the textbook of ethics," he says. One
must simply say and make it plain that the man either knows nothing
of the Bible or does not know the meaning of the term ethics. He
is not in any sense an educator.
And I need go no further than the same February issue of
The Open Court to remind our Protestant Mr. Sparks of the con-
tention of the Catholic writer that "religious instruction is the par-
ticular function of the ecclesiastical office (Matt, xxviii. 19) and
may not be exercised by any person without the canonical permission
of the bishop." 2 It would be better, as it seems to me, to acknowledge
that the teaching of the only true revealed and divinely authorized
religion should be left to those who have received the revelation
and the authority. One can therefore have no discussion with our
Catholic friend in his sincerity in this respect. And I would like
to remind the Protestant Mr. Sparks of the suspicion of his Catholic
friend that "the Bible is not a children's reader." 3
2 It is plainly the intention of the Catholic writer to regard the Protestant
Mr. Sparks as of no consequence as an authority on religion, inasmuch as the
same gospel (Matt, xviii. 17) provides in case of a dispute between religious
brothers : "If he neglects to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen
man and a publican."
3 The qualifications for teaching the Protestant religion are more amusingly
and applicably discussed by Mr. Eugene Wood in one of his delightful essays,
on "The Sabbath School," (McClure's Magazine), in which it is suggested
that "for some eighteen centuries it was supposed that a regularly ordained
ministry should have exclusive charge of this work. At rare intervals now-
SECULAR OBJECTION TO RELIGION IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. 263
The Constitution of the United States is a superlatively moral
and broad basis of government. "It is in no sense founded on the
Christian religion," or any other religion. "It was the spirit of the
eighteenth century, a century of philosophical inquiry which gave
our revolutionary leaders their broader views. Had they been sus-
ceptible to clerical influences, or had they consulted Moses and
Paul, there would have been a king here, 'by the grace of God,'
as there is in most Christian countries." For "there is not a single
text either in the old or new Testament which may be fairly quoted
in defense of popular or republican government." 4
To live under this American Constitution and to accept its
opportunities of religious freedom and religious liberty is the finest
privilege that man has ever inherited and enjoyed from his govern-
ment. It also imposes an obligation not to use any governmental or
state means for the promotion of any religion whatsoever. The
text of the Constitution in this respect has become so well known
to scholars and lawyers that it is unnecessary to repeat it. No
comment ought to be necessary to make the purport of this provision
more manifest than the text of the provision itself. Only the lowest
type of American religionist would attempt to modify it, or evade
it. And this "proudest product of the pen and brain" of man was
not the work of religionists.
"This is a Freethought nation," says the scholarly Freethought
author, Mr. John E. Remsburg, writing as President of the Ameri-
can Secular Union and Freethought Federation. "Freethinkers have
preserved it. The Fathers of our Republic — Washington and Frank-
lin and Paine and Adams and Jefferson — were Freethinkers. The
saviours of our Republic, Lincoln and Grant, were Freethinkers.
The man who first proposed this nation was a Freethinker. The
man who wrote the Declaration of Independence was a Freethinker.
The man who led the armies of the Revolution to victory was a
Freethinker. The man who presided over the Convention that
framed our Constitution was a Freethinker. The man who drafted
adays a clergyman may be found to maintain that because a man has been to
college and to the theological seminary, and has made the study of the Scrip-
tures his life work (moved to that decision after careful self-examination),
that therefore he is better fitted to that ministry than Miss Susie Goldrick,
who teaches a class in Sabbath-school very acceptably. Miss Goldrick is in
the second year in the High School, and last Saturday afternoon read a com-
position on English Literatoor, in which she spoke in terms of high praise of
John Bunion, the well-known author of 'Progress and Poverty.' Miss Goldrick
is very conscientious, and always keeps her thumb-nail against the questions
printed on the lesson-leaf, so as to not ask twice, 'What did the disciples
then do ?' "
4 A New Catechism, (M. M. Mangasarian), pages 193-198.
264 THE OPEN COURT.
that instrument was a Freethinker. Its ablest exponents were Free-
thinkers. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution
of the United States are both Freethought documents, the one
Deistic. the other Agnostic.
"For a period of one hundred years from the accession of our
first President, Washington, to the retirement of the twenty-second,
Cleveland, not one Christian communicant occupied the Executive
chair ; for Garfield, while he had not ceased to commune, had ceased
to believe. Our greatest statesmen and orators, scientists and in-
ventors, authors and poets, have been Freethinkers. Free thought,
free speech, a free press, and free schools, the products of Free-
thought, are the pillars upon which our national fabric rests." 5
We are very much indebted to that great achievement of Amer-
ican law work now in publication, our first available comprehensive
summary of the substance of American Law, Corpus Juris, for a
sufficient survey of the history and application of our Constitutional
Law which covers this religious issue. The constitutional separa-
tion of Church and State was intended to be absolute. The history
of this important measure clearly shows this united purpose of the
early American people to put an end to the existing religious evil
in state affairs, and one may feel that the following citation fairly
represents the accepted view of the American courts as a recital
of the circumstances and influences of those times :
"Before the adoption of the Constitution (in this citation used),
attempts were made in some of the colonies and states to legislate
not only in respect to the establishment of religion, but in respect
to its doctrines and precepts as well .... The controversy upon this
general subject was animated in many of the states, but seemed
at last to culminate in Virginia. In 1784, the House of Delegates
of that state having under consideration 'a bill establishing pro-
vision for teachers of the Christian religion,' postponed it until the
next session, and directed that the bill should be published and dis-
tributed, and that the people be requested 'to signify their opinion
respecting the adoption of such a bill at the next session of assem-
bly.'. ... At the next session the proposed bill was not only defeated,
but another, 'for establishing religious freedom,' drafted by Mr.
Jefferson, was passed. (Jefferson's Works, II, 45 ; 2 Howison,
History of Virginia, 298.) .... In a little more than a year after the
passage of this statute the convention met which prepared the Con-
5 The Chicago Bible, (a pamphlet against religion in the schools of that
city 1896). See also Remsburg's Six Historic Americans, (The Truth Seeker
Co., New York).
SECULAR OBJECTION TO RELIGION IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. 265
stitution of the United States. Of this convention Mr. Jefferson
was not a member, he being then absent as minister to France. As
soon as he saw the draft of the Constitution, proposed for adoption,
he, in a letter to a friend, expressed his disappointment at the ab-
sence of an express declaration insuring the freedom of religion
(Jefferson's Works, II, 355), but was willing to accept it as it was,
trusting that the good sense and honest intentions of the people
would bring about the necessary alterations (Jefferson's Works, I,
79). Five of the states, while adopting the Constitution, proposed
amendments. Three — New Hampshire, New York and Virginia —
included in one form or another a declaration of religious freedom
in the changes they desired to have made, as did also North Caro-
lina, where the convention at first declined to ratify the Constitution
until the proposed amendments were acted upon. Accordingly, at
the first session of the first Congress the amendment now under
consideration was proposed with others by Mr. Madison. It met
the views of the advocates of religious freedom, and was adopted."
Reynolds v. U. S., 98 U. S. 145, 162; 25 L. ed. 244. (See also
Life of Madison, or biographical article in Nelson's Encyclopedia.)
It is very helpful to have an impartial and a very full statement
following .therein of all the American law upon this constitutional
question, such as we have in Corpus Juris. In this accomplishment
one gets the whole of the law exactly as it is, the object being neither
for nor against religion. It is a strictly judicial recital, with every
sentence of the text based carefully upon selected citations ; and the
"reason for the rule" in support of each decision is appended. It
is gratifying in this to be sure that "the weight of authority and
of reason" is with the secularist ; that instruction from a sectarian
book has been held to be sectarian instruction ; and that the only
way to prevent sectarianism is to exclude it altogether. This is
therefore the best constitutional law and common sense.
Continuing the statement of the law relating to the Church and
the State, we find, as a matter of exact facts, that:
"There is considerable variety in the constitutional provisions
of the various states affecting the right to hold religious exercises
in the public schools, and equally great variety of opinion in the
decisions of the courts in regard to the matter.
"In some states the constitutional provisions forbidding com-
pulsory attendance on religious worship and taxation for sectarian
schools have been construed not to prohibit religious exercises in
the public schools, such as reading the Bible, offering prayer and
singing devotional songs.
266 THE OPEN COURT.
"The tendency of recent constitutions, however, and also of
judicial decisions construing and applying them, has been in favor
of extending the scope of constitutional guaranties to the exclusion
of religious exercises from the public schools.
"And the weight of recent authority and of reason zvould seem
to be with those cases which hold that prayer and the singing of
hymns as a part of the public exercises of the school are in violation
of constitutional provisions against taxation for the support of
religion, even though pupils may be excused from attending such
exercises on application by themselves or their parents."
The reason for the ride is: "Prayer is always worship. Reading
the Bible and singing may be worship. . . .// these exercises of
reading the Bible, joining in prayer and the singing of hymns were
performed in a church there zvould be no doubt of their religious
character and that character is not changed by the place OF THEIR
PERFORMANCE. . . . The wrong arises, not out of the particular
version. of the Bible or form of prayer used — whether that found
in the Douay or the King James version, — or the particular songs
sung, but out of the compulsion to join in any form of worship.
The free enjoyment of religious worship includes freedom not to
worship." Per Dunn, J., in People v. District 24, Board of Edu-
cation, 245 111. 334, 339; 92 N. E. 251; 29 L.R.A.N.S. 442; 19
Ann. Cases 220. (12 Corpus Juris 943, under Note 67.)
(My comment on this is: It is shameful that any sort of exer-
cise should be permitted in a public school where it might be con-
sidered necessary or proper to excuse any pupil from participating
in it, from a question of conscience. The reason for the rule in this
case is therefore a destruction of the whole religious proposition.)
"The mere reading from a particular version of the Bible, with-
out comment, has been held not to constitute an infringement of
the constitutional guaranty, and this has been conceded by some
authorities that held otherwise as to prayer and devotional singing."
The reason for the rule: "But the fact that the King James
translation may be used to inculcate sectarian doctrines affords no
presumption that it will be so used. The law does not forbid the
use of the Bible in either version in the public schools ; it is not
proscribed either by the constitution or the statutes, and the courts
have no right to declare its use to be unlawful because it is possible
or probable that those who are privileged to use it will misuse the
privilege by attempting to propagate their own peculiar theological
or ecclesiastical views and opinions. The point where the courts
may rightfully intervene, and where they should intervene without
SECULAR OBJECTION TO RELIGION IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. 267
hesitation, is where legitimate use has degenerated into abuse, —
where a teacher employed to give secular instructions has violated
the constitution by becoming a sectarian propagandist. That sec-
tarian instruction may be given by the frequent reading, without
note or comment, of judiciously selected passages, is of course ob-
vious." Per Sullivan, C. J., in State v. Scheve, 65 Nebr. 853, 883 ;
91 N.W. 846; 93 N.W. 169; 59 L.R.A. 927. (12 Corpus Juris
943, under Note 70.)
"But other authorities hold that the Bible is a sectarian book
and that the reading in the public schools of any portion or any
version of it for religious purposes is a violation of constitutional
The reason for the' rule: "The only means of preventing sec-
tarian instruction in the schools is to exclude altogether religious
instruction, by means of the reading of the Bible or otherzvise. The
Bible is not read in the public schools as mere literature or mere
history. It cannot be separated from its character as an inspired
book of religion. . . . If any parts are to be selected for use as being
free from sectarian differences of opinion, who will select them?"
Per Dunn, J., in People v. District 24, Board of Education, 245 111.
334, 348; 92 N.E. 251; 29 L.R.A.N.S. 442; 19 Ann. Cases 220.
(Cited in 12 Corpus Juris 943, under Note 71.)
Earlier Illinois cases inconsistent with above were "practically
"It is unanimously agreed that a law or regulation which for-
bids religious instruction or the reading of religious books, including
the Bible, in the public schools is valid."
The principle that no one may impose his religious beliefs or
practices amounting to a religious nuisance to others has been well
expressed in In-re: Frazee, (63 Mich. 396, 405; 30 N.W. 72; 6
Am. S. R. 310) by Chief Justice Campbell: "We cannot accede to
the suggestion that religious liberty includes the right to introduce
and carry out every scheme or purpose which persons see fit to
claim as a part of their religious system. There is no legal author-
ity to constrain belief, but no one can lawfully stretch his own
liberty of action so as to interfere with that of his neighbor, or
violate peace or good order. The whole criminal law might be
practically superseded if, under pretext of liberty or conscience, the
commission of crime be made a religious dogma. It is a funda-
mental condition of all liberty, and necessary to civil society, that
all men must exercise their rights in harmony, and must yield to
such restrictions as are necessary to promote that result."
268 THE OPEN COURT.
These cases make no mention of the disturbance that inevitably
arises over the attempt to introduce religion of any particular kind
in a public institution like the public schools, and these disturbances
have been a Protestant disgrace in the schools. The American
schools are for the children of all the people of every religion and
of no religion. The rights of Catholics, Jews and infidels, agnostics
and atheists are just as much to be regarded and respected as the
rights of Protestant Christians, which latter are only a Christian
sect, or who constitute many sects of as many different beliefs.
Either is in duty bound to respect the Constitution which protects
the rights of all. Freethinkers claim the right to teach Freethought,
but do not ask that Freethought be introduced in the schools to dis-
parage religion, at the expense of the State, or to the violence of
the conscience of religious children or their parents. The schools
are for the imparting of necessary information, according to what
may be regarded as the best systems of education by real educators.
Morality will come from knowledge, and from the better conditions
resulting from knowledge obtained in the schools, and not from the
teaching of any particular form of dogma or belief, or from any
sectarian teaching of sectarian morality. Otherwise the schools
and knowledge were of no use, and only religion were useful.
Protestant clergymen may deliver nonsectarian prayers (if such
a performance were possible!) at graduation exercises and the exer-
cises may be held in churches in those communities where there
may be no town hall or theater, and when permitted by the school
board, without seriously violating the constitutional guaranty. This
is only a form of Protestant ministerial impoliteness and an intru-
sion. But Jewish children, or the children of agnostics, or Catholic
scholars of the public schools are quite justified, from social reasons,
in refusing diplomas when handed to them by a Protestant preacher
officiating where he is not desired and where he ought not to
appear as a religionist. Religion is not an affair of the state.
It is natural to anticipate the religious chaos that would result
if Protestantism were allowed to operate and develop without re-
straint, or if it were permitted to extend the plan proposed by Mr.
Sparks. The public schools are not to be made ultimate Protestant
parish schools, as desired by him, with credit for Bible study or
Bible work. "Pastor" Russell's Bible classes, an influence of this
religion, or other kinds of Bible-classes have no place in state-
supported schools, nor any connection with them. It is not the
purpose of the schools to train children or inspire them for the
ministry or for missionary fields. There should be no preparatory
SECULAR OBJECTION TO RELIGION IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. 269
grades or primary lessons in any superstition, or any credit that
tends to reverence or respect for the outrageous religion of Evan-
gelist Sunday or the fanatical religion of the German Emperor.
