By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Reflections and Comments 1865-1895
Author: Godkin, Edwin Lawrence
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Reflections and Comments 1865-1895" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.











The horrors of war are just now making a deeper impression than
ever on the popular mind, owing to the close contact with the
battle-field and the hospital into which the railroad and the
telegraph and the newspaper have brought the public of all
civilized countries. Wars are fought out now, so to speak, under
every man's and woman's eyes; and, what is perhaps of nearly as
much importance, the growth of commerce and manufactures, and the
increased complication of the social machine, render the smallest
derangement of it anywhere a concern and trouble to all nations.
The consequence is that the desire for peace was never so deep as
it is now, and the eagerness of all good people to find out some
other means of deciding international disputes than mutual
killing never so intense.

And yet the unconsciousness of the true nature and difficulties
of the problem they are trying to solve, which is displayed by
most of those who make the advocacy of peace their special work,
is very discouraging. We are far from believing that the
incessant and direct appeals to the public conscience on the
subject of war are not likely in the long run to produce some
effect; but it is very difficult to resist the conclusion that
the efforts of the special advocates of peace have thus far
helped to spread and strengthen the impression that there is no
adequate substitute for the sword as an arbiter between nations,
or, in other words, to harden the popular heart on the subject of
military slaughter. It is certain that, during the last fifty
years, the period in which peace societies have been at work,
armies have been growing steadily larger, the means of destruction
have been multiplying, and wars have been as frequent and as
bloody as ever before; and, what is worse, the popular heart goes
into war as it has never done in past ages.

The great reason why the more earnest enemies of war have not
made more progress toward doing away with it, has been that, from
the very outset of their labors down to the present moment, they
have devoted themselves mainly to depicting its horrors and to
denouncing its cruelty. In other words, they almost invariably
approach it from a side with which nations actually engaged in it
are just as familiar as anybody, but which has for the moment
assumed in their eyes a secondary importance. The peace advocates
are constantly talking of the guilt of killing, while the
combatants only think, and will only think, of the nobleness of
dying. To the peace advocates the soldier is always a man going
to slaughter his neighbors; to his countrymen he is a man going
to lose his life for their sake--that is, to perform the loftiest
act of devotion of which a human being is capable. It is not
wonderful, then, that the usual effect of appeals for peace made
by neutrals is to produce mingled exasperation and amusement
among the belligerents. To the great majority of Europeans our
civil war was a shocking spectacle, and the persistence of the
North in carrying it on a sad proof of ferocity and lust of
dominion. To the great majority of those engaged in carrying it
on the struggle was a holy one, in which it was a blessing to
perish. Probably nothing ever fell more cruelly on human ears
than the taunts and execrations which American wives and mothers
heard from the other side of the ocean, heaped on the husbands
and sons whom they had sent to the battle-field, never thinking
at all of their slaying, but thinking solely of their being
slain; and very glad indeed that, if death had to come, it should
come in such a cause. If we go either to France or Germany
to-day, we shall find a precisely similar state of feeling. If
the accounts we hear be true--and we know of no reason to doubt
them--there is no more question in the German and French mind
that French and German soldiers are doing their highest duty in
fighting, than there was in the most patriotic Northern or
Southern home during our war; and we may guess, therefore, how a
German or French mother, the light of whose life had gone out at
Gravelotte or Orleans, and who hugs her sorrow as a great gift of
God, would receive an address from New York on the general
wickedness and folly of her sacrifice.

The fact is--and it is one of the most suggestive facts we know
of--that the very growth of the public conscience has helped to
make peace somewhat more difficult, war vastly more terrible.
When war was the game of kings and soldiers, the nations went
into it in a half-hearted way, and sincerely loathed it; now that
war is literally an outburst of popular feeling, the friend of
peace finds most of his logic powerless. There is little use in
reasoning with a man who is ready to die on the folly or
wickedness of dying. When a nation has worked itself up to the
point of believing that there are objects within its reach for
which life were well surrendered, it has reached a region in
which the wise saws and modern instances of the philosopher or
lawyer cannot touch it, and in which pictures of the misery of
war only help to make the martyr's crown seem more glorious.

Therefore, we doubt whether the work of peace is well done by
those who, amidst the heat and fury of actual hostilities, dwell
upon the folly and cruelty of them, and appeal to the combatants
to stop fighting, on the ground that fighting involves suffering
and loss of life, and the destruction of property. The principal
effect of this on "the average man" has been to produce the
impression that the friends of peace are ninnies, and to make him
smile over the earnestness with which everybody looks on his own
wars as holy and inevitable, and his neighbors' wars as
unnecessary and wicked. Any practical movement to put an end to
war must begin far away from the battle-field and its horrors. It
must take up and deal with the various influences, social and
political, which create and perpetuate the state of mind which
makes people ready to fight. Preaching up peace and preaching
down war generally are very like general homilies in praise of
virtue and denunciation of vice. Everybody agrees with them, but
nobody is ever ready to admit their applicability to his
particular case. War is, in our time, essentially the people's
work. Its guilt is theirs, as its losses and sufferings are
theirs. All attempts to saddle emperors, kings, and nobles with
the responsibility of it may as well be given up from this time

Now, what are the agencies which operate in producing the frame of
mind which makes people ready to go to war on small provocation?
It is at these the friends of peace must strike, in time of peace,
and not after the cannon has begun to roar and the country has
gone mad with patriotism and rage. They are, first of all,
the preaching in the press and elsewhere of the false and
pernicious doctrine that one nation gains by another's losses,
and can be made happy by its misery; that the United States, for
instance, profits in the long run by the prostration of French,
German, or English industry. One of the first duties of a peace
society is to watch this doctrine, and hunt it down wherever they
see it, as one of the great promoters of the pride and hardness
of heart which make war seem a trifling evil. America can no more
gain by French or German ruin than New York can gain by that of
Massachusetts. Secondly, there is the mediaeval doctrine that the
less commercial intercourse nations carry on with each other the
better for both, and that markets won or kept by force are means
of gain. There has probably been no more fruitful source of war
than this. It has for three centuries desolated the world, and
all peace associations should fix on it, wherever they encounter
it, the mark of the beast. Thirdly, there is the tendency of the
press, which is now the great moulder of public opinion, to take
what we may call the pugilist's view of international controversies.
The habit of taunting foreign disputants, sneering at the cowardice
or weakness of the one who shows any sign of reluctance in drawing
the sword, and counting up the possible profit to its own country
of one or other being well thrashed, in which it so frequently
indulges, has inevitably the effect not only of goading the
disputants into hostilities, but of connecting in the popular mind
at home the idea of unreadiness or unwillingness to fight with
baseness and meanness and material disadvantage. Fourthly, there
is the practice, to which the press, orators, and poets in every
civilized country steadily adhere, of maintaining, as far as their
influence goes, the same notions about national honor which once
prevailed about individual "honor"--that is, the notion that it is
discreditable to acknowledge one's self in the wrong, and always
more becoming to fight than apologize. "The code" has been abandoned
in the Northern States and in England in the regulations of the
relations of individual men, and a duellist is looked on, if not
as a wicked, as a crack-brained person; but in some degree in
both of them, and in a great degree in all other countries, it
still regulates the mode in which international quarrels are
brought to a conclusion.

Last of all, and most important of all, it is the duty of peace
societies to cherish and exalt the idea of _law_ as the only true
controller of international relations, and discourage and denounce
their submission to _sentiment_. The history of civilization is the
history of the growth amongst human beings of the habit of
submitting their dealings with each other to the direction of rules
of universal application, and their withdrawal of them from the
domain of personal feeling. The history of "international law" is
the history of the efforts of a number of rulers and statesmen to
induce nations to submit themselves to a similar régime--that is, to
substitute precedents and rules based on general canons of morality
and on principles of municipal law, for the dictates of pride,
prejudice, and passion, in their mode of seeking redress of
injuries, of interpreting contracts, exchanging services, and
carrying on commercial dealings. Their success thus far has been
only partial. A nation, even the most highly civilized, is still, in
its relations with its fellows, in a condition somewhat analogous to
that of the individual savage. It chooses its friends from whim or
fancy, makes enemies through ignorance or caprice, avenges its
wrongs in a torrent of rage, or through a cold-blooded thirst for
plunder, and respects rules and usages only fitfully, and with small
attention to the possible effect of its disregard of them on the
general welfare. The man or the woman and, let us say, "the
mother"--since that is supposed to be, in this discussion, a term of
peculiar potency--who tries to exert a good influence on public
opinion on all these points, to teach the brotherhood of man as an
economical as well as a moral and religious truth; to spread the
belief that war between any two nations is a general calamity to the
civilized world; that it is as unchristian and inhuman to rouse
national combativeness as to rouse individual combativeness, as
absurd to associate honor with national wrong-doing as with
individual wrong-doing; and that peace among nations, as among
individuals, is, and can only be, the product of general reverence
for _law_ and general distrust of _feeling_--may rest assured that
he or she is doing far more to bring war to an end than can be done
by the most fervid accounts of the physical suffering it causes. It
will be a sorrowful day for any people when their men come to
consider death on the battle-field the greatest of evils, and the
human heart will certainly have sadly fallen off when those who stay
at home have neither gratitude nor admiration for those who shoulder
the musket, or are impressed less by the consideration that the
soldiers are going to kill others than by the consideration that
they are going to die themselves. There are things worth cherishing
even in war; and the seeds of what is worst in it are sown not in
camps, barracks, or forts, but in public meetings and newspapers and
legislatures and in literature.


The feeling of amazement with which the world is looking on at the
Prussian campaigns comes not so much from the tremendous display of
physical force they afford--though there is in this something almost
appalling--as from the consciousness which everybody begins to have
that to put such an engine of destruction as the German army into
operation there must be behind it a new kind of motive power. It is
easy enough for any government to put its whole male population
under arms, or even to lead them on an emergency to the field. But
that an army composed in the main of men suddenly taken from civil
pursuits should fight and march, as the Prussian army is doing, with
more than the efficiency of any veteran troops the world has yet
seen, and that the administrative machinery by which they are fed,
armed, transported, doctored, shrived, and buried should go like
clock-work on the enemy's soil, and that the people should submit
not only without a murmur, but with enthusiasm, to sacrifices such
as have never before been exacted of any nation except in the very
throes of despair, show that something far more serious has taken
place in Prussia than the transformation of the country into a camp.
In other words, we are not witnessing simply a levy _en masse_, nor
yet the mere maintenance of an immense force by a military monarchy,
but the application to military affairs of the whole intelligence of
a nation of great mental and moral culture. The peculiarity of the
Prussian system does not lie in the size of its armies or the
perfection of its armament, but in the character of the men who
compose it. All modern armies, except Cromwell's "New Model Army"
and that of the United States during the rebellion, have been
composed almost entirely of ignorant peasants drilled into passive
obedience to a small body of professional soldiers. The Prussian
army is the first, however, to be a perfect reproduction of the
society which sends it to the field. To form it, all Prussian men
lay down their tools or pens or books, and shoulder muskets.
Consequently, its excellences and defects are those of the community
at large, and the community at large being cultivated in a
remarkable degree, we get for the first time in history a real
example of the devotion of mind and training, on a great scale, to
the work of destruction.

Of course, the quality of the private soldier has in all wars a
good deal to do with making or marring the fortunes of commanders;
but it is safe to say that no strategists have over owed so much
to the quality of their men as the Prussian strategists. Their
perfect handling of the great masses which are now manoeuvring
in France has been made in large degree possible by the
intelligence of the privates. This has been strikingly shown on
two or three occasions by the facility with which whole regiments
or brigades have been sacrificed in carrying a single position.
With ordinary troops, only a certain amount can be deliberately
and openly exacted of any one corps. The highest heights of
devotion are often beyond their reach. But if it serves the
purposes of a Prussian commander to have all the cost of an
assault fall on one regiment, he apparently finds not the slightest
difficulty in getting it to march to certain destruction, and not
blindly as peasants march, but as men of education, who understand
the whole thing, but having made it for this occasion their
business to die, do it like any other duty of life--not hilariously
or enthusiastically or recklessly, but calmly and energetically,
as they study or manufacture or plough. They get themselves killed
not one particle more than is necessary, but also not one particle

A nation organized in this way is a new phenomenon, and is worth
attentive study. It gives one a glimpse of possibilities in the
future of modern civilization of which few people have hitherto
dreamed, and it must be confessed that the prospect is not
altogether pleasing. We have been flattering ourselves--in
Anglo-Saxondom, at least--for many years back that all social
progress was to be hereafter in the direction of greater
individualism, and among us, certainly, this view has derived
abundant support from observed facts. But it is now apparent that
there is a tendency at work, which appears to grow stronger and
stronger every day, toward combination in all the work of life.
It is specially observable in the efforts of the working classes
to better their condition; it still more observable in the
efforts of capital to fortify itself against them and against the
public at large; and there is, perhaps, nothing in which more
rapid advances have been made of late years than in the power of
organization. The working of the great railroads and hotels and
manufactories, of the trades unions, of the co-operative
associations, and of the monster armies now maintained by three
or four powers, are all illustrations of it. The growth of power
is, of course, the result of the growth of intelligence, and it
is in the ratio of the growth of intelligence.

Prussia has got the start of all other countries by combining the
whole nation in one vast organization for purposes of offence and
defence. Hitherto nations have simply subscribed toward the
maintenance of armies and concerned themselves little about their
internal economy and administration; but the Prussians have
converted themselves into an army, and have been enabled to do so
solely by subjecting themselves to a long process of elaborate
training, which has changed the national character. When reduced
to the lowest point of humiliation after the battle of Jena, they
went to work and absolutely built up the nation afresh. We may
not altogether like the result. To large numbers of people the
Prussian type of character is not a pleasing one, nor Prussian
society an object of unmixed admiration, and there is something
horrible in a whole people's passing their best years learning
how to kill. But we cannot get over the fact that the Prussian
man is likely to furnish, consciously or unconsciously, the model
to other civilized countries, until such time as some other
nation has so successfully imitated him as to produce his like.

Let those who believe, as Mr. Wendell Phillips says that he
believes, that "the best education a man can get is what he gets
in picking up a living," and that universities are humbugs, and
that from the newspapers and lyceum lecture the citizen can
always get as much information on all subjects, human and divine,
as is good for him or the State, take a look at the Prussian
soldier as he marches past in his ill-fitting uniform and his
leather helmet. First of all, we observe that he smokes a great
deal. According to some of us, the "tobacco demon" ought by this
time to have left him a thin, puny, hollow-eyed fellow, with
trembling knees and palpitating heart and listless gait, with
shaking hands and an intense craving for ardent spirits. You
perceive, however, that a burlier, broader-shouldered, ruddier,
brighter-eyed, and heartier-looking man you never set eyes on;
and as he swings along in column, with his rifle, knapsack,
seventy rounds of ammunition, blanket, and saucepan, you must
confess you cannot help acknowledging that you feel sorry for any
equal body of men in the world with which that column may get
into "a difficulty." He drinks, too, and drinks a great deal,
both of strong beer and strong wine, and has always done so, and
all his family friends do it, and have only heard of teetotalism
through the newspapers, and, if you asked him to confine himself
to water, would look on you as an amiable idiot. Nevertheless, you
never see him drunk, nor does his beer produce on him that
utterly bemuddling or brain-paralyzing effect which is so
powerfully described by our friend Mr. James Parton as produced
on him by lager-bier, in that inquiry into the position of "The
Coming Man" toward wine, some copies of which, we see, he is
trying to distribute among the field-officers. On the contrary,
he is, on the whole, a very sober man, and very powerful thinker,
and very remarkable scholar. There is no field of human knowledge
which he has not been among the first to explore; no heights of
speculation which he has not scaled; no problem of the world over
which he is not fruitfully toiling. Moreover, his thoroughness is
the envy of the students of all other countries, and his hatred
of sham scholarship and slipshod generalization is intense.

But what with the tobacco and the beer, and the scholarship and
his university education, you might naturally infer that he must
be a kid-glove soldier, and a little too nice and dreamy and
speculative for the actual work of life. But you never were more
mistaken. He is leaving behind him some of the finest manufactories
and best-tilled fields in the world. Moreover, he is an admirable
painter and, as all the world knows, an almost unequalled musician;
or if you want proof of his genius for business, look at the speed
and regularity with which he and his comrades have transported
themselves to the Rhine, and see the perfection of all the
arrangements of his regiment. And now, if you think his "bad habits,"
his daily violations of your notions of propriety, have diminished
his power of meeting death calmly--that noblest of products of
culture--you have only to follow him up as far as Sedan and see
whether he ever flinches; whether you have ever read or heard of
a soldier out of whom more marching and fighting and dying,
and not flighty, boisterous dying either, could be got.

Now, we can very well understand why people should be unwilling
to see the Prussian military system spread into other countries,
or even be preserved where it is. It is a pitiful thing to have
the men of a whole civilized nation spending so much time out of
the flower of their years learning to kill other men; and the
lesson to be drawn from the recent Prussian successes is
assuredly not that every country ought to have an army like the
Prussian army, though we confess that, if great armies must be
kept up, there is no better model than the Prussian. The lesson
is that, whether you want him for war or peace, there is no way
in which you can get so much out of a man as by training him, and
training him not in pieces but the whole of him; and that the
trained men, other things being equal, are pretty sure in the
long run to be the masters of the world.


We had, four or five weeks ago, a few words of controversy with the
_Christian Union_ as to the comparative morality of the Prussians
and Americans, or, rather, their comparative religiousness--meaning
by religiousness a disposition "to serve others and live as in God's
sight;" in other words, unselfishness and spirituality. We let it
drop, from the feeling that the question whether the Americans or
Prussians were the better men was only a part, and a very small
part, of the larger question. How do we discover which of any two
nations is the purer in its life or in its aims? and, is not any
judgment we form about it likely to be very defective, owing to the
inevitable incompleteness of our premises? We are not now going to
try to fix the place of either Prussia or the United States in the
scale of morality, but to point out some reasons why all comparisons
between them should be made by Americans with exceeding care and
humility. There is hardly any field of inquiry in which even the
best-informed man is likely to fall into so many errors; first,
because there is no field in which the vision is so much affected by
prejudices of education and custom; and, secondly, because there is
none in which the things we see are so likely to create erroneous
impressions about the things we do not see. But we may add that it
is a field which no intelligent and sensible man ever explores
without finding his charity greatly stimulated.

Let us give some illustrations of the errors into which people
are apt to fall in it. Count Gasparin, a French Protestant, and
as spiritually minded a man as breathed, once talking with an
American friend expressed in strong terms his sense of the pain
it caused him that Mr. Lincoln should have been at the theatre
when he was killed, not, the friend found, because he objected in
the least to theatre-going, but because it was the evening of
Good Friday--a day which the Continental Calvinists "keep" with
great solemnity, but to which American non-episcopal Protestants
pay no attention whatever. Count Gasparin, on the other hand,
would have no hesitation in taking a ride on Sunday, or going to
a public promenade after church hours, and, from seeing him
there, his American friend would draw deductions just as
unfavorable to the Count's religious character as the Count
himself drew with regard to Mr. Lincoln's.

Take, again, the question of drinking beer and wine. There is a
large body of very excellent men in America who, from a long
contemplation of the evils wrought by excessive indulgence in
intoxicating drinks, have worked themselves up to a state of mind
about all use of such drinks which is really discreditable to
reasonable beings, leads to the most serious platform excesses,
and is perfectly incomprehensible to Continental Europeans. To
the former, the drinking even of lager beer connotes, as the
logicians say, ever so many other vices--grossness and sensuality
of nature, extravagance, indifference to home pleasures,
repugnance to steady industry, and a disregard of the precepts of
religion and morality. To many of them a German workman, and his
wife and children, sitting in a beer-garden on a summer's
evening, which to European moralists and economists is one of the
most pleasing sights in the world, is a revolting spectacle,
which calls for the interference of the police. Now, if you go to
a beer-garden in Berlin you may, any Sunday afternoon, see
doctors of divinity--none of your rationalists--but doctors of
real divinity, to whom American theologians go to be taught,
doing this very thing, and, what is worse, smoking pipes. An
American who applied to this the same course of reasoning which
he would apply to a similar scene in America, would simply be
guilty of outrageous folly. If he argued from it that the German
doctor was selfish, or did not "live as in the sight of God," the
whole process would be a model of absurdity.

Foreigners have drawn, on the other hand, from the American
"diligence in business," conclusions with regard to American
character far more uncomplimentary than those the _Christian Union_
has expressed with regard to the Prussians. There are not a few
religious and moral and cultivated circles in Europe in which the
suggestion that Americans, as a nation, were characterized by
thoughtfulness for others and a sense of God's presence would be
received with derisive laughter, owing to the application to the
phenomena of American society of the process of reasoning on which,
we fear, the _Union_ relies. Down to the war, so candid and
perspicacious a man as John Stuart Mill might have been included in
this class. The earlier editions of his "Elements of Political
Economy" contained a contemptuous statement that one sex in America
was entirely given up to "dollar-hunting" and the other to "breeding
dollar-hunters." In other words, he held that the American people
were plunged in the grossest materialism, and he doubtless based
this opinion on that intense application of the men to commercial
and industrial pursuits which we see all around us, which no church
finds fault with, but which, we know, bad as its effects are on art
and literature, really coexists with great generosity, sympathy,
public spirit, and ideality.

Take, again, the matter of chastity, on which the _Union_
touched. We grant at the outset that wherever you have classes,
the women of the lower class suffer more or less from the men of
the upper class, and anybody who says that seductions, accomplished
through the effect on female vanity of the addresses of "superiors
in station," while almost unknown here, are very numerous in Europe,
would find plenty of facts to support him. But, on the other hand,
an attempt made to persuade a Frenchman that the familiar
intercourse which the young people of both sexes in this country
enjoy was generally pure, would fail in ninety-nine cases out of
a hundred. That it should be pure is opposed to all his experience
of human nature, both male and female; and the result of your
argument with him would be that he would conclude either that you
were an extraordinarily simple person, or took him for one.

On the other hand, we believe the German, who thinks nothing of
drinking as much wine or beer as he cares for, draws from the
conduct of the American young woman whom he sees abroad, and from
what he reads in our papers about "free love," Indiana divorces,
abortion, and what not, conclusions with regard to American chastity
very different from those of the _Union_; and, if you sought to meet
him in discussion, he would overwhelm you with facts and cases
which, looked at apart from the general tenor of American life and
manners, it would be very hard to dispose of. He would say, for
instance, that we are not, perhaps, guilty of as many violations of
the marriage vows as Europeans; but that we make it so light a vow
that, instead of violating it, we get it abrogated, and then follow
our will; and then he would come down on us with boarding-house and
hotel life, and other things of the same kind, which might make us
despise him, but would make it a little difficult to get rid of him.

There is probably no minor point of manners which does more to
create unfavorable impressions of Europeans among the best class
of Americans--morally the best, we mean--than the importance
attached by the former to their eating and drinking; while there
is nothing which does more to spread in Europe impressions
unfavorable to American civilization than the indifference of
Americans, and, we may add, as regards the progressive portion of
American society--cultivated indifference--to the quality of
their meals and the time of eating them. In no European country
is moderate enjoyment of the pleasures of the table considered
incompatible with high moral aims, or even a sincerely religious
character; but a man to whom his dinner was of serious importance
would find his position in an assembly of American reformers very
precarious. The German or Frenchman or Englishman, indeed, treats
a man's views of food, and his disposition or indisposition to
eat it in company with his fellows as an indication of his place
in civilization. Savages love to eat alone, and it has been
observed in partially civilized communities relapsing into
barbarism, that one of the first indications of their decline was
the abandonment of regular meals on tables, and a tendency on the
part of the individuals to retire to secret places with their
victuals. This is probably a remnant of the old aboriginal
instinct which we still see in domesticated dogs, and was,
doubtless, implanted for the protection of the species in times
when everybody looked on his neighbor's bone with a hungry eye,
and the man with the strong hand was apt to have the fullest
stomach. Accordingly, there is in Europe, and indeed everywhere,
a tendency to regard the growth of a delicacy in eating, and
close attention to the time and manner of serving meals and their
cookery, and the use of them as promoters of social intercourse,
as an indication of moral as well as material progress. To a
large number of people here, on the other hand, the bolting of
food--ten-minute dinners, for instance--and general unconsciousness
of "what is on the table," is a sign of preoccupation with serious
things. It may be; but the German love of food is not necessarily a
sign of grossness, and that "overfed" appearance, of which the
_Union_ spoke, is not necessarily a sign of inefficiency, any more
than leanness or cadaverousness is a sign of efficiency. There is
certainly some power of hard work in King William's army, and,
indeed, we could hardly point to a better illustration of the truth,
that all the affairs of men, whether political, social, or
religious, depend for their condition largely on the state of the

Honesty, by which we mean that class of virtues which Cicero
includes in the term _bona fides_, has, to a considerable extent,
owing, we think, to the peculiar humanitarian character which the
circumstances of the country have given to the work of reform, been
subordinated in the United States to brotherly kindness. Now, this
right to arrange the virtues according to a scale of its own, is
something which not only every age, but every nation, has claimed,
and, accordingly, we find that each community, in forming its
judgment of a man's character, gives a different degree of weight to
different features of it. Keeping a mistress would probably,
anywhere in the United States, damage a man's reputation far more
seriously than fraudulent bankruptcy; while horse-stealing, which in
New England would be a comparatively trifling offence, out in
Montana is a far fouler thing than murder. But in the European
scale, honesty still occupies the first place. Bearing this in mind,
it is worth any man's while who proposes to pass judgment on the
morality of any foreign country, to consider what is the impression
produced on foreign opinion about American morality by the story of
the Erie Railroad, by the career of Fisk, by the condition of the
judicial bench in the commercial capital of the country, by the
charges of corruption brought against such men as Trumbull and
Fessenden at the time of the impeachment trial; by the comically
prominent and beloved position which Butler has held for some years
in our best moral circles, and by the condition of the civil

The truth is that it is almost impossible for anybody to compare
one nation with another fairly, unless he possesses complete
familiarity with the national life of both, and therefore can
distinguish isolated facts from symptomatic facts.

The reason why some of the phenomena of American society which
shock foreigners greatly, do not shock even the best Americans so
much, is not that the latter have become hardened to them--though
this counts for something--but that they know of various
counteracting and compensating phenomena which prevent, or are
sure to prevent, them in the long run from doing the mischief
which they seem to threaten. In other words, they understand the
checks and balances of their society as well as its tendencies.
Anybody who considers these things will be careful how he
denounces people whose manners differ from his own for want of
spirituality or morality, and we may add that any historical
student engaged in comparing the morality of the age in which he
lives with that of any other age which he knows only through
chronicles, will do well to exercise the same caution for the
same reasons.


It is recorded of a patriotic member of the Committee of Ways and
Means, that after hearing from the Special Commissioner of the
Revenue an elaborate and strongly fortified argument which made a
deep impression on the committee in favor of a reduction of the
whiskey tax, on the ground that the then rate, two dollars a
gallon, could not be collected--he closed the debate, and carried
the majority with him, by declaring that, for his part, he never
would admit that a government which had just suppressed the
greatest rebellion the world ever saw, could not collect two
dollars a gallon on whiskey. A large portion of the public
approaches the comic-paper problem in much the same spirit in
which this gentleman approached the whiskey tax. The country has
plenty of humor, and plenty of humorists. It fills whole pages of
numerous magazines and whole columns of numerous newspapers with
really good jokes every month. It supplies great numbers of
orators and lecturers and diners-out with "little stories,"
which, of their kind, cannot be surpassed. There is probably no
country in the world, too, in which there is so much constantly
going on of the fun which does not need local knowledge or
coloring to be enjoyed, but will bear exportation, and be
recognized as the genuine article in any English-speaking part of
the world. Moreover, there is in the real American stories an
amount of suggestiveness, a power of "connotation," which cannot
be affirmed of those of any other country. A very large number of
them are real contributions to sociology, and of considerable
value too. Besides all this, the United States possesses, what no
other nation does, several professed jesters--that is, men who
are not only humorous in the ordinary sense of the term, but make
a business of cracking jokes, and are recognized as persons whose
duty it is to take a jocose view of things. Artemus Ward, Josh
Billings, and Mark Twain, and the Rev. P. V. Nasby, and one or
two others of less note, are a kind of personages which no other
society has produced, and could in no other society attain equal
celebrity. In fact, when one examines the total annual production
of jokes in the United States, one who knows nothing of the past
history of the comic-paper question can hardly avoid the
conclusion that such periodicals would run serious risk of being
overwhelmed with "good things" and dying of plethora. Yet the
melancholy fact is that several--indeed, all that have been
started--have died of inanition; that is, of the absence of
jokes. The last one says it offered all the great humorists in
the country plenty of work, and their own terms as to pay, and
failed to enlist them, and the chance jokes apparently were
neither numerous enough nor good enough to keep it afloat.

Now what is the cause of this disheartening state of things? Why can
the United States not have a comic paper of their own? The answers
to this question vary, though of course not greatly. They are mostly
given in the shape of a history, with appropriate comments, of the
unsuccessful attempts made to establish comic papers; one went down
because it did not sympathize with the liberal and humane movements
of the day, and laughed in the pro-slavery interest; another,
because it never succeeded in getting hold of a good draughtsman for
its engravings; and another venture failed, among other mistakes, we
are told, because it made fun of the New York _Tribune_. The
explanation which finds most general favor with the public is, that
while in England, France, and Germany "the great dailies" confine
themselves to the serious treatment of the topics of the day, and
thus leave room for the labors of _Punch_, or _Kladderadatsch_, or
_Charivari_, in America all papers do their own joking; and, if it
seems desirable to take a comic view of anything or anybody, take it
on the spot in their own columns.

Hence any paper which starts on a comic basis alone meets with
rivals in all its sober-minded contemporaries, and comes to
grief. The difficulty it has to contend with is, in short, very
like that which the professional laundress or baker has to
contend with, owing to the fact that families are accustomed to
do their own washing and bake their own bread. And, indeed, it is
not unlike that with which professional writers of all kinds have
to contend, owing to the readiness of clergymen, lawyers, and
professors to write, while doing something else. An ordinary
daily paper supplies, besides its serious disquisitions, fun
enough for one average household--sometimes in single jokes, and
sometimes in the shape of "sparkle" or "spiciness" in grave
articles. Often enough it is very poor stuff, but it amuses
people, without turning their attention away from the sober work
of life, which is the only way in which the vast body of
Americans are willing to be amused. Newspaper comedians have
here, what they would not have in London, a chance of letting off
a joke once a day, and six or seven jokes a week is more than any
comic paper is willing or able to take from any one contributor,
partly owing to the need of variety in a paper given wholly to
humor, and partly owing to want of space. Anybody, therefore, who
has humor for sale finds a readier market among the dailies or
magazines, and a far wider circle of readers, than he would in
any comic paper.

The charge that our comic papers have generally opposed the friends
of liberty and progress--that is the most intelligent and
appreciative portion of the public--is quite true, but it does not
go far to account for their failure. _Punch_ has done this steadily
ever since its establishment, without serious injury. No good cause
has ever received much backing from it till it became the cause of
the majority, or indeed has escaped being made the butt of its
ridicule; and we confess we doubt whether "the friends of progress,"
using the term in what we may call its technical sense, were ever a
sufficiently large body, or had ever sufficient love of fun, to make
their disfavor of any great consequence. Most people in the United
States who are very earnestly enlisted in the service of "a cause"
look on all ridicule as "wicked," and regard with great suspicion
anybody who indulges in it, whether he makes them the object of it
or not. They bore with it, when turned against slavery, from one or
two distinguished humorists, because its effectiveness was plain;
but we doubt whether any man who had the knack of seeing the
ludicrous side of things ever really won their confidence, partly
owing to their own natural want of humor, and partly to their
careful cultivation of a habit of solemnity of mind as the only
thing that can make an "advanced" position really tenable, to say
nothing of comfortable. The causes of all successes, as of all
failures, in the literary world are of course various, and no doubt
there is a good deal of truth in all that has been said in solution
of the comic-paper problem. American humorists of the best class can
find something better or more lucrative to do than writing for a
comic paper; while the poor American humorists, like the poor
humorists of all countries, are coarse and vulgar, even where they
are not stupid.

But there is one striking difference between American society and
those societies in which comic papers have succeeded which not
only goes a good way to explain their failure here, but puts a
better face on some of their efforts--such as their onslaughts on
the friends of progress--than they seem to wear at first sight.
To furnish sufficient food for fun to keep a comic paper afloat,
a country must supply a good many strong social contrasts for the
professional joker to play upon, and must have a large amount of
reverence for social distinctions and dignities for him to shock.
Two-thirds of the zest with which foreign comic papers are read
is due to the fact that they caricature persons or social circles
with which the mass of their readers are not thoroughly familiar,
and whose habits and ways of looking at things they do not share
or only partly share. A good deal of the fun in _Punch_, for
instance, consists in making costermongers or cabmen quarrel with
the upper classes, in ridicule of Jeames's attempts to imitate
his master, of Brown's efforts to scrape acquaintance with a
peer, of the absurd figure cut by the "cad" in the hunting-field,
and of the folly of the city clerk in trying to dress and behave
like a guardsman. In short, the point of a great number of its
best jokes is made by bringing different social strata into sharp
comparison. The peculiarities of Irishmen and Scotchmen also
furnish rich materials to the caricaturist. He never tires of
illustrating the blunders and impudence of the one and the hot
patriotism and niggardliness of the other. The Irish Highlander,
who denies, in a rich brogue, that any Irish are ever admitted
into his regiment, and the cannie burgher from Aberdeen, who, on
his return home from a visit to London, says it's an "awfu' dear
place; that he hadna' been twa oors in the toon when bang went
saxpence," are types which raise a laugh all over the United
Kingdom, and all because, again, they furnish materials for
ludicrous contrast which everybody is capable of appreciating.

Neither the Irishman, Scotchman, nor Englishman, as such, can be
made to yield much fun, if sketched alone. It is when ranged
alongside of each other, and measured by the English middle-class
standard of propriety, that they become entertaining.

In a homogeneous society, like that of the United States, none of
this material is to be found. The New Englander, to be sure,
furnishes a type which differs from the Middle-States man or the
Southerner or Westerner, but none of them differs enough to make him
worth caricaturing. His speech, his dress, his modes of acting and
thinking so nearly resemble those of his neighbors in other parts of
the country that after the comic writer or draughtsman had done his
best or his worst upon him, it would remain still a little doubtful
where the joke came in. The Irishman, and especially the New York
Irish voter, and his sister Bridget, the cook, have during the past
ten years rendered more or less service as butts for caricaturists,
but they are rapidly wearing out. They are not many-sided persons at
best, and their characteristics have become associated in the
American mind with so much that is uncomfortable and repulsive in
domestic and political life, that it becomes increasingly difficult
to get a native to laugh at them. It must be confessed, too, that
the Irish in America have signally belied the poet's assertion,
"_Coelum non animam mutant qui trans mare currunt_." There is
nothing more striking in their condition than the almost complete
disappearance from their character, at least in its outward
manifestations, of the vivacity, politeness, kindliness, comical
blundering impetuosity, and double-sightedness, out of which the
Irishman of the stage and Jo Miller's Irishman who made all the
bulls were manufactured in the last century. Of the other
nationalities we need hardly speak, as the English-speaking public
knows little of them, although the German Jew is perhaps the most
durable material the comic writer has ever worked on.

The absence of class distinctions here, too, and the complete
democratization of institutions during the last forty years, have
destroyed the reverence and sense of mystery by shocking which
the European comic paper produces some of its most tickling
effects. Gladstone and Disraeli figuring as pugilists in the
ring, for instance, diverts the English public, because it gives
a very smart blow to the public sense of fitness, and makes a
strong impression of absurdity, these two men being to the
English public real dignitaries, in the strict sense of the word,
and under the strongest obligations to behave properly. But a
representation of Grant and Sumner as pugilists would hardly make
Americans laugh, because, though absurd, it would not be nearly
so absurd, or run counter to any so sharply defined standard of
official demeanor. The Lord Chief-Justice playing croquet with a
pretty girl owes nearly all its point, as a joke, to the popular
awe of him and the mystery which surrounds his mode of life in
popular eyes; a picture of Chief-Justice Chase doing the same
thing would hardly excite a smile, because everybody knows him,
and has known him all his life, and can have access to him at any
hour of the night or day. And then it must be borne in mind that
Paris and London contain all the famous men of France and
England, and anybody who jokes about them is sure of having the
whole public for an audience; while the best New York joke falls
flat in Boston or Philadelphia, and flatter still in Cincinnati
or Chicago, owing to want of acquaintance with the materials of
which it is composed.

We might multiply these illustrations indefinitely, but we have
probably said enough to show anyone that the field open to our
comic writer is very much more restricted than that in which his
European rival labors. He has, in short, to seek his jokes in
character, while the European may draw largely upon manners, and
it is doubtful whether character will ever supply materials for a
really brilliant weekly comedian. Its points are not sufficiently
salient. The American comic papers have evidently perceived the
value of reverence and of violent contrast for the purposes of
their profession, and this it is which leads them so constantly
to select reformers and reform movements as their butts. The
earnest man, intensely occupied with "a cause," comes nearer to
standing in the relation to the popular mind occupied in England
by the aristocrat or statesman than anybody else in America. The
politician is notorious for his familiarity with all comers, and
"the gentleman" has become too insignificant a person to furnish
materials for a contrast; but the progressive man is sufficiently
well known, and sufficiently stiff in his moral composition, to
make it funny to see him in a humorous tableau.


Mr. Froude announced that his object in coming to America was to
enlighten the American public as to the true nature of Irish
discontent, in such manner that American opinion, acting on Irish
opinion, would reconcile the Irish to the English connection, and
turn their attention to practical remedies for whatever was wrong
in their condition--American opinion being now, in Irish eyes,
the court of last resort in all political controversies. It is
casting no reflection on the historical or literary value of his
lectures to say that Mr. Froude, in proposing to himself any such
undertaking, fell into error as to the kind of audience he was
likely to command, and as to the nature of the impression he was
likely to make. The class of persons who listen to him is one of
great intelligence and respectability, but it is a class to which
the Irish are not in the habit of listening, and which has
already formed as unfavorable opinions about the political
character of the Irish as Mr. Froude could wish. He will be
surrounded during his whole tour by a public to whose utterances
the Irish pay no more attention than to the preachings of Mr.
Newdegate or Mr. Whalley, and who have long ago reached, from
their observation of the influence of the Irish immigration on
American politics, the very conclusions for which Mr. Froude
proposes to furnish historical justification. In short, he is
addressing people who have either already made up their minds, or
whose minds have no value for the purpose of his mission.

