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dren Want to know

of Humbug and a great man.” Mr. many minor myths it might destroy, Meynell, loyal as he is to Disraeli, — but could now make posterity see Benjamin also loyal to the truth, does not wholly Disraeli in any other essential guise than break down the first part of this defini- that in which his shrewdest and most tion of Jowett's, though he undoubtedly sharp-sighted contemporaries have bidbrings much reinforcement to the second den us behold him. part. At a few critical junctures, Dis It is usual for teachers to propound raeli appears tricky, careless of veracity.

questions, and for children to

What OhllThere was, for example, that letter which

answer them, and there is no he wrote to Sir Robert Peel, applying for

doubt about which is the easier office. This in his lifetime he roundly task of the two. To reverse matters, and denied having written. After his death also, if possible, to find out what is passit was published in the Life of Peel. ing in the thoughts of my children, I Mr. Meynell admits that we have here yesterday confronted them with this desomething “ mysterious.” There were mand: “Suppose this morning an allother things betraying a shifty nature. wise man were to enter our classroom, They helped make Disraeli so intensely one who could and would answer any “unpopular" even with his own party, as question you chose to put to him, what one of his colleagues in different Minis- six things would you ask?” tries, Lord Malmesbury, frequently noted The children were common, ordinary, in his diary that he was. Yet he made every-day boys and girls, between the ages himself indispensable to the inarticulate of nine and fourteen, but the questions country squires who were the strength they put to that imaginary shape from of the Tory party. He could speak. the All-Wise shades were not commonHis fleering audacity in debate and bold place. They surprised me not a little, initiative in policy, his merciless attack, and have set me thinking. Perhaps they his biting characterization, his immense will interest others. gift of language, and his unbounded self The first set of questions was from a confidence made him the leader he was boy of eleven, a little button-nosed, redfor so many years.

Little loved, he was headed chap, and they were all of a geogreatly admired. There was never any graphical strain:“Who made the oceans question of his genius, though there un salty? Why is it that the sun only goes fortunately sometimes was of his sincer- halfway round the earth? Why is it ity. Strong and straightforward natures that we don't slip off the earth? If the somehow found in him no echo. They earth stopped what would happen to us? caught, rather, an ostentatious, an Ori- How big is a volcano inside? What is ental note. · Asked once what was the the quietest spot in Europe ?” most enviable life, Disraeli replied in a The next six were a girl's, and all of gleam of self-revelation, “A continued them purely personal in their nature, her grand procession from manhood to the motto evidently being, “ Know thou thytomb." He had it. The crowd and the self." “Who is my future husband ? shouting seldom failed him. Opportuni- When am I going to die? Where is the ties for display came thick and fast. The thief that stole my watch? Please can extraordinary favor of the Queen he you tell me how to draw well? What knew how to conquer. For his aston- position or situation will I have when I ishing talents he found a great theatre. get older? How could I be healthy all Yet tradition has been just; it has perpetuated a faithful picture of the man in A quiet little girlie of ten, who walks habit as he was; and no biography, no gently in and out of her classroom every matter how full it might be, nor how day, and looks demure and purely recep

my life?"

66 Who was

tive, produces from the quiet depths of and Eve, — English, French, or what? somewhere these six posers :

Is it true that we were once monkeys? the first school-teacher? Why are not all How are we to connect what the Bible the people in the world the same color? says of the beginning of the earth with Why are boys and girls not the same ? what science says ? What comes after Why is it that oil will not mix with wa space ?” These are the problems which ter? How many feet of snow are there occupy our children's minds when they in the Rocky Mountains? Please can obediently are doing “simple interest you tell me all about history?”

for us, or “ long division,” or pointing A remarkable series is that of a black out the boundaries of Europe. eyed little Jewess, a bright wee maid as But there are worse to follow : “Why sharp as a needle: “How many jewels is a wise man better than an inventor? has Queen Alexandra ? Will I be rich Where do people go when the Maelor poor? Who were the first people who strom takes them down? How far does lived in Jerusalem ? How is it that the a bird fly without stopping ? Please can more people get the more they want? you tell me, if all the people on the earth Is it true that there is gold and diamonds were dead, what would happen? Who on Cocos Island ? When the world comes made the Sphinx, and when, and how ? to an end, how can the people be united When will the Lord come again? Why if parts of their bodies are in different should a girl have more sleep than a parts of the world ?”

boy? Is Charley Ross, the boy that was A young cynic with but half-veiled kidnapped long ago, living, and where ? irony demands (it a boy this time): I would like to know when and how the " Who was the man that invented gram Russian nation came to be so.