Parsons and preachers and book agents and peddlers should be ex-
cluded from the schoolhouse. It is necessary to say this, because
we have the afflictions.
The Catholic writer proposes "an interdenominational school''
for religious instruction, and proposes "in this respect (that) Ger-
many's schools might serve as a model." I think the present right-
eous temper of the American people would have disposed of that
suggestion had not the abomination of religion and state in Ger-
many been specifically and sufficiently exposed in Mr. Heyn's timely
and informative article in the March number of this magazine,
which has fortunately come to hand before the preparation of this
reply. 6 And I do not believe that we are yet ready to have "Ein
feste Burg ist unser Gott" as the American national anthem.
It is hardly worth while to go into the details of Mr. Sparks's
proposed tentative religious plan. His whole proposition is funda-
mentally and essentially and morally wrong, and it has been the
intent of the Constitution to prevent this moral wrong. And "moral
considerations are of more importance" to the moral Rationalist
"than either the ecclesiastical or legal considerations." If it has
appeared that I have been severe in criticism of the moral and in-
tellectual integrity of this Protestant religious writer I wish to call
attention to this statement of his : "Where Bible selections even are
barred from the schools, arrangements could be made to have this
material taught by representatives of the religious bodies outside
the schools and after satisfactory examinations have been passed,
credit given the pupils on their school work." There could hardly
be a more deliberate and constructive scheme to violate the intent
and practice of the law than this. I cannot think the man is so
much interested in teaching "morality" as he is in introducing this
"Bible material," from a religious incentive, and where it has been
particularly barred, and this can only be treated as a piece of be-
coming sectarianism. We can accept Mr. Sparks's confident exhibit
that the Bible is the text-book of his morality without further com-
Outside the narrow realm of Protestant religious thought the
Bible is considered at its true value. It is no longer an authority
G See The Open Court for March, 1918, and "The Centrum Party's In-
fluence in German Affairs," (particularly page 188) for the failure of liheral
government. By Hon. Edward T. Heyn, former American Vice-Consul.
270 THE OPEN COURT.
on any question of importance to mankind. And it is now an ob-
stacle to Protestant education and consequently capable of great
harm so long- as it may be treated otherwise in trying to explain our
affairs or in helping in any of the problems of our American life
and progress. It has been progressively and completely driven out
of the halls of learning. "It is no longer an authority, for example
on questions of science — geology, astronomy, chemistry, biology and
all other branches of one of the principal pursuits of man," the
pursuit of knowledge. Better books have replaced the Bible. "What
is true of science is also true of history, politics, government, educa-
tion, commerce ; in all these departments and activities of life better
books have relegated the Bible into the background." 7 The framers
of the American Constitution did not consult this religious book
for their work.
The American secularists also object to this book on strictly
moral grounds. There is no book in existence that as a whole has
so many objectionable features. And the wish to give these things
the appearance of authority is especially pernicious and must be
withstood so long as ignorance persists.
"The claim that the Bible is the only moral guide," says Mr.
Remsburg of the American Secular Union, "is a very foolish false-
hood. The claim that it is the best moral guide is untrue; and the
claim that it even is a good moral guide is untrue. The Bible con-
tains some worthy precepts, but it also sanctions nearly every vice
and crime." In proof of this he cites a solid magazine page of
Bible references which are known to every scholar showing the ap-
proval of lying, cheating, murder, slavery, witchcraft, cannibalism,
human sacrifices, injustice to women, cruelty to children, intem-
perance, religious persecution and obscenity." 8 It is a book filled
with unnatural thoughts and perversions. The churches of course
do not directly teach these vices. I should hope. What a monstrous
book then to be made such a fetish of, and to have the unqualified
approval of such an organization.
The prison statistics of the country involving the religions of
criminals would astonish even the thoughtful religionists. The worst
recent criminals have been Christian ministers. There are 60,605
Christians in the state penitentiaries of the country ; 5420 Jews ; 131
7 Consult The Bible Unveiled (M. M. Mangasarian), The Independent
Religious Society, Chicago, publishers, 1911.
8 And if I am not mistaken an able writer in The Open Court, less than
two years ago, has discussed this question along the same lines, and given
similar references and if so, readers have access to this information.
SECULAR OBJECTION TO RELIGION IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. 271
pagans ; 3 infidels and 4,887 giving no church affiliation, but a great
many of undoubted religious training. "The assertion that the
church is the mainstay of morals is proven to be an exploded fiction,"
says Mr. Franklin Steiner, in his compilation of these figures in
Religion and Roguery (The Truth Seeker Co., New York). "Like
every claim made by that institution it will not bear the light of
day." The word "morality" does not appear in the Bible. It is
an Asiatic cult book, and not an American text-book. The approval
of the horrors and cruelty of the present war may be found in this
collection of Hebraic-Christian literature, and one is forced to
seriously wonder to what extent the book is directly responsible for
the actions of those barbarians who have threatened our civilization.
The authority of this Protestant book originated in the country
with which this nation is at present engaged in a struggle for the
life of democracy. One cannot overlook this important fact.
The American question is not one of majorities. That is not
the issue at all. If it were a matter between the Church and the
unchurched the latter would be in a position to prevail overwhelm-
ingly, probably two to one, and might succeed in reaching anti-
religious determinations with natural injustice to religions. But
it is the principle of the nation that must be considered. If it were
a matter between Catholics and Protestants the latter would be
able to dictate in religion and in dogma, if it could, so far as the
public recognition of religion were concerned, as Protestants have
done, with natural injustice to all other religions. But the Con-
stitution has removed the possibility of this shifting of religious
influence or interference consequent on numbers. Religion must
not be an elementary part of the American state, and it is fortunate
for the United States and for the world that it is not. The religious
beliefs of any cult, or the teachings of any prophet, ancient or
modern, or the teachings or practice of any ascetic or medicine-man,
such as we experience, are not in any instance a subject for the
minds of American children in the American schools. Religion is
safe and protected under such a principle and the state should be
maintained upon this splendid idea of independence and freedom.
And there are better moral ideas than those preached or practised
by religionists from religious motives.
There are millions of Roman Catholics in America who have
Constitutional rights that Protestants are bound to respect. There
are millions of Jews who have equal rights. There are hundreds
of thousands of atheists, agnostics, infidels, Freethinkers, and un-
doubtedly millions of no religious belief one way or another. Our
272 THE OPEN COURT.
American morality is undoubtedly the best the world has ever seen.
It is free, healthy, intelligent and generous. Religionists have also
intelligently contributed their share to this increasingly satisfactory
condition of American life.
But "ethics is the science of right human character and conduct.
It is in no wise primarily dependent upon religion but has suffered
immeasurably by having been associated with it through all the
To put an end to the confusions of religion in state affairs
The American Secular Union (a national organization) was or-
ganized July 4, 1876, and exists for the purpose of making effec-
tive the first amendment of the Constitution, concerning which I
have tried to make some of the provisions better understood. This
American organization in perfectly clear language proposes a com-
plete separation of religion and the state in every particular, and
submits what it has called "nine demands" to bring about our
American ideals under the Constitution. It is encouraged with more
recent events, and expects that others favorable will follow education
and enlightenment. The organization will live until this has been
accomplished. Its methods are lawful, its purpose is unselfish, and
its asks the consideration of the American people as a whole. I
am pleased to attach the statement of this organization : 10
The Nine Demands of Liberalism.
1. We demand that churches and other ecclesiastical property
shall be no longer exempt from taxation.
2. We demand that the employment of chaplains in Congress,
in the Legislatures, in the navy and militia, and in prisons, asylums
and all other institutions supported by public money shall be dis-
3. We demand that all public appropriations for educational
and charitable institutions of a sectarian character shall cease.
4. We demand that all religious services now sustained by the
government shall be abolished ; and especially that the use of the
Bible in the public schools, whether ostensibly as a text-book, or
avowedly as a book of religious worship, shall be prohibited.
5. We demand that the appointment by the President of the
United States or by the governors of the various states, of all re-
ligious festivals and feasts shall wholly cease.
9 The Development of the Ethical Idea (S. S. Knight), R. F. Fenno &
Co. New York.
10 The Secretary of the American Secular Union is Mr. E. C. Reichwald,
79 West South Water St., Chicago, 111., who may be addressed by all inter-
macaulay's criticism of democracy and garfield's reply. 273
6. We demand that the judicial oath in the courts and in all
other departments of the government shall be abolished, and that
simple affirmation under the pains and penalities of perjury shall be
established in its stead.
7. We demand that all laws directly or indirectly enforcing the
observance of Sunday as the Sabbath shall be repealed.
8. We demand that all laws looking to the enforcement of
"Christian" morality shall be abrogated and that all laws shall be
conformed to the requirements of natural morality, equal rights,
and impartial liberty.
9. We demand that not only in the Constitution of the United
States and of the several states, but also in the practical adminis-
tration of the same, no privileges or advantages shall be conceded
to Christianity or any other special religion ; that our entire political
system shall be founded and administered on a purely secular basis ;
and that whatever changes shall prove necessary to this end shall
be consistently, unflinchingly and promptly made.
MACAULAY'S CRITICISM OF DEMOCRACY AND
BY CHARLES H. BETTS.
SOME time ago I called on the editor of The Open Court at
his office and while we were discussing the world-wide con-
flict in which this country is now engaged. Dr. Cams asked me if
I had ever happened to see a letter written by Lord Macaulay
criticising Jefferson and democracy. I replied that I had the
Macaulay letter, one copy in my scrap book and another copy in one
of General Garfield's speeches.
I then related that on a recent visit with Dr. Andrew White
at his home in Ithaca, while we were discussing the war, he asked
me the same question asked by Dr. Carus relative to the Macaulay
letter. I informed Dr. White that I had a copy of the letter where-
upon he related how in a campaign when General Garfield was a
candidate for president he spoke at Cornell University and in his
speech quoted Macaulay's letter. Dr. White said he had always
wanted to secure a copy of ;t and then described how General Gar-
field after quoting the letter had answered the criticism of democ-
racy therein contained and concluded his speech by appealing to the
audience to see to it that Macaulay's prophecy relative to our demo-
274 THE OPEN COURT.
cratic form of government should not be fulfilled. Dr. White
said that at the conclusion of his address General Garfield wanted
to know how he liked his speech, whereupon he said to Garfield:
"You have just made the greatest political speech I have ever heard."
After I had related these facts to the editor of The Open Court
he requested me to send him a copy of the Macaulay letter together
with General Garfield's comments. I quote from General Garfield's
speech as follows :
"At the risk of offending our American pride, I shall quote
what is probably the most formidable indictment of democratic
principles ever penned. It was written by the late Lord Macaulay,
a profound student of society and government, and a man who, on
most subjects, entertained broad and liberal views. Millions of
Americans have read and admired his History and Essays, but
only a few thousands have read his brief but remarkable letter of
1857, in which he discusses the future of our government. We
are so confident of our position that we seldom care to debate it.
The letter was addressed to the Hon. H. S. Randall, of New York,
in acknowledgement of a copy of that gentleman's Life of Jefferson.
I quote it almost entire.
'Holly Lodge, Kensington, London, May 23, 1857.
'Dear Sir You are surprised to learn that I have not a
high opinion of Mr. Jefferson, and I am surprised at your surprise.
I am certain that I never wrote a line, and that I never, in Parlia-
ment, in conversation, or even on the hustings, — a place where it
is the fashion to court the populace, — uttered a word indicating an
opinion that the supreme authority in a state ought to be intrusted
to the majority of citizens told by the head ; in other words, to the
poorest and most ignorant part of society. I have long been con-
vinced that institutions purely democratic must, sooner or later,
destroy liberty or civilization, or both. In Europe, where the popu-
lation is dense, the effect of such institutions would be almost in-
stantaneous. What happened lately in France is an example. In
1848, a pure democracy was established there. During a short time
there was reason to expect a general spoliation, a national bank-
ruptcy, a new partition of the soil, a maximum of prices, a ruinous
load of taxation laid on the rich for the purpose of supporting the
poor in idleness. Such a system would, in twenty years, have made
France as poor and barbarous as the France of the Carlovingians.
Happily, the danger was averted ; and now there is a despotism, a
silent tribune, an enslaved press. Liberty is gone, but civilization
MACAULAY S CRITICISM OF DEMOCRACY AND GARFIELD S REPLY. 275
has been saved. I have not the smallest doubt that, if we had a
purely democratic government here, the effect would be the same.
Either the poor would plunder the rich, and civilization would
perish, or order and prosperity would be saved by a strong military
government, and liberty would perish. You may think that your
country enjoys an exemption from these evils. I will frankly own to
you that I am of a very different opinion. Your fate I believe to be
certain, though it is deferred by physical cause. As long as you have a
boundless extent of fertile and unoccupied land, your laboring popu-
lation will be far more at ease than the laboring population of the
Old World ; and while that is the case, the Jefferson politics may
continue to exist without causing any fatal calamity. But the time
will come when New England will be as thickly peopled as Old
England. Wages will be as low, and will fluctuate as much with
you as with us. You will have your Manchesters and Birminghams.
And in those Manchesters and Birminghams hundreds of thousands
of artisans will assuredly be sometimes out of work. Then your
institutions will be fairly brought to the test. Distress everywhere
makes the laborer mutinous and discontented, and inclines him to
listen with eagerness to agitators, who tell him that it is a monstrous
iniquity that one man should have a million while another cannot
get a full meal. In bad years there is plenty of grumbling here, and
sometimes a little rioting. But it matters little, for here the sufferers
are not the rulers. The supreme power is in the hands of a class,
numerous indeed, but select, — of an educated class, — of a class
which is, and knows itself to be, deeply interested in the security
of property, and the maintenance of order. Accordingly, the mal-
contents are firmly, yet gently, restrained. The bad time is got over
without robbing the wealthy to relieve the indigent. The springs
of national prosperity soon begin to flow again : work is plentiful,
wages rise, and all is tranquillity and cheerfulness. I have seen
England pass three or four times through such critical seasons as
I have described. Through' such seasons the United States will
have to pass in the course of the next century, if not of this. How
will you pass through them ? I heartily wish you a good deliverance.
