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formality of the charges against the were flatly contradicted by the defendant. accused police judges in San Francisco. What one side swore were true facts, the The charges were published to the world other averred with equal positiveness, by a grand jury, regularly drawn, and were lies. The reputation of the principal armed with authority to inquire into all witness was made much of. “Would any branches of the public service, as con
decent citizen believe him if he swore on ducted within the municipality of San a stack of Bibles as high as Francisco.
scraper?” “Certainly not,” declared the The foreman of that grand jury has witnesses for the political boss. So the charged and reiterated that certain police prosecution of that phase of the judicial courts are corrupt. He has thereby scandal ended without unpleasant consechanged street gossip into conviction. The quences to the politically influential depublic believes in its innermost soul that fendant. In the editorial words of that there are impure men on the bench. A conservative and influential newspaper, new angle of the scandal has been ex the San Francisco Chronicle, the trial posed as the public thinks that offenders
Scotch verdict of "not will escape the pillory of public opinion proven.” by the action of the State attorney-gen Because of that termination of a sideeral in dismissing the cases against be issue of the scandal, the attorney-general, smirched jurists.
who had been called into the prosecution Imagine what such public belief im when he should have been kept well aloof ports to San Francisco, and the entire from it, has decreed that nothing more State of California. The citizens of the
shall take place in the courts to cause the metropolis of the State should not forget accused police judges uneasiness. Conthat only a few years ago there was a templated prosecutions shall be dropped. "graft prosecution" in San Francisco. It
But most unfortunately for the attorneyattracted the attention of the Nation, and
general and the State government which incidentally made one of the special he is supposed to represent, the San Franassistants of the district attorney a presi- cisco Bar Association has given him dential possibility, by his energetic efforts battle. to send several leading citizens to jail.
Except upon the theory that California The effectiveness of that energetic has been removed from the United States house, cleaning, will be doubted by the and annexed to Mexico, it is hard to see Nation, when the news shall have spread how the attorney general can fly in the abroad, that San Francisco is suffering face of public opinion, as represented by from another plague of debilitated the Bar Association. The president of morale, with the State attorney general that body is a lawyer of first class standand the San Francisco Bar Association at ing. He once filled the position of outs on the principle of exposing official Superior Court judge with credit. He rascality.
has maintained a high position in his So far, the investigation of the police profession and in the social circles of San courts, has seemed to a layman a veritable Francisco. If the Supreme Court were travesty. Instead of placing the accused asked to pick out a thoroughly reputable judges on trial, the sword of justice was lawyer for chairman of the Bar Associaleveled at a saloon man who made politi- tion it could not select a worthier citizen cal bossism and bond-brokerage profitable and lawyer. side-lines for his groggery. The principal This man, Judge Sullivan, demands witness against the thrifty boss was that the intended trials of the accused police court practitioner who according to judges be not quashed. He disavows any statement was
an expert in sinister purpose in his demands. None is bribery. His practice was so large that suspected. It is accepted as beyond queshe needed a dozen assistants in his legal tion, that Judge Sullivan aims only at establishment. He was as outspoken of purification of the courts. What could his alleged knavery, as if he boasted a be more needed? record of spotless virtue. His accusations Who will attempt to champion our against the accused bond-broker and boss, existing court system? Is it not in the
THE RAVAGES OF TIME
mouths of everybody that the criminal cated as derelict or dishonest by a grand records show an extraordinary laxity in jury? What is the grand jury for, when the prosecution of malefactors. Reports its reports are shelved, and prosecuof desperate crimes are so common in tions of accused officials stopped by order newspapers that murder seems to have of a State officer in Sacramento? What become a popular pastime. Protection does the charter of a great city amount of life and property seem to be no longer a return for the taxpayers that pay the The State government's contemptuous municipal bills. The more police judges defiance of public opinion in San Franwe appoint, and the higher we raise the cisco, can only make the road of the pay of policemen, the wider the immunity criminal smoother. It seems to be an which desperate felons appear to enjoy. utterly unjustifiable and autocratic exerBut all this is superfluous, as the recent cise of technical power by the attorneygrand jury has set it forth in its specific general, to have stopped the open trials statements, in which the undesirable con of police judges, though requested by the dition of the police courts are described. Bar Association to permit their continu
If we had the proper spirit in the judiciary, the accused police judges would Unless we take the judiciary out of at once have demanded full investigation. politics we shall continue to go from bad There could be no fight over publicity. to worse. The courts are the foundaThe mayor of the city, who is paid for tions of government, and anybody who supervision of the official conduct of the undermines them is a dangerous enemy of municipality, would have demanded that the commonwealth. the inquiry be undertaken and the ac Judges, on whom the security of the cused judges be suspended until the truth State depends, should be appointed, not or falsity of the charges were determined. elected. Above all, police judges should
What public harm can be done by the be removed from the sinister influence of open investigation of departments indi the criminal vote of large cities.
