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Title: My country, 'tis of thee! - The United States of America; past, present and future.
Author: Johnson, Willis Fletcher
Language: English
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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.

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[Illustration. BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF GROUNDS AND BUILDINGS, COLUMBIAN
EXHIBITION, CHICAGO, 1892-93]



                      “My Country, ’Tis of Thee!”
                     THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA;
                       PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE.

       A PHILOSOPHIC VIEW OF AMERICAN HISTORY AND OF OUR PRESENT
                         STATUS, TO BE SEEN IN
                       THE COLUMBIAN EXHIBITION.

                                  BY
                    WILLIS FLETCHER JOHNSON, A. M.,

 AUTHOR OF “STANLEY’S ADVENTURES IN AFRICA,” “HISTORY OF THE JOHNSTOWN
               FLOOD,” “A LIFE OF GENERAL SHERMAN,” ETC.

                      GREAT ISSUES OF THE FUTURE,
                             AS VIEWED BY
             OUR MOST PROMINENT EDITORS AND EMINENT MEN OF
                             OUR COUNTRY,
                               INCLUDING
     PRESIDENT HARRISON, EX-PRESIDENT CLEVELAND, SENATOR SHERMAN,
         JUDGE THURMAN, CARDINAL GIBBONS, BISHOP FOSS, BISHOP
              POTTER, T. V. POWDERLY, GENERAL SCHOFIELD,
                   ADMIRAL PORTER, AND MANY OTHERS.

                                  BY
                            JOHN HABBERTON,

     AUTHOR OF “A LIFE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON,” ETC., AND EDITOR OF
                    “THE SELECT BRITISH ESSAYISTS.”

                             ILLUSTRATED.

                     INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHING CO.,
 44 N. 4th St., Philadelphia, Pa. 134 E. Van Buren St., Chicago, Ill.
                                 1892.

                   Copyright, 1892, by B. W. URIAN.



                       OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT.
                        BOARD OF LADY MANAGERS.
                     WORLD’S COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION.

GENTLEMEN:

With reference to your request for an introductory note, allow me to
assure you that it affords me great pleasure to speak to the masses
through the medium of your excellent book.

Thanking you for the courtesy, I am,

                           Yours most truly,

            [Illustration: Signature of Bertha M. H. Palmer

                            Pres. B. L. M.]



THE PURPOSES

OF THE

BOARD OF LADY MANAGERS

OF THE

WORLD’S COLUMBIAN COMMISSION.


The Board of Lady Managers of the World’s Columbian Commission, having
been created and authorized by the concurrent action of Congress and the
Columbian Commission, to take entire charge of the interests of women at
the coming Exposition, desires to develop to the fullest extent the
grand possibilities which have been placed within its reach.

The Board wishes to mark the first participation of women in an
important national enterprise, by preparing an object lesson to show the
progress made by women in every country of the world, during the century
in which educational and other privileges have been granted her, and to
show the increased usefulness that has resulted from the enlargement of
her opportunities.

The Board of Lady Managers invites the women of all countries to
participate in this great exhibit of woman’s work, to the end that it
may be made not only national, but universal, and that all may profit by
a free comparison of methods, agencies, and results.

It is of the first importance that such a representative collection be
secured from every country as will give an adequate idea of the extent
and value of what is being done by women in the arts, sciences, and
industries.

We will aim to show to the breadwinners, who are fighting unaided the
battle of life, the new avenues of employment that are constantly being
opened to women, and in which of these their work will be of the most
distinct value by reason of their natural adaptability, sensitive and
artistic temperaments, and individual tastes; what education will best
enable them to enjoy the wider opportunities awaiting them and make
their work of the greatest worth, not only to themselves but to the
world.

The Board has decided that at the coming Exposition it will not attempt
to separate the exhibit of woman’s work from that of men, for the reason
that as women are working side by side with men in all the factories of
the world, it would be practically impossible, in most cases, to divide
the finished result of their combined work; nor would women be satisfied
with prizes unless they were awarded without distinction as to sex, and
as the result of fair competition with the best work shown. They are
striving for excellence, and desire recognition only for demonstrated
merit. In order, however, that the enormous amount of work being done by
women may be appreciated a tabulated statement will be procured and
shown with every exhibit, stating the proportion of woman’s work that
enters into it. The application blanks now being sent out to
manufacturers contain this inquiry.

The Board of Lady Managers has been granted by Act of Congress the great
and unusual privilege of appointing members of each jury to award prizes
for articles into which woman’s work enters. The number of women on each
jury will be proportionate to the amount of work done by women in the
corresponding department of classification. The statement as to the
amount of their work will therefore be of double significance, for in
addition to the impressive showing of how large a proportion of the
heavy labor of the world is being performed by the weaker sex, it will
also determine the amount of jury representation to which the Board is
entitled.

Beside the extensive exhibit in the general Exposition buildings, women
will have another opportunity of displaying work of superior excellence
in a very advantageous way in the Woman’s Building, over which the Board
of Lady Managers will exercise complete control. In its central gallery
it is intended to have grouped the most brilliant achievements of women
from every country and in every line of work. Exhibits will be admitted
only by invitation, which will be considered the equivalent of a prize.
No sentimental sympathy for women will cause the admission of
second-rate objects, for the highest standard of excellence is to be
there strictly maintained. Commissions of women organized in all
countries, as auxiliaries to the Board of Lady Managers, will be asked
to recommend objects of supreme excellence produced by women, and
producers of such successful work will be invited to place specimens in
the gallery of the Woman’s Building.

Not only has woman become an immense, although generally unrecognized
factor in the industrial world, but hers being essentially the arts of
peace and progress, her best work is shown in the numberless charitable,
reformatory, educational, and other beneficent institutions which she
has had the courage and the ideality to establish for the alleviation of
suffering, for the correction of many forms of social injustice and
neglect, and for the reformation of long-established wrongs. These
institutions exert a strong and steady influence for good, an influence
which tends to decrease vice, to make useful citizens of the helpless or
depraved, to elevate the standard of morality, and to increase the sum
of human happiness; thus most effectively supplementing the best efforts
and furthering the highest aims of all government.

All organizations of women must be impressed with the necessity of
making an effective showing of the noble work which each is carrying on.
We especially desire to have represented, in the rooms reserved for that
purpose, the educational work originated or carried on by women, from
the Kindergarten organizations up to the highest branches of education,
including all schools of applied science and art, such as
training-schools for nurses, manual training, industrial art and cooking
schools, domestic economy, sanitation, etc. When not practically
exhibited, the work of all such organizations should be shown by maps,
charts, photographs, relief models, etc.; but it is earnestly hoped that
one, at least, the most representative institution in each of these
branches, will be shown from every country, in order that a comparison
may be made of methods and results.

BERTHA M. H. PALMER.



CONTENTS.


 CHAPTER I.

 THE AGE OF DISCOVERY.

 Classic legends of Atlantis--Chinese and Japanese accounts of early
 voyages to America--Prince Madoc and the Welsh legends--The voyages
 of the Vikings--Eric and Leif and their adventures--Columbus and
 his schemes--The most memorable voyage in history--Post-Columbian
 voyagers and explorers--Many men from many lands flocking to the
 newly-discovered continent--A new world opened to the civilization and
 to the greed of Europe.....17

 CHAPTER II.

 “IN THE GOOD OLD COLONY TIMES.”

 Parcelling out the country--Foundation of the earliest
 colonies--Jamestown and its settlers--Strange improvidence of the
 colonists--Troubles with the Indians--John Smith and Pocahontas--The
 Pilgrims and Puritans--Substantial growth of the New England
 Colonies--New York--Troubles with the Mother Country--Growth of
 the spirit of independence--The War of the Revolution and its
 results.....60

 CHAPTER III.

 THE STORY OF THE NATION.

 Establishing a constitutional government--Disputes with
 other powers--A second war with England--Territorial
 acquisitions--Settlement and admission of new States--The slavery
 question--War with Mexico--The rush for gold in California--The Kansas
 troubles--How the great war was precipitated--The campaigns from Bull
 Run to Appomattox--Political results of the war--Rapid growth of the
 country since--The present state of the nation.....105

 CHAPTER IV.

 WORLD’S FAIRS.

 The origin and object of universal exhibitions--New York’s Crystal
 Palace--Spirit and hopes of its projectors--Its display of the
 nation’s greatness--The Centennial Exposition of 1876--Magnitude of
 the enterprise--Description of its hundred buildings--Calendar of
 events--An impressive exposition of national development.....146

 CHAPTER V.

 THE COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION.

 Preparations for a celebration of the quartercentenary of
 Columbus--Chicago chosen as the site--Marvelous history of the Western
 Metropolis--How the Columbian Exhibition was organized--Sketches
 of its promoters--The principal buildings and grounds--Financial
 arrangements--An exhibition surpassing all its predecessors and
 fittingly commemorating the birth of a new world.....204

 CHAPTER VI.

 SOCIETY’S FOUNDATION-STONE.

 Marriage Customs in the United States--Shiploads of women disposed
 of as wives to the earlier Virginia Planters--The Marriage Relation
 should be closely guarded--Divorced people, have they _moral_ right
 to remarry?--A rich man and a stupid wife--Drifting apart--Duty of
 the Church--Views of a happy wife--Novels, love and marriage--“Beauty
 and the Beast”--An insulting imputation--_Is it_ the “best
 match?”--Marriage blunders.....247

 CHAPTER VII.

 THE DEMON OF DIVORCE.

 Marriage _not_ a failure--Rev. David Swing’s caustic comment--Views of
 Rabbi Silverman--Heartlessness of Divorce Court proceedings--Divorced
 persons debarred by the Queen of England--Sufferings of the
 children--“Vice is a monster of such hideous mien”--Shall we have a
 Constitutional Amendment restricting divorce?--Views of Bishop Foss
 and Bishop Whittaker--Position of the Catholic Church and of the
 Hebrews--“Church union cannot be combated”--“Burn the bridges”.....260

 CHAPTER VIII.

 THE FARMER’S TROUBLES.

 Encumbered with mortgage--Energy of the farmer--Lack of
 capital--Labor--The farmer’s children and city life--“The borrower
 is servant to the lender”--The census valuation of farm lands--Hiram
 Sibley, the millionaire farmer--Twelve Vermont farms--The Western
 farmer and the railroads--Co-operative stores--“Land-poor”--Government
 aid for the farmers.....272

 CHAPTER IX.

 THE RUM POWER.

 Harm done by the liquor traffic--Views of Bishop Warren, of the
 Methodist Church--Miss Frances Willard’s views--“Petroleum”
 Nasby--Rum in politics--Channing’s aphorism--Rev. Theodore Cuyler’s
 summary of statistics--Causes of drunkenness--Ways to reclaim the
 unfortunates--Control the demon by law--Public opinion--Bishop Foss’
 reply--Restrictive measures.....288

 CHAPTER X.

 NATIONAL DEFENCE.

 Our harbors useless--Caught napping by England--Troops and the
 Indians--General Sheridan’s last report--General Sherman’s
 protests--Congressional inactivity--Admiral Porter hammering at
 Congress--A blast from the late Samuel J. Tilden--Desertions from the
 army--Statistics from General Schofield’s report--Frontier life for
 the soldier--Major Sumner’s plan.....303

 CHAPTER XI.

 LABOR.

 Laboring men--Their mistakes and their grievances--Labor sure to
 be imposed upon--Driving a sharp bargain--Low wages resulting from
 competition--A laborer in chains recently brought for sale into the
 market-place of a New England town--But the people rise in their
 wrath--Does _practical_ slavery exist in the United States?--Coal
 miners and factory hands compared with the _consistados_ of South
 America--The store system of credits--Resulting evils to the
 laborers.....318

 CHAPTER XII.

 SELF-HELP FOR LABOR.

 The importance of being a “full-handed workman”--_Successful_
 mechanics know more than one branch of business--This quality
 developed in new countries--Votes of laborers controlled by
 corporations--A curious experience in the West.....336

 CHAPTER XIII.

 IMMIGRATION.

 America is a home--Not an asylum--Liberty is not license--No paupers
 need apply--Nor any contract laborers--Skilled labor welcome, if it
 comes to stay--Immigrant farmers will do us good--Too much hurry in
 granting citizenship--Foreign faction fights must not be kept up
 here--Transplanted stock improves rapidly.....351

 CHAPTER XIV.

 ANNEXATION.

 We don’t want the earth--We need more neighbors--Not more
 children--Non-assimilative races would weaken us--The Old World’s
 experience at land-grabbing--Let Canada alone till she wants
 us--Likewise Mexico--We have enough discordant interests now--We don’t
 want to pay other nations’ debts.....368

 CHAPTER XV.

 THE INDIAN.

 He has stopped fighting--Let us stop robbing him--The Indian will
 work--He has plenty of brains--Capacity for education abundantly
 proved--Records of the experiment at Hampton--He knows a good thing
 when he sees it--The beneficent effects of the Dawes bill--Even the
 Apaches have worked as good as white men.....385

 CHAPTER XVI.

 THE PRESS.

 The editor is the nation’s schoolmaster--Also the most trusty advocate
 of the people’s rights--He brings the people together in spirit
 and purpose--Always ahead of Congress and the government--Rapid
 improvement of the newspaper--Independence in journalism--Trial by
 newspaper.....399

 CHAPTER XVII.

 THE SCHOOL-ROOM.

 Boys and girls who are to be men and women--The schools are behind
 the times--Too much fuss and too little gain--Discipline which costs
 too much--Heads stuffed, but hands and hearts neglected--Faults of
 teaching--About faculties benumbed by routine work--What has been
 done can be done--The country boy ahead.....410

 CHAPTER XVIII.

 RAILROADS.

 Rights and wrongs of the great transportation corporations--What they
 have done for the country and what the country has done for them--Era
 of construction closed and an era of restriction and regulation
 begun--Why railroad officials become millionaires--Watering stock--A
 curious question which will be raised one of these days.....431

 CHAPTER XIX.

 BANKS AND BANKING.

 New York no longer the sole dictator in the money market--Why Western
 business men are now independent of metropolitan money-lenders--The
 increase of “reserve cities”--Banking methods to dodge the laws--How
 unscrupulous bank directors get rich--Why so many cashiers go to
 Canada and how to stop them--Noted living bankers.....455

 CHAPTER XX.

 OUR CITIES.

 Cities are necessary evils--But greatly to be avoided--City
 life is dangerous to most persons--Unnatural influences are
 inevitable--Hard on the purse and hard on the heart--Poverty’s last
 refuge--The home of the thief--The touch of nature lost--Temptations
 innumerable--Restraints few--No place for country boys and girls--City
 forms of government must change--THE DARKER SIDE--The sorrows of the
 city poor--Friendless and alone--Miserable homes--Health and morals
 menaced--All depends on one life--Chances and misfortunes--Sickness
 and death--The story of the Ganges paralleled--The majority are
 industrious--An army of heroes--Religion and rum their only
 comforts--Child work and child ruin--Benevolence wearied and
 despairing.....481

 CHAPTER XXI.

 RELIGION.

 Religion is in no danger--The letter suffers but the spirit
 grows--Essentials were never more prominent--The tree is judged by its
 fruit--Proselyting has gone out of date--Denominations have ceased to
 fight--A life as well as a faith.....509

 CHAPTER XXII.

 WOMAN AND HER WORK.

 One “woman’s right” secured--She has a chance almost everywhere--The
 liberation of man--Woman’s wits sharpen quickly--Advantages over male
 workers--Woman need not marry for a home--The tables turned--Some
 effects upon society--Never enslaved unless stupid--The “Song of the
 Shirt”--The coming generation.....517

 CHAPTER XXIII.

 OUR LITERATURE.

 A nation of readers--Books to be found everywhere--The Sunday-School
 library--Chautauqua’s great work--The American author is a busy
 man--Good books make their way, sooner or later--Abler men should
 go into authorship--Our literature making its way abroad--American
 writers’ characteristics--Our literature is clean, earnest and
 hopeful.....531

 CHAPTER XXIV.

 AMERICAN HUMOR.

 The salt that will save us--A nation of jokers--Our Puritan and
 cavalier ancestors were fond of fun--President Lincoln’s jokes--Humor
 in the pulpit--Fun in the newspapers--Prentice--Mark Twain--Nasby--Nye
 and Riley--Miles O’Reilly--“Uncle Remus”--John Hay--“Bob”
 Burdette--All healthy fun--No malignity in our jokes--The best-natured
 people alive.....547

 CHAPTER XXV.

 THE HIGHER EDUCATION.

 A land full of colleges--How these institutions began to
 exist--Tributes to American regard for intelligence and
 education--Something better needed--No lack of money--Views of
 Presidents Dwight of Yale, Eliot of Harvard, McCosh of Princeton,
 White of Cornell, Bartlett of Dartmouth, and Gilman of Johns
 Hopkins--Bishop Potter on the place of the scholar in America.....566

 CHAPTER XXVI.

 OUR GREAT CONCERN.

 Our country first and foremost--No sectional differences--No
 foreign interests or entanglements--The people first, the party
 afterward--Loyalty to party means disloyalty to the republic--Meddlers
 must be suppressed--All in the family--One for all and all for one--E
 Pluribus Unum.....597



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


                                                         FACING
                                                          PAGE

Bird’s-eye View of Grounds and Buildings, Columbian
    Exposition, Chicago, 1892-93,                  Frontispiece

Christopher Columbus,                                        17

Landing of Columbus,                                         32

Washington,                                                  49

Residence of the President of the United States, 1798,       64

Abraham Lincoln,                                             81

World’s Fair, New York, 1853,                                96

Main Building, International Centennial Exhibition, 1876,   113

Libby Prison,                                               128

Independence Hall, Philadelphia,                            145

Chicago in 1856,                                            160

Chicago Street Life--Washington Street and Wabash Avenue,   177

U. S. Grant,                                                192

The Capitol,                                                209

Bear Pit (Lincoln Park),                                    224

The Auditorium Hotel,                                       241

Bird’s-eye View of the Proposed Buildings of the University
of Chicago,                                                 256

Tacoma Building,                                            273

Residence of Hon Potter Palmer,                             288

Mines Building,                                             305

U. S. Man-of-War,                                           320

Agricultural Building,                                      337

Perspective View Looking South, Showing End of World’s
Columbian Exposition,                                       352

Administration Building,                                    369

Electrical Building,                                        384

Gallery of Fine Arts,                                       401

Transportation Building,                                    416

Horticultural Hall,                                         433

Fisheries and Agricultural,                                 448

Manufactures and Liberal Arts Building,                     465

Machinery Hall,                                             480

Woman’s Building,                                           497

[Illustration: CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS.]



“MY COUNTRY, ’TIS OF THEE.”



CHAPTER I.

THE AGE OF DISCOVERY.


Beginning with the year 1492, the date of the first voyage of Columbus,
necessarily leaves a great part of American history untold. Every
nation’s story begins in the middle; back of Leonidas are the Homeric
heroes; Romulus and Remus antedate the Tarquins. So, centuries before
the clear glory of Columbus, we have tradition of various shadowy
explorers whose strange barques visited our shores. Unless we grant the
earliest inhabitants of America an autochthonic origin, it seems most
reasonable to suppose that they came from Asia. Such authorities as
Humboldt, Bancroft, and Prescott declare it their opinion that the
monuments, the systems of cosmogony, the methods of computing time,
etc., all point to an ancient communication with eastern Asia. It is
certain that from time immemorial constant intercourse has been kept up
between the natives of either side of Bering’s Strait, and it is very
probable that the original immigrants came that way. There are other
possible routes--the Aleutian Islands and Polynesia are the two next
favored by the authorities.

There is a distinct trace of Japanese blood in many of the native tribes
of the northwest coast, and we have too many modern instances of
Japanese junks drifting upon the American coast, after floating for
months at the mercy of the Pacific currents, to doubt the possibility of
prehistoric visits of these people. What is known as the “black stream,”
or Japan current, runs northward past the eastern coast of the Japanese
Islands, then curves to the east and south, passing the west coast of
America and moving toward the Sandwich Islands. This current, it is
said, would carry a drifting vessel toward the American coast at the
rate of ten miles a day.

The theory which supposes the people, or at least the civilization, of
America to be of Egyptian origin is based upon analogies existing
between the architecture, hieroglyphics, and various customs of the two
countries. But even where these analogies bear the test of close
examination, they can scarcely be said to prove anything. In western
Asia the Phœnicians--those bold voyagers--and their children, the
Carthagenians, are given the honor of settling America. The records of
their travels show that they knew of a country lying far to the west. In
the writings of Diodorus Siculus is an elaborate account of a wonderful
island in the Atlantic Ocean, far beyond the Pillars of Hercules, and
many days’ journey from the coast of Africa. This happy land, fertile of
soil, beautiful of scenery, and perfect of climate, was accidentally
discovered by Phœnician sailors, whose barque was driven thither by
contrary winds. On their return they gave such glowing accounts of the
new country that large colonies of Tyrians left their native land to
settle there. This may have been America, but is more likely to have
been the Canary Islands.

Volumes have been written to prove that America was settled by the Ten
Lost Tribes of Israel.

In old Welsh annals there is an account of a colony established in the
twelfth century by Madoc, one of the sons of Owen Gwynedd, prince of
North Wales. After the death of this monarch, his sons waged war against
each other for the sovereignty. Madoc became disgusted with contention,
and determined to leave his native country and establish a kingdom of
his own, as far away as possible from the quarreling of his brothers. He
set sail, with what followers he could muster, and for many months bore
westward. At length they came to a large and favorable country, and,
having sailed for some distance along the coast, they found a
landing-place to their liking and disembarked. Some years later, Madoc
returned to Wales and persuaded a large number of his countrymen to
join the colony. Ten ships were fitted out with all manner of supplies,
and many families set sail for the new land. Of their further adventures
the records are silent.

An Irish discovery of America is also claimed. St. Patrick is said to
have sent missionaries thither. There is every reason to believe that
Irish sailors could have reached, by accident or otherwise, the shores
of our continent, but there is no reason at all to believe that they
did.

But these are all speculations, fairy stories, myths. Coming down to
sober facts, there are but two historical documents of real value
bearing upon the discovery of America before Columbus. One of these
documents is Chinese, the other Scandinavian.

The Chinese document is an extract from the official records, and sets
forth the adventures of a Buddhist priest named Hwui Shin, the same
being related by him after his return from a country lying very far to
the eastward. This country is claimed by some to have been Japan, but
others claim that it was America. The weight of evidence certainly
inclines toward the latter theory. The historian begins his account with
the statement that, in order to reach the new continent, it is necessary
to set out from the coast of the province Leao-tong, to the north of
Peking, reaching Japan after a journey of twelve thousand _li_--that
is, about four thousand miles. Sailing northward seven thousand _li_,
one reaches the kingdom of Wen-shin. Five thousand _li_ eastward is the
country of Ta-han. Twenty thousand _li_ beyond is the new world--which
the record names as the country of Fu-sang.

Perhaps we cannot do better than to present the original record, as
translated by Professor S. Wells Williams:

“In the first year of the reign, Yung-yuen, of the Emperor Tung
Hwăn-han, of the Tsi dynasty (A.D. 499), a Shaman priest named Hwui
Shin arrived at King-chau from the kingdom of Fu-sang. He related as
follows:

“‘_Fu-sang_ lies east of the kingdom of _Ta-han_ more than twenty
thousand _li_; it is also east of the Middle Kingdom (China). It
produces many _fu-sang_ trees, from which it derives its name. The
leaves of the _fu-sang_ resemble those of the _tung_ tree. It sprouts
forth like the bamboo, and the people eat the shoots. Its fruits
resemble the pear, but it is red; the bark is spun into cloth for
dresses and woven into brocade. The houses are made of planks. There are
no walled cities with gates. The (people) use characters and writing,
making paper from the bark of the _fu-sang_. There are no mailed
soldiers, for they do not carry on war. The law of the land prescribes a
southern and a northern prison. Criminals convicted of light crimes are
put into the former, and those guilty of grievous offenses into the
latter. Criminals, when pardoned, are let out of the southern prison,
but those in the northern prison are not pardoned. Prisoners in the
latter marry. Their boys become bondmen when they are eight years old
and the girls bondwomen when nine years old. Convicted prisoners are not
allowed to leave their prison while alive. When a nobleman (or an
official) has been convicted of crime, the great assembly of the nation
meets and places the criminal in a hollow (or pit); they set a feast,
with wine, before him, and then take leave of him. If the sentence is a
capital one, at the time they separate they surround (the body) with
ashes. For crimes of the first grade the sentence involves only the
person of the culprit; for the second it reaches the children and
grandchildren; while the third extends to the seventh generation.

“‘The king of this country is termed _yueh-ki_; the highest rank of
nobles is called _tui-li_; the next, little _tui-li_; and the lowest,
_no-cha-sha_. When the king goes abroad, he is preceded and followed by
drummers and trumpeters. The color of his robes varies with the years in
the cycle containing the ten stems. It is azure in the first two years;
in the second two years it is red; it is yellow in the third, white in
the fourth, and black in the last two years. There are oxen with long
horns, so long that they will hold things--the biggest as much as five
pecks. Vehicles are drawn by oxen, horses, and deer, for the people of
that land rear deer just as the Chinese rear cattle, and make cream of
their milk. They have red pears, which will keep a year without
spoiling; water-rushes and peaches are common. Iron is not found in the
ground, though copper is; they do not prize gold or silver, and trade is
conducted without rent, duty, or fixed prices.

“‘In matters of marriage, it is the law that the (intending) son-in-law
must erect a hut before the door of the girl’s house, and must sprinkle
and sweep the place morning and evening for a whole year. If she then
does not like him, she bids him depart; but if she is pleased with him
they are married. The bridal ceremonies are, for the most part, like
those of China. A fast of seven days is observed for parents at their
death, five for grandparents, and three days for brothers, sisters,
uncles, or aunts. Images to represent their spirits are set up, before
which they worship and pour out libations morning and evening; but they
wear no mourning or fillets. The successor of the king does not attend
personally to government affairs for the first three years. In olden
times they knew nothing of the Buddhist religion, but during the reign
Ta-ming of the Emperor Hiao Wu-ti, of the Lung dynasty (A.D. 458), from
Ki-pin five beggar priests went there. They traveled over the kingdom,
everywhere making known the laws, canons, and images of that faith.
Priests of regular ordination were set apart among the natives, and the
customs of the country became reformed.’”

There are several other narratives which relate to Fu-sang, or to
countries near it in situation. This, of them all, seems to describe
most truthfully a real country. Fu-sang may have been Japan, or it may
have been Mexico. Hwui Shin’s account differs very widely in some of its
details, from our knowledge of either.

All the literature of the subject of Chinese discoveries of America has
been examined and reviewed in Mr. E. P. Vining’s excellent book, _An
Inglorious Columbus_. Mr. Vining believes Fu-sang to be Mexico, and the
_fu-sang_ tree, in his view, is the maguey.

When we come to the Scandinavian records, we find much that is not only
plausible but indisputable evidence of the validity of their claims. We
know that the Scandinavian vikings, splendid old rascals, in their
many-oared galleys, often sailed far out into the waters of the
Atlantic. In the year 860, one of these glorious cut-throats, Naddoddr
(pronounce it if you can!), was blown upon the coast of Iceland. In 876
a similar experience befell another viking, and he reported having seen
in the distance the coast of an unknown shore.

In the year 981, Eric the Red, an outlaw of Iceland, sailed in search
of this coast, and, finding it, set a bad example to future real estate
dealers by naming its bleak length Greenland.

Subsequent to this discovery, according to the sagas of Iceland,
frequent visits to the south were made, and one Bjarni, distancing all
previous explorers, found a fertile country to which he gave the name of
Vinland. This was in the year 985, and, although the stories of these
exploits are vague and untrustworthy enough in detail, there seems
little doubt that Bjarni really visited the eastern coast of America at
that date.

No attempt was made at colonization; indeed, it is not recorded that the
galleys of Bjarni stopped at the new land at all. The wind which had
carried them thither changed suddenly, and they were borne back to
Iceland, where it is safe to presume that they all got uproariously
drunk, and did a great deal of bragging on the strength of their
adventure.

The second voyage to the new country was made by Leif, son of Eric the
Red, about the year 1000. He touched first a barren land covered with
icy mountains which he named Helluland. Spreading sail again he turned
the prow of his vessel southward until he reached a level country with
trees and grassy slopes. This he called Markland. Two days sailing
brought the vessel to an island at which the sailors disembarked, for
the weather was warm and the sight of land alluring. They stayed here
for a few hours and then steered for the mainland. A river flowed out
from a lake, and in this lake they anchored, carried the luggage from
the ship, and built themselves houses. It was the most beautiful, the
most fertile land they had ever seen, and they resolved to spend the
winter there. One of the boldest of them left his companions to the
enjoyment of the salmon fishing in the river and lake, and devoted
himself to exploring the surrounding country. He found quantities of
wine-berries (probably grapes), and with these berries and with some
wood they loaded their ship and set sail for Greenland.

Seven years later another expedition was fitted out with three ships,
and under command of this same Leif. They sailed far to the southward
and finally came to a promontory, to the right of which lay a long,
sandy beach. On this beach, or rather on a tongue of land that ran out
from it, they found the keel of a ship. They called this point, Kjlarnes
(Keel Cape), and the beach, Furdustrandir (Long Strand).

When the expedition set out, King Olaf Tryggvason gave Lief two famous
runners, a Scotch man and woman, named Haki and Hekja. These people were
set on shore shortly after they had passed Furdustrandir, and ordered to
run to the south, explore the country and return in three days. At the
end of the designated period they returned, the man bringing a bunch of
wine-berries and the woman an ear of wheat. This was promising, and the
expedition voted to continue the southward course.