But my reason and my wishes are at war, and I cannot help fore-
boding the worst. It is quite plain that your government will never
be able to restrain a distressed and discontented majority. For
with you the majority is the government, and has the rich, who are
always a minority, absolutely at its mercy. The day will come when,
in the State of New York, a multitude of people, none of whom has
had more than half a breakfast, or expects to have more than half
276 THE OPEN COURT.
a dinner, will choose a legislature. Is it possible to doubt what
sort of a legislature will be chosen? On one side is a statesman
preaching patience, respect for vested rights, strict observance of
public faith ; on the other is a demagogue ranting about the tyranny
of capitalists and usurers, and asking why anybody should be per-
mitted to drink champagne, and to ride in a carriage, while thou-
sands of honest folk are in want of necessaries. Which of the two
candidates is likely to be preferred by a workingman who hears
his children cry for more bread? I seriously apprehend that you
will, in some such season of adversity as I have described, do things
which will prevent prosperity from returning ; that you will act
like people who should, in a year of scarcity, devour all the seed
corn, and thus make the next a year, not of scarcity, but of abso-
lute famine. There will be, I fear, spoliation. The distress will
produce fresh spoliation. There is nothing to stop you. Your
Constitution is all sail and no anchor. As I said before, when a
society has entered on this downward progress, either civiliza-
tion or liberty must perish. Either some Caesar or Napoleon will
seize the reins of government with a strong hand, or your republic
will be as fearfully plundered and laid waste by barbarians in the
twentieth century, as the Roman empire was in the fifth, — with
this difference, that the Huns and Vandals who ravaged the Roman
empire came from without, and that your Huns and Vandals will
have been engendered within your country by your own institu-
'Thinking thus, of course I cannot reckon Jefferson among the
benefactors of mankind.' 1
"Certainly this letter contains food for serious thought : and
it would be idle to deny that the writer has pointed out what may
become serious dangers in our future. But the evils he complains
of are by no means confined to democratic government, nor do
they, in the main, grow out of popular suffrage. If they do. Eng-
land herself has taken a dangerous step since Macaulay wrote. Ten
years after the date of this letter she extended the suffrage to eight
hundred thousand of her workingmen, a class hitherto ignored in
politics. And still later we have extended it to an ignorant and
lately enslaved population of more than four millions. Whether
for weal or for woe, enlarged suffrage is the tendency of all modern
nations. I venture the declaration, that this opinion of Macaulay's
is vulnerable on several grounds.
' The copy here followed is that found in the Appendix to Harper's edition
of The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay, by G. O. Trevelyan.
macaulay's criticism of democracy and garfield's reply. 277
"In the first place, it is based upon a belief from which few if
any British writers have been able to emancipate themselves ; namely,
the belief that mankind are born into permanent classes, and that
in the main they must live, work, and die in the fixed class or con-
dition in which they are born. It is hardly possible for a man
reared in an aristocracy like that of England to eliminate this con-
viction from his mind, for the British empire is built upon it. Their
theory of national stability is, that there must be a permanent class
who shall hold in their own hands so much of the wealth, the privi-
lege, and the political power of the kingdom, that they can compel
the admiration and obedience of all other classes. At several
periods in English history there have been serious encroachments
upon this doctrine. But, on the whole, British phlegm has held
to it sturdily, and still maintains it. The great voiceless class of
day-laborers have made but little headway against the doctrine.
The editor of a leading British magazine told me, a few years ago.
that in twenty-five years of observation he had never known a
mere form-laborer in England to rise above his class. Some, he
said, had done so in manufactures,. some in trade, but in mere farm
labor not one. The government of a country where such is a fact,
is possible, has much to answer for.
"We deny the justice or the necessity of keeping ninety-nine
of the population in perpetual poverty and obscurity, in order that
the hundredth may be rich and powerful enough to hold the ninety-
nine in subjection. Where such permanent classes exist, the con-
flict of which Macaulay speaks is inevitable. And why? Xot that
men are inclined to fight the class above them, but that they fight
against any artificial barrier which makes it impossible for them to
enter that higher class and become a part of it. We point to the fact,
that in this country there are no classes in the British sense of that
word, — no impassable barriers of caste. Now that slavery is abol-
ished we can truly say that through our political society there run
no fixed horizontal strata above which none can pass. Our society
resembles rather the waves of the ocean, whose every drop may
move freely among its fellows, and may rise toward the light until
it flashes on the crest of the highest wave.
"Again, in depicting the dangers of universal suffrage, Mac-
aulay leaves wholly out of the account the great counterbalancing
force of universal education. He contemplates a government de-
livered over to a vast multitude of ignorant, vicious men, who have
learned no self-control, who have never comprehended the national
life, and who wield the ballot solely for personal and selfish ends. If
278 THE OPEN COURT.
this were indeed the necessary condition of democratic communities,
it would be difficult, perhaps impossible, to escape the logic of
Macaulay's letter. And here is a real peril, — the danger that we shall
rely upon the mere extent of the suffrage as a national safeguard.
We cannot safely, even for a moment, lose sight of the quality of
the suffrage, which is more important than its quantity.
"We are apt to be deluded into false security by political catch-
words, deviced to flatter rather than instruct. We have happily
escaped the dogma of the divine right of kings. Let us not fall into
the equally pernicious error that mulititude is divine because it is a
multitude. The words of our great publicist, the late Dr. Lieber,
whose faith in republican liberty was undoubted, should never be
forgotten. In discussing the doctrine Vox populi, vox Dei, he
said, "Woe to the country in which political hypocrisy first calls
the people almighty, then teaches that the voice of the people is
divine, then pretends to take a mere clamor for the true voice of
the people, and lastly gets up the desired clamor." This sentence
ought to be read in every political caucus. It would make an
interesting and significant preamble to most of our political plat-
forms. It is only when the people speak truth and justice that their
voice can be called "the voice of God." Our faith in the dsmocratic
principle rests upon the belief that intelligent men will see that their
highest political good is in liberty, regulated by just and equal laws;
and that, in the distribution of political power, it is safe to follow
the maxim, "Each for all, and all for each." We confront the
dangers of suffrage by the blessings of universal education. We
believe that the strength of the state is the aggregate strength of
its individual citizens ; and that the suffrage is the link that binds,
in a bond of mutual interest and responsibility, the fortunes of
the citizen to the fortunes of the state. Hence, as popular suffrage
is the broadest base, so, when coupled with intelligence and virtue,
it becomes the strongest, the most enduring base on which to build
the superstructure of government. "-
The above reply of Garfield to Macaulay's letter merits all the
praise bestowed upon it by Dr. White. It is a brilliant and scholarly
defense of democracy.
In regard to Macaulay's criticism of Jefferson it might be well
to state that Jefferson did not believe in a pure democracy as most
of his followers believe. On the contrary he declared that it was
unworkable beyond the limits of a township. He was a firm be-
2 Garfield's Works, Vol. II.
macaulay's criticism of democracy and garfield's reply. 279
liever in the American system of representative government. He
knew that the engrafting of representation upon a pure democracy
was a new invention in government unknown to the ancients.
Upon this subject Jefferson said:
"They knew no medium between a democracy (the only pure
republic, but impractical beyond the limits of a township) and an
abandonment of themselves to an aristocracy or a tyranny inde-
pendent of the people. It seems not to have occurred that where
the citizens cannot meet to transact their business in person, they
alone have the right to choose agents who shall transact it, and that
in this way a republican or popular government of the second grade
of purity may be exercised over any extent of country. The full
experiment of a government democratical, but representative, was
and still is reserved for us."
Thus it will be observed that Jefferson was a firm believer in
the representative feature of our American system of government
and appreciated that it was a new invention in government unknown
to the ancients. On this subject Stimson in his History of Popular
Law Making says:
"All the authorities appear to agree that there is no prototype
for what seems to us such a very simple thing as representation,
representative government, among the Greeks or Romans, or any
of the older civilizations of which we have knowledge."
It appears to be clear that the ancients had never discovered
a workable system of government between the extremes of a pure
democracy which zvas a failure and an aristocracy or a monarchy,
both of which curtailed individual liberty and deprived the great
mass of the people of a controlling voice in the affairs of their gov-
The founders of the republic having the wisdom and experience
of all the ages to guide them, knew that a pure democracy had
neither stability nor reliability, because it gave a free rein to the
emotions and passions of men. They knew that an aristocracy and
a monarchy had stability and reliability but evoluted into tyranny,
and so they aimed to found a government which had all the good
features of democracy, which left the final control of the government
in the hands of the people, but which at the same time possessed
some of the efficiency and stability of the monarchy, and so they
planned to make the people themselves a monarch, with certain
necessary checks, balances and limitations, the same to be fixed in a
THE OPEN COURT.
PORTRAIT OF MATEJKO BY HIMSELF.
JAN ALOJSIUS MATEJKO. 281
JAN ALOJSIUS MATEJKO.
THE great Polish historical painter, Matejko, was born in Cra-
cow, Austrian Galicia, whether on the twenty-eighth of July,
or the thirtieth of June, 1838, is apparently not quite clear. His
father, a teacher of music, was from the Bohemian town Hradec,
while his mother, Joanna Karolina, daughter of the merchant and
citizen of Cracow Johan Peter Rossberg, seems to have added a
German strain to the Czecho- Polish blood of the artist. The boy
attended first the St. Barbara school and later St. Anna's gym-
nasium, which he left at the age of fourteen, much against his
father's wishes, in order to enter the School of Fine Arts in his
native city. His instruction in the art of painting he received from
Adalbert Stattler and Ladislaus Lunakiewicz. During the hours
when he was free from his professional studies he devoted himself
with great interest to the study of Polish history, from which he
drew the subjects for the works of his apprentice years, such as
Szujski before Zygmunt III, The Entry of Henri de J'alois into
Cracow, Jagiello Praying before the Battle of Tannenberg, Karl
Gastav and Staroivolski Before the Grave of Ladislaus Lokietck
and Zygmunt V Confers Academic Privileges on the University of
After these labors Matejko received in 1S58 a stipend to enable
him to defray the cost of further studies which he pursued at
Munich for ten months under the supervision of Anschutz, when
an unfortunate illness compelled him to return to Cracow. But
during this short period he had completed his Poisoning of Queen
Bona, which represents the contemporary explanation for the mys-
terious death in 1557 of this princess of the House of Sforza, wife
of the Polish King Zygmunt I, and mother of King Zygmunt
August and three princesses. For this work the Academy distin-
guished its pupil with a bronze medal. On the completion of his
recovery in 1860 Matejko next sought Vienna where he remained
for two months as a pupil of the historical painter Christian Ruben,
famous for his painting Columbus Discovering America.
The next years of labor in his native Cracow saw the com-
282 THE OPEN COURT.
pletion in 1864 of the splendid Skarga's Sermon, in which the
Polish Jeremiah foretells to the king and the Polish Court the im-
pending ruin of his beloved country. This work when exhibited at
the Paris Exposition of 1865 rewarded the artist with a gold medal
and made him a European celebrity. In November of 1864 he
L- . \.4& WtMRmBaEKumBHEm
MATEJKO'S WIFE (1865).
married Theodora Gielbutowska, whom he has immortalized in the
strong, sweet Portrait of My Wife of the following year. The
next years were years of study spent in Germany and France,
whence he made a trip to Constantinople in 1872. In 1866 he com-
JAN ALOJSIUS XI ATE J KO.
pleted another of the powerful works on which his fame will rest,
Rejtan at the Diet of i//3, which was exhibited at the Paris Ex-
hibition of 1867, where it was bought for 50,000 crowns by the
Emperor Franz Joseph, who also conferred the cross of the order
of Franz Joseph on the artist. This picture represents an episode
drawn from the darkest days of Polish history when the disgraceful
Diet confirmed the dismemberment of its country on April 21, 1773,
with the exception of one brave heart, Tadeus Rejtan, who tore
apart the clothing from his breast, threw himself before the door
of the building and cried: "Kill me first, for as long as I live I will
THADDEUS REJTAN, from REJTAN AT THE DIET OF 1773.
(Hofgalerie at Vienna.)
never consent to this deed." However, the greater part of the
Polish deputies stepped over his body and left him lying there for
thirty-eight hours. Rejtan became ill from grief at this disgrace,
lost his reason and committed suicide on August 8, 1780.
Among the great works of Matejko we mention ten. As a foil
to the depressing Skarga and Rejtan pictures stands out the Union
of Lublin, commemorating the union of Lithuania and Poland under
Zygmunt August in 1569, one of the bright spots in Polish history.
The defeat of Russia and the capture of Livonian Polotsk by King
Stephen Bathori are commemorated in a canvas of the year 1871,
which received a bronze medal at the Vienna Exposition of 1873.
THE OPEN COURT.
The four-hundredth anniversary of the astronomer of Thorn, who is
claimed by both Poles and Germans, was illustrated by Kopcrnikus,
1873. The Battle of Griinzvald (Tannenberg) received the gold
medal of the first class at the Paris Exposition of 1878. This picture
recalls the conquest of that portion of German territory which the
Poles succeeded in holding from 1410 until 1772. Sobieski Before
Vienna, in commemoration of the Polish king's great service to
Christendom in the defeat of the Turks before Vienna in 1683, was
presented by the artist, to His Holiness the Pope Leo XIII, who
JAN ALOJSIUS MATEJKO.
gave it an honored place in the Vatican and its author the order
of Pius IX. The Maid of Orleans, 1886; Albrecht of Brandenburg
Doing Homage to Zygmunt I in Cracow, 1881 ; Kosciuszko Before
Raclazvice, 1888 ; The Constitution of the Third of May, 1891 ; and
The Vow of Jan Kasimir, 1892, complete the list of his best works.
In honor of his illustrious services to his country. Matejko re-
ceived the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, honoris causa, from the
"Polish University of the Jagiellons" of his native city and he was
also made a member of the French Legion of Honor for his picture
The Union of Lublin. He was a member of the academies of fine
arts at Paris, Vienna and Berlin. The Akademic dcr schbnen
Kiinstc at Prague elected him in 1873 to be their director, but he
SOBIESK1 BEFORE VIENNA (1883).
(In the Vatican.)
declined the honor and accepted later on in the year the emperor's
nomination to a similar position at the head of the newly organized
school of fine arts in Cracow. He died on the first of November
in the same house in which he first saw the light of day and which
is universally known to-day as the "Matejko House." It contains
many memorials of the artist and a Matejko Museum and is situated
in the Ulica Floryanska or Florian Street. He was buried on the
eighth of November and his ashes rest in the Cracow cemetery.
Magnificence of coloring and passionate movement are the dis-
tinguishing characteristics of this true representative of a passionate,
proud and excitable people. His critic and biographer Stanislaus
Witkiewicz says in his characterization of the artist that Matejko
THE OPEN COURT.
had by nature a soul filled with sadness. "This appeared not alone
as a result of his pessimistic view of history, and in his first pictures
he borrowed from history only what was saddest and most tragic,
but he was in fact absolutely incapable of reproducing simply and
sincerely the bright and happy sides of life."
He is like his subjects who "are to a high degree passionate
natures, filled to overflowing with deep feeling, gripped to the very
depths of their souls by an abnormally strong psychic energy, which
is keyed up to the highest pitch and leaves its stamp on the finely
moulded features of faces distinguished by clearness and strength,
even amid their wrinkles and seams ; faces on which seems to rest
the burden of whole layers of culture, that has arisen under the
highest possible pressure of the tragedy of life." Of all cities,
ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN (1875).
THE OPEN COURT.
Cracow, where all the monuments of a glorious Poland are, seems
best chosen to realize this confusion and distraction in a Polish
soul. This can be discerned even in Matejko's portrait of himself,
painted at the age of fifty-four, as well as in the face of the striking
STANCZYK, THE COURT FOOL OF SIGISMUND AUGUSTUS (1862).
painting of the court fool of Zygmunt I, Stanczyk, who was cele-
brated for the biting truths which he occasionally told to the Polish
magnates and even to the king himself.
The representative painter of a nation so fervidly Roman
JAN ALOJSIUS MATEJKO. 289
Catholic as is the Polish could not leave the field of Christian art
untouched and we conclude this sketch with the magnificent Assump-
tion of the Blessed Virgin, from the year 1875.