THE RAVAGES OF TIME
By Eli L. Huggins.
The monuments of human pride and power,
Time slays or withers all on which we dote.
Winners in the Overland Monthly's Selected
The New Poetry in Scant Favor with the Many Competitors.
By George Douglas
ROMISE in haste and repent at spiritual quality. They were not limited leisure. I have had three months by considerations of verbal beauty, nor in which to repent the promise to even intellectual power, but were im
arbiter in The Overland pressed more by the higher force of noble Monthly's Selected Verse Competition. inspiration. They most admired what
As last I can sympathize with the appealed to them as the most ideal, and woman who takes a week to choose a new the ideal, no matter what form it takes, hat. Also I can understand why some has within it something of the spiritual. astute milliners put only one hat in their There were devotees of beauty as windows. A good quotation standing by there were also worshippers at the shrine itself seems final; set among scores of of sentiment, but mere sentimentality was others equally good and only the author conspicuous by its absence. of one of them would dare to say which is The competition was specially interestthe best.
ing as showing whether the new poetry It seems such a simple thing to select had yielded many lines that were from selections. One felt sure that at garded as favorites. It has been said that least a dozen of one's own favorite quo we read the new verse but do not retations would be submitted. How very member it, which is but another way of easy to decide a matter already decided saying that we read but do not re-read by one's own preferences! As Scott it. The contest confirmed this opinion. says, somewhere in Ivanhoe: “The trial Contemporary bards were quoted, but moves rapidly on when the judge has they were of the new poets who write determined his verdict beforehand.” But mainly in the old verse forms. Nearly in this case it dragged—not one of the all the authors were familiar: Shakesjudge's favorites was presented in court. peare, Milton, Gray, Goldsmith, Coleridge,
In this there is nothing surprising. So Byron, Tennyson, Lowell, Longfellow, boundless is the bounty of poetry that a Whitman, Burns, Wordsworth, Stevenson, thousand anthologists might make en Alfred Noyes, Sara Teasdale, Joyce tirely different selections if called upon to Kilmer, George Sterling—these are but mention the six best lines in the language. some of the poets quoted more than once. There is no such thing as individual Most pleasing thing of all was the cirfamiliarity with all the treasures of our cumstance that very little of the work poetry.
submitted gave the impression of being But if the task was difficult it was also taken from a published book of familiar pleasant. There was joy as well as quotations. The scrap book was evigratification of curiosity in reading what dent, but Bartlett and his tribe seemed to others thought the best in verse.
find no favor. In the first place let me say that the Another gratifying feature was the fact selections submitted were of a remarkably that many competitors misquoted their high order of excellence. Only a very author-a proof that they were quoting few competitors had pinned their faith from memory and not from a book. As to manifestly inferior work. The vast Chesterton remarks: "Misquotation is majority had a taste for poetic art in its proof not of a bad but a good memory.' finest forms, while one noted with keen We misquote from memory—not from the satisfaction that a very large number printed page. showed a preference for poetry with a In making the final selection it was the
AWARD OF PRIZES
quotations and not the authors that decided the matter. In putting lines from Longfellow above lines from Shakespeare the judges were not pronouncing upon the
rival merits of the poets. A superior selection from an inferior poet may show more merit than an inferior quotation from a superior poet. Awards follow:
First Prize-Twenty Dollars
179 Oak Street, San Francisco.
Second Prize-Fifteen Dollars
1924 Woolsey Street, Berkeley, Calif.
Third Prize-Ten Dollars
624 Oxford Avenue, Dayton, Ohio.
Fourth Prize Five Dollars
55 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, Calif.
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more.
Henry_Auban, 746 Second St., Santa Rosa, Calif.; Mrs. Elizabeth Vore, Camp Meeker, Calif.; J. E. R. Pierce, 91 High St., Florence, Mass.; Isadore Dubkin, 2417 Mozart St., Chicago; Belle Willey Gue, Ocean Beach, San Diego, Calif.; Ida M. Smith, Stockton Free Public Library; Donald G. O'Connor, 163 Joralemon St., Brooklyn, N. Y.; Helen M. Mann, Mill Valley; Miss Anna Benton, 2516 Fifty-second St., W. Seattle, Wash.; May Thomas Milam, 238 East Fourth St.
