When we consider the time, his fortune, and the obvious personal interest in so small and individual a collection, few shelves will be found more interesting than those which Danton delighted to fill. In his politics he desired above all actual, practical, and apparent reforms; changes for the better expressed in material results.
In a half-amused way, we enumerated the various items of imaginary reform, beginning at the annual summer recreations, and ending with our milliner's bills. In mock seriousness, we proposed to take the places of cook, chambermaid, and waiter, and thus save these items of expense in the family. We had quite a merry time over our fancied reforms. But our father was serious.
The relations of Cuba to the United States, the Spanish commercial restrictions which placed Cuba at the mercy of Spanish monopolists, and the character of the Spanish rule, pointed to the conclusion that if Spain should not voluntarily grant reforms and guarantee pacification of the island, the United States might be compelled, especially for future security, temporarily to occupy it and assist in the organization of a liberal government based upon modern views.
The North in turn looked with something like suspicion, if not scorn, on a Christianity which used the Bible as an arsenal to fortify slavery. The Northern brood of reforms and isms, wise, unwise, or fantastic, moved the South to a hostility which made little discrimination between the idealism of Emerson, the iconoclasm of Parker, and the vagaries of "free love."
Every assault made upon them seemed to increase their power, while even the great reforms he was instituting seemed somehow to be credited to the agitation of the socialists.
Economic depression and financial stringency cannot, however, but react unfavourably upon the new system in the Provinces as well as at Delhi, for all the more practical reforms in which the ordinary Indian elector, whether politically minded or otherwise, is most closely interested, and for which he has been looking to the new Provincial Councils, require money, and a great deal of money.
To accept any scheme of constitutional reforms as reparation for the wrongs of the Punjab with which the wrongs of Turkey were linked up with an increased fervour of righteous indignation when the terms of the treaty of Sèvres became known, was treachery to the soul of India.
Bengal and its millions, in truth, were nominally governed in detail by three hundred white and upright civilians, with the inevitable result in abuses which they could not prevent, and oppression of native by native which they would not check, and the delay or development of reforms which the few missionaries long called for in vain.
He worked hard to secure an employers' liability law, but the time for this was not yet come. Many of these reforms are now matters of course that no employer would think of attempting to eliminate. But they were new ideas then; and it took vision and courage to fight for them. Roosevelt would have been glad to be elected Governor for a second term.
Therefore, all the London Press except the one paper to which Oisin Sarrasin contributed assumed, as a matter of course, that the revolution in Gloria was a revolution against tyranny, or priestcraft, or corruption, or what not and Oisin Sarrasin alone explained that it was a revolution against reforms too enlightened and too advanced a revolution of corruption against healthy civilisation and purity of stagnation against progress of the system comfortable to corrupt judges and to wealthy suitors, and against judicial integrity.