Caesar's Column eBook

Ignatius Donnelly
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 287 pages of information about Caesar's Column.

“Agreed,” I responded; “at all times I am ready.”

He gave his agent a roll of money, and with mutual courtesies they separated.

CHAPTER XI.

HOW THE WORLD CAME TO BE RUINED

We were uneasy, restless, longing for the night to come.  To while away the time we conversed upon subjects that were near our hearts.

I said to Maximilian while he paced the room: 

“How did this dreadful state of affairs, in which the world now finds itself, arise?  Were there no warnings uttered by any intelligent men?  Did the world drift blindly and unconsciously into this condition?”

“No,” said Maximilian, going to his library; “no; even a hundred years ago the air was full of prophecies.  Here,” he said, laying his hand upon a book, is The Century Magazine, of February, 1889; and on page 622 we read: 

For my own part, I must confess my fears that, unless some important change is made in the constitution of our voting population, the breaking strain upon our political system will come within half a century.  Is it not evident that our present tendencies are in the wrong direction?  The rapidly increasing use of money in elections, for the undisguised purchase of votes, and the growing disposition to tamper with the ballot and the tally-sheet, are some of the symptoms. . . .  Do you think that you will convince the average election officer that it is a great crime to cheat in the return of votes, when he knows that a good share of those votes have been purchased with money?  No; the machinery of the election will not be kept free from fraud while the atmosphere about the polls reeks with bribery. The system will all go down together.  In a constituency which can be bribed all the forms of law tend swiftly to decay.

“And here,” he said, picking up another volume, “is a reprint of the choicest gems of The North American Review.  In the number for March, 1889, Gen. L. S. Bryce, a member of Congress, said: 

We live in a commercial age—­not in a military age; and the shadow that is stealing over the American landscape partakes of a commercial character.  In short, the shadow is of an unbridled plutocracy, caused, created and cemented in no slight degree by legislative, aldermanic and congressional action; a plutocracy that is far more wealthy than any aristocracy that has ever crossed the horizon of the world’s history, and one that has been produced in a shorter consecutive period; the names of whose members are emblazoned, not on the pages of their nation’s glory, but of its peculations; who represent no struggle for their country’s liberties, but for its boodle; no contests for Magna Charta,{sic} but railroad charters; and whose octopus-grip is extending over every branch of industry; a plutocracy which controls the price of the bread that we eat, the price of the sugar
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Caesar's Column from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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