A SERMON OF SKARGA'S.
Our frontispiece is an idealistic representation of Peter Skarga
Pawenski preaching one of his famous sermons before the King
of Poland and the Polish diet, as painted in 1864 by the great Polish
painter of national subjects, Jan Matejko, just after the unsuccess-
ful revolution of 1863, which apparently gave Polish liberty its
death blow. We may suppose that Skarga is just predicting the sad
fate of Poland as directly ascribable to the "sins" of his country-
men, their strife, contentiousness, lack of union, and absolute disre-
gard for national needs, although the picture professedly commemo-
rates a scene from the year 1597.
The Presbyterium of the Wawel, the cathedral of Cracow,
forms the background of the picture, for it was long erroneously
supposed that the diet met here for divine service on the Sundays
and holidays from February 10 to March 24, 1597. Our Polish
friend explains the position of Skarga (11) as near the coffin of
St. Stanislaus, that bishop of Cracow who was murdered in 1079
by King Boleslaus the Bold at the altar of St. Michael's Church
before the gates of Cracow. Matejko did not then know that St.
John's Cathedral in Warsaw was the real location, nor does this
injure the picture. The subject of Skarga's sermon "seems to be
the thought of Jeremiah xix : Then I shall utterly destroy you,
saith the Lord God."
It must be admitted that some of the figures of the painting
were really dead in 1597, but their employment in the picture at
least reproduced the spirit of Poland in the last half of the six-
teenth century. The king (5) strikes one as absolutely apathetic
and weak. Behind him stands his awe-struck son Ladislaus (4)
who later succeeded him.
Dowager Queen Ann, (6) of the house of Jagiellon, the wife
of King Stephen Bathori, 1576-1586, is deep in prayer. Next to
her is the famous Polish beauty, Plalszka Ostrogo (7) who married
the slayer of her first husband and was then compelled by the king,
Zygmunt August, to marry the Wojewod Lukas Gorka of Posen.
She and her mother then took refuge in a convent in Lemberg,
where she was married to Simeon Olelkowicz, who was introduced
within the walls of the cloister as a beggar. In spite of this union,
the royal starost captured her and turned her over to husband
290 THE OPEN COURT.
number three who threw her into prison when she persisted in
her opposition to her unwelcome consort ; there she lost her reason
and died. She has been made the heroine of many tales and dramas.
Stanislaus Stadnicki, (10) called "the Devil of Lancut" by the
people because of his robber-knight crimes for which he was not
less famous than for his acts of chivalry. Prince Zanusz Radzi-
will (8) and Nicolaus Zebrzydowski (9) rebelled against the king,
nine years later, but were beaten, the last named being pardoned
but excluded from participation in public affairs. The other dom-
inant and foil to Skarga is the Chancellor and Fieldmarshall, John
Zamojski, (1) to whom the king owed his throne, and Poland much,
some say as much as Germany did to Bismarck. In front of him
stands his predecessor in office, Peter Dunin Wolski, (3) Bishop of
Plock, although he was dead in 1590. The Primate of Poland and
Archbishop of Gnesen. Stanislaus Karnkowski, (2) is on the left
and Cardinal Stanislaus Hozyusz, (12) Bishop of Ermeland, who
died in 1579, is kneeling near Skarga.
Quoting Marjan Sokolowski, professor of the history of art at
the University of Cracow, Ferdinand Hoesik tells in an article of
September 29, 1912, written for the Jednodniowka, the story of
the origin of Matejko's conception of Skarga's head and especially
of his face. The main facts are as follows :
When Jan Matjko had almost finished his picture of Skarga
he had trouble in working out the portrait of the hero of the scene,
but one day while walking through the streets of Cracow he met
a man who possessed a certain resemblance to the famous pulpit
orator, and he took pains to gain a lasting impression of the stran-
ger's features, but the man seemed displeased with the attention
thus received from an ordinary passer-by, and he tried to escape
from this unwelcome attention. The truth was that he was Bronis-
laus Szwarce, a Polish fugitive from the fortress prison of Schliissel-
burg, where Czaristic Russia' confined its political prisoners on a
rocky isle of the Neva, near St. Petersburg, and he had barely
escaped his pursuers. His features were strangely attractive to
our artist, and showed that he had passed through great trials in
his life. While the object of Matejko's attention tried to escape,
the painter was bent on making his acquaintance for the sake of
using his portrait for his picture. Thinking that he was discovered
by a representative of the Russian secret service, even though
he was on Austrian soil, the stranger tried to elude his pursuer
and had scarcely escaped to his lodgings when a knock at the door
frightened him to the utmost. He said to himself, "here come the
PETRUS SKARGA PAWENSKI, S. J. 291
police to arrest me and transport me to Siberia," but how relieved
he was when the stranger came in, excused himself for the intrusion.
"and explained that he was Jan Matejko, well known to every Pole
as their great national artist. Szwarce gladly acceded to his request
to sit for his portrait as a model for Skarga, the great Polish re-
former, in fact he acknowledged it as an honor to be thought a fit
subject for this noble purpose.
PETRUS SKARGA PAWENSKI S.J.
A PROPHET OF POLAND.
BY A FRIEND OF FREE POLAND.
NOTHING in this world is perfect, no thing nor person possesses
that fulness of every good which really could and should be
possessed. All creation is working unceasingly toward the realiza-
tion of all its latent potentialities, toward the actualization of abetter
and nobler reality. No rational being casts a doubt on this fact
to-day, nor is he in any position to doubt it, since no creature gives
such eloquent testimony to this fact as man himself. The recog-
nition of a true, vital evolution in the cosmic universe is accepted
to-day, and with full justice too, as the most important conquest of
our science. Man himself assumes an odd position in the process
of universal evolution, for we may truly call him the lord of crea-
tion. Man it is who, to be sure, succumbs to the laws of nature
and must reckon with them, but who in spite of this can command
these laws and all the forces of evolution and exploit them for the
realization of his wishes and ideals : the creation of a better reality
lies within the power of man. It is the most sacred duty not alone
of every individual but also of the whole of human society to create
more and better being and living.
This task is not at all easy and for that reason it is no wonder
that the leaders of human society along with peoples and states
generally put forth vigorous efforts for anything else than the reali-
zation of that which we all accept as most sacred. Nor can we
even blame these people for their choice of action, for : Do not tem-
poral possessions, material treasures, position, power and physical
force make man, and especially peoples, safe from all enemies?
Are not economically strong peoples always victors ? Thus it seems
in reality, but this is only a superficial impression, for history teaches
us that those peoples which do not strive for the realization of the
292 THE OPEN COURT.
highest ideals have ruined themselves by their own behavior. The
Greeks and the Romans, those peoples who so merit our admiration,
afford perhaps the most striking illustration of our assertion. The
ultimate reason for their ruin lay precisely in their not recognizing
the folly of their policies, but persisting in their course. In such
moments when a people forgets the fulfilment of its most sacred
obligations, there come to the front in every people men who foresee
with the insight of genius the true future of their fellow citizens
and, spurred on by the spirit of love for people and country, warn
their compatriots of threatening dangers. No country has lacked
such geniuses and prophets, and yet their fellow citizens, like those
of the patriarch Noah in the days of the Flood "were eating, drink-
ing, marrying and giving away in marriage until. . . .the flood came,
and carried them all away"! (Matthew xxiv, 37-39.) Generally
speaking, all warnings of such men were in vain and the majority
of them died in dishonor and disgrace, derided and jeered at by
those to whom they extended a helping hand.
So it was with the Polish nation. There was no lack of prophets
nor of preachers admonishing to penitence and pure living for this
people either, but yet all was in vain (they imitated the contem-
poraries of Noah, made merry at the expense of the "seers" and
remained in their evil ways and in sin until the "Flood," the fall
of the Polish state, came. To-day we should like to introduce to
our readers one of those great seers of the Polish people, a true
prophet of this nation, and this man is Petrus Pawenski Skarga,
humble monk and priest, a member of the Society of Jesus. How
majestic the figure of Skarga was can be perceived from the
circumstance that the Dominican Florian Birkowski, who delivered
the funeral address, the most prominent pulpit orator of the day
after Skarga, chose as the text of his sermon a paraphrase of the
words of the apocryphal writer Ecclesiasticus, xlviii. 1 : Et surrexit
Elias propheta, et verbum ejus quasi facula ardebat (and the prophet
Elijah rose up and his word glowed like a torch).
Petrus Pawenski was born in 1536 at Grojec, a little town in
Masovia. His parents did not belong to the nobility but were of
civilian origin and we now know for certain that it was his brother
Francis who first received the diploma of nobility with the cognomen
Pawenski, from King Zygmunt III. Petrus lost his parents in
early youth. After the completion of his course at the Gymnasium,
he studied for two years at the University of Cracow, where he
received the degree of bachelor of arts in 1554. With this di-
ploma he went to Warsaw where he was appointed rector of the
PETRUS SKARGA PAWENSKI, S. J. 293
parochial school belonging to the collegiate church of Saint John.
During two years, 1555-1557, he conducted this school with honor,
then we see him in Cracow as private teacher of the oldest son of
the castellan and senator Tenczynski. In 1560 he accompanied his
charge to Vienna, where he remained two entire years. In 1562
he returned to Poland and, following the advice of Paulus Tarlo,
archbishop of Lemberg, he resolved to enter the clergy. In 1563
Tarlo ordained him sub-deacon, and in the following year deacon
and priest, and appointed the young clergyman to the position of
cathedral preacher and canon at the cathedral of Lemberg (Lwow).
A little later he received the parish of Rohatyn, which he soon
renounced, however, to devote himself entirely to his official duties
in Lemberg, a number of whose noble families owe to Skarga their
return to the mother church.
In 1569 Skarga went to Rome, joined the Jesuit order and was
appointed by Pius V Grand Penitentiary at St. Peters, especially
for those of the Polish race. Two years later he returned to Poland
and officiated as preacher, first in Pultusk, and from 1573 on in the
Jesuit college at Wilna. When Stephen Bathori founded a new Jesuit
college at Polock (Polotzk) in 1580, Skarga was the first rector of
the institution. In 1584 he was transferred to Cracow as Superior
of the Jesuit residence ad Sanctam Barbaram. Here he was tireless
in his labors in the confessional and the pulpit and regained many
dissidents for the Catholic Church. For the assistance of those
too proud to beg when poor and ill, he founded in 1584 the Brother-
hood of Mercy (Bractwo milosierdzia), and at the same time estab-
lished the "pious bank" (Bank pobozny) which was to lend money
without interest to the needy on the receipt of a pledge or pawn.
Nor did he forget the daughters of respectable but impoverished
families, for whom he founded the "Area Sancti Nicolai" ( Skrzynka
Sw. Mikolaja), in order to furnish them with a suitable dowery.
Thus the social reformer Skarga was a true philanthropist in the
best sense of the word. In addition to this his services toward
the accomplishment of the union of the Ruthenian Church with the
Roman were incontestably of the greatest value.
This extraordinarily active man was also very busy with his
pen. The writings of Skarga, some forty in number, may be classed
as dogmatic-polemical, historical, homiletic and ascetic. The most
important are Pro Sacratissima Eucharistia contra hceres'un Zzving-
lianam; Artes duodecim Sacramentariorum ; Upon the Unity of the
Church (in Polish, this was burned by disunionists) : Contra Thrae-
nos ct Lamentationes Theophili Orthologi, ad Ruthenos Grceci
294 THE OPEN COURT.
religionis cautela; Confusio Arianorum; Confusio secunda Aria-
norum; and Messias novorum Arianorum. The last three works
combated Socinianism which had found a refuge in Poland. During
his life there were printed nine editions of his Lives of the Saints,
written in popular style, and the book is still much read among the
Polish masses. His Sermons for Sundays and Holidays continue
to be regarded as models of pulpit eloquence. All of Skarga's
writings are very valuable even to-day, for they have had a very
great influence on the development of the Polish language, and they
contain exceedingly important contributions to the contemporary
political history of Poland. This so great Catholic and priest was
at the same time a great patriot, full of genuine love for the whole
Polish people, for all estates without distinction, for his beloved
In January of 1588 King Zygmunt III made Skarga his court
preacher in which office he remained active up to shortly before his
death in 1612. His Sermons for the Diet, which occupy the first
rank in point of oratorial style, reveal most clearly and well his
genius and bear witness to his patriotism. We should like to
acquaint our readers briefly with the contents of these Sermons for
the Diet since they cast much light upon the political and religious
conditions obtaining in Poland at that time.
When Skarga undertook the office of court preacher Poland
was a world power, and this fact brought down much misery and
misfortune upon this kingdom. We cannot regard the foreign policy
of Zygmunt III, of the house of Wasa, as fortunate, it seems to
us to-day an uninterrupted chain of endless political mistakes,
which entangled Poland in useless wars with other peoples without
the slightest advantage to the country. In addition to this the king
was headstrong, arrogant, suspicious and amenable to no counsel.
Conditions ruling in the interior of the country were no better, the
Reformation and the religious strife resulting from it weakened to
a very great degree the national life, the power of the state and of
the king, national unity and love of country. Such conditions could
not but destroy Poland, but unfortunately the majority of the people
refused to recognize this wretched state of affairs and even asserted
that the kingdom existed through disorder, " N ierzadem Rzecspos po-
lita stoi." In order to rescue Poland from certain destruction, swift
measures had to be taken to relieve existing conditions. The man
who undertook this burden was Skarga. Without flattery but with
apostolic freedom he declared to king and nobles the Christian
truths and principles and pointed out to the Estates of the Realm
PETRUS SKARGA PAWRXSKI, S. J. 295
the fruits which their actions would mature. This took place espe-
cially at the sessions of the Diet and thus his Sermons for the Diet
came into being. To them, possibly, he owes his cognomen, Skarga,
a word which means "accusation," "complaint."
There are eight of these sermons preserved in writing by Skarga
and the question arises. When and where were these really deliv-
ered? We learn from the Dominican Birkowski that Skarga
preached at eighteen diets, and this assertion gave rise to the belief
that the sermons which have come down to us were held at different
times and at different diets. In course of time the view prevailed
that Skarga delivered all at the "Sejm" of 1592 and it was reserved
for later and critical historical investigations to bring scholars to the
conviction that they had been held at Warsaw in 1597 in the pres-
ence of the king and the assembled Estates. Warsaw was the
capital of the Polish kings from 1596 on, and Skarga delivered
the sermons in the cathedral church of St. John. For the view
last expressed the sermons themselves are evidence. It is easy to
refute the argument that he would not have had time enough to de-
liver them at this diet which lasted from the tenth of February to the
twenty-fourth of March. At the opening of the Sejm Skarga held
his first sermon, the next ones on the following Sundays and on
St. Matthias day, the last on the twenty-third of March. In any
event the opinion that they were delivered in 1597 is to-day almost
universally recognized as historically certain.