On the other hand, he will not reach at all the political class
which panders to Irish hatred of England, and, if he does reach
it, he will produce no effect on it. Not one speech the less will
be uttered, or article the less written, in encouragement of
Fenianism in consequence of anything he may say. Indeed, the idea
that the Bankses will be more careful in their Congressional
reports, or the Coxes or Mortons in their political harangues,
either after or before election, in consequence of Mr. Froude's
demonstration of the groundlessness of Fenian complaints, is one
which to "the men inside politics" must be very amusing.

We think, however, we can safely go a little further than this,
and say that however much light he may throw on the troubled
waters of Irish history, his deductions will not find a ready
acceptance among thinking Americans. The men who will heartily
agree with him in believing that the Irish have, on the whole,
only received their due, are not, as a rule, fair exponents of
the national temper or of the tendencies of the national mind.
Those who listened on Friday night last to his picturesque
account of the Elizabethan and Cromwellian attempts to pacify
Ireland, must have felt in their bones that--in spite of the
cheers which greeted some of his own more eloquent and some of
his bolder passages, and in particular his dauntless way of
dealing with the Drogheda Massacre--his political philosophy was
not one which the average American could be got to carry home
with him and ponder and embrace. Mr. Froude, it must in justice
to him be said, by no means throws all the responsibility of
Irish misery on Ireland. He deals out a considerable share of
this responsibility to England, but then his mode of apportioning
it is one which is completely opposed to most of the fundamental
notions of American politics. For instance, his whole treatment
of Irish history is permeated by an idea which, whatever marks it
may have left on American practice in dealing with the Indians,
has no place now in American political philosophy--we mean what
is called in English politics "the imperial idea"--the idea, that
is, that a strong, bold, and courageous race has a sort of
"natural right" to invade the territory of weak, semi-civilized,
and distracted races, and undertake the task of governing them by
such methods as seem best, and at such cost of life as may be
necessary. This idea is a necessary product of English history;
it is not likely to disappear in England as long as she possesses
such a school for soldiers and statesmen as is furnished by
India. Indeed, she could not stay in India without some such
theory to support her troops, but it is not one which will find a
ready acceptance here. American opinion has, within the last
twenty years, run into the very opposite extreme, and now
maintains with some tenacity the right even of barbarous
communities to be let alone and allowed to work out their own
salvation or damnation in their own way. There is little or no
faith left in this country in the value of superimposed
civilization, or of "superior minds," or of higher organization,
while there is a deep suspicion of, or we might say there is deep
hostility toward, all claims to rule based on alleged superiority
of race or creed or class. We doubt if Mr. Froude could have hit
on a more unpalatable mode, or a mode more likely to clash with
the prevailing tendencies of American opinion, of defending
English rule in Ireland than the argument that, Englishmen being
stronger and wiser than Irishmen, Irishmen ought to submit to
have themselves governed on English ideas whether they like it or
not. He has produced this argument already in England, and it has
elicited there a considerable amount of indignant protest. We are
forced to say of it here that it is likely to do great mischief,
over and above the total defeat of Mr. Froude's object in coming
to this country. The Irish in America are more likely to be
exasperated by it than the Irish at home, and we feel sure that
no native American will ever venture to use it to an Irish

There is one other point to which Mr. Froude's attention ought to
be called, as likely seriously to diminish the political weight
of his exposition of the causes of Irish discontent. The sole
justification of a conquest, even of a conquest achieved over
barbarians by a civilized people, is that it supplies good
government--that is, protection for life and property. Unless it
does this, no picture, however dark, of the discords and disorder
and savagery of the conquered can set the conqueror right at the
bar of civilized opinion. Therefore, the shocking and carefully
darkened pictures of the social and political degradation of the
native Irish in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth
centuries with which Mr. Froude is furnishing us, are available
for English vindication only on the supposition that the
invasion, even if it destroyed liberty, brought with it law and
order. But according to Mr. Froude's eloquent confession, it
brought nothing of the kind.

Queen Elizabeth made the first serious attempt to subjugate
Ireland, but she did it, Mr. Froude tells us, with only a handful
of English soldiers--who acted as auxiliaries to Irish clans
engaged on the queen's instigation in mutual massacre. After
three years of this sort of thing, the whole southern portion of
the island was reduced, to use Mr. Froude's words, "to a smoking
wilderness," men, women, and children having been remorselessly
slaughtered; but no attempt whatever was then made to establish
either courts or police, or any civil rule of any kind. Society
was left in a worse condition than before. Why was this? Because,
says Mr. Froude, the English Constitution made no provision for
the maintenance of a standing army for any such purpose.

The second attempt was made by Cromwell. He slaughtered the
garrisons of Drogheda and Wexford, and scattered the armies of
the various Irish factions, but he made no more attempt to police
the island than Elizabeth. The only mode of establishing order
resorted to by the Commonwealth was the wholesale confiscation of
the land, and its distribution among the officers and soldiers of
the army, the natives of all ages and sexes being driven into
Connaught. The "policing" was then left to be done by the new
settlers, each man with the strong hand, on his own account. The
third attempt was made by William III., who also followed the
Cromwellian plan, and left the island to be governed during the
following century by the military adventurers who had entered
into possession of the soil.

The excuse for not endeavoring to set up an honest and efficient
government remained the same in all three cases; the absence of
an army, or occupation elsewhere. In other words, the conquest
from first to last wanted the only justification which any
conquest can have. England found the Irish much in the same stage
of social and political progress in which Caesar found the Gauls,
destitute of nearly all the elements of political organization;
but instead of founding a political system, and maintaining it,
she interfered for century after century only to subjugate and
lay waste, and set the natives by the ears. Mr. Froude's answer
to this is, that if the Irish had been better men they could
easily have driven the English out, which is perhaps a good
reason for not bestowing much pity on the Irish, but it is not a
good reason for telling the Irish they ought not to hate England.
No pity can be made welcome which is ostentatiously mingled with
contempt. It is quite true, to our minds, that during the last
fifty years England has supplied the Irish with a better
government than the Irish could provide for themselves within the
next century at least.

There is no doubt of the substantial value of the English connection
to Ireland _now_; but there is just as little that in the past
history of this connection there is reason enough for Irish
suspicion and dislike. The tenacity of the Irish memory, too, is one
of the great political defects and misfortunes of the race.
Inability to forget past "wrongs" in the light of present
prosperity, is a sure sign of the absence of the political sense;
and that the Irish are wanting in the political sense no candid man
can deny. That they are really still, to a considerable extent, in
the tribal stage of progress, there is little doubt. But they are
surrounded by ideas, and institutions, and influences which make it
useless to try to raise them out of that stage by the "imperial"
method of government, or, in other words, by trying to persuade them
that they have richly deserved all their misfortunes, and that the
best thing they can do is to let a superior race mould their
destinies. If it were possible for Englishmen to be a little more
patient with their weaknesses, to yield a little more to the
childish vanities and aspirations which form the nearest approach
they have yet made to a feeling of nationality, and take upon
themselves in word as well as in deed their share of the horrible
burdens of Irish history, it would do more toward winning them Irish
confidence than anything Americans are ever likely to say.


There has been something almost tragic about the close of Mr.
Greeley's career. After a life of, on the whole, remarkable success
and prosperity, he fell finally under the weight of accumulated
misfortunes. Nobody who heard him declare that "he accepted the
Cincinnati Convention and its consequences," but must be struck by
the illustration of what is called "the irony of fate," which nearly
everything that occurred afterwards affords. His nomination, from
whatever point of view we look at it, was undoubtedly a high honor.
The manner in which it was received down to the Baltimore Convention
was very flattering. Whether it was a proper thing to "beat Grant"
or not, that so large and so shrewd a body of his countrymen should
have thought Mr. Greeley the man to do it was a great compliment. It
found him, too, in possession of all the influence which the
successful pursuit of his own calling could give a man--the most
powerful editor in the Union, surrounded by friends and admirers,
feared or courted by nearly everybody in public life, and in the
full enjoyment of widespread popular confidence in his integrity. In
six short months he was well-nigh undone. He had endured a
humiliating defeat, which seemed to him to indicate the loss of what
was his dearest possession, the affection of the American people; he
had lost the weight in public affairs which he had built up by
thirty years of labor; he saw his property and, as he thought, that
of his friends diminished by the attempt to give him a prize which
he had in his own estimation fairly earned, and, though last not
least, he found his home invaded by death, and one of the strongest
of the ties which bind a man to this earth broken. It would not be
wonderful if, under these circumstances, the coldest and toughest of
men should lie down and die. But Mr. Greeley was neither cold nor
tough. He was keenly sensitive both to praise and blame. The
applause of even paltry men gladdened him, and their censure stung
him. Moreover, he had that intense longing for reputation as a man
of action by which men of the closet are so often torn. In spite of
all that his writing brought him in reputation, he writhed under the
popular belief that he could do nothing but write, and he spent the
flower of his years trying to convince the public that it was
mistaken about him. It was to this we owed whatever was ostentatious
in his devotion to farming, and in his interest in the manufacturing
industry of the country. It was to this, too, that he owed his keen
and lifelong desire for office, and, in part at least, his activity
in getting offices for other people.

Office-seekers have become in the United States so ridiculous and so
contemptible a class, that a man can hardly seek a place in the
public service without incurring a certain amount of odium; and
perhaps nothing did more damage to Mr. Greeley's reputation than his
anxiety to be put in places of trust or dignity. And yet it is
doubtful if many men seek office with more respectable motives than
his. For pecuniary emolument he cared nothing; but he did pine all
his life long for some conspicuous recognition of his capacity for
the conduct of affairs, and he never got it. The men who have
nominations to bestow either never had confidence enough in his
judgment or ability to offer him anything which he would have
thought worthy of his expectations when there was the least chance
of their choice receiving a popular ratification. They disliked him,
as politicians are apt to dislike an editor in the political arena,
as a man who, in having a newspaper at his back, is sure not to play
their game fairly. The consequence was that he was constantly
irritated by finding how purely professional his influence was, or,
in other words, what a mortifying disproportion existed between his
editorial and his personal power. The first revelation the public
had of the bitterness of his disappointment on this score was caused
by the publication of the famous Seward letter, and the surprise it
caused was perhaps the highest compliment Mr. Greeley ever received.
It showed with what success he had prevented his private griefs from
affecting his public action, and people are always ready to forgive
ambition as an "infirmity of noble minds," even when they do not
feel disposed to reward it.

Unfortunately for Mr. Greeley, however, he never could persuade
himself that the public was of the same mind as the politicians
regarding his personal capacity. He persisted to the last in
believing himself the victim of their envy, hatred, and malice, and
looking with unabated hope to some opportunity of obtaining a
verdict on his merits as a man of action, in which his widespread
popularity and his long and laborious teachings would fairly tell.
The result of the Cincinnati Convention, which his friends and
emissaries from this city went out to prepare, but which perhaps
neither he nor they in the beginning ventured to hope for, seemed to
promise him at last the crown and consummation of a life's longings,
and he received it with almost childlike joy. The election was,
therefore, a crushing blow. It was not, perhaps, the failure to get
the presidency that was hardest to bear--for this might have been
accompanied by such a declaration of his fitness for the presidency
as would have sweetened the remainder of his years--it was the
contemptuous greatness of his opponent's majority which was killing.
It dissipated the illusion of half a lifetime on the one point on
which illusions are dearest--a man's exact place in the estimation
of his countrymen. Very few--even of those whose fame rests on the
most solid foundation of achievement--ever ask to have this
ascertained by a positive test without dread or misgiving, or face
the test without a strain, which the nerves of old men are often ill
fitted to bear. That Mr. Greeley's nerves were unequal to the shock
of failure we now know. But it needed no intimate acquaintance with
him to see that the card in which he announced, two days after the
election, that he would thereafter be a simple editor, would seek
office no more, and would confine himself to the production of a
candid and judicial-minded paper, must have been written in
bitterness of spirit for which this world had no balm.

In addition to the deceptions caused by his editorial influence, Mr.
Greeley had others to contend with, more subtle, but not less
potent. The position of the editor of a leading daily paper is
one which, in our time, is hardly possible for the calmest and
most candid man to fill without having his judgment of himself
perverted by flattery. Our age is intensely commercial; it is not
the dry-goods man or the grain merchant only who has goods for sale,
but the poet, the orator, the scholar, the philosopher, and the
politician. We are all, in a measure, seeking a market for our
wares. What we desire, therefore, above all things, is a good
advertising medium, or, in other words, a good means of making known
to all the world where our store is and what we have to sell. This
means the editor of a daily paper can furnish to anybody he pleases.
He is consequently the object of unceasing adulation from a crowd of
those who shrink from fighting the slow and doubtful battle of life
in the open field, and crave the kindly shelter of editorial
plaudits, "puffs," and "mentions." He finds this adulation offered
freely, and by all classes and conditions, without the least
reference to his character or talents or antecedents. What wonder if
it turns the heads of unworthy men, and begets in them some of the
vices of despots--their unscrupulousness, their cruelty, and their
impudence. What wonder, too, if it should have thrown off his
balance a man like Mr. Greeley, whose head was not strong, whose
education was imperfect, and whose self-confidence had been
fortified by a brave and successful struggle with adversity.

Of his many private virtues, of his kind-heartedness, his
generosity, his sympathy with all forms of suffering and anxiety, we
do not need to speak. His career, too, has little in it to point any
moral that is not already trite and familiar. The only lesson we can
gather from it with any clearness is the uncertainty of this world,
and all that it contains, and the folly of seeking the presidency.
Nobody can hope to follow in his footsteps. He began life as a kind
of editor of which he was one of the last specimens, and which will
shortly be totally extinct--the editor who fought as the man-at-arms
of the party. This kind of work Mr. Greeley did with extraordinary
earnestness and vehemence and success--so much success that a modern
newspaper finally grew up around him, in spite of him, almost to his
surprise, and often to his embarrassment. The changed condition of
journalism, the substitution of the critical for the party views of
things, he never wholly accepted, and his frequent personal
appearance in his columns, under the signature of "H. G." hurling
defiance at his enemies or exposing their baseness, showed how
stifling he found the changed atmosphere. He was fast falling behind
his age when he died. New men, and new issues, and new processes,
which he either did not understand at all or only understood
imperfectly, crowded upon him. If the dazzling prize of the
presidency had not been held before his eyes, we should probably
have witnessed his gradual but certain retirement into well-won
repose. Those who opposed him most earnestly must now regret
sincerely that in his last hours he should have known the bitterness
of believing, what was really not true, that the labors of his life,
which were largely devoted to good causes, had not met the
appreciation they merited at the hands of his countrymen. It is for
his own sake, as well as that of the public, greatly to be regretted
that he should not have lived until the smoke of the late conflict
had cleared away.


Mr. Froude's attempt to secure from the American public a
favorable judgment on the dealings of England with Ireland has
had one good result--though we fear only one--in leading to a
little closer examination of the real state of American opinion
about Irish grievances than it has yet received. He will go back
to England with the knowledge--which he evidently did not possess
when he came here--that the great body of intelligent Americans
care very little about the history of "the six hundred years of
wrong," and know even less than they care, and could not be
induced, except by a land-grant, or a bounty, or a drawback, to
acquaint themselves with it; that those of them who have ever
tried to form an opinion on the Anglo-Irish controversy have
hardly ever got farther than a loose notion that England had most
likely behaved like a bully all through, but that her victim was
beyond all question an obstreperous and irreclaimable ruffian,
whose ill-treatment must be severely condemned by the moralist,
but over whom no sensible man can be expected to weep or

The agencies which have helped to form the popular idea of the
English political character are well known; those which have helped
to deprive the Irish of American sympathy--and which, if Mr. Froude
had judiciously confined himself to describing the efforts made by
England to promote Irish well-being _now_, would probably have made
his lectures very successful--are more obscure. We ourselves pointed
out one of the most prominent, and probably most powerful--the
conduct of the Irish servant-girl in the American kitchen. To this
must of course be added the specimen of "home rule" to which the
country has been treated in this city; but we doubt if this latter
has really exercised as much influence on American opinion as some
writers try to make out. A community which has produced Butler,
Banks, Parker, Bullock, Tweed, Tom Fields, Oakey Hall, Fernando
Wood, Barnard, and scores of others whom we might name, as the
results of good Protestant and Anglo-Saxon breeding, cannot really
be greatly shocked by the bad workings of Celtic blood and Catholic
theology in the persons of Peter B. Sweeny, Billy McMullen, Jimmy
O'Brien, Reddy the Blacksmith, or Judge McCunn. It is in the kitchen
that the Irish iron has entered into the American soul; and it is in
the kitchen that a great triumph was prepared for Mr. Froude, had he
been a judicious man. The memory of burned steaks, of hard-boiled
potatoes, of smoked milk, would have done for him what no state
papers, or records, or correspondence of the illustrious dead can
ever do; it had prepared the American mind to believe the very worst
he could say of Irish turbulence and disorder. Not one of his
auditors but could find in his own experience of Irish cooking
circumstances which would probably have led him to accept without
question the execution of Silken Thomas, the massacre of Drogheda,
or even the Penal Laws, as perfectly justifiable exercises of
authority, and would certainly have made it easy for him to believe
that English rule in Ireland at the present day is beneficent beyond

Nevertheless, we are constrained to say that in our opinion a
great deal of the odium which surrounds Bridget, and which has
excited so much prejudice, not only against her countrymen, but
against her ancestors, in American eyes, has a very insufficient
foundation in reason. There are three characters in which she is
the object of public suspicion and dislike--(1) as a cook; (2) as a
party to a contract; (3) as a member of a household. The charges
made against her in all of these have been summed up in a recent
attack on her in the _Atlantic Monthly_, as "a lack of every quality
which makes service endurable to the employer, or a wholesome life
for the servant."

And the same article charges her with "proving herself, in
obedience, fidelity, care, and accuracy, the inferior of every
kind of servant known to modern society." Of course, there is
hardly a family in the country which has not had, in its own
experience, illustrations of the extravagance of these charges.
There is probably nobody who has long kept servants, who has not
had Irish servants who were obedient, faithful, careful, and even
accurate in a remarkable degree. But then it must be admitted that
this indictment is a tolerably fair rendering, if not of the actual
facts of the case, at least of the impression the facts have left
on the mind of the average employer. This impression, however, needs
correction, as a few not very recondite considerations will show.

As a cook, Bridget is an admitted failure. But cooking is, it is
now generally acknowledged, very much an affair of instinct, and
this instinct seems to be very strong in some races and very weak
in others, though why the French should have it highly developed,
and the Irish be almost altogether deprived of it, is a question
which would require an essay to itself. No amount of teaching
will make a person a good cook who is not himself fond of good
food and has not a delicate palate, for it is the palate which
must test the value of rules. We may deduce from this the
conclusion, which experience justifies, that women are not
naturally good cooks. They have had the cookery of the world in
their hands for several thousand years, but all the marked
advances in the art, and indeed all that can be called the
cultivation of it, have been the work of men. Whatever zeal women
have displayed in it, and whatever excellence they have achieved
in it, have been the result of influences in no way gastronomic,
and which we might perhaps call emotional, such as devotion to
male relatives, or a desire to minister to the pleasure of men in
general. Few or no women cook a dinner in an artistic spirit, and
their success in doing it is nearly always the result of
affection or loyalty--which is of course tantamount to saying
that female cookery as a whole is, and always has been,
comparatively poor.

As a proof of this, we may mention the fact--for fact we think it
is--that the art of cooking among women has declined at any given
time or place--in the Northern States of the Union, for
instance--_pari passu_, with the growth of female independence. That
is, as the habit or love of ministering to men's tastes has become
weaker, the interest in cookery has fallen off. There are no such
cooks among native American women now as there were fifty years ago;
and passages in foreign cookery books which assume the existence
among women of strong interest in their husbands' and brothers'
likings, and strong desire to gratify them, furnish food for
merriment in American households. Bridget, therefore, can plead,
first of all, the general incapacity of women as cooks; and,
secondly, the general falling off in the art under the influence of
the new ideas. It may be that she _ought_ to cultivate assiduously
or with enthusiasm a calling which all the other women of the
country ostentatiously despise, but she would be more than human if
she did so. She imitates American women as closely as she can, and
cannot live on the same soil without imbibing their ideas; and
unhappily, as in all cases of imitation, vices are more easily and
earlier caught than virtues.

She can make, too, an economical defence of the most powerful
kind, to the attacks on her in this line, and it is this: that
whether her cooking be bad or good, she offers it without
deception or subterfuge, at a fair rate, and without compulsion;
that nobody who does not like her dishes need eat them; and that
her defects of taste or training can only be fairly made a cause
of hatred and abuse when she does work badly, which somebody else
is waiting to do better, if she would get out of the way. She has
undertaken the task of cooking for the American nation, not of
her own motion, but simply and solely because the American nation
could find nobody else to do it. She does not, therefore, occupy
the position of a broken-down or incompetent artist, but of a
volunteer at a fire, or a passer-by when you are lying in the
ditch with your leg broken.

The plain truth of the matter is, that the whole native population
of the United States has almost suddenly, and with one accord,
refused to perform for hire any of the services usually called
"menial" or indoor. The men have found other more productive fields
of industry, and the women, under the influence of the prevailing
theory of life, have resolved to accept any employment at any wages
sooner than do other people's housework. The result has been a
demand for trained servants which the whole European continent could
not supply if it would, and which has proved so intense that it has
drawn the peasantry out of the fields _en masse_ from the one
European country in which the peasantry was sufficiently poor to be
tempted, and spoke or understood the American language. No such
phenomenon has ever been witnessed before. No country before has
ever refused to do its own "chores," and called in an army of
foreigners for the purpose. To complain bitterly of their want of
skill is therefore, under the circumstances, almost puerile, from an
economical point of view; while, to anyone who looks at the matter
as a moralist, it is hard to see why Bridget, doing the work badly
in the kitchen, is any more a contemptible object than the American
sewing-girl killing herself in a garret at three dollars a week, out
of devotion to "the principle of equality."

As a party to a contract, Bridget's defects are very strongly
marked. Her sense of the obligation of contracts is feeble. The
reason why this particular vice excites so much odium in her case
is, that the inconveniences of her breaches of contract are
greater than those of almost any other member of the community.
They touch us in our most intimate social relations, and cause us
an amount of mental anguish out of all proportion to their real
importance. But her spirit about contracts is really that of the
entire community in which she lives. Her way of looking at her
employer is, we sincerely believe, about the way of looking at
him common among all employees. The only real restraint on
laborers of any class among us nowadays is the difficulty of
finding another place. Whenever it becomes as easy for clerks,
draughtsmen, mechanics, and the like to "suit themselves" as it
is for cooks or housemaids, we find them as faithless. Native
mechanics and seamstresses are just as perfidious as Bridget, but
incur less obloquy, because their faithlessness causes less
annoyance; but they have no more regard in making their plans for
the interest or wishes of their employer than she has, and they
all take the "modern view" of the matter. What makes her so fond
of change is that she lives in a singularly restless society, in
which everybody is engaged in a continual struggle to "better
himself"--her master, in nine cases out of ten, setting her an
example of dislike to steady industry and slow gains. Moreover,
domestic service is a kind of employment which, if not sweetened
by personal affection, is extraordinarily full of wear and tear.
In it there is no real end to the day, and in small households,
the pursuit and oversight, and often the "nagging," of the
employer, or, in other words, the presence of an exacting,
semi-hostile, and slightly contemptuous person is constant. This
and confinement in a half-dark kitchen produce that nervous
crisis which sends male mechanics and other male laborers,
engaged in monotonous callings, off "on a spree." In Bridget's
case it works itself off by a change of place, with a few days of
squalid repose among "her own people" in a tenement-house.

As regards her general bearing as a member of a household, she
has to contend with three great difficulties--ignorance of
civilized domestic life, for which she is no more to blame than
Russian moujiks; difference of race and creed on the part of her
employer (and this is one which the servants of no other country
have to contend with); and lastly, the strong contempt for
domestic service felt and manifested by all that portion of the
American population with which she comes in contact, and to which
it is her great ambition to assimilate herself. Those who have
ever tried the experiment of late years of employing a native
American as a servant, have, we believe, before it was over,
generally come to look on Bridget as the personification of
repose, if not of comfort; and those who have to call on native
Americans, even occasionally, for services of a quasi-personal
character, such as those of expressmen, hotel clerks, plumbers,
we believe are anxious to make their intercourse with these
gentlemen as brief as possible. Most expressmen are natives, and
are freemen of intelligence and capacity, but they carry your
trunk into your hall with the air of convicts doing forced labor
for a tyrannical jailer. If the spirit in which they discharge
their duties--and they are specimens of a large class--were to
make its way into our kitchens, society would go to pieces.

In short, Bridget is the legitimate product of our economical,
political, and moral condition. We have called her, in our
extremity, to do duties for which she is not trained, and having
got her here have surrounded her with influences and ideas which
American society has busied itself for fifty years in fostering
and spreading, and which, taking hold of persons in her stage of
development, work mental and moral ruin. The things which
American life and manners preach to her are not patience,
sober-mindedness, faithfulness, diligence, and honesty, and
eagerness for physical enjoyment. Whenever the sound of the new
gospel which is to win the natives back to the ancient and noble
ways is heard in the land, it is fair to expect that it will not
find her ears wholly closed, and that when the altar of duty is
again set up by her employers, she will lay on it attractive
beefsteaks, potatoes done to a turn, make libations of delicious
soup, and will display remarkable fertility in "sweets," and an
extreme fondness for washing, and learn to grow old in one


Mr. Mill was, in many respects, one of the most singular men ever
produced by English society. His father was a prominent member of
the small sect or coterie of Benthamites, whose attempts to
reform the world, during the whole of the earlier part of the
present century, furnished abundant matter for ridicule to the
common run of politicians and social philosophers; and this
ridicule was heightened, as the years rolled on, by the
extraordinary jargon which their master adopted for the
communication of his discoveries to the world. The author of the
"Defence of Usury," of the "Fragment on Government," and of the
"Book of Fallacies," had, however, secured a reputation very
early in his career which his subsequent eccentricities could not
shake, but the first attempts of his disciples to catch the
public ear were not fortunate. Macaulay's smart review of James
Mill's book on "Government" gives a very fair expression to the
common feeling about them in English literary and political
circles during John Stuart's boyhood. About the value of the
father's labors as a mental philosopher there are of course a
variety of opinions, but he gave two proofs of capacity for the
practical work of life which there was no gainsaying. He came to
London an obscure man of humble origin, but managed, without ever
having been in India, and at a period when authors were held in
much less esteem by politicians than they were at a later period,
to produce such an impression of his knowledge of Indian affairs,
by his elaborate history of that country, on the minds of the
Directors of the Company, that they gave him an important office
in the India House, and this, too, in spite of the fact that he
lived in a circle generally considered visionary--answering, in
fact, in some degree to what we call the "long-haired people."
Besides this, he himself personally gave his son an education
which made him, perhaps, all things considered, the most
accomplished man of his age, and without help from the universities
or any other institution of learning. The son grew up with a
profound reverence for his father as a scholar and thinker,
and rarely lost an opportunity of expressing it, though, curiously
enough, he began very early to look on Bentham, the head of the
school, with a critical eye. The young man's course was, however,
still more remarkable than the father's.

Although brought up in a narrow coterie holding peculiar and
somewhat unpopular opinions, and displaying, from his first entrance
in life, as intense hostility as it was in his nature to feel
against anything, against the English universities as then organized
and conducted, though they were the centre of English culture and
indeed one might say of intellectual activity, he saw himself,
before he reached middle life, the most potent influence known to
educated Englishmen, and perhaps that which has most contributed to
the late grave changes in English public opinion on several of the
leading social and political problems. Indeed, it is not too much to
say that his writings produced a veritable _débâcle_ in the English
mind. The younger generation were a good deal stirred by Carlyle;
but Carlyle, after all, only woke people up, and made them look out
of the window to see what was the matter, after which most of them
went to bed again and slept comfortably. His cries were rather too
inarticulate to furnish anything like a new gospel, and he never
took hold of the intellectual class. But Mill did. The "Logic" and
"Political Economy," as reinforced and expounded by his earlier
essays, were generally accepted by the younger men as the teachings
of a real master, and even those who fully accepted neither his
mental philosophy nor his social economy, acknowledged that the day
of old things was passing away under his preaching. His method,
however, as applied to politics, was not original--in fact, it was

Bentham, who was perhaps, in the field of jurisprudence, the most
destructive critic that ever appeared, had the merit which in his
day was somewhat novel among reformers, and marked him out as
something very different from Continental radicals--of being also
highly constructive. Indeed, his labors in providing substitutes
for what he sought to overthrow are among the most curious, and,
we might add, valuable monuments of human industry and ingenuity.
His proposed reforms were based, too, on a theory of human nature
which differed from that in use among a large number of radicals
in our day in being perfectly sound, that is, in perfect
accordance with observed facts, as far as it went. But it did not
go nearly far enough. It did not embrace the whole of human
nature, or even the greater part of it, and for the simple
reason, which Mr. Mill himself has pointed out in his analysis of
Bentham's character, that its author was almost entirely wanting
in sympathy and imagination. A very large proportion of the
springs of human action were unknown or incomprehensible to him.

The result was that, although he exerted a powerful influence on
English law reform by his exposure of specific abuses, he made
little impression on English sociology, properly so called. This
was in part due to his narrowness of view, and in part to the
absence of an interpreter, none of his followers having attempted
to put his wisdom into readable shape, except Dumont, and he only
partially and in French. The application of his method to the
work of general reform was indeed left to Mr. Mill, who brought
to the task an amount of culture to which Bentham could make no
claim, and a large share of the sympathy of which there was also
so little in Bentham's composition, and a style which, for
expository and didactic purposes, has perhaps never been surpassed.
Moreover, Mr. Mill lost no time, as most men do, in maturing.
He was a full-blown philosopher at twenty-five, and discourses in
his earliest essays with almost the same measure, circumspection,
and gravity exhibited in the latest of his works, and with all the
Benthamite precision and attention to limitations.

He was, however, wanting, as his master was, in imagination, and
wanting, too, in what we may call, though not in any bad sense,
the animal side of man's nature. He suffered in his treatment of
all the questions of the day from excess of culture and
deficiency of blood. He understood and allowed for men's errors
of judgment and for their ignorance, and for their sloth and
indifference; but of appreciation of the force of their passions
his speculations contain little sign. For instance, he was the
first to point out the fact that the principle of competition,
the eager desire to sell, which furnishes the motive power of the
English and American social organization, is almost unknown and
unfelt among the greater part of mankind, but his remedy for
redundancy of population, and his lamentations over "the
subjection of women," are those of a recluse or a valetudinarian.

His influence as a political philosopher may be said to have
stood highest after the appearance of the "Political Economy." He
had, then, perhaps the most remarkable following of hard-headed
men which any English philosopher was ever able to show. But the
reverence of his disciples waned somewhat rapidly after he began
to take a more active part in the treatment of the questions of
the day. His "representative government," valuable as it was as a
philosophical discussion, offered no solution of the problem then
pressing on the public minds in England, which bitter Radicals or
Conservatives could consider comforting. The plan of having the
number of a man's votes regulated by his calling and intelligence
was thoroughly Benthamite. It was as complete and logical as a
proposition in Euclid, and in 1825 would have looked attractive;
but in 1855 the power of doing this nice work had completely
passed out of everybody's hands--indeed, the desire of political
perfection had greatly abated. His lofty and eloquent plaints on
the decline of social freedom helped to strengthen the charge of
want of practicalness, which in our day is so injurious to a
man's political influence, and when he entered Parliament,
although he disappointed none of those who best understood him,
the outside multitude, who had begun to look on him as a prophet,
were somewhat chagrined that he was not readier in parrying the
thrusts of the trained gladiators of the House of Commons. It was
the book on the "Subjection of Women," however, which most shook
the allegiance of his more educated followers, because it was
marked by the widest departures from his own rules of thinking.
It would be impossible to find any justification in his other
works for the doctrine that women are inferior to men for the
same reason that male serfs are inferior to their masters. His
refusal to consider difference of sex as even one probable cause
of women's inferiority to men in mental and moral characteristics,
was something for which few of his disciples were prepared, or
which they ever got over; and indeed his whole treatment of the
question of sex showed, in the opinion of many, a constitutional
incapacity to deal with the gravest problems of social economy.

The standing of Mr. Mill as a mental philosopher appears to be
very differently estimated by late critics and opponents and by
himself, whether we consider the extent of his influence, or the
relations of his doctrines to his nation and time; and there is a
most singular inversion in these estimates of what we should
naturally expect from friend and foe--an estimate of Mill's
position and influence by his opponents, which, compared to his
own, seems greatly exaggerated. For example, Dr. McCosh, a
thorough-going opponent, regards Mill's influence as the most
active and effective philosophical force now alive in Great
Britain, the strongest current of philosophic thought even at
Oxford; and M. Taine, who some years ago discovered at Oxford
that the British nation was not wanting in "general ideas" or
principles in its modes of thought above the requirements of the
accountant and assayer, found these principles in a really living
English philosophy, which has brought forth one of M. Taine's
most elaborate critical studies in his work on "Intelligence." In
contrast with these estimates, we have from Mr. Mill himself the
opinion, in a letter to M. Taine, that his views are not
especially English, and that they have not been so since the
philosophical reaction in Scotland, Germany, and later in England,
against Hume; that when his "System of Logic" was written he "stood
almost alone in his opinions; and though they have met with a degree
of sympathy which he by no means expected, we may still count in
England twenty _a priori_ and spiritualist philosophers for every
partisan of the doctrine of Experience."

This estimate of his own influence and of the importance to
metaphysical discussion at the present time of the philosophy he
"adopted" is entitled to much more consideration than ought in
general to be allowed for an opinion inspired by the ambition,
the enthusiasm, the disappointments, or even the modesty of a
philosophical thinker. Nevertheless, the far different opinion of
his standing as a metaphysician which his critics entertain is
undoubtedly more correct, though in a sense which was not so
clearly apparent to him. They see clearly that a philosophy of
which he was not the founder, and never pretended to be, has
gained through his writings a hold, not only on English
speculation, but on that of the civilized world, which it did not
acquire even in England when it was an especially English
philosophy, as it was "in the first half of the eighteenth
century, from the time of Locke to that of the reaction against

What, then, is it in Mill's philosophical writings that has given
him this eminence as a thinker? Two qualities, we think, very
rarely combined: a philosophical style which for clearness and
cogency has, perhaps, never been surpassed, and a conscientious
painstaking, with a seriousness of conviction, and an earnestness
of purpose which did not in general characterize the thinkers
whose views he adopted. It was by bringing to the support of
doctrines previously regarded as irreligious a truly religious
spirit that Mill acquired in part the influence and respect which
have given him his eminence as a thinker. He thus redeemed the
word "utility" and the utilitarian doctrine of morals from the
ill repute they had, for "the greatest happiness principle" was
with him a religious principle. An equally important part of
his influence is doubtless due to the thoroughness of his
early training--the education received from his father's
instruction--which, as we have said, has made him truly regarded
as the most accomplished of modern dialecticians.

To these grounds of influence may be added, so far as his influence
on English thought is concerned, the fact that he was not a
metaphysician in a positive fashion, though he dealt largely with
metaphysical topics. He represented the almost instinctive aversion
to metaphysics, as such, which has characterized the English since
the time of Newton and Locke, we might also say since the time of
Bacon. Metaphysics, to pass current in England, has now to be
baptized and become part of the authoritative religious instruction,
else it is foreign and barbarous to the English matter-of-fact ways
of thinking. Mill's "System of Logic" was not intended as a system
of _philosophy_ in the German, French, or even Scotch sense of the
term. It is not through the _a priori_ establishment or refutation
of highest principles that experiential, inductive, fact-proven
principles of science are regarded or tested by the unmetaphysical
English mind. Metaphysical doctrines prevail, it is true, in
England, to the extent, probably, that Mr. Mill estimates--twenty to
one of its thinkers holding to some such views. Yet it would be a
misconception to suppose these to be products of modern English
_thought_. They are rather preserves, tabooed, interdicted to
discussion, not the representatives of its living thought.

Mr. Mill estimated the worth of contemporary thinkers in accordance
with this almost instinctive distrust of rational "illumination;"
setting Archbishop Whately, for example, as a thinker, above Sir W.
Hamilton, for his services to philosophy, on account of "the number
of true and valuable thoughts" which he originated and put into
circulation, not as parts of a system, but as independent truths of
sagacious or painstaking observation and reflection. It is by such a
standard that Mr. Mill would doubtless wish to be judged, and by it
he would be justly placed above all, or nearly all, of his
contemporaries. Nevertheless, as a conscientious student of
metaphysics he held in far higher esteem than is shown in general by
English thinkers the powers peculiar to the metaphysician--the
ability and disposition to follow out into their consequences, and
to concatenate in a system the assumption of _a priori_ principles.
Descartes, Leibnitz, Comte, and, as an exceptional English thinker,
even Mr. Spencer, receive commendation from him on this account. It
is clear, however, that his respect for this talent was of the sort
which does not aspire to imitate what is admired.


It is impossible to see, much less experience, a financial panic
without an almost appalling consciousness that a new and terrible
form of danger and distress has been added in comparatively recent
times to the list of those by which human life is menaced or
perplexed. Any one who stood on Wall Street, or in the gallery of
the Stock Exchange last Thursday and Friday and Saturday (1873), and
saw the mad terror, we might almost say the brute terror like that
by which a horse is devoured who has a pair of broken shafts hanging
to his heels, or a dog flying from a tin saucepan attached to his
tail, with which great crowds of men rushed to and fro, trying to
get rid of their property, almost begging people to take it from
them at any price, could hardly avoid feeling that a new plague had
been sent among men; that there was an impalpable, invisible force
in the air, robbing them of their wits, of which philosophy had not
as yet dreamt. No dog was ever so much alarmed by the clatter of the
saucepan as hundreds seemed to be by the possession of really
valuable and dividend-paying securities; and no horse was ever more
reckless in extricating himself from the _débris_ of a broken
carriage than these swarms of acute and shrewd traders in divesting
themselves of their possessions. Hundreds must really, to judge by
their conduct, have been so confused by terror and anxiety as to be
unable to decide whether they desired to have or not to have, to be
poor or rich. If a Roman or a man of the Middle Ages had been
suddenly brought into view of the scene, he would have concluded
without hesitation that a ruthless invader was coming down the
island; that his advanced guard was momentarily expected; and that
anybody found by his forces in possession of Western Union, or
Harlem, or Lake Shore, or any other paying stock or bond, would be
subjected to cruel tortures, if not put to death. For neither the
Roman nor the Mediaeval could understand a rich man's being
terrified by anything but armed violence. Seneca enumerates as the
three great sources of anxiety in life the fear of want, of disease,
and of oppression by the powerful, and he pronounces the last the
greatest. If he had seen Wall-Street brokers and bankers last week
trying to get rid of stocks and bonds, he could not of course have
supposed that they were poor or feared poverty; he would have judged
from their physical activity that they were in perfect health, so
that he would have been driven to the conclusion that some barbarian
host, commanded by Sitting Bull or Red Cloud, was entering the city,
and was breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the owners
of personal property. If you had tried to explain to him that there
was no conqueror at the gates, that the fear of violence was almost
unknown in our lives, that each man in that struggling crowd enjoyed
an amount of security against force in all its forms which no Roman
Senator could ever count upon, and that the terror he witnessed was
caused by precisely the same agency as the flight of an army before
it has been beaten, or, in other words, by "panic," he would have
gazed at you in incredulous amazement. He would have said that panic
in an army was caused by the sudden dissolution of the bonds of
discipline, by each soldier's losing his confidence that his
comrades and his officers would stand their ground; but these
traders, he would have added, are not subject to discipline; they do
not belong to an organization of any kind; each buys and sells for
himself; he has his property there in that tin box, and if nobody is
going to rob him what is frightening him? Why is he pale and
trembling? Why does he run and shout and weep, and ask people to
give him a trifle, only a trifle, for all he possesses and let him

If you were then to set about explaining to Seneca that the way the
god Pan worked confusion in our day in the commercial world was by
destroying "credit," you would find yourself brought suddenly face
to face with one of the most striking differences between ancient
and modern, or, even as we have said, mediaeval society. The most
prominent and necessary accompaniment or incident of property in the
ancient world was possession. What a man owned he held. His wealth
was in his farm, or his house, or his granary, or his ships. He
could hardly separate the idea of property from that of possession,
and the state of society strengthened the association. The frugal
man hoarded, and when he was terrified he buried his money, a
practice to which we owe the preservation of the greater portion of
the old coins now in our collections. The influence of this sense of
insecurity, of the constant fear of invasion or violence, lasted
long enough in all Continental countries, as Mr. Bagehot has
recently pointed out, to prevent the establishment of banks of issue
until very lately. The prospect of war was so constantly in men's
minds that no bank could make arrangements for the run which would
surely follow the outbreak of hostilities, and, in view of this
contingency, nobody would be willing to hold paper promises to pay
in lieu of gold and silver.