Coming to a bay in which was an island around which flowed rapid
currents, they gave it the name of Straumey (Stream Island). The island
was so covered with the nests of eider ducks that it was difficult to
step without treading on the eggs. Here they resolved to tarry, and,
unloading the vessels, built habitations. Whether they stayed a long or
a short time, and what adventures befell them, of good or evil, we know
not.

A fuller record is that of Karlsefne, who with another hero, Snorro, and
our old friend Bjarni, sailed southward a long time until they came to
the river which ran out through the lake into the sea. The river was too
shallow to allow the ships to enter without high water. Karlsefne sailed
with his men into its mouth, and named the place Hop. Here were found
fields of wild wheat, and on the high ground wine-berries grew
abundantly. The woods were full of game and the men found plenty of
amusement for a fortnight. The only remarkable thing they saw was a
number of skin boats filled with swart, ugly people who rowed near the
shore and gazed in astonishment at the Northmen. They had coarse hair,
large, wild eyes and broad faces. They remained gazing at Karlsefne’s
men for a little and then rowed away to the southward.

With these people the explorers soon established communication, trading
red cloth, which the natives seemed to prefer to anything else, for
skins and furs. They wished to purchase swords and spears, but these the
Northmen refused to part with. As long as the red cloth held out their
relations with the Skraelings, as they had named the natives, continued
friendly. But one day, as the saga has it, while they were trafficking,
a bull which Karlsefne had with him ran out of the wood and bellowed so
fiercely that the Skraelings were frightened out of their wits, and fled
in their skin boats, back to the southland.

Three weeks later great numbers of them returned, and, with loud cries,
sprang on shore, prepared to do battle. Their weapons were slings, and
very uncomfortable weapons they proved to be, but the Northmen stood
their ground valiantly, until all of a sudden they saw the Skraelings
raise on a pole something that looked like an air-filled bag of a blue
color. They threw this at the enemy, and when it struck the ground it
exploded violently. At this Karlsefne and his men retreated, never
stopping until they gained a rocky stronghold, where they made another
stand, and at length succeeded in vanquishing the Skraelings.

Shortly afterward the expedition returned to Greenland. Many other
Northmen visited Vinland, according to the sagas, but no effort was made
at colonization. It is a matter of conjecture as to the exact location
of the country explored by them. Some writers believe it to have been
Labrador, and others place it as far south as Rhode Island. The
Skraelings, as they are described in the sagas, certainly resemble
Esquimaux more nearly than Indians. But then we have no positive proof
that the Northmen ever actually visited America at all. The presumption
is that they did, but all matters of detail must necessarily remain
doubtful, even if we accept their narratives in the main as true.

But whatever credit is to be given to the Asiatic, Norse, or other early
discoverers of America, or whatever knowledge of this hemisphere may
have been possessed by Europeans in classic times, to Christopher
Columbus must be ascribed the honor of opening the Western World to
actual settlement by civilized man. This illustrious man was born in
1436, in all but the lowest rank of life. His father was a woolcomber of
Genoa. But the education of the lad was made as complete as the scanty
means of his parents and the limited knowledge of that day would permit.
At an early age he learned to read and write, and obtained some
knowledge of arithmetic, drawing, and painting. Then he was sent to the
college at Pavia, one of the best institutions of learning of those
times. Here he studied grammar and the Latin language; but his
attention, fortunately for the world, was directed principally to
studies bearing upon the maritime profession, which he intended to
follow. He was instructed in geometry, astronomy, and navigation. Like
many of the young men of Genoa, he had an irresistible inclination
toward the sea. This was but natural, as that city was one of the chief
ports of the world. Later in life, Columbus ascribed this inclination to
a direct impulse from God, but this was only after his career had been
crowned with such brilliant success.

Geography was at this time the fashionable fad of the day. The world was
just beginning to recover the lost geographical knowledge, limited as it
was, of the Greeks and Romans. Monks and churchmen were still splitting
hairs over absurdly unimportant problems: How many angels could stand on
the point of a needle? whether a lie, under certain circumstances, was
not truth? whether black might not, in certain cases, be truly called
white? and other questions of equal vitality. But Arabian philosophers,
at the same time, were measuring degrees of latitude and calculating the
circumference of the earth. Their studies and achievements inevitably
found their way to the minds of many Christians in Europe, who, although
detesting the religious creed of the Mohammedans, were able to see that
their science was not to be despised. The works of Ptolemy and Strabo
had also just come into popular circulation, and created as much of a
sensation as any realistic novel of the present day. Prince Henry of
Portugal had made voyages of important discovery along the African
coast, and thus had inspired all the nations of Western Europe with the
hope of lighting upon some yet unknown region of fabulous wealth.

All these circumstances made the time particularly fitting for the most
important event of the ages since the Christian era. The hour had come
and the man also. At fourteen years of age Columbus left the school at
Pavia, and began the life of a sailor. This simply meant to cruise from
one port of the Mediterranean Sea to another, half as a merchantman,
half as a man-of-war. Every vessel was hourly exposed to the attacks of
pirates, especially those of the Barbary States, or of the war vessels
of hostile countries. In the midst of such dangers and difficulties
Columbus spent his early years. But the coarseness, ignorance, and
violence with which he was surrounded did not degrade his noble mind. He
had within him the seeds of greatness, a fine tone of thought, an ardent
imagination, and a loftiness of aspiration. Every leisure hour was
spent in study and profitable observation, thus improving the too meagre
educational advantages of his brief school life.

The year 1470 found Columbus at Lisbon, drawn thither with hundreds of
other navigators and scientific men by the fame of Prince Henry’s
discoveries. Strange tales were told of unexplored regions in the fiery
South, where the rocks were red hot and the water of the ocean forever
boiling. Even to these extravagant tales Columbus gave some heed, but
his thoughts were principally fixed on the possibility of finding a new
world far to the west. Our hero was now in the prime of life, a tall,
muscular man of commanding aspect. His light brown hair was already
prematurely gray, and his expression of countenance was grave and
scholarly. He was simple and abstemious in his diet, affable and
engaging in his manners and a devout Roman Catholic. But under this
exterior was concealed a nature of the most ardent enthusiasm, not less
energetic than that of Peter the Hermit or Ignatius Loyola. His
religious temperament led him often to the services of the Church, and
it was there that he first met a lady of high rank who soon afterward
became his wife. She was the daughter of Don Bartolomeo Monis de
Palestrello, an Italian cavalier, one of Prince Henry’s most
distinguished officers. The use of his father-in-law’s

[Illustration: THE LANDING OF COLUMBUS.]

fine collection of maps and charts was of great service to Columbus, who
now gave his attention to geographical studies more thoroughly than
ever. He talked or corresponded with all the learned men of the day. He
began to trace charts of his own, correcting the popular errors and
traditions by the aid of his own greater knowledge and experience.
Rumor, inspired by the stories of early adventures, had studded the far
western ocean with wondrous islands, on one of which seven Christian
bishops, fleeing from Pagan persecution, had founded seven splendid
cities. There were tales of a lofty mountainous country to be seen on
clear days far to the westward from the Canary Islands. Plato had told
of the ancient continent of Atlantis, which had been sunk beneath the
waves of the ocean. Marco Polo, the Venetian adventurer, had told of the
great wealth of the East Indies, which he said could be reached by
sailing westward from Europe.

However much he discounted the more extravagant of these tales, Columbus
was deeply impressed by them all. He became well convinced that far to
the west there lay an unexplored region, probably a part of the East
Indies, and he believed, with an intense religious zeal, that God had
specially commissioned him to discover and explore it. Thereupon he
consecrated the whole of his remaining life to the execution of this
task. No hazard, nor obstacle, nor disappointment for a moment daunted
him. He first applied to the Portuguese Court, stating the grounds of
his belief in the existence of an undiscovered country in the western
ocean, and asking for the means of ascertaining the truth of it. His
proposition was received with indifference, and finally rejected under
the influences of jealousy and intrigue. Then he returned to his native
Genoa, and there sought the same aid and encouragement; but Genoa was
already declining under the stress of domestic discord and foreign war,
and was unable to do anything for him.

The fortunes of Columbus were now at a low ebb. He had exhausted his
private means, and was in actual destitution. Downcast and disappointed,
often begging his food from door to door, he made his way on foot from
Genoa to the Court of Spain. Leading his little son by the hand, he one
day approached the Spanish capital, and asked for bread and water at a
convent door. The prior saw him, talked with him, became interested in
him and his schemes, and offered to introduce him at Court. Thus
Columbus obtained an interview with Cardinal Mendoza, the chief minister
and confidential adviser of the King and Queen, Ferdinand and Isabella.
The Cardinal was a man of extensive information and liberal mind, who
perceived at once the value of Columbus’s theories and commended them
to the sovereigns. The King, also, was apparently a good judge of men,
and appreciated the character and ability of Columbus. But he was not
willing to embark hastily in so great an enterprise as that proposed. He
first called together a council of all the most learned astronomers and
geographers in his kingdom, and to them referred Columbus, with his maps
and charts and theories.

This council met at Salamanca. It was entirely composed of friars,
priests, and monks, who monopolized all the learning, both secular and
religious, of that age. Some were men of large and philosophic minds;
others, narrow bigots; but all were imbued with the notion that
geographical discovery had reached its limits long before. In the
presence of this learned body, Columbus, a simple seaman, strong in
nothing save the energy of his convictions and the fire of his
enthusiasm, had to appear to defend a scheme which to them must have
appeared the dream of a madman. The difficulties of his position may be
guessed from the nature of some of the objections made to his
undertaking. His mathematical propositions and demonstrations were met
with quotations from the Book of Genesis, the Psalms, the Prophets, the
Epistles, the Gospels, and half a dozen of the Fathers of the Church.
When he argued that the earth was spherical, his opponents quoted one
of the Psalms, where the heavens are said to be extended like a hide.
Some members of the council, for the sake of argument, would admit the
rotundity of the earth, but denied the possibility of circumnavigating
it, first, because of the intolerable heat of the torrid zone, and
second, because it would take at least three years to accomplish the
voyage, in which time the explorers would die of hunger, it being
impossible to carry provisions sufficient for so long a time. Still
others said that if a ship did reach India, she could never return, for
the roundness of the globe would place a hill in her way, up which the
strongest wind could not blow her.

Such were the absurd notions held by the foremost scholars of those
days. It is needless here to recount such arguments further, or the
arguments, now familiar to every school-boy, used by Columbus in support
of his theory. It is enough to say that he was treated with incredulity,
suspicion, and contempt, and narrowly escaped being condemned for
heresy. After a long consultation the assembly broke up without arriving
at any decision. Then the war with the Moors of Granada absorbed the
attention of the Court for several years and exhausted its financial
resources. But after years of weary waiting the wish of Columbus was
granted. Queen Isabella pledged some of her jewels and in other ways
raised a sufficient sum to equip his expedition. In the month of April,
1492, an agreement was drawn up making him Viceroy and Governor-General
of all the lands he might discover and placing a number of ships and men
at his disposal. On the morning of August 3d, 1492, he and his 120
comrades embarked in three small ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the
Santa Maria, and set sail from the little port of Palos, in Andalusia,
on the most important voyage in history.

In a few days the expedition reached the Canary Islands, the then
western boundary of the known world. Beyond this all was speculation.
And of all the members of the expedition Columbus alone had
unquestioning faith in the object of the enterprise. Many of the sailors
believed, when they had lost sight of the European shore, that they were
doomed to inevitable destruction. Thus doubting and murmuring they
sailed onward week after week. At one time their discontent and fears
culminated in actual mutiny, and they proposed to put Columbus in irons
or throw him overboard and return, if possible, to Europe. But he
alternately calmed their discontent by promises of rich rewards and
awakened their fears by threats of immediate punishment. Thus for two
months he kept them in hand. Then as they again grew desperate and bade
fair to defy his authority altogether, indications of land not far ahead
began to appear. Birds hitherto unknown were seen flying above the
waves and wheeling about the ships, and plants and bits of wood were
seen in the water. Then the branch of a tree bearing red berries, and a
curiously carved instrument, were picked up. These things inspired even
the common sailors with hope that they were indeed approaching a shore.

At last, on October 8th, 1492, after sixty-five days of navigation on
unknown seas, they discovered land. It was not the American continent,
but one of the Bahama Islands, to which Columbus reverently gave the
name of St. Salvador. It was inhabited by Indians who received the
strangers kindly. Columbus formally took possession of the country in
the name of the Christian religion and the King and Queen of Spain. And
thus the dream of his youth was fulfilled and the ambition of his
manhood was accomplished. The Western World was discovered. Subsequently
he visited Cuba, Jamaica, Hayti, Porto Rico, and other islands, but did
not reach the main land until his third voyage, when he visited
Venezuela. He named the islands the West Indies, supposing them to be a
part of the great East Indian Archipelago.

In the month of April, 1493, he returned to the Spanish Court. The City
of Barcelona was ablaze with flags and the air was vocal with the roar
of artillery, while all the bells of the churches rang peals of triumph
in his honor. Years before Columbus had come thither on foot and in
rags, begging his bread. Now he rode the streets in more than royal
pomp, crowned with the admiration and acclaim of all the populace. Seven
natives of the Western World marched in his train, and there was an
almost endless display of gold and gems, of carven idols and sculptured
masks, of birds and beasts and reptiles, of trees and plants and fruits.
Above all waved two banners, one that of Spain which he had unfurled
above the new continent, and the other the admiral’s flag bearing in
golden letters the inscription,

    Por Castilla y por Leon
    Nuevo Mundo hallo Colon,[A]

or, For Castile and Leon Columbus has discovered a new world.

Thus he came to the Court where the King and Queen awaited him, and was
greeted by them as their equal. There, seated among the nobles of Spain,
he gave a brief account of the most striking events of his voyage. The
sovereigns listened to him with profound emotion and then fell on their
knees to give thanks to God for so great an achievement. For the time
being no honor was too great to bestow upon Columbus. He was
commissioned to make other voyages to the New World and to take
possession of all lands there in the name of Spain. Yet it was only a
few years after that that the memory of his splendid services was
outweighed by the malice of his foes. He was actually arrested,
imprisoned and loaded with irons, and at the end died in disgrace and
neglect, at Valladolid, May 20th, 1506.

The discovery made by Columbus was followed up by the Spaniards with the
greatest enthusiasm. Within twenty years the four largest of the West
Indian Islands were the seats of flourishing colonies, while as yet
other nations were contenting themselves with occasional voyages of
discovery along the coasts of the continent. The great fertility of the
soil, the mildness of the climate, but above all the finding of gold and
precious stones, kept the Spaniards alive to the importance of their new
possessions and encouraged immigration. Columbus himself made four
voyages to the New World, discovering, in his third voyage, the South
American continent near the mouth of the Orinoco River, and reaching in
his fourth, Honduras and the coast to the south of this region. He never
knew what a great discovery he had made and to his death rested under
the delusion that he had found the eastern shore of Asia.

In 1499 Alonzo de Ojeda, who had previously accompanied Columbus to the
new country, made a voyage on his own account and explored four hundred
leagues of the coast of South America. With him sailed Amerigo Vespucci,
who afterward made three independent voyages to America and wrote the
first account of it; this was published in 1507, and popular prejudice
has supposed that his name came thus to be given to the New World.

At the recent Congress of Americanists in Paris, this point was
discussed with much warmth. M. Jules Marcon asserted that Vespucci’s
name was Alberico instead of Amerigo, and that he changed it after the
new continent was named. The true derivation of the name America is
Amerique, that being the Indian name of a range of mountains in Central
America. Still, some historians declare that very range of mountains to
have been called Amerisque, and it is true that in the Florentine
language Alberico and Amerigo are identical. Then there is extant a map
of the world prepared by one Vallescu of Majorca in 1490, on the back of
which is a note to the effect that the map was purchased for one hundred
and twenty ducats in gold by _Amerigo_ Vespucci, the merchant. This
proves that even if his name was not Amerigo, he sometimes wrote it so.

Other voyagers were Pedro Alonzo Nigno and Vincent Pinzon, the latter
being the first Spaniard to cross the equinoctial line. He discovered
the mouth of the Amazon River and from there sailed north to the
Carribean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. In the same year (1499), Diego
Lope explored the coast of South America far to the southwest.

The discovery and conquest of Mexico and Peru followed. The New World
became the Mecca of every reckless and adventurous spirit in Europe.
Ojeda sailed under a grant from the King of Spain to found a colony at
San Sebastian, and with him went Francisco Pizarro, who thus made the
first step in his adventurous career. The colony at San Sebastian was
abandoned, and on the return voyage one vessel foundered. The other,
commanded by Pizarro, reached Carthagena, where it was met by a fleet
conveying men and provisions to the colony. On one of these ships was
the adventurer Balboa, who had smuggled himself on board to escape his
creditors. Learning that the colony toward which they were sailing had
been deserted, Balboa proposed going to Darien, which coast he had
already visited. The proposal met with favor and a new town was founded
under the name of Santa Maria de la Antigua del Darien. Trouble began
immediately, as usual. The man who had brought the fleet thither,
Encisco, a lawyer of San Domingo, was imprisoned and Balboa was made
alcade of the colony.

The natives of Darien viewed their visitors with anything but favor, and
endeavored by strategy to induce them to move on. They represented the
neighboring district of Coyba to be much richer in gold and provisions
than their own, and Pizarro, with only six men, went on an exploring
expedition. The natives were found to be hostile, and on one occasion
the Spaniards were surrounded by four hundred warriors, with whom they
had a very bloody battle. One hundred and fifty natives were killed,
many more wounded, while the Spaniards all escaped with their lives, one
man only being too badly hurt to fly. Retreating to Santa Maria, they
reported their misfortune, and it is to the credit of Balboa that he
obliged them to return and bring back their wounded companion. Coyba was
conquered, and an alliance formed with its ruler. Adjacent to it was a
range of mountains, at the foot of which was a very rich and highly
civilized country called Comagre. The chief invited the Spaniards to his
domain, treated them with hospitality, and astonished them with the
splendor of his possessions. His palace was a wonderful structure of
wood, divided into many apartments. In one of these chambers, the dried
and embalmed bodies of the chieftain’s ancestors, clothed in cotton
robes, richly embroidered with gold and precious stones, were suspended
from the walls. A large amount of gold and seventy slaves were presented
to the Spaniards. One-fifth of the gold was set apart for the King, and
over the remainder the Christians held such a dispute that the savages
were aghast. Finally the young chieftain scornfully remarked that if
they were so greedy for gold, he could direct them to a country where it
was more common than iron was in their land. “When you have passed this
range of mountains,” he continued, “you will behold another ocean, on
which are vessels only inferior to those which brought you hither,
equipped with sails and oars, but navigated by people naked like
ourselves.” Undoubtedly the chief alluded to Peru. This certain proof of
the existence of another ocean filled Balboa with delight. He imagined
that the country described formed a part of the vast region of the East
Indies. Preparations for the enterprise were immediately begun, but in
the midst of it all Balboa was summoned to court to answer the charges
brought against him by Encisco. Instead of obeying the command, however,
he determined to effect the passage to the South Sea before his
successor could arrive from Spain. The Isthmus of Darien is only sixty
miles in breadth, but a chain of mountains, a continuation of the Andes,
runs through its whole extent. Its valleys are marshy and unhealthy,
being inundated by rains which prevail nearly two-thirds of the year.
These marshes are even more impenetrable than the forests which cover
the mountains, and to this day the crossing is not much easier than it
was then.

No man but Balboa could have accomplished it. He was not any more
courageous than his followers, but he possessed great powers of
magnetism as well as prudence, sagacity, and amiability; in a word, he
had genius, the genius of leadership. His soldiers were his children. He
wished to bear the heaviest burdens himself; his post in battle was the
most dangerous of all; his endurance surpassed that of the strongest
men. His army consisted of one hundred and ninety Spaniards, one
thousand Indians, useful to carry baggage, and some fierce blood-hounds.

Balboa set forth on the 1st of September, 1513. The journey was
estimated to be of six days’ duration, but it was only after twenty-five
days of desperate fighting, and of struggles with disease and fatigue,
that they reached the summit of the mountain from which Balboa had been
informed the great ocean could be seen.

Commanding his army to halt, Balboa advanced alone to the apex and there
beheld the South Sea stretching before him in boundless extent. Amid
great exultation he took formal possession of land and sea, cutting the
king’s name on trees and erecting crosses and mounds of stones as
records thereof.

Leaving the greater part of his men where they were, Balboa proceeded
with eighty Spaniards, and under the guidance of a friendly chief,
toward the coast. Arriving at the borders of one of the vast bays, he
rushed into the ocean with drawn sword and called upon the witnesses to
observe that he possessed it in the name of Spain.

He now wished to make conquest of the countries to the south, which the
natives declared to be a great and wealthy empire, but having too few
men to attempt the enterprise, he returned to Darien, carrying with him
a treasure valued at nearly half a million of dollars--the largest
treasure yet collected in America. He sent messengers to Spain, but
before these arrived Don Pedrarias Davila had been sent out to supersede
him in command. The King, however, in consideration of his services,
sent letters appointing Balboa _Adelantado_ or Admiral. The enormous
project of conveying ship-building material across the Isthmus was
accomplished, and two brigantines were constructed. Adverse weather and
other misfortunes prevented the Spaniards from reaching Peru, and
Pedrarias recalled Balboa to Darien. Balboa obeyed, never dreaming of
the treachery awaiting him. He was seized and imprisoned, and finally
condemned to death by the jealous Pedrarias, and the sentence was
carried out in spite of the protests of the colonists.

The conquest of Peru was afterward accomplished by Pizarro, who, while
he was as able a man as Balboa, was much more cruel and unscrupulous.
Three years later Magellan entered the South Sea, after sailing around
the southern extremity of the continent. It was Magellan who gave this
ocean the name Pacific, in recognition of the fine weather he
encountered in crossing it. His fleet reached the islands of the Indian
Archipelago, and returned to Europe by way of the Cape of Good Hope,
thus completing the first circumnavigation of the globe.

In the same year which witnessed the unjust execution of Balboa (1517),
the northern coast of Yucatan was explored, and also the southern coast
of Mexico. Instead of encountering naked savages, the explorers were
surprised to find well-clad and highly civilized people, so bold and
warlike as to drive off the intruders with great slaughter. Velasquez,
governor of Cuba, determined to conquer the wealthy country thus
discovered, and prepared a fleet of ten vessels, which he sent out under
command of Hernando Cortes, a man who had already achieved some military
distinction. He landed in Mexico on March 4th, 1519, where his ships and
artillery, and especially his horses, created the wildest fear and
astonishment among the natives, who regarded the strangers as divine
beings. They were soon to be undeceived, however, for a reign of war and
oppression was begun, which resulted in the death of the Emperor
Montezuma, the levelling of their ancient temples, and the ultimate
extinction of the Aztec nation.

Meanwhile, the mainland of the American continent had been visited and
partly explored.

The first voyage to the northern coast was made by John Cabot in 1497,
under the auspices of Henry VIII of England. His object was less the
discovery of a new continent than the finding of a northwest passage to
the coast of Asia. Cabot sighted land on the 26th of June, probably the
Island of Newfoundland. On the 3d of July he reached the coast of
Labrador. He was then the first of modern navigators to discover the
North American continent, Columbus being a whole year behind him. Cabot
explored the coast for nine hundred miles, in a southerly direction, and
returned to England. The next year his son, Sebastian, visited the same
region, still looking for that northwest passage.

The Portuguese also, made early voyages with the same illusory object in
view. In 1500, Gaspar Cortereal reached the American continent. In his
second voyage his ship was lost, and his brother, who went in search of
him, also perished.

In 1524, Francis I of France resolved to have a share in these new
discoveries. A company of Breton sailors had already partly explored the
coast. As early as 1506 the Gulf of St. Lawrence

[Illustration: WASHINGTON.

Direct Reproduction of the Original Painting, by Gilbert Stuart, in the
Museum of the Fine Arts, Boston. The Property of the Boston Athenæum.]

was discovered. A squadron of four ships, under Giovanni Verrazano, an
Italian navigator in the service of Francis, explored the coast from the
Carolinas northward, probably visiting New York and Narragansett Bays.
He also searched for the northwest passage, and on his return succeeded
in convincing the King that no such passage existed.

In 1534 a second expedition was fitted out under command of Jacques
Cartier, a fearless mariner, who had previously made fishing voyages to
the Banks of Newfoundland. This expedition consisted of two vessels, and
left St. Malo on the 20th of April. After a short stay at Newfoundland,
Cartier sailed northward, passed through the Straits of Belleisle and
entered the St. Lawrence.

Here, on the 24th of July they landed and erected a cross, surmounted by
the lilies of France. The natives proved friendly, and two men were
prevailed upon to accompany the returning voyagers. The following year a
second expedition was sent out under Cartier, with instructions to
explore carefully the St. Lawrence, to establish a settlement, and to
traffic with the Indians for gold. Of this latter commodity they found
none, but the river was explored as far as the spot where now stands
Montreal. The natives seem to have had a very correct knowledge of their
country, for they told Cartier that it would take three months to sail
in their canoes up the course of the river and that it ran through
several great lakes, the largest like a vast sea. Beyond the farthest
lake was another river which ran in a southerly direction. This was the
Mississippi. The Canadian winter had now set in and the explorers
suffered terribly from the cold and disease. As soon as spring appeared
they returned home. Like other adventurers of the age, they repaid the
hospitality of the natives with the blackest ingratitude and treachery.
They kidnapped the chief Donacona--whose village occupied the site of
Quebec, and who had fed and lodged the explorers--and forced him, with
eight warriors, to accompany them to France, where the unhappy savages
died soon after their arrival.

The third expedition under Cartier in a fleet fitted out by De Roberval,
a rich nobleman of France, was not so successful. The Indians had not
forgiven the outrage perpetrated upon their chief, and the white men
were received at Stradacona (Quebec) with every sign of hatred and
enmity. Cartier, finding his position here so unpleasant, not to say
dangerous, moved up the river to Cape Rouge, where he moored three of
his vessels and sent the other two back to France for supplies. An
attempt was made to found a colony, and the summer was spent in an
unsuccessful search for gold. Both the colony and the search for gold
were abandoned after another severe winter and Cartier and his men
returned to France.

It was this same greed for gold which led the Spaniards to attempt the
exploration of the southern part of the American continent. As early as
1512 Juan Ponce de Leon discovered a land which he called Florida,
partly because he first saw it on Easter Sunday (_Pascua florida_), and
partly because it seemed to his delighted gaze a veritable “land of
flowers.” Ponce de Leon had another object beside gold hunting; he was
an old man and he loathed his years. He had come hither lured by a
wonderful tale of a fountain which gave eternal youth to whosoever
bathed in its waters. To find this grand restorer of vigor and bloom,
Ponce de Leon and his followers wandered through terrible forests and
marshes, enduring every hardship and deprivation, running hourly risks
of death. That such a dream could ever have been cherished by
enlightened and educated people need not appear so strange if we
consider what a succession of new and astonishing scenes had passed
before the eyes of the old world in the short space of ten years. No
wonder their imaginations were inflamed and their credulity limitless.
In this new land, of which the preceding ages had been utterly ignorant,
everything was different from that with which the old world was
familiar. Anything seemed possible, after the impossible had happened.
De Leon made two visits after his fountain; in the second one he was
killed by the Indians.

In 1528 Pamphilo de Narvaez made an effort to take possession of Florida
in the name of Charles V of Germany. He met with such hostility from the
natives, however, that after months of wandering he reached the Gulf
with a mere handful of men out of the six hundred with whom he had
landed. Building five miserable boats, these crazy adventurers attempted
to follow the line of the coast to the Mexican settlements. Four boats
were lost in a storm; the survivors landed and sought to cross the
continent to the Spanish colonies at Sonora. It seems incredible, but in
this enterprise four of the men actually succeeded. Among them was
Cabeca de Vaca, treasurer of the expedition. Their appearance in Europe
nine years after their departure caused the greatest sensation, and the
excitement created by their narrative was intense. The passion for
adventure became stronger than ever among the Spaniards, and when the
already celebrated Hernando de Soto, who had been with Pizarro in Peru,
asked for and was granted permission to take possession of Florida in
the name of Ferdinand of Spain, he had a multitude of volunteers to his
standard.

De Soto was first appointed governor of Cuba that he might turn to
account the resources of that wealthy island. His fleet of nine vessels
and force of six hundred men, sailed from Havana on the 18th of May,
1539, and ten days later anchored in Tampa Bay. The first remarkable
adventure that befel them was an encounter with one of the companions of
Cabeca de Vaca, who had been held all this time captive among the
Indians. He had acquired a thorough knowledge of their language, and his
services as mediator and interpretor soon became invaluable.

Led by Ortiz--the captive--the explorers wandered through the unknown
land until spring. Then a native offered to guide them to a distant
country, governed by a woman, and rich in “yellow metal,” which the
Spaniards understood to be gold, but which turned out to be only copper.
The dominion of the Indian queen was reached at last, after much
fighting and bloodshed. The old chronicles give a picturesque and rather
pathetic account of the meeting between the poor cacica and the
invaders. She came forth to welcome them, alighting from her litter and
making gestures of pleasure and amity, taking from her neck a heavy
string of pearls and presenting it to De Soto. He accepted the gift, and
for a time kept up a pretense of friendship; but, having obtained all
the information the queen had to give, he made her prisoner and robbed
her and her people of all their valuables, even pillaging the graves of
dead nobles for pearls. It is gratifying to know that the queen effected
her escape from the guards, and that she regained a box of pearls on
which De Soto set especial store.

The Spaniards now altered their course, and, taking a northwesterly
direction, they found themselves, after a few months, at the foot of the
Appalachian range of mountains, which, rather than cross, they turned
their backs upon, and wandered into the lowlands of what is now Alabama,
ignorant of the fact that these very mountains were rich in the gold
they so ardently coveted.