Let us now hear what this humble priest and monk announced
to these haughty, headstrong, uncontrollable men. Every one of
us would think the preacher must have been a good flatterer if he
desired to get a hearing from such people, but just the contrary was
the fact, he demanded repentance and conversion from king and
estates and publicly reproached them with sins committed against
God and Fatherland, yes, he even threatened them with the destruc-
tion and ruin of their country if they did not improve their conduct.
That is the substance of the sermons for the diet. Charles Henry
Wachtel, who is well known to the Poles as author and poet, has
very cleverly excerpted and arranged their most beautiful and
powerful passages. The reader who knows Polish can obtain these
selections in the Jcdnodnioivka, published on the twenty-ninth of
September, 1912. in memory of the three-hundredth anniversary
of the day of Skarga's death, a very small number of which may be
still procured from the Dsiennik Chicagowski, or "Polish Daily
News." It would be a praiseworthy task for some one to translate
296 THE OPEN COURT.
this article of Mr. Wachtel into English. In lien of it onr readers
will have a short resume of the Diet Sermons of Skarga.
As has been stated, Skarga delivered the sermons in 1597 before
the session of the Diet which was a complete failure. It was opened
on Monday, February 10, with the mass in the cathedral church of
St. John at Warsaw. From 1588 on, Skarga had been preaching
regularly before each diet and was in this way compelled to be a
witness of the ever more and more increasing anarchy in Poland.
Voices were heard on various sides saying: "We are headed for
ruin !" Even before Skarga there were people who foresaw the
danger threatening Poland and directed the attention of the Polish
government to this by pamphlets, sermons and speeches. This
condition of affairs reached its culmination in 1597 and fixed
Skarga's determination to deliver his sermons. Let us make a brief
survey of the causes of this growing anarchy.
In all candor we must acknowledge the introduction of the
Reformation into Poland as the first cause of confusion. Incessant
riots against those of the opposite faith, started by Catholics as
well as Protestants, partisan religious writings diffusing mutual
hatred, and other reasons made a unified national life simply im-
possible. Zygmunt did not know how to win the confidence of the
dissidents, nor was he esteemed or much of a favorite with the
Catholics. The sslachta, or nobility, did not like him because of his
devotion to alchemy, painting, goldsmithing and lath-turning and
passionate fondness for ball playing. The masses disliked his mar-
riage with the Austrian princess. The king's efforts toward absolute
rulership deprived him of the sympathies of the party of the
chancelor, Jan Zamojski, indubitably one of the greatest politicians
and statesmen of Poland. The chancelor did not like the House of
Habsburg, and the king based his policy on an alliance with the
kaiser. The diets were another source of confusion. The diet was
the ruling power. From 1572 on we notice that everything was
consistently done to weaken the authority of the diet. The provin-
cial diets, or Sejmiki, wished to assume all the powers of govern-
ment, to have the last word in all affairs of state, and to seize the
control of courts, financial administration and even of the army.
In 1591 this hangman's work was completed and the death-blow
given to the Diet, for after eight weeks the provincial diets were
to be held, in the possession of powers, which gave the decrees of
the royal diet entirely into the hands of this convention.
It is in order to give a few facts to show how matters went in
the royal diets. An electoral reform was proposed in the year
PETRUS SKARGA PAWENSKI, S. J. 297
1589, but the proposal was not accepted. In the year 1590 a poll
tax' was adopted in order to raise money in case of war with the
Turks. This law was declared null and void by the provincial
diet in Kolo. But later on the worst was yet to come in this whole
affair: the royal diet, opened in 1590, confirmed the statutes of the
provincial diet at Kolo! Things were no better at the diet of 1592:
here it came to open blows between the party of the king and that
of the chancelor Jan Zamojski. The king abased himself even to
such a degree that he lost all regard in the eyes of the whole
Szlachta. The "chancelorists" were not even willing to kiss the
king's hand! On November 25, 1592, the father of the Polish
king died and Zygmunt was compelled to depart for Sweden in order
to be crowned there as king of Sweden. The royal diet also
had to give its consent to the trip of the king. The Sejm was
opened on the fourth of May with a dispute as to who was really
marshall (marssalek) of the diet. It took more than ten days before
they hit upon the "corresponding" person in Danilowicz, a young
man who had scarcely left school. Not until the last day was per-
mission granted to the king to proceed on his journey to Sweden.
The diet of 1595, where the question of joining the league against
the Turks, formed by Emperor Rudolf and other princes, was at
issue, also failed of results, for the matter of joining the league
was referred to an extraordinary diet. Matters were still better at
the diet of 1596, at which we find deputies chosen unlawfully or
through violence. Propter bonum pads ("for the sake of peace")
these gentlemen were allowed to take part in the sessions of the
body which quarreled about trifles during its whole session and left
the Sejm without results.
For all these reasons Skarga regarded it as his sacred duty
to save his dear country at any price and to warn his erring country-
men of mistakes which were ruining them. Poland was threat-
ened with war by Turks, Wallachians and particularly by the Tar-
tars, the last named sending an embassy to the diet which demanded
satisfaction for the injuries and rapine suffered by them at the hands
of the Cossacks. Hence the situation of Poland at this time was
not at all favorable. At the opening of the diet of 1597 we see
Skarga in the pulpit, and the text of his first sermon were the
words from the Epistle of St. James i. 5. "Ye have come together
here in the name of the Lord," so the preacher declares it to be the
purpose of the assembling of the deputies, "to prevent the danger
threatening the crown, to support the tottering fabric of the state,
to repair injuries, to heal wounds, to join anew what had fallen
298 THE OPEN COURT.
apart, and as chiefs of your people, as watchmen of the sleeping,
as leaders of the ignorant and beacon of those sitting in the dark,
as fathers of simple children, to take counsel for their welfare."
In order to perform this office conscientiously, one needs an unusual
dose of wisdom, at least in these so difficult times. A multitude of
dangers threaten the dear country, there is no unity in the country,
no reciprocal love, no trust, envy is everywhere rampant, people
cheat each other, there is no lack of troublemakers and grumblers,
decency and order are absolutely non-existent, selfishness is the
moving spirit of the entire public life, the diets pass their time
without results and in addition, the worst thing is the fact that
the danger of war with the Tatars and Turks threatens the land.
To this disunion of the political nature there has been added as
a source of various disorders and distractions, religious discord,
which is the source of the decay of kingdoms in accordance with the
declaration of the Lord in Luke xi. 17. All these misdeeds are
committed under the cloak of noble freedom, appealing to the privi-
leges of the Sslachta (the nobility). As the preacher ironically
exclaims, "Isn't that a beautiful liberty which is distinguished for
obstinacy and immorality, thanks to which, the strong oppress the
weaker, transgress and do violence to the laws of God and man,
refuse to accept punishment from the king or any other office, and all
are without decency and without leaders like the children of Belial ! !
You know I am speaking only of what all men see." He warns them
that they need much wisdom in. order to devise the necessary means
for the abolishment of these abuses. But there are two kinds of
wisdom, one gained by experience and one the gift of God. He
demands that those presents shall derive every advantage from
homely good sense, and where this is not sufficient, that they shall
implore God f o reveal his Divine Wisdom.
The subject of the next discourse was love of country. As his
text he chose John xv. 12 and xiv. 27, ''There is nothing permanent
under the sun" ( Ecclesiastes ii. 11). "Not alone houses and families
pass away, but also kingdoms and monarchies and one people suc-
ceeds another. Every people which perishes owes this fate to its
political ills, which it did not cure in time. Poland suffers from six
such ills, of which disfavorableness to the country (niesycstiwosc)
is the first. "External dangers such as war and spoliation by hostile
neighbors can be easily withstood if the internal ills of the country
are cured, for how shall a sick man defend himself if he cannot
even stand on his own feet? Therefore before all else heal your
sick mother, our dear country !"
PETRUS SKARGA PAWENSKI, S. J. 299
In lofty words the preacher declares to his hearers that it is
God's will and law to love their country. We shall love our father-
land because we owe to it the greatest blessings of this temporary
world. Our country in the full sense of the word is our mother,
it has given us all manner of blessings and presents ; to it we owe
the Catholic faith, the beautiful golden liberty of not having as a
people to serve tyrants, property and wealth, — yes all are well-to-do,
only our mother alone of all is poor. "O dearest Mother, thy chil-
dren are in a riot of gluttonous living, putting their property to bad
use, it serves them only for sin, immorality, profligacy, vanity ! This
mother, our country, gave us life in peace, martial glory and the
respect of all peoples, our king is honored by embassies from the
West and the East.... (in the year 1595 from the Empire, the
Papacy, Hungary, Transylvania, Moldavia, and others). What
more could our mother do for us? Why then should you love her
with all your heart, protect her and be ready in case of need to lose
everything in order to keep this dear mother sound and alive? By
loving your country you love yourself, by abandoning it you com-
mit treason to yourself. The saints loved their country, of which
Moses, Samson, Nehemiah, Zerubbabel, Matathias, Judith and Es-
ther are witnesses. Patriotism was foreign not even to the Gentiles.
O, my lords, love your country, .... be not selfish and avaricious,
seek not your private comfort as of first importance ! Is it not first
and foremost avarice which renders all sane and wise counsel ac-
tually impossible? And more too, one estate oppresses the other."
Skarga concludes his second sermon with an appeal to his hearers
to cure this malady and act virtuously.
The subject of the third sermon is the second disease of Poland :
domestic disunion, for which he drew his text from the words
of the Apostle of the Gentiles in 1 Corinthians i. 10. "Unity
and Unanimity is a thing willed by God. To this our Lord and
Saviour first joined us through his sacred religion. The same faith,
(he same sacraments, the offering of the same sacrifice, participation
in the same communion of the body and of the blood of the Lord,
these are the bonds by which the Lord binds us to a unity of faith.
But there are also other bonds of a non-religious nature which bind
us into the unity of the same country. The same land, one king,
the same laws and diets, the same kingdom, all these are bonds
which make a unity of us." Skarga regrets that these means to
unanimity are either not used at all, or else perversely for the injury
of national unity. This lack of national unity brings countless
injuries to the people, makes the rescue of the country absolutely
300 THE OPEN COURT.
impossible ; the realm must lose its freedom in spite of all diets and
all counsels. In prophetic mood Skarga cries out to his hearers:
"An enemy neighbor will arise, clinging like a rapid growing vine
to your disunion, and he will say, 'Your hearts have become divided,
now they shall be destroyed.' He will exploit this moment, so
fortunate for him, so unfortunate for you. Why, he who wishes
you evil is but waiting for this : 'Aha, aha !' he will say, 'let us
now destroy them, ye know their foot hath slipped and they can
no longer escape us' (Psalm xxxv. 21 etc.). This strife of yours
will bring you into captivity, your liberties here will be lost and
become a subject of universal mockery, and it will be as the prophet
describes in Isaiah xxiv. 2: 'For ye will all groan in the hands of
your enemies with what ye possess, subject to those who hate you.'
Lands and principalities which have been united to this realm and
have become one body, will secede and must disintegrate, and this,
thanks to your discord, and yet your hands might be powerful and
strong, but terrible to the enemy.... Ye will be like a childless
widow; ye rulers of other peoples will be an object of scorn and
mockery to your enemies. Ye will lose your language. . . . and your
nationality. . . . and like other peoples you will change into a for-
eign people who hate yourselves. You will also be not only without
a sovereign of your own blood and the right to elect such an one,
but also without a country and kingdom in the true sense of the
word: exiles, everywhere in poverty, despised, poor, vagabonds
who will be kicked in those very places where you were formerly
honored. How then will you acquire a second country, in which
you may enjoy such glory, such wealth, treasures and prosperity?
Will a second such mother be born to you? If you lose this mother,
then you can think of no other.
"You will serve your enemies in hunger, thirst, nakedness,
and all possible privations, they will put a yoke of iron upon your
necks, for you have not willingly served your Lord and God when
you had everything in abundance as it is said in Deuteronomy
xxviii. 48. . . . Your strife and contentiousness will bring you to
such losses and curses. War and the robber attacks of your hostile
neighbors would not ruin you so soon as your wretched dissensions."
After these truly prophetic words which were fulfilled, point
by point, the preacher discusses the causes which produced dis-
union and contention in Poland. Heresies, contempt of royal power,
avarice, arrogance and wealth, and in addition mutual jealousies,
all united with hypocrisy and sins, conjured upon Poland her great-
est misfortune, namely discord. If Poland is not to cease to exist
PETRUS SKARGA PAWENSKJ, S. J. 301
as a free country, then all must become better, unity and charity
must prevail, all must be in reality one body and one soul, in which
the different estates conscientiously perform their patriotic duties.
Skarga regards the Catholic religion as the best support for
that unity which is so necessary to the Poles. He attempts to show
this in his fourth and fifth sermons. When we read such assertions
they seem to us educated in a modern age exaggerated, but when we
read Poland's history, we must admit the absolute truth of Skarga's
assertion that the Protestant Reformation was a real misfortune
for Poland. We will omit the proof of this proposition, for it does
not come within the scope of this article.
As a text for the fourth sermon, which was probably held on
the day of Saint Matthias, Skarga chooses the words of Exodus
xix. 6, "Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation."
He takes the Jewish people as an example. God freed them from
the yoke of the Pharaohs, but he put them under the restraint of His
own sacred law. On the first tablet were commandments referring
to God, and then on the second those which are necessary for the
political existence of a people. Consequently the priesthood is the
foundation of kingdoms and the king must act in harmony with the
priesthood if order and quiet are to rule in the land. Kings are duty
bound to defend religion since they receive their power from God
through the priest for Christ has installed a royal priesthood in the
New Testament. Besides history shows that all kingdoms have been
based and built up on religion. So it was in Poland for six hundred
years, now, alas, heresies had come and these most threatened the ex-
istence of Poland. Only the Catholic religion is capable of guard-
ing realm and people from decay and destruction.
The preacher elaborates this idea in his fifth sermon, citing
1 Samuel xii. 20 and 21, "Serve the Lord with all your heart and
run not after vanities which cannot help you." Unity and concord
are a great blessing for any state, and it is the Catholic faith which
keeps people best in unity and concord. Heretics are deprived of
unity in faith and where there is no unity in faith there can be
absolutely no question of its presence in political affairs, for in the
case of strife between Catholics it is not difficult to restore peace,
because they are accustomed to submit to an umpire in such mo-
ments, but with non-Catholics there is not merely lack of unity in
faith, but in addition no umpire. According to Skarga's conviction,
lack of unity in faith makes true friendship impossible, awakens
mutual distrust between citizens, and produces barren strife among
children of the same people. To speak plainly, heresy causes a
302 THE OPEN COURT.
separation of minds and disunion in the realm and renders the rule
of justice impossible. Skarga thinks heretics cannot possibly be
sincere and virtuous, since false doctrine knows no true virtues, for
only the Catholic religion is capable of making out of men good and
honorable citizens who love virtue and their country. Catholics
are accustomed to obedience. non-Catholics to the assertion of their
obstinacy everywhere. Disobedience is something quite peculiar
to them. In conclusion the preacher says that God blesses peoples
which increase His honor, and the Almighty generally punishes
apostasy by the sword of the heathen.
