Now that the circus in Washington is closed until next season, its habitual audiences will have to content themselves with reading and rereading the souvenir program. The Congressional Record is a curious, comprehensive collection of fact and fiction. Encyclopedic in character, it contains the Book of Knowledge, the Outlines of History and Science, the Bible, Shakspere, the dictionary, and the Sears-Roebuck catalogue. Though it is supposed to give, word for word, the speeches in both Houses, their speakers would hardly recognize them. Vituperative Congressmen who lose their tempers and sense of fitness of things while on their feet, and ignorant Senators who make glaring mis-statements, are careful to exchange such remarks from their permanently preserved speeches in the Record. On the other hand, statesmen who find passages in current periodicals which agree with their own principles, obtain unanimous consent to have them reprinted in the Record, in heavy type so that the words of wisdom may not be overlooked. More than this, Congressmen "extend" their remarks ad lib., and the printed speeches which have never been delivered are sent to their home constituents, to confirm the voters' faith that their Congressmen are still working for them.
It is easy to see how valuable a memorial the Record can be, with its excerpts from the poets, its passages from textbooks, and its general information. Recently a Missouri Congressman, vitally interested in dogs, wished the department of agriculture to issue a bulletin on them. To prove the desirability of his request, by unanimous consent he "extended" his remarks in the Record, and filled four pages with an all-comprehensive dissertation on canines from Noah's time to this. It begins with the Darwinian theory, includes mention of the drawings on the tombs of the Egyptian Kings, and contains almost every dog enlogy except Goldsmith's famous elegy. The essay has well over one hundred paragraphs, and is full of ance dotes, pathetic stories, and amazing statistics.
Missouri is not alone in its glory. The last minute filibuster must have filled page after page with brilliant irrelevance. Instead of a mere handbook for English 10, the Record might well be adopted as a general textbook and reference compendium for all academic courses. It serves for a poultry bulletin as well as for an Automobile Show pamphlet. Careful perusal may prove it to be, after all, the best thing the Sixty-Seventh Congress has accomplished.