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As applied to the question in hand, for instance, what is there the Russian Government has to fear from the presence of foreign Jews within its boundaries? Would the American passport be utilized by Jewish revolutionists for their own purposes? Revolutionists, agitators and emissaries have never found much difficulty in entering the country. It is precisely against travelers engaged in legitimate business that the passport system most operates. American citizens of the Jewish faith whose interests demanded their presence in Russia have been compelled to secure a visé for their passports under false pretences, or have entered on other people's passports, or have made use of that omnipotent argument in Russian officialdom-bribery. It is only against those who would not condescend to such subterfuges that the rule of discrimination has operated. It is quite like the Russia of fifty years ago, when Alexander Herzen was compelled to publish his liberal journal, The Bell, in Paris or London, and The Bell was read everywhere in Russia and found its way unfailingly to the Czar's table.

So it is quite in accordance with the good old Russian tradition that, instead of holding the door open to the traveler from abroad, and recognizing in the foreigner's passport a guarantee of good behavior as well as a card of admission, the Czar's Government prefers to let the undesirable element enter by the usual subterranean means, and excludes those whose mission is unobjectionable and aboveboard. Revolutionary literature from abroad finds no difficulty in entering the country, but a foreign newspaper man, prepared to study the Russian question fairly, is excluded, if he happens to be of the proscribed faith. This is not only intolerable, it is ridiculous. It is quite in line with the attitude of the conservative Russian newspapers on the passport question. To hear them talk one would imagine that the very life of the Empire depended upon the non-admission of Jews into Russia, and that ages must pass before such a thing is conceivable. And yet it is certain that in the course of a very few years there will not only be a change in Russia's passport regulations, but a change in her entire Jewish policy. Jewish emancipation has already been brought up in the Duma, and has been defeated by a slim majority. Why, then, this dreadful row? Why declare passionately that you never, never will consent to what you have almost made up your mind to accept? The answer is still the same: Russian stupidity.

BUILDING CONSTRUCTION AND FIRE

PREVENTION.

BY WILLIAM L. RANSOM.

As was to be expected, the conflagration in Washington Place, New York City, on March 25, 1911, which caused the loss of nearly 150 lives under circumstances emphasizing the inadequacy of existing laws or of the machinery of their enforcement, turned much of the best thought of the state to the framing of proper remedial legislation, that such disasters might be made hereafter impossible. Substantial progress has already been made in that direction, and further results along effective lines are close at hand. Without the purpose to pass judgment upon any current opinion that in general, the last New York legislative session did not do much, constructively, that can be characterized as of public rather than private advantage, it may, in fairness, be pointed out that on this vital matter of fire-prevention legislation, the enactments of the administration headed by John A. Dix will, when the work of the last session is supplemented by that of the session which convenes in January, in all probability serve as models for the legislatures of other states. As to the general record made by the last legislative session, the verdict of the electorate on November 7th will doubtless be accepted as more decisive than an individual estimate based upon any one phase of legislative action, but a fair measure of as yet unawarded credit is, at all events, due to these legislative leaders who have dealt with this particular subject in so conscientious and commendable a mood, as well as to the civic organizations which have tactfully kept the matter from assuming purely political bearings and have preserved it for consideration at once scientific, expert, and most thorough.

It is the purpose of the present article briefly to summarize the history and purport of the various legislative proposals which may be attributed to the public sentiment crystallized by the Washing

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ton Place holocaust. It would have been both easy and natural for a legislative body, in the face of the public indignation aroused by that tragedy, to have given way to the hysterical, and to have placed on the statute books the hasty and ill-considered products of an angry public opinion. It would have been easy to suggest measures of legislative reprisal which would have commanded public approval, although at very great peril to the manufacturing and business growth of the metropolis and of no real benefit to any one. Fortunately the recent legislature listened to no voice that urged haste in half-way measures. Fifty or more bills, embodying, in some cases, the views of their authors and, in others, the recommendations of trade or civic organizations, were introduced at Albany as covering some phase of desired legislation on this subject. The great majority of them, it may be truly said, were more than ordinarily well considered and carefully drawn, although almost without exception, each purported to deal with but a segment or phase of the entire subject, with no means available for the articulating of these numerous proposals into a harmonious and an effectual legislative programme that would do more than hamper builders and harass employers.

This fact in itself presented a situation of some legislative difficulty. Furthermore, in nearly all the discussion on fire-prevention legislation, at Albany, and in New York City, as well, there was general recognition that the proper scope of further legislation was to prevent conflagrations, rather than to afford more efficient means of fire-fighting, after the flames have been permitted to gain considerable headway. "Fire prevention" rather than "fire extinguishment" has been sought, and for this reason, the question immediately became the far-reaching one of building construction, in which so many important public as well as private interests were seen to be involved as to emphasize the need for conservative as well as comprehensive and carefully considered action. Accordingly it seemed best that, aside from the immediate enactment of three or more bills dealing with the administrative side of the enforcement of existing laws, the whole matter of the requirements for building construction to make future structures effectually "fireproof," should be taken up, scientifically and comprehensively, and the numerous unarticulated proposals given an expert examination in the light of the testimony and recommendations of architects, builders, trades-unionists, property owners, fire department officials, and other persons with

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