Criticize this reasoning of Skarga as we may, value his argu-
ments as you please, be even outraged by the fanaticism of the
preacher, always remembering that the sixteenth century cannot
be judged by our standards, one fact stands out clear: these argu-
ments dictated to Skarga his love of God, of his neighbor, of his
people and of his country. ''Not sophistry, not cunning argumen-
tation, but deep conviction, dictated these words to Skarga," says
Prof. Ignatius Chrzanowski of the University of Cracow, on page
60 of the Preface to his edition of the Sermons for the Diet, War-
saw, 1903, Gebethner and Wolff.
A vigorous government is the fourth foundation stone of the
state. In Skarga's eyes the best of all forms of government is the
monarchv. the absolution dominium. To prove this is the purpose
of his sixth sermon. "Constitue nobis regem, ut judicet nos, sicut
et universae habent nationes," 1 Samuel viii. 5, are the words chosen
by Skarga for the text of this sermon. "In every body," as he says,
"there are two very important members which give life and strength
to it, that is to say, heart and head. So it is also in the state where
the hierarchy constitutes the heart of the state, while the king is
the head. The weal of the state depends on the soundness of these
members. But the natural state of the body shows us that in every
body only one head rules." From this Skarga deduces the necessity
of there being the same order in the state and for that reason a
monarchy is the best form of government. We find this form of
government among the ancient Jews, for God who is also a mon-
arch in the fullest sense of the word has himself so ordained.
Even Christ established the monarchical form of government in his
Church. History shows us that monarchies have maintained them-
selves longest in a political sense, as long as they remained mon-
archies in a strict sense. In Poland, too, the kings were true
monarchs in the beginning, it was the priests who interpreted the
law of God to the monarchs and in this way guarded rulers from
PETRUS SKARGA PAWENSKI, S. J. 303
abuse of their power. Later the limits of royal power were bounded
by statutes and laws in order to render it impossible for the monarch
to become a tyrant, and to provide sufficient protection for personal
safety. But certain persons have nevertheless abused the liberty
belonging to them.
Skarga finds three kinds of liberty good and praiseworthy,
first, not to serve the devil; second, to be free from the yoke of
heathen rulers ; and third, to serve no king who is a tyrant. How-
ever there is a fourth liberty which is a product of hell, something
absolutely devilish, and this consists in acknowledging no authority
at all, in not yielding obedience to a legitimate king, and in wanting
to weaken the royal power as far as possible. Many abuses con-
tribute in a high degree to the weakening of the royal power,
especially disobedience to king and law, the dishonest administration
of royal and national estates. The deputies to the diet do not
perform their duties and make it simply impossible for king and
senate to realize the best plans, those of advantage to the state.
"Just see," the preacher reproaches his listeners, "to what turmoil
you have come, thanks to your indecent behavior and almost child-
ish, actually ridiculous conduct, into which you allow yourselves to
be plunged at the diets."
Next, Skarga assails the choice of deputies : during the times of
election the rich and those possessing sufficient boldness do as they
please ; certain lords even elect themselves ; others manage so they are
deputies for life; but many manage to have only their own candidates
elected. Matters are not better in the assembly of deputies, where
quarrels, contention, screaming, tumult and even recourse to arms
obtain to such an extent that one must blush for shame if one
should tell it to anybody. "Then too, the election of the various
officers of the house of deputies is a regular disgrace. The election
of marshall of the diet, (marsaalek Scjmu), lasts for several days,
and as I remember, you once quarreled about it for two weeks and
a half." Skarga here alludes to the marshall-election of 1593. in
which eighteen days of quarreling were spent. (This was the first
diet in which Szczensny Herburt of Dobromil introduced the mo-
tion that only those resolutions should be legal for which there
was the unanimous vote of all members.) At last they elected
Danilowicz, a young man who had but just come from school!
The whole tendency of these lords was "to manage everything
so that the king should have nothing at all to say, and should only
be a spectator of how the estate of nobles (szlachta) rule through
their deputies." "My lords," admonished Skarga. "make no German
304 THE OPEN COURT.
free city of the kingdom of Poland! Make no painted holder of
an empty honor, as has been done in Venice, for you have not the
sense of the Venetians at all, nor do you remain continuously in
one and the same city. ... In states, where all want to share the
government, every good counsel is vain, even diets miss their goal.
As an illustration of my assertion, let the last few diets serve,
which made it absolutely impossible to help this kingdom in its so
great and urgent distress ! ! What shall be the end of this if the
diets waste their time without results? Have you any better means
to save our country than through the agency of the diet? If not,
then tell me why you use this sole means for your own ruin and
make of it an object of ridicule and scorn among all foreign peoples.
What is the purpose of meeting if you only accomplish discord,
strife and tumult? You are down, lost, if God does not have mercy
on you, if he shall not incline your hearts to repentance and so
change them that you bear in mind not a riotous and false liberty,
but your real welfare, the preservation of your health, and the
possession of your houses and estates." — "Yes, but Poland was
strong! Curtain lecture! Good for old women, Jesuitical balder-
dash, that is of a narrow-minded, fanatical 'heretic-eater' ! Crazy
talk !" Such were the thoughts of probably the most of his listeners,
and they probably made sport of the figure of the humble preacher
of penitence, since Poland of course can not possibly fall because
"it is so strong!" But history justified the words of the preacher.
Just laws are the best foundation of every state. But Vae, to
those, as the prophet Isaiah says, x. 1 and 2, "qui condunt leges
iniquas: et scribentes, injustitiam scripserunt: Ut opprimerent in
judicio pauperes, et vim f acerent causae humilium populi rnei." This
was the text chosen to bring home to the consciousness of the diet
the injustice of the laws prevalent in Poland. After introductory
remarks on the various kinds of laws, such as natural, positive,
divinely ordained, and canonical, Skarga attempts to show that the
best status in the world is where the monarch promulgates the laws
for citizens and realm. Without these written statutes no state can
exist. But the executive power requires officials and judges. The
laws do absolutely no violence to personal liberty, and they must
not, otherwise they would cease to be laws. They indicate the way
of justice. A true law must be just, advantageous to all, make up-
right persons and good citizens of subjects, spread the fear of the
Lord and defend and advance the honor of God, the welfare of the
state and the people. However, laws need persons whose duty it
is to see to their proper observance, for without a proper executive
PETRUS SKARGA PAWENSKI, S. J. 305
even the best of laws become a dead letter. The transgressors of
the law must be punished.
The fifth malady of Poland results from the injustice of a
number of laws and the fact that just laws lack executive officials.
These are the reasons for the evil condition of Poland : many and
terrible sins are committed purely and simply for the reason that
such things can be done in Poland with impunity. The preacher
takes under his especial protection the country folk who were bound
in serfdom to the lords. "I should now like to touch upon the unjust
law which makes veritable slaves of poor farmers and free men,
Poles, believing Christians and poor subjects, as if these unfor-
tunate people were prisoners of war or purchased mancipia. Their
masters do what they please with them and with their property and
life, and no forum troubles itself about the injustice done these
people." Skarga cites the first Christians who restored real slaves
to freedom. "We should be ashamed of such a law in sight of the
whole Christian world. How shall we be able to appear in the pres-
ence of God with our souls stained by such tyrannical injustice?
How can we help fearing that the heathen will treat us similarly
in punishment for our sins?" Wonderful words from the lips of
one living in the sixteenth century, worthy of a Skarga! Professor
Chrzanowski is entirely right in adjudging this one of the most
beautiful and wisest passages (p. 69 of the preface of his edition
of the Diet Sermons).
It would take us too far to describe all that was done in the
beginning of the seventeenth century with those who were bound
to the land, and how these honest and industrious people were ex-
ploited. Skarga was mistaken in asserting that such things could
only take place in Poland, for it is a well-known fact that the
matter of "manorial bondage" in neighboring Germany was in no
wise better. Without fear he urges his hearers, "the headstrong,
earthly 'Gods,' " to proceed to an immediate reform of the law.
"so that instead of bringing advantage the laws may not cause great
damage." God himself has changed his laws when it was necessary,
as can be proven by the Old Testament. Besides there is no tyrant
as cruel as a bad law and amelioration is the most sacred duty of
every intelligent being, since only the fool voluntarily remains in
filth and perishes of his own fault.
The eighth and last sermon, delivered on the twenty-third of
March, is the most wonderful and was especially distinguished for
its prophetic character. It is a recapitulation of the sins treated in
the previous discourses, followed by a prophecy of the future fate
306 THE OPEN COURT.
of Poland with a demand for repentance. There is not the slightest
doubt that other prominent men foresaw the downfall of Poland.
Krzycki. Modrzewski, Kromer, Stanislaus Gorski. Solikowski, Rej
and a host of others repeated in other words and in other form the
words of Orzechowski : "If you were to cut my heart to pieces, you
would find in it only the words : we are ruined, we perish." The
greatest Catholic and Protestant preachers of that century, men like
Clement Ramult, Malcher of Moscisk, Luke of Lemberg, Gregory
of Tarnoviec and also the poet John Kochanowski ; two of the
most famous preachers of Poland, Sokolowski and Powodowski,
preached along these lines before Skarga, but neither of these latter,
if I may express my personal conviction, knew how to bring home
to his hearers that love of God and love of country belong together
and constitute two essential components of the law of God as given'
to us. Professor Chrzanowski's statement on page 107 rightly cites
with approval the assertion of Mickiewicz that Skarga was the
creator of political pulpit eloquence, of which the sermons of Soko-
lowski and Powodowski were the forerunners.
It is certainly no exaggeration, nor overestimate, to regard the
eighth sermon as unique of its kind. We feel tempted to translate
the whole of it so that the reader may gain a clear conception of
the powerful, exalted, patriotic and prophetic figure of the man
Skarga, who was absolute devotion to God's will. Citing the apoc-
ryphal Ecclesiasticus x. 8: "The kingly power is transferred from
people to people on account of unjust doings, injuries, insults and
various deceits," he treats the sixth malady of Poland, namely
public sins, "which cry aloud to God for vengeance," which so stain
the earth that it wants to devour the malefactors as the Prophet
Isaiah says: "The earth is infected from its inhabitants, because
they have broken the laws, upset right, cast to the winds the eternal
covenant; on account of this a curse will devour the earth...."
(Isaiah v. 5, 6). Continuing with the quotation of verses 8-10 of
chapter xxiv, Skarga thunders, "The bad part of the whole business
is that such sins are allowed to go unpunished in Poland, therefore,
I, your unworthy and humble prophet, will to-day express my senti-
ments to you roundly on the wrongs, deceits, calumnies and treason
in which this kingdom and its citizens have involved themselves,
unwilling to abandon them for a better life : sins for which the
earth will throw you out and God will people it with different
people. . . . Pie will give it to your enemies, but he will destroy you
and your sons, /'/ you do not become better, exactly as he did with
the seven Canaanitish tribes in the Holy Land" (Deuteronomy ix).
PETRUS SKARGA PAWENSKI, S. J. 307
After this brief introduction the preacher assumes the role of
the public conscience of the Polish people and enumerates all the
crimes committed in the land with impunity and which call to God
for vengeance. Among these he denounces the blasphemies of the
New Arians and Anti-Trinitarians ; the plundering of churches and
church property ; the entire paralysis of the ecclesiastical execution
of the sentences of ecclesiastical courts; the postponement of judg-
ment in cases at law which are subject to the jurisdiction of the
Diet, where the oppressed poor, who appealed to the Diet, had to
wait years for a verdict and most often lost all their property ; un-
punished murder and manslaughter ; the incessant sufferings of
hounded subjects, who are often robbed of all their property by
furious landlords who kill their miserable tenants at will and go
scot-free in absolute tranquility ; conscienceless usury ; avarice ;
luxury and abuse of wealth ; the absolute disappearance of mercy
and charity, involving the lavish use of money for everything else,
but none for national expenses ; the unpunished theft of state prop-
erty and even of doweries and inheritances from orphans, by guar-
dians ; and even then Skarga is not through with his catalog.
After this so scathing indictment Skarga laments : "What shall
I do with you, wretched kingdom?" But he was too keen a student
of men, not to know that the accuser cannot be the judge at the
same time, so he sums up the various counts of his indictment in
the single sentence, "Who of those observing you. . . .could dream of
the sacrileges and sins rampant in this land?" and leaves the verdict
to the prophet. Full of grief he cries: "Oh, if I were Isaiah. I
would go about barefoot and half naked (Isaiah xx. 2) and call
to you rakes and lascivious women, to you transgressors of the
law of God, 'Thus they will plunder you and you will display your
naked calves. ... (Isaiah xx. 4), when God, the Lord, shall lead
enemies down upon your heads and hand you over to this great
disgrace' (Isaiah xx. 2-4). Therefore shall this iniquity be to
you as a breach that falleth and is found wanting in a high wall.
For the destruction thereof shall come of a sudden, when it is not
looked for, and it 'shall be broken small, as the potter's vessel is
broken all to pieces with mighty breakings : and then there shall
not a sherd be found of the pieces thereof, wherein a little tire may
be carried, or a little water be drawn out of the pit' ( Isaiah xxx.
13, 14). The breaches in the wall of our country are continuously
increasing and you answer, 'Xonsense. never mind ; Poland exists
just on account of anarchy.' And just at the moment when you do
not suspect it, she will fall and crush you all."
308 THE OPEN COURT.
"Oh. were I Jeremiah, I should bind my feet with bonds and
put chains about my neck and proclaim to you sinners, as he pro-
claimed: Thus they will bind your masters and drive them before
them like rams to foreign climes (Jeremiah xxvii, Lamentations 1).
I should like to show you a tattered and filthy garment, then I
would shake it and when it had become dust I would say to you:
so shall your glory depart, dissolve into nothing but dust and with
it all your property and riches (Jeremiah xiii). And I would take
a 'potter's earthen bottle' (Jeremiah xix. 1) and after I had called
you all together I would hurl the bottle against the wall (xix. 10)
and say : 'Even so will I break you, thus saith the Lord of hosts ;
as the potter's vessel is broken which cannot be made whole again'
"Oh, were I Ezekiel, I would shear hair and beard and then
divide my hair in three. One part I would burn, the second chop
fine, but I would scatter the third to the winds (Ezekiel v. 1 and 2),
and then declare to you : 'a third part of you shall be consumed with
famine, and a third part of you shall fall by the sword; and a third
part of you will I scatter into every region of the world' (Ezekiel
v. 12). 'And I shall go out of my house neither by the door, nor by
the windows, but I will dig through the wall (xii. 5) and really flee-
ing, I would call to you: so shall it be with you, no castles nor fort-
resses will have power to protect you, all your enemies will crush
you and destroy you."
"O were I Jonah, 1 would go about all the streets and cry out to
you : 'Yet forty days, and Nineveh that is your kingdom shall be de-
stroyed' Jonah iii. 4). Have a fear of these warnings! I have, to
be sure, not received a divine revelation foretelling your destruction,
but I am sent with an errand from God to lay bare to you your miss-
deeds and to proclaim to you the penalty awaiting you in case you
do not repent. Before their fall all kingdoms have had such divine
envoys and preachers, who publicly reproached them with their sins
and warned them of approaching destruction. So with the Jews
before the Babylonian captivity, of which the Holy Scriptures tell
us, 'and the Lord, the God of the fathers sent to them, by the hand
of his messengers, rising early, and daily admonishing them ; because
he spared his people and his dwelling place. 'But they mocked the
messengers of God [saying, you have been threatening us for so
long a time and up to now, thank God, nothing has been fulfilled!]
and despised his words, until the wrath of the Lord arose against
his people, and there was no remedy." (2 Chronicles xxxvi. 15
PETRUS SKARGA PAWENSKI, S. J.