It is therefore in England and America, the two countries possessing
not only most commercial enterprise, but most security against
invasion, that the paper money has come into earliest and widest
use. To the paper of the banks have been added the checks and bills
of exchange of private individuals, until money proper plays a
greatly diminishing part in the operations of commerce. Goods are
exchanged and debts paid by a system of balancing claims against
claims, which really has almost ceased to rest on money at all. So
that a man may be a very rich man in our day, and have really
nothing to show for his wealth whatever. You go to his house, and
you find nothing but a lot of shabby furniture. The only thing there
which Seneca would have called wealth is perhaps his wife's jewels,
which would not bring a few thousand dollars. You think his money
must be in the bank, but you go there with him and find that all he
has there is a page on the ledger bearing his name, with a few
figures on it. The bank bills which you see lying about, and which
look a little like money, are not only not money in the sense Seneca
understood the term, but they do not represent over a third of what
the bank owes to various people. You go to some safe-deposit vaults,
thinking that it is perhaps there he keeps his valuables, but all
you find is a mass of papers signed by Thomas Smith or John Jones,
declaring that he is entitled to so many shares of some far-off
bank, or that some railroad will pay him a certain sum some thirty
years hence. In fact, looked at with Roman eyes, our millionaire
seems to be possessed of little or nothing, and likely to be puzzled
about his daily bread.

Now, this wonderful change in the character and incidents of
property may be said to be the work of the last century, and it may
be said to consist in the substitution of an agency wholly moral for
an agency wholly material in the work of exchange and distribution.
For the giving and receiving of gold and silver we have substituted
neither more nor less than faith in the honesty and industry and
capacity of our fellow-men. There is hardly one of us who does not
literally live by faith. We lay up fortunes, marry, eat, drink,
travel, and bequeath, almost without ever handling a cent; and the
best reason which ninety-nine out of every hundred of us can give
for feeling secure against want, or having the means of enjoyment or
of charity, is not the possession of anything of real value, but his
confidence that certain thousands of his fellow-creatures, whom he
has never seen and never expects to see, scattered, it may be, over
the civilized world, will keep their promises, and do their daily
work with fidelity and efficiency. This faith is every year being
made to carry a greater and greater load. The transactions which
rest on it increase every year in magnitude and complexity. It has
to extend itself every year over a larger portion of the earth's
surface, and to include a greater variety of race and creed and
custom. London and Paris and Berlin and Vienna now tremble when New
York is alarmed. We have, in short, to believe every year in a
greater and greater number of people, and to depend for our daily
bread on the successful working of vast combinations, in which human
character is, after all, the main element.

The consequence is that, when for any reason a shade of doubt comes
over men's minds that the combination is not working, that the
machine is at some point going to give way, that somebody is not
playing his part fairly, the solid ground seems to shake under their
feet, and we have some of the phenomena resulting from an
earthquake, and among others blind terror. But to anyone who
understands what this new social force, Credit, is, and the part it
plays in human affairs, the wonder is, not that it gives way so
seldom, but that it stands so firm; that these hundreds of millions
of laborers, artisans, shopkeepers, merchants, bankers, and
manufacturers hold so firmly from day to day the countless
engagements into which they enter, and that each recurring year the
result of the prodigious effort which is now put forth in the
civilized world in the work of production should be distributed with
so much accuracy and honesty, and, on the whole, with so much wise
adjustment to the value of each man's contributions to civilization.

There is one fact, however, which throws around credit, as around so
many others of the influences by which our lives are shaped, a
frightful mystery. Its very strength helps to work ruin. The more we
believe in our fellow-toilers, and the more they do to warrant our
belief, the more we encourage them to work, the more we excite their
hopefulness; and out of this hopefulness come "panics" and
"crashes." Prosperity breeds credit, and credit stimulates
enterprise, and enterprise embarks in labors which, about every ten
years in England, and every twenty years in this country, it is
found that the world is not ready to pay for. Panics have occurred
in England in 1797, 1807, 1817, 1826, 1837, 1847, 1857, and there
was very near being a very severe one in 1866. In this country we
have had them in 1815, 1836, 1857, and 1877, and by panics we do
not mean such local whirlwinds as have desolated Wall Street, but
wide-spread commercial crises, affecting all branches of business.
This periodicity is ascribed, and with much plausibility, to the
fact that inasmuch as panics are the result of certain mental
conditions, they recur as soon as the experience of the previous one
has lost its influence, or, in other words, as often as a new
generation comes into the management of affairs, which is about
every ten years in the commercial world both in England and here.
The fact that this country seems to be only half as liable to them
as England, is perhaps due to the fact that the extent of our
resources, and the greater ratio of increase of population make it
much harder to overdo in the work of production here than in
England, and to this must be added the greater strength of nerves
produced by greater hopefulness. In spite of the enormous abundance
of British capital and the rashness of the owners in making
investments, there hangs over the London money market a timidity and
doubtfulness about the future which is unknown on this side of the
water, and which very slight accidents develop into distrust and

Outside those who are actually engaged in a financial panic--such as
brokers, bankers, merchants and manufacturers, who have loans to pay
or receive, or acceptances falling due, and who are therefore too
busy and too sorely beset to moralize on it or look at it
objectively, as the philosophers say--there is a large body
of persons who are not immediately affected by it, such as
professional men, owners of secure investments, persons in receipt
of well-assured salaries, ministers, newspaper writers, speculative
economists, financiers, and farmers, to whom it is a source of
secret enjoyment. They are obliged, out of sympathy with their
neighbors, to look blue, and probably few of them are entirely
exempt from the general anxiety about the future, but, nevertheless,
they are on the whole rather gratified than otherwise by the thing's
having happened. In the first place, all those persons who give
their attention to the currency question are divided into two great
schools--the paper men and the hard-money men; and every panic
affords each of them what it considers a legitimate ground of
triumph. The paper men say that the crisis is due to failure to
issue more paper at the proper moment, and the hard-money men
ascribe it to the irredeemability of what is already issued; and
each side chuckles over the convulsion as a startling confirmation
of its views, and goes about calling attention to it almost
gleefully. There is a similar division on the banking question.
Indeed the feud between the friends of free banking and restricted
banking is fiercer than that between the two currency schools, and
has raged longer, and every monetary crisis feeds the flame. It is
maintained, on the one hand, that if banks were let alone by the
state their issues would be proportioned to the exact wants of
business; and, on the other, that if the state would only restrict
them more rigidly business would be kept within proper limits, and
all would go well. Each disputant draws from a panic about the same
amount of support for his views, because in the great variety of
circumstances which surround it there are always some which favor
any theory of its origin. In one thing, however, both sets of
observers are apt to agree thoroughly, and that is in believing the
"thing will not blow over," and that "we are going to feel it for a
long time." They have long foreseen it, and have only been surprised
that it did not come sooner; and they lower their voices to a hoarse
whisper while telling you this.

But there is no class of observers which extracts so much solid
comfort from a panic as that large body of social philosophers who
are hostile to luxury, and believe that the world is going to the
dogs through self-indulgence. It may even be said that two-thirds of
the community, or indeed all except the very few, hold this opinion
with a greater or less degree of strength. The farmers hold it
strongly with regard to the city people, the artisans with regard to
merchants, bankers, brokers, and manufacturers, and among the latter
nearly every man is inclined to it with regard to persons of more
means than himself. Moreover, it would probably astonish us if we
knew how large was the number of those who fancy that their more
well-to-do neighbors, if they do not belong to the category of
millionaires, are living beyond their means. Every man whose own
means are small, or even moderate, finds himself rather hard put to
it to make both ends meet, and is constantly harassed by desires
which he is unable to gratify. When he sees others gratifying them,
his self-love drives him often unconsciously into ascribing it to
recklessness and improvidence. Very close people, too, who have a
constitutional repugnance to spending money freely for any purpose,
and especially for purposes of personal enjoyment, can hardly
persuade themselves that other persons who do so, spend it honestly.
And then behind these come the large army of lovers of simplicity
and frugality on moral and religious grounds, who believe that
material luxury contains a snare for the soul, and that true
happiness and real virtue are not to be found in gilded saloons.
They write to the newspapers denouncing the reluctance of young
people to marry on small incomes, and urging girls to begin life as
their mothers began it, and despise the silly chatter of those who
think luxurious surroundings more important than the union of

The occurrence of a panic fills the breasts of all these with
various degrees of rejoicing. They always take a very dark view of
it, and laugh contemptuously at those who consider it a "Wall-Street
flurry," or ascribe it to any vice in the currency or in the banking
system. Extravagant living they believe to be at the bottom of it,
and, like the hard-money men, they are only surprised that it has
not come sooner, and they believe most firmly that it is going to
effect a sort of social revolution, and bring the world more nearly
to their own ideal of what it ought to be. The amount of
"rottenness" which they expect it to reveal is always enormous, and
they look forward to the exposure and the general coming-down of
their guilty neighbors to "the hard pan" with the keenest relish.
They have long, for instance, been unable to imagine where the
multitude of people who live in brown-stone houses get the money to
keep them. There was something wrong about it, they felt satisfied,
though they could not tell what, and when the panic comes they half
fancy that the murder will out, and that there will be a great
migration of fraudulent bankrupts from Fifth Avenue and its
neighborhood into tenement-houses on the East and North Rivers. How
Mrs. Smith, too, dressed as she did, and where Smith got the money
to take her to Sharon every summer, and how Jones managed to
entertain as he was doing, have often been puzzling problems, which
"the crash" in the money market is at last going to solve. It is
also highly gratifying to those who consider yachting a senseless
amusement to reflect that the panic will probably diminish the
number of yachts, and they even flatter themselves that it may stop
yachting in future, and reduce the general style of living among
rich young men. "We shall now," they say, "have fewer fast horses,
and less champagne, and less gaudy furniture, and more honest, hard
work, and plain, wholesome food." They accordingly rejoice in the
panic as a means adopted by Providence to bring a gluttonous and
ungodly generation to its senses, and lead it back to that state of
things which is known, as "republican simplicity."

The curious thing about this expectation is that it has survived
innumerable disappointments without apparently losing any of its
vigor. It was strong after 1837, and strong after 1857, and stronger
than ever after 1861. The war was surely, people said, to bring back
the golden age, when all the men were prudent, sober, and
industrious, and all the women simple, modest, and homekeeping. The
war did nothing of the kind. In fact, it left us more extravagant
and lavish and self-indulgent than ever; yet the ancient and tough
belief in the purifying influence of a stringent money market still
lasts, and is at this moment cropping out in the moral department of
a thousand newspapers.

The belief belongs to what may be called the cataclysmal theory of
progress, which improves the world by sudden starts, and clings so
fondly to liquor-laws, and has profound faith in specific remedies
for moral and political diseases. What commercial panics and great
national misfortunes do not do, particular bits of legislation are
sure to do. You put something in the Constitution, or forbid
something, or lose a battle, or have a "shrinkage of values," or
have a cholera season, and forthwith the community turns over a new
leaf, and becomes moral, economical, and sober-minded. We doubt
whether this theory will ever die out, however much philosophers may
preach against it, or however often facts may refute it, because it
gratifies, or promises to gratify, one of the deepest longings of
the human heart--the desire which each man feels to have a great
deal of history crowded into his own little day. None of us can bear
to quit the scene without witnessing the solution of the problems by
which his own life has been vexed or over which he has long labored.
Indeed a great many men would find it impossible to work with any
zeal to bring about results which would probably not be witnessed
until they had been centuries in the tomb.

We accordingly find that the most eager reformers are apt to be
those who look for the triumph of virtue by the close of the current
year. Of all dreams of eager reformers, however, there is probably
none more substantial than that which looks for a restoration of
that vague thing called "simplicity of manners." Simplicity and
economy are, of course, relative terms. The luxurious gentleman in
the fourteenth century lived in a way which the well-to-do artisan
in our own time would not tolerate; and when we undertake to carry
people back to ancient ways of living we find that there is hardly a
point short of barbarism at which we can consistently stop. A
country in which money is easily made and abounds, will be one in
which money will always be freely spent, and in which personal
comfort and even display will occupy men's and women's thoughts a
great deal. We can no more prevent this than we can prevent the
growth of wealth itself; and our duty is, instead of wasting our
breath in denouncing extravagance, or hailing panics as purging
fires, to do what in us lies to give rich people more taste, more
conscience, more sense of responsibility for curable ills, and a
keener relish of the higher forms of pleasure. Extravagance--or, in
other words, the waste of money on sensual enjoyment, the production
of hideous furniture or jewelry, or of barbarous display--has to be
checked not by the preaching of poor people, but by the rich man's
own superiority to these things, and his own repugnance for them.
This repugnance can only be inspired by education, whether that of
school and college, or that of a refined and cultivated social
atmosphere. Much would be done in this direction if public opinion
exacted of the owners of large fortunes that they should give their
sons the best education the country affords; or, in other words,
send them to college, instead of setting them up in the dry-goods
business or the grocery business. A man who has made a large fortune
in honest trade or industry has not contributed his share to moral
and intellectual interests by merely making donations. It is his
duty, also, if he leaves children behind him, to see to it, as far
as he can, that they are men who will be an addition to the general
culture and taste of the nation, and who will stimulate its nobler
ambition, raise its intellectual standard, quicken its love of
excellence in all fields, and deepen its faith in the value of
things not seen.


Our readers and those of _The Galaxy_ are familiar with the
controversy between Dr. Fitzedward Hall and Mr. Grant White
(November, 1873). When one comes to inquire what it was all about,
and why Mr. White was led to consider Dr. Hall a "yahoo of
literature," and "a man born without a sense of decency," one finds
himself engaged in an investigation of great difficulty, but of
considerable interest. The controversy between these two gentlemen
by no means brings up the problem for the first time. That verbal
criticism, such as Mr. White has been producing for some time back,
is sure to end, sooner or later, in one or more savage quarrels, is
one of the most familiar facts of the literary life of our day.
Indeed, so far as our observation has gone, the rule has no
exceptions. Whenever we see a gentleman, no matter how great his
accomplishments or sweet his temper, announcing that he is about to
write articles or deliver lectures on "Words and their Uses," or on
the "English of Every-day Life," or on "Familiar Faults of
Conversation," or "Newspaper English," or any cognate theme, we feel
all but certain that we shall soon see him engaged in an encounter
with another laborer in the same field, in which all dignity will be
laid aside, and in which, figuratively speaking, clothes, hair, and
features will suffer terribly, and out of which, unless he is very
lucky, he will issue with the gravest imputations resting on his
character in every relation of life.

Now why is it that attempts to get one's fellow-men to talk
correctly, to frame their sentences in accordance with good usage,
and take their words from the best authors, have this tendency to
arouse some of the worst passions of our nature, and predispose even
eminent philologists--men of dainty language, and soft manners, and
lofty aims--to assail each other in the rough vernacular of the
fish-market and the forecastle? A careless observer will be apt to
say that it is an ordinary result of disputation; that when men
differ or argue on any subject they are apt to get angry and indulge
in "personalities." But this is not true. Lawyers, for instance,
live by controversy, and their controversies touch interests of the
gravest and most delicate character--such as fortune and reputation;
and yet the spectacle of two lawyers abusing each other in cold
blood, in print, is almost unknown. Currency and banking are, at
certain seasons, subjects of absorbing interest, and, for the last
seventy years, the discussions over them have been numerous and
voluminous almost beyond example, and yet we remember no case in
which a bullionist called a paper-money man bad names, or in which a
friend of free banking accused a restrictionist of defrauding the
poor or defacing tombstones. Politics, too, home and foreign, is a
fertile source of difference of opinion; and yet gross abuse, on
paper, of each other, by political disputants, discussing abstract
questions having no present relation to power or pay, are very rare

It seems, at first blush, as if an examination of the well-known
_odium theologicum_, or the traditional bitterness which has been
apt to characterize controversies about points of doctrine, from the
Middle Ages down to a period within our own memory, would throw some
light on the matter. But a little consideration will show that
there are special causes for the rancor of theologians for which
word-criticism has no parallel. The _odium theologicum_ was the
natural and inevitable result of the general belief that the holding
of certain opinions was necessary to salvation, and that the
formation of opinions could be wholly regulated by the will. This
belief, pushed to its extreme limits and embodied in legislation,
led to the burning of heretics in nearly all Christian countries.
When B's failure to adopt A's conclusions was by A regarded as a
sign of depravity of nature which, would lead to B's damnation,
nothing was more natural than that when they came into collision in
pamphlets or sermons they should have attributed to each other the
worst motives. A man who was deliberately getting himself ready for
perdition was not a person to whom anybody owed courtesy or
consideration, or whose arguments, being probably supplied by Satan,
deserved respectful examination. We accordingly find that as the
list of "essential" opinions has become shortened, and as doubts as
to men's responsibility for their opinions have made their way from
the world into the church, theological controversy has lost its
acrimony and indeed has almost ceased. No theologian of high
standing or character now permits himself to show bad temper in a
doctrinal or hermeneutical discussion, and a large and increasing
proportion of theologians acknowledge that the road to heaven is so
hard for us all that the less quarrelling and jostling there is in
it, the better for everybody.

Nor does the _odium scientificum_, of which we have now happily but
occasional manifestations, furnish us with any suggestions.
Controversy between scientific men begins to be bitter and frequent,
as the field of investigation grows wider and the investigation
itself grows deeper. But then this is easily accounted for.
All scientific men of the first rank are engaged in original
research--that is, in attempts to discover laws and phenomena
previously unknown. The workers in all departments are very
numerous, and are scattered over various countries, and as one
discovery, however slight, is very apt to help in some degree in the
making of another, scientific men are constantly exposed to having
their claims to originality contested, either as regards priority in
point of time or as regards completeness. Consequently, they may be
said to stand in delicate relations to each other, and are more than
usually sensitive about the recognition of their achievements by
their brethren--a state of things which, while it cultivates a very
nice sense of honor, leads occasionally to encounters in which
free-will seems for the moment to get the better of law. The
differences of the scientific world, too, are complicated by the
theological bearing of a good deal of scientific discovery and
discussion, and many a scientific man finds himself either compelled
to defend himself against theologians, or to aid theologians in
bringing an erring brother to reason.

The true source of the _odium philologicum_ is, we think, to be
found in the fact that a man's speech is apt to be, or to be
considered, an indication of the manner in which he has been bred,
and of the character of the company he keeps. Criticism of his mode
of using words, or his pronunciation, or the manner in which he
compounds his sentences, almost inevitably takes the character of an
attack on his birth, parentage, education, and social position; or,
in other words, on everything which he feels most sensitive about or
holds most dear. If you say that his pronunciation is bad, or that
his language is slangy or ill-chosen, you insinuate that when he
lived at home with his papa and mamma he was surrounded by bad
models, or, in plain English, that his parents were vulgar or
ignorant people; when you say that he writes bad grammar, or is
guilty of glaring solecisms, or displays want of etymological
knowledge, you insinuate that his education was neglected, or that
he has not associated with correct speakers. Usually, too, you do
all this in the most provoking way by selecting passages from his
writings on which he probably prided himself, and separating them
totally from the thought of which he was full when he produced them,
and then examining them mechanically, as if they were algebraic
signs, which he used without knowing what they meant or where they
would bring him out. Nobody stands this process very long with
equanimity, because nobody can be subjected to it without being
presented to the public somewhat in the light of an ignorant,
careless, and pretentious donkey. Nor will it do to cite your
examples from deceased authors. You cannot do so without assailing
some form of expression which an eager, listening enemy is himself
in the habit of using, and is waiting for you to take up, and
through which he hopes to bring you to shame.

No man, moreover, can perform the process without taking on airs
which rouse his victim to madness, because he assumes a position not
only of grammatical, but, as we have said, of social superiority. He
says plainly enough, no matter how polite or scientific he may try
to seem, "I was better born and bred than you, and acquired these
correct turns of expression, of which you know nothing, from
cultivated relatives;" or, "I live in cultivated circles, and am
consequently familiar with the best usage, which you, poor fellow!
are not. I am therefore able to decide this matter without argument
or citations, and your best course is to take my corrections in
silence or with thankfulness." It is easy to understand how all
interest in orthography, etymology, syntax, and prosody speedily
disappears in a controversy of this sort, and how the disputants
begin to burn with mutual dislike, and how each longs to inflict
pain and anguish on his opponent, and make him, no matter by what
means, an object of popular pity and contempt, and make his parts of
speech odious and ridiculous. The influence of all good men ought to
be directed either to repressing verbal criticism, or restricting
indulgence in it to the family circle or to schools and colleges.


Biologist like Professor Huxley have, as popular lecturers, the
advantage over scientific men in other fields, of occupying
themselves with what is to ninety-nine men and women out of a
hundred the most momentous of all problems--the manner in which life
on this globe began, and in which men and other animals came to be
what they are. The doctrine of evolution as a solution of these
problems, or of one of them, derives additional interest from the
fact that in many minds it runs counter to ideas which a very large
proportion of the population above the age of thirty imbibed with
the earliest and most impressive portion of their education. Down to
1850 the bulk of intelligent men and women believed that the world,
and all that is therein, originated in the precise manner described
in the first chapter of Genesis, and about six thousand years ago.
Most of the adaptations, or attempts at adaptation, of what is
called the Mosaic account of the creation, of the chronological
theories of the geologists and evolutionists by theologians and
Biblical scholars have been made within that period, and it may be
safely said that it is only within ten or fifteen years that any
clear knowledge of the "conflict between science and religion" has
reached that portion of the people who take a lively or, indeed, any
interest, in religious matters. It would not, in fact, be rash to
say that little or nothing is known about this conflict to this hour
among the great body of Methodists or Catholics, or the evangelical
portion of other denominations, and that their religious outlook is
little, if at all, affected by it. One would never detect, for
instance, in Mr. Moody's preaching, any indication that he had ever
heard of any such conflict, or that the doctrines of the orthodox
Protestant Church had undergone any sensible modification within a
hundred years. Professor Huxley and men like him, therefore, make
their appearance now not simply as manipulators of a most
interesting subject, but as disturbers of beliefs which are widely
spread, deeply rooted, and surrounded by the tenderest and most
sacred associations of human existence.

That under such circumstances he has met with so little opposition
is, on the whole, rather surprising. As far as our observation has
gone, no strong hostility whatever to himself or his teachings has
been shown, except in one or two instances, by either the clergy or
the religious press. Indeed, ministers formed a very prominent and
attentive portion of his audience at the recent lectures at
Chickering Hall. But it has been made very apparent by the articles
and letters which these lectures have called out in the newspapers
that the religious public has hardly understood him. The collision
between the theologians and the scientific men has been very slight
among us; and, indeed, the waves of the controversy hardly reached
this country until the storm had passed away in Europe, so that it
is difficult for Americans to appreciate the combative tone of Mr.
Huxley's oratory. Of this difficulty the effect of his substitution
of Milton for Moses as the historian of the creation, on the night
of his first lecture, has furnished an amusing illustration. The
audience, or at least that portion of it which was gifted with any
sense of humor, saw the joke and laughed over it heartily. It was
simply a telling rhetorical device, intended to point a sarcasm
directed against the biblical commentators who have been trying to
extract the doctrines of evolution from the first chapter of
Genesis. But many of the newspapers all over the country took it up
seriously, and the professor must, if he saw them, have enjoyed
mightily the various letters and articles which have endeavored in
solemn earnest to show that Milton was not justly entitled to the
rank of a scientific expositor, and that it was a cowardly thing in
the lecturer to attack Moses over Milton's shoulders. Whenever
Professor Huxley enters on the defence of his science, as
distinguished from the exposition of it, there are traces in his
language of the _gaudium certaminis_ which has found expression in
so many hard-fought fields in his own country, and which has made
him perhaps the most formidable antagonist, in so far as dialectics
go, that the transcendental philosophers have ever encountered. He
is, _par excellence_, a fighting man, but certainly his pugnacity
diminishes neither his worth nor his capacity.

In many of the comments which his lectures have called out in the
newspapers one meets every now and then with a curious failure to
comprehend the position which an average non-scientific man occupies
in such a conflict as in now going on over the doctrines of
evolution. Professor Huxley was very careful not to repeat the error
which delivered Professor Tyndall into the hands of the enemy at
Belfast. He expressed no opinion as to the nature of the causal
force which called the world into existence. He did not profess to
know anything about the sources of life. He consequently did not
once place himself on the level of the theologian or the
unscientific spectator. What he undertook to do and did was to
present to the audience some specimens of the evidence by which
evolutionists have been led to the conclusion that their theory is
correct. Now, the mistake which a good many newspaper writers--some
of them ministers--have made in passing judgment on the lectures
lies in their supposing that this evidence must be weak and
incomplete because _they_ have not been convinced. There is
probably no more widely diffused fallacy, or one which works more
mischief in all walks of life, than the notion that it is only those
whose business it is to persuade who need to be trained in the art
of proof, and that those who are to be persuaded need no process of
preparation at all.

The fact is that skill in reasoning is as necessary on the one side
as the other. He cannot be fully and rightly convinced who does not
himself know how to convince, and no man is competent to judge in
the last resort of the force of an argument who is not on something
like an equality of knowledge and dialectical skill with the
person using it. This is true in all fields of discussion; it is
pre-eminently true in scientific fields. Of course, therefore, the
real public of the scientific man--the public which settles finally
whether he has made out his case--is a small one. Outside of it
there is another and larger one on which his reasoning may act with
irresistible force; but just as the fact that it does so act does
not prove that his hypothesis is true, so also the fact that it has
failed to convince proves nothing against its soundness. In other
words, a man's occupying the position of a listener does not
necessarily clothe him with the attributes of a judge, and there may
be as much folly and impertinence in his going about saying, "I do
not agree with Huxley; he has not satisfied me; he will have to
produce more proof than that before I believe in evolution," as in
going about saying, "I know as much about evolution as Huxley and
could give as good a lecture on it as he any day." And yet a good
many people are guilty of the one who would blush at the mere
thought of the other.

Another fertile source of confusion in this and similar
controversies is the habit which transcendentalists, theological and
other, have of using the term "truth" in two different senses, the
scientific sense and the religious or spiritual sense. The
scientific man only uses it in one. Truth to him is something
capable of demonstration by some one of the canons of induction. He
knows nothing of any truth which cannot be proved. The religious
man, on the other hand, and especially the minister, has been bred
in the application of the term to facts of an entirely different
order--that is, to emotions produced by certain beliefs which he
cannot justify by any arguments, and about which to him no argument
is necessary. These are the "spiritual truths" which are said to be
perceptible often to the simple-minded and unlearned, though hidden
from the wise and prudent. Now there is no decently educated
religious man who does not perceive the distinction between these
two kinds of truths, and few who do not think they keep this
distinction in mind when passing upon the great problems of the
origin and growth of the universe. But, as a matter of fact, we see
the distinction ignored every day. People go to scientific lectures
and read scientific books with their heads filled with spiritual
truths, which have come they know not whence, and which give them
infinite comfort in all the trying passages of life, and in view of
this comfort must, they think, connect them by invisible lines of
communication with the great Secret of the Universe, toward which
philosophers try to make their way by visible lines. When, then,
they find that the scientific man's induction makes no impression on
this other truth, and that he cannot dislodge any theory of the
growth or government of the world which has become firmly imbedded
in it, they are apt to conclude that there is something faulty in
his methods, or rash and presumptuous in his conclusions. But there
is only one course for the leaders of religious thought to follow in
order to prevent the disastrous confusion which comes of the sudden
and complete break-down of the moral standards and sanctions by
which the mass of mankind live, and that is to put an end at once,
and gracefully, to the theory that the spiritual truth which brings
the peace which passeth understanding has any necessary connection
with any theory of the physical universe, or can be used to refute
it or used as a substitute for it, or is dependent on the
authenticity or interpretation of any book. They must not flatter
themselves because a scientific man here and there doubts or
gainsays, or because some learned theologian is still unconvinced,
or because the mental habits of which faith is born seem to hold
their ground or show signs of revival, that the philosophy of which
Huxley is a master is not slowly but surely gaining ground. The
proofs may not yet be complete, but they grow day by day; some of
the elder scientific men may scout, but no young ones are appearing
to take their places and preach their creed. The tide seems
sometimes to ebb from month to month, but it rises from year to
year. The true course of spiritually minded men under these
circumstances is to separate their faith from all theories of the
precise manner in which the world originated, or of the length of
time it has lasted, as matters, for their purposes, of little or no
moment. The secret springs of hope and courage from which each of us
draws strength in the great crises of existence would flow all the
same whether life appeared on the planet ten million or ten thousand
years ago, and whether the present forms of life were the product of
one day or of many ages. And we doubt very much whether anyone has
ever listened in a candid and dispassionate frame of mind to the
evolutionist's history of the globe without finding that it had
deepened for him the mystery of the universe, and magnified the
Power which stands behind it.

Not the least interesting feature in the discussion about the theory
of evolution is the prominent part taken in it by clergymen of
various denominations. There is hardly one of them who, since
Huxley's lectures, has not preached a sermon bearing on the matter
in some way, and several have made it the topic of special articles
or lectures. In fact, we do not think we exaggerate when we say that
three-fourths of all that has been recently said or written about
the hypothesis in this country has been said or written by
ministers. There is no denying that the theory, if true, does, in
appearance at least, militate against the account of the creation
given in the first chapter of Genesis, or, in other words, against
the view of the origin of life on the globe which has been held
by the Christian world for seventeen centuries. It would, therefore,
be by no means surprising that ministers should meet it, either
by showing that the Mosaic account of the creation was really
inspired--was, in short, the account given by the Creator
himself--or that the modern interpretations of it were incorrect,
and that it was really, when perfectly understood, easily reconciled
with the conclusions reached of late years by geologists and
biologists. This is the way in which a great many ministers have
hitherto met the evolutionists, and for this sort of work they are
undoubtedly fitted by education and experience. If it can be done by
anyone, they are the men to do it. If it be maintained that the
biblical account is literally true, they are more familiar than any
other class of men with the evidence and arguments accumulated by
the Church in favor of the inspiration of the Scriptures; or if, on
the other hand, it be desired to reconcile the Bible with evolution,
they are more familiar than any other class of men with the
exegetical process by which this reconciliation can be effected.
They are specially trained in ecclesiastical history and tradition,
in Greek and Hebrew religious literature, and in the methods of
interpretation which have been for ages in use among theologians.

Of late, however, they have shown a decided inclination to abandon
the purely ecclesiastical approach to the controversy altogether,
and this is especially remarkable in the discussion now pending over
Huxley. They do not seek to defend the biblical account of the
creation, or to reconcile it with the theory of the evolutionists.
Far from it, they have come down, in most of the recent cases, into
the scientific arena, and are meeting the men of science with their
own weapons. They tell Huxley and Darwin and Tyndall that their
evidence is imperfect, and their reasoning from it faulty. Noticing
their activity in this new field, and the marked contrast which this
activity presents to the modesty or indifference of the other
professions--the lawyers and doctors, for instance, who on general
grounds have fully as much reason to be interested in evolution as
the ministers, and have hitherto been at least as well fitted to
discuss it--we asked ourselves whether it was possible that, without
our knowledge, any change had of late years been made in the
curriculum of the divinity schools or theological seminaries with
the view of fitting ministers to take a prominent part in the
solution of the increasingly important and startling problems raised
by physical science. In order to satisfy ourselves, we lately turned
over the catalogues of all the principal divinity schools in the
country, to see if any chairs of natural science had been
established, or if candidates for the ministry had to undergo any
compulsory instruction in geology or physics, or the higher
mathematics, or biology, or palaeontology, or astronomy, or had to
become versed in the methods of scientific investigation in the
laboratory or in the dissecting-room, or were subjected to any
unusually severe discipline in the use of the inductive process. Not
much to our surprise, we found nothing of the kind. We found that,
to all appearance, not even the smallest smattering of natural
science in any of its branches is considered necessary to a
minister's education; no astronomy, no chemistry, no biology, no
geology, no higher mathematics, no comparative anatomy, and nothing
severe in logic. In fact, of special preparation for the discussion
of such a theme as the origin of life on the earth, there does not
appear to be in the ordinary course of our divinity schools any

We then said to ourselves, But ministers are modest, truthful men;
they would not knowingly pass themselves off as competent on a
subject with which they were unfitted to deal. They are no less
candid and self-distrustful, for instance, than lawyers and doctors,
and a lawyer or doctor who ventured to tackle a professed scientist
on a scientific subject to which he had given no systematic study
would be laughed at by his professional brethren, and would suffer
from it even in his professional reputation, as it would be taken to
indicate a dangerous want of self-knowledge. Perhaps, then, the
training given in the divinity schools, though it does not touch
special fields of science, is such as to prepare the mind for the
work of induction by some course of intellectual gymnastics.
Perhaps, though it does not familiarize a man with the facts of
geology and biology and astronomy, it so disciplines him in the work
of collecting and arranging facts of any kind, and reasoning from
them, that he will be a master in the art of proof, and that, in
short, though he may not have a scientific man's knowledge, he will
have his mental habits.

But we found this second supposition as far from the truth as the
first one was. Moreover, the mental constitution of the young men
who choose the ministry as a profession is not apt to be of a kind
well fitted for scientific investigation. Reverence is one of their
prominent characteristics, and reverence predisposes them to accept
things on authority. They are inclined to seek truth rather as a
means of repose than for its own sake, and to fancy that it is
associated closely with spiritual comfort, and that they have
secured the truth when they feel the comfort. Though, last not
least, they enter the seminary with a strong bias in favor of one
particular theory of the origin of life and of the history of the
race, and their subsequent studies are marked out and pursued with
the set purpose of strengthening this bias and of qualifying them to
defend it and spread it, and of associating in their minds the doubt
or rejection of it with moral evil. The consequence is that they go
forth, trained not as investigators or inquirers, but as advocates,
charged with the defence against all comers of a view of the
universe which they have accepted ready-made from teachers. A worse
preparation for scientific pursuits of any kind can hardly be
imagined. The slightest trace of such a state of mind in a
scientific man--that is, of a disposition to believe a thing on
grounds of feeling or interest, or with reference to practical
consequences, or to jump over gaps in proof in order to reach
pleasant conclusions--discredits him with his fellows, and throws
doubt on his statements.

We are not condemning this state of mind for all purposes. Indeed,
we think the wide-spread prevalence of the philosophic way of
looking at things would be in many respects a great misfortune for
the race, and we acknowledge that a rigidly trained philosopher
would be unfit for most of a minister's functions; but we have only
to describe a minister's education in order to show his exceeding
unreadiness for contentions such as some of his brethren are
carrying on with geologists and physicists and biologists. In fact,
there is no educated calling whose members are not, on the whole,
better equipped for fighting in scientific fields over the
hypothesis of evolution. Our surprise at seeing lawyers and doctors
engaged in it would be very much less justifiable, for a portion at
least of the training received in these professions is of a
scientific cast, and concerns the selection and classification of
facts, while a clergyman's is almost wholly devoted to the study of
the opinions and sayings of other men. In truth, theology, properly
so called, is a collection of opinions. Nor do these objections to a
clergyman's mingling in scientific disputes arise out of his belief
about the origin and government of the world _per se_, because one
does not think of making them to trained religious philosophers; for
instance, to Principal Dawson or Mr. St. George Mivart. Some may
think or say that the religious prepossessions of these gentlemen
lessen the weight of their opinions on a certain class of scientific
questions, but no one would question their right to share in
scientific discussions.


Some of the letters from clergymen which have been called out by our
article on the part recently taken by them in scientific discussion
maintain that, although ministers may not be familiar with the facts
of science, many of them are fully competent to weigh the arguments
founded on these facts put forward by scientific men, and decide
whether they have proved their case or not; or, in other words, that
we were mistaken in saying that the theological seminaries did not
afford severe training in the use of the inductive process, and that
it could not be used effectively without knowledge of the matters on
which it was used. More than one of these letters points, in support
of this view, to the answer of the Rev. Dr. Taylor, of this city,
to Professor Huxley's lectures, published some weeks ago in the
_Tribune_, and we believe the _Tribune_ presented the author to the
public as "a trained logician."