The autumn of 1540 brought what remained of the party to a large village
called Mavilla, the site of the modern city of Mobile, where a terrible
battle took place. Mavilla was burned to ashes, and when the fight ended
the victorious Spaniards found themselves in a desperate situation--at a
distance from their ships, their provisions gone, and enemies on every
side. The common soldiers, by this time, had had quite enough of
exploration, and wished to return to the coast. But De Soto, who had
received secret information that his fleet was even now anchored in the
Bay of Pensacola, six days’ journey from Mavilla, determined to make one
more effort to redeem his honor by a notable discovery of some sort. He
forced his men to journey northward, and in December they reached a
Chickasaw village, in what is now the State of Mississippi. By spring
they had fought their way completely across the State, and in May they
reached the banks of the mighty river from which the State takes its
name. Not knowing that he had made his great discovery, De Soto went to
work to build boats and barges with which to cross the river. Constantly
harassed by the natives, the explorers continued their northward
wanderings until they reached the region of the present State of
Missouri. Proceeding westward, they encamped for the winter at the
present location of Little Rock, Arkansas. But the spot turned out to be
an unhealthy one; the white men began to succumb to disease; Juan Ortiz,
the chief helper, died; scouts sent out to explore the neighborhood
brought back darkest reports of impenetrable wildernesses, and of bands
of hostiles creeping up from every side to attack them. Saddest of all,
De Soto, broken with disease and long endurance, lay down to rise no
more. Calling his little army around him, he asked their pardon for the
sufferings he had brought upon them, and named Luis de Alvaredo as his
successor. The following day the unhappy De Soto breathed his last, and
was buried secretly outside the camp; but, fearing an immediate attack
from the natives should the death of the hero be made known, and the
newly-made grave exciting suspicion among the Indians in the
neighborhood, Alvaredo had the corpse disinterred in the night, and,
wrapped in clothes made heavy with sand, dropped into the Mississippi.

Alvaredo then led his people westward, hoping to reach the Pacific
coast. But after long months of wandering, and dreading to be overtaken
by winter on the prairies, they retraced their steps to the Mississippi,
where they pitched camp and spent six months building boats in which to
go down the river. A terrible voyage of seventeen days, between banks
lined with Indians, who plied them pitilessly with poisoned arrows,
brought them to the Gulf, and a further weary cruise along the coast of
Louisiana and Texas landed them at the Spanish settlement of Panuco, in
Mexico. This was in October, 1543; they had been wandering for nearly
four years.

The English were rather tardy in following the lead of the Spanish,
French, and Portuguese explorers, but, once started, they pursued their
researches with great vigor. In 1562 one of their adventurers, Sir John
Hawkins, engaged in the slave trade, and carried cargoes of negroes to
the West Indies. In 1577, Sir Francis Drake accomplished the
circumnavigation of the globe. Attempts were made at the same period to
discover the northwestern passage, by Willoughby, Frobisher, Henry
Hudson, and others. The only attempt to found a colony in the New World
during this century was made by Sir Walter Raleigh; his step-brother,
Sir Humphrey Gilbert, had obtained the first charter ever granted an
Englishman for a colony, but his project failed, and he himself perished
at sea.

A patent was granted Raleigh, constituting him lord proprietary, with
almost unlimited powers, according to the Christian Protestant faith, of
all land which he might discover between the thirty-third and fortieth
degrees of north latitude. Under this patent Raleigh dispatched two
vessels under the command of Philip Amidas and Arthur Barlow. They
landed on the island of Wococken and took possession in the name of
Queen Elizabeth. The country they called Virginia, and such glowing
accounts did they send back to England that seven vessels under Sir
Richard Grenville were sent out, bearing one hundred and fifty
colonists. As soon as these landed, Sir Richard Grenville took the ships
back to England, capturing a rich Spanish prize on the way. The colony
fared very badly after a time, Lane, the governor, being utterly unfit
for his office. The Indians wishing to get rid of their visitors,
induced them to ascend the Roanoke River, on the upper banks of which,
they declared, dwelt a nation skillful in refining gold, whose city was
inclosed with a wall of pearls. After the gold rushed the colonists,
but they found only famine and distress. The Indians, on their return,
refused to give them any more provisions, and even ceased to cultivate
corn, hoping to drive out the Englishmen altogether. In revenge, the
white men, having invited the chief to a conference, fell upon him and
slew him, with many of his people. This was the end of their peaceful
relations with the Indians. The colony was on the verge of starvation
when Sir Francis Drake, the slave-trading nobleman, appeared outside the
harbor with a fleet of twenty-three ships. At the urgent prayer of the
starving settlers, Sir Francis carried them back to England. Hardly had
they gone before a ship laden with supplies, dispatched by Raleigh,
arrived. Finding the colony vanished, the ship returned. Before it
reached England, Sir Richard Grenville arrived at Roanoke with three
ships. After searching in vain for the missing colony, he also returned,
leaving fifteen men on the island to hold possession for the English.
Still undiscouraged, Raleigh sent out a second colony, this time
choosing agriculturists, and sending with them their wives and children.
On reaching Roanoke they found the bones of the fifteen men Grenville
had left, and the fort in ruins. Meanwhile the Spanish invasion was
threatening England. Raleigh was one of the most active in devising
schemes for resistance. It was almost a year before he was able to send
supplies to his colony at Roanoke; this he did at last, but the captain,
instead of proceeding straight on his mission, went in chase of two
Spanish prizes, came to grief, and was obliged to return to England. By
this time Raleigh’s means were almost exhausted, but he managed to send
out the relief ships, but they arrived too late. The island was a desert
and the only clue to the fate of the colony was the word “Croatian” on
the bark of a tree. It has been conjectured that they escaped, through
the kindness of the Indians to Croatian; perhaps they were received into
some tribe and became a part of the wild men; the Indians themselves
have such a tradition. Raleigh sent five different search parties after
his little colony, but none of them ever had the least success.

In 1602 Bartholomew Gosnold reached the shores of Massachusetts, and,
sailing southward, landed on a promontory which he called Cape Cod. He
also discovered the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. On the
former they built a store-house and a fort, and prepared to settle, but
when the ships got ready to sail, they lost their resolution and
insisted upon returning to England.



CHAPTER II.

“GOOD OLD COLONY TIMES.”


The history of the United States may be said to have begun with the
formation in England of a company for the purpose of forming colonies in
America. This was called the Virginia Company, and to it was given the
right to hold all the land from Cape Fear to the St. Croix River. The
Company had two divisions--the London Company, with control over the
southern territory, and the Plymouth Company, controlling the northern.
It was the London Company who founded the first colony. Three vessels,
under Captain Christopher Newport, sailed from England in the year 1607,
with instructions to land on Roanoke Island. A storm drove them into
Chesapeake Bay, and so delighted were they with the beauty of its shores
that they determined to settle there. Sailing up the James River, they
found a convenient spot for landing, and on the 13th of May the colony
of Jamestown was established. There were about a hundred men in the
party, many of them gentlemen of more or less precarious fortune, whose
object in leaving their native land was almost entirely selfish. They
expected to find gold, and so great was their greed that they went
directly to washing dust, instead of cultivating the ground. The summer
that followed was a terrible one. The location proved unhealthy, and
more than half the colony died of a pestilence. Only the friendly
generosity of the Indians saved the rest from starvation. The situation
was rendered more unendurable by quarrels and dissensions in the
Governing Council, which consisted of seven men appointed before leaving
England. In this Council had been Gosnold, the explorer, Captain
Newport, and Captain John Smith. This latter personage was a man of
marked individuality, one of those characters not uncommon in history,
who are as cordially detested by half the world as they are warmly
admired by the other half. At first prevented by his enemies from taking
his place in the Council at all, arrested and kept under a cloud for
months, the following autumn finds him in supreme and solitary control
of the entire colony.

Things began to brighten a little at Jamestown. Supplies were plenty,
and, under the careful management of Smith, promised to last all winter.
Having nothing else to complain about, the dissenters now began to
mutter against Smith for not having discovered the source of the
Chickahominy, the theory being that the South Sea, or Pacific Ocean, was
not far distant, and that some river running from the northwest would be
sure to lead to it. Whether or not Smith had much hope of reaching the
Pacific via the Chickahominy River is uncertain, but he did make an
attempt to trace the stream to its head.

His adventures on that memorable voyage have been told in every history
of the colonies and in every school geography since. How much is truth
and how much imagination it is impossible to decide; it should be stated
that the original story came from a person not so much celebrated for
veracity as for other excellent qualities--that is to say, from Captain
John Smith himself.

Nine white men accompanied him on the trip up the river. When at length
the barge could advance no further, Captain Smith returned some miles to
a bay, where he moored his bark out of danger, and, taking two men and
two Indian guides, he proceeded in a canoe twenty miles higher up the
river. The men in the barge had strict orders not to leave until their
commander returned. As soon as he was fairly out of sight, the order was
disobeyed; the men went on shore, and one of them was killed by Indians.

Smith, meantime, had neared the head of the river. The country was very
wet and marshy, but there was no indication of the proximity of the
Pacific Ocean. The canoe was tied up, and Smith took his gun and one
Indian and went on shore after food for his party. But, as it turned
out, the landing-place was ill-chosen. The two men in the canoe were set
upon by Indians and killed, and Smith, after a desperate resistance, was
captured. He asked for their chief, and was led before Opechancanough.
Smith presented to him a mariner’s compass, which so entertained the
savages that they forbore their first murderous intentions and contented
themselves with leading him captive to the town of Orapakes, which was
about twelve miles from what is now the city of Richmond. Here he was
confined in one of the houses, and an enormous quantity of food set
before him. It is not probable that his appetite was very good, under
the circumstances. His captivity was not devoid of pleasant features,
however; an Indian, who had received some kindness at the hands of the
Jamestown colonists, showed his gratitude by presenting to Smith a warm
fur garment. While the orgies and incantations were going on--supposedly
with a view to divine the prisoner’s intentions concerning the
Indians--Opitchapan, brother of Chief Opechancanough, who dwelt a little
above, came down to see the great white man, and entertained him
hospitably.

At last it was decided to take the prisoner to the chief place of
council, and to let the exalted Powhatan pronounce his fate. Accordingly
they journeyed to Werowocomoco, on the York River--then known as the
Pamaunkee. Here they found Powhatan, reclining in rude state on a sort
of a throne covered with mats, and further adorned by the presence of
two dusky maidens, splendid with feathers and beads and red paint. The
captive was received with solemn ceremony, a feast was spread, and then
a long consultation took place. The result was a sentence of death.

Two large stones are brought and laid one upon the other before
Powhatan; behold savage hands seize upon the unhappy Smith and lay his
head upon the stones; the war-clubs are poised in air, the chief’s hand
starts to give the fatal sign; at the foot of the throne, one gentle
heart is throbbing wildly with mingled love and fear; poor little
Pocahontas, while the stones were being brought, put in her plea for
mercy, but it was not even noticed; she is the dearest thing in the
world to that stern old chief, but even she has never yet dared dispute
his authority. But when she sees that hand raised, her fear is swept
away, everything is swept away but love; she utters one mad cry, and,
flying from her place, throws herself down beside _him_, clasps his form
in her arms and lays her head upon his. The fairest woman in the world
saves the bravest man. Oh! most charming picture in history! Men pretend
to believe that it is all a fabrication. What if it is? To leave it out
of the history books takes all the color from the

[Illustration: RESIDENCE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, 1798.]

story of those days. If it didn’t happen, it might have happened.
Certainly something happened, for two days later Smith was permitted to
return to Jamestown on the absurd little condition of sending back two
great guns and a grindstone. This condition Smith faithfully fulfilled,
to his credit, and in addition to the cannon and the grindstone he sent
presents to Powhatan’s wives and children. Records are so stupid at
times; they are careful in this case to mention the grindstone, but they
give not the slightest hint of what Captain Smith sent Pocahontas.
Smith’s conduct all through that affair is puzzling. By every canon of
romance, he should have married the princess. That it was otherwise is
the best proof of the truth of the story, for true stories always end
inartistically.

When Smith returned to Jamestown, he found things going very badly, and
the number of the colonists reduced to forty. He set to work to
encourage them, and to make his task easier, a ship laden with stores
and with additional settlers now arrived. The Indians were friendly, and
great numbers of them appeared at Jamestown to trade. Pocahontas came,
too, and brought all sorts of things to Captain Newport and to Smith,
which she had undoubtedly wheedled out of her father, the great
Powhatan.

When Captain Newport returned to England, he took with him twenty
turkeys which Powhatan had given him in exchange for twenty swords.
This bargain pleased the old chief so much that he tried to effect a
similar one with Smith. Failing, and becoming infuriated, he ordered his
people to go to Jamestown and take the weapons by force. The President
of the colony, under pretense of orders from England not to offend the
natives, would have allowed the robbery to take place, but Smith rose in
wrath and drove the intruders from the settlement.

Another ship, the “Phœnix,” now arrived. The colony was increased to
nearly two hundred souls. There were plenty of provisions and the sword
difficulty, thanks to the mediation of Pocahontas, had been amicably
settled, so that all hostilities were at an end for the time being. The
year was 1608.

Smith continued his explorations, sailing around Chesapeake Bay and up
to the head of the Potomac River. He traveled not less than three
thousand miles that summer, and that his worth was beginning to be
appreciated at Jamestown is evidenced by the fact that on his return he
had the pleasure of accepting the presidency of the colony. This had
been offered him before, but he had declined it.

Now he set about his duties in earnest. The men were put to work, some
making glass, preparing tar and pitch, while Smith with thirty others
went five miles below the fort to cut down trees and to saw planks. The
Jamestown colony was always unfortunate in having too many
adventurer-gentlemen in it. Smith had a hard time with them, but by his
tact and good management he got more work out of them than any one else
could have done.

Their life, diversified with some struggles with the Indians, a good
deal of internal bickering and considerable ill-luck with crops, etc.,
continued for another year. In 1609 an addition to the colony of five
hundred men and women, with stores and provisions, set sail from
England. But these new settlers had no sooner landed than new troubles
began. The leaders, although they brought no commission with them,
insisted on assuming authority over the original colony, defying Smith,
whom they feared and hated.

Anarchy reigned for a time. The ring-leaders, Ratcliffe, Archer, and
others, were imprisoned. West, with one hundred and twenty men, formed
an independent settlement at the falls of the James River, and another
one hundred and twenty, under Martin, established themselves at
Nansemond. But these leaders were unable to deal fairly with the
Indians, and the new settlements were abandoned after much bloodshed.
Smith did what he could to effect peace, but failing, gave up in disgust
and returned to England.

After his departure, things went from bad to worse. Within six months
vice and starvation had reduced the colony from five hundred to sixty
persons, and these must also have perished had not relief come from
England.

Shortly afterward Lord Delaware was sent out to be Governor of the
colony. He brought with him supplies and a large number of emigrants.
Following these came seven hundred more. The land, which had hitherto
been held in common, was divided among the colonists, and an era of wise
government and contented prosperity began. In 1613 Pocahontas married
John Rolfe, and this event improved greatly the relations between the
white people and the Indians. But three years after it occurred,
Pocahontas and her husband went to Europe, where the gentle little woman
died. She was deeply mourned by her husband and by her people, for she
was not only good but she was beautiful and very clever. Powhatan did
not long survive his daughter, and thus were the two best friends of the
white men removed. The rapid increase of the colonists, and the spread
of their settlements, began to alarm the Indians, and in 1622 a
conspiracy was formed to destroy and wipe out the invasion of Europeans.

It is necessary to mention one or two events in the colony before this
year. In 1615 the cultivation of tobacco was begun on a large scale.
Other pursuits were neglected and corn was scarcely raised at all. The
new article of commerce proved so profitable that it became a perfect
mania. In 1619 the first legislative body ever organized in America met
at Jamestown, where a colonial constitution was adopted. The next year
(1620) a Dutch man-of-war sailed up the James and landed twenty negroes
who were sold as slaves. The same year a cargo of young white women were
sent over and sold as wives--a position supposed to be a little better
than that of slaves. The price paid was one hundred and twenty pounds of
tobacco per wife.

The colonists were unprepared for the hostilities which followed the
death of Powhatan. His dominion passed to his brother Opitchapan, a
feeble old man feared by no one. But there was one man who soon began to
incite the natives to war. This man was the captor of Smith,
Opechancanough. He has been called by some the brother of Powhatan, but
this opinion is erroneous. He came of one of the tribes of the
southwest, probably Mexico, and rose to his position of leader only
through his natural ability to govern. Inspired with a hatred of the
white men, he visited in person all the tribes of the confederacy of
Powhatan and roused them to murderous fury. A few people in the colony
scented danger, but the majority were so secure in the belief of safety
that it was impossible to induce them to take measures for their own
protection. The settlements were now eighty in number and spread in
separate plantations over a space of three or four hundred miles.

On Friday, the 22d day of March, 1622, the Indians came into the
settlements as usual with game and fish and fruits, which they offered
for sale in the market place. Suddenly a shrill signal cry rang out, and
then began a hideous scene of blood and death. In one morning three
hundred and forty-nine settlers were massacred. It is remarkable that
one single white man should have escaped, but surprised and defenseless
as they were, the settlers rallied and actually succeeded in putting
their assailants to flight. The village of Jamestown was warned of its
danger by a young Indian woman, preparations for defense were hurriedly
made, but no assault occurred.

The wildest panic now seized the colonists. Distant plantations were
abandoned, and in a short time, instead of eighty settlements, there
were only six, and these were huddled closely around Jamestown. The war
with the Indians kept up incessantly. Opechancanough pursued the white
men with deadly hatred, and the white men never lost an opportunity of
murdering an Indian.

In 1624 the London Company was dissolved, and Virginia was declared a
royal government. The colony retained the right to a representative
assembly and of trial by jury. All the succeeding colonies claimed
these rights, so that it was in Virginia that the foundation of American
independence was laid.

Indian hostilities continued--grew worse, in fact, as the whites
increased in number and in power. There was but one end to such an
unequal struggle. It came about the year 1643. Opechancanough was a very
old man--he had lived a hundred years; he could no longer walk
alone--his very eyelids had to be lifted by the fingers of an attendant;
but within his withered frame the spirit of hatred and bitterness was as
full of energy as ever. His power over the confederacy of Powhatan was
as great as of old, and once again he roused the savages to an attempt
at a general massacre.

Five hundred white men were butchered, but Sir William Berkeley, placing
himself at the head of a large body of troops, marched against the
Indians and not only utterly routed them, but captured their aged chief
and took him back to Jamestown. The confederacy instantly dissolved, and
the white men’s power over the land was established more firmly than
ever.

The second permanent settlement in the United States--or what is now the
United States--was made by the Dutch in 1614. A fort was built on the
extremity of the island on which New York now stands; another was
erected at the site of the city of Albany, and the country between was
called New Netherlands. The next year a settlement of some importance
was made at Albany, but for many years the fort on Manhattan Island was
a mere trading-post.

[Illustration: THE FIRST SETTLEMENT OF NEW YORK.]

The first thing the Dutch did was to make treaties with the Indians.
The Five Nations had long been at war with the Algonquins in Canada. The
latter had allied with the French, who had settled there some years
before, and with their aid defeated the Iroquois. It was with the hope
of similar reinforcement that the Iroquois now hastened to make friends
with this new colony of white men. The great treaty was made in 1618, on
the banks of Norman’s Kill, and was witnessed by ambassadors from every
tribe of the Five Nations. The pipe of peace was smoked and the hatchet
buried, and on the spot where the emblem of war was hidden the Dutch
vowed to erect a church.

Thus was the quiet possession of the country and of the Indian trade
guaranteed the inhabitants of New Netherlands.

The actual colonization of the place began at once, but it was not until
1625 that a governor was appointed. In 1631 the Dutch possessions
extended from Cape Henlopen to Cape Cod. This claim was disputed by the
English settlers in New England, who also formed colonies on Long Island
and in Connecticut. They endeavored to trade with the Hudson River
Indians, and finally, in 1633, an English ship appeared at New
Amsterdam. The governor, old Wouter van Twiller, ordered it to depart,
but the captain, one Jacob Eelkins, went on shore, and, in a friendly
sort of a way, requested permission to ascend the river. He added,
casually, that while he would be very grateful for the permission, he
intended to proceed whether it was granted or not. The governor’s answer
was to order the Prince of Orange’s flag to be run up on the fort, and a
salute of three guns to be fired for Holland. Whereupon Eelkins ran up
the English flag, and saluted with three guns the King of England. Then
he sailed up the river to Fort Orange, where he set up a lively trade
with the natives. This was the beginning of a gradual usurpation of
power.

[Illustration: NEW YORK IN 1644.]

Trouble with the Indians now began, which lasted until 1645. In 1638 the
Swedes settled on the Delaware near the site of Wilmington, and
extended their possessions until, in 1655, the Dutch attacked and
conquered them. In 1664 the King of England granted his brother James
all the country between the Connecticut and the Delaware. He had not the
smallest right to do so, for the land belonged to the Dutch both by
right of discovery and of settlement. England and Holland were at peace,
and the overthrow of the Dutch dominion in America was an act of glaring
injustice, and it is only surprising that Holland made such feeble
resistance.

There is little that is important but much that is interesting in the
history of these Dutch settlements. Slavery had been in existence since
1628, but it was slavery in a comparatively mild form. It was allowed a
man to purchase his own freedom, and a great number of slaves did so. A
very democratic spirit reigned throughout the colony. The republican
sentiment which they had brought with them from Holland, never left
these settlers. There was no religious persecution, no intolerance, no
such cruel wrongs committed in the name of right as in New England. They
were good, honest burghers. They built mills and breweries, and raised
fat cattle and grew fat themselves and were very happy.

The first attempt to colonize New England was made by Gosnold in 1602,
and was unsuccessful. In 1606 the Plymouth company established a
settlement at the mouth of the Kennebec River, but the forty-five
daring spirits of which it was composed abandoned it after a winter of
suffering, and returned to England. Captain John Smith explored the
coast in 1614, making a map of its length and giving it its present
name. His earnest attempts at colonization failed, and it was not until
the arrival of the Puritans in 1620 that a permanent settlement was
formed.

These Puritans, it is scarcely necessary to explain, were the most
austere of the English “Non-Conformists,” or dissenters of the
Established Church. Most of them were Nottinghamshire farmers, and so
mercilessly were they persecuted at home on account of their religion
that they determined to emigrate to Holland, where a London congregation
had fled some years before, and where they in turn were followed by a
Lincolnshire congregation. Holland becoming the seat of violent
political agitation, they resolved to emigrate to America. In July,
1620, they embarked for England in the ship “Speedwell.” At Southampton
they met the “Mayflower,” which was also engaged for the voyage. They
put to sea twice, but were obliged to return, as the “Speedwell” proved
unseaworthy. Finally the “Mayflower” sailed alone on the 6th of
September. Their destination was a point near the Hudson River, just
within the boundaries of the territory of the London Company. This must
have been the sea-coast of the State of New Jersey.

At early dawn of the 9th of November, 1620, the white sand-banks of
Massachusetts came into sight; their course lay to the south, but so
dangerous became the shoals and breakers that they resolved to retrace
their vessel’s way, and two days later, at noon, they dropped anchor in
the bay formed by the curved peninsula which terminates in Cape Cod.

Here, while the vessel lay at anchor, a brief governmental compact was
drawn up, and John Carver, who had been very prominent in obtaining the
King’s permission for their enterprise, was chosen governor of the
colony. In the afternoon “fifteen or sixteen men well armed” were sent
on shore to reconnoitre and to collect fuel. They returned at evening
bringing good report of the country, and the welcome news that there was
neither person nor dwelling in sight. The next day was Sunday, which the
emigrants kept as strictly as usual. Monday morning, while the women
washed and the men began their labors by hauling a boat on shore for
repairs, Miles Standish and sixteen men set off on foot to explore the
country. They returned Friday evening bringing some Indian corn which
they had found in a deserted hut. The explorations were kept up for
several weeks. At last a suitable location was decided upon; there was
a convenient harbor, the country was well wooded; it had clay, sand, and
shells for bricks and mortar, and stone for chimneys; there was plenty
of good water, and the sea and beach contained a plentiful supply of
fish and fowl. It was on Christmas Day that they landed. The record
says: “Monday, the 25th day, we went on shore, some to fell timber, some
to saw, some to rive, and some to carry; so no man rested all that day.”
They first erected a building for common occupation. Nineteen plots for
dwelling-houses were laid out, and in spite of the bitter cold the
little settlement gradually built itself into a town. Sickness set in,
and within four months’ time one-half of their number was swept away. It
was a terrible winter, but there was no inclination to weaken or to
despond on the part of the heroic Pilgrims. They were in constant fear
of the Indians, and the necessity for defenses becoming daily more
apparent, a military organization was formed, with the valiant Miles
Standish as Captain, and the fortification on the hill overlooking the
dwellings was mounted with five guns.

“Warm and fair weather” came at last; and never could spring have seemed
fairer to these people than when it greeted them first in New England.
The colony at Plymouth grew and prospered. The Indians made several
threats of hostility but were each time repressed by Miles Standish and
his men.

In 1628 another settlement was made at Salem, under John Endicott. The
next year this colony was large enough to admit of a lively quarrel, the
consequence of which was a division of interests and the establishment
of Charlestown. In 1630 the “Colony of Massachusetts Bay” was augmented
by the arrival of a large number of settlers, many of them being people
of education and refinement. The towns of Boston, Watertown, Roxbury,
and Dorchester were founded. In August the first Court of Assistants met
since the arrival of the colonists, and voted to build houses and to
raise salaries for ministers. This year was made a bold step toward the
establishment of civil liberty in the removing of the governing council
from England to Massachusetts. In 1633 the settlement of Connecticut was
begun. In another year there were “between three and four thousand
Englishmen distributed among twenty hamlets along and near the
seashore.”

It seems a good deal of a pity that these grand old Pilgrim Fathers had
so little sense of humor, else the absurdity of allowing no one liberty
of conscience, after they themselves had fled from just such a state of
affairs, must have dawned upon them. The early history of New England
is one long catalogue of religious persecutions. To the first of these
is due the settlement of Rhode Island. Later dissensions helped to
people Connecticut, Maine, and New Hampshire.

Roger Williams was a talented young Puritan preacher who had been driven
out of England by the intolerance of Archbishop Laud. Arriving in
Boston, he found himself quite as much out of harmony with the Church in
that place as he had been with the Church of England. He was
subsequently called to a Salem pastorate, where his doctrines were very
popular; everywhere else in the colonies they were regarded as
abominable. No wonder, for the obnoxious parson declared boldly that it
was wrong to enforce an oath of allegiance to any monarch or magistrate,
that all religious sects had a right to claim equal protection from the
laws, and that civil magistrates had no right to restrain the
consciences of men, or to interfere with their modes of worship or
religious beliefs. This heretical doctrine, if carried to its logical
conclusion, would permit even Roman Catholics and Quakers to dwell in
peace! It was decided to send Williams to England, where he would
undoubtedly have fared ill, for he had preached a crusade against the
cross of St. George in the English standard, pronouncing it a relic of
superstition and idolatry, and so inflaming the

[Illustration: ABRAHAM LINCOLN.]

hearts of his people, that Endicott, one of the members of the Court of
Assistants, publicly cut out the cross from the flag displayed before
the governor’s house. So Williams refused to obey the order to return to
England, and, leaving the colony with a few of his friends, traveled
southward, and planted a settlement which he named Providence. This was
in 1636. The following year his new colony was reinforced by another
company of religious refugees, who merit more than passing notice.

New England had become the Mecca of all who were estranged from the
Established Church at home. Crowds of new settlers flocked thither,
lured by the hope of what they called religious liberty. Among these
were two especially conspicuous figures--Hugh Peters, the enthusiastic
chaplain of Oliver Cromwell, and Henry Vane, son of Sir Henry Vane, a
Privy Counsellor in high favor with the King. Vane was received in the
colony with great admiration; and indeed, the religious zeal which
induced him to relinquish all his prospects in England and embrace
poverty and exile for conscience’ sake is to be highly commended. His
humility of manner and rigidity in religious observances, as well as his
business ability, caused him to be elected governor of the colony about
as soon as he arrived. But practical duties occupied little of his
attention; he was almost entirely taken up with theological subtleties
and doctrinal hair-splittings. These were excited still further by a
woman whose influence at that time began to create great disturbance
throughout the entire colony. It was the custom in New England for the
chief men in the congregations to hold weekly meetings, in order to
repeat and discuss the sermon of the previous Sunday. From these
meetings women were sternly excluded, and one Mrs. Hutchinson, whose
husband was a prominent man in the colony, began to assemble in her
house a number of women, who held pious exercises similar to those of
the men. At first Mrs. Hutchinson satisfied herself with repeating the
sermons and teachings of the clergyman, but soon she began to pick flaws
in the discourses and to add opinions of her own. She taught that
sanctity of works was no sign of spiritual safety, but that God dwelt
personally within all good men, and it was alone by inward revelations
and impressions that they received the discoveries of the divine will.
It was all very abstract and unhealthy, but so eloquently was it set
forth and proclaimed by the prophetess that she gained a vast number of
proselytes, not alone among the women, but the men as well. Vane
defended and upheld her wildest theories, and, following his example,
the interest increased. The dissension grew more bitter with every
conference, every day of fasting and humiliation held by the new sect.
Finally, in 1637, Mrs. Hutchinson was banished, and many of her
disciples withdrew voluntarily and joined the Providence population.
Vane returned to England in disgust, and no one lamented his departure.