Why do mar? Who was Your school - teacher large fish eat little ones ? What was the when you was at school ? Who first first show in the Coliseum ? How many thought it was wise to have schools? births occurred on Wednesday last in What good does history do us? Did Canada ? Will perpetual motion ever you ever count the stars,

you
think
you

be discovered ? In Christ's time were know everything? What does ignorance the people who lived to be hundreds of personified mean?

years old, 100 years a baby, or 100 years Many go back to first principles with an old man? Will the American repubmild little queries like these : “Why did lic ever become a limited monarchy ? Adam die? How old is North America ? When will there be no saloons or barWhat was here before the world was rooms ? When will there be no more made? What language did Adam and

war?

What do men see in tobacco ? Eve speak when they first entered the How do earrings make people's eyes world? Who married Cain? Where sharper? Is it true that when we die, was the Lord before He made the world? we will come back as a cat or dog ? " etc. Where was God born ? Are we de The rapid transition of thought strikes scendants of the ape? When we hear one on reading the question slips. For about Christ, He lived at the beginning instance, were two things more widely of the first century; was that his first apart than these ever before brought into time on this earth? If Jesus was born juxtaposition : “If you jumped off the on the 25th of December, why did they world, and went straight on, where would not begin to count time then instead of at

Who killed Julius Cæsar ?" the first of January ? What would there Or take this pair: “

Or take this pair: “Why did Joseph not be if there was no universe ? When and tell his brethren he was their brother the how was God the Father created? What first time they came down to Egypt to holds this world up? What were Adam buy corn? What is the power of one

you go to ?

of the suckers of a devil-fish ? " Or this : are thoughtful questions; these young “ When will the Doukhobors go home to people are doing their own thinking. be sensible and eat proper food ? Why With a few of what even to Swivel. has the elephant got a trunk ?”

ler would be “

staggerers we close the The purely ethical questions are, some

list. Here they are : “Do you know of them, very good: “Why are there so how people hypnotize each other? Was many religious sects and denominations, Shakespeare the same as other men in as there is only one way, all taken into his age as regards to morals? Who consideration, to serve God? I would wrote the first poem? Who is the pretlike you to tell me why men equally tiest person in the world? Will you brave are some despised and some hon- please tell me all about the people in ored under the same conditions and by this world? Where did Mozart, Schuthe same country. Is it right to rescue bert and the other old musicians learn so from drowning a man who is your ene

much in the first place? Why do peomy and a scourge to his neighbors ? ple get sick? Will women ever be conWhen people have great troubles in this sidered as equal to men in politics and world, why do they not end these trou in business? What makes some people bles? Why do some people fancy them so clever and others so stupid? Why selves above others, when they all have did Noah take some animals into the ark to die some day, and as we are told and leave others to get drowned? Will when Christ comes again to judge the there ever again be as clever a writer as living and the dead we will all be equal, Shakespeare? Why do men smoke tonone above any of the others,

and some

bacco ? Was Hamlet after his father's men are great, but the paths of glory lead death sane or insane? Why do people but to the grave ? If we live again in think differently and after about an hour's this world will we be better, and will we argument think the same as they did bebe able to have the accomplishments we fore? How is it that animals don't behave in our present life, to a greater ex

come civilized ? Will there come a time tent? Can or will we be able to send when the castes in India join? Why messages to each other through our is there such a thing as polotics? What thoughts? How? People say it is wrong are people's brains like? What kind to drink wine. Why then did Jesus turn of a bird was it that first lit in Canada ? water into wine? When a man murders How many hairs are there in a man's another

man and then a man hangs the head ? Why can't the owl see in the murderer, is the hangman not a mur- daytime? Why don't people look the derer himself ? Do you think the world

same ?

What does the teacher make will ever become one nation with the us ask these questions for? Why can't same religion? Why should the King I always do my lessons right? What and Queen be more powerful and be makes me lose my temper so much ? treated better than any other person? Why are some people more sensible than Why should a man be hung if he shot others ? " another man, and in war, if they shoot a It is a boy who writes: “I would man, they would be praised and thought like to know how you could tell mothermuch of? Is it wrong to tell stories in pigeons from father-pigeons,” and “ Who defense of others? Is it wrong to sus invented the first joke?” — while the pect? If so, how are we to know what youngest girl in the whole class wrote in to guard against ? Will people who have a wee little hand in the middle of a sheet had no chance of hearing about God be of foolscap, “ Please would you tell me admitted to Heaven? What is the no what

my
mother thinks

every day in her blest life?” These, surely, all of them, mind ?"

.

THE

ATLANTIC MONTHLY:

A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art, and Politics.

Vol. XCIII.- MARCH, 1904. No. DLVII.

ABUSES OF PUBLIC ADVERTISING.

[The author of this article in the series devoted to modern advertising is a member of the National Committee on Municipal Improvement of the Architectural League of America, and Secretary of the American Park and Outdoor Art Association. His books, The Improvement of Towns and Cities, and Modern Civic Art, are of recognized authority. — THE EDITORS.]