We have accordingly turned to Dr. Taylor's letter and given it a
much more attentive reading than we confess we gave it when it first
appeared, for the purpose of seeing whether it was really true that
ministers were such dexterous and highly taught dialecticians that
they could overthrow a scientific man, even on a subject of which
they knew little or nothing--whether, in short, they could really
treat the question of evolution algebraically, and, by the mere aid
of signs of the meaning of which they were ignorant, put the Huxleys
and Darwins to confusion. For Dr. Taylor opens in this way:

  "Let it be understood, then, that I have no fault to find with
  Mr. Huxley as a discoverer of facts or as an exponent of
  comparative anatomy. In both of these respects he is beyond all
  praise of mine, and I am ready to sit at his feet; but when he
  begins to reason from the facts which he sets forth, then, like
  every other reasoner, he is amenable to the laws of
  argumentation, and his conclusions are to be tested by the
  relation which they bear to the premises which he has advanced,
  and by the proof which he furnishes for the premises

We pass over, as of no consequence for our present purpose, the
various exceptions which he then takes to Huxley's arrangement of
his lectures, to the tone of his exceptions, and to his mode of
referring to the biblical hypothesis, and come to what he has to say
of Huxley's evidence, which he truly calls "circumstantial
evidence." The first thing he does is to define circumstantial
evidence; but here, at the very outset, we have been surprised to
find a logician who conceives himself capable of overhauling the
argumentation of the masters of science, going to a lawyer to get
"a statement of the principles which regulate the value of
circumstantial evidence." This is a matter which lay logicians
usually have at their fingers' ends, and we have never known one yet
who would not be puzzled by a suggestion that he should do as Dr.
Taylor did--go to a "distinguished legal friend" for information as
to the conditions of this kind of proof. For, as we have more than
once pointed out, lawyers, as such, have no special skill or
training in the use of circumstantial evidence as scientific men
know it--that is, as evidence which derives all its force from
the laws of the human mind. The circumstantial evidence with
which lawyers, _quâ_ lawyers, are familiar under our system of
jurisprudence is an artificial thing created by legislation or
custom, with the object of preventing the minds of the jury--
presumably a body of untrained and unlearned men--from being
confused or led astray. Moreover, they are only familiar with its
use in one very narrow field--human conduct under one set of social
conditions. For example, a lawyer might be a very good judge of
circumstantial evidence in America, and a very poor one in India or
China; might have a keen eye for the probable or improbable in a New
England village, and none at all in a Prussian barrack.

A familiar illustration of the restrictions on his experience of it
is to be found in the rule which compels the calling of "experts"
when there is a question as to any point of science or art. "The
words science or art," says Mr. Fitzjames Stephen, "include all
subjects on which a _course of special study or experience is
necessary to the formation of an opinion_," and the opinion of such
an expert is a "relevant fact." So that Dr. Taylor's "distinguished
legal friend," if a good lawyer, would not, in spite of his
proficiency in circumstantial evidence, undertake to dispute with
Professor Huxley about the relation of the anchitherium, hipparion,
and horse; and if Dr. Taylor offered himself for examination on such
a point he would be laughed out of court. In none of our courts is
the presentation allowed of _all_ the circumstances which strengthen
or weaken a probability.

A lawyer, therefore, though he might not be as ill fitted for a
scientific discussion as a minister, is, _as such_, hardly more of
an authority on the force and limits of that portion of scientific
proof which is drawn from simple observation. Dr. Taylor's
consulting one as a final authority as to the very nature of the
argument on which he was himself about to sit in judgment is at the
outset a suspicious incident. The definition of circumstantial
evidence which he got from his legal friend was this:

  "The process of proof by circumstantial evidence consists in
  reasoning from such facts as are known or proved, and thence
  establishing such as are conjectured to exist. The process is
  fatally vicious, first, if any material circumstance from which
  we seek to deduce the conclusion depends itself on conjecture;
  and, second, if the known facts are not such as to exclude to a
  reasonable degree of certainty every other hypothesis."

"Now, tried by these two tests," says Dr. Taylor, "the professor's
argument was a failure." Taking this definition as it stands,
however, we think it will not be difficult to show that Dr. Taylor
is not competent to apply the tests, or to say whether the
professor's argument is a failure or not.

It is hardly necessary to say that all the evidence in our
possession or attainable, with regard to the history of the earth
and of animal and vegetable life on its surface, is circumstantial
evidence. The sciences of geology, palaeontology, and, to a certain
extent, biology are sciences of observation, and but few of their
conclusions can be reached or tested by experimentation. They are
the result of a collection of facts, observed in various places, at
various times, and by various persons, and variously related to
other facts; and the collection of these facts, and the arrangement
of them, and the formation of a judgment as to their value both
positive and relative, form the greater portion of the work of a
scientific man in these fields. Professor Huxley's argument, which
Dr. Taylor disposes of so summarily, consists of a series of
inferences from facts so collected and arranged. They are the things
"known or proved," on which, as his legal friend truly says, the
reasoning in the process of proof by circumstantial evidence must

Now, Dr. Taylor, by his own confession, is no authority in either
geology, biology, or palaeontology. He has neither collected,
observed, nor experimented in these fields. He does not know how
many facts have been discovered in them, or what bearing they have
on other facts in other fields. Therefore, he is entirely unable to
say whether Huxley is arguing from things "known or proved" or not.
Moreover, he does not, for similar reasons, know whether Huxley's
process has been "fatally vitiated" by the dependence of any
"material circumstance" on conjecture, or by the insufficiency of
the "known facts" to exclude every other hypothesis; for, first, he
does not know what is in geological, biological, or palaeontological
induction a "material circumstance"--nor does any man know except by
prolonged study and observation--and, second, he does not know
whether "the known or proved facts" are sufficient to exclude every
other hypothesis, because he neither knows what facts are known nor
what is the probative force of such as are known. We can, however,
make Dr. Taylor's position still clearer by a homely illustration. A
wild Indian will, owing to prolonged observation and great acuteness
of the senses, tell by a simple inspection of grass or leaf-covered
ground, on which a scholar will perceive nothing unusual whatever,
that a man has recently passed over it. He will tell whether he was
walking or running, whether he carried a burden, whether he was
young or old, and how long ago and what hour of the day he went by.
He reaches all his conclusions by circumstantial evidence of
precisely the same character as that used by the geologist, though
he knows nothing about the formal logic or the process of induction.
Now, what Dr. Taylor would have us believe is that he can come out
of his study and pass judgment on the Indian's reasoning without
being able to see one of the "known facts" on which the reasoning
rests, or appreciate in any degree which of them is material to the
conclusion and which is not, or even to conjecture whether, taken
together, they exclude the hypothesis that it was not a man but a
cow or a dog which passed over the ground, and not to-day but
yesterday that the marks were made.

Dr. Taylor further on makes a display of this inability to
appreciate the logical value of scientific facts by asking: "Where
is the evidence, scientific or other, that there was evolution? We
see these fossils (those of the horse). Huxley _says_ they are as
they are because the higher evolved itself out of the lower; we
_say_ they are as they are because God created them in series." To
recur to the former illustration, it is as if the Indian should show
Dr. Taylor the marks on which he relied in his induction, and the
doctor should calmly reply: "I see the marks; you _say_ they were
made by a man's foot in walking; I, who have never given any
attention to the subject, and have never been in the woods before,
_say_ they were made by the rain." The fact is that if there were
any weight whatever in this kind of talk--if no equality of
knowledge were necessary between two disputants--it would enable an
ignorant field-hand to sweep away in one sentence the whole science
of geology and palaeontology, and even astronomy, and to dispose of
every conclusion on any subject drawn from a skilled and experienced
balancing of probabilities, or nice mathematical calculation, by
simply saying that he was not satisfied with the proofs.

Dr. Taylor's reasons for believing that the appearance of fossil
horses with a diminishing number of toes is caused by the creation
at separate periods of a four-, a three-, a two-, and a one-toed
horse are, he says, "personal, philosophical, historical," and he
opposes them with the utmost apparent sincerity to Huxley's
assertion that "there can be no scientific evidence" of such
creation. The "personal reason" for believing in successive
creations of sets of horses with a varying number of toes can,
of course, only be the reason so often urged in ball-room
disputation--that "I _feel_ it must be so;" the "philosophic reason"
can only be the one with which those who have frequented the society
of metaphysicians are very familiar, namely, a deduction from some
eminent speculator's opinion about the nature of the Supreme Being,
the conclusion being apparently that if the Creator wished to
diminish the number of a horse's toes, it would not do for him to
let one drop into disuse and so gradually disappear, but he would
have to make a new horse, on a new design. What Dr. Taylor means by
the "historical reason" we can only conjecture from his saying that
it is of the same order as his historical reason for believing "that
the Bible is the Word of God." The historical reason for this, we
presume, is that there are various literary and traditional proofs
that the Old Testament was held to be the Word of God by the Jewish
nation at a very early period, and was by them transmitted as such
to the modern Christian world, and that many of the prophecies
contained in it have received partial or a complete fulfilment. But
how by a process of this kind, partly literary and partly
conjectural, and attended by great difficulties at every step, he
would reach a fact of _prehistoric times_ of so much gravity as
creation in series, we think it would puzzle Dr. Taylor to explain.
Indeed, the mere production in a controversy of this nature of these
vague fancies, half pious, half poetical, conjured up in most cases
as a help to mental peace, by a leading minister in the character of
a logician, is a very remarkable proof of the extent of those
defects in clerical education to which we recently called attention.


The recent address delivered by Professor Tyndall before the British
Association at Belfast, in which he "confessed" that he "prolonged
the vision backward across the boundary of experimental evidence,
and discerned in matter the promise and potency of every quality and
form of life," produced one by no means very surprising result. Dr.
Watts, a professor of theology in the Presbyterian College in that
city, was led by it to offer to read before the Biological Section
of the Association a paper containing a plan of his own for the
establishment of "peace and co-operation between science and
religion." The paper was, as might have been expected, declined. The
author then read it before a large body of religious people, who
apparently liked it, and they passed him a vote of thanks. The whole
religious world, indeed, is greatly excited against both Tyndall and
Huxley for their performances on this occasion, and papers by no
means in sympathy with the religious world--the _Pall Mall Gazette_,
for instance--are very severe on them for having "recourse to a
style of oratory and disquisition more appropriate to the chapel
than the lecture-room," or, in other words, for using the meetings
of the Association for a sort of propagandism not much superior in
method to that of theological missionaries, and thus challenging the
theologians to a conflict which may make it necessary, in the
interest of fair play, to add a theological section to the
Association. Of course, when Professor Tyndall passed "beyond the
boundary of experimental evidence," and began to see with his
"mind's eye" instead of with the microscope and telescope, he got
into a region in which the theologian is not only more at home than
he, but which theology claims as its exclusive domain, and in which
ministers look on physicists as intruders.

But then, Dr. Watts's "plea for peace and co-operation between
science and religion" is one of many signs that theologians are, in
spite of all that has as yet been said, hardly alive to the exact
nature of the attitude they occupy toward science. They evidently
look upon scientific men as they look on a hostile school of
theologians--as the Princeton men look on the Yale men, for
instance, or the New looked on the Old School Presbyterians, or the
Calvinists on the Arminians--that is, as persons having a common
standard of orthodoxy, but differing somewhat in their method of
applying it, and who may, therefore, be induced from considerations
of expediency to suppress all outward marks of divergence and work
together harmoniously for the common end. All schools of theology
seek the glory of God and salvation of souls, and, this being the
case, differences on points of doctrine do seem trifling and capable
of being put aside.

It is this way of regarding the matter which has led Dr. Watts to
propose an alliance between religion and science, and which produces
the arguments one sometimes sees in defence of Christianity against
Positivism, drawn from a consideration of the services which
Christianity has rendered to the race, and of the gloomy and
desolate condition in which its disappearance would leave the world.
Tyndall and Huxley do not, however, occupy the position of religious
prophets or fathers. They preside over no church or other
organization. They have no power or authority to draft any creed or
articles which will bind anybody else, or which would have any
claims on anybody's reverence or adhesion. No person, in short, is
authorized to bring science into an alliance with religion or with
anything else. Such "peace and co-operation" as Dr. Watts proposed
would be peace and co-operation between him and Professor Tyndall,
or between the theologians and the British Association, but "peace
and co-operation between science and religion" is a term which
carries absurdity on its face. Science is simply a body of facts
which lead people familiar with them to infer the existence of
certain laws. How can it, therefore, be either at peace or war with
anybody, or co-operate with anybody? What Professor Tyndall might
promise would be either not to discover any more facts, or to
discover only certain classes of facts, or to draw no inferences
from facts which would be unfavorable to Dr. Watts's theory of the
universe; but the only result of this would be that Tyndall would
lose his place as a scientific man, and others would go on
discovering the facts and drawing the inferences.

In like manner, the supposition that Christianity can be defended
against Positivism on grounds of expediency implies a singular
conception of the mental operations of those persons who are
affected by Positivist theories, and indeed, we might add, of the
thinking world generally. No man believes in a religion simply
because he thinks it useful, and therefore no man's real adhesion to
the Christian creed can be secured by showing him how human
happiness would suffer by its extinction. This argument, if it had
any weight at all, would only induce persons either to pretend to be
Christians when they were not, or to refrain from assailing
Christianity, or to avoid all inquiries which might possibly lead to
sceptical conclusions. It is therefore, perhaps, a good argument to
address to believers, because it may induce them to suppress doubts
and avoid lines of thought or social relations likely to beget
doubt; but it is an utterly futile argument to address to those who
have already lost their faith. Men believe because they are
convinced; it is not in their power to believe from motives of
prudence or from public spirit.

However, the complaints of the theologians excited by Professor
Tyndall's last utterances are not wholly unreasonable. Science has
done nothing hitherto to give it any authority in the region of the
unseen. "Beyond the boundary of experimental evidence" one man's
vision is about as good as another's. It is interesting to know that
Professor Tyndall there "discerns in matter the potency and promise
of every quality and form of life," but only because he is a
distinguished man, who gives much thought to this class of subjects
and occupies a very prominent place in the public eye. As a basis
for belief of any kind, his vision is of no more value than that of
the Archbishop of Canterbury, who would probably in that region
discern the promise and potency of every form of life in a supreme
and creative intelligence. Scientific men are continually pushing
back the limits of our knowledge of the material universe. They have
during the last eighty years made an enormous addition to the sum of
that knowledge, but they have not, since Democritus, taken away one
hair's-breadth from the Mystery which lies behind. In fact, their
labors have in many ways deepened this Mystery. We can appeal
confidently to any candid man to say, for instance, whether Darwin's
theory of the origin of life and the evolution of species does not
make this globe and its inhabitants a problem vastly darker and more
inscrutable than the Mosaic account of the creation. Take, again,
the light thrown on the constitution of the sun by the spectroscope;
it is a marvellous addition to our knowledge of our environment, but
then, does it not make our ignorance as to the origin of the sun
seem deeper? No scientific man pretends that any success in
discovery will ever lead the human mind beyond the resolution of the
number of laws which now seem to govern phenomena into a smaller
number; but if we reached the limit of the possible in that
direction to-morrow, we should be as far from the secret of the
universe as ever. When we have all got to the blank wall which
everybody admits lies at the boundary of experimental evidence, the
philosopher will know no more about what lies beyond than the
peasant, though the peasant will probably do then what he does
now--people it with the creatures of his imagination. If a
philosopher in our day likes to anticipate that period, and hazards
the conjecture that matter lies beyond, he is welcome to his guess,
but it ought to be understood that it is only a guess.

The danger to society from the men of science does not, we imagine,
lie in the direction in which the theologians look for it. We do not
think they need feel particularly troubled by Professor Tyndall's
speculations as to the origin of things, for these speculations are
very old, and have, after all, only a remote connection with human
affairs. But there are signs both in his and Professor Huxley's
methods of popularizing science, and in those of a good many of
their followers, that we may fear the growth of something in the
nature of a scientific priesthood, who, tempted by the great
facilities for addressing the public which our age affords, and to
which nearly every other profession has fallen a victim, will no
longer confine themselves to their laboratories and museums and
scientific journals, but serve as "ministers of nature" before great
crowds of persons, for the most part of small knowledge and limited
capacity, on whom their hints, suggestions, and denunciations will
have a dangerously stimulating effect, particularly as the contempt
of scientific men for what is called "literature"--that is, the
recorded experience of the human race and the recorded expression of
human feelings--grows every year stronger, and exerts more and more
influence on the masses. The number of dabblers in science--of
persons with a slight smattering of chemistry, geology, botany, and
so on--too, promises to be largely increased for some time to come
by the arrangements of one sort or another made by colleges and
schools for scientific education; and though there is reason to
expect from this education a considerable improvement in knowledge
of the art of reasoning, there is also reason to fear a considerable
increase of dogmatic temper, of eagerness for experimentation in all
fields, and of scorn for the experience of persons who have never
worked in the laboratory or done any deep-sea dredging. Now,
whatever views we may hold as to the value of science in general and
in the long run to the human race, and in particular its value for
purposes of legislation and social economy, which we are far from
denying, there is some risk that lectures like Professor Huxley's at
Belfast, dressed up for promiscuous crowds, and produced with the
polite scorn of infallibility, in which the destruction of moral
responsibility is broadly hinted at as one of the probable results
of researches in biology, will do great mischief. For what does it
matter, or rather ought it to matter, for social purposes, in what
part of a man's system his conscience lies, or whether pressure on a
particular portion of the brain may convert him into a thief, when
we know, as of experience, that the establishment of good courts and
police turns a robbers' den into a hive of peaceful industry, and
when we see the wonders which discipline works in an ignorant crowd?


A considerable body of the graduates of the Irish Catholic
University, including members of the legal and medical professions,
presented a long and solemn memorial to Cardinal Cullen and the
other Catholic bishops at the late commencement of that institution,
which throws a good deal of light not only on the vexed question of
Catholic education in Ireland, but on the relations of the Catholic
Church to education everywhere. The memorial examined in detail the
management of the university, which it pronounces so bad as to
endanger the existence of the college. But what it most complains of
is the all but total absence of instruction in science. The
memorialists say that the neglect of science by the university has
afforded a very plausible argument to the enemies of the university,
who never tire of repeating that the Catholic Church is the enemy of
science, and that she will carry out her usual policy in Ireland
with respect to it; that "no one can deny that the Irish Catholics
are miserably deficient in scientific education, and that this
deficiency is extremely galling to them; and, in a commercial sense,
involves a loss to them, while, in an intellectual sense, it
involves a positive degradation." They speak regretfully of the
secession of Professor Sullivan, to take the presidency of the
Queen's College, Cork, and declare that "no Irish-Catholic man of
science can be found to take his place." They then go on to make
several astounding charges. The lecture-list of the university does
not include for the faculty of arts a single professor of the
physical or natural sciences, or the name of a solitary teacher in
descriptive geometry, geology, zoölogy, comparative anatomy,
mineralogy, mining, astronomy, philology, ethnology, mechanics,
electricity, or optics. Of the prizes and exhibitions, the number
offered in classics equals that of those offered in all other
studies put together, while in other universities the classical
prizes do not exceed one-fourth of the whole. They wind up their
melancholy recital by declaring that they are determined that the
scientific inferiority of Irish Catholics shall not last any longer;
and that if they cannot obtain a scientific education in their own
universities, they will seek it at Trinity or the Queen's Colleges,
or study it for themselves in the works of Haeckel, Darwin, Huxley,
Tyndall, and Lyell. They make one other singular complaint, viz.,
that no provision is made for supplying the lay students with
instruction in theology.

It ought to be said in defence of the cardinal and the bishops,
though the memorialists probably could not venture to say it, that
the church hardly pretends that the university is an efficient or
complete instrument of education. It has been in existence, it is
true, twenty years, but the main object of its promoters during this
period has apparently been to harass or frighten the government by
means of it into granting them an endowment, or giving them control
of the Queen's Colleges. Had they succeeded in this, they would
doubtless before now have made a show of readiness to afford
something in the nature of scientific instruction, because, as the
memorialists remark, there is no denying "that the physical and
natural sciences have become the chief studies of the age." But the
memorialists must be either very simple-minded or very ignorant
Catholics, if they suppose that any endowment or any pressure from
public opinion would ever induce the Catholic hierarchy to undertake
to turn out students who would make a respectable figure among the
scientific graduates of other universities, or even hold their own
among the common run of amateur readers of Huxley and Darwin and
Tyndall. There is no excuse for any misunderstanding as regards the
policy of the church on this point. She has never given the
slightest encouragement or sanction to the idea which so many
Protestant divines have of late years embraced, that theology is a
progressive science, capable of continued development in the light
of newly discovered facts, and of gradual adaptation to the changing
phases of our knowledge of the physical universe. She has hundreds
of times given out as absolute truth a certain theory of the origin
of man and of the globe he lives on, and she cannot either abandon
it or encourage any study or habit of mind which would naturally or
probably lead to doubt of the correctness of this theory, or of the
church's authority in enunciating it. In fact, the Pope, who is now
an infallible judge in all matters of faith and discipline, has,
within the last five years, in the famous "Syllabus" of modern
follies, pronounced damnable and erroneous nearly all the methods
and opinions by which Irish or any other Catholics could escape the
deficiency in scientific knowledge which they say they find so
injurious and so degrading. It is safe to say, therefore, that a
Catholic cannot receive an education which would fit him to acquire
distinction among scientific men in our day, without either
incurring everlasting damnation or running the risk of it. Beside a
danger of this kind, of course, as any priest will tell him,
commercial loss and social inferiority are small matters.

Of course, if we take the facts of a great many branches of physical
science by themselves, it would be easy enough to show that a good
Catholic might safely accept them. But no man can reach these facts
by investigations of his own, or hold to them intelligently and
fruitfully, without acquiring intellectual habits and making use of
tests which the church considers signs of a rebellious and therefore
sinful temper. Moreover, nobody who has attained the limits of our
present knowledge in chemistry, geology, comparative anatomy,
ethnography, philology, and mythology can stand there with closed
eyes. He must inevitably peer into the void beyond, and would be
more than human if he did not indulge in speculations as to the
history of the universe and its destiny which the church must treat
as endangering his salvation. This is so well known that one reads
the lamentations of these Catholic laymen with considerable
surprise. They may be fairly supposed to know something of church
history, and, even if they do not, they must profess some knowledge
of the teaching given by the church in those universities of other
countries which she controls. She does not encourage the study of
natural science anywhere. Mathematics and astronomy she looks on
with some favor, though we do not know how the spectroscope may have
affected her toward the latter; and we venture to assert that these
are the only fields of science in which any Catholic layman attains
distinction without forfeiting his standing in the eyes of the
clergy. We do not now speak of the French, Italian, and German
Catholic laymen who go on with their investigations without caring
whether the clergy like them or not, and without taking the trouble
to make any formal repudiation of the church's authority over their
intellects. We simply say there are no pious Catholic scientific men
of any note, and never will be if the Catholic clergy can help it,
and the lamentations of Catholics over the fact are logically

The legislation which Prussia is now putting into force on the
subject of clerical education is founded on a candid recognition of
the church's position on this matter. Prince Bismarck is well aware
that in no seminary or college controlled by priests is there any
chance that a young man will receive the best instruction of the day
on the subjects in which the modern world is most interested, and by
which the affairs of the State are most influenced. He has,
therefore, wisely decided that it is the duty of the State to see
that men who still exert as much power over popular thought as
priests do, and are to receive State pay as popular instructors,
shall also receive the best obtainable secular education before
being subjected to purely professional training in the theological
seminaries. The desperation of the fight made against him by the
clergy is due to their well-grounded belief that in order to get a
young man in our time to swallow a fair amount of Catholic theology,
he must be caught early and kept close. The warfare which is raging
in Prussia is one which has broken out in every country in which the
government has formal relations with the church.

The appearance of a mutinous spirit among the Irish laity, and this
not on political but scientific subjects, shows that the poison has
sunk very deep and is very virulent; for the Irish laity have been
until now the foremost Catholics in the world in silence and
submissiveness, and there is nothing in ecclesiastical history which
can equal in absurdity a request, addressed to Cardinal Cullen, that
he would supply them with the kind of teaching which other men get
from Tyndall and Huxley. With ecclesiastical insubordination arising
out of differences on matters of doctrine or discipline, such as
that manifested by the Old Catholics, it is comparatively easy to
deal. Schismatics can be excommunicated by an authority which they
have themselves venerated, and from an organization in which they
loved to live and would fain have died. But over wanderers into the
fields of science the church loses all hold. Her weapons are the
jest of the museum and the laboratory, and her lore the babbling of
the ignorant or blind.


The Episcopal Church, at the late Triennial Convention, took up and
determined to make a more vigorous effort to deal with the problem
presented by the irreligion of the poor and the dishonesty of
church-members. It is an unfortunate and, at first sight, somewhat
puzzling circumstance, that so many of the culprits in the late
cases of fraud and defalcation should have been professing
Christians, and in some cases persons of unusual ecclesiastical
activity, and that this activity should apparently have furnished no
check whatever to the moral descent. It is proposed to meet the
difficulty by more preaching, more prayer, and greater use of lay
assistance in church-work. There is nothing very new, however,
about the difficulty. There is hardly a year in which it is not
deplored at meetings of church organizations, and in which solemn
promises are not made to devise some mode of keeping church-members
up to their professions, and gathering more of the church-less
working-classes into the fold; but somehow there is not much
visible progress to be recorded. The church scandals multiply in
spite of pastors and people, and the workingmen decline to show
themselves at places of worship, although the number of places of
worship and of church-members steadily increases.

We are sorry not to notice in any of the discussions on the subject
a more frank and searching examination of the reason why religion
does not act more powerfully as a rule of conduct. Until such an
examination is made, and its certain results boldly faced by church
reformers, the church cannot become any more of a help to right
living than it is now, be this little or much. The first thing which
such an examination would reveal is a thing which is in everybody's
mind and on everybody's tongue in private, but which is apt to be
evaded or only slightly alluded to at ecclesiastical synods and
conventions--we mean the loss of faith in the dogmatic part of
Christianity. People do not believe in the fall, the atonement, the
resurrection, and a future state of reward and punishment at all, or
do not believe in them with the certainty and vividness which are
needed to make faith a constant influence on man's daily life. They
do not believe they will be damned for sin with the assurance they
once did, and they are consequently indifferent to most of what is
said to them of the need of repentance. They do not believe the
story of Christ's life and the theory of his character and
attributes given in the New Testament, or they regard them as merely
a picturesque background to his moral teachings, about which a
Christian may avoid coming to any positive conclusion.

No man who keeps himself familiar with the intellectual and
scientific movements of the day, however devout a Christian he may
be, likes to question himself as to his beliefs about these matters,
or would like to have to define accurately where his faith ended and
his doubts began. If he is assailed in discussion by a sceptic and
his combativeness roused, he will probably proclaim himself an
implicit and literal acceptor of the gospel narratives; but he will
not be able to maintain this mental attitude alone in his own room.
The effort that has been made by Unitarians and others to meet this
difficulty by making Christ's influence and authority rest on his
moral teachings and example, without the support of a divine nature
or mission or sacrifice, has failed. The Christian Church cannot be
held together as a great social force by his teaching or example as
a moral philosopher. A church organized on this theory speedily
becomes a lecture association or a philanthropic club, of about as
much aid to conduct as Freemasonry. Christ's sermons need the touch
of supernatural authority to make them impressive enough for the
work of social regeneration, and his life was too uneventful and the
society in which he lived too simple, to give his example real power
over the imagination of a modern man who regards him simply as a
social reformer.

This decline of faith in Christian dogma and history has not,
however, produced by any means a decline in religious sentiment, but
it has deprived religion of a good deal of its power as a means of
moral discipline. Moral discipline is acquired mainly by the
practice of doing what one does not like to do, under the influence
of mastering fear or hope. The conquest of one's self, of which
Christian moralists speak so much, is simply the acquisition of the
power of doing easily things to which one's natural inclinations
are opposed; and in this work the mass of mankind are powerfully
aided--indeed, we may say, have to be aided--by the prospect of
reward or punishment. The wonderful results which are achieved in
the army, by military authority, in inspiring coarse and common
natures with a spirit of the loftiest devotion, are simply due to
the steady application by day and by night of a punishing and
rewarding authority. The loss of this, or its great enfeeblement,
undoubtedly has deprived the church of a large portion of its means
of discipline, and reduced it more nearly to the __rôle_ of a
stimulater and gratifier of certain tender emotions. It contains a
large body of persons whose religious life consists simply of a
succession of sensations not far removed from one's enjoyment of
music and poetry; and another large body, to whom it furnishes
refuge and consolation of a vague and ill-defined sort in times of
sorrow and disappointment. To these persons the church prayers and
hymns are not trumpet-calls to the battle-field, but soothing
melodies, which give additional zest to home comforts and luxuries,
and make the sharper demands of a life of the highest integrity less
unbearable. Nay, the case is rather worse than this. We have little
doubt that this sentimental religion, as we may call it, in many
cases deceives a man as to his own moral condition, and hides from
him the true character and direction of the road he is travelling,
and furnishes his conscience with a false bottom. The revelations of
the last few years as to its value as a guide in the conduct of life
have certainly been plain and deplorable.

The evil in some degree suggests the remedy, though we do not mean
to say that we know of any complete remedy. Church-membership ought
to involve discipline of some kind in order to furnish moral aid. It
ought, that is to say, to impose some restraint on people's
inclinations, the operation of which will be visible, and enforced
by some external sanction. If, in short, Christians are to be
regarded as more trustworthy and as living on a higher moral plane
than the rest of the world, they must furnish stronger evidence of
their sincerity than is now exacted from them, in the shape of plain
and open self-denial. The church, in short, must be an organization
held together by some stronger ties than enjoyment of weekly music
and oratory in a pretty building, and alms-giving which entails no
sacrifice and is often only a tickler of social vanity. There is in
monasticism a suggestion of the way in which it must retain its
power over men's lives, and be enabled to furnish them with a
certificate of character. Its members will have to have a good deal
of the ascetic about them, but without any withdrawal from the

How to attain this without sacrificing the claims of art, and
denying the legitimacy of honestly acquired material power, and, in
fact, restricting individual freedom to a degree which the habits
and social theories of the day would make very odious, is the
problem to be solved, and, it is, no doubt, a very tough one.
General inculcation of "plain living" will not solve it, as long as
"plain living" is not defined and the "self-made man" who has made a
great fortune and spends it lavishly is held up to the admiration of
every school-boy. The church has been making of late years a gallant
effort to provide accommodation for the successful, and enable them
to be good Christians without sacrificing any of the good things of
this life, and, in fact, without surrendering anything they enjoy,
or favoring the outside public with any recognizable proof of their
sincerity. We do not say that this is reprehensible, but it is easy
to see that it has the seeds of a great crop of scandals in it.
Donations in an age of great munificence, and horror of far-off or
unattractive sins, like the slaveholding of Southerners and the
intemperance of the miserable poor, are not, and ought not to be,
accepted as signs of inward and spiritual grace, and of readiness to
scale "the toppling crags of duty."

The conversion of the working-classes, too, it is safe to say, will
never be accomplished by any ecclesiastical organization which sells
cushioned pews at auction, or rents them at high rates, and builds
million-dollar churches for the accommodation of one thousand
worshippers. The passion for equality has taken too strong hold of
the workingman to make it possible to catch him with cheap chapels
and assistant pastors. He will not seek salvation _in forma
pauperis_, and thinks the best talent in the ministerial market not
a whit too good for him. He not unnaturally doubts the sincerity of
Christians who are not willing to kneel beside badly dressed persons
in prayer on the one day of the week when prayer is public. In fact,
to fit the Protestant Church in this country to lay hold of the
laboring population a great process of reconstruction would be
necessary. The congregational system would have to be abandoned or
greatly modified, the common fund made larger and administered in a
different way. There would have, in short, to be a close approach to
the Roman Catholic organization, and the churches would have to lose
the character of social clubs, which now makes them so comfortable
and attractive. Well-to-do Christians would have to sacrifice their
tastes in a dozen ways, and give up the expectation of aesthetic
pleasure in public worship. There cannot be a vast Gothic cathedral
for the multitude in every city. The practice of the church would
have to be forced up to its own theory of its character and mission,
which would involve serious collision with some of the most deeply
rooted habits and ideas of modern social and political life. That
there is any immediate probability of this we do not believe. Until
it is brought about, its members must make up their minds to have
religious professions treated by some as but slight guarantees of
character, and by others as but cloaks of wrong-doing, hard as this
may be for that large majority to whom they are an honest expression
of sure hopes and noble aims.


Mr. Galton, in his work on "Hereditary Genius," has drawn attention
in a striking chapter to the effect which the systematic destruction
and expatriation, by the Inquisition or the religious intolerance of
the government, of the leading men of the nation--its boldest
thinkers, most ardent investigators, most prudent and careful and
ingenious workers, in generation after generation--had in bringing
about the moral and political decline of the three great Latin
countries, France, Spain, and Italy--a decline of which, in the case
of the two former at least, we have probably not seen the end. The
persons killed or banished amounted only to a few thousands every
year, but they were--no matter from what rank they came--the flower
of the population: the men whose labor and whose influence enabled
the State to keep its place in the march of civilization. The
picture is very valuable (particularly just now, when there is so
great a disposition to revel in the consciousness of vast numbers),
as calling attention to the smallness of the area within which,
after all, the sources of national greatness and progress are to be
sought. The mind which keeps the mass in motion, which saves and
glorifies it, would most probably, if we could lay bare the secret
of national life, be found in the possession of a very small
proportion of the people, though not in any class in particular--
neither among the rich nor the poor, the learned nor simple,
capitalists nor laborers; but the abstraction of these few from the
sum of national existence, though it would hardly be noticed in the
census, would produce a fatal languor, were the nation not
constantly receiving fresh blood from other countries.

This element was singled out with considerable accuracy in France
and Spain by religious persecution. It would happily be impossible
to devise any process of selection one-quarter as efficient in our
age or in this country. The one we have been using for the last
twenty years, and on which a good deal of popular reliance has been
placed, is the accumulation of wealth; and under this "the self-made
man"--that is, the man who, starting in life ignorant and poor, has
made a large fortune, and got control of a great many railroads and
mines and factories--has risen into the front rank of eminence. The
events of the last five years, however, have had a damaging effect
on his reputation, and he now stands as low as his worst enemies
could desire. As he declines, the man of some kind of training
naturally rises; and it would be running no great risk to affirm
that the popular mind inclines more than it has usually done to the
belief that trained men--that is, men who have been prepared for
their work by teaching on approved methods--are after all the most
valuable possession a country can have, and that a country is well
or ill off in proportion as they are numerous or the reverse. One
does not need to travel very far from this position to reach the
conclusion that there is probably no way in which we could strike so
deadly a blow at the happiness and progress of the United States as
by sweeping away, by some process of proscription kept up during a
few generations, the graduates of the principal colleges. In no
other way could we make so great a drain on the reserved force of
character, ambition, and mental culture which constitutes so large a
portion of the national vitality. They would not be missed at the
polls, it is true, and if they were to run a candidate for the
Presidency to-morrow their vote would excite great merriment among
the politicians; but if they were got rid of regularly for forty or
fifty years in the manner we have suggested, and nothing came in
from the outside to supply their places, the politicians would
somehow find that they themselves had less public money to vote or
steal, less national aspiration to trade upon, less national force
to direct, less national dignity to maintain or lose, and that, in
fact, by some mysterious process, they were getting to be of no more
account in the world than their fellows in Guatemala or Costa Rica.

There will come to the colleges of the United States during the next
fifty years a larger and larger number of men who either strongly
desire training for themselves or are the sons of men who are deeply
sensible of its advantages, and therefore are at the head of
families which possess and appreciate the traditions of high
civilization, and would like to live in them and contribute their
share to perpetuating them--and they will not come from any one
portion of the country. There are, unhappily, "universities" in all
parts of the Union, but there is hardly a doubt that as the means of
communication are improved and cheapened, and as the real nature and
value of the university education become better understood, the
tendency to use the small local institutions passing by this name
as, what they really are, high schools, and resort to the half-dozen
colleges which can honestly call themselves universities, will
increase. The demands which modern culture, owing to the advance of
science and research in every field, now makes on a university, in
the shape of professors, books, apparatus, are so great that only
the largest and wealthiest institutions can pretend to meet them,
and in fact there is something very like false pretence in the
promise to do so held out to poor students by many of the smaller
colleges. These colleges doubtless do a certain amount of work very
creditably; but they are uncandid in saying that they give a
university education, and in issuing diplomas purporting to be
certificates that any such education has either been sought or
received. The idea of maintaining a university for the sake of the
local glory of it is a form of folly which ought not to be
associated with education in any stage. These considerations are now
felt to be so powerful in other countries that they threaten the
destruction of a whole batch of universities in Italy which have
come down famous and honored from the Middle Ages and have sent out
twenty generations of students, and they are causing even the very
best of the smaller universities in Germany, great and efficient as
many of them are, to tremble for their existence.

There is no interest of learning, therefore, which would not be
served by the greater concentration of the resources of the country
as regards university education, still less is there any interest of
society or politics. It is of the last importance that the class of
men from all parts of the country whom the universities send out
into the world should as far as possible be educated together, and
start on their careers with a common stock of traditions, tastes,
and associations. Much as steam and the telegraph have done, and
will do, to diminish for administrative purposes the size of the
Republic, and to simplify the work of government, they cannot
prevent the creation of a certain diversity of interests, and even
of temperament and manners, through differences of climate and soil
and productions. There will never come a time when we shall not have
more or less of such folly as the notion that the South and West
need more money than the East, because they have less capital, or
the struggle of some parts of the country for a close market against
other parts which seek an open one. Nothing but a reign of knowledge
and wisdom, such as centuries will not bring, will prevent States on
the Gulf or on the Pacific from fancying that their interests are
not identical with those of the Northern Atlantic, and nothing but
profound modifications in the human constitution will ever bring the
California wheat-raiser into complete sympathy with the New England

The work of our political system for ages to come will consist
largely in keeping these differences in check; and in doing it, it
will need all the help it can get from social and educational
influences. It ought to be the aim, therefore, of the larger
institutions of learning to offer every inducement in their power to
students from all parts of the Union, and more especially from the
South, as the region which is most seriously threatened by
barbarism, and in which the sense of national unity and the hold of
national traditions on the popular mind are now feeblest. We at the
North owe to the civilized men at the South who are now, no matter
what their past faults or delusions may have been, struggling to
save a large portion of the Union from descent into heathen darkness
and disorder, the utmost help and consideration. We owe them above
all a free and generous welcome to a share in whatever means of
culture we have at our disposal, and ought to offer it, as far as is
consistent with our self-respect, in a shape that will not wound

The question of the manner of doing this came up incidentally at
Harvard the other day, at the dedication of the great hall erected
in memory of the graduates of the university who died in the war.
The hall is to be used for general college purposes, for
examinations, and some of the ceremonial of commencement, as well as
for dinner, and a portion of the walls is covered with tablets
bearing the names of those to whose memory it is dedicated. The
question whether the building would keep alive the remembrance of
the civil war in any way in which it is inexpedient to keep it
alive, or in any way which would tend to keep Southern students away
from the university, has been often asked, and by some answered in
the affirmative. General Devens, who presided at the alumni dinner,
gave full and sufficient answer to those who find fault with the
rendering of honor on the Northern side to those who fell in its
cause; but General Bartlett--who perhaps more than any man living is
qualified to speak for those who died in the war--uttered, in a
burst of unpremeditated eloquence, at the close of the proceedings,
the real reason why no Southern man need, and we hope will never,
feel hurt by Northern memorials of the valor and constancy of
Northern soldiers. It is not altogether the cause which ennobles
fighting; it is the spirit in which men fight; and no horror of the
objects of the Southern insurrection need prevent anybody from
admiring or lamenting the gallant men who honestly, loyally, and
from a sense of duty perished in its service. It is not given to the
wisest and best man to choose the right side; but the simplest and
humblest knows whether it is his conscience which bids him lay down
his life. And this test may be applied by each side to all the
victims of the late conflict without diminishing by one particle its
faith in the justice of its own cause. Moreover, as General Bartlett
suggested, the view of the nature of the struggle which is sure to
gain ground all over the country as the years roll on is that it was
a fierce and passionate but inevitable attempt to settle at any cost
a controversy which could be settled in no other way; and that all
who shared in it, victors or vanquished, helped to save the country
and establish its government on sure and lasting foundations. This
feeling cannot grow without bringing forcibly to mind the fact that
the country was saved through the war that virtue might increase,
that freedom might spread and endure, and that knowledge might rule,
and not that politicians might have a treasury to plunder and marble
halls to exchange their vituperation in; thus uniting the best
elements of Northern and Southern society by the bonds of honest
indignation as well as of noble hopes.