Roger Williams’s colony, so largely increased, purchased from the
Indians a fertile island in Narragansett Bay, to which they gave the
name Rhode Island. In this community no religious persecutions were
allowed. The humane principles of its founder were firmly instilled into
the hearts of the people, and Rhode Island soon became a refuge for the
oppressed of all the other settlements.

Connecticut owes its origin to similar causes. The rivalship of two
pastors in the Massachusetts Bay settlement resulted in the victory of
Mr. Cotton over Mr. Hooker; the latter, however, was not deserted, by
any means, and when he proposed establishing a colony of his own at a
distance from his rival, a goodly number of his friends and some of Mrs.
Hutchinson’s admirers offered to accompany him. The west bank of the
Connecticut River was decided upon as an inviting spot, and in 1636
about a hundred men, with their wives and children and chattels, after a
terrible march through wildernesses of swamp and forest, arrived there
and laid the foundation of a town.

Pennsylvania was granted, in 1681, to William Penn, who had previously
been interested in the settlement of Quakers in New Jersey. He soon
after obtained a grant of the present State of Delaware, then called
“The Territories.” In September, 1682, he set sail for his new province,
with a large number of his co-religionists. The story of their peaceful
settlement is familiar to all. The code of laws governing them had for
its foundation the principle of civil and religious liberty. Penn
returned to England in 1684, leaving the city of Philadelphia, which he
had founded and named, a prosperous town of three hundred houses and a
population of two thousand five hundred. These Quakers, it must be said,
had very little in common with the sect which was so persecuted in the
New England States. These latter were really a body of separatists,
called _Ranters_, and their excesses were such as to justify the horror
and disgust of any community.

The settlement of the southern colonies of the United States maybe dealt
with briefly. Georgia was not settled until 1732. The provinces of North
and South Carolina were originally one. The earliest permanent
settlements were made by emigrants from Virginia in 1650. In 1665
another settlement was made by a party of planters from Barbadoes. A
Huguenot colony from France was sent out by the King of England. The
city of Charlestown was founded, and was at once made the capital of
the colony. The most interesting feature attending the settlement of the
Carolinas was the “Grand Model Government” devised by John Locke, the
celebrated English philosopher. The object was to make the colony as
nearly as possible like the monarchy of which it was a part, and to
“avoid erecting a numerous democracy.” The scheme never took root in
Carolina. The Grand Nobles, Palatines, Caciques, and other exalted
officers were in absurd contrast to the rude cabins and pioneer habits
of living. For twenty years efforts were made to establish it, and the
discord of which the contest was the cause materially interfered with
the rapid growth of the colony.

The State of Virginia was also inclined to an aristocratic form of
government; its people boasted themselves “staunch advocates of the
Church of England and partisans of the King.” When Charles I was
executed, they accepted the Commonwealth without a pretense of
enthusiasm, and when Charles II came to the throne they welcomed the
change with great rejoicings. Shortly afterward, however, a royal
governor, Sir William Berkley, was sent out to them, and such a tyrant
he proved to be that the people became exasperated. Commercial laws were
instituted that bade fair to beggar the planters; tobacco, for instance,
could be sent to none but English ports, and it had not only to pay a
large duty on reaching England, but it was taxed heavily before
leaving. The government took no steps to repress the Indian outrages
which were constantly occurring; the Assembly, instead of being elected
every two years, was kept permanently in session, and the country was
overrun with office-seekers. The culmination of these troubles was the
outbreak known as the Bacon Rebellion, which commenced in 1675, and grew
principally out of the indifference of the authorities on the Indian
question. Nothing decisive was gained by this rebellion, but it is
mentioned to show the disposition of the people against tyranny.

The other English colonies were instituted under conditions of
liberality, and, in spite of their bigotry and intolerance, they enjoyed
far more religious and political liberty than any European country of
that day. The home government took no part in their original formation,
except in the very easy requirements of the charters granted the
proprietors. Lord Baltimore was left at full liberty to establish his
own form of government in Maryland, and his preference was extremely
liberal. William Penn was not interfered with in Pennsylvania. The
government of Plymouth was formed without any restriction or even
suggestion from abroad, by a party of self-reliant men, who were well
fitted by temperament and experience for self-government. All the New
England colonies gradually assumed the prerogatives of government, even
to the power of capital punishment. In 1643 a further step in the
evolution of a republic was made; the colonies of Massachusetts,
Connecticut, New Haven, and Plymouth united under the title of The
United Colonies of New England. Rhode Island was not admitted, because
she would not consent to be incorporated with Plymouth. Rhode Island
differed from all the colonies, in that there was no religious
restriction to the rights of citizenship. New Hampshire was then a part
of the Massachusetts colony. The governing body of the confederacy
consisted of an annual Assembly of two deputies from each colony--whose
local government continued as before. This independence was scarcely
interfered with by the mother country until after the death of Cromwell.
With the re-establishment of the monarchy came the desire to restrict
the liberties of the colonies, grown flourishing and important. Charles
II granted his brother James, the Duke of York, the whole territory from
the Connecticut River to the shores of the Delaware, and this grant was
followed by the illegal seizure of New Amsterdam, thereafter New York.
The Duke of York made Edmund Andros governor of the province, and began
a series of tyrannies, which only increased with the accession of the
Duke to the throne. Andros was now made governor of all the New England
provinces, his rule extending over New York. On arriving in Boston, in
1686, he immediately demanded a surrender of all the charters of the
colonies, while edicts were issued annuling the existing liberties of
the people. Connecticut refused to give up its charter, and Andros
marched to Hartford with a body of soldiers to enforce the order. This
was in 1687. An entirely new order of things now began. The liberty of
the press was restrained, and the laws for the support of the clergy
were suspended. Magistrates only were allowed to perform marriage
ceremonies. The people were taxed at the governor’s pleasure, and, above
all, titles of the colonists to their lands were declared of no value.
Indian deeds Sir Edmund esteemed no better than a “scratch of a bear’s
claw.” Even grants by charter and declarations of preceding kings were
insufficient. The owners were obliged to take out patents for their
estates, and in some cases a fee of fifty pounds was demanded. People
were fined and imprisoned in the most arbitrary way; all town meetings
were prohibited, except the one in May; no person was permitted to leave
the country without leave from the governor. Despite his pains, however,
petitions were sent to England, but if they were read they were not
heeded. Early in 1689 came the news of the accession of William of
Orange. The people immediately rose up against Andros, and forced him
to leave the country. In New York State a similar uprising against their
tyrant, the lieutenant of Andros, took place at the same time, known as
the Leisler Revolt.

The people renewed their former mode of government, without being
interfered with, at first, by the new monarch. In 1692 a new charter was
granted Massachusetts, which differed from the original one in little,
except that the King reserved the right to appoint a royal governor.

About this time the influence of the several wars which had raged in
Europe between England and France began to manifest itself in the
colonies of those countries in America. Invasions of each other’s
territory became frequent, in which the Indians took part, glad of a
chance to give vent to their savage instincts in murdering the white
men. King William’s war raged from 1689 to 1697. In 1702 another war
broke out between France and England, and was marked by much bloodshed
in America. The Iroquois were neutral in this contest, thus preserving
New York from danger, the weight of suffering falling upon New England.
The English invasion of Canada was begun in 1710, when Port Royal was
captured and its name changed to Annapolis. Nova Scotia--or Acadia--was
permanently added to the English possessions. In 1713 the war ended,
with the peace of Utrecht, and in the succeeding thirty years of
tranquillity the colonies gained rapidly in population and importance.
Hostilities broke out again in 1744, and scarcely ceased until the close
of the French and Indian war.

This war, unlike the others, had its origin in America and ended in a
decided change in the relative positions of the French and English
colonies. The original basis of the contest was a dispute as to the
ownership of the territory bordering on the Ohio. The real merits of the
case may be summed up in the pertinent inquiry sent by two of the Indian
chieftains to inquire “where the Indians’ land lay, for the French
claimed all the land on one side of the river and the English on the
other.” Neither of the colonial contestants had the slightest right to
the territory.

The first offensive act was committed by the French, who seized three
British traders who had advanced into the disputed country. The Indians,
aroused by these evident hostilities, began their border ravages,
instigated by the French. Orders now arrived from England to the
Governor of Virginia, directing him to build two forts near the Ohio to
prevent French encroachments and to check Indian depredations. But the
order came too late; the French had already built forts and had taken
possession of the territory. It was decided to send a messenger to the
commander of the French forces on the Ohio and demand his authority for
invading the territory of Virginia. For this mission was selected a
young man of only twenty-one years, but who was already a Major in the
Virginia militia and a man of note in the colony--the man was George
Washington. His journey occupied forty-one days and was full of exciting
adventure. His consultation with the French authorities left no doubt as
to their martial attitude, and Major Washington returned at once to
Virginia, where efforts were immediately begun to raise a colonial army.
The other colonies took little interest in the affair and Virginia had
to depend mainly on herself. As soon, however, as it became apparent
that war with France was inevitable, the necessity for co-operation in
the colonies was demonstrated, and the English government recommended
that a convention be held at Albany for the purpose of forming a league
with the Iroquois, and also of devising a plan of general defense
against the enemy. The convention met in June, 1754, made a treaty with
the Six Nations, and considered the subject of colonial union. A plan
was proposed by Benjamin Franklin, of Philadelphia, Postmaster-General
of America, and even then regarded as one of the ablest thinkers in the
colonies. This plan was adopted--by odd coincidence--on the 4th of July.
It provided a general government for the American colonies, presided
over by a governor-general appointed by the King, and conducted by a
council chosen by the colonial legislatures. The council was to have the
power to raise troops, declare war, make peace, collect money, and pass
all measures necessary for public safety. The veto power was relegated
to the governor-general, and all laws were to be submitted for approval
to the King.

But the plan was rejected, both by the colonial Assemblies and by the
King; by the former because it gave too much power to the King, and by
the latter because it gave too much power to the colonies. Then the
British ministry took the control of the war into its own hands and
determined to send out an army strong enough to force the French within
their rightful lines. It was early in 1755 that Braddock was dispatched
from Ireland with two regiments of infantry to co-operate with the
Virginia forces. Fighting began at once, although no actual declaration
of war between the two countries was made until a full year and a half
later.

The interesting and important events of this war must be merely alluded
to; the result was victory for the English, the treaty of peace being
signed in Paris, February 10th, 1763. By its terms, Canada, Nova Scotia,
and Cape Breton were to belong to England; France relinquished all claim
to the territory east of the Mississippi, and was confirmed in her
title to the country west; Spain ceded to Great Britain Florida and all
its title to country east of the Mississippi River. The most important
result of the war was felt in the colonies, rather than in England. It
educated a nation of soldiers; it taught the Americans how strong they
really were, and how little they need depend on Great Britain for
defense. The hard feeling engendered by the superiority assumed by the
English officers and the enforced subordination of the Americans was the
beginning of a breach which was destined never to be healed. A vast
amount of debt is always a result of war. The colonies had lost above
thirty thousand men, and their debt amounted to nearly four million
pounds. Massachusetts alone had been reimbursed by Parliament. England
herself was smothered in debts--she had been through four wars in
seventy years--and her indebtedness reached the appalling sum of one
hundred and forty million pounds. The scheme of colonial taxation to
provide a certain and a regular revenue began to be agitated. But the
colonies already had a heavy burden of taxation. They were in no mood to
receive patiently any further encroachments on their civil rights. Many
of the old laws of restriction on commerce--the duties on sugar and
molasses, for example--had long been openly evaded. Until the accession
of George III the authorities made no resistance to this opposition,
but in 1761, when the third George came to the throne--that “very
obstinate young man,” as Charles Townshend described him--determined to
enforce the law, and “writs of assistance”--that is, search
warrants--were issued, by which custom-house officers were empowered to
search for goods which had avoided the payment of duty. The people of
Boston resented these measures vigorously, and in spite of official
vigilance smuggling increased, while the colonial trade with the West
Indies was well-nigh destroyed.

In 1764 the sugar duties were reduced, but new duties were imposed on
articles hitherto imported free. At the same time Lord Grenville
proposed the stamp tax. All pamphlets, newspapers, almanacs, all bonds,
leases, notes, insurance policies--in a word, all papers used for legal
purposes--in order to be valid, were to be drawn up on stamped paper,
purchasable only from King’s officers appointed for the purpose. The
plan met with the entire approval of the British Parliament, but its
enactment was deferred until the next year, in order that the colonies
might have an opportunity to express their feelings on the subject.

This deference to the wishes of the Americans was a mere blind, however.
The preamble of the bill openly avowed the intention of raising revenue
from “His Majesty’s dominion in America;” the act also gave increased
power to the admiralty courts, and provided more stringent means for
enforcing the payment of duties. The colonies received the news of these
proposed enactments with indignation. The right of Parliament to impose
duties and taxes on an unrepresented people was denied. In Boston,
always the seat of democratic sentiment, the protest was made in no
uncertain tone. New York also expressed her feelings strongly. Even
Virginia was loud in her disapproval. Nevertheless, the bill passed the
House of Commons five to one; in the Lords, it met with no opposition
whatever.

The next day Benjamin Franklin, then in London, wrote to his friend,
Charles Thompson: “The sun of liberty is set; you must light the candles
of industry and economy.” “The torches we shall light,” was the reply,
“shall be of quite another kind.”

Petitions and memorials were addressed to Parliament, the mild and
conciliatory tones of which but faintly reflected the ferment and
excitement in the colonies. An association sprang suddenly into
existence under the name of “Sons of Liberty,” whose special object
seemed to be the intimidation of the stamp officers. In all the colonies
the officers were compelled or persuaded to resign, and the stamps that
arrived were either left unpacked or were seized and burned.
Resolutions were passed to import no more goods from England until the
Stamp Act was repealed.

[Illustration]

A change in the British ministry now took place, and, in spite of
opposition, the bill was repealed. This was done on the ground of
expediency only, and it was soon made evident that little had been
gained to the colonies. The Stamp Act was gone, but the Declaratory Act,
the Sugar Act, the Mutiny Act--requiring the colonists to provide
quarters for English troops--remained. The project of taxing the
American colonies was by no means relinquished. Duties were imposed on
paper, glass, painters’ colors, and tea. A large number of British
officers were stationed in Boston to enforce the payment of these
duties. Riots followed, and throughout the colonies the greatest
indignation and excitement prevailed. The British

[Illustration: WORLD’S FAIR, NEW YORK, 1853.]

government tried vainly to induce the colonists to buy their
merchandise, but, failing, made one last effort by effecting an
arrangement with the East India Company, by which a quantity of tea was
shipped to America, to be sold at a price less than had been charged
before the duties were imposed. Cargoes were sent to New York, Boston,
Philadelphia, and Charleston, S. C. The inhabitants of New York and
Philadelphia sent them back to England; in Charleston the tea was stored
in cellars, where it finally perished; in Boston men disguised as
Indians boarded the ships and threw the tea overboard.

The consequence of this last rash action was the passing of the Port
Bill, whereby the port of Boston was declared closed, and the charter of
Massachusetts altered materially to abridge the liberties of the people.
General Gage was sent with troops to occupy Boston, which was already
fully garrisoned with English soldiers.

In 1774 delegates from eleven colonies met at Philadelphia and formed
themselves into a Congress. A declaration of rights was agreed upon, and
a repeal of the obnoxious measures resolved to be necessary to the
restoration of harmony between Great Britain and America. An address was
prepared and forwarded to the King and the people of Great Britain.
Notwithstanding these open threats of war, the coercive measures
continued. The colonies were making preparation

[Illustration: CARPENTERS’ HALL.]

for defense, and an outbreak was imminent at any time. The occasion soon
arrived. A quantity of military stores were housed at Concord, eighteen
miles from Boston, and General Gage sent eight hundred British troops to
destroy them. At Lexington they met with the first protest, in the form
of seventy armed men, who were ordered to disperse. The order not being
obeyed, the British fired, killing eight of the colonists and dispersing
the rest. At Concord another stand was made, but the troops succeeded in
performing their commission. All the country now sprang to arms. A small
army appeared in the environs of Boston, further increased by troops
from Connecticut. The forts, arsenals, and magazines throughout the
colonies were seized by the Americans; Crown Point and Ticonderoga were
taken by Ethan Allen, with about two hundred and fifty raw New Hampshire
men, reinforced by Benedict Arnold and a small body of Connecticut
militia. The battle of Bunker’s Hill followed.

The second Continental Congress, which met in Philadelphia May 10th,
1775, voted to raise and equip an army of twenty thousand men, and named
George Washington as Commander-in-Chief. On the 2d of July General
Washington arrived at Cambridge, and took command of the American
forces. Two expeditions against the British in Canada were organized.
One under General Montgomery captured Montreal, took a large number of
prisoners, and secured considerable property. The other under Benedict
Arnold marched through Maine and joined Montgomery before Quebec.
Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut each armed two vessels to
operate against the enemy. Congress also resolved to equip an armament
of thirteen vessels. Three ships from London, Glasgow, and Liverpool
were captured, and their cargoes of military stores for the British were
confiscated.

In the autumn General Gage sailed for England, and the command of the
British army devolved upon General Howe. Parliament now declared the
colonies out of royal protection, and an army of seventeen thousand
mercenaries were employed to aid in their subjection. On the 7th of
June, 1776, a motion was made in Congress for declaring the colonies
free and independent States. The motion was discussed, and on the fourth
of July approved, by a nearly unanimous vote.

The struggle had now begun in earnest. Since his arrival at Cambridge
General Washington had been engaged in organizing an army out of his raw
recruits, and in efforts to provide them with ammunition and suitable
clothing. The regular force of Americans in February was about fourteen
thousand men; in addition to these about six thousand of the
Massachusetts militia were at the disposal of the Commander-in-Chief.
With these troops he succeeded in forcing the British to evacuate
Boston. This victory was followed by defeat in Canada, the complete
British possession of New York, and of the States of New Jersey and
Rhode Island. In the spring of 1777 a ship arrived from France with
upwards of eleven thousand stand of arms and one thousand barrels of
gunpowder. The army was fully provided with arms and ammunition, and
more confidence was felt in the chances for success. As the Continental
army gradually regained possession of New Jersey after Washington’s
victory of Trenton, the depleted ranks began to fill up, and the
fortunes of the United States never again sank to such a low ebb as
they had after the British invasion of New York.

About this time several French officers of distinction entered the
service of the United States, among them the Marquis de Lafayette, the
Baron St. Ovary, and Count Pulaski, the latter a noble Pole. They were
all of the greatest service to the Americans. The most important
addition to our ranks was that of the Baron Steuben, who had been
aide-de-camp to Frederick the Great, and had served through the Seven
Years’ War. After leaving the Prussian army he had been Grand Marshal of
the Court of the Prince of Hohenzollern-Hechingen. “The object of my
greatest ambition,” he wrote Washington, “is to deserve the title of a
citizen of the United States by fighting for the cause of your liberty.”
He added that after serving under the King of Prussia, the only man he
cared to fight under now was General Washington. The Baron was made
Inspector-General of the army, and it was due to him largely that the
raw forces were brought into the discipline necessary to insure final
victory. Under him the army soon began to operate like a great machine.

The American cause advanced steadily. The successive campaigns of
1777-’78-’79-’80, and ’81 must be epitomized. After the British were
driven out of New Jersey they approached Philadelphia by Chesapeake Bay.
In August Sir William Howe marched from the head of Elk River in
Maryland toward the capital. The armies met on the 11nth of September on
the Brandywine River, and the Americans were defeated. This gave
Philadelphia to the British. Another indecisive engagement occurred at
Germantown shortly afterward. The campaign in Pennsylvania now ended and
Washington retired for winter quarters in Valley Forge. Meanwhile events
of importance were taking place in the North. General Burgoyne with
seven thousand British and German troops were defeated at Fort Schuyler,
at Bennington, and on the plains of Saratoga. Burgoyne’s army
surrendered with nearly six thousand men and much military property, and
again Ticonderoga and the North were in the hands of the Americans. This
was really the turning point of the war.

France, which had for over a year kept up a wavering policy, now entered
into a treaty of alliance with the United States, in which it was agreed
that if war should break out between France and England during the
existence of the war in America, it should be made a common cause, and
that neither of the contracting parties should conclude peace with
England without obtaining formal consent of the other. They further
agreed not to lay down their arms until the independence of the United
States should be assured by treaty.

On the alliance of America with France it was resolved in England to
evacuate Philadelphia and concentrate the royal forces in the harbor of
New York. The only other important advance made by the enemy was on the
city of Savannah, which was captured, with the shipping in the river and
much ammunition and stores. The campaign of 1779 was attended with no
important results. The town of Charleston, S. C., was taken by the
British, but not held for any length of time. A battle was fought at
Savannah in an effort to dislodge the British troops at that place,
which was so disastrous to the Americans that the militia, discouraged,
retired to their homes, and the French fleet left the country. No sooner
did Sir Henry Clinton receive certain information of the departure of
the French allies than he sent a large expedition against South
Carolina. In April, 1780, Charleston was surrounded, and a month later
Fort Moultrie surrendered, thus completing the capture of the city. This
year also occurred Benedict Arnold’s treachery and the execution of the
gallant André.

The military movements of the year 1781 were principally confined to the
South. The British were defeated twice in South Carolina, which closed
the war in that State. In Virgina, at Yorktown, the British army under
General Cornwallis surrendered, which practically decided the result of
the Revolutionary War. Commissioners for negotiating peace were now
appointed by both nations, and on the 30th of November, 1782, they
agreed on provisional articles, which were to be inserted in a future
treaty of peace, to be concluded finally when peace was established
between France and England. On the 11th of April, 1783, Congress issued
a proclamation, declaring a cessation of arms on land and sea. The
definite treaty of peace was signed in Paris on the 3d of September. On
the 25th of November the British troops left the city of New York, and
on the same day the Americans took possession.



CHAPTER III.

THE STORY OF THE NATION.


Following the exultation of victory came a period of uncertainty and
apprehension. Financially the country was in a state of utter collapse.
The result of the war was a foreign debt of eight millions, and a
domestic debt of thirty millions of dollars. The army was unpaid and
mutinous; only the tact and energy of Washington prevented an outbreak.
The Articles of Confederation, ratified March 1st, 1781, were
insufficient to the emergencies which arose on every hand. Congress
could obtain no revenue except by requisition from the States; it had no
power to lay a tax or to enforce payment from the States. It had no
common executive, and was really less a governmental power than a
consulting body. A condition bordering on anarchy reigned throughout the
States. The legislatures of States having seaports taxed the people of
other States for trading with foreign ports through them. Some even
taxed imports from sister States. All the States neglected the
requisitions of Congress, and New Jersey actually refused payment
altogether. It was becoming alarmingly evident that the central
government must be strengthened, and new methods of administration
adopted, or the confederacy would go to pieces.

All the States except Rhode Island appointed delegates to a general
Convention to be held in Philadelphia in May, 1787, for the purpose of
“devising such further provisions as may be necessary to render the
Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of the Union.” The
members were the wisest and most honorable men in America. The venerable
Franklin, now eighty-one years of age, George Washington, a long list of
Revolutionary heroes, and eight signers of the Declaration of
Independence were among the distinguished delegates. The Convention was
occupied for nearly four months. The proceedings were secret; the
journal being intrusted to the care of Washington, who deposited it in
the State Department. This journal was afterward printed. Notes of
several members were published in 1840, and from these we have nearly a
complete view of the process by which the Constitution was formed.

The antagonisms of the States were many and bitter. Chief among them was
the slavery question. So hot discussions on this point became that for a
fortnight the Convention was on the verge of dissolution, and even
Washington despaired of a favorable issue to the proceedings, and almost
repented of having had anything to do with the Convention. At this time
Franklin made his characteristic speech on the wide diversity of
opinion, in which he said that when a broad table is to be made, and the
edges of the planks do not fit, the artisan takes a little from both and
makes a good joint. In like manner here, both sides must part with some
of their demands in order to join in an accommodating position. With the
agreement to compromise, the work went more rapidly, and on the 12th of
September the completed Constitution was ordered printed. The signing,
and the ratification by States of the Constitution followed.

The first Congress assembled in New York on the 4th of March, 1789.
Delegates arrived from all the States excepting Rhode Island and North
Carolina. On opening the votes of the electors, it was ascertained that
George Washington was elected President of the United States, and John
Adams, having the next highest number of votes, was declared
Vice-President. On the 23d of April the President-elect arrived in New
York, and on the 30th was inaugurated. After a laborious session
Congress adjourned to meet on the first Monday in January.

The national government was received with powerful opposition by a
considerable proportion of voters, and two political parties were thus
formed at the very outset. The friends of the Constitution were called
Federalists, and the opposing party were styled anti-Federalists. In
November of this year North Carolina adopted the Constitution, and was
admitted as a State, and Rhode Island followed next year. In 1790 the
location of the Capital was decided upon, and its removal to the Potomac
designated to take place in the year 1800; in the meantime, the seat of
government was to be established at Philadelphia. A census was taken,
which showed the population of the United States to be 3,929,326, of
which 695,655 were slaves. In 1791 the opposition to the Federal party
grew stronger, when the State debts were assumed by Congress, and
Hamilton broached the scheme of a National bank. Jefferson, who had been
first Secretary of the State, headed the opposing party, who adopted the
name of Republicans, and denounced the Hamilton party as Monarchists,
and declared against the tendency to centralization of power. The
Federal party continued in the majority, however, and Washington and
Adams were re-elected in 1792. In the elections of 1800 the Republicans
were victorious; Jefferson became President and Aaron Burr
Vice-President. The two men received an equal number of votes, and
Congress had to decide between them. For many years the “State Rights”
Republican-Democratic party continued in power.

The most important event of the early part of the nineteenth century was
the purchase of Louisiana from the French. This enormous territory had
been lost to England after the French and Indian war; it embraced the
whole Mississippi Valley, and extended indefinitely westward. In 1762 it
was transferred to Spain, although open possession was not given until
1769. In 1763 Great Britain had obtained, by treaty, that portion lying
east of the Mississippi. In 1783, of course, this came into possession
of the United States. All the territory west, and on the east from the
31st parallel to the Gulf, remained in the hands of Spain. The
importance of having the free use of the river as a channel of
transportation to the sea was early felt. This necessity was intensified
as settlements increased and the Spanish authorities began to manifest a
hostile policy. In 1800 Spain gave back to France the province of
Louisiana. It was some time before the transaction became known, but the
moment it was made public Jefferson saw that our troubles with France
were not an end. The day she took possession the old friendship, long
strained, would come to an end, and war seemed near, for in 1802 came
the news that an expedition was preparing to cross to Louisiana.
Meanwhile the navigation of the river was closed to American citizens;
all trade was forbidden them, and the right of deposit at New Orleans
was taken away. Protected by this right, traders of Kentucky and Ohio
had been accustomed to float tobacco, flour, etc., down the river and
store them in warehouses to await the arrival of sloops or scows to
carry them to their ports. By the treaty of 1795 some convenient place
must always be open for these goods, and when New Orleans was closed
there was no other place. Jefferson’s plan was to buy so much territory
on the east hank of the river as would settle forever the question of
the use of its mouth. Although vigorously opposed by the Federalists in
Congress, who wished to declare war against Spain, Jefferson’s proposal
was acted upon, and James Monroe was sent over to act with the ministers
to France and Spain in the matter of the purchase. Talleyrand hindered
the matter as much as possible, and Livingston finally was obliged to
break over the bonds of diplomatic etiquette and address himself
directly to the First Consul. Napoleon agreed to sell, not part but all;
the first price asked was one hundred and twenty-five million francs,
and the final price agreed upon was eighty millions. Jefferson, although
only authorized to spend two million dollars, accepted the treaty,
summoned Congress, and urged it to perfect the purchase. Fifteen million
dollars seemed an enormous sum for the people to assume to pay, and the
old Federalists fought the measure hotly, but in the end the treaty was
ratified by Congress. On November 10th the act creating the eleven
million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars’ worth of stock called
for by the first Convention was passed, and in December, 1803, the
United States took possession of Louisiana.

The immense territory thus acquired was an unexplored and unknown region
to the Americans of that day. Only such scraps of information as came
from hunters and trappers, and the wild tales of the Indians had reached
the officials. And such tales! There were Indians of gigantic stature; a
mountain of salt one hundred and eighty miles in length, all brilliant
white in the sun, not a tree on it, and saline streams flowing from its
base. There were prairies too rich for anything but grass, soil so
fertile that things grew for the planting. In 1804 a party of explorers
under Lewis and Clark was sent out by the government; they followed the
Missouri to its source, crossed the mountains to the Pacific, and
traversed all that region now known as Oregon.

The commerce of America now began to increase with remarkable rapidity,
and complications arising with other countries obliged the United States
to protect her commerce by engaging in two wars, one with Tripoli and
one with England. France and England were engaged in that mighty
struggle which followed the events of the French Revolution. Seriously
in need of men and unable to buy them from the German Duchies as she had
done in her war with the colonies, England began that system of
impressment of seamen which finally became so intolerable that war was
necessary. The evil was one of long standing. As far back as 1796
application was made in London for the release of two hundred and
seventy seamen thus seized within a year. The people of the United
States were roused to a state of indignation. Measures for fitting out a
suitable naval armament were taken, and a policy of aggression decided
upon.

The war with Britain, however, was preceded by a three years’ war with
the piratical power of Tripoli, which with the other Barbary States of
North Africa, had for many years made the Mediterranean unsafe for
commerce. The weaker mercantile nations of Europe, after vainly
endeavoring to suppress these outrages, had consented to pay an annual
tribute for the security of their vessels. The United States did the
same for a time, but having grown weary of this course declared war
against Tripoli. The contest ended in 1804, and resulted in the partial
suppression of the piracies. It needed a second struggle in 1815 to
induce Algiers and Tunis to give up all claims to tribute from the
United

[Illustration: MAIN BUILDING, INTERNATIONAL CENTENNIAL EXHIBITION,
1876.]