In considering the abuses of public ad- offense (when there is one) is rather in vertising, it is best to admit at the start suggestiveness, or against good taste, than that advertising is a thoroughly credit- actually immoral in its character. able, an important, and even an indispen The public advertising that vaunts itsable part of trade, and that its benefit self upon the highway recognizes, as reis scarcely less to the consumer than to gards moral standards, the force of a pubthe producer. Hence, discussion of its lic opinion that has found itself. It is no "abuses” means only discussion of the part of the advertiser's business to offend wrong use of a good thing, as one people, and even had he himself a very might find, if he wished, a fruitful theme debased moral standard, that of the comin the "abuses" of religion or of public munity would become his law. So the libraries.

moral issue, in fact or in name, is raised As a matter of fact, there are many only now and then concerning the public different phases of this wrong use of pub- advertising; and it is confined for the lic advertising, so that they cannot all be most part to a dispute regarding what grouped under the two heads, moral and

may

be called the conventional street cosæsthetic, beneath which they would prob- tume of the ladies of the billboard, in ably be placed by a general audience communities with a stricter sense of the asked to classify them. There is, for in- proprieties than is common in great cities. stance, not infrequently, economic abuse. The matter becomes one of local option, Yet the wrong uses of advertising that with the advertisers willing enough to concern the public are undoubtedly most respect the existing prejudices, if they often violations of the ideals of morality know them; since the play can hardly or æsthetics.

make a profit in the town that will not In so far, however, as advertising is endure its posters. And of all the subpublic, in the sense that it does not make jects of public advertising, only one ina personal appeal by inclosure in an ad- volves these objections. dressed envelope, by appearing on the Thus it is that a consideration of the front steps of the house, or under the abuses of this business must deal mainly door, or by its publication in a periodical at present with its violation of æsthetic admitted to the home, the moral issue has ideals. There are several reasons for ceased to be especially pressing. Even this. The æsthetic standard of the comin that personal appeal that is so general munity is much less definite and concuras barely to escape being “public,” the rent than the moral; and advertisers, con

may not be

sidering the matter one only of taste, have 80 often the best goods of their class, no special compunction about offending and if, through the very aggressiveness such a standard as may exist. They of their advertisement, their names did may even glory in shocking the eye, on not stick in the mind when the article the ground that thus they will make an of modest announcement has been forgotimpression, and that, willy nilly, their an ten, there might be a chance for the pronouncement will be remembered. So in posed boycott to succeed. But now all the business of public advertising much the weight of psychology and the force is done that an intelligent and increas- of our poor sheeplike human nature are ingly large section of the public may against it. properly deem an abuse of the public's Shall we give up the fight, then ; shall æsthetic rights; and there is coming to be we offer no obstructions to the ever risserious question concerning these abuses, ing flood of public advertisements; shall and what steps can be taken to check or we abandon our towns and cities them, to remedy them.

relinquish the dream of dignity, peace, The first question of the exasperated and beauty in our surroundings; shall citizen is likely to be an impatient inquiry we hold nothing sacred, - sky or ocean, whether the whole business of display rock or tree, public building, church, or advertising in public cannot be stopped; monument? The churches and monuwhether the advertisers

ments of Paris have served as boards for driven to the newspapers and magazines despised and fluttering posters; trees to make their announcements, pictorial have died that their dead trunks might or printed ; or, at best, be suffered to advertise a pill ; romantic scenery has make public announcement only on the been forced to offer reminder of ache or premises occupied by the business adver- appetite; the glory of the sunset silhoutised. If the step were possible, it would ettes against the sky the title of a breakbe sheer folly to take it. This kind of fast food; and the windows of the deadvertising has been accurately described fenseless home look out on circus girls, as an attempt “ to call people's attention corsets, and malt whiskey. There is needto something for which they are not seek- ed no apology for an assertion that the ing, but which it may be for their advan- business has abuses ; and clearly, if we tage to know." How long some of us cannot deal with it in one general act would live without certain little conven of prohibition or of boycott, there yet iences or luxuries of table, toilet, or dress, must be expressions and developments and what a business we should have to upon the abusive quality of which we make of watching the papers

for amuse all shall agree. For such abuses correcment announcements, if display adver- tion should be possible; but we must be tising in public were not constantly call- fair, for against unreasonableness even ing our attention to such matters, insur- the bulwark of law and ordinance cannot ing us from overlooking them! The stand. producer's need of advertising would not First, then, we may consider the deseexist, did not the public need it also. cration of natural scenery. This was one

The next question, and one repeatedly of the earliest and most flagrant of the advanced by those who write letters to abuses. It is still so rampant on lines newspapers, is whether it may not be pos- of heavy travel that its correction seems sible for an “enlightened " public opinion a futile dream, and yet in response to to make its influence felt, and to compel a public opinion that is proceeding caurespect for its taste by the advertisers, tiously and reasonably in its demands rethrough means of the boycott. If the forms are in progress.

The Associated goods offensively advertised were not Billposters of the United States and Can

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