The _Baltimore American_, discussing the plan of the Hopkins
University in that city, says: "The _Nation_ suggests to the Board
of Trustees a university that would leave Latin, Greek, mathematics,
and the elements of natural science out of its curriculum." This is
so great a mistake that we are at a loss to understand how it could
have been made. The _Nation_ has never suggested anything of the
kind. The university which the _Nation_ has expressed the hope the
trustees would found is simply a university with such a high
standard for admission on all subjects that the professors would be
saved the necessity of teaching the rudiments of either Latin,
Greek, mathematics, or natural science; or, in other words, that the
country would be saved considerable waste of skilled labor. The
reason why we have ventured to expect this of the Hopkins trustees
is that they enjoy the all but unprecedented advantage of being left
in possession of a very large bequest, with complete liberty, within
very wide limits, as to the disposition of it. In other words, they
are to found a university with it, but as to the kind of university
they may exercise their discretion.

That this is a very exceptional position everybody familiar with the
history of American colleges knows. All the older colleges are bound
to the state, or to certain religious denominations, by laws or
usages or precedents which impose a certain tolerably fixed
character either on the subjects or on the mode of teaching them, or
on both. They have traditions to uphold, or denominational interests
to care for, or political prejudices to satisfy. The newer ones, on
the other hand, are apt to have incurred a bondage even worse still,
in having to carry out the wishes of a founder who, in ninety-nine
cases out of a hundred, had only a faint notion of the nature and
needs of a university, and in endowing one sought rather to erect a
monument to his memory than to found a seat of learning. In so far
as he was interested in the curriculum, he probably desired that it
should be such as would satisfy some want which he himself felt, or
thought he felt, in early life, or should diffuse some social or
religious or political crotchet on which his fancy had secretly fed
during his years of active exertion, and on the success of which he
came to think, in the latter part of his life, that the best
interests of the community were dependent. The number of these
honorably ambitious but ill-informed and somewhat eccentric
testators increases every year, as the country grows in wealth and
the habit of giving to public objects gains in strength.

The consequence is that we are threatened with the spectacle during
the coming century of a great waste of money by well-meaning persons
in the establishment all over the country of institutions calling
themselves "universities," which are either so feebly equipped as
rather to hinder than help the cause of education, or so completely
committed by their organization to the propagation of certain social
or religious theories as to deserve the appellation of mission
stations rather than of colleges. Education is now an art of
exceeding delicacy and complexity. To master it, so as to have a
trustworthy opinion as to the relative value of studies and as to
the best mode of pursuing them, and as to the organization of
institutions devoted to the work of instruction, a man needs both
learning and experience. The giving him money to employ in his
special work, therefore, without leaving him discretion as to the
manner in which he shall use it, is to prepare almost certainly for
its waste in more than one direction. To make the most of the
resources of the country for educational purposes, it is necessary
above all things that they should be placed at the disposal of those
who have made education a special study, and who are free, as we
understand the Hopkins trustees to be, from any special bias or bond,
and are ready or willing to look at the subject from every side.
Their liberty, of course, brings with it great responsibility--all
the greater for the reasons we have been enumerating.

Now, as to the use which they should make of this liberty, the
_Baltimore American_ fears that if they found a university of the
class sketched by us some weeks ago, "the people of Maryland would
be greatly disappointed--there would not be over fifty students,"
and "there would be a great outcry against the investment of three
and a half millions of dollars for the benefit of so small a
number." Whether the people of Maryland will be disappointed or not,
depends on the amount of consideration they give the matter. If they
are satisfied that the foundation of such a university as is now
talked of is the best use that can be made of the money, they will
not be disappointed, and there will be no "outcry" at all. Being an
intelligent people, they will on reflection see that the value of a
university by no means depends solely on the proportion borne by the
number of its students to the amount of its revenues, because,
judged in this way--that is, as instruments of direct popular
benefit--all the universities in the country might be pronounced
failures. The bulk of the community derives no direct benefit from
them at all. Harvard, for instance, has an endowment of about five
million dollars, we believe, and the total number of the students is
only 1,200, while the population of the State of Massachusetts is
1,500,000, so that, even supposing all the students to come from
Massachusetts, which they do not, less than one person in every
thousand profits by the university.

The same story might be told of Yale or any other college.
Considered as what are called popular institutions--that is,
institutions from which everybody can or does derive some
calculable, palpable benefit--the universities of this and every
other country are useless, and there ought on this theory to be a
prodigious "outcry" against them, and they ought, on the principle
of equality, if allowed to exist at all, to be allowed to exist only
on condition that they will give a degree, or at least offer an
education, to every male citizen of sound mind. But nobody takes
this view of them. The poorest and most ignorant hod-carrier would
not hold, if asked, that because he cannot go to college there ought
to be no colleges. Sensible people in every country acknowledge that
a high education can in the nature of things be only obtained by a
very small proportion of the population; but that the few who seek
it, and can afford to take it, should get it, and should get it of
the best quality, they hold to be a public benefit. Now, why a
public benefit? The service that Harvard or Yale renders to the
community certainly does not lie simply in the fact that it
qualifies a thousand young men every year to earn a livelihood. They
would earn a livelihood whether they went to college or not. The
vast majority of men earn a livelihood without going to college or
thinking of it. Indeed, it is doubted by many persons, and with much
show of reason, whether a man does not earn it all the more readily
for not going to college at all; and as regards the work of the
world of all kinds, the great bulk of it is done, and well done, by
persons who have not received a university education and do not
regret it. So that the benefits which the country derives from the
universities consists mainly in the refining and elevating
influences which they create, in the taste for study and research
which they diffuse, in the social and political ideals which they
frame and hold up for admiration, in the confidence in the power of
knowledge which they indirectly spread among the people, and in the
small though steady contributions they make to that reverence for
"things not seen" in which the soul of the state may be said to lie,
and without which it is nothing better than a factory or an
insurance company.

There is nothing novel about the considerations we are here urging.
The problem over which university reformers have been laboring in
every country during the past forty years has been, how to rid the
universities, properly so called, of the care of the feeble,
inefficient, and poorly prepared students, and reserve their
teaching for the better-fitted, older, and more matured; or, in
other words, how, in the interest both of economy and culture, to
reserve the highest teaching power of the community for the most
promising material. It is forty years since John Stuart Mill wrote a
celebrated attack on the English universities, then in a very low
condition, in which he laid it down broadly that the end above all
for which endowed universities ought to exist was "to keep alive
philosophy," leaving "the education of common minds for the common
business of life" for the most part to private enterprise. This
seemed at the time exacting too much, and it doubtless seems so
still; but it is nevertheless true that ever since that period
universities of the highest class, both in Europe and in this
country, have been working in that direction--striving, that is to
say, either to sift the applicants for admission, by imposing
increasingly severe tests, and thus presenting to the professors
only pupils of the highest grade to work upon; or, at all events, if
not repelling the ill-fitted, expending all their strength in
furnishing the highest educational advantages to the well-fitted. In
the last century, Harvard and Yale were doing just the kind of work
that the high schools now do--that is, taking young lads and
teaching them the elements of literature. At the present day they
are throwing this work as far as possible on the primary schools,
and reserving their professors and libraries and apparatus, as far
as the state of the country and the conditions of their organization
will permit, for those older and more advanced students who bring to
the work of learning both real ardor and real preparation. A boy has
to know more to get into either of them to-day than his grandfather
knew when he graduated. Nevertheless, with all the efforts they can
make after this true economy of power and resources, there is in
both of them a large amount of waste of labor. There are men in both
of them, and in various other colleges, much of whose work is almost
as much a misuse of energy and time as if they were employed so many
hours a day in carrying hods of mortar, simply because they are
doing what the masters of primary schools ought to do, and what no
man at a university ought to be asked to do. It is a kind of work,
too, which, if it have to be done in colleges at all, is already
abundantly provided for by endowment. No Maryland youth who desires
to learn a little mathematics, get a smattering of classics, and
some faint notions of natural science, or even to support himself by
manual labor while doing this, will suffer if the Hopkins endowment
is used for higher work. The country swarms already with
institutions which meet his needs, and in which he can graduate with
ease to himself and credit to his State. The trustees of this one
will do him and the State and the whole country most service,
therefore, by providing a place to which, after he has got hold of
the rudiments at some other college, he can come, if he has the
right stuff in him, and pursue to the end the studies for which all
universities should really be reserved.



September 8, 1877.

Having just returned from a few weeks' stay in Virginia it has
occurred to me as probable that your readers would be interested in
hearing how such changes in Southern manners and tone of thought and
economical outlook as could be noted in a brief visit strike one who
had travelled in that region before the war had revolutionized it.
It is now twenty years since I spent a winter traversing the Cotton
States on horseback, sleeping at the house which happened to be
nearest when the night caught me. Buchanan had just been elected;
the friends of slavery, though anxious, were exultant and defiant,
and the possibility of a separate political future had begun to take
definite shape in the public mind, at least in the Gulf States. I am
unable to compare the economical condition of that part of the
country at that time with its condition to-day, because both slavery
and agriculture in Virginia differed then in many important respects
from slavery and agriculture farther south. But the habits and modes
of thought and feeling bred by slavery were essentially the same all
over the South; and I do not think that I shall go far astray in
assuming that the changes in these which I have noticed in Virginia
would be found to-day in all the other States.

The first which struck me, and it was a most agreeable one, was what
I may call the emancipation which conversation and social
intercourse with Northerners had undergone. In 1857 the tone of
nearly everybody with whom I came in contact, however veiled by
politeness, was in some degree irritable and defiant. My host and I
were never long before the evening fire without my finding that he
was impatient to talk about slavery, that he suspected me of
disliking it, and yet that he wished to have me understand that he
did not care, and that nobody at the South cared two cents what I
thought about it, and that it was a little impertinent in me, who
knew so little of the negro, to have any opinion about it at all. I
was obliged, too, to confess inwardly that there was a good deal of
justification for his bad temper. There was I, a curious stranger,
roving through his country and eating at his board, and all the
while secretly or openly criticising or condemning his relations
with his laborers and servants, and, in fact, the whole scheme of
his domestic life. I was not a pleasant companion, and nothing could
make me one, and no matter on what themes our talk ran, it was
colored by our opinions on the institution. He looked at nearly
everything in politics and society from what might be called the
slaveholder's point of view, and suspected me, on the other hand, of
disguising reprobation of the South and its institutions in any
praise of the North or of France or England which I might utter. So
that there was a certain acridity and a sense of strong and deep
limitations and reserves in our discussions, somewhat like those
which are felt in the talk of a pious evangelical Protestant with a
pious Catholic.

In Virginia of to-day I was conscious of a curious change in the
atmosphere, as if the windows of a close room had been suddenly
opened. I found that I was in a country where all things were
debatable, and where I had not to be on the lookout for
susceptibilities. The negro, too, about whom I used to have to be so
careful, with whom I used to make it a point of honor not to talk
privately or apart from his master when I was staying on a
plantation, was wandering about loose, as it were, and nobody seemed
to care anything about him any more than about any poor man. I found
every Southerner I spoke to as ready to discuss him as to discuss
sheep or oxen, to let you have your own views about him just as you
had them about sheep or oxen. Moreover, I found instead of the
stereotyped orthodox view of his place and capacity which prevailed
in 1857, a great variety of opinions about him, mostly depreciatory,
it is true, but still varying in degree as well as in kind. It is
difficult to give anyone who has never had any experience of the old
slave society an idea of the difference this makes in a stranger's
position at the South. In short, as one Southerner expressed it to
me on my mentioning the change, "Yes, sir, we have been brought into
intellectual and moral relations with the rest of the civilized
world." All subjects are now open at the South in conversation.

Is this true? it will probably be asked, with regard to the late
war. Can you talk freely about that? Not exactly; but then the
limitations on your discourse on this point are not peculiar to the
South; they are such as would be put upon the discourse of two
parties to a bloody contest in any civilized country among well-bred
men or women. The events of the war you can discuss freely, but you
are hardly at liberty to denounce Southern soldiers or officers, or
accuse them of "rebellion," or to assume that they fought for base
or wicked motives. Moreover, in a certain sense, all Southerners are
still "unrepentant rebels." Doubtless, in view of the result, they
will acknowledge that the war was a gigantic mistake; but I found
that if I sought for an admission that, if it was all to do over
again, they would not fight, I was touching on a very tender point,
and I was gently but firmly repelled. The reason is plain enough. In
confessing this, they would, they think, be confessing that their
sons and brothers and fathers had perished miserably in a causeless
struggle on which they ought never to have entered, and this, of
course, would look like a slur on their memory, and their memory is
still, after the lapse of twelve years, very sacred and very dear. I
doubt if many people at the North have an adequate notion of the
intensity of the emotions with which Southerners look back on the
war; and I mean tender and not revengeful or malignant emotions. The
losses of the battle-field were deeply felt at the North--in many
households down to the very roots of life; but on the whole they
fell on a large and prosperous population, on a community which in
the very thick of the fray seemed to be rolling up wealth, which
revelled as it fought, and came out of the battle triumphant,
exultant, and powerful. At the South they swept through a scanty
population with the most searching destructiveness, and when all was
over they had to be wept over in ruined homes and in the midst of a
society which was wrecked from top to bottom, and in which all
relatives and friends had sunk together to common perdition. There
has been no other such cataclysm in history. Great states have been
conquered before now, but conquest did not mean a sudden and
desolating social revolution; so that to a Southerner the loss of
relatives on the battle-field or in the hospital is associated with
the loss of everything else. A gentleman told me of his going, at
the close of the war, into a little church in South Carolina on
Sunday, and finding it filled with women, who were all in black, and
who cried during the singing. It reminded one of the scene in the
cathedral at Leyden, when the people got together to chant a _Te
Deum_ on hearing that the besieging army was gone; but, the music
suddenly dying out, the air was filled with the sounds of sobbing.
The Leydeners, however, were weak and half-starved people, weeping
over a great deliverance; these South Carolinians were weeping
before endless bereavement and hopeless poverty. I doubt much if any
community in the modern world was ever so ruthlessly brought face to
face with what is sternest and hardest in human life; and those of
them who have looked at it without flinching have something which
any of us may envy them.

But then I think it would be a mistake to suppose that Southerners
came out of the war simply sorrowful. At the close, and for some
time afterward, they undoubtedly felt fiercely and bitterly, and
hated while they wept; and this was the primal difficulty of
reconstruction. Frequently in conversation I heard some violent
speech or act occurring soon after the war mentioned with the
parenthetical explanation, "You know, I felt very bitterly at that
time." But, then, I have always heard it from persons who are to day
good-tempered, conciliatory, and hopeful, and desirous of
cultivating good relations with Northerners; from which the
inference, which so many Northern politicians find it so hard to
swallow, is easy--viz., that time produces on Southerners its usual
effects. What Mr. Boutwell and Mr. Blaine would have us believe is
that Southerners are a peculiar breed of men, on whom time produces
no effect whatever, and who feel about things that happened twenty
years ago just as they feel about things which happened a month ago.

The fact is, however, that they are in this respect like the rest of
the human race. Time has done for their hearts and heads what it has
done for the old Virginia battle-fields. There was not in 1865 a
fence standing between the Potomac and Gordonsville, and but few, if
any, undamaged houses. When I passed Manassas Junction the other day
there was a hospitable-looking tavern and several houses at the
station; the flowers were blooming in the yard, and crowds of young
men and women in their Sunday clothes were gathered from the country
around to see a base-ball match, and a well-tilled and well-fenced
and smiling farming country stretched before my eyes in every
direction. The only trace of the old fights was a rude graveyard
filled, as a large sign informed us, with "the Confederate dead."
All the rest of the way down to the springs the road ran through
farms which looked as prosperous and peaceful as if the tide of war
had not rolled over them inside a hundred years, and it is
impossible to talk with the farmers ten minutes without seeing how
thoroughly human and Anglo-Saxon they are. With them the war is
history--tender, touching, and heroic history if you will, but
having no sort of connection with the practical life of to-day. Some
of us at the North think their minds are occupied with schemes for
the assassination and spoliation of negroes, and for a "new
rebellion." Their minds are really occupied with making money, and
the farms show it, and their designs on the negro are confined to
getting him to work for low wages. His wages are low--forty cents a
day and rations, which cost ten cents--but he is content with it. I
saw negroes seeking employment at this rate, and glad to get it; and
in the making of the bargain nothing could be more commercial,
apparently, than the relations of the parties. They were evidently
laborer and employer to each other, and nothing more.

The state of things on two farms which I visited may serve as
illustrations of the process of regeneration which is going on all
over Virginia. They are two hundred miles apart. On one of two
thousand acres there were, before the war, about one hundred and
fifty slaves of all ages. The owner, at emancipation, put them in
wagons and deposited them in Ohio. His successor now works the
plantation with twelve hired men, who see to his cattle, of which he
raises and feeds large herds. His cultivation is carried on on
shares by white tenants. He has an overseer, makes a snug income,
and spends a good part of his winters in Baltimore and New York. He
laughs when you ask him if he regrets slavery. Nothing would induce
him to take care of one hundred and fifty men, women, and children,
furnishing perhaps thirty able-bodied men, littering the house with
a swarm of lazy servants, and making heavy drafts on the meat-house
and corn-crib, and running up doctor's bills.

The other was owned at the close of the war by a regular "Virginia
gentleman," with the usual swarm of negroes, and who was in debt.
He sold it to an enterprising young farmer from another county,
paid his debts, and retired to a small place, where, with two or
three hired men, he makes a living. The young farmer, instead of
seventy-five slaves, works it with twelve hands in the busy season
and three in winter, is up at five o'clock in the morning
superintending them himself, raises all raisable crops, and is as
intent on the markets and the experiments made by his neighbors as
if he lived in Illinois or the Carse of Gowrie. He was led by
Colonel Waring's book to try tile-draining, and made the tiles for
the purpose on his own land. He was so successful that he now
manufactures and soils tiles extensively to others. It would be
difficult to meet at the North or in England two men with their
faces turned away from the old times more completely than these,
more averse from the old plantation ways; and, as far as I could
learn or hear, they are fair specimens of the kind of men who are
taking possession of the Old Dominion. Their neighbors consist of
three classes: men who had by extraordinary exertions saved some or
all of their land after the war, and had by borrowing or economizing
managed to stock it, and are now prospering, by dint of close
management and constant attention, on the Northern plan; young and
enterprising men who had bought at low rates from original
proprietors whom the war left hopelessly involved, and too old or
incapable to recover; and a sprinkling of Northern and English


The part played by the Virginia springs in the political and social
life of "the States lately in rebellion," is to a traveller most
interesting. The attraction of these springs to Southerners has been
in times past, and is still, largely due to the fact that the South
has, properly speaking, no other watering-places. Seaside resorts
there are none worth mention, from Norfolk down to Mexico, and there
are but few points of the long, level, dull, and sandy coast-line
which are not more or less unhealthy. Suspicion on this point even
hangs around the places in Florida now frequented by Northerners for
the sake of the mild winter temperature. But oven if the sea-coast
were healthy, it is in summer too hot to be attractive, and offers
no relief to persons whose livers and kidneys have got out of order
in the lowlands. These naturally seek the hills for coolness, and
they go to the sulphur springs of Virginia because the sulphur
waters are very powerful and efficacious in their effects on people
afflicted with what the doctors call "hepatic troubles." But then
they never would or could have gone from the Southern seaboard to
places so far off if it had not been for the inestimable negro. The
extent to which he contributed to the rapid pushing out of the
scanty white population of the slave States to the Mississippi has
never, I think, received due attention. He robbed pioneering,
indeed, at the South of most of the hardship with which it is
associated in the Northern mind--I was going to say discomfort as
well as hardship, but this would be going too far. To the Southern
planter, however, who could go West with a party of stalwart negroes
to do the clearing, building, ploughing, and cooking and washing,
the wilderness had but few of the terrors it presented to the
Northern frontiersman. He was speedily provided with a very
tolerable home; not certainly the kind of home which the taste of a
man as well off at the North would be satisfied with, but a vastly
better one than any new settler in the Northwestern States ever had.
The springs in the Virginia mountains became popular a century ago,
and were greatly resorted to in much the same way. They were remote
and in the woods, but, owing to slavery, they swarmed from the very
first with servants who could not "give notice" if they did not like
the place, or felt lonesome.

The first accommodation at the springs consisted of a circle of
log-cabins with a dining-hall and ball-room in the centre, and this
constitutes the fundamental plan of a spring to this day. There is
now always a hotel in which a considerable number of the visitors
both sleep and eat, but the bulk of them, or a very large proportion
of them, still live in the long rows of one-storied wooden huts,
with galleries running along in front of the doors, which are
dignified with the name of "cottages," but are in reality simply the
log-cabin in the next stage of evolution; and the hotel has taken the
place of the original dining and ball-rooms to which all resorted.
In looking at the cottages, and thinking of the log-cabins which
preceded them, and seeing what rude places they are, one wonders
a little how people could ever have been, or can now be, induced to
leave comfortable homes for the purpose of spending long summers in
them. But this brings up one of the marked characteristics of Southern
life, namely, the extent to which nearly all Southern men and women
were led in the slavery days to associate comfort not with the
trimness and order of Northern or English homes, but with an
abundance of service. Well-to-do Northerners used to be surprised,
in fact, at the amount of what they would consider discomfort in the
way of rude or unfinished surroundings, hard beds, poor fare, want of
order of all sorts, which even Southerners in easy circumstances were
willing to put up with; but the explanation lay in the fact that
Southerners placed their luxury in having plenty of servants at
command. All the ladies had maids and the men "body servants"
wherever they went, and this saved them, even on the frontier, from
a great deal of drudgery and inconvenience. Even a log-cabin is not
a bad place to lodge in if you have a valet (who cannot leave you)
to dress you, and brush your boots and your clothes, and light your
fire, and bring you ice-water and juleps and cocktails, and anything
else you happen to think of, who sleeps comfortably in a blanket
across your door. In fact, without this the Virginia springs could
never have become a popular resort until railroads were opened.
People used to take twenty days in reaching them from the coast--
some in their own carriages with four horses, and a wagon for the
baggage and "darkies," and some in stages, sleeping in taverns on the
roadside; but nothing could have made this practicable or tolerable
but the band of negroes by whom they were always accompanied.
This, too, enabled them to make their plans with certainty for
staying at the springs all summer, which they could not have done
had they been unable to count on their servants. One gentleman,
a Charlestonian, telling me his reminiscences of these long journeys
to the springs taken with his parents in their own carriage, when
he was a boy, said his mother was very delicate and her health
required it. This at the North would have been a joke, as it would
have killed a delicate woman to go into the woods with hired "help"
or without any service at all.

Partly owing to the efficacy of the waters and partly to the absence
of other Southern watering-places, the springs became very early the
resort of every Southerner who could afford to leave home in the
summer, and they grew in favor owing to the peculiarities of
Southern society and the delicate state of Southern relations with
the North. In the first place, at the South people know each other,
and know about each other, in a way of which the inhabitants of a
denser and busier community have little idea. The number of persons
in Illinois, or Ohio, or Michigan that a New Yorker knows anything
about, or cares to see for social purposes, is exceedingly small. At
the South everybody with the means to travel has relatives or
friends or acquaintances of longer or shorter standing, in nearly
every Southern State, whom it is agreeable for him to meet, and he
knows that they will probably, at some part of the season or other,
appear at the springs. They will not go North because the North is
far away, is, in a certain sense, a strange community, and before
the war a hostile or critical one. Then, too, the South abounded or
abounds with local notables to a degree of which we have no idea at
the North, with persons of a certain weight and consequence in their
own State or county, and to whom this weight and consequence are so
agreeable and important that they cannot bear to part with them when
they go on a journey. They could always carry them with them to the
springs. There everybody was sure to know their standing, while if
they had gone up North they would be lost in the crowd and be
nobodies, and, before the war, have been deprived of the services of
their "body servants" or labored under constant anxiety about their

The springs, too, became, very early, and are now, a great
marrying-place. The "desirable young men, all riding on horses," as
the prophet called the Assyrian swells, go there in search of wives,
and are pretty sure to find there all the marriageable young women
of the South who can be said in any sense to be in society. Widows
abound at the springs just now--by which I mean widows who would not
object to trying the chances of matrimony again. I have been told
that, since the war, it is not uncommon for families whose means are
small to make up a purse to send one attractive youth or maid or
forlorn widow to the springs, in the hope that during the season
they may find the unknown soul which is to complete their destiny,
somewhat like the "culture" donations made to promising people at
the North to enable them to visit Europe. Then, too, to that very
large proportion of the population at the South who lead during the
rest of the year absolutely solitary lives on plantations, the visit
to the springs gives the only society of any kind they ever see, and
the one chance of showing their clothes and seeing what the other
women wear. In short, I do not believe that any one place of summer
resort serves so many purposes to any community as the Virginia
springs serve to that of the South, and by the springs I mean that
circle of mineral waters of various kinds which lie round the White
Sulphur, and to which the White Sulphur acts as a kind of
distributing reservoir of visitors.

As regards the opinions of the very representative company at the
springs on the subject of slavery, it seemed, as well as I could
get at it, to be that about one per cent, of the white people
regretted the emancipation; but this was composed almost entirely of
old persons, who were unable to accommodate themselves to a new
order of things, and to whom it meant the loss of personal
attendance--perhaps the greatest inconvenience which elderly
persons who have been used to valets and maids can undergo. Many
such persons at the South were really killed by the social changes
produced by the war, as truly as if they had been struck on the
battle-field; the bewildered resignation of the survivors is
sometimes touching to witness, and the calamity was generally
embittered by the wholesale flight of the most trusted household
servants, who it was supposed would have despised freedom even if
offered in a gold box by Phillips, Garrison, and Greeley in person.
Telling one old gentleman who was mourning over the change that the
young men to whom I spoke did not agree with him, but thought it an
excellent thing, he replied "that those fellows never had known what
domestic comfort was"--meaning that their experience did not run
back beyond 1865.

The traditions of the old system are, however, unquestionably a
better basis for good hotel-keeping than anything we have at the
North. The first condition of excellence in all places of
entertainment for man and beast is exactingness on the part of the
public. To be well cared for you must expect it and be used to it,
and this condition the Southerners fulfil in a much higher degree
than we do. They look for more attention, and they therefore get it;
and the waiter world, partly from habit and partly, no doubt, from
race temperament, render it with a cheerfulness we are not familiar
with here. But the superiority of manners in all classes is very
striking. One rarely meets a man on a Virginia road who does not
raise or touch his hat, and this not in a servile way either, but
simply as politeness. The bearing of the men toward each other
generally, too, has the ineffable charm, which Northern manners are
so apt to want, of indicating a recognition of the fact that even if
you are no better than any other man, you are different, and that
your peculiarities are respectable, and that you are entitled to a
certain amount of deference for your private tastes and habits. At
the North, on the other hand, manners, even as taught to children,
are apt to concede nothing except that you have an immortal soul and
a middling chance of salvation, and to avoid anything which is
likely to lead you to forget that you are simply a human male.


The last "statement," it is reasonable to hope, has been made in the
Beecher-Tilton case previous to the trial at law, and it is safe to
say that it has left the public mind in as unsettled a state as ever
before. People do not know what to believe, but they do not want to
hear any more newspaper discussion by the principal actors. We are
not going to attempt any analysis or summing-up of the case at
present. It will be time enough to do that after the _dramatis
personae_ have undergone an examination in court, but we would again
warn our readers against looking for any decisive result from the
legal trial. The expectations on this point which some of the
newspapers and a good many lawyers are encouraging are in the
highest degree extravagant. The truth is that only a very small
portion of the stuff contained in the various "statements" can,
under the rules of evidence, be laid before the jury--not, we
venture to assert, more than would fill half a newspaper column in
all. What _will_ be laid before the jury is, in the main, "questions
of veracity" between three or four persons whose credit is already
greatly shaken, or, in other words, the very kind of questions on
which juries are most likely to disagree, even when the jurymen are
entirely unprejudiced. In the present case they are sure to be
prejudiced, and are sure to be governed, consciously or
unconsciously, in reaching their conclusions by agencies wholly
foreign to the matter in hand, and are thus very likely to disagree.
There are very few men whose opinions about Mr. Beecher's guilt or
innocence are not influenced by their own religious and political
beliefs, or by their social antecedents or surroundings. A curious
and somewhat instructive illustration of the way in which a man's
fate in such cases as this may be affected by considerations having
no sort of relation to the facts, is afforded by the attitude of the
Western press toward the chief actors in the present scandal. It may
be said, roughly, that while the press east of the Alleghanies has
inclined in Beecher's favor, the newspapers west of them have gone
somewhat savagely and persistently against him, and have treated
Tilton as a martyr. The cause of such a divergence of views,
considering that both Tilton and Beecher are Eastern men, is of
course somewhat obscure, but we have no doubt that it is due to a
vague feeling prevalent in the West that Tilton's cause is the
democratic one--that is, the cause of the poor, friendless man
against the rich and successful one--a feeling somewhat like that
which in England enlisted the working-classes in London on the side
of the Tichborne claimant, in defiance of all reason and evidence,
as a poor devil fighting a hard battle with the high and mighty. One
of the reporters of a Western paper which has made important
contributions to the literature of the scandal, recently accounted
for his support of Tilton by declaring that in standing by him he
was "fighting the battle of the Bohemians against Capital." Another
Western paper, in analyzing the causes of the position taken by the
leading New York papers on Beecher's side, ascribed it to the social
relations of the editors with him, believing that they met him
frequently at dinners and breakfasts, and found him a jovial
companion. All this would be laughable enough if it did not show the
amount of covert peril--peril against which no precautions can be
taken--to which every prominent man's character is exposed. The
moment he gets into a scrape of any kind he finds a host of persons
whose enmity he never suspected clamoring to have him thrown to the
beasts "on general grounds"--that is, in virtue of certain tests
adopted by themselves, judged by which, apart from the facts of any
particular accusation, a man of his kind is unquestionably a bad
fellow. The accusation, in short, furnishes the occasion for
destroying him, not necessarily the reason for it.

In Europe there are already abundant signs that the scandal will be
considered a symptomatic phenomenon--that is, a phenomenon
illustrative of the moral condition of American society generally;
for it must not be overlooked that, putting aside altogether the
question of Beecher's guilt or innocence, the "statements" furnish
sociological revelations of a most singular and instructive kind.
The witnesses, in telling their story, although their minds are
wholly occupied with the proof or disproof of certain propositions,
describe ways of living, standards of right and wrong, traits of
manners, codes of propriety, religious and social ideas, which,
taken together, form social pictures of great interest and value.
Now, if these were really pictures of American society in general,
as some European observers are disposed to conclude, we do not
hesitate to say that the prospects of the Anglo-Saxon race on this
continent would be somewhat gloomy. But we believe we only express
the sentiment of all parts of the country when we say that the state
of things in Brooklyn revealed by the charges and countercharges has
filled the best part of the American people with nearly as much
amazement as if an unknown tribe worshipping strange gods had been
suddenly discovered on Brooklyn Heights. In fact, the actors in the
scandal have the air of persons who are living, not _more majorum_,
by rules with which they are familiar, but like half-civilized
people who have got hold of a code which they do not understand, and
the phrases of which they use without being able to adapt their
conduct to it.

We have not space at our command to illustrate this as fully as we
could wish, even if the patience of our readers would permit of it,
but we can perhaps illustrate sufficiently within a very short
compass. We have already spoken of the Oriental extravagance of the
language used in the scandal, which might pass in Persia or Central
Arabia, where wild hyperbole is permitted by the genius of the
language, and where people are accustomed to it in conversation,
understand it perfectly, and make unconscious allowance for it.
Displayed here in the United States, in a mercantile community, and
in a tongue characterized by directness and simplicity, it makes the
actors almost entirely incomprehensible to people outside their own
set, as is shown by the attempts made to explain and understand the
letters in the case. Most of the critics, both the friendly and
hostile, are compelled to treat them as written in a sort of dialect
which has to be read with the aid of commentary, glosses, and
parallels, and accompanied, like the study of Homer or the Reg-Veda,
by a careful examination of the surroundings of the writers, the
conditions of their birth and education, the usages of the circle in
which they live, and the social and religious influences by which
they have been moulded, and so on. Their almost entire want of any
sense of necessary connection between facts and written statements
has been strikingly revealed by Moulton's production of various
drafts or outlines of cards, reports, and letters which the actors
proposed from time to time to get up and publish for the purpose of
settling their troubles and warding off exposure by imposing on the
public. No savages could have acted with a more simple-minded
unconsciousness of truth. Moulton, according to his own story,
helped Beecher to publish a lying card; got Tilton to procure from
his wife a lying letter; and Tilton concocted a lying report for the
committee, in which he made them express the highest admiration for
himself, his adulterous wife, and her paramour. Here we have a bit
of the machinery of high civilization--a committee, with its
investigation and report, used, or attempted to be used, with just
the kind of savage directness with which a Bongo would use it, when
once he came to understand it, and found he could make it serve some
end, and with just as little reference to the moral aspect of the

Take, again, Tilton's account of the motives which governed him in
his treatment of his wife and of Beecher. He is evidently aware that
there are two codes regulating a man's conduct under such
circumstances--one the Christian code and the other the conventional
code of honor, or, as he calls it, "club-house morality"; but it
soon became clear that he had no distinct conception of their
difference. Having been brought up under the Christian code, and
taught, doubtless, to regard the term "gentleman" as a name for a
heartless epicurean, he started off by forgiving both Beecher and
his wife, or, as the lawyers say, condoning their offence; and he
speaks scornfully of the religious ignorance of the committee in
assuming in their report that there was any offence for which a
Christian was not bound to accept an apology as a sufficient
atonement. The club-house code would, however, have prescribed the
infliction of vengeance on Beecher by exposing him. Accordingly,
Tilton mixes the two codes up in the most absurd way. Having, as a
Christian, forgiven Beecher, he began, thirty days after the
discovery of the offence, to expose him as a "gentleman," and kept
forgiving and exposing him continuously through the whole four
years, the _éclat_ of such a relation to Beecher having evidently an
irresistible temptation for him. Finally, when Dr. Bacon called him
a "dog," he threw aside the Christian __rôle_ altogether and began
assailing his enemy with truly heathen virulence and vigor. A more
curious blending of two conceptions of duty is not often seen, and
it was doubtless due to the fact that no system of training or
culture had made any impression on the man or gone more than skin
deep. His interview with Beecher, too, by appointment, at his own
house, for the purpose of ascertaining by a comparison of dates and
reference to his wife's diary the probable paternity of her youngest
child, which he describes with the utmost simplicity, is, we venture
to say, an incident absolutely without precedent, and one which may
safely be pronounced foreign to our civilization. Whether it really
occurred, or Tilton invented it, it makes him a problem in social
philosophy of considerable interest.

Moulton's story, too, furnishes several puzzles of the same kind.
That an English-speaking Protestant married couple in easy
circumstances and of fair education, and belonging to a religious
circle, should not only be aware that their pastor was a libertine
and should be keeping it a secret for him, but should make his
adulteries the subject of conversation with him in the family
circle, is hardly capable of explanation by reference to any known
and acknowledged tendency of our society. But perhaps the most
striking thing in Moulton's _rôle_ is that while he appears on the
scene as a gentleman or "man of the world," who does for honor's
sake what the other actors do from fear of God, his whole course is
a kind of caricature of what a gentleman under like circumstances
would really do. For instance, he accepts Beecher's confidence,
which may have been unavoidable, and betrays it by telling various
people, from time to time, of the several incidents of Beecher's
trouble, which is something of which a weak or loose-tongued
person--vain of the task in which he was engaged, as it seemed to
him, _i.e._, of keeping the peace between two great men--might
readily be guilty. But he tells the public of it in perfect
unconsciousness that there was anything discreditable in it, as he
does of his participation in the writing of lying letters and cards,
and his passing money over from the adulterer to pacify the injured
husband. In fact, he carries, according to his own account, his
services to Beecher to a point at which it is very difficult to
distinguish them from those of a pander, maintaining at the same
time relations of the most disgusting confidence with Mrs. Tilton.
Finally, too, when greatly perplexed as to his course, he goes
publicly and with _éclat_ for advice to a lawyer, with whom no
gentleman, in the proper sense of the term, could maintain intimate
personal relation or safely consult on a question of honor. The
moral insensibility shown in his visit to General Butler is one of
the strange parts of the affairs.

We have, of course, only indicated in the briefest way some of the
things which may be regarded as symptomatic of strange mental and
moral conditions in the circle in which the affair has occurred. The
explanation of them in any way that would generally be considered
satisfactory would be a difficult task. The influences which bring
about a certain state of manners at any given time or place are
always numerous and generally obscure, but we think something of
this sort may be safely offered in consideration of the late "goings
on" in Brooklyn.

In the first place, the newspapers and other cheap periodicals, and
the lyceum lectures and small colleges, have diffused through the
community a kind of smattering of all sorts of knowledge, a taste for
reading and for "art"--that is, a desire to see and own pictures--
which, taken together, pass with a large body of slenderly equipped
persons as "culture," and give them an unprecedented self-confidence
in dealing with all the problems of life, and raise them in their
own minds to a plane on which they see nothing higher, greater,
or better than themselves. Now, culture, in the only correct and
safe sense of the term, is the result of a process of discipline,
both mental and moral. It is not a thing that can be picked up,
or that can be got by doing what one pleases. It cannot be acquired
by desultory reading, for instance, or travelling in Europe. It
comes of the protracted exercise of the faculties for given ends,
under restraints of some kind, whether imposed by one's self or
other people. In fact, it might not improperly be called the art of
doing easily what you don't like to do. It is the breaking-in of the
powers to the service of the will; and a man who has got it is not
simply a person who knows a good deal, for he may know very little,
but a man who has obtained an accurate estimate of his own capacity,
and of that of his fellows and predecessors, who is aware of the
nature and extent of his relations to the world about him, and who is
at the same time capable of using his powers to the best advantage.
In short, the man of culture is the man who has formed his ideals
through labor and self-denial. To be real, therefore, culture ought
to affect a man's whole character and not merely store his memory
with facts. Let us add, too, that it may be got in various ways,
through home influences as well as through schools or colleges;
through living in a highly organized society, making imperious
demands on one's time and faculties, as well as through the
restraints of a severe course of study. A good deal of it was
obtained from the old Calvinistic theology, against which, in the
days of its predominance, the most bumptious youth hit his head at
an early period of his career, and was reduced to thoughtfulness and
self-examination, and forced to walk in ways that were not always to
his liking.