States, and this was accomplished under the same talented commander who
brought the first war to a successful close--the gallant Commodore
Decatur.

The history of the second war with Great Britain begins, as we have
seen, as far back as 1796. The aggressive acts of that power were of a
nature that would not be tolerated for a single month did they occur in
the present day. An official report made in 1812 by the Secretary of
State declared that five hundred and twenty-eight American merchantmen
had been taken by England prior to 1807, and three hundred and
eighty-nine after that period. The value of those vessels and cargoes,
estimated at the lowest figures, would amount to nearly thirty million
dollars. An abundant warrant for war, surely; yet the declaration was
carried in Congress by an astonishingly small majority. The Federal
party, opposed to all the Jeffersonian measures, fought with especial
bitterness--and with especial justification--the embargo which the
executive had declared and which had really caused severe distress to
the industrial classes. The depression continued throughout the war, and
the suffering experienced gave strong support to the measures of the
so-called “Peace Party,” who threw every obstruction in the way of its
successful termination. Altogether it was a war for which no adequate
provision was made. The navy of the United States was in no condition
to cope with that of England; the regular army numbered less than seven
thousand men, and the other requisites of war were as poorly provided
for. The time, however, was most opportune. England was exhausted with
her struggle with France, which even then was continuing, and required
most of her attention. Yet so miserably was the war managed that the
first year was a record of disaster to the United States. Our naval
operations were successful from the start, and the striking series of
victories at sea filled England with astonishment and dismay. These
successes were followed by similar ones on the lakes, where two of the
most notable battles of the war were won. In 1814 the British took
possession of Washington, burned the Capitol, the President’s house, the
public offices, the navy yard and arsenal, and the bridge over the
Potomac. They were repulsed by the Americans a few days later and forced
to leave the Chesapeake. The British fleet then sailed south, and in
December appeared before New Orleans. The gallant defense made by
Jackson lasted nearly a month and resulted in victory for the United
States. Before the first gun was fired the treaty of peace had been
signed, but word did not reach the combatants in the South until
February.

The treaty settled certain questions of boundary, of fisheries, and
provided the abolishment of naval forces on the lakes. On the subject of
impressment it was silent, as it could very well have been, since
America had amply proved her ability to defend her commerce and her
citizens in any future difficulty.

The best result of the war was the rapid increase of American
manufactories, caused by the impossibility, during the blockade, of
obtaining goods from abroad. After the blockade was raised many of these
manufactories were ruined, in consequence of the sudden influx of
foreign goods, but the impetus given had been a healthy one, and home
industries had received a start, at least. Agricultural products greatly
increased in value, land and labor rose in proportion, and the shipping
interests of the country grew more prosperous than ever. During this
period there was evinced a growing tendency to the division of the
country into a Northern and a Southern section. In the one, free labor
and advancing commercial and manufacturing interests created one set of
conditions, while in the South, slave labor and developing agricultural
wealth induced quite another. With the invention of the cotton-gin, in
1791, cotton quickly rose to a prominent position among American
industries. Slave labor, which had been growing undesirable, now became
of high value, and the slaves in the country increased from 657,047 in
1790 to--in round numbers--1,600,000 in 1820. By this time slavery had
almost vanished from the North, and the industrial interests of the
country were becoming so widely different that the character of the
people could not avoid suffering proportionate changes. In the North
industry was commended above all things, and the worker was the peer of
any man--theoretically speaking. In the South labor was looked down
upon, and the planter gave himself up to social pleasures, even leaving
the overseeing of his estate in the hands of an agent. While the
tendency in the North was the breaking down of all class distinction,
the South was becoming more and more of an aristocracy. This diversity
of conditions was destined to increase with time, until its final
outcome was most inevitably war for the preservation of those principles
of freedom and democracy, on which the Union was founded, and on which
its existence depends.

During this period, also, the West was filling up with remarkable
rapidity. State after State was admitted, until, by 1820, the original
thirteen were increased to twenty-four. All the States east of the
Mississippi were admitted by this time, and west of the river were
Missouri and Louisiana. It was a very rude population that filled the
frontier. Refugees from all the Eastern States fled to escape justice,
and finally formed the majority of the inhabitants. For many years
villainy reigned supreme, but the invading march of civilization
gradually introduced a better element, and the West offered a less
attractive harbor to the unregenerate.

Allusion must be made to the invasion of Florida by General Jackson in
1818. From 1812 difficulties had existed with the Seminole Indians,
while many fugitive slaves fled to the northern part of the State and
amalgamated with the savages. These negroes settled on the Appalachicola
River, and, furnished with arms by the British, defied the American
authorities. Their stronghold was destroyed by General Clinch in 1816,
but annoyance from the Seminoles continued. In 1818 General Jackson
invaded Florida, destroyed the Indian towns, and took possession of the
town of Pensacola and the Spanish fort of St. Mark’s. The controversy
thus provoked with Spain resulted in the cession of the whole of Florida
to the United States, February 22d, 1819.

The political state of the country from 1816 to 1820, during Monroe’s
administration, was peculiar in that only one political party existed--a
condition of affairs never witnessed before or since. This was known as
“the era of good feeling.” Industrially, however, it was an era of great
depression. The prosperity which followed the war of 1812 had vanished,
and the natural revulsion from abnormally high prices had come. The
banks suspended specie payments and gold and silver disappeared. The
Bank of the United States was in a demoralized condition, and ruin and
bankruptcy prevailed everywhere. From this distress it took several
years for the United States to recover. A notable feature of the time
was the consideration in Congress of the problem of internal
improvements. Large appropriations were made for a canal route across
Florida, for a national road from Cumberland, Maryland, to Ohio, etc.
The greatest enterprise was the Erie Canal, built by the State of New
York at a cost of ten millions of dollars. Among other events worthy of
mention was the founding of the Anti-Slavery Association in 1815, the
formation of the first savings bank in Philadelphia, the founding of
colleges and universities in almost every State in the Union, and the
crossing of the first ocean steamship.

The history of this period must not be closed without allusion to the
famous “Monroe Doctrine.” America had long held itself aloof from
interference in European affairs, but until now she had never asserted
her determination not to be interfered with. In Monroe’s message of
1823, occurs the passage which, although it never received official
sanction from Congress, immediately became a fixed and unalterable part
of our national policy: that any attempt to extend foreign systems of
government to any part of this hemisphere is declared dangerous to our
peace and safety, and shall be taken as a manifestation of an unfriendly
disposition toward the United States.

In 1819 occurred the exciting controversy known as the “Missouri
Compromise,” which settled one phase of the slavery question, and paved
the way for its final solution. When Missouri applied for admission as a
State, the House of Representatives voted to make that admission
conditional on the prohibition of the further introduction of slaves,
and the emancipation of all slave children born after the admission, as
soon as they reached the age of twenty-five. The Senate, however,
rejected this condition, and Congress adjourned without coming to any
final decision. All during the next session the question was fought,
until in the night between the 2d and 3d of March, 1820, the State was
admitted on a compromise. Slavery was permitted in its territory, but
forever interdicted in the territory, except Missouri, lying north of
thirty-six degrees, thirty minutes north latitude. If the latter had
affected Missouri alone it would have been comparatively insignificant,
but there were two great principles involved which bore upon the welfare
of the entire nation. These were the questions of slavery and of State
sovereignty as opposed to United States supremacy. The result of the
Compromise was that the country was divided upon a fixed geographical
basis into free and slave sections. Each of the two groups consolidated
more and more, and the antagonism between the North and South inevitably
increased.

In 1835 an event took place which was destined ultimately to be of great
interest to the United States. This was the revolution in Texas, then a
province of Central America. A Declaration of Independence was made on
the 2d of March, 1836; on March 6th the famous massacre of the Alamo
occurred, and two weeks later the battle of San Jacinto, in which the
Mexican forces were beaten, and the President, Santa Anna, taken
prisoner. As a condition to his release the Mexican troops left the
country, and hostilities ceased. The independence of Texas was soon
acknowledged by the United States and Europe, and in 1845, at its own
request, the new republic became a State of the American Union. Mexico,
which had never acknowledged the independence of Texas, resented the
action of the United States, and the following year collisions took
place between the two countries on the Rio Grande. Two very deadly
conflicts, one at Palo Alto and the other at Resaca de la Palma, could
only result in a declaration of war on the part of our government. The
army, under General Taylor, proceeded at once to Palo Alto, where the
Mexicans were defeated on the 8th of May. In September Taylor took
Monterey. Another army under General Kearney had succeeded in occupying
New Mexico, and after establishing a civil government, marched on to
California to the assistance of Commodore Stockton and Captain Fremont.
The war ended with victory for the Americans in September of the next
year. It had been an unbroken series of successes for the United States.
The treaty of peace was signed on the 2d of February, 1848; under its
provisions Upper California and New Mexico were surrendered by Mexico,
which in turn was granted all its conquered territory, with fifteen
million dollars.

The same year that witnessed our accession of California proved the
existence of gold in great abundance throughout a vast region of
country, and in a few months’ time thousands of treasure seekers were
already at work washing fortunes out of the sands. The history of the
“Gold Rush” to California in the autumn of 1848 and all during the next
few years is one of unique and most absorbing interest. The scenes to
which it gave rise are unparalleled in the story of any other country,
unless we except Australia. A short period served to exhaust the
“placer” minings of California and more expensive methods had to be
resorted to. The hydraulic process was invented in 1852; quartz mining
also came into vogue. Rich silver deposits were discovered in Colorado
and Nevada, and although the era of individual fortune hunting was past,
an immense amount of wealth still remained in the rocks of the new
country, and emigration proceeded with unexampled energy. Not only was
the Pacific Slope found rich in gold, but in forests, and above all in
agricultural facilities. With all these inducements on the coast, came
the discovery of the wealth in the intervening prairie lands, and the
great West began to fill up, until in forty-three years it has become
the home of the boldest and most promising population within the United
States’ limits. State after State has been admitted, railroads and
telegraphs have been built across the continent, and an immense and
flourishing domain has been added to the nation.

The next phase of American history which, in a recital of only the
important events of national growth, must claim attention, is the
development of Abolitionism. The slavery question was not buried after
the passage of the Missouri Compromise Bill, as its supporters had
promised and believed. The doctrine of abolition was first openly
advocated by William Lloyd Garrison in his newspaper, _The Liberator_,
issued January 1st, 1831. Anti-Slavery societies were formed soon
afterward, but they met with such violent opposition in the North that
they were forced to cease their meetings. The political strength of the
idea was not manifested until 1844, when the candidate of the “Liberty”
party made Polk President of the United States. It was, however, the
close of the Mexican War and the subsequent large addition of property
that brought the question into prominence before Congress. In the
discussion of the treaty of Mexico, David Wilmot, of Pennsylvania,
proposed to add to the appropriation bill the clause that slavery should
be prohibited in any territory which might be acquired as a consequence
of the war. Although the “Wilmot Proviso” was rejected, it was received
with warmest approbation throughout the North.

The Anti-Slavery faction, organized in 1848, under the name of “the Free
Soil Party,” and in the ensuing election returned its candidate, Martin
Van Buren, to the Presidency, sent Salmon P. Chase and Charles Sumner to
the Senate, and a large number of its friends to the House of
Representatives. The rapid settlement of the West added to the
complication. California and Oregon in their territorial organization
excluded slavery, and the former applied for admission as a State on an
Anti-Slavery basis. A fierce debate followed in Congress, the Southern
representatives insisting on the organization of California, Oregon,
Utah, and New Mexico without slavery restrictions. The Free Soil party
demanded, not only the admission of California, but the organization of
the other territories with slavery absolutely prohibited. The dispute
ended in a compromise, proposed by Henry Clay, in which California was
admitted as a free State, no restriction enforced in Utah or New Mexico,
and slavery prohibited in the District of Columbia, and provisions made
for the return of fugitive slaves from all Northern States. The
compromise was so agreeable to the majority of the people that for a
time the Anti-Slavery agitation was greatly decreased.

In 1855 the Free Soil party was absorbed into the Republican party,
destined to attain such power in later days. It was the clause relating
to fugitive slaves which renewed the abolition sentiment in the North.
For years previous to this time escaped slaves had found plenty of
friends among the Northerners to help them to Canada, and in time the
organization for aid and secretion of fugitive blacks became more
complete, and very few slaves who succeeded in crossing the border line
were ever recovered by their masters. Massachusetts even passed a law to
secure fugitive slaves trial by jury, and Pennsylvania passed a law
against kidnapping. A decision was finally made in the Supreme Court
which gave to the owners of a slave the right to recapture him without
process of law, but this availed little against the growing sentiment
against all slavery. In 1850 a Fugitive Slave law was passed which was
so unjust in its measures that it left little hindrance to the
kidnapping of free negroes to be held as slaves in the South. This law
aroused the greatest indignation, and backed up the Abolitionists with a
crowd of ardent sympathizers, where previously they had been regarded as
wild radicals. In December, 1853, the Territory of Nebraska was proposed
for organization. An amendment to the bill was offered which should
abrogate the Missouri Compromise and permit the citizens of the Southern
States to take and hold their slaves within any of the new Territories
or States. The bill was reported back from the committee, modified to
propose the formation of two territories, Kansas and Nebraska. At the
end of a contest lasting four months, the bill was carried, with the
measure which had been in existence for thirty-five years nullified and
the whole territory from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains
thrown open to slavery. In 1857 the South gained a new victory when the
Missouri Compromise was declared unconstitutional in the highest
tribunal in the land. The Abolition party was now very greatly
strengthened in the North, and before the slavery agitation, all other
questions of public policy were subordinate. A re-organization of
parties became necessary; the Democrats divided into two sections, and
the Free Soilers and a section of the Democrats and the old Whigs fused
to form the Republican party.

The first hostilities resulting in bloodshed appeared in Kansas. An
organized effort had been made by the anti-slavery societies of the
North to secure Kansas by colonizing her with Abolitionists. Missouri
made a corresponding effort to secure it to slavery, but rather by
violence than colonization. An armed band of two hundred and fifty
Missourians marched upon the new town of Lawrence and ordered its
settlers to leave the territory. The settlers refused, and their
assailants retired; but this battle of words was followed by a series of
more serious assaults. An election for a Territorial legislature was
ordered in 1855. The slave-holders of Missouri and Arkansas entered the
Territory in large bands, took possession of the polls, and, driving the
actual settlers away, cast their votes for the Pro-Slavery candidates.
This fraudulent operation was ignored by Congress, and the proceedings
of the Pro-Slavery legislature were indorsed. But the Free State
settlers were too many to be dealt with thus, and in 1859 they held
another convention, elected their candidates, and adopted a new
Constitution, in which slavery was prohibited.

These violent methods of legislation were carried to Congress, where,
in 1856, Charles Sumner was brutally assaulted by Preston S. Brooks, of
South Carolina, after the delivery of the speech on “The Crime Against
Kansas” by the former. This occurrence added to the bitterness of party
spirit, and had its share in arousing the fanatical outbreak of John
Brown at Harper’s Ferry. On the approach of the elections of 1860 the
hot-headed leaders of Southern politics, rather than accept the moderate
views of the Northern section of their party, chose to divide their
ranks, thus insuring the election of a Northern candidate. When the
Republicans nominated Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, whose record on the
question was embraced in one sentence of a recent speech, “I believe
this government cannot permanently endure half slave and half free,” the
issue was for the first time clearly defined in a political contest. For
ten years the threat of secession had been openly made in Congress,
whenever any Pro-Slavery measure was strongly opposed, but now it became
more than a threat; it was a menace. Lincoln must have been elected,
even if the issue had been less vital, and his successful candidacy was
rather desired than dreaded in the South. Secession had been determined
upon in South Carolina, and the “fire-eaters” of the South were
delighted at what they deemed a direct provocation.

In December, 1860, South Carolina passed an ordinance of secession, and
set up an independent government. Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Texas,
Mississippi, and Louisiana followed; the Northern range of slave States
waited until war had actually broken out.

The Southern element still had possession of Congress, and there was no
fear of interference until after Lincoln’s inauguration; the seizure of
the United States forts and arsenals in the seceding States was
therefore accomplished without opposition.

It was not until April that any decisive action was taken by the new
administration. Even the fact that a convention had been held at
Montgomery, Alabama, a Constitution adopted, and a President elected of
the Confederated Southern States had received no active opposition; but
when Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor was beleaguered by a Confederate
force, preparations were made to relieve it at once, thus deciding the
question of war. Early in April a fleet sailed southward and took
possession of the fort. As soon as it became known in Charleston,
hostilities were determined upon unless Major Anderson, the Federal
commander, at once evacuated the fort. He refused, and on the 12th day
of April, 1861, at the hour of five A.M., the first gun was fired which
announced the beginning of the greatest civil war in history.

Of this war we shall not attempt to give a

[Illustration: LIBBY PRISON.]

detailed account, but shall merely pass in rapid review over the most
important events, giving a general outline of the basis on which it was
fought. The reduction of Fort Sumter was followed by a call from
President Lincoln for seventy-five thousand volunteers, which were
quickly furnished. Yet the valuable navy yard at Norfolk fell into the
hands of the Confederates, and the capture of Washington was only
averted by a hasty movement of the troops. The first situation was a
little complex; there was in effect a double war--one in Virginia and
the country north of it, the other in the States bordering the
Mississippi River on the east. There were minor fields of campaigning
west of the river, and along the coast where the blockade proved useful
in isolating the South from foreign countries.

The seceding States having chosen Jefferson Davis as President, made
Richmond, Virginia, their capital, and the two capitals--Richmond and
Washington--were the points between which the war in Virginia raged
during the entire four years, and the fury with which these cities were
alternately assailed and defended went far toward exhausting the warring
sections of the country. In the West and along the Mississippi the line
of battle went southward, while a corresponding movement pushed toward
the north from the enemy’s country along the river until the two armies
met and thus gave the Mississippi to the United States again. After this
achievement the two fields of war began to combine in one, and the
Western army, marching into the Atlantic States, pushed on to aid Grant
in the final struggle.

The war began in earnest, when General McDowell with twenty-eight
thousand men, advanced against General Beauregard, who was entrenched
behind the small stream of Bull Run, south of Washington. Both armies
were composed of undisciplined men. The fighting was severe on both
sides, and it was only when Beauregard was reinforced by Johnston’s
forces that the tide of war turned in favor of the Southern army. The
National troops became demoralized, and the bulk of them fled from the
field in disorder. This defeat greatly startled and alarmed the North.
It was seen that a gigantic struggle with a most potent and determined
foe was at hand, and preparations were made to meet it. State militia
regiments were mustered into the National army “for three years or the
war,” and General George B. McClellan was put in command. The remainder
of 1861 was spent in drilling and equipment of troops, etc., with the
exception of a battle at Ball’s Bluff, in which the Confederates were
again victorious.

In the spring of 1862, General McClellan began active work. His plans
were most elaborately drawn and carefully matured. It was the campaign
of an engineer, rather than of a fighting soldier. He moved toward
Richmond with the bulk of his army by way of the James River Peninsula,
while General McDowell advanced from Fredericksburg, and Banks and
Fremont moved down the Shenandoah Valley. The last two commanders were
met and beaten completely by General Thomas J. Jackson, best known as
“Stonewall.” McDowell was held back to defend Washington. So McClellan
and his army went on alone. He wasted some time in besieging Yorktown;
and fought the battles of Williamsburg, May 5th, and Seven Pines May
31st, the latter being within six miles of Richmond. At Seven Pines the
Confederate General, J.E. Johnston, was seriously wounded, and Robert E.
Lee succeeded him as leader of the Southern hosts.

“Stonewall” Jackson having beaten Banks and Fremont in the Valley, now
came down and joined Lee, and McClellan was driven back to Harrison’s
Landing on the James River. During this retreat, the battles of Gaines’s
Mills, Savage Station, Glendale, and Malvern Hill were fought, from June
25th to July 1st, all desperate and bloody. Malvern Hill was a Titanic
conflict, and in it the National army was victorious. But McClellan,
instead of following up his advantage, continued his retreat. He was
constantly clamoring for reinforcements, and blamed the Government at
Washington for his inability to whip the enemy. On August 29th and 30th
the National forces under General Pope were vanquished at Bull Run, and
soon after General Lee captured Harper’s Ferry, and crossed the Potomac
into Maryland. McClellan met him on September 17th at Antietam, and
defeated him in a bloody battle. Lee fell back, and McClellan did not
pursue him.

The President had long been dissatisfied with the policy pursued by
McClellan, who apparently was a victim to over-cautiousness. General
Burnside was therefore put in his place, as Commander of the Army of the
Potomac. He proved as rash as McClellan had been cautious, and the
results of his rashness were disastrous. On December 13th he fought at
Fredericksburg a bloody but fruitless battle; and soon thereafter he was
superseded in command by General Joseph Hooker. That commander was also
incautious, and was commonly known as “Fighting Joe” Hooker, from his
supposed brilliancy and courage in battle. He led the army against the
Confederates at Chancellors ville, May 1st and 3d, 1863, and was
terribly beaten. It was one of the worst defeats sustained by the Union
arms in the whole war.

Now the Southern armies, flushed with victory, took the aggressive and
invaded the North. They swept across Maryland and entered Pennsylvania,
no effective opposition being offered. Hooker and his army started after
them, but in the last week of June Hooker was removed from command, and
General George Gordon Meade was put in his place. That wise and capable
leader hurried the Union army northward, and on July 1st confronted Lee
at Gettysburg. There, on July 1st, 2d, and 3d, was fought the greatest
battle of the war, and one of the most important in human history. It
cannot be described in detail here, but it resulted in the complete
discomfiture of the Confederates, who retreated with all possible haste
back to Virginia, and never sought to invade the North again. General
Meade followed them, but was unable to overtake and capture them. During
the remainder of that year Meade made two attempts upon Richmond, but
without important results. Thus matters stood in Virginia at the
beginning of 1864, when a new factor appeared upon the scene, before
dwelling upon which some events elsewhere must be recounted.

Attacks had been made, up to this time, upon the Confederates along the
coast by several expeditions. General T. W. Sherman and Commodore Du
Pont had occupied Beaufort in November, 1861. Early in 1862 General
Burnside had taken Roanoke Island and Newberne. In the West, beyond the
Mississippi, there had been much fighting, especially in Arkansas, and
the National arms had been generally successful. On the water, also, the
National fleets were supreme. At no time had the Confederates a fleet
able to hold its own at sea. They had a number of fast cruisers, fitted
out in England, which roamed the ocean as freebooters, preying upon
American commerce. The most notable of these was the “Alabama,” which
was finally destroyed off Cherbourg, France, by the “Kearsarge,” in
June, 1864. They had also a number of powerful rams and ironclad
gunboats, for coast and harbor defense. Most famous of these was the
“Merrimack,” which, in Hampton Roads, destroyed the great frigates
“Congress” and “Cumberland,” and bade fair to deal likewise with the
whole Union fleet. Opportunely, the little ironclad “Monitor,” just
built by John Ericsson, appeared upon the scene, gave battle, and
vanquished the monster “Merrimack.” This was one of the epoch-making
naval battles of the world. It not only saved the whole Union fleet, and
perhaps many Northern seaport cities from destruction. At a single
stroke it revolutionized naval architecture and naval warfare. The great
wooden frigates were instantly made things of the past; thenceforth the
typical war-ship was a heavily armored iron and steel machine, carrying
only a few guns in revolving turrets, or in heavy iron casemates.

But the greatest of the operations leading down to 1864 were in the West
Central States. At the beginning of 1862 the National commanders set out
to regain possession of the Mississippi River. In January General Thomas
defeated the Confederates at Mill Spring. In February Commodore Foote
reduced Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River. A few days later General U.
S. Grant, after most severe fighting, captured Fort Donelson and its
garrison of 15,000 Confederate troops. This was the first really great
Union victory, and Grant at once became a dominant figure in the drama
of civil war. Other operations followed, by which the Confederates were
driven out of Kentucky, and largely out of Tennessee. In April General
Pope and Commodore Foote captured Island No. 10, with 7,000
Confederates, thus clearing the Mississippi down to Memphis. Early in
April a great two days’ battle was fought at Pittsburg Landing, on the
Tennessee River, Generals Grant and W. T. Sherman commanding the
National army, and A. S. Johnston and G. P. T. Beauregard the
Confederates. On the first day the Confederates were successful, but on
the second the National army rallied, regained its ground, and drove the
foe before it in one of the bloodiest conflicts of the war. General A.
S. Johnston was killed--an irreparable loss to the Southern cause.

The Union armies now moved southward into Alabama and Mississippi. Early
in 1863 they gathered about Vicksburg, the “Gibraltar of the South,” the
only important obstacle to the reopening of the Mississippi. Admiral
Porter co-operated with his fleet. A long siege, marked by many
desperate engagements, followed, ending with the surrender of Vicksburg,
with 27,000 men to General Grant. This occurred on July 3d, at the very
time when Meade was putting Lee to rout at Gettysburg. A few days later
Port Hudson surrendered to General Banks; Admiral Farragut, in a naval
conflict of surpassing splendor, had already captured New Orleans; and
thus the entire Mississippi was regained by the National authorities.
Later, a great reverse was suffered. General Rosecrans was terribly
beaten by the Confederates at Chickamauga, and driven into Chattanooga,
where he was besieged. This was on September 19th and 20th. But Grant
was now free to turn his attention thither, and he quickly drove the
Confederates away from Chattanooga southward into Georgia.

Thus we come to the opening of 1864. General Grant’s brilliant successes
in the West led the President to call him to the East, when he was made
commander of all the National armies. Sherman was left in the West to
command there, under Grant’s direction. These two illustrious
commanders matured their plans together, and simultaneously, early in
May, moved forward on the greatest campaign of the war. Sherman marched
from Chattanooga southward, against the able Confederate General J. E.
Johnston. Desperate battles were fought at Kenesaw Mountain and
elsewhere, but Sherman was irresistible. In August the war raged about
Atlanta, and at the beginning of September that most important city fell
into Sherman’s hands. The Confederate President, who hated Johnston, had
foolishly removed him from command and put Hood in his place. The latter
was a brave and gallant soldier, but was not--as he himself well
knew--the equal of Johnston as a commander, and this change did the
Confederates much harm. Despairing of checking Sherman, Hood sought to
make a diversion by marching northward into Tennessee. He fought the
battle of Franklin, where there was some of the most dreadful carnage of
the war, and besieged Nashville. Sherman sent General Thomas thither,
and he gave Hood battle. The slaughter was terrific, and at the day’s
end Hood’s army was all but annihilated. This was on December 15th.
Sherman, meantime, cutting loose from his base of supplies, and severing
all communications with the North, had set out with 60,000 troops for
his famous “March to the Sea.” He made his way almost unopposed across
Georgia, from Atlanta to Savannah, capturing the latter city, with vast
stores, on December 21st. Thence he made his way northward through the
Carolinas to co-operate with Grant in Virginia.

In the meantime Grant had begun his campaign with the awful battles in
the Wilderness, May 5th and 6th; at Spottsylvania, May 8th-18th; at
North Anna, and at Cold Harbor. The losses on both sides in these
engagements were terrific. But the National army was readily reinforced
by recruits, while the Confederates had no more supplies to draw upon.
Grant therefore determined to press the fighting, and simply exhaust the
enemy. A long struggle followed at Petersburg, south of Richmond.
Finding himself steadily losing, Lee sought in his desperation to make a
favorable diversion by sending his Lieutenant Early northward, up the
Shenandoah Valley, into Maryland, and against Washington itself. At
first Early was successful, and almost captured Washington. Then Grant
sent General Philip H. Sheridan against him, and in two or three battles
Early was utterly routed, the final engagement being the famous battle
of Cedar Creek, on October 19th.

The year 1865 opened with the National arms everywhere victorious. The
war was now concentrated in Southern Virginia. The Confederates
abandoned Richmond, and Lee strove to make his way southward, to join
J. E. Johnston in North Carolina. Grant and Sheridan headed him off,
however, and he was compelled to surrender at Appomattox Court House, on
April 9th. The surrender of Johnston to Sherman followed on April 26th.
General Grant treated his prisoners with the most marked generosity,
bidding them keep their horses, which, he said, they would need for the
spring work on their farms. And thus the Titanic conflict was
practically ended. The other engagements that should be mentioned were
the great battle in Mobile Bay in August, 1864, when Admiral Farragut
destroyed the Confederate forts and fleet, and the capture of Fort
Fisher by General Terry in January, 1865. Jefferson Davis was captured
and held as a prisoner for some time, but was finally released and
permitted to enjoy a life of liberty and prosperity in the country he
had striven to disrupt. On April 14th, 1865, President Lincoln was
murdered by a member of a desperate band of Confederate conspirators,
and the nation was plunged into mourning.

Constitutional amendments, forever prohibiting slavery, and extending
citizenship to the negroes, were adopted, the States lately in rebellion
were “reconstructed,” and the restored and reunited nation resumed the
career of prosperity that had been so rudely interrupted.