, Atlanta, Georgia; Fred W. Ohmes, 1565 Boulevard, Jersey City, N. J.; Frances L. Cooper, Stanford University, Calif; Edna Osborne Whitcomb, 3310 Harrison St., Kansas City, Missouri; Maurice Anderson, Route 1, Box 15, Hayward, Calif; George Chalmers, 475 Fourteenth Ave., San Francisco; Katherine S. Jack, 1534 Sutter St., San Francisco; Leslie McCary, Winkler, Texas; Henry M. Williams, Santa Rosa, Calif.; W. McPatton, 401 College avenue, Northfield, Minn; H. E. Poehlman, 325 Sutter Street, San Francisco.
By an error in the mechanical department of the Overland, last month, the name of Charles Horace Meiers was placed over the verse, "A Stranger Came," instead of that of the real author, F. M. Pierce. Poems by both writers happened to be on the same galley of type and—the printer erred. In justice to two much-valued contributors we hasten to explain, and apologize.
The Judges' Side of the Overland's Poetry Competition.
By Stanton Coblentz
(Mr. Stanton Coblentz, who consented to act their views; yet it so happened that the with the editors of the Overland Monthly in judging the selections submitted in the Selected
judges, being no more than human, could Verse Competition, has distinguished himself as
not have the same standards of poetic a writer of verse. His contributions appear in appreciation as all the contributors, and numerous publications, including the Overland therefore were compelled to favor those Monthly, New York Life and the New York Times, the most carefully edited newspaper of
selections which seemed to them the best. the metropolis. He has filled important positions
A majority of the contributions were on the principal journals of California. Mr. by standard authors. Shakespeare, Coblentz holds a Master of Arts degree from Tennyson and Longfellow were reprethe University of California.]
sented most frequently; Browning, Burns, T LAST the awards in the Overland and Emerson ran them a close second. A Monthly's Selected Verse Compe The judges were surprised to discover that
tition can be announced. The work Pope, perhaps the most quotable of the of the judges was by no means an easy
poets, was favored scarcely at all, and task. Had the quality of the selections that our American poets were represented submitted been chiefly poor, the elimina more often than the British. This pride tion of those unworthy of consideration in American literature was interesting. might have been rapid; but the standard Scarcely any attention was paid to conwas far from low. The uniformity of temporary poets, and most of those merit, and the great number of compet- quoted were newspaper poets rather than itors, made it extremely difficult to agree creators of literature. on the selection of winners. It is gratify In making their awards, the judges ing to state that the high standard of the tried to give the preference to those selecverses submitted was a convincing testi tions which not only were beautiful and monial of the literary taste of the Over- expressive, but which were not too comland's readers.
monly known. In the latter respect, howIn one way, a poetry contest is the most ever, they found themselves confronted difficult thing in the world to decide. For by almost insuperable obstacles, since poetry cannot be judged with mathemati most of the quotations were from celecal precision, nor can it be marked, after brated passages, and those which were the manner of butter or soap, as 97% not celebrated, were too often inferior. or 96% pure. The ultimate judgment of And so at least most of the prizes were poetry is a matter of individual opinion; awarded for contributions from the better beyond certain elementary essentials, known poets. upon which all (except the free versifiers) All differences of opinion, which the are agreed, there is no absolute criterion judges found difficult of reconciliation, of poetic excellence.
One may prefer were submitted to Mr. George Douglas, Tennyson; another, Shelley; each may the well-known literary critic, whose have good reasons for his choice, and experience and great fund of knowledge the most discerning critic may be unable were found of invaluable aid. Acting as to say with certainty that one is right and final arbiter, with absolute power, he set the other wrong.
And so, in the Over the seal of his approval on the list of land's poetry contest, some 'preferred awards which was finally agreed upon by Byron, and some Browning; some Long the judges. fellow, and some Lowell; some quoted
The hardest task, of course, was to dedidactic passages, and selected cide on the winner of the first prize. The passages of extreme sentimentalism. All successful competitor had been conmay have had good reasons for their sidered, from the first, as worthy of a choice and have been well able to support prize. Which prize was the question.