If all this be true, the mischievous effects of the pseudo-culture
of which we have spoken above may be readily estimated. A society of
ignoramuses who know they are ignoramuses might lead a tolerably
happy and useful existence, but a society of ignoramuses each of
whom thinks he is a Solon would be an approach to Bedlam let loose,
and something analogous to this may really be seen to-day in some
parts of this country. A large body of persons has arisen, under the
influence of the common schools, magazines, newspapers, and the
rapid acquisition of wealth, who are not only engaged in enjoying
themselves after their fashion, but who firmly believe that they
have reached, in the matter of social, mental, and moral culture,
all that is attainable or desirable by anybody, and who, therefore,
tackle all the problems of the day--men's, women's, and children's
rights and duties, marriage, education, suffrage, life, death, and
immortality--with supreme indifference to what anybody else thinks
or has ever thought, and have their own trumpery prophets,
prophetesses, heroes and heroines, poets, orators, scholars and
philosophers, whom they worship with a kind of barbaric fervor. The
result is a kind of mental and moral chaos, in which many of the
fundamental rules of living, which have been worked out painfully by
thousands of years of bitter human experience, seem in imminent risk
of disappearing totally.

Now, if we said that a specimen of this society had been unearthed
in Brooklyn by the recent exposures, we should, doubtless to many
people, seem to say a very hard thing, and yet this, with the
allowances and reservations which have of course to be made for all
attempts to describe anything so vague and fleeting as a social
state, is what we do mean to say. That Mr. Beecher's preaching,
falling on such a mass of disorder, should not have had a more
purifying and organizing effect, is due, we think, to the absence
from it of anything in the smallest degree disciplinary, either in
the shape of systematic theology, with its tests and standards, or
of a social code, with its pains and penalties. What he has most
encouraged, if we may judge by some of the fruits, is vague
aspiration and lachrymose sensibility. The ability to dare and do,
the readiness to ask one's due which comes of readiness to render
their due to others, the profound consciousness of the need of sound
habits to brace and fortify morals, which are the only true
foundation and support of a healthy civilization, are things which
he either has not preached or which his preaching has only stifled.


There is a story afloat that Mr. John Morrissey made his appearance,
one day during the past week, in Madison Square, in full evening
dress, including white gloves and cravat, and bearing a French
dictionary under his arm, and that, being questioned by his friends
as to the object of this display, he replied that he was going to
see Major Wickham and ask him for an office in the only costume in
which such an application would have a chance of success. In other
words, he was acting what over in Brooklyn would be called "an
allegory," and which was intended to expose in a severe and telling
way the Mayor's gross partiality, in the use of his patronage, for
the well-dressed and well-educated members of society--a partiality
which Mr. Morrissey and his party consider not only unfair but
ridiculous. This demonstration, too, was one of the few indications
which have as yet met the public eye of a very real division of the
Democratic party in this city into two sets of politicians, known
familiarly as "Short-Hairs" and "Swallow-Tails"--the former
comprising the rank and file of the voters and the latter "the
property-owners and substantial men," who are endeavoring to make
Tammany an instrument of reform and to manage the city in the
interest of the taxpayers. Mayor Wickham belongs, it is said, to the
latter class, and has given, it seems, in the eyes of the former,
some proofs of a desire to reserve responsible offices for persons
of some pretensions to gentility, and exhibited some disfavor for
the selections of the "workers" in the various wards.

But we do not undertake to describe with accuracy the origin or
nature of the split; all we know is that the Short-Hairs are
disgusted, and that their hostility to the Swallow-Tails is very
bitter, and that when Mr. Morrissey proclaimed, in the manner we
have described, that a man needed to wear evening dress and to know
French in order to get a place, he gave feeble expression to the
rage of the masses. They have, too, concocted an arrangement which
embodies their idea of a well-administered government, and which
consists in compelling the departments to spend in wages in each
district at least $1.50 for each Democratic vote cast, and to
apportion the appropriations with strict reference to this rule, the
money, of course, to go to the nominees of Democratic politicians.
The plan departs from that of the French national workshops in that
it discriminates between laborers, but in other respects it has all
the characteristics of well-developed Communism. The way to meet it,
according to our venerable contemporary, the _Evening Post_, is to
have the taxpayers point out to the voters who are to receive the
money that they (the taxpayers) cannot well spare it, that they need
it for their own use, and that this mode of administering corporate
funds is condemned by all the leading writers on government. The
Swallow-Tails know so well, however, with what howls of mingled
mirth and indignation the Short-Hairs would receive such suggestions
that they never make them, but content themselves with confining the
distribution of the money to the members of their own division
quietly and unostentatiously, as far as lies in their power, which,
we candidly confess, we do not think is very far.

It would be doing the Short-Hairs injustice, however, if we allowed
the reader to remain under the impression that the unwillingness to
have the Swallow-Tails monopolize or even have a share of the office
was peculiar to them, or that John Morrissey's protest would be
unintelligible anywhere out of New York. On the contrary, when he
started out with his French dictionary he was giving expression to
a feeling which is to be found in greater or less intensity in
every State in the Union. The great division of politicians into
Short-Hairs and Swallow-Tails is not confined to this city. It is
found in every city in the country in which there is much diversity
of condition among the inhabitants. Nor did Morrissey mean simply
to protest against training as a qualification for the work of
administration, as the _Tribune_ assumed in a sharp and incisive
lecture which it read him the other day. We doubt if any pugilist in
his secret heart despises training. He knows how much depends on it,
and as he is not apt to possess much discriminating power, he is not
likely to mark off any particular class of work as not needing it.
What the Short-Hairs dislike in the Swallow-Tails is the feeling of
personal superiority which they imagine them to entertain, and which
they think finds a certain expression in careful dressing and in the
possession of certain accomplishments. In fact, the Swallow-Tails
whom the New York rough detests and would like to keep out of
public life, belong to the class known in Massachusetts as the
"White-cravat-and-daily-bath gentlemen," and which is there just as
unpopular as here, and has even greater difficulty in getting office
there than here.

The line of division in New York is, however, drawn much lower down.
The Massachusetts Short-Hair is a man of intelligence, of some
education, who wears a plain black négligé and rumpled shirt-front
and soft hat, and disregards the condition of his nails, and takes a
warm bath occasionally. The New Yorker, on the other hand, wears
such clothes as he can get, and only bathes in the hot weather and
off the public wharf. If he has good luck and makes money, either in
the public service or otherwise, he displays it not in any richness
in his toilet or in greater care of his person, but in the splendor
of his jewels. One of his first purchases is a diamond-pin, which he
sticks in his shirt-front, but he never sees any connection of an
aesthetic kind between the linen and the pin, and will wear the
latter in a very dirty shirt-front as cheerfully as in a clean
one--in fact, more cheerfully, as he has a vague feeling that by
showing it he atones for or excuses the condition of the linen. In
fact, the Short-Hair view of dress would be found on examination to
be, in nearly ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, something of this
kind: that the constant care of the person which produces an
impression of neatness and appropriateness, and makes a man look
"genteel," is the expression of a certain state of mind; that a man
would not take so much trouble to make himself look different from
the ordinary run of people whom he meets, unless he thought himself
in some way superior to them, or, in other words, thought himself a
"gentleman" and them common fellows, and that he therefore fairly
deserves the hatred of those of whom he thus openly parades his

A New York Short-Hair seldom goes farther than this in his
speculations, though he doubtless has also a vague idea that a
well-dressed man is not so likely to stand by his friends in politics
as a more careless one. In New England, as might be expected, however,
the popular dislike of that "culte de la personne," as some Frenchman
has called it, which distinguishes "the white-cravat-and-daily-bath
gentleman," has provided itself with a moral basis. There is there a
strong presumption that the Swallow-Tail is a frivolous person,
who bestows on his tailoring, and his linen, and his bathing, and his
manners the time and attention which the Short-Hair or "plain blunt
man" reserves for reflection on the graver concerns of life, and
especially on the elevation of his fellow-men, and this presumption
even a career of philanthropy and the composition of the "Principia"
would not in many minds suffice to overthrow. We believe it is
authentic that General Grant never got over the impression produced
on him by seeing that Mr. Motley parted his hair in the middle, and
it is said--and if not true is not unlikely,--that Mr. R. H. Dana's
practice of wearing kid gloves told heavily against him in his
memorable contest with Butler in the Essex district. We may all
remember, too, the gigantic efforts made by Mr. Sumner and others in
Congress to have our representatives abroad prohibited from wearing
court-dress. What dress they wore was of course, _per se_, a matter
of no consequence, provided it was not immodest. The fervor on the
subject was due to the deeply rooted feeling that even the amount
of care for externals exhibited in putting on an embroidered coat
or knee-breeches indicated a light-mindedness against the very
appearance of which the minister of a republic ought to guard
carefully. It is partly to produce the effect of seriousness of
purpose, but mainly to avoid the appearance of airs of social or
mental superiority, that nearly all skilful politicians dress with
elaborate negligence. In most country districts no complaints can
be made of men in office such as the New York Short-Hair makes
against the Swallow-Tail. They fling on their easy-fitting black
clothes in a way that leaves them their whole time for the study
of public affairs and attention to the wants of their constituents,
and at the same time recalls their humble beginnings.

What strikes one, however, as most curious in the controversy
between the Short-Hairs and the Swallow-Tails is the illustration it
affords of the rigidity with which every class or grade in
civilization treats its own social conventions, whatever they may
be, as final, and as having some subtle but necessary connection
with morals. When the Indian squats round the tribal pot in his
breech-clout, and eats his dinner with his dirty paw, he is fully
satisfied that he is as well equipped, both as regards dress and
manners, not only as a man need be, but as a man ought to be. The
toilet, the chamber, and the dinner-table of a plain New England
farmer he treats as wasteful and ridiculous excess, and if good for
anything, good only for plunder. The farmer, on the other hand,
loathes the Indian and his ways, and thinks him a filthy beast, and
that he (the farmer) has reached the limits of the proper as regards
clothes and food and personal habits, and that the city man who puts
greater elaboration into his life is a fribble, who is to be pitied,
if not despised and distrusted. In short, we can hardly go one step
into the controversy without coming on the old question, What are
luxuries and what necessities? and, as usual, the majority decides
it in the manner that best suits itself. It may be said without
exaggeration that the progress of civilization has consisted largely
in the raising of what is called "the standard of living," or, in
other words, the multiplication of the things deemed necessary for
personal comfort, and, as this raising of the standard has always
been begun by the few, the many have always fought against it as a
sign of selfishness or affectation until they themselves were able
to adopt it.

The history of the bath furnishes a curious though tolerably
familiar illustration of this. The practice of bathing disappeared
from Western Europe with the fall of the Roman Empire. The
barbarians were themselves dirty fellows, like the Indians, and
their descendants remained dirty in spite of the growth of
civilization among them, putting their money, like the Short-Hair,
mainly into jewels and other ornaments. As long as linen was scarce
and dear, changes were, of course, seldom made, and the odor of even
"the best society" was so insupportable that perfumes had to be
lavishly used to overcome it. The increased cheapness of linen and
more recently of cotton, and the increased facilities for bathing,
have in our own day made personal cleanliness a common virtue; but
an occasional bath is still as much as is thought, through the
greater part of the world, compatible with moral earnestness and
high aims. Of late, indeed within the memory of the present
generation, persons mainly belonging to the wealthier class in
England have boldly begun to bathe every day, and they have finally
succeeded in establishing the rule that a gentleman is bound to
bathe, or "tub," as they call it, every day, and that the usage
cannot be persistently neglected without loss of position. Indeed,
there are few social casuists in England who would decide, without
great hesitation and anxiety, that any English-speaking man was a
gentleman who did not take a daily bath. That this view of the
matter should be accepted by the great body of those who would
rather not bathe every day is not to be expected, nor is it to be
wondered at that they should consider it offensive, and that the
practice of sponging one's self in cold water every morning should
in caucuses be looked on as a disqualification for political life.
There is, of course, a necessary and provoking, though tacit,
assumption of superiority in the display of greater cleanliness than
other people show, just as there is in coming into a room and
finding fault with the closeness of the air in which other people
are sitting comfortably. It is tantamount to saying that what is
good enough for them is not good enough for you, and they always
either openly or secretly resent it.

The popular distrust of the practice of wearing white cravats in the
evening may be traced to the same causes. The savage makes no change
of toilet for the evening. He dresses for war and religious
ceremonies, but he goes to a social reunion or feast in such clothes
as he happens to have on when the invitation finds him. The plain
man of civilized life, under similar circumstances, puts on a clean
shirt and his best suit of clothes. This suit, among the European
peasantry, is apt to be of simply the same cut and material as the
working suit, or, as it would be called in Brooklyn, "the garb of
toil." Among Americans, it is a black suit, like that of a
clergyman, and includes a silk cravat, generally black, but
permissibly colored. The whole matter is, however, one of pure
convention. Now, it has been found of late years a matter of
convenience, and of great convenience especially to hard-worked men
and men of moderate means who are exposed to the constant social
demands of the great cities of the world, to have a costume in which
one can appear on any festive occasion, great or small, which all,
gentle or simple, are alike expected to wear, which is neither rich
nor gaudy, and in which every man may feel sure that he is properly
dressed; and the dress fixed on for this purpose now throughout the
civilized world is the plain suit of black, with the swallow-tailed
coat, commonly called "evening dress."

Nothing can be simpler or less pretentious, or more democratic.
Nobody can add anything to it or take anything away from it. Many
attempts to modify it have been made during the last thirty years by
leaders of fashion, and they have all failed, because it meets one
of the great wants of human nature. It is only within the last
fifteen years that it has obtained a firm foothold in American
cities. People looked on it with suspicion, as a sign of some inward
and spiritual naughtiness, and regarded the frock-coat with its full
skirts as the only garment in which a serious-minded man, with a
proper sense of his origin and destiny, and correct feelings about
popular government, could make his appearance in a lady's parlor.
Why, nobody could tell, for there was a time, not very far back,
when the frock-coat was itself an innovation. Of late--that is,
within, perhaps, twenty years--the Swallow-Tails of the world have
exchanged the black or colored for a white cravat, and justify
themselves by saying that it not only looks cleaner, but is cleaner
of necessity than a silk one, and that you cannot look too clean or
fresh about your throat when you present yourself in a lady's house
on a festive occasion. Nevertheless, the plain, blunt men are not
satisfied. They do not as yet feel sure as to its meaning. They
think it indicates either over-thoughtfulness about trifles or else
a leaning, slight though it be, toward despotism and free-trade.
They will now all, or nearly all, wear evening dress with a black
cravat, but even those of them who will consent to put on a white
one do so with a certain shamefacedness and sense of backsliding,
and of treachery to some good cause, though they do not exactly know


The proceedings in the recent Bravo poisoning case have raised a
good deal of discussion in England as to the license of counsel in
cross-examination--a question which recent trials in this country
have shown to possess no little interest for us also. In the Bravo
inquest, as in the Tichborne case and the Beecher trial of the last
year, the cross-examination of the witnesses was pushed into matters
very remotely connected with the issue under trial, so that the
general result of the inquiry was not, as in most cases, the
eliciting of a certain number of facts bearing on the question in
court, but a complete revelation of the whole private life of a
family, or of a certain part of it, and even of a whole circle of
families. The glaring exposure of matters usually kept close, and
not even talked about, formed in fact the great fascination of these
_causes célèbres_. It was difficult at the first blush to see how in
the Beecher trial Tilton's eccentric nocturnal habits could have
thrown any light upon the question of Beecher's guilt; nor in the
Tichborne case was it at all apparent that an answer to the inquiry
put to some witness--whether he had, at some distant period of time,
had improper relations with some persons not connected with the
case--could even remotely tend to settle the claimant's identity.
The _Pall Mall Gazette_, discussing this kind of cross-examination
resorted to for the purpose of breaking down the credit of a
witness--of "showing him up" to the jury, and thus inducing them to
pay less attention to his evidence than they otherwise would--has
stated the case in the following manner: "Suppose, it says, that the
legislature of a free country were some fine morning to pass a law
authorizing anyone who chose to take it into his head to compel any
inhabitant of the country to answer any questions he might think fit
to put with regards to the other's moral character, his relations
with his parents, brothers and sisters, wife and children, his
business affairs, his property, his debts, and in fact his whole
private life, and to do all this without there being any dispute
between them or even any alleged grievance, what would be thought of
such a law? Would it be endured for an instant?" Now, this, the
_Pall Mall Gazette_ continues, is to-day the law of England. It is
just to this odious tyranny which anyone, by bringing a suit, can,
under the vague and almost unlimited power to punish for "contempt
of court," force submission.

The law on this subject is, generally speaking, the same in the
United States as in England, and this tyranny, if it really exists,
weighs upon us as heavily as it does upon Englishmen. The first
question that suggests itself is whether this is really a fair
statement of law, and, of course, the _Pall Mall Gazette_ admits
that there exist limitations of the right of cross-examination, but
it contends that these are so undefined as to amount to little or
nothing in the way of protection. The authorities contain little on
the subject, except that cross-examination as to credit is allowed
to go very far, and that judges may in their discretion stop it when
it goes too far. But judicial discretion is proverbially an
uncertain thing. It varies not merely with the court, but even in
the same judge it is affected by the state of his temper, his
curiosity, his feeling toward the counsel who is examining, and by
thousands of other things that no one can know anything about or
depend upon. Usually it is easier not to exercise than to exercise
discretion, and the result is that the right of cross-examination is
usually unchecked, and in most important cases which are widely
reported the right is pushed to lengths which, with witnesses of any
sensibility, amount to a process of slow torture. If the right is
abused in England, it is unquestionably abused here, and probably at
the time of the Beecher trial we should have had complaints about it
but for the fact that in the singular society in which the parties
to that case lives, a craving for notoriety had been developed which
made any discussion of their private affairs less disagreeable than
it is to most people. But with the great majority of mankind there
is nothing more odious than the extraction, by a sharp, hostile
lawyer, from their own unwilling lips, of the details of their moral
history. There is probably no one in existence, however good, and
however quiet his conscience may be, who can endure without a
shudder the thought of every transaction of his past life being
dragged out in a court of justice for the amusement of a gaping
crowd. Exactly how far the right is abused, and how far the
discretionary powers of courts to limit its abuse accomplish their
end, it is impossible to say, for it is only in sporadic cases of
unusual importance that interest in the result is strong enough to
warrant a lawyer's going to great length in cross-examination.
Usually, too, it should be said for the credit of the profession,
reputable lawyers shrink from outraging a witness's sensibility. But
after everything is admitted that can be admitted in favor of the
existing state of the law, it is impossible to deny that the door is
left very wide open to disgraceful assaults upon credit which
inflict serious and irreparable damage.

The difficulty is not in pointing out the evil, which is plain
enough, but in suggesting a remedy. The right of cross-examination
is one of the most important instruments provided by the machinery
of our law for the discovery of facts, and on the credibility of
witnesses all cases hinge. The moment we begin to limit it by fixed
rules we enter on dangerous ground. It might seem as if the solution
of the problem lay in the enactment of a rule that witnesses should
only be cross-examined as to their general reputation with regard to
truth, and as to the matters involved in the case directly affecting
their credibility; but this would by no means do. Suppose, for
instance, that the suit is a common action for the purchase-money of
a piece of cloth, and the defendant brings a witness who swears
that he saw the defendant pay the money to the plaintiff, while
the plaintiff has only his own evidence to rely upon in proof of
non-payment; if, in such case, the plaintiff were merely allowed to
cross-examine the witness directly, he would in all probability lose
the case. The testimony would be two to one against him, and the
story of the witness as the only disinterested person would probably
be believed by the jury. But suppose that, on cross-examination, it
turns out that this witness can give no good account of his manner
of earning his living or of his place of residence; that he had been
arrested not long before as a vagrant, and that down to the time of
the action he had no respectable clothes, and that he suddenly
became possessed of some; that he deserted from the army immediately
after getting his bounty-money, and so on, there can be little doubt
that his credit with the jury would be much impaired, and justly so,
although no direct evidence of his being a perjurer had been
introduced, and not a particle of his testimony had been strictly
controverted. Everyone who has followed with any care the evidence
taken in celebrated murder trials or divorce cases knows how
frequently a rigid cross-examination lays bare motives and
prejudices on the part of witnesses which, often without their
knowing it themselves, tend to bias their account of facts.

The problem, therefore, is to devise some means by which these
benefits of a searching cross-examination may be retained and yet
the abuse got rid of. The only feasible way of meeting the
difficulty yet proposed is that of drawing up a series of rules or
general directions as to evidence which shall not attempt to
prescribe formal limits for cross-examination, but shall lay down in
explicit words the general principles which should govern a judge in
such cases. These rules would practically be a definition of the
"discretion" he is now supposed to exercise. They would, for
example, direct him not to allow an examination into matters so
remote in time from the case in hand that they can have no bearing
on the credibility of the witness; not to allow questions to be put
which are plainly malicious and asked for the purpose of irritating
the witness; and not to allow any examination into transactions
which, though they may have a bearing on the character of a witness,
have none on his credibility, _e.g._, an inquiry, in a murder case,
of a witness in good standing, as to domestic difficulties with a
deceased wife. It is not easy to lay down beforehand any rules by
which we can discriminate the kind of evidence as to transactions
involving moral character which ought not to affect credibility, but
every one can easily imagine instances of such evidence. General
directions of the kind we have just suggested are no more than a
formal enunciation of the manner in which the "discretion" of a good
judge would be and is exercised. They do not change the law, but
they remind judges of what they may forget, and they may be appealed
to by a persecuted witness with far more certainty than judicial
"discretion." In the Indian Code, which is probably the best body of
law that the legal reform movement begun by Bentham in the last
century has yet produced, rules of this kind have been laid down,
and we believe have been found to work with success.


A Washington correspondent, describing, the other day, the motives
which animated the majority in Congress in its performances on
the currency question, said, and we believe truly, that most of
the inflationists in that body knew very well what the evils of
paper-money were, so that argument on that point was wasted on them.
But they knew also that large issues of irredeemable paper would
make it easier for debtors to pay off their creditors, and came to
the conclusion that as the number of debtors in the country was
greater than the number of creditors, it was wise policy for a
politician to curry favor with the former by helping them to cheat
the persons who had lent them money or sold them goods. This
explanation of the conduct of the majority may be a startling and
sad one, but that it is highly probable nobody can deny. All the
debates help to confirm it. In every speech, made either in
opposition to resumption or in favor of inflation, a portion of the
community known as "the debtor class" has appeared as the object of
the orator's tenderest solicitude. The great reason for not
returning to specie payments hitherto has been the fear that
contraction would press hard on "the debtor class;" it is for "the
debtor class" we need more paper "_per capita_;" and indeed, no
matter what proposal we make in the direction of financial reform,
we are met by pictures of the frightful effects which will be
produced by it on the "debtor class." Moreover, in listening to its
champions, a foreigner might conclude that in America debtors either
all live together in a particular part of the country, or worse, a
particular costume, like mediaeval Jews, and are divided from the
rest of the community by tastes and habits, so that it would be
proper for an American to put "debtor" or "creditor" on his card as
a description of his social status. He might, too, not unnaturally
begin to mourn over the negligence of the framers of the
Constitution in not recognizing this marked distribution of American
society. Truly, he would say, the debtors ought to have
representatives in the Senate and House to look after their special
interests; these unfortunate and helpless men ought not to be left
to the charitable care of volunteers like Messrs. Morton, and Logan,
and Kelly. The great sham and pretence with which America has so
long tried to impose on Europe, that there were no classes in the
United States, ought at last to be formally swept away, and proper
legal provision made for the protection of a body of men which has
been in all ages the object of atrocious oppression, and seems in
America, strange to say, to constitute the larger portion of the
community. In travelling through the country, too, he would be
constantly on the lookout for the debtors. He would ask in the
cities for the "debtors' quarter," and when introduced to a
gentleman in the cars or in the hotels, would inquire privately
whether he was a debtor or a creditor, so as to avoid hurting his
feelings by indiscreet allusion to specie or contraction. His
amazement would be very great on learning that there was no way of
telling whether an American citizen was either debtor or creditor;
that the "debtor class" was not to be found, as such, in any part of
the country, or, indeed, anywhere but in the brains of the Logans
and Mortons, and was introduced into the debates simply as a John
Doe or Richard Roe, to give a little vividness to the speaker's
railings against property.

Now, as in every civilized society, the vast majority of the
population of this country are in debt, to some slight degree. It is
only paupers, criminals, and lunatics who owe absolutely nothing.
The day-laborer is pretty sure to have a small bill at the grocer's,
and all his neighbors, in the ascending grades of commercial
respectability, no matter how prompt and accurate they may be in the
discharge of their obligations, are sure to owe the butcher and
baker and milkman a greater or less amount. In fact the conduct of
life on a cash basis would be impossible or intolerable. Of course,
too, there are scattered all over the country men who owe a great
deal of money and to whom little is due, and whose interest it would
be to have the coinage adulterated. But then the number of these
persons is very small, and they are mostly great speculators, who
pass for rich men, and whose interests Congress is in reality not in
the least desirous of protecting. Poor men, as a rule, are hardly
ever greatly in debt, because nobody will trust them. We suspect
that the number of those in this city who could borrow fifty dollars
without security would not be found to be over one-twentieth of the
population. The persons to whom loans are made by banks, insurance
companies, and other institutions are almost all men of wealth or
men who have the conduct of great enterprises, and do not need
legislation to help them to take care of themselves. They are great
merchants, or manufacturers, or brokers, or contractors, or
railroad-builders. In fact, in so far as the debtors can be called a
class, they form a very small class, and a class of remarkable
shrewdness and of enormous power, over whom it is ludicrous for the
Government to exercise a fatherly care.

The bulk of the population in this, as in every moderately
prosperous community in the western world is composed of creditors.
The creditor class, in other words, contains the great body of the
American people, and any legislation intended to enable debtors to
cheat is aimed at nineteen-twentieths, at the very least, of
American citizens. Any mail who remains very long in the position of
a debtor simply, and acquires no footing as a creditor, disappears
from the surface of society. Bankruptcy or the house of correction
is pretty sure to overtake him. It would be well-nigh impossible in
this large city or in any other to find a man who had no pecuniary
claims on someone else. The humblest hod-carrier becomes a creditor
every day after making his first ascent of the ladder, and remains
so until Saturday night, and continually replaces himself in "the
creditor class," as long as life and health remain to him; and the
same phenomenon presents itself in all fields of industry. Every
sewing-girl and maid-servant is looking forward to a payment of
earned money, and has the strongest interest in knowing for certain
what its purchasing power will be.

All depositors in savings-banks, and their number in New York City
is greater than that of the voters, belong to the creditor class;
all holders of policies of insurances, all owners of government
bonds and State and bank stocks, belong to it also. The Western
farmers and house-owners who have borrowed money at the East on bond
and mortgage, who probably make as near an approach to a debtor
class as any other body or persons in the community, and whom
Congressional demagogues probably hoped to serve by enabling them to
outwit their creditors, even these are not simply or mainly debtors.
Any man who is carrying on his business with borrowed money, on
which he pays eight or ten per cent., must be every week putting
other people in debt to him or he would speedily be ruined. The
means of paying those who have trusted him is acquired by his
trusting others. Either he is selling goods on credit, or entering
into contracts, or rendering services which give him the position of
a creditor, and make it of the last importance to him that the value
of money and the state of the public mind about money should not be
materially different six months hence from what they are now.

Of course there is more than one way of defining the term
"self-interest." There is one sense in which it is used by children,
savages, and thieves, and which makes it mean immediate
gratification, and this appears to be the sense in which it is used
by the inflationists in Congress, in considering what is for the
good of those Western men who owe money at the East. In that sense,
it is a good thing for a man to lie, cheat, steal, and embezzle
whenever it shall appear that by so doing he will satisfy his
appetites or put money in his pockets. But civilized and commercial,
to say nothing of Christian, society is founded on the theory that
men look forward and expect to carry on business for several years,
and to lay up money for their old age, and establish their children
in life, and that they recognize the necessity of self-restraint and
loyalty to engagements. The doctrines, on the other hand, which are
preached in Congress about the best mode of dealing with debts--that
is, with other people's money--have never before been heard in a
civilized legislature, or anywhere outside of a council of
buccaneers, and, if acted on by the community, would produce
anarchy. The fact that Morton and Butler, who preach them and get
them embodied in forms of words called "acts," are legislators,
disguises, but ought not to disguise, the other fact, that these two
men are simply playing the part of receivers or "fences." There
probably never was a more striking illustration of the immorality in
which, as it was long ago remarked, any principle of government is
sure to land people if pushed to its last extreme, than the theory
which is now urged on our attention--that superiority of numbers
will justify fraud; or, in other words, that if the number of those
who borrow should happen to be greater than the number of those who
lend, "a vote" is all that is needed to wipe out the debts, either
openly or by payment in bits of paper or pebbles. Of course, the
converse of this would also be true--that if the lenders were in a
majority, they would be justified in reducing the debtors to
slavery. If the question of humanity or brotherhood were raised as
an objection, that, too, could be settled by a ballot. We laugh at
the poor African who consults his wooden fetish before he takes any
step in the business of his wretched and darkened life; but when a
Caucasian demagogue tries to show us that the springs of justice and
truth are to be found in a comparison of ten thousand bits of paper
with nine thousand similar bits, we listen with gravity, and are
half inclined to believe that there is something in it.


It is quite evident that with, the multiplication of colleges, which
is very rapid, it will, before long, become impossible for the
newspapers to furnish the reports of the proceedings in and about
commencement which they now lay before their readers with such
profuseness. The long letters describing with wearisome minuteness
what has been described already fifty times will undoubtedly before
long be given up. So also, we fancy, will the reports of the
"baccalaureate sermons," if these addresses are to retain their
value as pieces of parting advice to young men. There is nothing in
the newspaper literature, on the whole, less edifying, and sometimes
more amusing, than the reporter's _précis_ of pulpit discourses,
so thoroughly does he deprive them of force find vigor and point,
and often of intelligibility. The ordinary sermon addressed on Sunday
to the ordinary congregation deals with a great variety of topics,
and from many different points of view, and with more or less
diversity of method. The baccalaureate sermon, on the other hand,
consists, from the necessity of the case, in the main of advice to
youths at their entrance on life, and the substance of such discourses
can, in the nature of things, undergo no great change from year to
year, and must be strikingly similar in all the colleges. Any
freshness they may have they must owe to the rhetorical powers of
particular preachers, and even these cannot greatly vary in dealing
with so familiar a theme. What the old man has to say to the young man,
the teacher to the pupil, the father to the son, at the moment when
the gates of the great world are flung open to the college graduate,
has undergone but little modification in a thousand years, and has
become very well known to all collegians long before they take their
degree. To make the parting words of warning and encouragement tell
on ears that are now eager for other and louder sounds, everything
that can be done needs to be done to preserve their freshness and
their pathos, and certainly nothing could do as much to deprive them
of both one and the other as hashing them up annually in a slovenly
report as part of the news of the day.

It is not, however, the advice contained in baccalaureate sermons,
but all advice to young men, that needs in our time to be dealt out
with greater circumspection and economy. Authority has within the
last hundred or even fifty years undergone a serious loss of power,
and this loss of power has shown itself nowhere more markedly than
in the work of education. It has indeed almost completely changed
the relation of parents and children, and teachers and scholars, so
that it is now almost as necessary to prove the reasonableness and
utility of any course of action which is required of boys as of
mature men. Persuasion has, in other words, taken the place of
command, and there is nobody left whose dictum owes much of its
weight to his years or his office. Boys as well as their elders now
expect advice to be based on personal experience, and do not listen
with any great seriousness or deference to admonitions the value of
which the utterer has not himself personally tested.

It follows, therefore, that the persons whom the young men of our
time hear most readily on the conduct of life are those who have had
practical acquaintance with the difficulties of living up to the
ideals which are so eloquently painted in the college chapel, and
who have found out in their own persons what it costs to be pure and
upright, and faithful and industrious, and persistent in the
struggle that goes on in the various callings which lie outside the
college walls. For this reason, probably, no addresses at
commencement have the value of those which are delivered now and
then by men who have come back for a brief day to tell the next
generation of the way life looks to those who for years have been
wrestling with its problems, and have had actual experience of the
virtues and defects of that early equipment and training on which
such enormous sums are now spent in this country. The more advice
from this quarter young men get the better. Nobody can talk so
effectively to them at the moment when they are about to face the
world on their own responsibility as the lawyers and merchants and
ministers and politicians who have been facing it for twenty-five or
thirty years with all the outward signs of success. If it were
possible for every college in the country to get one such man at
commencement whose powers of expression would do justice to his
experience, and who for this one day in the year would without fear
or favor tell what he thought about success and about the conditions
of success--about the kind of troubles which beset men in the
callings with which he is most familiar--we should probably soon
have a body of advice so impressive and fruitful that it would serve
the needs and excite the interest of more than one generation. The
young have been told to be good until they have grown weary of
hearing it, particularly as it is always represented to them as a
comparatively simple matter, and when they go out in the world and
find what a hard and complex thing duty is they are very apt to look
back to the ethical instruction of their college as when in college
they looked back to the admonitions of the nursery, and return to
their alma mater in later years with much the feeling with which a
man visits a kindly old grandmother.

But commencements certainly draw forth nothing so curious as the
newspaper article addressed to the graduating class, and which now
seems to be a regular part of the summer's editorial work. It seems
to have one object in view, and only one, and that is preventing the
graduate from thinking much of his education and his degree, or
supposing that they will be of any particular use to him in his
entrance on life, or make him any more acceptable to the community.
He is warned that they will raise him in nobody's estimation, and
prove rather a hinderance than a help to him in getting a living,
and that it will be well for him to begin his career by trying to
forget that he has ever been in college at all. Not unfrequently the
discourse closes with a suggestion or hint that the best university
is, after all, the office of "a great daily," and that the kindest
thing a fond father could do for a promising boy would be to start
him as a local reporter and make him get his first experience of
life in the collection of "city items." There is in all this the
expression, though in a somewhat grotesque form, of a widespread
popular feeling that nothing is worthy of the name of education
which does not fit a man to earn his bread rapidly and dexterously.
Considering with how large a proportion of the human race the mere
feeding and clothing of the body is the first and hardest of tasks,
there is nothing at all surprising in this view. But the
preservation and growth of civilization in any country depends much
on the extent to which it is able out of its surplus production to
provide some at least of its people with the means of cherishing and
satisfying nobler appetites than hunger and thirst. The immense sum
which is now spent every year on colleges--misspent though much of
it may be--and the increasing number of students who throng to them,
regardless of the fact that the training they get may make them at
first feel a little strange and helpless in the fierce struggle for
meat and drink, show that the increasing wealth of the nation is
accompanied by an increasing recognition of the fact that life,
after all, is not all living, that there are gains which cannot be
entered in any ledger, and that a man may carry about with him,
through a long and it may be outwardly unfortunate career, sources
of pleasure and consolation which are none the less precious for
being unsalable and invisible.


The untimely decease of the _Republic_, the paper which was set up
some months ago to express in a semi-official way the views of the
Administration and its immediate adherents on public questions, has
a good deal that is tragic about it, as far as its principal
conductor is concerned. That a man of as much experience of politics
and of newspapers as Mr. Norvell, the editor, had, should have
supposed it possible to start a daily morning paper in this city at
a time when a successful daily is worth millions, and when there are
four already in possession of the field, without any other claims on
popular attention than its being the mouth-piece of the leading
politicians of the party in power, and with a capital which in his
dreams only reached $500,000, and in fact only $40,000, is a curious
though sad illustration of the power of the press over the
imagination even of persons long familiar with it. The failure of
the enterprise, however distressing in some of its aspects, is
valuable as establishing more conspicuously and firmly than ever two
facts of considerable importance in relation to journalism. One is,
that when politicians so deeply desire an organ as to be willing to
set one up for the exclusive use of the party, it is a sure sign
that the party is in serious danger of extinction. The other is,
that the public mind is so fully made up that the position of a
newspaper ought to be a judicial one, that all attempts to make a
paper avowedly partisan can only be saved from commercial failure by
large capital, extraordinary ability, and well-established prestige.

"Organs" took their rise when the sole use of a newspaper was to
communicate intelligence, and when men in power found it convenient
to have a channel through which they could let out certain things
which they wished to be spread abroad. Out of this kind of relation
to the Government a small paper, which did not object to the humble
_rôle_ of a sort of official gazette, from which the earlier
newspapers indeed differed but little, could, of course, always get
a livelihood, and perhaps a little of the dignity which comes from
having or being supposed to have state secrets to keep. But the
gradual addition to the "news-letter" of the sermon known as a
"leader" or "editorial article" made the relation more and more
difficult and finally impossible. The more pompous, portentous, and
prophetic in their character the editor's comments on public affairs
became, the less disposed was the public to allow him to retain the
position of a paid agent of the State. It began to feel toward him
as it would have felt toward the town-crier if he had put on a gown
and bands, and insisted on accompanying his announcement of thefts
and losses with homilies on the vanity of life and the right use of
opportunities. The editor had, in short, to conduct his business in
a manner befitting his newly assumed duties as a prophet, and to
pretend at least that his utterances were wholly independent and
were due simply to a desire for the public good, as a prophet's
ought to be. It is now very rare indeed that a government is able to
induce a well-established newspaper of the first class to act as its
organ in the proper sense of that term, except by working on the
vanity of editors. Almost all editors are a little sensitive about
the imputation of being mere commentators or critics, and a little
desirous of being thought "practical men," by those engaged in the
actual working of political machinery. The "old editor" in this
country in fact preferred to be thought a working politician, and
liked to use his paper as a piece of political machinery for
producing solid party gains, and in this way to be received into the
circle of "workers" and "managers" as one of themselves; and to
retain this position he was always willing to "write up" any view
they suggested. His successor, though he cares less about being "a
worker," and is able to secure the attendance of politicians at his
office without running after them, is, nevertheless, more or less
flattered by the confidences of men in power, and it often takes
only a small amount of these confidences to make him surrender the
judicial position and accept that of an advocate, and stand by them
through thick and thin. But no leading journal has ever tried this
position in our day very long without being forced out of it by the
demand of the public for impartiality and the consequent difficulty
of avoiding giving offence in official quarters. Every
administration does things either through its chief or subordinates
which will not bear defence, and which its judicious friends prefer
to pass over in silence. But a journalist cannot keep silent. The
Government may require him to hold his tongue, but the reader
demands that he shall speak; and as the public supplies the sinews
of war, and pays for the prophet's robes, he is sooner or later
compelled to break with the Government and to reproach it for not
listening to the advice of its friends in time.