The events since the close of the war must be only briefly alluded to.
Within the space of twenty-seven years many important occurrences have
been recorded. The effect of the great struggle was on the whole good.
The two great disturbing questions which from the signing of the
Constitution until 1861 divided the country, were now settled forever.
Slavery was abolished; the most bitter source of sectional dispute. The
doctrine of State rights was also laid at rest. Another benefit of the
conflict was the national banking system. The finances of the country
were placed on a more secure basis than ever before. The period of
reconstruction was a painful one, of course, but in the end both
sections of the United States found themselves stronger and better than
ever before. Andrew Johnson, on becoming President, after the murder of
Lincoln, took measures of which Congress disapproved, and a bitter
strife began which lasted all during the administration. The President
declared at the outset that as a State could not secede, none of the
Southern States had been out of the Union at all. This doctrine was
ignored by Congress, which held that the seceding States were still out
of the Union and could only be re-admitted on such terms as Congress
should prescribe. The Civil Rights Bill, which made the negroes citizens
of the United States, was passed in 1866, and shortly afterward the
fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution was adopted. The breach
between the President and Congress grew wider; bill after bill was
passed over his veto, and in 1868 the House passed a resolution to
impeach the President for “high crimes and misdemeanors” in the conduct
of his office. The immediate provocation was the removal of Secretary
Stanton, which proceeding was in contravention of the Tenure of Office
Act, which provided that no removal from office should be made without
consent of the Senate. The impeachment trial continued until May, when
the final vote was taken, and it lacked the necessary two-thirds
majority to impeach.

In pursuance of the “Military Act,” the South in 1867 was divided into
five districts and placed under military governors. This exclusion of
the better class of Southern citizens from civil duties placed all power
in the hands of an inferior class of Northern men (called in the South
“Carpet-baggers”), who had come hither after the war in search of
position. The actions of these men did little to restore harmony between
the sections. The situation was not improved by the existence of a body
of Southern reprobates who called themselves the “Ku Klux Klan,” and
rode about in disguise, doing acts of violence against the negroes and
all who sympathized with them. This state of affairs was brought to a
gradual change by the acceptance of the terms proposed by Congress. In
1868 a pardon was extended to all who had engaged in the war, except
those who were indicted for criminal offenses; in 1870 the last of the
States accepted the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments, and with their
admission to Congress the problem of reconstruction was solved and the
country resumed its normal condition.

Many other questions have since arisen, but until they too are finally
disposed of they can not properly take a place in history. Among these,
the labor question, the temperance agitation, woman suffrage, the
tariff, civil service reform, railroad and land monopoly, and the Indian
troubles are evidence enough that the public mind is not at rest The
Indian problem, it is hoped, is nearing solution. It is unquestionable
that they have been treated with great injustice and it remains now for
the United States to pursue the educating and civilizing policy which it
was so late in assuming, but which has proved so satisfactory in its
results.

In 1868 General Grant was elected President, in which office he
continued eight years. During his administration the Union Pacific
Railroad was completed, thus connecting the two oceans. The first
successful ocean telegraph was completed in 1866.

The most disastrous event of the period was the Chicago fire, which
broke out October 8th, 1871, and destroyed an area of buildings
extending over a length of four miles. One hundred thousand people were
left homeless, and two hundred people perished. Contributions to the
amount of seven million dollars poured in, and almost without delay the
process of re-building commenced. In a few years scarcely a trace of the
disaster remained, and so rapid was the city’s new growth, that what in
1871 had been a ruined heap of ashes, in 1890 was found to be the second
city in the United States.

The second term of Grant’s Presidency was marked with violent political
agitation. The “Credit Mobilier” scheme to bribe certain members of
Congress in favor of the Pacific Railroad Company was exposed; Secretary
Belknap was impeached by Congress for fraud, but was acquitted; other
exposures still further shook public confidence.

The elections of 1876 gave rise to great excitement, and much bitter
partisanship in consequence of the closeness of the Presidential vote,
and the questionable methods of deciding upon the successful candidate.

The returns from Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina were disputed,
and it finally became necessary to adopt a special method of deciding
the contest. A commission of five members of each House of Congress and
five associate judges of the Supreme Court decided in favor of the
Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes. The decision gave great
offense to the Democrats, and the question is one which is still
disputed. In this year was held the Centennial Exhibition. Previous to
this time a great financial panic swept the country, and carried ruin
far and wide. The grasshopper plague created much suffering and famine
through the West.

In 1880 James A. Garfield was elected President, and Chester A. Arthur
Vice-President. The Civil Service Reform, begun under Mr. Hayes, was
taken up vigorously by Garfield, and on this issue the party split into
two factions. Two leaders in the “Stalwart” section, Roscoe Conkling and
Thomas C. Platt, resigned their seats in the Senate. The excitement
caused by these events induced a lunatic office-seeker, Charles J.
Guiteau, to a desperate deed. On the 2d of July, 1881, he shot and
mortally wounded the President in the railroad depot at Washington.
After months of suffering, the martyred President died, September 19th.
The Civil Service Reform agitation survived its defender, however, and
the sentiment in favor of his ideas has grown enormously, and promises
to become stronger.

In the Presidential election of 1884 the long continuance of Republican
rule was broken by

[Illustration: INDEPENDENCE HALL, PHILADELPHIA.]

the seating of the Democratic candidate, Grover Cleveland, who won an
enviable record for himself during his administration, both for
integrity and wise management. In 1888 he again came up for election,
but was defeated by Benjamin Harrison, the Republican nominee.

Thus the Nation has come down to the present day, in which it stands
supreme among the powers of the world in freedom and prosperity and all
the true elements of greatness. Upon such a basis of accomplished facts,
the patriotic seer must cast, if he will, its future horoscope.



CHAPTER IV.

WORLD’S FAIRS.


During the past half century a favorite and effective method of
displaying and recording the industrial progress of the world has been
found in the holding of World’s Fairs, or Universal Exhibitions. Almost
every important capital of the world has now held one or more of these
interesting displays, each in succession striving to outdo its
predecessors in extent and magnificence, until the latest of them truly
present in epitome the invention, industry, art, science, and general
progress of the entire world. It was fitting that the first of these
universal exhibitions should be held in the world’s chief city, London.
It was opened in 1851 in a huge building erected in Hyde Park for the
purpose, known as the Crystal Palace. This stupendous structure was
composed chiefly of iron and glass and had a floor area of more than one
million square feet. In size and originality of design it was one of the
marvels of the world. The example quickly stimulated similar enterprises
in other capitals. Dublin and Paris soon followed, and almost
simultaneously with the exhibition in the Irish metropolis a similar
exhibition was opened in the capital of the Western Hemisphere.

The American Crystal Palace, which was opened in New York in 1853, was
in point of size much inferior to its prototype in London, and
altogether insignificant when contrasted with the stupendous exhibitions
of later years. For its time, however, it was proportionately equal to
any that has ever been held. At that time New York City contained only a
little more than half a million inhabitants, or about one-third of its
present population. The development of the United States was still less
advanced. What was now central Western States were then sparsely settled
frontier territories. The Pacific railroads were a dream of the dim
future. The Atlantic Cable was a vision. The telegraph itself was a mere
rudiment of its present development. The railroad and the steamboat were
primitive affairs. Even horse cars had not come into general use.
Photography was in its infancy. As for the telephone, the electric
light, and a score of other great inventions that are now of universal
use, they were not even dreamed of. As the New York Crystal Palace of
1853 was to the Chicago Exhibition of 1893, so was America and its
civilization of that time to our country of to-day.

This first universal exhibition held on American soil was situated in
what is now known as Bryant Park, in New York City. It is now in the
very heart of the city, at Sixth Avenue and Fortieth and Forty-second
Streets. In 1853 it was well out of town in the suburbs, and was known
as Reservoir Square. At that time it was surrounded by open fields and
gardens, with here and there rows of pleasant rural cottages. A few of
the streets were paved in that part of the city, but there was only a
faint indication of what another generation would see. The little park
was four hundred and fifty-five feet square, and almost the entire area
was occupied by the Crystal Palace. The central idea embodied in the
plan of the structure was that of a Greek cross, whose arms pointed
north, south, east, and west. The extreme dimensions of the building,
from north to south and from east to west, were 365 feet 5 inches, and
the arms were each 149 feet 5 inches wide. The external angles formed by
the arms of the cross were filled up with triangular structures, one
story in height, thus making the outline of the ground plan an octagon.
At each of the angles of the building was an octagonal tower, 76 feet
high, and over the central intersection of the cross rose a magnificent
dome, 100 feet in diameter and 123 feet high. The external walls of the
building were composed almost exclusively of cast-iron and glass. The
floors were of wood, and the roof was of wood, covered with tin and
supported on wrought-iron framework. The roof was supported by 190
cast-iron columns on the ground floor, each 8 inches in diameter and 21
feet high. They divided the interior into two avenues or naves, each 41
feet 5 inches wide, with aisles, 54 feet wide, on each side. These
naves, at their intersection, left an octagonal space 100 feet in
diameter. The aisles were covered with galleries, while the naves were
open to the roof and were spanned by semicircular arches of cast-iron.
The dome was supported by twenty-four columns, each 62 feet high,
connected at the top by wrought-iron trusses. On the top of these was a
cast-iron bed-plate, with cast-iron shoes for the ribs of the dome,
which were thirty-two in number. These ribs were bolted at the top to a
horizontal ring of wrought and cast iron, 20 feet in diameter,
surmounted by a lantern with thirty-two ornamental windows, decorated
with the Arms of the Union and the several States. The whole quantity of
iron employed in the construction amounted to 1,800 tons, of which 300
tons were wrought and 1,500 tons cast. The quantity of glass was 15,000
panes, or 55,000 square feet. The quantity of wood used amounted to
750,000 feet board measure. The principal dimensions of the building
were as follows: From main floor to gallery floor, 24 feet; from main
floor to ridge of nave, 67 feet 4 inches; from main floor to summit of
dome, 123 feet 6 inches; area of main floor, 157,195 square feet; area
of gallery floor, 92,496 square feet; total area of floor space, 249,691
square feet, or about 5¾ acres.

The total amount of space on the floor occupied by different countries
for exhibition, exclusive of the naves, was about 152,000 square feet,
divided as follows: The United States 54,530; Great Britain, 17,651;
Switzerland, 4,428; the German Zollverein, 12,249 Holland and Belgium,
3,645; Austria, 2,187; Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, 4,231; Russia, 729;
the West Indies, 1,093; British Colonies, 5,798. The total number of
exhibitors was 4,383. Of these 1,778 were from the United States; 677
from England; 116 from Switzerland; 813 from the German Zollverein; 155
from Holland and Belgium; and 100 from Austria. The exhibits were
divided in 31 general classes as follows: Class I, Minerals, Mining, and
Metallurgy, Geological and Mining Sections and Plans. Class II, Chemical
and Pharmaceutical Products and Processes. Class III, Substances
Employed as Food. Class IV, Vegetable and Animal Substance Employed in
Manufactures. Class V, Machines for Direct Use. Class VI, Machinery and
Tools for Manufacturing. Class VII, Civil Engineering, Architectural,
and Building Contrivances. Class VIII, Naval Architecture, Military
Engineering, Armor and Accoutrements. Class IX, Agricultural,
Horticultural, and Dairy Implements. Class X, Philosophical Implements
and Products Resulting from their Use. Class XI, Manufactures of Cotton.
Class XII, Manufactures of Wool. Class XIII, Manufactures of Silk and
Velvet. Class XIV, Manufactures of Flax and Hemp. Class XV, Mixed
Fabrics. Class XVI, Leather, Furs, Hair, and their Manufactures. Class
XVII, Paper, Stationery, Types, Printing, and Book-binding. Class XVIII,
Dyed and Printed Fabrics. Class XIX, Tapestry, Carpets, Floor-cloths,
Lace, Embroideries, Trimmings, and Fancy Needlework. Class XX, Wearing
Apparel. Class XXI, Cutlery and Edge Tools. Class XXII, Iron, Brass,
Pewter, and General Hardware. Class XXIII, Works in Precious Metals and
their Imitations. Class XXIV, Glass Manufactures. Class XXV, Porcelain
and other Ceramic Manufactures. Class XXVI, Decorated Furniture and
Upholstery. Class XXVII, Manufactures in Slate and other Ornamental
Stones. Class XXVIII, Manufactures from Animal and Vegetable Substances
not Woven or Felted. Class XXIX, Miscellaneous Manufactures, Perfumery,
and Toys. Class XXX, Musical Instruments. Class XXXI, Fine Arts.

The plan of the building was designed by Messrs. Carstensen &
Gildemeister, and was selected in preference to other plans submitted by
Sir Joseph Paxton, the builder of the London Crystal Palace. C. E.
Detmold was the superintending architect and engineer, Horatio Allen the
consulting engineer, and Edward Hurry the consulting architect. The
municipal authorities of New York on January 3d, 1852, granted a lease
of Reservoir Square for five years, thus furnishing the site for the
building. The New York Legislature on March 11th, 1852, granted a
charter to the Association for the Industry of All Nations, and on March
17th the Board of Directors met and organized with Theodore Sedgwick as
President, and William Whetten as Secretary. The United States
Government gave countenance and aid to the institution by permitting the
introduction of foreign goods for exhibition free of duty. Daniel
Webster, then Secretary of State, secured the aid of the Representatives
of the United States at the chief Courts of Europe, and the Ministers of
Foreign Powers residing in the United States sympathized warmly with the
Association, and commended it favorably to their respective governments.
Under such auspices, and with such encouragement the work went forward.
The first column was put in place with appropriate ceremonies on October
30th, 1852; the building was open to the public on July 15th, 1853,
though still incomplete; and on Friday evening, August 20th, 1853, the
full opening was effected.

Perhaps no more interesting view of this notable institution and the
chief events connected with it can be given than that which was
presented by the principal metropolitan newspapers of the day. Let us
first quote from an account of the raising of the first column:

     “The erection of the first column of the Crystal Palace took place
     on Reservoir Square at noon on Saturday. The interest in and
     importance of the occasion attracted a large concourse of citizens.
     There must have been at least two thousand persons present.”

Volumes could not tell more. Two thousand persons present on such an
occasion, and they called it a “large concourse!” Nevertheless,
continued the scribe, “There was a large number of distinguished
citizens upon the platform beside the pillar. Among those present we
noticed his Excellency Gov. Hunt, his Honor the Mayor, Archbishop
Hughes, Felix Forreste, General Tallmadge, Henry Meigs, C. Crolius,
ex-Senator J. A. Bunting, Rev. Dr. Peet, Lambert Suydam, Hon. Judge
Betts, Senators McMurray and Beekman, and several other invited guests.
General Tallmadge and others were present as a deputation from the
American Institute. Dodworth’s band was present during the proceedings
and played delightfully. When the pillar was raised, by means of a
derrick, the Governor directed it to its place, amid the enthusiastic
cheering of those present and the firing of cannon, the band, the while,
playing a national air.”

The chief address was made by Theodore Sedgwick, the President of the
Association, and his remarks are worth repeating here, as expressive of
the sentiments that inspired him and his associates in the enterprise:

     “GOVERNOR HUNT: In the name of the Directors of the Association, I
     thank you cordially and respectfully for the trouble which you have
     taken to honor this occasion with your presence. Our thanks are
     also eminently due to the city government, not only for their
     attendance here to-day, but more for the sagacious foresight with
     which they have extended their liberal aid to the enterprise in its
     infancy. We are also proud to see among our friends the officers of
     two societies--one from our own, and one from a sister State--which
     have done so much to raise the aims and promote the interests of
     American industry, to open the path in which we are now treading.
     The general objects to which this building will be destined are so
     familiar to us all that I need not dwell upon them. Our
     arrangements are so far advanced that we can speak with confidence
     as to our ultimate success. It is sure to strike the mind of the
     European producer, that he has substantial objects to attain by
     sending specimens of his skill here, which no European country can
     afford. On the other hand, the American manufacturer, who has
     comparatively little but honor to gain by sending the produce of
     his skill to Europe, has a clear and distinct inducement to exhibit
     his goods here. If no unforseen event occurs, we shall have it in
     our power to make such an exhibition of the costly, artistic, and
     luxurious products of the Old World as has never yet been seen
     among us. These considerations will produce their results; and we
     are equally confident that the industry of our country, with that
     fearless energy which, perhaps, more than any other one thing is a
     distinguishing trait in our national character, will eagerly enter
     into a contest from which, in every respect, nothing but good can
     flow. I shall say on this head no more. Those whose eyes, like
     mine, were delighted by the surpassing glories of the London
     Exhibition--who know the power, opulence, and varied resources of
     the Old World--who know what those creatures of genius, the French,
     are trying to effect, may well pause before they make vaunts for
     the future. Suffice it, we shall do everything that industry and
     fidelity can accomplish. Nor shall I enlarge on the benefits of an
     exhibition of this kind. There is no doubt whatever that there yet
     exists no similar means for extending the circle of knowledge and
     taste--above all, for enlarging and increasing that mutual
     good-will and confidence which is the surest bulwark of national
     independence, and the only guaranty of international peace.

     “Sir, at this moment, everything from the pen of that great
     statesman, whose loss we lament, will be received with interest. I
     shall, therefore, trespass on you by reading the following letter
     which I received from him:

                                       “‘DEPARTMENT OF STATE,         }
                                       “‘WASHINGTON, Oct. 12th, 1852. }

     “‘SIR: I have received your favor of Oct. 7th, and I have examined
     with care the papers accompanying it, as well as the sketch of the
     building which you have been good enough to send; the latter
     appears to me very beautiful. Your name and that of the gentlemen
     associated with you, are sufficient guarantees that the enterprise
     will be conducted with energy, fidelity, and capacity; and there
     can be no doubt that an exhibition of the kind you contemplate, if
     properly carried out, will be of very general interest and utility.
     You do not overrate my desire to promote your views. Of course I
     cannot, as a member of the Government of the United States, give
     you any other aid than you have already received from the Customs
     Department, by making your building a bonded warehouse; but I will
     write to the representatives of the United States at the principal
     Courts of Europe, stating to them strongly my sense of the
     importance of your enterprise, and the numerous reasons in my mind
     why they should give your agent, Mr. Buscheck, all the aid and
     support that they properly can. I am, sir, with great respect, your
     ob’t serv’t,

                                                      “‘DANIEL WEBSTER.
                                  “‘Theodore Sedgwick, Esq., New York.’

     “Permit me, sir, to say a word respecting the building itself. We
     intend--and I believe it is not too much to claim--that the Palace
     itself shall make an epoch in the architecture of our city. We
     believe that it will give an impulse to construction in the
     material of iron that will be of the greatest service to that
     interest. Iron constructions have already been carried far forward
     by a most intelligent and accomplished mechanic--Mr. James
     Bogardus--and I believe that the experience of this building will
     give it a great additional impulse. Its superior lightness,
     durability, cheapness, and facility of construction give it immense
     advantages over any other material. We are erecting an edifice
     that will cover, on the ground floor, two and a half acres, and it
     will be done in the winter, in about six months, for a sum not much
     varying from $200,000. If any one compares this time and the time
     with what would be required for a building of any other material,
     except wood, the immense superiority of iron is most perceptible.
     But there are, sir, ulterior considerations which I wish clearly to
     state. The large cities of the elder world, especially on the
     Continent, possess great galleries for popular instruction and
     entertainment. It is, at first sight, remarkable, though, in fact,
     easily intelligible, that in a country reposing entirely on popular
     power, comparatively nothing is done on a great public scale for
     the pleasure and instruction of our adult people. We have no
     galleries, no parks. This is not the place to say anything in favor
     of a park, though an object which should be dear to the heart of
     every New Yorker. But I desire in regard to the other objects, to
     point out how easy it will be hereafter to convert this building
     into a great People’s Gallery of Art. Its structure is eminently
     adapted for the purpose. We stand here on the city’s ground, and it
     will be completely in the power of the city hereafter to accomplish
     this result. Long after our Association shall have disappeared, I
     hope this building may stand--as long as yonder massive and
     majestic creation; and like that, in the hands of the public
     authorities, be one of those monuments which makes the Government
     dear to the people. [Cheers.] Allow me to say a few words of our
     purposes. The undertaking is a private one--fostered by no
     governmental aid; but the interests are so numerous and divided
     that not the slightest color is afforded for the charge of
     speculation. There are, I venture to say, very few undertakings of
     equal magnitude which are represented by so large a number of
     parties, and it thus becomes practicable to impress upon the
     direction and management of the enterprise that broad, liberal,
     impartial, and, as it were, national character which is essential
     to its proper development. If our success is what we expect and
     intend it shall be, we shall claim the honor of it for our
     institutions--those institutions which enable private individuals
     to accomplish what in other countries vast governmental efforts are
     required to effect. We shall claim the honor for the country and
     for the people; for that mixture of individual energy and practical
     accommodation which gives such wonderful efficiency to the American
     character; for that public spirit and private good feeling of which
     we have such striking evidence here to-day--bringing together at
     this moment, men of all parties, to work together for a common
     object of general interest. [Cheers.] Other considerations, sir,
     yet remain, which, at some other time, I shall ask higher and
     holier personages to develop, but which I cannot now altogether
     overlook. When this structure shall be raised--when its lofty dome
     shall have rushed upward to the point where that flag now
     floats--when its crystal surface shall reflect in streams of
     radiance our warm American sun--when its graceful and majestic
     interior shall be filled with the choicest products of both
     worlds--our minds will soar upward beyond and above all the
     material considerations to which I have alluded, and will recognize
     our own nothingness, and the infinite superiority of the Power by
     whose favor we are permitted to do what little we effect. And we
     shall then unite to pour forth our thanks for His mercies, and our
     supplications for His forgiveness and protection.” [Loud cheers.]

The Governor immediately replied as follows:

“Mr. President: Availing myself of the invitation so kindly extended to
me by the Association over which you preside, I have come to participate
in the appropriate ceremonies of this occasion, and to manifest the
sincere interest and approval with which I regard your noble
undertaking.

“You have now reared the first column of an edifice intended to attract
the productions of genius, industry, and art from all the civilized

[Illustration: CHICAGO IN 1856.]

nations of the world. This liberal design is in harmony with the
prevailing spirit and tendency of the age in which we live, and its
successful completion will form a conspicuous landmark in the history of
American progress. It is a generous conception, alike honorable to the
public spirit and patriotism of the citizens forming the Association,
and important in its influence upon the advancement and happiness of
society.

“The conquests already made, and the increasing interest evinced by our
countrymen in the culture of those useful arts which promote the
physical prosperity and moral elevation of a people are a source of just
pride and encouragement to the American statesman.

“By the blessing of Providence we are permitted to work out our destiny
in a period of profound peace. For more than a third of a century the
civilized world has been exempt from those destructive wars and
convulsions which had so long wasted the best energies of the human
race. Nobler purposes engage the thoughts of men and the councils of
nations.

“Instead of meeting in battle array, and spreading havoc and desolation
over the face of the earth, a kindlier rivalry prevails, and governments
cope with each other in a more generous spirit of emulation; in works of
beneficence and improvement; in the expansion of commerce, the
encouragement of industry, and the triumphs of peaceful invention.

“People, widely separated from each other by intervening seas and
diversities of language and institutions are now drawn nearer together
by rapid and constant commercial intercourse. Remote countries are
enabled to confer inestimable benefits upon each other by a free
interchange of useful discoveries and improvements, thus stimulating
industry and skill throughout the world, each imparting to all the
fruits of its own civilization, and (above all) diffusing over the globe
the spirit of universal brotherhood, which, in God’s good time, shall
unite the human family by the cordial ties of sympathy and concord.

“When considered in a mere political aspect, the wonderful display of
the industry of all nations, exhibited in England last year, must be
regarded as one of the most important events in modern history.

“I rejoice to witness the enlightened efforts of my own countrymen to
emulate so noble an example.

“The prosecution and success of the enterprise, now so auspiciously
begun, cannot fail to exert a salutary influence, and to produce the
most valuable results.

“It will elevate the national character abroad, and advance our best
interests at home.

“It will stimulate our people to new and higher efforts, until we shall
finally attain to an equality with the older nations in every useful and
ornamental art. It will promote the development and improvement of those
natural advantages, so varied and remarkable, with which our country is
favored; and furnish another proof of the elevating influence of free
institutions.

“In conclusion, Mr. President and gentlemen of the Association, permit
me to congratulate you upon this auspicious commencement. The whole
country will rejoice in the consummation of your great purpose. Accept
my sincere wishes that your labors in the work of civilization and
beneficent progress may be crowned with the success which is due to so
bright an example of disinterested public spirit.”

Mayor Kingsland followed, in a few brief remarks, expressive of his
sense of the importance of the undertaking, and his sincere desire to
see it carried out to a most successful completion.

General Talmadge, on the part of the American Institute, offered the
managers of the Crystal Palace his warmest congratulations upon the
raising of the first pillar of their edifice, and that, too, under such
auspicious circumstances. The American Institute (he said) was glad to
find such worthy comrades co-operating with them to advance the general
prosperity of the country.

Appropriate airs were then played by the band, and the “large
assemblage” shortly afterward went their way rejoicing in the event of
the day, with hearty wishes for the successful completion of the New
York Crystal Palace. Such was the first formal celebration of what
seemed to its projectors a most stupendous enterprise. But the next year
saw a much more imposing demonstration, when, on July 14th, 1853, the
nearly completed building was formally inaugurated. The President of the
United States traveled from Washington to New York to take part in the
august ceremonial, his deliberate progress of several days, by coach,
boat, and train, being the theme of many columns of patriotic chronicles
in the daily press. Here is a leading journal’s account of the opening
exercises:

“The 14th of July, 1853, will henceforward rank in our history as a
great day. Then was consecrated unto Art and Industry a building novel
and splendid, as regards architecture, and containing productions from
all parts of the earth. The Crystal Palace is far more beautiful than
its original in London, though much inferior in size. It covers,
however, five acres. Its sides are composed of glass, supported by iron.
Its dome is truly magnificent, and is a triumph of art. The prevailing
colors of the ceiling are blue, red, and cream color. The single fault
we find with the colors of the other portions of the building is that
the supporting pillars are of the same color with the other solid works,
while, if they were bronzed, a certain sameness would be avoided.

“Notwithstanding the immense confusion of the Palace on the day
preceding the inauguration, we were surprised, on entering it yesterday
morning, to find the dome completed and glorious in its artistic beauty;
the stairways arrayed with their crimson and gold, and many of the
divisions elaborate in their ornamentation, completely arranged, and
containing their various contributions.

“The vastness of the City of New York was strikingly illustrated by the
weather of yesterday. The President and his suite were caught in a heavy
rain in the lower part of the city, lasting an hour, while the early
visitors at the Palace were ignorant of the circumstance, the atmosphere
being dry and the sun bright in that quarter.

“The approaches to the Palace were very much crowded as we proceeded
there about eleven o’clock. The thickly-studded drinking-shops were
flaunting in their intemperate seductions. The various shows of
monsters, mountebanks, and animals, numerous as the jubilee-days of the
Champs Élysées, opened wide their attractions to simple folk. Little
speculators in meats, fruits, and drinks had their tables and stalls
_al fresco_. A rush and whirl of omnibuses, coaches, and pedestrians
encircled the place. But amid all this was plainly discernable the
excellent provisions of the police to maintain order. The entrances to
the Palace were kept clear, and no disturbance manifested itself through
the day. Different colored tickets admitted the visitors at three
different sides of the Palace, the fourth closing up against the giant
Croton Water Reservoir.

“There were two platforms partially under the dome, the centre point
under which being occupied by Baron Marochetti’s exceedingly absurd
statue of Washington, with Carew’s indescribably absurd statue of
Webster--the worst calumny on that great man ever yet perpetrated, or
that can be perpetrated--standing behind it. One of these platforms was
toward Forty-second Street, or the north nave; the other toward the
Croton Water Reservoir, on the east nave. According to the programme,
they were filled by the following classes of persons:

     ON NORTH NAVE PLATFORM.

     General Franklin Pierce, President of the United States.


     MEMBERS OF THE CABINET.

  Jefferson Davis, Secretary of War.
  James Guthrie, Secretary of the Treasury.
  Caleb Cushing, Attorney-General.


     SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.

  Salmon P. Chase, U. S. Senator from Ohio.
  Richard Brodhead, Jr., U. S. Senator from Pennsylvania.


     OFFICERS OF THE ARMY.

  Major-General Winfield Scott, Commander-in-Chief.
  Major-General John E. Wool, and a few others.


     OFFICERS OF THE NAVY.

  Commodore James Stewart.
  Commodore Boorman, of the Navy Yard.

     There were several other naval and military officers present, but
     their names are not recollected.


     GOVERNORS OF VARIOUS STATES.

  Horatio Seymour, Governor of the State of New York.
  George F. Fort, Governor of the State of New Jersey.
  Howell Cobb, Governor of the State of Georgia.


     THE CLERGY.

  Rt. Rev. Jonathan M. Wainright, D. D., Provisional Bishop of New York.
  Most Rev. John Hughes, D. D., Archbishop of New York.
  Rt. Rev. Henry J. Whitehouse, D. D., Bishop of Illinois.
  Gardiner Spring, D.D., William Adams, D.D., and others.


     THE JUDICIARY.

  Judge Betts, Judge Edmonds, Judge Oakley, Judge Roosevelt, Judge
  Sandford, Judge Emmett, etc.


     MILITARY, ETC.

  Major-General Sandford, Brigadier-General Hall, Brigadier-General
  Morris, with the Staff of the Major-General.


     FOREIGN COMMISSIONERS.

  Messrs. Whitworth and Wallace of the English Commission, were
  present. Lord Ellesmere we did not see; he had not arrived in town
  at ten o’clock. Lady Ellesmere and daughters were present.


     FOREIGN MINISTERS, ETC.

  General Almonte, Minister Plenipotentiary from Mexico.
  M. De Sartiges, Minister Plenipotentiary from France.
  M. De Osma, Minister Plenipotentiary from Peru.


     ON THE EAST PLATFORM.

