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EURASIA (chapter1)

2006-09-08 21:00

    CHAPTER I.

    A GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE.

    One pleasant afternoon in the month of May, ——, I launched my boat, and after rowing about half a mile from shore I shipped my oars, stepped the mast, hoisted sail and reclining on a cushioned seat at the stern with my hand on the tiller, I waited for a breeze to spring up, and whilst so doing I fell asleep. How long I slept I know not, for when I awoke my boat was close to shore, and to my' astonishment I was in strange waters. I went ashore, when I was accosted in English with a foreign accent by a venerable looking man with the question: "Where did you come from?" I replied: "From the United States of America, and what country is this?" His answer was , and beckoning to a man in uniform, who was passing by and who immediately joined us, he told him that I was from the United States of America and did not know what country I was in. The official addressed me very kindly and invited me to accompany him, and leaving the boat in charge of my first acquaintance, with instructions to take good care of it, he escorted me into the city and left me at a hotel with a request that I would permit him to call on me the next day at ten a. m., and he would show me all the principal buildings and introduce me to the President, "who I have no doubt will be delighted to see you." At the appointed time he arrived, and, taking my place by his side in an automobile driven by electricity, we passed in succession the buildings occupied by the different Departments of State, and stopped in front of a modest building set back a short distance from the street, and at the gate we were at once admitted by the officer on duty, who informed us that the President was holding a Cabinet meeting and would receive meimmediately. The President's private secretary met me at the door and introduced me to the President, who shook my hand warmly, and introduced me to his Cabinet in the following order:

    Mr. __, the Minister of State. Mrs. __, the Minister of Justice. Mr. __, the Minister of Railways. Mrs. __, the Minister of Education. Mr. __, the Minister of Finance. Mrs. __, the Minister of Information. Mr. __, the Minister of Agriculture. Mrs. __, the Minister of Health. Mr. __, the Minister of Commerce. Mrs. __, the Minister of Manufactures. Mr. __, the Minister of Mines. Mrs. __, the Minister of War. Mr. __, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Mrs. __, the Minister of Labor.

    I informed the President that I wished to learn all I could about the Government and Institutions of the country, to which he replied by handing me the Official Directory, and added that he and his Cabinet would assist me to the fullest extent. I expressed my heartfelt thanks for their kindness, and, going back to my hotel, I opened the, Official Directory. I found the country governed by a President elected directly by the people for five years, but the law provided that if his government was not satisfactory to the people, a petition signed by five per cent. of the voters called for an election, and if a majority voted against him, he was removed from office and the Minister of State assumed the Presidency for the remainder of the term. The Cabinet was composed of fourteen members-seven men and seven women-and were chosen by the Parliament, who were free to select them from their own members or outsiders, provided that the person chosen was a voter and twenty-five years of age. When the Parliament met, which it did on the first day of January, and adjourned on the first of March, sine die, the Ministers presented their reports of their work for the previous two years, and if the Parliament approved them, they continued in office; but if the Parliament by a majority vote disapproved of any of them, then the Minister resigned and the Parliament appointed another person to take his or her place. The members of Parliament were elected for two years and to serve without pay, but their expenses were paid by the Government and the amount necessary was fixed by law and could not be raised or lowered, only by two-thirds vote of the qualified voters of the Nation. The country was divided into districts and every district elected a member for every hundred thousand of population, provided that every other member from a district should be a female, thus giving both sexes full representation in the Government. Each district was governed by a Governor, elected for two years, and a Court of Judges, consisting of a Chief Justice, a Prosecuting Attorney, an Attorney for the Defense and twelve Justice Jurors, who tried all felony cases and civil cases that could not be settled by Arbitration, and who sat also as a Board of Equalization and as Supervisors.

    The law provided that eight Jurors or two-thirds of them (if any were absent through sickness or any other reasonable cause), in every case could bring in a verdict of guilty in criminal cases or for the Complainant or Defendant in civil cases, and if eight did not find the Defendant guilty, the case was dismissed-but if guilty the Defendant had only to say "I appeal," and a copy of the evidence was sent immediately to the Supreme Court, composed of Judges, elected by the people, one from each district, to serve for five years.

    The Court sat six days in each week, excepting four weeks inJuly-August, when all the Courts were allowed by law four weeks' vacation. They were required to work eight hours each day beginning at eight a. m., with one hour rest at noon, and ending at five p. m.; but they could work longer if they so desired, but the law forbade any adjournment and to prevent bribery the documents in every case-civil or criminal-arriving daily were placed in a lottery wheel, and, on the Court assembling at eight

    a. m., the wheel was revolved, and in the presence of the Minister of Justice a blind boy and girl drew the documents out and handed them to pages who delivered them to the Judges in alphabetical order. Three Judges, forming a committee, decided every case that came into their hands on the same day. There was no delay in Justice, and, if any Judge misbehaved, the voters in his district could remove him under the same law that applied to the President. The law of recall applied to all officers of the Government elected by the people. The salary of the Supreme Court Judges was fixed by law at ten dollars per day and that of a Chief Justice of a district at five dollars per day. That of the Prosecuting Attorney and Attorney for the Defense at four dollars per day, and that of Justice and Jurors at three dollars per day the year 'round.

    No costs were charged to either complainant or defendant in any case, either civil or criminal, but if a person brought complaint without just and sufficient cause, the law provided that they should be examined by the Court, and if found sane, they should be imprisoned for one year at hard labor, and if insane, to be sent immediately to the Lunatic Asylum. In every case the complainant was first warned by the Court of what would happen if the charge proved to be unfounded.

    I made inquiries among the people and was told that the law was a great promoter of peace and good will.

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