Moreover, in a country in which the press is free and newspapers
abound, a party which contains a majority of the people cannot fail
to have the support of a large and influential portion of the press.
Its conductors, though prophets, do not wear camel's hair, nor is
their diet locusts and wild honey. They form part of the community,
live among the voters, and share, to a greater or less extent, their
prejudices and expectations and sympathies. Every party, therefore,
is sure, as long as it has a strong hold on the public, of having a
strong hold on the press, and of having a considerable number of the
most influential editors among its defenders. One of the sure signs
that it is losing its hold on the public is the defection of the
press or its growing lukewarmness. Newspapers cannot, perhaps, build
a party up or pull one down, but when you see the newspapers
deserting a party it is all but proof that the agencies which
dissolve a political organization are at work. The successful
editors may have no originating power or no organizing power, and no
capacity for legislation, and may even want the prophetic instinct;
but a certain intuitive sense of the direction in which the tide of
popular feeling is running is the principal condition of their
success, and an anxious politician may therefore always safely
credit them with possessing it. If they had not had it, their papers
would not have succeeded.

If the incident or its lessons should result in establishing better
relations between political men and the press, the sacrifice of the
unfortunate projector of the _Republic_ will, however, be a small
price to pay for a great gain. We do not, as our readers know, set
up to be champions of the press, and have certainly never shown any
disposition to underrate its defects or shortcomings. But there is
one thing which no candid and careful observer can avoid seeing,
and that is that the press of the country, as an instrument of
discussion and popular education, has undergone within twenty years
an improvement nothing analogous to which is to be found in the
class of politicians. The newspapers are now, in the vast majority
of cases in all our leading cities, conducted by men who are
familiar with the leading ideas of our time and with the latest
advances in science and the art, including the art of government,
and who write under the influence of these ideas and these advances,
and who have consequently got a standard of efficiency in
legislative administration which has not yet made its way into the
political class. The result is that, after making all possible
allowance for the carelessness and recklessness and dishonesty of
reporters, and the personal biases and enmities of editors, the men
who carry on the Government, excepting a few experts, have become
objects of criticism on the part of the daily press, the
depreciatory tone of which is not wholly unjustifiable or unnatural,
and politicians repay this contempt with a hatred which is none the
less fierce for having no adequate means of expression.


There has been during the week a loud and increasing demand for
the application of the legal process of discovering truth to the
Tilton-Beecher case. People ask that it be carried into court, not
only because all witnesses might thus be compelled to appear and
testify, but because apparently there is, in the minds of many, a
peculiar virtue in "the rules of evidence" used by lawyers.
Witnesses examined under these rules are supposed to receive from
them a strong stimulus in veracity and explicitness, while they at
once expose prevarication or concealment. One newspaper eulogist
went so far the other day as to pronounce the rules the product of
the wisdom of all ages, beginning with the Phoenicians and coming
down to our own time. There is, however, only one good reason that
we know of for carrying any attack on character into court, and that
is the obvious one, that the courts only can compel those who are
supposed to know anything about a matter of litigation to appear and
state it. But we do not know of any other advantage which can be
claimed for a trial in court, in such a case, over a trial before a
well-selected lay tribunal. "The rules of evidence" in use in our
courts are not, as too many persons seem to suppose, deductions from
the constitution of the human mind, or, in other words, natural
rules for the discovery of truth under all conditions. On the
contrary, they are a system of artificial presumptions created for
the use of a tribunal of a somewhat low order of intelligence, and
are intended to produce certain well-defined and limited results,
which the law considers generally beneficial. They have, that is to
say, grown up for the use of the jury. The large number of
exclusions which they contain are due simply to a desire to prevent
jurymen's being confused by kinds of testimony which they are not
supposed to have learning or acumen enough to weigh. If anyone will
go into the City Hall and listen to the trial of even a trifling
cause, he will find that the proceedings consist largely in the
attempt of one lawyer to have certain facts laid before the jury and
the attempts of the other to prevent it, the judge sitting as
arbiter between them and applying the rules of admission and
exclusion to each of these facts as it comes up. If he examines,
too, in each instance what it is that is thus pertinaciously offered
and pertinaciously opposed, he will find that it almost invariably
has _something_ to do with the controversy before the court--it may
be near or more remote--but still something. Consequently it has,
logically, a certain bearing on the case, or is, under the
constitution of the human mind, proper evidence. When the judge says
it is irrelevant, he does not mean that it is logically irrelevant;
he means that it has been declared irrelevant on certain grounds of
expediency by the system of jurisprudence which he administers. He
refuses to let it go to the jury because he thinks it would befog
them or turn their attention away from the "legal issue" or, in
other words, from the one little point on which the law compels
the plaintiff and defendant to concentrate their dispute, in order
to render it triable at all by the peculiar tribunal which the
Anglo-Saxon race has chosen for the protection of its rights.

It follows that our rules of evidence are unknown on the European
continent and in every country in which courts are composed of
judges only--that is, of men with special training and capacity for
the work of weighing testimony--or in which the legal customs have
been created by such courts. There the litigants follow the natural
order, and carry with them before the bench everything that has any
relation to the case whatever, and leave the court to examine it and
allow it its proper force. Our own changes in the law of evidence
are all in this direction. The amount of excluded testimony--that
is, of testimony with which we are afraid to trust the jury--has
been greatly diminished during the last few years, and, considering
the growth of popular intelligence, properly diminished. The
tendency of legislation now is toward letting the jury hear
everybody--the plaintiff and defendant, the prisoner, the wife, the
husband, and the witness with a pecuniary interest in the result of
the trial--and put its own estimate on what the testimony amounts
to. But nevertheless, even now, who is there that has ever watched
the preparation of a cause for trial who has not listened to
lamentations over the difficulty or impossibility of getting this or
that important fact before the jury, or has not witnessed elaborate
precautions, on one side or another, to prevent some fact from
getting before the jury? The skill of a counsel in examining or
cross-examining a witness, for instance, is shown almost as much by
what he avoids bringing out as by what he brings out, and no witness
is allowed to volunteer any statement lest he should tell something
which, however pertinent in reality, the rules pronounce

Now, rules of this kind are singularly unsuited to the conduct of
inquiries touching character. It is true the law provides a process
nominally for the vindication of character, called an action for
libel, but the remedy it supplies is not a vindication properly so
called, but a sum of money as a kind of penalty on the libeller, not
for having assailed you, but for not having been able to prove his
case under the rules of evidence. In a suit for libel, too, the
parties fight their battle in the strict legal order--the plaintiff,
that is to say, stands by and challenges the defendant to produce
his proofs, and then fights bitterly through his counsel to keep out
as much of the proof as he can. He supplies no evidence himself that
is not strictly called for, and proffers no explanation that does
not seem necessary to procure an award of pecuniary damages, and
takes all the pains possible to bring confusing influences to bear
on the jury. When we consider, too, that the jury is composed of men
who may be said to be literally called in from the street, without
the slightest regard to their special qualifications for the conduct
of any inquiry, and that they are apt to represent popular passions
and prejudices in all conspicuous and exciting cases, we easily see
why a trial by a jury, under the common-law rules of evidence, is
not the process through which a high-minded man who sought not for
"damages," but to keep his reputation absolutely spotless in the
estimation of his neighbors, would naturally seek his vindication.

It cannot be too often said, in these times when great reputations
are so often assailed and so often perish, that nobody who has not
deliberately chosen the life of a stoical recluse is justified
either in refusing to defend his reputation or in defending it by
technical processes if any others are within his reach. It is, of
course, open to any man to say that he cares nothing for the opinion
of mankind, and will not take the trouble to influence it in any
manner in regard to himself. But, if he says so, he is bound not to
identify with himself, in any manner, either great interests or
great causes. If he makes himself the champion of other people's
rights, or the exponent of important principles, or has through any
power of his achieved an influence over other people's minds
sufficiently great to make it appear that certain doctrines or ideas
must stand or fall by him, he has surrendered his freedom in all
that regards the maintenance of his fame.

It is no longer his only to maintain. It has become, as it were,
embodied in popular morality, been made the basis of popular hopes,
and a test under which popular faith or approval is bestowed on a
great variety of ways and means of living. Such a man is bound to
defend himself from the instant at which he finds the assaults on
him begin to tell on the public conception of his character.
Dignified reserve is a luxury in which it is not permitted to him to
indulge; and when he comes to defend himself, it must not be with
the calculating shrewdness of the strategist or tactician. The only
rules of evidence of which he can claim the benefit are the laws of
the human mind. The tribunal, too, before which he seeks reparation
should not be what the state supplies only, but the very best he can
reach, and it should, if possible, be composed of men with no motive
for saving him and with no reason for hating him, and with such
training and experience as may best fit them for the task of
weighing his enemy's charges and his own excuses and explanations.
His course before such a tribunal, too, should be marked by ardor
rather than by prudence. He should chafe under delay, clamor for
investigation, and invite scrutiny, and put away from him all
advisers whose experience is likely to incline them to chicane or
make them satisfied with a technical victory. Such men are always
dangerous in delicate cases. He should not wait for his accuser to
get in all his case if the substantial part of it is already before
the court, because his answer ought not, as in a court of law, to
cover the complaint simply and no more. It ought to contain a plain
unvarnished tale of the whole transaction, and not those parts only
which the accusation may have touched, because his object is not
only to wrest a verdict of "not proven" from his judges, but to
satisfy even the timid and sensitive souls whose faith in their
idols is so large a part of their moral life, not only that he is
not guilty, but that he never even inclined toward guilt.


The late discussion on the possibility or expediency of maintaining
governments at the South which had no physical force at their
disposal has not failed to attract the attention of the friends of
woman suffrage. They see readily what, indeed, most outsiders have
seen all along, that the failure of the numerical majority in
certain Southern States to hold the power to which the law entitled
them simply because they were unable or unwilling to fight, has a
very important bearing on the fitness of women to participate in the
practical work of government, and a well-known writer, "T. W. H.,"
in a late number of the _Woman's Journal_, endeavors to show that
what has happened at the South is full of encouragement for the
woman suffragists. His argument is in substance this: You (the
opponents) have always maintained as the great objection to the
admission of women to the franchise, that if women voted, cases
might arise in which the physical force of the community would be in
the hands of one party and the legal authority in those of the
other, and we should then witness the great scandal of a majority
government unable to execute the laws. We have just seen at the
South, however, that the possession of physical force is not always
sufficient to put the majority even of the male voters in possession
of the Government. In South Carolina and Louisiana the Government
has been seized and successfully held by a minority, in virtue of
their greater intelligence and self-confidence. To use his own

"The present result in South Carolina is not a triumph of bodily
strength over weakness, but, on the contrary, of brains over bodily
strength. And however this reasoning affects the condition of South
Carolina--which is not here my immediate question--it certainly
affects, in a very important degree, the argument for woman
suffrage. If the ultimate source of political power is muscle, as is
often maintained, then woman suffrage is illogical; but if the
ultimate source of political power is, as the Nation implies, 'the
intelligence, sagacity, and the social and political experience of
the population,' then the claims of women are not impaired. For we
rest our case on the ground that women equal men on these points,
except in regard to political experience, which is a thing only to
be acquired by practice.

"So the showing of the _Nation_ is, on the whole, favorable to
women. It looks in the direction of Mr. Bagehot's theory, that
brains now outweigh muscle in government. Just in proportion as man
becomes civilized and comes to recognize laws as habitually binding,
does the power of mere brute force weaken. In a savage state the
ruler of a people must be physically as well as mentally the
strongest; in a civilized state the commander-in-chief may be
physically the weakest person in the army. The English military
power is no less powerful for obeying the orders of a queen. The
experience of South Carolina does not vindicate, but refutes, the
theory that muscle is the ruling power. It shows that an educated
minority is more than a match for an ignorant majority, even though
this be physically stronger. Whether this forbodes good or evil to
South Carolina is not now the question; but so far as woman suffrage
is concerned, the moral is rather in its favor than against it."

What is singular in all this is, that the writer is evidently under
the impression that the term "physical force" in politics means
muscle, or, to put the matter plainly, that the fact that the South
Carolina negroes, who unquestionably surpass the whites in lifting
power, could not hold their own against them, shows that government
has become a mere question of brains, and that as women have plenty
of brains, though they can lift very little, they could perfectly
well carry on, or help to carry on, a government which has only
moral force on its side.

Now, as a matter of fact, there has been no recent change in the
meaning attached to "physical force" in political nomenclature. It
does not mean muscle or weight now, as we see in South Carolina; and
it has never meant muscle or weight since the dawn of civilization.
The races and nations which have made civilization and ruled the
world have done so by virtue of their possessing the very
superiority, in a greater or less degree, which the Carolina whites
have shown in their late struggle with the blacks. The Greeks, the
Romans, the Turks, the English, the French, and the Germans have all
succeeded in government--that is, in seizing and keeping power--not
through superiority of physical force which consists in muscle, but
through the superiority which consists in the ability to organize
and bring into the field, and reinforce large bodies of men, with
the resolution to kill and be killed in order to have their own way
in disputes. No matter how much intelligence a people may have,
unless they are able and willing to apply their intelligence to the
art of war, and have the personal courage necessary to carry out in
action the plans of their leaders, they cannot succeed in politics.
Brains are necessary for political success, without doubt, but it
must be brains applied, among other things to the organization of
physical force in fleets and armies. An "educated minority," as
such, is no more a match for a "physically stronger ignorant
majority" than a delicate minister for a pugilist in "condition,"
unless it can furnish well-equipped and well-led troops. The Greeks
were better educated than the Romans, but this did not help them.
The Romans of the Empire were vastly more intelligent and thoughtful
than the Barbarians, but they could not save the Empire. The Italians
of the Middle Ages were the superiors of the French and Germans in
every branch of culture, and yet this did not prevent Italy being
made the shuttlecock of northern politicians and free-booters.
The French overran Germany in the beginning of the present century,
and the Germans have overrun France within the last ten years,
not in either case owing to superiority in lifting or boxing, or
in literary "culture," but to superiority in the art of fighting--
that is, of bringing together large bodies of armed men who will
not flinch, and will advance when ordered on the battle-field.

It is skill in this art which is meant by the term "physical force"
in politics, and it is this physical force which lies behind all
successful government. The superiority of the North in numbers,
wealth, machinery, literature, and common schools would have
profited it nothing, and the American Republic would have
disappeared from the map if it had not been possible, thirty years
ago, to apply a vast amount of intelligence to the purposes of
destruction, and to find large numbers of men willing to fight under
orders. In quiet times, under a government in which the numerical
majority and the intelligence and property of the community are on
the same side, and take substantially the same views of public
polity, and the display of coercive force, except for ordinary
police purposes, is not called for, we not unnaturally slide readily
into the pleasant belief that government is purely a moral agency,
and that people obey the law through admiration of intellectual
power and the dread of being "cornered" in argument, or of being
exposed as selfish or lawless.

Such occurrences as the late civil war and the recent deadlock at
the South are very useful in uncovering the secret springs of
society, and reminding people of the tremendous uncertainties and
responsibilities by which national as well as individual life is
surrounded, reminding the voter, in short, that he may not always be
able to discharge his duty to the country by depositing his ballot
in the box; that he may have to make the result sure by putting
everything he values in the world at stake. The poor negroes in
South Carolina have not been deposed simply because they are
ignorant; the Russian peasants who fought at Borodino were grossly
ignorant. How many of the English hinds who stood rooted in the soil
at Waterloo could read and write? The Carolinian majority failed
because it did not contain men willing to fight, or leaders capable
of organization for military purposes, or, in other words, did not
possess what has since the dawn of civilization been the first and
greatest title to political power. The Carolinian minority did not
drive their opponents out of the offices by simply offering the
spectacle of superior intelligence of self-confidence, but by the
creation of a moral certainty that, if driven to extremities, they
would outdo the Republicans in the marshalling, marching,
provisioning, and manoeuvring of riflemen.

If this be true, it will be readily seen that the lesson of the
South Carolina troubles, far from containing encouragement for the
friends of female suffrage, is full of doubt and difficulty. Those
who believe that women voters would constitute a new and valuable
force in politics must recognize the possibility that they would at
some time or other constitute the bulk of a majority claiming the
government, and they must also recognize the probability that the
male portion of this majority would be composed of the milder and
less energetic class of men, people with much brains and but little
physical courage, ready to go to the stake for a conviction, but not
ready to shoulder a musket or assault a redoubt. If under these
circumstances the minority, composed exclusively of men, inferior if
you will, to the majority in the purity of their motives, the
breadth of their culture, and in capacity for drawing constitutions
and laws and administering charities, should refuse to obey the
majority, and should say that its government was a ridiculous
"fancy" government, administered by crackbrained people, and likely
to endanger property and the public credit, and that it must be
abolished, what would the women and their "gentlemen friends" do?
They would doubtless remonstrate with the recusants and show them
the wickedness of their course, but then the recusants would be no
more moved by this than Wade Hampton and his people by Mr.
Chamberlain's eloquent and affecting inaugural address. They would
tell the ladies that their intelligence was doubtless of a high
order, and their aims noble, but that as they were apparently unable
to supply policemen to arrest the persons who disobeyed their laws,
their administration was a farce and its disappearance called for in
the interest of public safety. Accordingly it would be removed to
the great garret of history, to lie side by side with innumerable
other disused plans for human improvement.

The cause of much of the misconception about the part played by
physical force in modern society now current in reformatory circles
is doubtless to be found in the disappearance of sporadic and
lawless displays of it, such as, down to a very recent period,
seriously disturbed even the most civilized communities. The change
that has taken place, however, consists not in the total disuse of
force as a social agency, but in the absorption of all force by the
government, making it so plainly irresistible that the occasions are
rare when anything approaching to organized resistance or defiance
of it is attempted. When it lays its commands on a man he knows that
obedience will, if necessary, be enforced by an agency of such
tremendous power that he does not think of revolt. But it is not the
high intelligence of those who carry it on that he bows to; it is to
their ability to crush him like an egg-shell. Of course, it is not
surprising that his submissiveness should at meetings of
philanthropists be ascribed to the establishment of a consensus
between his mind and the mind of the law-giver, or in other words,
the subjection of society to purely moral influences; but it is
perhaps well that complications like those of South Carolina should
now and then occur to infuse sobriety into speculation and explain
the machinery of civilization.


The passionate excitement created in Canada by the arrival of a
daughter of the Queen, and the prospect of the establishment of
"a court" in Ottawa which will have the appearance of a real
Court--that is, a court with blood royal in it, instead of a court
held merely by the queen's legal representatives--is a phenomenon of
considerable interest. It affords a fresh illustration of that
growth of reverence for royalty which all the best observers agree
has for the last forty years been going on in England, side by side
with the growth of democratic feeling and opinion in politics--that
is, the sovereign has more than gained as a social personage what
she has lost as a political personage. The less she has had to do
with the government the more her drawing-rooms have been crowded,
and the more eager have people become for personal marks of her

The reason of this is not far to seek. It lies in the enormous
increase during that period in the size of the class which is not
engaged in that, to the heralds, accursed thing--trade, and has
money enough to bear the expense of "a presentation," and of living
or trying to live afterward in the circle of those who might be
invited to court, or might meet the Prince of Wales at dinner. The
accumulation of fortunes since the Queen's accession has been very
great, and they have, however made, come into possession now of a
generation which has never been engaged in any occupation frowned on
by the Lord Chamberlain, and which owns estates, or at all events
possesses all outward marks of gentility, when it has been received
by the Queen, and has got into Burke's Dictionary at the end of an
interesting though perhaps apocryphal genealogy. This reception is
the crown of life's struggle, a sort of certificate that the hero or
heroine of it is fit company for anybody in the world. It is, in
fact, a social graduation. When you get somebody who is himself a
graduate to agree to present you, and the Lord Chamberlain, after
examining your card, makes no objection to you, he virtually
furnishes you with a sort of diploma which guarantees you against
what may be called authorized snubs. People may afterward decline
your invitations on the ground that they do not like you, or that
your entertainments bore them, but not on the ground that your
social position is inferior to their own.

That the struggle for this diploma in a wealthy and large society
should be great and increasing is nothing wonderful. The desire for
it among the women especially, to whose charge the creation and
preservation of "position" are mainly committed, is very deep. It
inflames their imagination in a way which makes husbands ready for
anything in order to get it, and in fact makes it indispensable to
their peace of mind and body that they should get it as soon as
their pecuniary fortune seems to put it within their reach. Since
the Queen ascended the throne the population has risen from
20,000,000 to 35,000,000, and the number of great fortunes and
presentable people has increased in a still greater ratio, and the
pressure on the court has grown correspondingly; but there remains
after all only one court to gratify the swarm of new applicants. The
colonies, too, have of late years contributed largely to swell the
tide. Every year London society and the ranks of the landed gentry
are reinforced by returned Australians and New Zealanders and
Cape-of-Good-Hopers and China and India merchants, who feel that
their hard labors and long exile have left life empty and joyless
until they see the names of their wives and daughters in the
_Gazette_ among the presentations at a drawing-room or levee.

In the colonies, and especially in Canada, where there is so little
in the local life to gratify the imagination, the court shines with
a splendor which the distance only intensifies. To a certain class
of Canadians, who enjoy more frequent opportunities than the
inhabitants of the other great colonies of renewing or fortifying
their love of the competition of English social life, and of the
marks of success in it, the court, as the fountain of honor, apart
from all political significance, is an object of almost fierce
interest. In England itself the signs of social distinction are not
so much prized. This kind of Canadian is, in fact, apt to be rather
more of an Englishman than the Englishman himself in all these
things. He imitates and cultivates English usages with a passion
which takes no account of the restrictions of time or place. It is
"the thing" too in Canadian society, as in the American colony in
Paris, to be much disgusted by the "low Americans" who invade the
Dominion in summer, and to feel that even the swells of New York and
Boston could achieve much improvement in their manners by faithful
observation of the doings in the Toronto and Ottawa drawing-rooms.

As far as admiration of courts and a deep desire for court-life and
a belief in the saving grace of contact with royalty can go,
therefore, there are Canadians fully prepared for the establishment
of a court "in their midst." The society of the province was, in
fact, in an imflammable eagerness to kiss hands, and back out from
the presence of royalty, and perform the various exercises
pertaining to admission to court circles, and in a proper state of
Jingo distrust of the wicked Czar and his minions--which in the
Colonies is now one of the marks of gentility--when the magician,
Lord Beaconsfield, determined to apply the match to it by sending
out a real princess. In spite of his contempt for the "flat-nosed
Franks," however, he can hardly have been prepared for the response
which he elicited. He cannot have designed to make monarchy and
royalty seem ridiculous, and yet the articles and addresses and
ceremonies with which the new Governor-General and his wife have
been received look as if the Minister had determined, before he
died, to have the best laugh of his farcical career over the
barbarians who have called him in to rule over them. A court is a
very delicate thing, and a strong capacity for enjoying it does not
of itself make good courtiers. In England the reasons which prevent
a man's being received at court--such as active prosecution of the
dry-goods business--are a thousand years old; in fact, they may be
said to have come down from the ancient world along with the Roman
law. They have, therefore, a certain natural fitness and force in
the eyes of the natives of that country. That is, it seems to "stand
to reason" that a trader should not go to court. Moreover, they can
be enforced in England and still leave an abundant supply of
spotless persons for the purposes of court society. The court-line
is drawn along an existing and well-marked social division.

In Canada this preparation for court gayeties does not exist. If the
persons soiled by commerce were to be excluded from the princess's
presence, she would lead a lonely and dismal life, and the court
would be substantially a failure. If, on the other hand, the court
is to be made up exclusively of rich traders, it will not only
excite the fiercest jealousies and bitterness among those who are
excluded, but it will be very difficult to provide a rule for
passing on claims for presentation when once the line of official
position is passed. But, it may be said, why not throw all
restrictions aside and admit everybody, as at White House
receptions? Nobody will ask this question who has mastered even the
rudiments of royalty, and we shall not take the trouble of answering
it fully. We are now discussing the question for the benefit of
persons of some degree of knowledge. Suffice it to say that any
laxity of practice at Ottawa would do a good deal of damage to the
monarchical principle itself, which, as Mr. Bagehot has pointed out,
owes much of its force and permanence even in England to its hold on
the imagination. The princess cannot go back to England receiving
Tom, Dick, and Harry in Canada without a certain loss of prestige
both for herself and her house.

Not the least curious feature of the crisis is the interest the
prospect of a Canadian court has excited in this country. Our
newspapers know what they are about when they give whole pages to
accounts of the voyage and the reception, including a history of the
House of Argyll and a brief sketch of the feelings of Captain the
Duke of Edinburgh, now on the Halifax Station, over his approaching
meeting with his sister. They recognize the existence of a deep and
abiding curiosity, at least among the women of our country, about
all that relates to royalty and its doings, in spite of the labor
expended for nearly a century by orators and editors in showing up
the vanity and hollowness of monarchical distinctions. In fact, if
the secrets of American hearts could be revealed, we fear it would
be found that the materials for about a million of each order of
nobility, from dukes down, exist among us under quiet republican
exteriors, and that if a court circle were set up among us no
earthly power could prevent its assuming unnatural and unmanageable
proportions. A prince like the late Emperor Maximilian, whose purse
was meagre but whose connection with a reigning house was
unquestioned and close, might find worse ways of repairing his
fortune than setting up an amateur court in some of the Atlantic
cities and charging a moderate fee for presentation, and drawing the
line judiciously so as to keep up the distinction without damaging
his revenues. To prevent cutting remarks on the members of the
circle, however, and too much ridicule of the whole enterprise, he
would have to give the editors high places about his person, and
provide offices for the reporters in his basement. If the scheme
were well organized and did not attempt too much, its value in
settling people's "position," and in giving the worthy their proper
place without the prolonged struggles they now have sometimes to
undergo, would be very great, and it would enable foreign students
of our institutions to pursue successfully certain lines of inquiry
into our manners and customs in which they are now too often


Every year a great deal of discussion of the best mode of spending
the summer, and the course of the people who go to Europe, instead
of submitting to the discomfort and extortion of American hotels, is
for the most part greatly commended. The story told about the hotels
and lodging-houses is the same every year. The food is bad, the
rooms uncomfortable, and the charges high. The fashion, except
perhaps at Newport and Beverly, near Boston, Bar Harbor, and one or
two other highly favored localities, grows stronger and stronger, to
live in the city in the winter and spend the three hot months in
France or England or Switzerland. Moreover, the accounts which come
from Europe of the increase in the number of American colonists now
to be found in every attractive town of the Continent are not
exactly alarming, but they are sufficient to set people thinking.
The number of those who pass long years in Europe, educate their
children there, and retain little connection with America beyond
drawing their dividends, grows steadily, and as a general rule they
are persons whose minds or manners or influence makes their
prolonged absence a sensible loss to our civilization. Moreover,
when they come back, they find it difficult to stay, and staying is
not made easy for them. People here are a little suspicious of them,
and are apt to fancy that they have got out of sympathy with
American institutions, and have grown too critical for the rough
processes by which the work of life in America has in a large degree
to be done. They themselves, on the other hand, besides being soured
by the coldness of their reception, are apt to be disgusted by the
want of finish of all their surroundings, by the difficulty with
which the commoner and coarser needs are met in this country, and by
the reluctance with which allowance is made by legislation and
opinion for the gratification of unusual or unpopular tastes.

The result is a breach, which is already wide, and tends to widen,
between the class which is hard at work making its fortune and the
class which has either made its fortune or has got all it desires,
which is the same thing as a fortune. There is a great deal of work
which this latter would like to do. There is a great deal of the
work of legislation and administration and education for which it is
eminently fitted, but in which, nevertheless, it has little or no
chance of sharing, owing to the loss of the art of winning the
confidence of others, and working with others, which is more easily
learned in America than elsewhere, and which is readily lost by
prolonged residence in any European country, and the absence of
which here makes all other gifts for practical purposes almost
worthless. So that it must be said that the amount of intellectual
and aesthetic culture which an American acquires in Europe is
somewhat dearly purchased. When he gets home, he is apt to find it a
useless possession, as far as the world without is concerned, unless
he is lucky enough, as sometimes but not often happens, to drop into
some absorbing occupation or to lose his fortune. Failing this, he
begins that melancholy process of vibration between the two
continents in which an increasingly large number of persons pass a
great part of their lives, their hearts and affections being wholly
in neither.

The remedy for the mania for _living_ abroad is an elaborate one,
and one needing more time for its creation. No country retains the
hearty affection of its educated class which does not feed its
imagination. The more we cultivate men, the higher their ideals grow
in all directions, political and social, and they like best the
places in which these ideals are most satisfied. The long and varied
history of older countries offers their citizens a series of
pictures which stimulate patriotism in the highest degree; and it
will generally be found that the patriotism and love of home of the
cultivated class is in the ratio of the supply of this kind of food.
They are languid among the Russians, and among the Germans prior to
the late war, as compared to the English and French. In default of a
long history, however, historic incidents are apt to lose their
power on the imagination through over-use. The jocose view of
Washington and of the Pilgrim Fathers, of Bunker Hill and of the
Fourth of July, already gains ground rapidly among us, through too
great familiarity. When Professor Tyndall, in one of his lectures
here, made an allusion which he meant to be solemn and impressive,
to Plymouth Rock, its triteness drew a titter from the audience
which for a moment confounded him.

Unluckily, history cannot be made to order. It is the product of
ages. The proper substitute for it, as well as for the spectacular
effects of monarchy, in new democratic societies, is perfection.
There is no way in which we can here kindle the imaginations of the
large body of men and women to whom we are every year giving an
increasingly high education so well as by finish in the things we
undertake to do. Nothing does so much to produce despondency about
the republic, or alienation from republican institutions, among the
young of the present day, as the condition of the civil service, the
poor working of the post-office and the treasury or the courts, or
the helplessness of legislators in dealing with the ordinary every-
day problems. The largeness of the country, and the rapidity of its
growth, and the comparatively low condition of foreign nations in
respect to freedom, which roused people in Fourth-of-July orations
forty years ago, have, like the historical reminiscences, lost their
magic, and the material prosperity is now associated in people's
minds with so much moral corruption that the mention of it produces
in some of the best of us a feeling not far removed from nausea.
Nothing will do so much now to rouse the old enthusiasm as the
spectacle of the pure working of our administrative machinery,
of able and independent judges, a learned and upright bar, a
respectable and purified custom-house, an enlightened and efficient
treasury, and a painstaking post-office. The colleges of the country
and the railroads, and indeed everything that depends on private
enterprise, are rapidly becoming objects of pride; but a good deal
needs to be done by the government to prevent its being a source of

Mrs. Stevenson, a Philadelphia lady; the president of the Civic Club
in that city, delivered an address to the club some weeks ago on its
work of reform, in which we find the following passage:

"There seems to exist a mysterious, unwritten law governing the
social organism which causes a natural and wholesome reaction to
take place whenever tendencies, perhaps inherent in certain classes,
threaten to become general, and thereby dangerous to the community.
A few years ago, for instance, with the increasing facilities for
foreign travel, and the corresponding increase of international
intercourse, Anglomania had become so much in vogue as to form an
incipient danger to the true democratic American spirit that
constitutes the real strength of our nation. It was fast becoming a
national habit to extol everything European--from monarchy and its
aristocratic institutions down to the humblest article of dress or
of household use--to the detriment of everything American; and from
the upper 'four hundred' this habit was fast extending to the upper
forty thousand. But just as our wealthy classes were beginning to
make themselves positively ridiculous abroad, and almost intolerable
at home, a reaction set in, and upon all sides there sprang up
patriotic associations of a social order--'Sons and Daughters of the
Revolution,' 'Colonial Dames,' etc.--which revived proper American
self-respect among our people by teaching us to rest our pride, if
pride we _must_ have, where it legitimately should rest--upon good
service rendered to our own country."

This seems to be a shaft aimed at the practice of "going to Europe,"
for the decline of "the true American spirit" and the growth of
Anglomania are ascribed to the "increasing facilities for foreign
travel" and "the corresponding increase of international
intercourse." If the charge be true, it is one of the most
afflicting over made, because it shows that "the true democratic
American spirit" suffers from what the world has hitherto considered
one of the greatest triumphs of modern science, and one of the
greatest blessings conferred on the race--the enormous improvement
in oceanic steam navigation; that, in fact, American patriotism is
very much like the Catholic faith in the Middle Ages--something
naturally hostile to progress in the arts.

If, too, the practice of going to Europe be dangerous to American
faith and morals, the number of those who go makes it of immense
importance. There is probably no American who has risen above very
narrow circumstances who does not go to Europe at least once in his
life. There is hardly a village in the country in which the man who
has succeeded in trade or commerce does not announce his success to
his neighbors by a trip to Europe for himself and his family. There
is hardly a professor, or teacher, or clergyman, or artist, or
author who does not save out of a salary, however small, in order to
make the voyage. Tired professional or business men make it
constantly, under the pretence that it is the only way they can get
"a real holiday." Journalists make it as the only way of getting out
of their heads such disgusting topics as Croker and Gilroy, and Hill
and Murphy. Rich people make it every year, or oftener, through mere
restlessness. We are now leaving out of account, of course,
immigrants born in the Old World, who go back to see their friends.
We are talking of native Americans. Of course, all native Americans
cannot go, because, even when they can afford it, they cannot always
get the time. But we venture on the proposition that there is hardly
any American "in this broad land," as members of Congress say, who,
having both time and money, has not gone to Europe, or does not mean
to go some day or other. So that, if Mrs. Stevenson's account of the
moral effects of the voyage were true, it would show that the very
best portion of our population, the most moral, the most religious,
and the most educated were constantly exposing themselves by tens of
thousands to most debasing influences.

But is it true? We think not. Americans who go to Europe with some
knowledge of history, of the fine arts, and of literature, all
recognize the fact that they could not have completed their
education without going. To such people travel in Europe is one of
the purest and most elevating of pleasures, for Europe contains the
experience of mankind in nearly every field of human endeavor.
They often, it is true, come back discontented with America, but
out of this discontent have grown some of our most valuable
improvements--libraries, museums, art-galleries, colleges. What they
have seen in Europe has opened their eyes to the possibilities and
shortcomings of their own country.

To take a familiar example, it is travel in Europe which has done
most to stimulate the movement for municipal reform. It is seeing
London and Paris, and Berlin and Birmingham, which has done most to
wake people up to the horrors of the Croker-Gilroy rule, and inflame
the determination to end it as a national disgrace. The class of
Americans who do not come back discontented are usually those who
had no education to start with.

  "Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
   Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll!"

So, even when standing on the Acropolis at Athens or in the Tribuna
at Florence, they feel themselves sadly "out of it." They think
longingly of Billy or Jimmy, and the coffee and cakes of their far
Missouri or Arkansas home, and come back cursing Europe and its
contents. No damage is ever done by foreign travel to the "true
democratic American spirit" of this class.

And now as to "Anglomania," a subject to be handled with as much
delicacy as an anarchist bomb. Anglomania in one form or other is to
be met with in all countries, especially France and Germany, and has
shown itself here and there all over the Continent ever since the
peace of 1815. The things in which it most imitates the English are
riding, driving, men's clothes, sports in general, and domestic
comfort. The reason is that the English have for two centuries given
more attention to these things than any other people. No other has
so cultivated the horse for pleasure purposes. No other has devoted
so much thought and money to suitability in dress and to field sports.
No other has brought to such perfection the art of living in country
houses. In all these things people who can afford it try to imitate
them. We say, with a full consciousness of the responsibility which
the avowal entails on us, that they do right. It is well in any art
to watch and imitate the man who has best succeeded in it. The
sluggard has been exhorted even to imitate the ant, and anyone who
wishes to ride or drive well, or dress appropriately, or entertain
in a country house, ought to study the way the English do these
things, and follow their example, for anything worth doing ought to
be done well. It is mostly in these things that Anglomania consists.

Mrs. Stevenson, we fear, exaggerates greatly the number of
Anglomaniacs. A few dozen are as many as are to be found in any
country, and any government or polity which their presence puts in
peril ought to be overthrown, for assuredly it is rotten to the
core. There is nothing, in fact, better calculated to make Americans
hang their heads for shame than the list of small things which one
hears from "good Americans," put our institutions in danger. We
remember a good old publisher, in the days before international
copyright, who thought we could not much longer stand the
circulation of British novels. Their ideas, he said, were dangerous
to a republic. An Anglomaniac can hardly turn up his trousers on
Fifth Avenue without eliciting shrieks of alarm from the American
patriot. And yet a more harmless creature really does not exist.

These matters are worth notice because we are the only great nation
in the world whom people try to preach into patriotism. The natives
of other countries love their country simply, naturally, and for the
most part silently, as they love their mothers and their wives. But
to get an American to do so he has, one would think, to be followed
about by a preacher with a big stick exhorting him to be a "good
American," or he will catch it. But nobody was ever preached into
love of country. He may be preached into sacrifices in its behalf,
but the springs of love cannot be got at by any system of
persuasion. No man will love his country unless he feels it to be
lovable; and it is to making it lovable that the exertions of those
who have American patriotism in charge should be devoted.

Every Good American may take comfort in the fact that very few
people indeed of any social or political value who have once lived
in America ever want again to live in Europe, unless they go for
purposes of study or education. For there is no question that there
is no country in the world in which the atmosphere is so friendly,
and in which one is so sure of sympathy in misfortune, of acceptance
on his own merits independently of birth or money, and has so many
opportunities of escape from the slings and arrows of outrageous
fortune, as America. These are the things which, after all, in the
vast majority of cases, win and hold the human heart; and a country
which has them can well afford to let its citizens travel, and even
let some of them "be early English if they can."