  Officers of the Army and Navy, a considerable number.
  Officers of the “Leander.” (We are not sure that any were
  present--the ship is not here.)
  Foreign Consuls resident in the City--a number present.
  Judiciary of the Southern District of New York.
  Jacob A. Westervelt, Mayor of New York.
  Francis R. Tillon, Recorder of the City of New York.
  Richard T. Compton, President of the Board of Aldermen.
  Jonathan Trotter, President of the Board of Assistants.
  The Common Council were rather thinly represented in numbers.
  Isaac V. Fowler, Postmaster at New York.
  Rev. Dr. Ferris, Chancellor of the University.
  Charles King, LL. D., President of Columbia College.
  Members of the Press, the Clergy, Officers of the American
  Institute, etc., etc.

“We believe there was no Foreign Commissioner, who came from Europe to
be present at the Exhibition, but the Earl of Ellesmere. The absence of
this Commissioner yesterday was much to be regretted, the more so as he
was prevented from coming by indisposition. Lady Ellesmere and her two
daughters were present, however.

“There were two military bands--Dodsworth, stationed in the west
gallery; Bloomfield’s U. S. Band, in the south gallery, and an
orchestra, with Noll’s Military Band, and a grand chorus, accompanied
also by an organ, in the east gallery.

“The President, being detained by the storm, did not arrive at the
appointed time of one o’clock, being delayed till about an hour later.
When he did arrive, however, with his suite, civil and military, he was
warmly greeted by the people within the building, who amounted to some
20,000, as far as we could judge. The United States Band struck up ‘Hail
Columbia,’ and finished with ‘Yankee Doodle.’ This part of the day’s
proceedings was extremely interesting. When the shouts had died away,
and thousands of fair hands, waving their handkerchiefs, had exhausted
their first burst of enthusiasm, Bishop Wainright delivered, in a full,
round voice, his appropriate prayer.

“Then came stealing through the vast aisles the hymn of Old Hundred set
to semi-secular words. The effect where we stood under the dome was
mystically grand. It might be imagined to typify the voices of distant
nations rolling in harmonious vastness through the aisles, and bearing
the accents of gentleness and beneficence. Their artistic interpretation
was intrusted to the ladies and gentlemen of the Sacred Harmonic
Society, and admirably did they execute their task. Mr. George Bristow
was the conductor of the body. Mr. Timm, however, was the chief director
of all the musical arrangements. The hymn ran thus:

    “Here, where all climes their offerings send,
       Here, where all arts their tribute lay,
     Before Thy presence, Lord, we bend,
       And for Thy smile and blessing pray.

    “For Thou dost sway the tides of thought,
       And hold the issues in Thy hand,
     Of all that human toil has wrought,
       And all that human skill has plann’d.

    “Thou lead’st the restless Power of Mind
       O’er destiny’s untrodden field,
     And guid’st, wandering bold but blind,
       To mighty ends not yet revealed.

“Next Mr. Theodore Sedgwick, the President of the Crystal Palace
Association, rose and addressed President Pierce. The President replied
evidently impromptu, and his words were well chosen. He appeared
fatigued in the previous efforts he had made in public speaking during
his journey, and was very brief. Mr. Pierce, however, most favorably
impressed his auditory. He was fluent, earnest, and unabashed before so
vast an auditory. Mr. Sedgwick, when the President had finished,
proposed three cheers for the President, which were responded to by the
multitude.

“In the mere proprieties of the day the scene passed off well. The
speeches had the excellence of brevity; the music was fine and varied,
great rivalry evidently existing between the different bands and
orchestras; the audience was unexceptionable in its deportment; the
appearance of the feminine portion was brilliant, and it must be added
that the directors liberally provided a ladies’ refreshment room; the
attention of those in authority, the new uniformed police included, was
unremitting; the progress made in decorating, finishing, and arraying
the details of the building and its contents in the few last days, when
all seemed to promise disorder and defeat on the promised day of
opening, was a veritable wonder of industry; the arrangements of
tickets, places, entrance, exits, were admirable; the accommodations for
the corps of reporters were liberal and thoughtful; the positions of the
sculptural attractions were well chosen as to locality, light, and
combined effect; and in a word, the whole was arranged as to outward
show with a skill that was unsurpassable.

“It was a thing to be seen once in a lifetime. As we grow in wealth and
strength we may build a much greater Crystal Palace, and accumulate more
imperial-like treasures than we could now afford to purchase, but it
cannot have the effect of this one. This has been the first love of its
kind. The second cannot bring the exhilaration and glory of the first,
though exhausting the wealth of genius in its production. In this we
behold the first decided stand of America among the industrial and
artistic nations of the earth. In this we see a recognition of her
progress, power, and possibilities. In this we find a yearning after
Peace--Peace which shall dimple the face of the earth with the smiles of
plenty, which shall join the hearts of nations, which shall abolish
poverty and servitude. God’s earth loves Man to her innermost depths;
treat her well with Peace, and she will reward him as a generous mother:
abuse her with War and she will drive him from her presence. Such
history has proved; but we may fairly believe that the historical
vicissitudes of the past may be avoided in traveling the peaceful and
generous path pointed out by the Crystal Palace.”

The comments and eulogiums of orators and press upon this first American
World’s Fair were, of course, largely pitched in a tone that to-day is
interesting only in contrast. It is archaic, primitive, embryonic,
though not devoid of what has aptly been termed spread-eagleism. One
writer, however, discussed the theme with memorable eloquence, and in a
spirit of broad-minded philosophy that makes his almost every word as
appropriate to the great fair of 1893 as to that of forty years before.
“The exhibition,” he said, “must be particularly instructive to
Americans, because it will furnish them with evidences of a skill in
many branches of creation beyond their own, and of models of workmanship
which are superior precisely in those points in which their own are most
deficient. No one, we presume, will push his national predilections so
far as to deny that, in the finer characteristics of manufacture and
art, we have yet a vast deal to learn. Stupendous as our advances have
been in railroads, steamboats, canals, printing presses, hotels, and
agricultural implements--rapidly as we are growing in excellence in a
thousand departments of design and handicraft--astonishing as may be our
achievements, under all the difficulties of an adverse national
policy--adroit, ingenious, and energetic as we have shown ourselves in
those labors which have been demanded by the existing conditions of our
society, we have yet few fabrics equal to those of Manchester, few wares
equal to those of Birmingham and Sheffield, no silks like those of
Lyons, no jewelry like that of Geneva, no shawls like those of the East,
no mosaics like those of Italy. But, in our rapid physical
improvements--growing, as we are, in prosperity, in population, in
wealth, in luxuries of all kinds--these are the articles that we ought
to have, and must have to give diversity to our industry, to relieve us
from dependence upon other nations, to refine our taste, and to enable
the ornamental and elegant appliances of our life to keep pace with our
external development. Mere wealth, without the refinements of
wealth--barbaric ostentation, prodigal display, extravagant
self-indulgence--can only corrupt morals and degrade character. But the
cultivation of the finer arts redeems society from its grossness,
spreads an unconscious moderation and charm around it, softens the
asperities of human intercourse, elevates our ideals, and imparts a
sense of serene enjoyment to all social relations. Our common people,
immeasurably superior to the common people of other nations in easy
means of subsistence, in intelligence, as in the sterling virtues, are
yet almost as immeasurably behind them in polished and gentle manners,
and the love of music, painting, statuary, and all the more refining
social pleasures.

“These Exhibitions, then, which make us acquainted with the superlative
arts of other nations, cannot but be highly useful to us. But they have
also another use--a moral, if not a religious use, in that they teach us
so powerfully the dependence of nations upon each other--their mutual
relations, and the absolute necessity of each to the comfortable
existence of all the rest. There is hardly an article in the Crystal
Palace to which the labor of all the world has not in some sort
contributed--hardly a machine which is not an embodied record of the
industrial progress of the world--hardly a fabric which, analyzed, does
not carry us to the ends of the earth, or which does not connect us
intimately with the people of every clime--with the miners who tortured
its raw material from the dark cave, or the diver who brought it from
the bottom of the sea--with the solitary mariner who shielded it from
the tempests--with the poor, toil-worn mechanic who gave it form or
color, or with the artist who imparted to it its final finish. Thus, no
man liveth to himself alone, even in his most ordinary occupations; he
is part and parcel of us, as we are of him. A wonderful and touching
unity pervades the relations of the race; all men are useful to all men;
and we who fancy that, in some important respects, we stand on the
summit level of humanity, have a deep interest in the laborers of the
vales--in the celerity, the excellence and the success of what they do,
and in the comfort and happiness of their general condition. As Emerson
has wisely sung, in that sweet poem of his:

    ‘All are needed by each one;
     Nothing is fair or good alone.’

“There is also another thought suggested by our topic which contains a
world of meaning. We are apt to speak, in our discussions, of the

[Illustration: CHICAGO STREET LIFE, WASHINGTON STREET AND WABASH
AVENUE.]

progress of industry, but do we always ask ourselves wherein that
progress consists? Is it in the greater perfection to which, in modern
times, we have carried the works of our hands? Look at the elegant
tissues of Persia and India, or at the flexible blades of Toledo and
Damascus, and say in how far we have surpassed these works of
semi-barbarous ages and people, with all our boasted mechanical
improvements! Can we imagine anything more splendid, more rich, and more
delicate than the clothes in which the Oriental princes still array
themselves, as their forefathers used to array themselves centuries ago?
Have we yet a dye more brilliant than the Tyrian, a sculpture equal to
that of Greece, an architecture better than that of the ‘Dark Ages,’
paintings on glass to compare with those in the old cathedrals, workers
in bronze to rival a Cellini? Is it not the highest compliment that we
pay to a product of skill or genius to say of it that it is ‘classical,’
that it is worthy of the models that have been preserved for ages in our
galleries and museums? What then do we mean when we speak of ourselves
as more advanced than former nations; what is that difference between us
which authorizes us to use the word progress and to look back with a
complacent half-pitying eye upon the attainments of the generations that
have passed away?

“It is this: that in our discoveries in science, by our applications of
those discoveries to practical art, by the enormous increase of
mechanical power consequent upon mechanical invention, we have
_universalized_ all the beautiful and glorious results of industry and
skill, we have made them a common possession of the people, and given to
society at large, to almost the meanest member of it, the enjoyments,
the luxury, the elegance which in former times were the exclusive
privilege of kings and nobles. Formerly the labor of the world fed, and
clothed, and ornamented the Prince and his Court, or the warrior and his
chieftains--but now it feeds and clothes and ornaments the peasant and
his family. Then the ten thousand poor, miserable wretches worked for
the one, or the few, but now the ten thousand work for the ten thousand.
Then the wealth of provinces was drained to heap up splendors for the
lord of the province, but now that wealth is multiplied and diffused, to
give happiness to the commonalty. All the concentrated capital of Lyons,
and Leeds, and Lowell, all our complicated machinery, while it creates
new demands for human labor, is intended to cheapen manufacturing
products, as the effort of that cheapness is to put the fabrics of
woolen and silk within the reach of the poorest classes. Our books, at
this day, may not be individually superior to the books of the days of
Elzevir, but millions of men now possess books where hundreds only
possessed them formerly. Our vases and cups may not be more exquisitely
wrought than the vases and cups of Benevento Cellini, but they are
wrought, not like his, for Popes and Emperors, but for Smith and Jones,
and all the branches, collateral and direct, of the immense families of
Smith and Jones. Our roads are not built at a vast expense, for some
royal progress, or the passage of a conquering army, but are built to
roll from house to house the precious treasures of industry, or a happy
freight of excursionists, giving their hearts a holiday of merriment and
innocent delight.

“Our progress in these modern times, then, consists in this, that we
have democratized the means and appliances of a higher life; that we
have spread, far and wide, the civilizing influences of art; that we
have brought, and are bringing more and more the masses of the people up
to the aristocratic standard of taste and enjoyment, and so diffuse the
influence of splendor and grace over all minds. Grander powers have been
infused into society. A larger variety and a richer flavor have been
given to all our individual experiences; and, what is more, the barriers
that once separated our race, the intervals of time and space that made
almost every tribe and every family the enemy of every other tribe and
family have been annihilated to enable the common interests and common
enjoyments to renovate and warm us into amity of feeling and the
friendly rivalry of fellow-workmen pursuing, under different
circumstances, the same great ends.

“Legislation, rightly directed, might have done and might yet do much
for the civilization and advancement of society; but, unfortunately, in
most nations of the earth, the legislation, having been under the
exclusive control of a self-styled higher class, has impeded rather than
hastened the movement. Yet, in the face of this terrible obstacle, under
all the evils of the insular monopoly of Great Britain, seeking to
aggrandize her own manufacturing industry at the expense of the industry
of the rest of mankind, the genius of practical art has triumphed, and
will triumph still more over every difficulty. It is raising the laborer
to his true position; it is facilitating the association of men; it is
harmonizing their interests; and, whether legislation helps it or not,
it will ultimately redeem our race from dependence and slavery. And
herein is the chief reason why we to-day salute with satisfaction the
opening of the Crystal Palace.”

The Crystal Palace was not a financial success. Nearly a million dollars
were lost in the enterprise. Finally, on the evening of Tuesday, October
5th, 1858, the edifice was destroyed by fire, with most of its contents.
It was really not a very great conflagration, measured by others that
have occurred. Yet it meant the destruction of an entire World’s Fair
establishment, and was, in those times, something more than a nine
day’s wonder. “About five o’clock last evening,” said a next morning’s
paper, “smoke was seen issuing from a large room in the north nave, and
in front of the entrance on Forty-second Street, and in less than half
an hour thereafter, the Palace was a total wreck, and nothing now
remains of this edifice but a heap of unsightly ruins. The octagonal
turrets at each corner still remain standing, while here and there on
every side may be seen stacks of iron, the remains of staircases, and
portions of the framework composing the galleries.

“From the room above mentioned flames soon made their appearance, and
spread with incredible rapidity in every direction. There were about
2,000 persons scattered about the edifice at the time, all of whom, the
moment the alarm of ‘fire’ was raised, made a rush for the Sixth Avenue
entrance, the doors of which were thrown open. The entrance on Fortieth
Street was closed, there being no other means of ingress or egress
except on Sixth Avenue. Under the direction of ex-Captain Maynard and
several of the Directors of the Institute, the crowd of visitors were
conducted safely to the street, and no one that we have heard of was in
anywise injured. Some of the exhibitors endeavored to save their
property, but were forced to turn toward the door, and were soon
compelled to flee to the street. The amount of property saved is
comparatively trifling. Mr. Smith, an employee of the Institute, behaved
nobly. He was in charge of the jewelry department, and was engaged
repairing a case when the alarm was given. He finished the case and
closed the door and then went toward where the fire was. The smoke was
so dense that he almost suffocated. He saw the fire at the Forty-second
Street entrance and then ran back to the property that had been placed
in his charge, which property consisted of a quantity of watches valued
at several thousand dollars. Seizing the case, he dragged it from its
fastening along the gallery, down a flight of stairs, and thence out
into the street, the entrance at this point having at this time been
broken open. While on his way out, the dome was all in flames. The smoke
was so dense that he could see but a few feet either side of him, and he
is under the impression that he was the last man in the Palace before
the dome fell. A young man named Wallis, also in the employ of the
Institute, heard the alarm, and ran toward Smith, whom he desired to
break open the case with an axe, in order that the jewelry and watches
could be more readily got at, but Smith told him he would not do so.
Wallis was obliged to run to the street, the smoke nearly suffocating
him. The view from the street and neighboring buildings was very grand,
and thousands of persons thronged to the scene of conflagration.”

The Institute mentioned was the well-known American Institute, of New
York, which, after the close of the World’s Fair proper, had occupied
the Palace with its annual fair. It was reckoned that the total loss by
the fire was a million dollars, but the list of the chief exhibitors and
their individual losses, published next day, now looks absurdly meagre.
And thus passed out of existence the first Universal Exhibition of Art
and Industry ever held on the American Continent. When the next was
held, this was practically a new nation. The greatest war of modern
times had been fought and the National Constitution amended in many
important respects. Political and social changes of startling character
were visible on every hand. Material growth and development had been
achieved on a stupendous scale. Great inventions had been made. Every
circumstance, indeed, rendered it fitting and necessary that the second
World’s Fair should immeasurably exceed in all respects that which we
have just described.

When the World’s Fair of 1853 was opened in New York it was evident that
the American nation was nearing some great and important changes. When
the Crystal Palace was burned in 1858, the nation was on the very verge
of the “impending conflict” which had been long foreseen. The war came.
At its close America was a new nation. Its political, social, and
industrial systems were transformed. Its growth and expansion received
an enormous impetus. The influx of population and of ideas and arts from
other countries was many-fold greater than ever before. And thus it
approached the one-hundredth anniversary of its independence, and
preparations were made to commemorate the time with a second Universal
Exhibition.

The Centennial Exhibition, which was held in Philadelphia in 1876, was
the greatest fair the world had then seen. None of its predecessors had
equalled it in extent, or surpassed it in variety or general interest.
Paris, in 1867, had given a more compact and systematic display, and at
Vienna, in 1873, Oriental nations were more fully represented. But the
American Exhibition had many points of superiority over those. It showed
the natural products, industries, inventions, and arts of the Western
Hemisphere as they had never been shown before, and brought them for the
first time, in their fullness and perfection, in contrast with those of
the Old World. In the department of machinery it was incomparably
superior to all its predecessors, and also in that of farm implements
and products. In fine arts it did not contain as many really great
masterpieces as had been seen at Paris and Vienna, but it embraced a
wider representation of contemporary art from all parts of the world.
In general manufactures the display was much greater in quantity than
had ever before been attempted. And it greatly exceeded all other fairs
as a really international exhibition, for every civilized state on the
globe, excepting Greece and a few minor republics in Central and South
America, was represented.

About 236 acres of Fairmount Park in Philadelphia were occupied by the
Exhibition. The ground was admirably adapted for the purposes of the
Fair. It was an elevated plateau, with three spurs jutting out toward
the Schuylkill River. One of the three spurs was occupied by Memorial
Hall, containing the art exhibition, another by Horticultural Hall, and
the third by Agricultural Hall, while the broad plain where they joined
contained the Main Building, Machinery Hall, United States Government
Building, and about a hundred smaller structures. The grounds were
traversed by five main avenues, a belt-line railroad, and many miles of
minor walks. There was an extensive lake, and a splendid wealth of
lawns, flower beds, and groves.

The Main Building was the largest edifice in the world. It was 1,876
feet long and 464 feet wide, covering 21½ acres of ground. In the centre
were four square towers, 120 feet high. The facades at the end were 90
feet high, and the corner towers 75 feet. The central aisle was 1,832
feet long, 120 feet wide, and 70 feet high. The framework was of iron,
filled in with wood and glass. Nearly one-third of the space was
occupied by American exhibitors. Great Britain and her colonies occupied
the next largest area, with a display of enormous proportions and
dazzling brilliancy. A single firm of silversmiths sent half a million
dollars’ worth of wares. France and her colonies and the German Empire
were also splendidly represented. Other conspicuous exhibitors were
Holland, Belgium, Austria, Russia, Spain, Japan, Sweden and Norway,
Italy, and China. Mexico, Brazil, Switzerland, Portugal, Egypt, Turkey,
Denmark, Tunis, Chile, the Argentine Republic, Peru, the Orange Free
State, the Sandwich Islands, and Venezuela were also represented. Never
before had there been gathered together in one place such a
comprehensive display of the arts and industries of so many of the
peoples of the world.

Machinery Hall, which was especially devoted to machinery in motion, was
1,402 feet long and 360 feet wide, with an annex 208 by 210 feet for
hydraulic machinery. There were more than 10,000 feet of shafting for
conveying to the various machines the motive power generated by the huge
Corliss engine. This enormous machine had cylinders of 44 inches
diameter, and ten feet stroke, a fly-wheel 30 feet in diameter, and 56
tons in weight, making 36 revolutions per minute. There were 20 tubular
boilers of 70 horse-power each, and at 60 pounds pressure the work of
the engine was about 1,400 horse-power. This building contained by far
the largest and most varied display of working machinery that had at
that time ever been seen in the world.

Horticultural Hall was a graceful Moorish palace, largely built of
glass, and contained a magnificent exhibit of trees, shrubs, and flowers
from all parts of the world. Agricultural Hall consisted of a nave 826
feet long and 100 wide, crossed by three transepts, each 465 feet long,
and from 80 to 100 feet wide. The inclosed space was about 12 acres in
extent, and it contained a marvellous display of agricultural implements
and products from all parts of the world. Memorial Hall was intended as
a permanent building, and was constructed in substantial manner of
granite, glass, and iron. It is 365 feet long and 210 feet wide, with a
square tower at each corner, and a four-sided dome at the centre.
Besides these buildings the United States Government erected a vast
structure, 360 by 300 feet, for the display of the operations of its
various departments; many foreign governments had buildings of their
own; so had more than a score of the States; and there were also
buildings for the Judges, and for a great number of special industries.

The technical history of the enterprise may be briefly recounted as
follows: The Exhibition was really a natural outgrowth of the Universal
Exposition held at Paris in 1867. That affair was much the most
extensive international exhibition ever held up to that time, and its
brilliant success produced a marked impression throughout the civilized
world. Austria took immediate measures to rival it, and carried out her
ambitious plans six years later at Vienna. Among the many Americans who
saw the wonderful show on the banks of the Seine there were many who
expressed a desire to see an enterprise of the kind attempted in their
own country. It is believed that Gen. C. B. Norton, of New York, one of
the Commissioners to the Paris Exposition, was the first who suggested
the idea of a World’s Fair to commemorate the Centennial Anniversary of
American Independence. This he did while viewing the preparations for
the exposition in the Champs de Mars in company with Mr. Dudley S.
Gregory, of New York, in the summer of 1866. His plan was to hold the
exhibition in Central Park. Mr. Gregory returned in the fall and laid
the matter before the American Institute, but it does not appear that
any action was taken. The next agitation of the question was in June,
1868, when at a meeting of the Massachusetts exhibitors at Paris, held
in the Music Hall, Boston, for the distribution of the awards forwarded
by the French Government to this country, Dr. C. J. Jackson offered a
resolution in favor of an international exhibition in Washington, to
open July 4th, 1876. After some speech-making the resolution was
adopted. In the fall of the same year a meeting to forward the project
was held in New York under the chairmanship of Dr. G. B. Loring. A
committee of nine was appointed, but there the matter ended. New York
had failed to appreciate the grandeur and importance of the project.
Washington had a livelier comprehension, but was too poor to do anything
that involved expenditure.

It now remained for Philadelphia to come forward. In 1869 Mr. M. Richard
Muckle, of _The Philadelphia Ledger_, wrote a letter to President Grant,
urging the holding of a World’s Fair in the city where the Declaration
of Independence was signed, and this letter, widely published and
commented upon, fairly set the ball in motion. Soon after it appeared
the Franklin Institute and the Academy of Fine Arts memorialized
Congress on the subject, and the City Councils appointed a Centennial
Committee. In February, 1871, a committee from the New Jersey
Legislature visited Philadelphia to confer with the Councils, and in
April a delegation from Virginia came on the same errand. At the
instance of the Pennsylvania members, Congress took up the question in
the session of 1870-71, and on the 3d of March passed an act “to
provide for celebrating the One Hundredth Anniversary of American
Independence by holding an International Exhibition of arts,
manufactures, and products of the soil and mine in the City of
Philadelphia and State of Pennsylvania, in the year 1876.” Under this
act one hundred Commissioners were appointed; but it was found
impossible to assemble a quorum of this unwieldy body, and the
organization was changed by a supplementary act, providing for one
Commissioner and one alternate from each State and Territory, appointed
by the President on the nomination of the Governors. No money was
appropriated. In June, 1872, Congress passed another act, creating a
separate corporation, called the Board of Finance, to raise funds by
subscriptions throughout the country, and to take entire charge of the
finances of the Exhibition, which was made a stock concern, with a
capital of $10,000,000, in shares of $10 each. Large subscriptions were
at once obtained from the citizens of Philadelphia. The State of
Pennsylvania appropriated $1,000,000; the City of Philadelphia,
$1,500,000; the State of New Jersey, $100,000; and the States of
Delaware, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, $10,000 each. Subscriptions
amounting to about $250,000 were subsequently raised in New York City.
The business men of the New England States also contributed, but the
West gave almost nothing, and the South nothing. The aggregate amount
spent by foreign countries for the Exhibition was about $2,500,000.

On June 26th, 1873, Governor Hartranft informed the President that
provision had been made for erecting the buildings. Upon that
information the President, on July 3d of the same year, issued his
proclamation declaring that the Exhibition would be held in 1876.
Secretary Fish, on the 5th of July, informed the representatives of
foreign nations of the Exhibition, and invited them to participate.
Formal acceptances were received, before the beginning of 1876, from
Great Britain, France, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Holland,
Spain, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Egypt, Denmark, Turkey, Switzerland,
Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Argentine Confederation,
Sandwich Islands, China, Japan, Australia, Canada, Bolivia, Nicaragua,
Colombia, Liberia, Orange Free State, Equador, Guatemala, Salvador, and
Honduras. March 3d, 1875, Congress appropriated $505,000 for the
arrangement of an official Government display, of which $150,000 was to
be appropriated for the erection of a special building for the
Government Exhibition. On the 4th of July, 1873, the Commissioners of
Fairmount Park formally conveyed 450 acres of land at Lansdowne, in the
Park, for buildings and other purposes of the Exhibition.

In 1873 the Commission sent Professor W. P. Blake, of Connecticut, to
the Vienna Exhibition as a Special Commissioner to study and report upon
it. The General Director, Mr. A. T. Goshorn, also made a thorough
examination of that fair. Ground was broken for the Exhibition buildings
July 4th, 1874. Machinery Hall was completed in November, 1875,
Horticultural Hall and the Main Building in January, 1876, and Memorial
Hall and Agricultural Hall in April. In February, 1876, Congress
appropriated $1,500,000 to complete the payments for the buildings, and
thus enabled the Commission to open the Exhibition free from debt.

The formal opening of the Centennial Exhibition was effected on May
10th, 1876. At nine o’clock A.M. on that day the gates of the grounds,
with the exception of those at the east end of the Main Building, were
opened to the public at the established rate of admission of fifty cents
each. The Main Building, Memorial Hall, and Machinery Hall were reserved
for guests and exhibitors until the conclusion of the ceremonies, at
about one P.M., when all restrictions were withdrawn. The inaugural
ceremonies were conducted in the open air, on an area of about 300 by
700 feet between the Main Building and Memorial Hall. The concourse of
spectators within sight of the ceremonies, though largely not within
hearing distance, was more

[Illustration: ULYSSES S. GRANT.]

than 110,000. At an early hour a military parade moved from the city to
the exhibition grounds. At its head was the First Troop of Philadelphia
City Cavalry, acting as the bodyguard of the President of the United
States. This was followed by the Boston Cadets and the Boston Lancers,
escorting Governor Rice, of Massachusetts, and his staff. Governor
Hartranft, of Pennsylvania, and his staff came next, and were succeeded
by Major-General Bankson and a large body of Pennsylvania State troops.
No flags nor other ensigns were displayed on or about the buildings and
grounds until an appointed signal was given, and all the organs, bells,
and other musical instruments awaited in silence the same notice.

At 10.15 A.M. the huge orchestra of one hundred and fifty pieces, under
the direction of Mr. Theodore Thomas, began playing the various national
airs of the world. First was played “The Washington March,” after which
came the national music of the Argentine Republic, Austria, Belgium,
Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands,
Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey, concluding with
“Hail Columbia.” On the arrival of the President of the United
States--General U. S. Grant--accompanied by the Emperor Dom Pedro, of
Brazil, the Director General of the Exhibition, and other notable
personages, the “Centennial Inauguration March,” which had been composed
by Richard Wagner for the occasion, was performed. The Rev. Dr. Matthew
Simpson, Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, then offered prayer.
A hymn, written by John Greenleaf Whittier, was sung by the choir of one
thousand voices to music composed by John K. Paine, with organ and
orchestral accompaniment. John Welsh, President of the Centennial Board
of Finance, formally presented the buildings to the Centennial
Commission. A cantata, written by Sidney Lanier, of Georgia, with music
by Dudley Buck, was sung by the chorus, with solos by Myron W. Whitney.
General Joseph R. Hawley, President of the United States Centennial
Commission, formally presented the Exhibition to the President of the
United States, who responded in a brief address, closing with the words,
“I declare the International Exhibition now open.” At that moment a
thousand flags were unfurled on every hand, innumerable bells and
whistles were sounded, a salute of one hundred guns was fired, and
Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” was sung by the great choir, with organ and
orchestral accompaniment. Then the President and other distinguished
guests formed in a small procession and moved through the principal
buildings. In Machinery Hall the President and the Emperor of Brazil set
in motion the great engine and all the machinery connected therewith,
being assisted by Mr. George H. Corliss, the builder and giver of the
engine. Then the President and other guests were escorted to the Judges’
pavilion, where a brief reception was held. This concluded the opening
exercises, and thenceforth the grounds and buildings were open to the
public, at fifty cents admission, every week-day until November 10th,
when the Exhibition was closed.

A number of the State Governments arranged excursions to the Exhibition
by the State officers and citizens generally. These “State days,” as
they were termed, were as follows: New Jersey, August 24th; Connecticut,
September 7th; Massachusetts, September 14th; New York, September 21st;
Pennsylvania, September 28th; Rhode Island, October 5th; New Hampshire,
October 12th; Delaware and Maryland, October 19th; Ohio, October 26th;
and Vermont, October 27th.