Skarga distinguishes three kinds of divine warnings. The first
is attended by no consequences if people do penance for their sins.
The second have serious consequences only for the posterity of
those sinning. The third cannot be evaded and are soon carried
out because although God foresees the deeds of men bring them
certain destruction, He will not change the course of events since
He is unwilling to violate human freedom. Thus Jeremiah revealed
to his people God's decree for Israel's certain destruction (Jeremiah
xviii. 11). "I do not know, my Lords, with what sort of threats
God has sent me to you, but this much I do know, that the threat-
ened consequences of one of the three kinds of warnings will cer-
tainly strike you. My dear brethren, I wish the first for my people
and for my dear country, so that the God of warning may also give
you the grace of conversion .... so that we may not perish, but that
terrified by these warnings we may strive in all our actions and
thoughts to be reconciled to God."
The preacher now summons his hearers to penance since God
will certainly omit the threatened punishment if we repent. "There-
fore let us do penance and return to our Lord and God, and He
will heal us. He will wound our hearts with genuine repentance
for our sins and heal our wounds as the prophet says: 'He will
revive us after two days, on the third day he will raise us up' (Hosea
vi. 2). Let the first day be devoted to repentance and confession,
the second be a day of improvement and reparation which are es-
sential components of every true penitence, but the third shall be our
justification. Who is a God like Thee who takest away iniquity
and passest by the sin of the remnant of Thy Christian peoples in
the North and of Thy inheritance? Thou wilt send Thy fury in
no more because Thou delightest in mercy. Thou wilt turn again
and hast mercy on us. Thou wilt put away our iniquities and
Thou wilt cast all our sins into the bottom of the sea. Thou wilt
perform the truth to us for the sake of Thy beloved Son, Jesus
Christ, and His innocently shed blood and His death, who rules
with Thee and with Thy Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever,
And what was the result, what were the fruits of all this so
wondrously beautiful, true and extraordinary eloquence, which
gripped hearts by powerful words, of these sermons so distinguished
for lofty thought and enthusiasm? On Monday, the twenty-fourth
of March, the day immediately following the eighth sermon, the
Diet had to be dissolved without results. For fifteen years Skarga
continued to warn the estates. In the year 1610 he repeatedly urged
310 THE OPEN COURT.
everybody to do penance by his tract, composed in Polish, Summons
of the Inhabitants of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania
to Repentance. In 1611 he retired to the Jesuit Monastery at
Cracow where he died in the odor of sanctity on September 27,
1612, and his body was consigned to rest in the church of St. Peter.
His voice died away as of one calling in the wilderness. His voice
was heard, but to no avail, people did not repent, which must have
caused acute pain to the heart of one who loved God, his country
and his people with all his heart. To view deeds which are certain
to dig a sure grave for the fatherland cannot but be a never failing
source of inexhaustible sorrow for such a soul.
Not only that, but he had to hear that it was not fitting for a
priest to interfere in politics. "Yes," Skarga would answer, "he
not only interferes, but it is even his duty to interfere, not in finan-
cial matters but in such a way that their sins do not ruin the people
and that their souls may not perish. Do we not hear the words of
God speaking to Jeremiah: 'Lo, I have set thee this day over the
nations and over kingdoms, to root up and to waste and to destroy
and to pull down [sins and wickedness] and to build up and to
plant' reverence, sacred virtues, good works and repentance, so
that our kingdom may escape the wrath of God and our politics
may not destroy us" (Invitatio ad poenitentiam, page 14 and Jere-
miah i. 10).
The preface to the first volume of his sermons bears the com-
pletest witness to how and what Skarga suffered from those criti-
cisms. He wrote this preface on the first of August 1595, on the
festival of "Saint Peter in Chains," addressing Him whose servant
he was : "O Lord and Redeemer, I have proclaimed thy message
to the Royal Council, the Senate. . . .to the nobility. . . . and to the
royal and provincial diets. I have adjured them to yield a com-
mon tender and faithful love to their two mothers, the Church of
God and their country, lest they perish from their very liberties
and conjure down upon their heads the yoke of foreign rulers.
Lord, I have urged them to make better laws and to procure a
speedier dispensation of justice against horrible sins.... I have
threatened them with thy anger, O Lord, just as thou hast com-
manded, with ruin and destruction at the hands of the enemy, with
the desolation and surrender of this land to their enemies. I have
shown to them the sword of the heathen hanging over their heads
... .so that they may remember their sins which will surely not be
passed by unpunished, and rise above them. What more could I
do for them, O Lord? Thou knowest I only desired their conver-
PETRUS SKARGA PAWENSKI, S. J. 311
sion and salvation. I would gladly sacrifice everything if their wel-
fare and that v of the country needed it.... I know not how it is
that thy message and my implorations are of no avail ; rarely does
any one repent: heavy labor has already tired the ox, and his labor
has not even left a trace in a good harvest. The clever fishes escape
thy nets and are not caught.... Who then is to blame? for thy
judgments, O Lord, are terrible. I perhaps? Am I destroying thy
harvest by my fear, despondency, negligence and lack of wisdom?
.... But, O Lord, receive my excuses, the explanations of thy mes-
senger. . . .Pardon me and do not punish, O Lord, I did admonish
them and make all manner of daily sacrifices for them ; my prayers
and implorations in their behalf never ceased. Therefore, O Lord,
I beg thee, do not sit in judgment upon me and upon them who
hear me .... bring it to pass that we walk in thy law and never
cease to be thy people that thou remainest our GOD for ever."
History relates how all these prophecies were fulfilled. It
was truly not Skarga's fault that his voice was not heard. But he
has even to-day a message for all peoples, and to the governments
of the present he conveys the lesson that every people or every power
that from blind confidence in its strength believes itself given per-
mission to do what it pleases, is headed for ruin as certainly as the
former glorious Polish kingdom. As a penalty for decadence Greece
fell ; for Want of self-control and order, Poland ; and ancient Rome
fell as the result of a policy of ruthless aggression, as Hermann
Schell aptly puts it on page 114 of Christus, Mainz 1916, "she fell
from sheer failure of her powers. It could not be otherwise because
all force directed against the outer world produces the ultimate
fruit of the despotism of an overman and debases the masses to
spiritual slavery. The energy of a ruthless culture of personality
destroys its subject, of that, Rome, once mistress of the world,
is an example. . . . The cult of selfishness," he says a few lines
before, "is the cult of death, the nursing of decay. ... It is true
the civilization of the world flatters the strong and the arrogant,
but it calls into being only to destroy from within as well as from
without." The wages of sin are always death. Charity, justice,
morality and their observance are still to-day the source and the
development of an eternal life, of the kingdom of God here on
While Skarga foretold the fall of Poland, he also foresaw the
political regeneration of this so glorious realm. The people of
Poland really suffered much and terribly after its fall, but it also
became thereby morally and religiously, as well as politically and
312 THE OPEN COURT.
nationally, strengthened. Therefore let us hope that the prophet
Hosea's third day is about to dawn for a new Poland. May
Skarga's prophecy be fulfilled and a future Poland become a jewel
of West-European culture and civilization. May this future Poland
recognize most completely its debt to its Savonarola and, by every-
where forming strong personalities and true spiritual values, pro-
duce and increase true life. If this takes place, then Skarga has
not lived in vain, and his lofty spirit will be in future the warning
voice, the teacher and guardian of his people, which he loved so
dearly and for which he would have been so willing a sacrifice.
A figure like that of Skarga, Father Peter Semenenko C. R. (1813
to 1886), one of the greatest Polish minds and thinkers, calls to his
countrymen, "O Polish People, you have a message from God, God
tells you it himself! Do not fear, you do live!. ... Be but true to
God and you shall live. Do not believe your own fears when it
shall appear that you are dying, — no, you are living, you shall live,
yes, you must live! You are immortal since you have a message
from God. Just be true, and the truer you are the more quickly
will that come to pass which has been told to you." (Page 99 of
his Polish work on God's Ideal in Polish History, Cracow, 1892.)
To which we shall add in conclusion his words from page 32:
"For the Lord hath graced Poland with a wreath and aureole of
sacrifice and martyrdom — and thus consecrated and chosen her as
HEBREW EDUCATION IN SCHOOL AND
BY FLETCHER H. SWIFT.
II. WOMAN AND THE EDUCATION OF GIRLS.
"House and riches are an inheritance from fathers :
But a prudent wife is from Jehovah." — Proverbs xix, 14.
"A worthy woman who can find?
For her price is far above rubies." — Proverbs xxxi. 10.
THAT woman held a relatively higher status in earlier than in later
times seems evident from the custom, then in vogue, of tracing
the descent through the mother 85 and from the part played in public
affairs by such women as Deborah, 86 , Jael, 87 by the "wise woman"
85 The descent of Esau's children is traced through their mothers, Gen.
xxxvi. Abraham married Sarah the daughter of his father, but not of his
88 Judges iv and v. 87 Judges iv. 18-24.
HEBREW EDUCATION IN SCHOOL AND SOCIETY. 313
of Tekoa 88 and by the wise woman of Abel. 89 But even in the period
of nomadism woman was distinctly a chattel and a servant, first of
her father and then of her busband who bought her from her
father. Progress in civilization which brought an ever enlarging
intellectual sphere to man confined woman more and more to narrow
fields of religious and domestic duties, and in each of these fields
placed upon her restrictions which stamped her as man's religious,
intellectual and social inferior.
It is impossible to say when these restrictions began. Some
of them probably date back to tribal days and customs. Among
the most conspicuous restrictions of later times were those debarring
women from wearing the phylacteries, from reciting the shema,
from entering the main space of the synagogue. 90 Any consideration
of the religious restrictions and privileges of women must take into
account the principle which finds later development in the Talmud
that women are excused from fulfilling all positive commandments
the fulfilment of which depends on a fixed time or season. The
reason for the exemption is obvious. Woman, on account of domes-
tic and physical conditions, would at certain times, be incapacitated
for performing rites the observance of which is dependent upon a
Peritz maintains that these restrictions were distinctly a later
development. He writes: "The Hebrews. ... in the earlier periods
of their history, exhibit no tendency to discriminate between man
and woman so far as regards participation in religious practices,
but woman participates in all the essentials of the cult, both as
worshiper and official ; only in later time, with the progress in the
development of the cult itself, a tendency appears, not so much,
however, to exclude woman from the cult, as rather to make man
prominent in it." 91
Even if Peritz's view be accepted, the fact remains that in the
home as well as in the synagogue the position of woman was a
subordinate one. The father was given the chief place in religious
services and rites. The training and instruction of the sons from
their earliest years were in his hands. The mother might assist in
the education of the sons but only as a subordinate ; her primary
88 2 Samuel xiv. 1-23.
89 2 Samuel xx. 16-22.
00 Carl H. Cornill, The Culture of Ancient Israel, p. 99.
91 1. J. Peritz, "Woman in the Ancient Hebrew Cult," Journal of Biblical
Literature, XVII, 114d. Peritz opposes the commonly accepted views of Stade,
Benziger, Nowack and others. It is doubtful whether the evidence he presents
will be considered convincing at all points.
314 THE OPEN COURT.
duties were the education of the members of the inferior sex, her
daughters, and the care of her household.
Daughters were less esteemed and less welcome than sons :
"In the Talmud we find three times the saying: 'Well to him whose
children are boys, woe to him whose children are girls.' In the Old
Testament there is nothing like this directly expressed, but without
doubt this is what the Israelite of old thought." 92
It must not be supposed, however, that love and respect were
lacking. Many passages reveal the love and tenderness in which
wife and mother were held. A loving wife is declared to be a gift
from Yahweh, 93 and a worthy woman is more precious than rubies. 94
To express the highest degree of sadness the poet writes, "I bowed
down mourning, as one that bewaileth his mother." 95
The following extract from Proverbs xxxi contains the most
complete formulation of the ancient Hebrew ideal of womanhood. 96
"A worthy woman who can find?
For her price is far above rubies.
"The heart of her husband trusteth in her,
And he shall have no lack of gain.
"She doeth him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
"She seeketh wool and flax
And worketh willingly with her hands.
"She is like the merchant-ships ;
She bringeth her food from afar.
"She riseth also while it is yet night.
And giveth food to her household,
And their task to her maidens.
"She considered! a field, and buyeth it :
With the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
"She girdeth her loins with strength,
And maketh strong her arms.
"She perceiveth that her merchandise is profitable;
Her lamp goeth not out by night.
"She layeth her hands to the distaff,
And her hands hold the spindle.
»« C. IT. Cornill, The Culture of Ancient Israel, p. 97a.
0:5 Proverbs xix. 14. 94 Ibid., xxxi. 10.
98 Psalms xxxv. 14; C. H. Cornill, The Culture of Ancient Israel, p. 93.
90 Proverbs xxxi. 10-31.
HEBREW EDUCATION IN SCHOOL AND SOCIETY. 315
"She spreadeth out her hand to the poor ;
Yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
"She is not afraid of the snow for her household;
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.
"She maketh for herself carpets of tapestry;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
"Her hushand is known in the gates,
When he sitteth among the elders of the land.
"She maketh linen garments and selleth them ;*
And delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
"Strength and dignity are her clothing;
And she laugheth at the time to come.
"She openeth her mouth with wisdom;
And the law of kindness is on her tongue.
"She looketh well to the ways of her household.
And eateth not the bread of idleness.
"Her children rise up, and call her blessed ;
Her husband also, and he praiseth her, saying:
"Many daughters have done worthily.
But thou excellest them all.
"Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain :
But a woman that feareth Jehovah, she shall be praised.
"Give her of the fruit of her hands ;
And let her works praise her in the gates."
In the above passage, the home is represented as woman's
highest sphere. There is not the slightest hint of the recognition
of any need for higher intellectual development. This is all the
more significant as the passage belongs to the Greek period. The
most extolled virtues of the woman here described are piety, mercy.,
industry, foresight, thrift, sound practical judgment and devotion
to her husband's interests. She spins and weaves wool, linen, silk
and tapestry. She carries on commercial enterprises such as buying
a field and selling linen garments. She superintends her household
and is devout in the performance of her religious duties.