The numerous articles called forth by Carlyle's "Reminiscences,"
both in this country and in England, while varying greatly in the
proportions in which they mix their praise and blame, leave no doubt
that there has occurred a very strong revulsion of feeling about
him, so strong in England that we are told that the subscriptions
for a proposed memorial to him have almost if not entirely ceased.
The censure which Carlyle's friends are visiting on Mr. Froude for
his indiscretion in printing the book, though deserved, has done but
little to mitigate the severity of the judgment passed on the writer
himself. In fact, we are inclined to believe that Mr. Froude's want
of judgment rather helps to deepen the surprise and disappointment
with which the book has been received, as affording an additional
proof of the feebleness of Carlyle's own powers in estimating the
people about him. That, after heaping contempt on so many of whom
the world has been accustomed to think highly, he should have
retained to the last his confidence in, and respect for, a person
capable of dealing his fame such a deadly blow as Mr. Froude, not
unnaturally increases the irritation with which the public has read
his recollections of his friends and contemporaries. The
"disillusion and disenchantment" worked by the book, in so far as it
affects Carlyle's fame as a prophet, is, of course, a misfortune,
and a very serious one. What it was he preached when his preaching
first startled the world, but very few now undertake to say, and
these few by no means agree in their story. His influence,
apparently, was not of the kind which reaches a man through
articulate speech, but rather that which comes through the blast of
a trumpet or the marching tune of a good band, and fills the heart
with a feeling of capacity for high endeavor, though one cannot say
in what particular field it is to be displayed. But though he
founded no school and taught no system of morals, his eminence as
a mere preacher was one of the very valuable possessions of the
Anglo-Saxon world, as a sort of standing protest against the
materialistic tendencies of the age; and this eminence rested a good
deal on the popular conception of the elevation of his own
character. This conception has undoubtedly, whether justly or
unjustly, been greatly shaken, if not destroyed, by the revelation
that invidious comparison between himself and others was almost a
habit of his life; that, while preaching patient endurance, he did
not himself endure patiently even the minor ills of existence; that,
when looking at the fine equipages at Hyde Park Corner, he had to
support himself by "sternly thinking"--"yes, and perhaps none of you
could do what I am at;" that his mental attitude during the
preparation of most of his books was that of a man not properly
appreciated who was going to cast pearls before swine; or, in other
words, the attitude of an ordinary literary man burdened with too
much vanity for his powers, and more concerned about the effect his
work was likely to have on his personal fortunes than on the mental
or moral condition of the world. While full of contempt for
sciolists and pretenders and newspapers, he wrote, and was ready to
write, on the American war without any knowledge of the facts, and
scorned Darwinism without ever bestowing a thought on it. Carlyle's
public were long ago conscious, as one of his critics has said, that
he canted prodigiously about cant, and talked voluminously in praise
of silence; but then it recognized that much repetition has always
the air of cant, and that to persuade men to be silent, as well as
to do anything else, one must talk a great deal. A prophet has to be
diffuse and loud, and often shrill, and his disciples will always
forgive any number of mistakes in method or manner as long as they
believe that behind the preaching there is perfect simplicity and
self-forgetfulness. That this belief has been weakened in many minds
with regard to Carlyle by the "Reminiscences" there is no question,
and the consequence of it is that the Anglo Saxon world has lost one
of its best possessions; and it is a kind of possession which no
apologies or explanations, and no proof of Mr. Froude's
indiscretion, can restore.

There is, however, some compensation in the catastrophe. If there
was nothing positive in Carlyle's moral teachings, if nobody could
extract from his earlier utterances anything more definite than
advice to "be up and doing with a heart for every fate," there was
in the political teachings of his later works something very
positive and definite, and something which he managed to surround
with some of the diviner light of his first arraignments of modern
civilization. There is, for instance, nothing in literature more
ingenious than the way in which he presents Cromwell as the apostle
of "truth" during the campaigns in Ireland after the death of the
King. He lets slip no opportunity of setting forth the importance of
those military operations as a means of bringing "truth" to the
Irish, so much so that the reader at last begins to expect the
revelation of some formula in which the Lord-General presented the
truth to them. But long before the end is reached one finds that the
only truth which Cromwell was spreading in Ireland was the simple
one that anybody who resisted him in arms would probably be knocked
on the head. This collocation of truth and superiority of physical
force, and of falsehood and weakness, was, in fact, worked into all
Carlyle's writings of a political character, and did, through his
writings, become a very positive political influence after the
generation which was roused by the first blasts of his moral trumpet
had grown old, or had passed away. To most men under fifty, in fact,
Carlyle is more known as a very truculent political philosopher
than as a moralist, and most of his later imitators--Mr. Froude for
one--have imitated him rather in preparing the way of the Strong
Man in government, and recommending the helpless and forlorn to
strip for a salutary dozen on the bare back, than in preaching
self-knowledge or the inner worship of the "veracities."

That the effect of this on English politics has been bad, and very
bad, during the past thirty years few will deny. It beyond question
has had an evil influence on English opinion both about Ireland and
about India, and about the civil war in the United States. It had
much to do with the production of that great scandal, the defence of
Governor Eyre, by nearly the whole of London society. Nay, we think
we are not far wrong in saying that it did much to prepare the way
for that remarkable episode in English history, the late
administration of Lord Beaconsfield, with its jingo fever; its
lavish waste of blood and treasure; its ferocious assertion of the
beauty of national selfishness; its contempt for all that portion of
the population of Turkey which was weak and subject and unhappy.
When one contrasts the spirit in which John Stuart Mill approached
all such subjects in his day, his patient pursuit of the facts, his
almost over-earnest efforts to get at the point of view of those who
differed with him, his steady indifference to his own fame in
dealing with all public questions, and then reads the contemptuous
way in which Carlyle disposes of him in the "Reminiscences," one
gets, we were going to say, an almost painful sense of the contrast
between the influence of the two men on their day and generation.

In so far as the "Reminiscences," therefore, ruin Carlyle as a
politician, their publication must be considered a gain for the
English race. The particular political vice his influence fostered,
that nobody who cannot thrash you in fight is worth listening to,
is, it must be said, a vice peculiar to the English race. It is only
in the Anglo-Saxon forum that a man of foreign birth and unfamiliar
ways of thinking has to obtain a _locus standi_ by making himself an
object of physical terror. The story which has lately gone the
rounds of the papers, of Carlyle's discussion with some Irishman who
got the better of him in an argument in support of the logical right
of the Irish to manage their own affairs, in which he met his
opponent in the last resort in half-humorous vehemence by informing
him that he would cut his throat before he would let him have his
independence, is not a bad expression of the spirit which has
governed English policy in dealing with dependent communities. There
is a certain wisdom and justice in exacting from every malcontent
who asks for great changes in his condition some strong proof of his
earnestness; but it is a test which has to be applied with great
discretion, which nations that have made a great fortune with a
strong right hand are not likely to apply with discretion, and which
is apt to make weakness seem ridiculous as well as contemptible. The
history of English politics for fifty years at least has been the
history of the efforts of the nation to accustom itself to some
other than the English standard of political respectability, to
familiarize itself with the idea that pacific people, and poor
people, and queer people had something to say for themselves, and
were entitled to a place in the world. To the success of that effort
it is safe to say that Mr. Carlyle's political writings have been
more or less of an obstacle, and that the destruction of his
influence will contribute something to the solution of some of the
more serious pending problems of English politics.


Nothing is more remarkable in the history of American summering than
the number of new resorts which are discovered and taken possession
of by "the city people" every year, the rapid increase in the means
of transportation both to the mountains and the sea, and the steady
encroachments of the cottager on the boarder in all the more
desirable resorts. The growth of the American watering-place,
indeed, now seems to be as much regulated by law as the growth of
asparagus or strawberries, and is almost as easy to foretell. The
place is usually first discovered by artists in search of sketches,
or by a family of small means in search of pure air, and milk fresh
from the cow, and liberty--not to say license--in the matter of
dress. Its development then begins by some neighboring farmer's
agreeing to take them to board--a thing he has never done before,
and does now unwillingly, and he is very uncertain what to charge
for it. But at a venture he fixes what seems to him an enormous
sum--say $5 to $7 a week for each adult. His ideas about food for
city people are, however, very vague. The only thing about their
tastes of which he feels certain is that what they seek in the
country is, above all things, change, and that they accordingly do
not desire what they get at home. Accordingly he furnishes them with
a complete set of novelties in the matter of food and drink,
forgetting, however, that they might have got them at home if they
pleased. The tea and coffee and bread differ from what they are used
to at home simply in being worse. He is, too, at the seaside, very
apt to put them on an exclusively fish diet, in the belief that it
is only people who live by the sea who get fish, and that city
people, weary of meat, must be longing for fish. The boarders, this
first summer, having persuaded him to take them, are of course too
modest to remonstrate, or even to hint, and go on to the end eating
what is set before them, and pretending to be thankful, and try to
keep up their failing strength by being a great deal in the open
air, and admiring the scenery. After they leave, he is apt to be
astonished by the amount of cash he finds himself possessed of,
probably more than he ever handled before at one time, except when
he mortgaged his farm, and comes to the conclusion that taking
summer boarders is an excellent thing, and worth cultivating.

In the next stage he seeks them, and perhaps is emboldened by the
advice of somebody to advertise the place, and try to get hold of
some editors or ministers whose names he can use as references, and
who will talk it up. He soon secures one or two of each, and they
then tell him that his house is frequented by intellectual or
"cultured" people; and he becomes more elated and more enterprising,
enlarges the dining-room, adds on a wing, relieves his wife of the
cooking by hiring a woman in the nearest town, and gives more
meat and stronger coffee, and, little by little, grows into a
hotel-keeper, with an office and a register. His neighbors, startled
by his success, follow his example, it may be only _longo
intervallo_, and soon the place becomes a regular "resort," with
girls and boys in white flannel, lawn-tennis (which succeeds
croquet), a livery-stable, stages, an ice-cream store with a
soda-water fountain, a new church, and with strange names taken out
of books for the neighboring hills and lanes and brooks.

This stage may last for years--in some places it has been known to
last thirty or forty without any change, beyond the opening of new
hotels--and it becomes marked by crowds of people, who go back every
year in the character of old boarders, get the best rooms, and are
on familiar terms of friendship with the proprietor and the older

But it may be brought to a close, and is now being brought to a
close in scores of American watering-places, by the appearance of
the cottager, who has become to the boarder what the red squirrel is
to the gray, a ruthless invader and exterminator. The first cottager
is almost always a boarder, so that there is no means of discovering
his approach and resisting his advances. In nine cases out of ten he
is a simple guest at the farm-house or the hotel, without any
discoverable airs or pretensions, on whom the scenery has made such
an impression that he quietly buys a lot with a fine view. The next
year he builds a cottage on it, and gradually, and it may be at
first imperceptibly, separates himself in feeling and in standards
from his fellow-boarders. The year after he is in the cottage, and
the mischief is done. The change has come. Caste has been
established, with all its attendant evils. The community, once so
simple and homogeneous, is now divided into two classes, one of
which looks down on the other. More cottages are built, with trim
lawns and private lawn-tennis grounds, with "shandy-gaff" and
"tennis-cup" concealed on tables in tents. Then the dog-cart
with the groom in buckskin and boots, the Irish red setter, the
saddle-horse with the banged tail, the phaeton with the two ponies,
the young men in knickerbockers carrying imported racquets, the
girls with the banged hair, the club, ostensibly for newspaper
reading, but really for secret gin-fizzes and soda-cocktails, make
their appearance, with numerous other monarchical excrescences. The
original farmer, whose pristine board was the beginning of all this,
has probably by this time sold enough land to the cottagers to
enable him to give up taking boarders and keeping a hotel, and is
able to stay in bed like a gentleman most of the winter,
and sit on a bench in his shirt-sleeves all summer.

Very soon the boarder, unable to put up with the growing haughtiness
of the cottager, and with exclusion from his entertainments,
withdraws silently and unobtrusively from the scenes he once enjoyed
so much, to seek out another unsophisticated farmer, and begin once
more, probably when well on in life, with hope and strength abated,
the heavy work of opening up another watering-place and developing
its resources. The silent suffering there is in this process, which
may be witnessed to-day in hundreds of the most beautiful spots in
America, probably none know but those who have gone through it. In
fact, the dislodgment along our coast and in our mountains of the
boarder by the cottager is to-day the great summer tragedy of
American life. Winter has tragedies of its own, which may be worse;
but summer has nothing like it, nothing which imposes such a strain
on character and so severely tests early training. The worst of
it--the pity of it, we might say--is that this is not the expulsion
of the inferior by the superior race, which is going on in so many
parts of the world, and which Darwin is teaching us to look upon
with equanimity. The boarder is often, if not generally, the
cottager's superior in culture, in acquirements, and in variety of
social experience. He does not board because he likes the food, but
simply because it enables him to live in the midst of beautiful
scenery. He eats the farmer's poor fare contentedly, because he
finds it is sufficient to maintain his sense of natural beauty and
the clearness of all his moral perceptions unimpaired, and to brace
his nerves for the great battle with evil which he has been carrying
on in the city, and to which he means to return after a fortnight or
a month or six weeks, as the case may be. We fear, in fact, that
very few indeed of our summer cottages contain half so much noble
endeavor and power of self-sacrifice as the boarding-houses they are

The progress made by the cottager in driving the boarder away from
some of the most attractive places, both in the hills and on the
seaboard, is very steady. Among these Bar Harbor occupies a leading
position. It was, for fully fifteen years after its discovery,
frequented exclusively by a very high order of boarders, and
probably has been the scene of more plain living and high thinking
than any other summer spot on the seacoast. It was, in fact,
remarkable at one time for an almost unhealthy intellectual
stimulation through an exclusively fish diet. But the purity of the
air and the grandeur of the scenery brought a yearly increasing tide
of visitors from about 1860 onward. These visitors were, until about
five years ago, almost exclusively boarders, and the development of
the place as a summer resort was prodigious. The little houses of
the original half farmers, half fishermen, who welcomed, or rather
did not welcome, the first explorers, grew rapidly into little
boarding-houses, then into big boarding-houses, then into hotels
with registers. Then the hotels grew larger and larger, and the
callings of the steamer more frequent, until the place became famous
and crowded.

All this while, however, the hold of the boarder on it remained
unshaken. He was monarch of all he surveyed. No one on the island,
except the landlords, held his head higher. There was one
distinction between boarders, but it was not one to wound anybody's
self-love: some were "mealers," or persons eating in the hotel where
they lodged; and others were "haul-mealers," or persons who were
collected and brought to their food in wagons. But this
classification produced no heart-burning. The mealer loved and
respected the haul-mealer, or wished him in Jericho, and the
haul-mealer in like manner the mealer, on general grounds, like
other persons with whom he came in contact, without any reference to
his place of abode. All were covered by the grand old name of
boarder, and that was enough. A happier, easier, freer, and more
curiously dressed summer community than Bar Harbor in those early
days was not to be found on our coast.

We do not know exactly when the cottager first made his appearance
on those rugged shores, but it is certain that his approaches were
more insidious than they have ever been anywhere. He did not
proclaim himself all at once. The first cottages were very plain
structures, which he cunningly spoke of as "shanties," or "log
huts," in which he simply lodged, and went to the hotels or
neighboring farm-houses for his food in the simple and unpretending
character of a haul-mealer. For a good while, therefore, he excited
neither suspicion nor alarm, and the hotel-keepers welcomed him
heartily, and all went on smoothly. Gradually, however, he threw off
all disguise, bought land at high prices, and began unblushingly to
erect "marine villas" on it, with everything that the name implies.
He has now got possession of all the desirable sites from the Ovens
down to the Great Head, and has surrounded himself with all the
luxuries, just as at Newport. The consequence is, although the sea
and sky and the mountains and the rocks retain all their charm, the
boarder is no longer happy. He finds himself relegated to a
secondary position. He is abashed when on foot or in his humble
buckboard he meets the haughty cottager in his dog-cart or victoria.
He has neither dog nor horse, while the cottager has both. He was
once proud of staying at Rodick's or Lyman's; now he begins to be
ashamed of it. He finds that the cottagers, who are the permanent
residents, have a society of their own, in which he is either not
welcome or is a mere outsider. He finds that the very name of
boarder, which he once wore like a lily, has become a term of
inferiority. Worse than all, he finds himself confounded with a
still lower class, known at Bar Harbor as "the tourist"--elsewhere
called the excursionist--who comes by the hundred on the steamers in
linen dusters, and is compelled by force of circumstances to "do"
Mount Desert in twenty-four hours, and therefore enters on his task
without shame or scruple, roams over the cottager's lawn, stares
into his windows, breaks his fences, and sometimes asks him for a
free lunch. The boarder, of course, looks down on this man, but when
both are on the road or on the piazza of the hotel how are they to
be distinguished? They are not, and cannot be.

The worst of it all is, however, that the boarder finds that the
cottager has enclosed some of his favorite walks. He can no longer
get to them without trespassing or intruding. He can only look
wistfully from the dusty high-road at the spots on which he probably
once "rocked" with the girl who is now his wife, or chopped logic
with professional or clerical friends, whom "the growth of the
place" has long ago driven to fresh fields and pastures new. There
is something very interesting and touching about these old Mount
Deserters of the first period, between 1860 and 1870, who fled even
before the enlargement of the hotels, and to whom cottages at Bar
Harbor are almost unthinkable. One finds them in undeveloped summer
resorts in out-of-the-way places along the American coast, often on
the Alps or in Norway, or on the Scotch lakes, still tender, and
simple, and unassuming, and cheery, older of course and generally
stouter, but with the memories of the mountains, and the rocks, and
the islands, of the poor food, "which made no difference, because
the air was fine," still as fresh as ever, but without a particle of
bitterness. They wander much, but wander as they may they find no
summer resorts which can have for them the charm of Frenchman's Bay
or Newport Mountain, and no vehicle which touches so many chords in
their hearts as the primeval buckboard, in the days when it could
only be hired as a great favor.

The cottager, too, sets no bounds to his pretensions as to
territory. His policy, apparently the old policy of the conqueror
everywhere, is to let the boarder go up the coast and discover the
most attractive resorts, and allow him to report on them in the
newspapers, write poetry about them, lay the scene of novels and
plays in them, and then pursue him and eradicate him from the soil
as a burden if not a nuisance. That he makes a resort far more
beautiful to the eye than the boarder there is no denying. He covers
it with beautiful houses; he converts the scraggy, yellow pastures
into smooth, green lawns; he fills the rock crevices with flowers;
he introduces better food and neater clothing and the latest dodges
in plumbing. But these things are only for the few--in fact, the
very few. An area which supports a hundred happy boarders will only
bring one cottager to perfection. Moreover, it is impossible, no
matter how much the country may flourish, that all Americans who
leave the city in summer should by any effort become cottagers. The
mass of them must always be boarders and remain boarders, and we
would warn the cottagers that it may become dangerous to push them
too hard and too far. Much farther east or north on the coast they
will not go without turning on their persecutors. They will not put
up with the shores of Labrador or Greenland, no matter how hot the
season may be. The survival of the fittest is a great law, and has
worked wonders in the animal world, but it must be remembered that
it has to work in our day in subordination to that greater law of
morality which makes weakness itself a strong tower of defence.

The future at all our leading seashore places, in truth, belongs to
the Cottager, and it is really useless to resist him. His march
along the American coast is nearly as resistless as that of the
hordes who issued from the plains of Scythia to overthrow the Roman
Empire. He moves on all the "choice sites" without haste, with the
calm and remorselessness of the man who knows that the morrow is
his. He has two tremendous forces at his back, against which no
boarder can stand up. One is the growing passion, or fashion, if
any one likes to call it so, of Americans to live in their own
houses, both summer and winter. This is rapidly taking possession
of all classes, from the New England mechanic, who puts up his
shanty or tent on the seashore, to the millionaire who builds his
hundred-thousand dollar villa on his thirty-thousand dollar lot.
Everybody who can seeks to be at home all the year round, let the
home be never so small or humble, and the life in it never so rough.
This is a change in the national manners which nobody can regret,
but it is a change from which the boarder must suffer, and which
must cost him much wandering and many tears. The other is the spread
of the love of the seashore among the vast population of the
Mississippi Valley, whose wealth is becoming great, for whom long
railroad journeys have no terrors, and who are likely now to send
their thousands every year to compete with the "money kings" of the
East for the best villa sites along the coast. And be it remembered
that although our population doubles every twenty-five years, our
rocky Atlantic shore, which is what all most love to seek--the sand
is tame and dreary in comparison--remains a fixed quantity. It only
extends from New York to Eastport, Me., and it only contains a
limited number of building lots. These are now being rapidly bought
up and built on, or hold on speculation, and in some places, where
land only brought ten dollars an acre fifteen years ago, are held at
monstrous prices.

To fight against these tendencies is useless. The wise boarder will
not so do, nor waste his time in bewailing his fate. It is absurd
for him to expect that long stretches of delightful shore will be
left wild and uninhabited and unimproved, for him to walk over for
three or four weeks every summer. Not even the Henry George régime
would oust the cottager, for under it he would simply rent what he
owns; a cottager he would still remain. Finally, the boarder must
remember that though the cottager, like woman, when he is bad is
very bad, when good is delightful. Nothing the American summer has
to show can surpass a cottager, and we rejoice to know that the
number of good cottagers every year grows larger. At his best though
he may be stern in the assertion of his rights of property, there is
no simpler, honester gentleman than he, and the moral earnestness
with the want of which the more austere boarder has been apt to
reproach him, grows very rapidly after he gets his lawn made and his
place in order.


The question has occurred to a good many, and has been more than
once publicly asked, When do the people who frequent "Summer
Schools" of philosophy, theology, and the like, which are now
showing themselves at some of the watering-places, get their rest or
vacation? At these schools both the lecturers or "paper" readers and
the audience are engaged in the same or nearly the same work as
during the rest of the year, and therefore in summer get no rest. We
have been asked, for instance, whether a clergyman or professor who
has a period of leisure allotted to him in summer, in order that he
may "recruit," as it is called, is not guilty of some sort of abuse
of confidence, if, instead of amusing himself or lying fallow, he
goes to a Summer School, and passes several weeks in discussions
which, to be profitable either to himself or his hearers, must put
some degree of strain on his faculties.

The answer undoubtedly is, that nobody goes to a Summer School who
could get refreshment through sheer idleness. One of the greatest
mistakes of the Middle Ages, and one which has come down to our own
time in education, in theology, and in medicine, was that all men's
needs, both spiritual, mental, and physical, are the same; and it
long made the world a dreadful place for the exceptional or
peculiar. In most things we have given up the theory. It was
soonest given up as regards food, because the evidence against it
was there plainest and most overwhelming, in the severe suffering
inflicted on some people by things "disagreeing with them," as it
was called, which others relished and profited by. It has only been
surrendered with regard to children and youths, however, after a
hard struggle. The idea of a young person being entitled to special
treatment of any kind--that is, having in any respect a marked
individuality--remains to this day odious to a great many of our
theologians and teachers. It is, however, rapidly making its way,
and has already obtained a secure footing in some of the colleges.
It is the hotels, perhaps, which are now the strongholds of the old
doctrine, and in which a person who wants what nobody else wants is
considered most odious; partly, of course, because he gives extra
trouble, but mainly because he is considered to be given up to a
delusion about himself and his constitution. There is probably
nothing which excites the anger and contempt of a summer-hotel clerk
more than a request for something which is not supplied to everybody
or which nobody else asks for. We remember once irritating a White
Mountain hotel-keeper extremely by asking to be allowed to ride up
Mount Washington alone, instead of in a party of forty. He not only
refused our request, but he punished us for making it by selecting
for our use the worst pony in his stable, and watching us mounting
it with a diabolical sneer.

There is, however, still a good deal of intolerance about people's
mode of spending their vacation. Those who take it by simply sitting
still or lounging with no particular occupation, are more or less
worried by the people who take their rest actively and with much
movement and bustle. So also the young man who goes off fishing and
hunting, on the other hand, scorns the young man who hangs about the
hotels and plays lawn-tennis, or goes to picnics with the girls--a
rapidly diminishing class, let us add. A correspondent, who takes a
low view of sermons, wrote to us the other day complaining of some
mention which recently appeared in our columns of Mount Desert as a
good place for "tired clergymen," and wished to know what there was
to tire them, seeing that they did nothing but produce two essays a
week, which need not be very original. The truth is, however, that
everybody's occupation, including that of the young man who does
nothing at all, does a great deal to tire him. What probably tires a
minister most is not the sermons, but his parishioners; and we
suspect that nine-tenths of the ministers, if they made a clean
breast of it, would confess that rest to them meant getting away
from their parishioners, and not in getting away from the sermons.
Sermon-writing in our day, when the area over which a preacher may
select his subject is so greatly widened, is probably to a
reflective man a great help and relief, as furnishing what nearly
every student needs to stimulate study--a means of expression.
Sustained solitary thinking is something of which very few men are
capable. To keep up what is called active-mindedness nearly everyone
needs somebody to talk to. Conversation with a friend is enough for
most, but those who have more to say find a sermon or a magazine
article just the kind of intellectual stimulus they need. What
probably most wears on a clergyman's nerves are his pastoral duties,
which do not consist simply in consoling people in great trials, but
in listening to their fussy accounts of small ones. Nine-tenths of a
minister's patients, like a doctor's, do not know what is the matter
with them, and consult a physician largely because they take comfort
in talking to anybody about themselves, and doctors and clergymen
are the only persons who are bound to listen to them. A professor or
teacher is somewhat similarly situated. His business is the most
wearing of human occupations--that of putting knowledge into heads
only half willing to receive it, and persuading a large number of
people to do their duty to whom duty is odious.

To these men, a Summer School of philosophy or theology, or anything
else, must be repose of the best sort. It gives light work of the
kind they love, free from all nagging, and in good air and fine
scenery. At such schools, too, one finds uses for "papers" that no
periodical will print, and which no audience would assemble to
listen to in a city in the busy part of the year, and to many men an
audience of any sort, interested or uninterested, is a great luxury.

The persons who perhaps find it hardest to get rest in summer are
brokers. Their activity in their business and the excitement
attending it are so great, that quiet to them, more than to most
other men, is a hell; so that their vacation is a problem not easy
of solution, except to the rich ones, who have yachts and horses
without limit. Even to those, every day of a vacation has to be full
of movement and change. An hour not filled by some sort of activity,
spent on a piazza or under a tree, is to them an hour wasted. A land
where it was always afternoon would be to them the most "odious
section of country" on earth. The story of one of them, who in Rome
lost flesh through pining for "the corner of Wall and William," is
well known. Such a man finds nearly all summer resorts vanity and
vexation of spirit, because none of them provides excitement. The
class known as financiers, such as presidents of banks and insurance
companies, is much better off, because it has Saratoga. Its members
have generally reached the time of life when men love to sit still,
and when the liver is torpid, and they are generally men of means,
and wear black broadcloth at all seasons, as being what they have
from their youth considered outward and visible signs of
"respectability" in the financial sense. What they need is a place
where they can have their livers roused without exercise, and this
the mineral water does for them; where they can see a good deal
going on and many evidences of wealth, without moving from their
chairs; and where their financial standing will follow them; and for
this there is perhaps no place in the country like Saratoga. Newport
has not nearly as much solidity. It is brighter and gayer and more
select, but though it contains enormous fortunes, a great fortune
does not here do so much for a man. It has to bear the competition
of youth and beauty and polo and lawn-tennis. The young man with
little besides a polo pony, an imported racquet, and good looks
counts for a good deal at Newport; at Saratoga he would be nobody.


The London _Daily News_, in the course of an article on what it
calls "International Reproaches," refers to the fact that there is
much that is "traditional" in them. It thinks that, both in America
and in France, the qualities and peculiarities attributed to English
people are derived, to a great extent, less from experience than
from inherited tradition. "We hear that Englishmen are rude to ladies;
that they fail to yield them precedence at the ticket-offices of
steamboats and railway stations; that they complain of everything
that is given them as food; that they occupy more than their share of
public conveyances with multitudinous wraps, sticks, and umbrellas.
They assert themselves, it would seem, when they have placed 3,000
miles between themselves and their old home. There is, however,
in all these complaints the ring of old coin." In the same way it
says that the Parisian of the boulevards still believes the English
man to be a creature who wears long red whiskers of the mutton-chop
species, and wears a plaid--although, as a matter of fact,
the typical Englishman of to-day does not look like this at all.

Anyone interested in the matter might make a very queer collection
of types which, having disappeared from actual life, survive in the
popular imagination, and by surviving keep alive international
prejudice, hostility, suspicion, or distrust, and which go on doing
duty in this way for years and years, until suddenly some fine day
it is discovered that they are out of date and must in future be
dispensed with. There is, for instance, our old friend, the stage
Irishman. How often have our hearts been touched by the qualities of
gratitude, devotion to sentiment, faithful friendship, and heroism
of this noble creature. No doubt, there must have been a time when
he was as common in Ireland as he has been in our day in melodrama.
But the Irishman, as he exists in New York, and as he is described
by those who have seen him at home, is strangely unlike the type. He
is a decidedly practical, hard-headed man, with a keen eye to the
main chance, a considerable fondness for fighting, and a disposition
which we should call the reverse of sentimental. Harrigan and Hart
represent the actual Irishman in America capitally at their little
theatre in Broadway, yet the stage Irishman is to multitudes of
Americans a more real creature than the actual Irishman, and we
suppose there is hardly a Democratic statesman from one end of the
country to the other who has not constantly before his mind an image
of him, by the contemplation of which he solves many of the
knottiest problems of contemporary politics.

Then there is the Dundreary Englishman, first-cousin or lineal
descendant of the Englishman so dear to the French imagination.
Dundreary really represents, as we know very well, when we think
about it, a past type of swell as extinct as the dodo. It is not
common any longer for English swells to change all their rs to ws,
and to spice their sentences with "aw-aws." We have numbers of them
over here every year, but we do not hear them talk nowadays the once
familiar Dundreary language. Yet there is hardly a newspaper in the
United States whose funny man does not assume for the benefit of his
readers that Dundreary is alive, and every now and then reproduce
him with gusto. It is not in _Punch_ that we find Dundreary, but in
the funny department of the Oshkosh _Monitor_ and the "All Sorts"
column of the Bungtown _Clarion_. Even _Puck_ contributes to
perpetuate the belief in the continued existence of Dundreary by
devoting a column a week to observations on American society in the
Dundreary dialect, which thirty years ago might have been decidedly

_Punch_ still has John Bull as a national type; but it shows great
reserve in the use of him, and now continually resorts to Britannia
as a substitute. Is not this because our old friend John is now
only a survival, a tradition of the past? The bluff, stout, honest,
red-faced, irascible rural person--of whom the photographs of John
Bright remind us--has really been supplanted by a more modern,
thinner, nervous, intellectual, astute type. For English use the
Yankee type of Uncle Sam still seems to represent America, although
it belongs to the past as much as slavery or the stage-coach. He
would be a bold man who should undertake to say what the national
type is now; but it is safe to say that it is not a long, thin, cute
Yankee, dressed in a swallow-tailed coat with brass buttons,
whittling a stick, and interlarding his conversation with "I swan!"
and "I calc'late." If Mr. Lowell were writing the "Biglow Papers"
now, would "Uncle S." serve his purpose as he did during the war? By
a merciful dispensation of Providence, however, Brother Jonathan and
Uncle Sam still live on in the imaginations of large masses of
conservative Englishmen, and no doubt enable many a Tory to people
the United States with a race as alien from that which actually
inhabits it as Zulus would be.

In the same way it may be possible--to the Providence that guides
the destinies of nations nothing is impossible--that the rude
Englishman is, as the _Daily News_ suggests, getting to be a
survival. The _Daily News's_ portrait of him is fair enough,
though it would require Americans who have suffered from him to do
him real justice. He is, or, was, a very rude person, and always
seemed to take great delight in "asserting himself" in such a way as
to produce as much general annoyance and discomfort as possible.
During the war he had a brilliant career. He used to come over and
express great surprise at the silly fuss made about the Constitution
and secession, and profess an entire inability to discover what it
was "all about." If they want to go, he always said, why don't you
let 'em go? What is the use of fighting about the meaning of a word
in the dictionary? It was in small things as in great. When he went
into society he dressed to suit himself, and not as gentlemen in
England or anywhere else do, thus contriving to exhibit a general
contempt for his host and his friends. When his meek entertainer
ventured to offer him some American dish which he did not like, he
would frankly warn his companions against it; and if he asked for
sugar in his coffee he would, in the same outspoken way, explain
that he always sweetened it "when it was bad." One of his favorite
topics of conversation was the awful corruption and rottenness of
American society and politics, and he dwelt so much upon this that
it often seemed as if what he was really interested in was to find
out whether the people he was staying with, and being entertained
by, were not themselves, if the truth were known, rotten to the

He was a very rude man, and he did exist. But is he gone, or going?
Is the time coming when we shall have to regard him too as a
survival, and admit that the rude Englishman is a creature of the
past? Time and continued international experience can alone settle
this question. There are, however, bitter memories of past
sufferings at his hands in hundreds of American homes, that make it
better for both countries not to probe the subject too deeply.


Mr. Thomas Hughes's attempt to provide a refuge in Tennessee for the
large class of young Englishmen whom he calls "Will Wimbles," after
one of Sir Roger de Coverley's friends in Addison's _Spectator_, is
said to be a failure, owing mainly to the poverty of the land and
the remoteness of the markets. An acute writer in the _Pall Mall
Gazette_ maintains that there is another and more potent cause to be
found in the quality of the Will Wimbles. The Will Wimbles are the
young men who are educated in the public schools and universities,
or at least in the public schools, and are turned out into the world
between eighteen and twenty-one, without any special training
whatever, but with the manners and instincts of gentlemen, and with
entire willingness to take to any calling but the lower walks of
"trade." The great body of them are the sons of middle-class
parents--clergymen, doctors, lawyers, and small squires--whose means
are very moderate, and who have to submit to more or less privation
in order to send their sons to the public schools at all. They do it
in order to launch them in the world unmistakably in the gentle
class, and in order to enable them to form their first social
relations in that class. Unfortunately, however, as the writer in
the _Pall Mall Gazette_ points out, the tone and temper of the
public schools, and their way of looking at life, are the products
of a vague, but none the less powerful, assumption that every boy is
the son of a man with about five thousand pounds a year. The whole
atmosphere of the school is permeated with this assumption. The
boys' code of manners is formed in it. Their intercourse with each
other is more or less influenced by it, and they all look out on the
world, up to their last day at school, with the eyes of youths whose
home is a well-equipped manor-house surrounded by a prosperous

The love of the middle-class Englishman of every age for this point
of view is curiously exemplified in the social articles, not only in
the "society paper," properly so called, but in the _Saturday
Review_. The troubles and perplexities and minor disappointments
of life form a favorite topic with the writer of the "sub-leaders"
in this last-named paper, but they are always of the troubles,
perplexities, and disappointments of a landed gentleman who keeps
hunters, and has a stud groom and extensive covers. He hardly ever
examines the state of mind of anyone less well-to-do than a younger
son whose means only allow him to hunt two days in a week instead of
six, and who has to rely on invitations for his shooting. These and
their sisters, cousins, and aunts, apparently form the reviewer's
entire world, and the only world in which there are any social
phenomena worth discussion. It is, in other words, a world made up
exclusively of "gentlemen," and of the persons, male and female, who
wait upon them. Its sorrows are the sorrows of gentlemen, and arise
mostly out of the failure of some amusement, or the loss of the
money with which amusements are provided, the missing of some social
distinction, or the misconduct of "upper servants." It is, however,
really the only world that the English public-school boy or
university man sees, or hears of, or thinks about while in _statu
pupillari_. This is true, let his own home be never so modest, or
the sacrifices made by his father to secure him the fashionable
curriculum be never so painful. The result is, of course, that when
his "education" is finished, he is really only prepared for what is
technically called a gentleman's life. He has only thought of
certain employments as possible to him, and all these are
exceedingly hard to get. The manners of the great bulk of mankind,
too, are more or less repulsive to him, and so is a good deal of the
popular morality. In short, he is turned out a Will Wimble--or, in
other words, a good-hearted, kindly, gentlemanly, honorable fellow,
who is, however, entirely unfitted for the social _milieu_, in
which he must not only live, but make a living.

Mr. Hughes's idea has been that, though he dislikes trade, and is a
little too nice for it as now carried on, at least on the retail
side, he has an innate liking and readiness for agriculture, and
that, if enabled to till the soil under pleasant, or at least not
too novel, social conditions, he would do it successfully. Out of
this the Rugby, Tenn., experiment has grown, and if it has not
actually failed, as some say, it is certainly too early to pronounce
it a success. At all events, the signs that it is going to fail are
numerous. Among them is the deep disappointment of the settlers, few
of whom probably realized not only the monotony and drudgery of
labor in the fields--these things can be borne by men with stout
hearts and strong arms--but its effect in unfitting a man for any
kind of amusement. There has been much delusion on this subject in
this country, where far more is known by the reading class about all
kinds of manual labor than is known in England. The possibility of
working hard in the fields and keeping up at the same time some
process of intellectual culture, has been much preached among us
both by educational projectors and social reformers, though nearly
every man who listens to them here knows the effect of physical toil
in the open air in producing sleepiness and mental inertness. It is
not surprising, therefore, that it should find ready acceptance in
England among people who think ability to bear a hard day on the
moors after grouse, or a long run in the saddle after the hounds,
argues capacity to hoe potatoes or corn for twelve hours, and settle
down in the evening, after a bath and a good dinner, to Dante, or
Wallace, or Huxley.

Will Wimbles are much less common among us than in England. We
fortunately have not a dozen great endowments used in turning them
out, or a large and rich society occupied in spreading the
gentlemanly view of life. But they, nevertheless, are more numerous
than is altogether pleasant. The difficulty which our college
graduate experiences in getting room for what the newspapers call
his "bark" on the stream of life, is one of the standing jokes of
our light literature. We have no schools which take the place of the
English public schools in our scheme of education. But the view of
life which prevails in the English public schools and turns out the
Will Wimbles, is more or less prevalent in our colleges, and tends
to spread as the wealth of the class which sends its boys to college
increases. In other words, colleges are to a much greater extent
than they used to be places in which social relations are found,
rather than places of preparation for the active work of life. This
last character, indeed, they almost wholly lost when they ceased to
have the training of ministers as their main function. Scarcely any
man who can afford it now likes to refuse his son a college
education if the boy wants it; but probably not one boy in one
thousand can say, five years after graduating, that he has been
helped by his college education in making his start in life. It may
have been never so useful to him as a means of moral and
intellectual culture, but it has not helped to adapt him to the
environment in which he has to live and work; or, in other words, to
a world in which not one man in a thousand has either the manners or
cultivation of a gentleman, or changes his shirt more than once a
week, or eats with a fork.

College education is prevented from suffering as much from this
source in popular estimation in England as it does here, by the fact
that, owing to the peculiar political traditions of the country,
college-bred men begin life in a large number of cases in possession
of great advantages of other kinds, such as hereditary wealth. Here
they have almost all to face the world on their own merits, and in
so far as they face it feebly or unskilfully their defects are set
down in the popular mind to the fact that they went to college. If
the discredit ended here, it would perhaps be of small consequence.
But it may be safely said that the college graduate is never seen
groping about in a helpless and timid way for "a position," and
shrinking from the turmoil and dirt of some walks of life, without
spreading among the uncultivated a contempt for culture and
increasing their confidence in the rule of thumb. The mere "going to
college" is recognized as a sign of pecuniary ease, and of a desire
for social advancement, but not as preparation for the kind of work
which the bulk of the community is doing, and thus makes mental
culture seem less desirable, and cultivated men less potent,
especially in politics.

The question is a serious one for all colleges, and it is not here
only, but in England and France, that it is undergoing grave
consideration. In Germany society may be said to have been organized
as an appendage to the universities, but here the universities are
simply appendages to society, which is continually doubting whether
their existence can be justified.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Reflections and Comments 1865-1895" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.