The home was par excellence the institution where girls received
their education. The schools, elementary and higher, were open to
boys and men only. In some instances girls may have received
advanced instruction through private lessons given in the home, but
if such cases occurred at all they were undoubtedly rare. Festivals,
316 THE OPEN COURT.
the temple and the synagogue were the chief institutions which
exerted an educative influence upon girls and women outside the
home. Although women were not counted as members of the
synagogue and were not permitted to lead in any of its services,
nevertheless they were zealous attendants at its services. Many
recorded incidents bear witness to the familiarity of the Jewish
women with the Scriptures. The term mater synagogue appear as
a title of honor beside the term pater synagogae among inscriptions
found in southern Italy. 97
Woman's .chief functions were to honor God, care for her
home, train her children, serve and please her husband. The aim
of girls' education was to produce efficient and industrious home-
makers, obedient, virtuous, godfearing wives and daughters. The
details of girls' education varied from generation to generation with
changes in habitat, modes of living, social and religious institutions
and laws, but the principles determining its scope and limits were
to a large extent unchanging. From earliest times it included
domestic duties, music, dancing, industrial occupations, religion,
manners, and morals. The importance of many of these activities
and the nature and method of the instruction and training has been
sufficiently set forth in preceding paragraphs to make any further
presentation here unnecessary. The sex division of labor and the
exclusion of women from many religious duties and responsibilities
resulted in many differences in the education of boys and girls.
The domestic and industrial occupations of girls and women in-
cluded cooking, spinning, weaving, dyeing, caring for flocks, guard-
ing vineyards, gathering harvests, grinding grain, caring for chil-
dren and managing slaves.
Later times added in some cases at least reading, writing and
enough knowledge of reckoning, weights, measures and money to
enable the prospective wife to carry on the business of her house-
hold. It is impossible to state how early and to what extent a
knowledge of the three R's became prevalent. The fact that Queen
Jezebel is stated to have written letters in Ahab's name to the elders
of Naboth/s village 98 might seem an argument for a knowledge of
these arts by the women of the monarchical period. But as has
already been pointed out, Jezebel may have employed a scribe, and
the facts that she was a queen and that she was a foreigner, a
Phoenician, forbid any general inferences.
1)7 W. Racher, "Synagogue," Hasting's Bible Dictionary, IV, 640b.
ns 1 Kings xxi. 8.
MORALITY BY REGULATION.
IN ANSWER TO C. E. SPARKS.
One of the characteristics of fanaticism is exaggeration. Without know-
ing it I should not hesitate to say that the author of the article "Religious
Education in the Public Schools," is also an enthusiastic Prohibitionist. In
his article he displays many of the peculiar earmarks of that amiable body.
For instance, the Prohibitionists say a person who drinks is of the scum of the
earth. Yet all the great men in American history from Washington to the present
were drinking men excepting, of course, such very great men as Rutherford
B. Hayes and the distinguished ex-secretary of state from Nebraska.
In line with the Prohibitionists' attitude let me quote from his article as
follows : "Some have thought it possible to teach morals apart from religion.
Such attempts have proven failures. Now it is almost universally recognized
that there is such a vital relation between morals and religion that the two
cannot be separated."
Here is a typical exaggeration born of a fanatical turn of mind. Could
Mr. Sparks furnish any proof of the failures? Have we any reason to be
ashamed of the morality of the American people? Do we not measure up to
the highest national standard? Yet we have never taught religious morality
in our schools. Such a crass and sweeping condemnation is the heighth of
arrogance and a gratuitous insult to American civilization.
This is like the Prohibitionists' claim that we are a besotted nation and
although we have developed the highest civilization the world has ever known,
and in a little over a hundred years, the United States has become the richest,
the most powerful, the most influential and best Christianized nation in the
world. Can a besotted, rum-drinking, beer-guzzling, whiskey-boozing nation
do what we have done and are doing right now in this war? But the voice
of history means no more to the Prohibitionist than it does to Mr. Sparks.
His religious morality is the panacea for all national ills, just as prohi-
bition is the cure-all for every national disorder from prisons to alms-houses.
Another characteristic of the fanatic is the a priori assumption of all facts
necessary to prove the subject under consideration. Thus Mr. Sparks, to prove
his theory, at least four times in his interesting article reiterates the assertion
in variant forms that "the people are demanding in no uncertain terms that it
(the public school) perform the work (religious teaching) that has been en-
trusted to it." The author assumes, because he is of that mind himself, that
all other persons whose opinions amount to anything, agree with him that
religious training should be a part of public school teaching. He takes for
granted since he is himself cock sure right, that the rest of the people are of
the same mind. As he thinks so the world thinks, as the world should think
in order to fall in with him and his ideas, so it is promptly assumed it does
think. As a matter of fact the number of persons who want religious training
in public schools is still a safe minority, and the proof of this is that religious
318 THE OPEN COURT.
training in public schools is not yet an accomplished fact. The clamor of this
minority is not heard, and if heard it is borne with as a nuisance but no heed
is given to it.
The Prohibitionist is going to bring on the millennium ahead of God's
purpose. By Mr. Sparks's methods all men and women will live "lives of
spotless purity, being honest and truthful in all their relations with their
fellow-men. and being clean and honorable in thought as well as in word and
deed." One cannot say much more about the Son of God, and few men not
of the Sparks's order of the genus homo ever expect to attain such absolute
The author speaks of the Decalogue and the Sermon on the Mount as all
sufficient for the purpose of religious teaching in public schools. The content
of the Decalogue is incorporated in every one of the seven world religions
extant to-day, and the Sermon on the Mount would not be acceptable either
to the Jew or the free thinking Gentile. Moreover, I must take issue with the
assumption that the Bible is the fountain head of all moral law and that,
therefore, Bible morality should be taught in public schools. There are stories
in the Bible which are not fit for young minds to read, and which it must em-
barras the male teacher to teach a mixed class of young men and young
women. There are aspects of the moral law in the Bible which if applied and
followed to-day would make of us a nation of liars, murderers, thieves, polyg-
amists and adulterers.
As a tax-payer 1 should strenuously object to have any of my money
spent on Bible-made morality. Of course, this is only a personal view point
and need not be heeded, for it will not influence Mr. Sparks or those who
think as he does.
He speaks truly when he says "the jealousy of the religious bodies toward
each other has a tendency to arouse suspicion toward any proposal emanating
from one of them." This is a sad arraignment of the morality to be gleaned
from religious bodies who, drawing their own morality from the same Bible,
look upon each other's special brand with suspicion. It is just this jealousy
that kept God out of the Constitution of the United States.
If these religious bodies grow jealous of each other as soon as their con-
flicting moralities come in contact with each other what kind of religious moral-
ity shall we get in the public schools? If these religious bodies cannot agree
as to the real simon-pure morality how will the authorities arrive at a satis-
factory selection ? The author opposes sectarian morality but approves re-
ligious morality. What is the difference between the two? Is not religious
morality ipso facto sectarian? If he means by morality that general line of
conduct which when followed will produce the greatest good to the greatest
number, and called by the nineteenth century moralists the utilitarian, than I
have no objection to its introduction into our schools. That kind of morality
is known as ethics and may well be taught in schools or homes with profit to
both teacher and pupil.
What the author and his co-religionists want and dare not openly demand
is an hour a day devoted to Bible study and to catechism just as is done in
the public schools of Germany. Nothing labelled "made in Germany" is likely
to be very popular to-day, however unjust such a sweeping condemnation may
be in fact.
One of the principles which helped to make this nation great is the sepa-
ration of Church and State. In this European nations have slowly but surely
joined in the procession, and whenever the change was made liberty thrived
and civilization advanced. Let us not be lured into a fool's paradise. Re-
ligious training in public schools is not any more the great panacea for all
shortcomings than prohibition is the solution of all our problems in criminology.
Let those who cannot behave properly without the sanction of the Bible
law stick to the Bible and become and stay good by the fear of hell and the
lure of heaven; and let those who can be and remain law-abiding citizens by
any other means have their choice of moral compulsion.
The following is of a kind with the rest of the author's extraordinary
reasoning: "Knowledge of the laws of God and a reverent respect for His
authority makes it necessary for the rights of others to be enforced through
the agency of the policeman's club." There never was a religion known, not
even that of Mohammed, in the promulgation of which so much gray matter
was exhausted, so large an amount of good paper was used, and such vast
stores of money were spent as there were in the one which, according to the
author's tacit suggestion, represents better than any other religion the laws of
God. And yet has there ever been a moment since the world tragedy on
Calvary when we were able to dispense with the policeman's club?. And does
the author really think religious training in public schools will make of that
useful weapon a mere ornament, and the policeman's job a jolly sinecure?
In this we see again the twist peculiar to all forms of fanaticism. The Pro-
hibitionist proclaims loudly that drink is the great curse of the world, that it
disintegrates the human brain, degrades moral fibre and destroys the human
soul. And yet what great nation from Babylon to our own did ever a prohi-
bitionist nation create? Was there ever a nation without strong drink? It
is this same sort of mind that arrogates to religious training in public schools
the power to exterminate the law breaker and abolish the useful policeman's
If I were suggesting an improvement for our public school system I should
advocate a special course in will culture. The will is as much a function of
the brain as is memory, perception, etc. We develop all these by scientifically
selected studies but not a thing is done to develop and strengthen the human
will. My idea of a well-regulated mental machine is this : When reason says
a thing should be done the will must instantly respond by doing it. If a temp-
tation is to be overcome because reason says it should be, the trained will
immediately enters upon whatever action is necessary or stops a tendency to
do in inaction. Will training is no more part of religious training than base-
ball is of Euclid. One does not need Bible texts to develop memory if one
prefers some other instrumentality, nor does one need the Decalogue to teach
the will that it is unwise and therefore wrong to steal a neighbor's property.
We neglect will training entirely and substitute religion and prayer to help us
overcome temptation. We are taught to pray "lead us not into temptation."
thereby confessing our weak wills to resist. If our wills were in good working
order and reason were functioning properly, we should not need to look for
external help to keep us out of mischief. It is a confession of mental weakness
to look for a God to keep us out of jail. Reason plus will are a safer com-
bination than faith and prayer. Our religious friends want us to continue
children even though we are old and gray, and as such we must continue to
move about in this world and at the end of leading strings. Religious training
may have been necessary before man discovered that he had the faculties of
320 THE OPEN COURT.
will and reason under his hair. But now that he knows he possesses these
two mighty powers for good it is only necessary to teach him how to use them
and religious training will cease to be necessary.
In the last analysis a strong, well-regulated will that can master passion
at command is a safer reliance than faith in prayer, for external help may not
arrive until the mischief is done, and more prayer and a lot of repentance are
necessary to restore the mental equilibrium. And is not a sense of forgiveness
a sort of auto-hypnotism due to the anguish consequent on a wrong done?
We say after shedding penitential tears and getting our hearts full of the right
kind of contrition that God has forgiven us. What actually happens is that we
have forgiven ourselves and by saying, "we will go forth and sin no more,"
get back the lost mental poise.
That may or may not be so but this much I know, I congratulate the
American people that Mr. Sparks has worked out "A Tentative Plan" in such
hopeless unworkableness that there is no danger of it ever being adopted by
anybody with any sense of proportion left in his head.
And therein lies the great joy in Mr. Sparks's article.
Arthur J. Westermavr.
Platonism. By Paul Elmer More. Princeton University Press: Princeton,
1917. Pp. 307. Price $1.75 net.
Paul Elmer More has written a book on Platonism, in which he concen-
trates himself on the ethical significance which dominates all of Plato's dis-
cussions and may be regarded as the mainspring of his philosophy. Though
our author thinks that "for the present at least, the dogmas of religion have
lost their hold, while the current philosophy of the schools has become in
large measure a quibbling of specialists on technical points of minor impor-
tance, or, where serious, too commonly has surrendered to that flattery of
the instinctive elements of human nature which is the very negation of mental
and moral discipline," he presents his views on Plato because he trusts that
"only through the centralizing force of religious faith or through its equivalent
in philosophy can the intellectual life regain its meaning and authority for
He bears in mind that Plato formed the origins and the early environment
of Christianity, and in this spirit he offers to the reading public his book.
He treats this subject as follows: The Three Socratic Theses; The So-
cratic Quest ; The Platonic Quest ; The Socratic Paradox ; The Dualism of
Plato; Psychology; The Doctrine of Ideas; Science and Cosmogony; Meta-
physics; Conclusion, etc. His "aim is not so much to produce a work of his-
tory — as to write what a Greek Platonist would have called a Protrepticus,
an invitation, that is, to the practice of philosophy," for he knows "that the
current of thought runs against" him "and not with" him to-day. He would
especially "touch the minds of a few of our generous college youth who drift
through supposedly utilitarian courses and enter the world with no better
preparation against its distractions than a vague and soon spent yearning for
social service and the benumbing trust in mechanical progress." In this he
has our hearty commendation. K
HENRY EDUARD LEGLER
78 pages Cloth, $1.50
Chicago's late librarian has left some valuable ideas to the
library world. Bound and printed in excellent taste, his book
will be in great demand by all lovers of books.
The book will not only be an important addition to the
works which deal with organizing and extending libraries —
treating of such subjects as library extension, library work
with children, traveling libraries and the administration of
funds — but it will undoubtedly be read with interest by very
many people who have known its author, been helped by him,
and inspired by his ideals.
The reader who is actually interested in any branch of
library work will find suggestion after suggestion in these
"One of the most valuable works on the subject yet published." —
Los Angeles Tribune.
"A valuable service to library work and extension has been per-
formed in this publication of the papers on library administration by
Henry E. Legler. They represent the ideals and the working plans of
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Lectures on the Philosophy
Cloth, 193 pages By JAMES BYRNIE SHAW Price, $1.50
Mr. Shaw's book does not limit its readers to those few who have
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inspiration to any man who enjoys the pure pleasure of exercising
The following is an extraction from the Los Angeles World :
"The Philosophy of Mathematics" consists of a series of lectures de-
livered by James Byrnie Shaw before a club of graduate students of
the University of Illinois. The more difficult questions of mathe-
matical philosophy had to be omitted to conform to the advancement
of the student. This broadens the popular value of the book, however,
for it leaves it accessible to a much wider group of readers — all
students of fair mathematical knowledge.
The author "cherishes the hope that the professional philosopher,
too, may find some interest in these lectures. . . If the student of
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which are extra-mathematical, the mathematician depends. Refer-
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text permits, to make at least a start in such reading. They are de-
signed as suggestive rather than exhaustive. Material for the lecture
was gathered from a wide range. A two-page synoptical chart is
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Origin and Philosophy of Language
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"All future philosophy will be a philosophy of language." — Max Muller.
''Whoever wishes to explain humanity must
understand what is human ; he must know the points
upon which everything else turns, and from which
everything else must be derived. Language con-
tains the key to the problem, and whoever seeks it
elsewhere will seek in vain."
" Here," continues the author, after showing by
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creations, "a large field is open to the student of
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in the market-place and the senate. He ought to
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and to believe, Finite and Infinite, Real and Neces-
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Problems of Science
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The Contingency of the Laws of Nature
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THREE MEN OF JUDEA
HENRY S. STIX
Pp. it 2. Price $1.00
In a letter to the publishers the author says:
"It is my hope that this little book may in a small measure diminish the prejudice
against my people. It is not written for scholars but for those honest and simple minded
folk who have never read their Bible nor thought much on the subject of religious history,
accepting their religion like their politics, as a sort of parental heritage.
' 'It is this ignorance that has created a wall of antagonism between Jew and Christian.
If I could break down this barrier between two great religions and help to reconcile their
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Geometrical Lectures of Isaac Barrow
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