The other principal events on the season’s calendar were as follows: May
23d, Session of True Templars; May 24th, Meeting of Judges of Awards;
May 30th, Decoration Day and Opening of the Bankers’ Building; June 1st,
Parade of Knights Templar; June 7th, Convention in Brewers’ Hall; June
12th, Women’s International Temperance Convention; June 15th, Dedication
of Ice Water Fountain by the Sons of Temperance; June 27th to July
10th, Encampment of the West Point Cadets; July 1st, Excursion of
Soldiers’ Orphans from Lincoln Home; July 4th, Centennial Celebration of
the Declaration of Independence and Dedication of the Catholic Total
Abstinence Beneficial Society’s Fountain; July 6th, 7th, 8th, 13th,
18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, Excursions given by the Philadelphia & Reading
Railroad to its Employees; July 15th, Encampment of the Columbus, Ohio,
Cadets; August 3d to 9th, Encampment of Pennsylvania Troops; August
30th, Excursion of Steinway & Sons’ Employees; August 22d, National and
International Rowing Matches began on the Schuylkill River; August 23d,
Parade of the Knights of Pythias; August 28th, Parade of Swiss Citizens;
August 29th, Reception by the Mayor of Philadelphia; September 1st to
October 18th, Live Stock Exhibitions; September 2d, Encampment of
Connecticut National Guard; September 4th, International Medical
Congress; September 20th, Odd Fellows’ Day; September 23d, International
Rifle Teams--Scotch, Irish, Australian, and American--visited the
Exhibition; September 28th, Grand Display of Fireworks; October 7th,
Encampment of Cadets of Virginia Military Institute; October 12th,
Dedication of Statue of Columbus; October 14th, Dedication of Statue of
Dr. Witherspoon; October 19th, Tournament; October 26th, Merchants’
Day; November 2d, Dedication of Statue to Bishop Allen by Colored
Citizens; November 7th, Reception by Women’s Centennial Executive
Committee; November 9th, International Pyrotechnic Contest; November
10th, Closing Ceremonies.

The United States Centennial Commission held an imposing commemoration
of the Centennial Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in
Independence Square on July 4th. The following was the programme of
exercises:

1. Grand Overture, “The Great Republic,” founded on the National Air,
“Hail Columbia,” and arranged for the occasion by the composer, George
F. Bristow, of New York; rendered by the orchestra under the direction
of Patrick Sarsfield Gilmore.

2. The President of the Commission, General Joseph R. Hawley, called the
assembly to order and announced the acting Vice-President of the United
States, Senator Thomas W. Ferry, as the presiding officer of the day in
the absence of the President of the United States.

3. Prayer by the Rev. Dr. William B. Stevens, Protestant Episcopal
Bishop of Pennsylvania.

4. Hymn, “Welcome to all Nations,” by Oliver Wendell Holmes, to the
music of Keller’s “National Hymn.”

5. Reading of the Declaration of Independence from the original
manuscript by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia.

6. Greeting from Brazil; a Hymn for the First Centennial of American
Independence, composed by A. C. Gomes, of Brazil, at the request of the
Emperor Dom Pedro; rendered by the orchestra.

7. Reading of “National Ode,” by Bayard Taylor.

8. Grand Triumphal March, with chorus, “Our National Banner;” words by
Dexter Smith, of Massachusetts, music by Sir Julius Benedict, of
England.

9. Oration, by William M. Evarts, of New York.

10. Hallelujah Chorus, from Handel’s “Messiah.”

11. Doxology, “The Old Hundredth Psalm.”

Space will not permit the printing here of the oration or other features
of the programme, with the exception of the hymn, “Welcome to All
Nations,” by Oliver Wendell Holmes, which was as follows:


I.

    Bright on the banners of lily and rose,
      Lo, the last sun of the century sets!
    Wreathe the black cannon that scowled on our foes,
      All but her friendships the nation forgets!
    All but her friends and their welcome forgets!
      These are around her, but where are her foes?
    Lo, while the sun of the century sets,
      Peace with her garlands of lily and rose!


II.

    Welcome! a shout like the war-trumpets swell,
      Wakes the wild echoes that slumber around!
    Welcome! it quivers from Liberty’s bell;
      Welcome! the walls of her temple resound!
    Hark! the gray walls of her temple resound!
      Fade the far voices o’er river and dell;
    Welcome! still whisper the echoes around;
      Welcome! still trembles on Liberty’s bell!


III.

    Thrones of the continents! Isles of the sea!
      Yours are the garlands of peace we entwine!
    Welcome once more to the land of the free,
      Shadowed alike by the palm and the pine,
    Softly they murmur, the palm and the pine,
      “Hushed is our strife in the land of the free.”
    Over your children their branches entwine,
      Thrones of the continents! Isles of the sea!

The distribution of awards to exhibitors occurred in the Judges’ Hall on
Wednesday, September 27th, with an interesting programme of music and
addresses.

On November 9th a farewell banquet was given to the Foreign
Commissioners and Judges of Awards by the Centennial Commission and
Board of Finance in St. George’s Hall. The guests on this occasion
included the Commissioners and Diplomatic Representatives of the nations
which had participated in the Exhibition, the Chief Justice and Judges
of the Supreme Court of the United States, a number of Senators and
members of the United States Congress, the Secretary of State and other
members of the Cabinet of the United States, the Governors of
Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Delaware, and New Jersey; the Mayor of
Philadelphia, the Presidents of the Philadelphia City Councils, and the
officers and members of the Fairmount Park Commission, the Centennial
Commission, and the Centennial Board of Finance. The President of the
United States was the presiding officer of the evening. During the
course of the banquet addresses were made by representatives of the
several bodies participating, and by Commissioners of each of the
foreign countries represented, each being introduced in turn by the
President of the Centennial Commission amid the applause of the guests.

The closing ceremonies of the Exhibition occurred on Friday, November
10th. They were to have been held like the opening exercises,
out-of-doors, but stormy weather made it necessary to hold them within
the Judges’ Hall. At sunrise a Federal salute of thirteen guns was
fired. The programme proper was opened with the Inauguration March,
composed by Richard Wagner, and performed by the orchestra under
Theodore Thomas. Prayer was offered by the Rev. Dr. Joseph A. Seiss.
Addresses followed by D. J. Morrell, United States Centennial
Commissioner from Pennsylvania, and Chairman of the Executive Committee;
John Welsh, President of the Centennial Board of Finance; A. T. Goshorn,
Director General, and Joseph R. Hawley, President of the United States
Centennial Commission; alternating with musical selections rendered by
the chorus and orchestra. After General Hawley’s address, the national
hymn, “My Country, ’tis of Thee,” was rendered by the orchestra, choir,
and general audience. During the singing, the American flag which was
carried by John Paul Jones on his frigate, the “Bon Homme Richard,” in
1779, was unfurled above the platform, and a salute of forty-seven guns
was fired. Then the President of the United States rose and said: “I now
declare the International Exhibition of 1876 closed.” General Hawley
said: “The President of the United States will now give the signal to
stop the great engine.” The President then waved his hand to a telegraph
operator, who instantly sent an electric message to the engineer in
Machinery Hall, and at exactly 3.40 o’clock P.M. the great engine ceased
to work. The singing of the Doxology by the choir and audience concluded
the ceremony.

It will be of interest to add, for purposes of record and reference,
some statistics regarding the Exhibition. Nearly all supplies of goods,
and nearly all visitors were brought to Philadelphia over the lines of
two railroad companies, the Pennsylvania, and the Philadelphia &
Reading. During 1874 these roads delivered at the Exhibition grounds
3,341 loaded freight cars; in 1875, 10,479; and in 1876, 6,340; a total
of 20,160 loaded cars bearing about 200,000 tons of freight. During the
continuance of the Exhibition there arrived at the Centennial station of
the Pennsylvania Railroad 23,972 passenger trains, and at the station of
the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad, 42,495. The average number of
trains daily was more than 410, and the average number of cars to each
train more than 6, giving accommodations in the whole number of trains
for over 20,000,000 passengers. The greatest service in one day at the
Pennsylvania depot comprised 250 trains of 2,004 cars, bearing 58,347
passengers; and at the Philadelphia & Reading station on the same day
370 trains of 2,867 cars, bearing 185,800 passengers; a total of 620
trains, 4,871 cars, and 244,147 passengers. During the entire
Exhibition there arrived at the Pennsylvania depot 1,392,697
passengers, and at the Philadelphia & Reading 1,726,010.

There were received at the Exhibition from all the countries of the
world 154,273 packages of goods, weighing 57,116,658 pounds; and there
were removed from the grounds at the close of the fair 58,700 packages,
weighing 27,041,271 pounds.

From May 10th to November 10th, 1876, there were admitted to the grounds
a grand total of 9,910,966 persons, from whom were received admission
fees amounting to $3,813,724.49. The largest number admitted on any day
was 274,919, on Pennsylvania Day, September 28th. The smallest number,
12,720, was admitted on Friday, May 12th. The largest number of persons
passing through a single gate in a single hour was 1,870. The day of the
week most popular among visitors was Thursday, with an average of 76,905
attendants, and the least popular was Monday, with an average of 50,051.

The total number of persons transported to and from the Exhibition was
19,821,932, of whom 3,574,528 came on local trains, 2,334,804 on
railroad trains from out of the city, 10,557,100 by tramways, 556,500 by
steamboat, 803,000 by carriages, and 1,996,000 on foot.



CHAPTER V.

THE COLUMBIAN EXHIBITION.


The New York World’s Fair of 1853 was the third universal exposition
ever held, and was almost exactly contemporaneous with the second. That
in Philadelphia in 1876 was the eighth. That in Chicago in 1893 will be
the fourteenth, and will surpass in size and interest all its
predecessors. As a rule, such exhibitions have been held simply to
stimulate commerce and manufactures and educate the public in the
progress of art and industry. One notable exception to this rule was
observed in 1876, when the Universal Exhibition at Philadelphia, besides
fulfilling those objects, also served to commemorate the centenary of
American Independence. So, too, the great fair at Chicago is to mark the
four hundredth anniversary of that memorable enterprise in which
Christopher Columbus found a new world, not only, as the legend oh his
banner declared, for Castile and Leon, but for civilization and for
humanity.

Great as was the advancement of the nation, material and otherwise,
between 1853 and 1876, it has been no less marked and impressive between
the latter date and the present time. The exhibition at Chicago,
accordingly, may be expected in like measure to surpass that at
Philadelphia in variety and extent. There are new inventions to display
which were unheard of in 1876, but which now are familiar as household
words. There are the fruits of the labor and skill of the many millions
who have been added to the population of America. There are the results
of experience and observation at the great fairs held in other lands.
There are innumerable circumstances and conditions combining to make
this by far the most important exhibition the world has yet seen.

During the years 1889 and 1890 there was much public discussion of the
proposed celebration of the fourth Columbian centenary. When a general
agreement was reached that it should chiefly take the form of a World’s
Fair, the question arose, in what city the enterprise should be placed.
Rivalry became exceedingly keen, especially between New York, Chicago,
and Washington, and presently it was seen that one of these three must
secure the prize. But which? Washington was the national capital, and
thus an appropriate site; it was accessible, it had magnificent grounds
for the purpose. As for New York, it was the metropolis, the business
and social capital, the chief port, the city of greatest size and wealth
and interest. In favor of Chicago it was urged that it was, with its
marvellous growth and enterprise, most truly representative of the
American spirit; that it was nearest to the centre of the country, and
that in point of general fitness it was second to no other. The ultimate
decision was left with Congress, and it was in favor of Chicago;
whereupon all rivalries were forgotten, and New York and the whole
nation joined loyally in the work of helping forward the gigantic
undertaking.

Congress and the President gave to the enterprise the stamp of official
sanction, and the State Department formally invited the nations of the
world to participate in the great exhibition. In response no less than
forty-nine nations and colonies sent prompt acceptances, and will
accordingly make exhibits, showing the advances made in the arts and
sciences and the progress generally of each in every field of human
endeavor. These are: Argentine Republic, Austria-Hungary, Belgium,
Bolivia, Brazil, China, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Danish
West Indies, Equador, France, Algeria, French Guiana, Germany, Great
Britain, Barbadoes, British Columbia, British Guiana, Honduras, Cape
Colony, Ceylon, Jamaica, New South Wales, New Zealand, Trinidad,
Guatemala, Hayti, British Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Dutch Guiana, Dutch
West Indies, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Persia, Peru, Russia, Salvador, San
Domingo, Siam, Spain, Cuba, Porto Rico, Turkey, Uruguay, Venezuela,
Zanzibar. Of course all the States and Territories of the Union will
also be fully represented, with displays that will surpass by far those
made at Philadelphia in 1876.

It is fitting to take at least a brief glance at the extraordinary city
in which this latest and greatest Universal Exhibition is to be
held--extraordinary both in its history and in its present status. The
first white man who trod its soil was the famous French missionary,
Father Marquette. He went thither in 1673. Later, La Salle, Joliet,
Hennepin, and others visited the region; but none of them made any
settlement there. Indeed, while Boston, New York, Philadelphia,
Baltimore, and other cities were attaining great size and almost
venerable age, the site of this Western metropolis remained a
wilderness. In 1804, however, the Government established a frontier
military post at the mouth of the Chicago River, calling it Fort
Dearborn. The little garrison remained there eight years and then, in
1812, was annihilated by the Indians, though a few other white settlers
survived and held their ground. The next attempt at settlement occurred
in 1829, when James Thompson surveyed the site for a proposed town. On
August 10th, 1833, the settlement was incorporated, there being
twenty-eight legal voters. On March 4th, 1837, a city charter was
obtained, and thenceforth the growth of the place was rapid and
substantial beyond all imagination. In 1840 the population was 4,479; in
1850 it was 28,269; in 1860 it was 112,172; and 1870 it was 298,977.

In the fall of 1871 occurred an event notable not only in the history of
Chicago, but of the whole world. A little before midnight, on October
9th, a fire broke out, at the corner of De Koven and Jefferson Streets.
The weather for weeks had been dry, and a high wind prevailed. Before
daylight the fire had burned its way to Lincoln Park, nearly four miles;
and by the following afternoon it had spread over 2,100 acres, 100,000
people were homeless, and $200,000,000 worth of property was destroyed.
The business part of the city was a waste of ashes. With characteristic
generosity the whole country sprang to the relief of the stricken city.
A fund of nearly $5,000,000 was quickly collected, and the work of
succoring the needy and re-building the city was begun. Within two
years, almost every trace of the stupendous calamity had vanished, and
the growth of the city proceeded even more swiftly than before. In 1880
its population was 503,185, and in 1890 it had been swelled to the
enormous total of 1,098,576--the second city of the Union. Its growth is
at the rate of more than 1,000 per week.

When it was incorporated, Chicago covered an area of two and a half
square miles; now it

[Illustration: THE CAPITOL.]

covers 181.7 square miles. Its lake front is 22 miles, and its frontage
on the river 58 miles. It has more than 2,230 miles of streets, mostly
broad and well paved. Its water supply is drawn from away out in Lake
Michigan, and amounts to a hundred gallons daily for each inhabitant,
though the works are capable of furnishing twice that quantity.
Twenty-six independent railroad lines enter the city, making it the
greatest railroad centre in America. The principal roads are the
Atchinson, Topeka & Santa Fé, Baltimore & Ohio, Chicago, Burlington &
Quincy, Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific,
Chicago, St. Paul & Kansas City; Chicago & Alton, Chicago & Eastern
Illinois, Chicago & Grand Trunk, Chicago & Northern Pacific, Chicago &
Northwestern, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis; Illinois
Central, Lake Shore & Michigan Southern, Louisville, New Albany &
Chicago; Michigan Central, connecting with other Vanderbilt roads; New
York, Lake Erie & Western; Northern Pacific, Pennsylvania, Union
Pacific, Wabash, and Wisconsin Central.

Nor is Chicago lacking in facilities for transportation by water. Its
situation gives it easy access to all the commercial activities of the
great lake system; and it has direct water communication by way of the
St. Lawrence River with Montreal, and by the Erie Canal and Hudson
River with New York. In the year 1890 the arrivals and clearances at
Chicago numbered 18,472, aggregating a tonnage of 8,774,154 tons. About
25 per cent. of the entire lake-carrying trade belongs to Chicago.

There is, moreover, connection with the Mississippi River by way of the
Illinois and Michigan Canal, the annual traffic amounting to about
1,000,000 tons.

In a city of such rapid growth as Chicago, dealing in real estate and
the construction of buildings are important departments of business.
Thus, in 1890 a total of 11,608 buildings were erected in the city,
having a gross frontage of more than fifty miles, and costing
$47,322,100. During the same year the transactions in real estate
aggregated $227,486,959.

The general business of Chicago can only be stated by the use of figures
too vast for human comprehension. No man, for example, can appreciate
what “a billion dollars” means. Well, the commerce of Chicago in 1890
amounted to more than that, in fact, to $1,380,000,000. Much of this
came from the grain farms of the Northwest, for Chicago is the greatest
grain market in the world. According to its Board of Trade reports, the
city in the year 1890 received 15,133,971 bushels of barley and shipped
9,470,221; received 81,117,251 bushels of corn and shipped 90,556,109;
received 4,358,058 barrels of flour and shipped 4,410,535; received
13,366,699 bushels of wheat and shipped 11,975,276; received 64,430,560
bushels of oats and shipped 70,768,222; received 2,946,720 bushels of
rye and shipped 3,280,433; received 6,244,847 bushels of flaxseed and
shipped 6,594,581; received 72,102,031 pounds of grass seed and shipped
59,213,035; received 7,663,828 live hogs and shipped 1,985,700; received
77,985 pounds of pork and shipped 392,786; received 147,475,267 pounds
of lard and shipped 471,910,128; received 300,198,241 pounds of cured
meats and shipped 823,801,460; received 109,704,834 pounds of dressed
beef and shipped 964,134,807.

In the same year 2,219,312 head of cattle, and 5,733,082 hogs were
slaughtered. Sales of lumber were 2,050,000,000 feet. The breweries
produced 2,250,000 barrels of beer. The general jobbing trade aggregated
$486,600,000, of which $93,730,000 was in dry goods, groceries coming
next with a volume of $56,700,000; boots and shoes, $25,900,00;
clothing, $21,500,000; manufactured iron, $5,680,000; tobacco and
cigars, $10,850,000; music books and sheet music, $22,000,000; books,
stationery, and wall-paper, $25,500,000; pig-iron, $20,035,000; coal,
$25,075,000; hardware and cutlery, $17,500,000; liquors, $13,800,000;
jewelry, watches and diamonds, $20,400,000, and other lines in smaller
proportions.

Nor does this marvellous city lag behind in manufactures. The statistics
of 1890 show 3,250 factories, with $190,000,000 capital; 177,000
workmen, $96,200,000 wages, and a total output valued at $538,000,000.
The iron industry alone employed 34,000 workmen, who received
$18,500,000 in wages.

To meet the needs of this vast volume of business, extensive banking
facilities are required. The total of bank clearances in Chicago in 1890
was $4,093,145,904.

Figures are dry reading. But these few statistics are necessary to show
what manner of city is this Western metropolis in which the greatest
exhibition of the world’s industry is to be held. How the city was
selected has already been told. The conditions on which the work was
carried forward may be well explained in the words of W. T. Baker, the
President of the Local Board of Commissioners: “The Act of Congress,
approved April 25th, 1890, providing for the Exposition, states in the
preamble that ‘such an exhibition should be of a national and
international character, so that not only the people of our Union and
this continent, but those of all nations as well can participate.’ And
to carry out this intention the Congress provided two agents to do its
will. The first is a commission consisting of two Commissioners from
each State and Territory in the United States, appointed by the
President on the nomination of the Governors of the State and
Territories respectively, and eight Commissioners-at-Large appointed by
the President. The board so constituted was designated the World’s
Columbian Commission. The duties of the Commission relate to exhibits
and exhibitors, or, as stated in the act, ‘to prepare a classification
of exhibits, determine the plan and scope of the Exposition, appoint all
judges and examiners for the Exposition, award all premiums, if any, and
generally have charge of all intercourse with exhibitors and
representatives of foreign nations.’

“The other agent recognized by the Act of Congress is the World’s
Columbian Exposition, a corporation organized under the laws of the
State of Illinois. This corporation had to do mainly with ways and
means, the erection of buildings, the maintenance, protection, and
policing of the same, the granting of concessions, the collection and
disbursements of all its revenues, and fixing the rules governing the
Exposition. It is composed of upward of 28,000 stockholders, and is
controlled by a board of forty-five directors. Those directors have been
chosen from among the active business men of Chicago, and are every one
of them men who have made an honorable success of the pursuits which
they have followed in finance, commerce, and manufactures, and are
giving their time and their best energies to the success of the
Exposition. Their names are many of them known wherever American
commerce has been permitted to extend. The Board of Directors is divided
into thirteen standing Committees having jurisdiction over the several
departments of the commission, and the directory and all expenditures
are directed and scrutinized by them as closely as is done in the
private affairs of the best managed mercantile establishments.

“The jurisdiction of these two bodies, as to the details of the work,
somewhat embarrassing at the outset, was settled by a compact between
them, and they work together harmoniously and effectively. Under this
compact fifteen grand departments were determined upon, the heads of
which are appointed by the Director General, who is the executive
officer of the commission, and all expenses, except the salary of the
Director General, are paid by the World’s Columbian Exposition Company.”

In order that the City of Chicago might enjoy the honor conferred upon
her by having the Exhibition held there, she was required to furnish an
adequate site, acceptable to the National Commission, and $10,000,000 in
money, which sum was, in the language of the Acts of Congress,
considered necessary and sufficient for the complete preparation for the
Exhibition. This obligation the citizens of Chicago met promptly. A
suitable site and $10,000,000 were provided, and, on evidence thereof,
the President of the United States issued his proclamation, inviting the
nations of the earth to participate in the Exhibition. The $10,000,000
was secured, first, by subscriptions to the capital stock of the
corporation to the amount of more than $5,000,000, and a municipal
appropriation to the City of Chicago of $5,000,000. People of all
classes subscribed to the capital stock, from the richest millionaires
to the poorest wage-earners, and the entire sum of $5,000,000 was
subscribed in a very short time. An additional issue of stock was made,
and it also was rapidly taken up, until the popular subscriptions
aggregated nearly $8,000,000. This, with the municipal appropriation,
placed about $13,000,000 in the treasury of the Exhibition. But, as the
work went on, the original plans were enlarged in this direction and in
that, until it was seen that the original estimate of $10,000,000 was
absurdly inadequate. Accordingly a loan of $5,000,000 was asked from the
general Government, to bring the total funds up to $18,000,000.

The projectors of the Exhibition estimate that the total receipts from
admission tickets will amount to at least $7,000,000. This is not
deemed excessive, as will be appreciated from the fact that it is at the
rate of less than $1,200,000 a month, $300,000 a week, or $50,000 a day,
not including Sundays. The Exhibition is to be open at night as well as
day, and in Chicago and within a radius of a few hours’ journey from it
there are more than 2,000,000 people to draw from, not taking into
account visitors from a distance. With $7,000,000 gate receipts,
$2,000,000 from salvage, and $1,000,000 from leasing of privileges on
the grounds, the income of the Exhibition would reach $10,000,000. From
this it is proposed to repay the Government its $5,000,000, and to
divide the remainder among the subscribers to the capital stock. The
city’s appropriation of $5,000,000 is an absolute gift, and is not to be
repaid.

But even these vast sums represent only a portion of the money that will
be expended upon the Columbian Exhibition. The United States Government
will spend about $2,000,000. The State of Illinois appropriates about
$800,000; Pennsylvania, $350,000; Iowa and Ohio, $250,000 each, and the
other States from that sum down to $100,000. The aggregate expenditures
of the various States will, therefore, amount to nearly $6,000,000, or,
with the National appropriation, nearly $8,000,000. Foreign nations will
expend from $4,000,000 to $5,000,000. Vast sums will also be contributed
by private enterprise, so that it has been not unreasonably estimated
that the total outlay upon the Exhibition will be somewhere between
$35,000,000 and $40,000,000.

How much money will be expended in the city of Chicago, at the hotels
and elsewhere, by visitors; how much will be paid for railroad
transportation by visitors from other parts of the country, and how much
money will be brought into and spent in the United States by visitors
from abroad, are sums that can be dealt with only by the most vivid
imagination. Some little idea of them may be obtained from the following
facts: According to an official estimate made to the Department of State
some years ago by a United States Consul in Germany, the annual amount
of American money taken to Europe by Americans and spent there, for
purposes of travel, pleasure, art, and education was $105,000,000. That
was a number of years ago. The present annual average is probably more
than $125,000,000, and it has been reckoned by competent judges that in
1889, owing to the Paris Exposition, it reached $200,000,000. It is
reasonable to suppose that a very considerable return tide of wealth
will, in 1893, set toward the American shore.

Some comparison with the World’s Fairs previously held in other
countries may be of interest at this point. The acreage of the grounds
of various Exhibitions, has been as follows: London, 1851, 21½; Paris,
1867, 87; Vienna, 1873, 280; Philadelphia, 1876, 236; Paris, 1889, 173;
and Chicago, 1893, 1,037. The number of square feet under the roofs of
the buildings are thus stated: London, 1851, 700,000; Paris, 1867,
3,371,904; Philadelphia, 1876, 1,688,858; Paris, 1889, 1,000,000; and
Chicago, 1893, 5,000,000. The number of exhibitors have been: London,
1851, 17,000; Paris, 1867, 52,000; Vienna, 1873, 42,000; Philadelphia,
1876, 30,864; and Paris, 1889, 55,000. The number of days on which the
exhibitions were open, were: London, 1851, 144; Paris, 1867, 217;
Vienna, 1873, 186; Philadelphia, 1876, 159; Paris, 1889, 183, and
Chicago, 1893, 179 days. The number of admissions in London in 1851,
were 6,039,195; Paris, 1867, 10,200,000; Vienna, 1873, 7,254,687;
Philadelphia, 1876, 9,910,996, and Paris, 1889, 28,149,353. Finally the
receipts in London, in 1851, were $1,780,000; Paris, 1867, $2,103,675;
Philadelphia, 1876, $3,813,724, and Paris, 1889, $8,300,000.

A recent official statement of the dimensions of the various buildings,
and the total cost of buildings and grounds, under the direct control of
the Exposition management, together with the estimated operating
expenses, is as follows:

                        Dimensions   Area in      Cost.
  Buildings.             in feet.     acres.

  Mines and Mining,     350 x 700      5.6      $260,000
  Manufactures and
    Liberal Arts,       787 x 1687    30.5     1,000,000
  Horticultural,        250 x 1000     5.8       300,000
  Electricity,          345 x  700     5.5       375,000
  Woman’s,              200 x  400     1.8       120,000
  Transportation,       250 x  960     5.5       280,000
  Administration,       260 x  260     1.6       450,000
  Fish and Fisheries,   163 x  363     1.4 }     200,000
    Annexes (2),        135 diam.       .8 }
  Agriculture,          500 x  800     9.2       540,000
    Annex,              328 x  500     3.8 }     200,000
    Assembly Hall, etc. 450 x  500     5.2 }
  Machinery,            500 x  800     9.8 }
    Annex,              490 x  551     6.2 }   1,200,000
  Power Horse,           80 x  600     1.1 }
  Fine Arts,            320 x  500     3.7 }     500,000
    Annexes (2),        120 x  200     1.1 }
  Forestry,             200 x  500     2.3       100,000
  Saw Mill,             125 x  300      .9        35,000
  Dairy,                 95 x  200      .5        30,000
  Live Stock (2),        53 x  330     1.3 }     150,000
      “     Sheds,                    40.0 }
  Casino,               175 x  300     1.2       150,000
                                    ------    ----------
                                     144.8    $5,890,000

  Grading, filling, etc.,                        450,000
  Landscape gardening,                           323,490
  Viaducts and bridges,                         125,000
  Piers,                                          70,000
  Waterway Improvements,                         225,000
  Railways,                                      500,000
  Steam plant,                                   800,000
  Electricity,                                 1,500,000
  Statuary on buildings,                         100,000
  Vases, lamps and posts,                         50,000
  Seating,                                         8,000
  Water supply, sewerage, etc.,              600,000
  Improvement of lake front,                     200,000
  World’s Congress auxiliary,                    200,000
  Construction department expenses,              520,000
  Organization and administration,             3,308,563
  Operating expenses,                          1,550,000
                                             -----------
                                             $16,420,053

To this are to be added a few other items, making a total of over
$17,000,000.

The site chosen for the Columbian Exhibition is a truly magnificent one.
No World’s Fair ever had one surpassing if equalling it. It embraces
Jackson Park and Washington Park, and the Midway Plaisance, a strip 600
feet wide connecting the two parks. Jackson Park, where nearly all of
the buildings will be, is beautifully situated on the shore of Lake
Michigan, having a lake frontage of two miles and an area of 586 acres.
Washington Park contains 371 acres, and the Midway Plaisance, 80 acres.
Upon these parks previously to their selection for the World’s Fair
site, $4,000,000 was spent in laying out the grounds and beautifying
them. The Exhibition company will spend more than $1,000,000 additional
for similar purposes. These parks are connected with the central portion
of the city of Chicago and with the general park and boulevard system by
more than 35 miles of boulevards from 100 to 300 feet in width. The
Midway Plaisance is a popular driveway to the upper end of Jackson Park,
and is a broad and spacious avenue richly embellished with trees and
shrubs. The inclosed portion of it connected with the Exhibition grounds
will run directly eastward and throughout its entire length will present
some of the most picturesque and novel effects of the whole fair. There
will be a “Street in Constantinople,” a “Street in Cairo,” and other
reproductions of Old World scenes. There will be a most graphic
reproduction of an American Indian camp, showing the red man in his
natural state. Then there will be two acres devoted to the American
Indian as he is to be seen under the paternal care of the government.
Types of all the leading tribes will be portrayed in their native
habitations and engaged in their characteristic industries. Thus the
perspective along the Plaisance, whether viewed from the ground or from
an elevation, will be a singularly attractive one. In the two parks
hundreds of thousands of trees and shrubs have been planted and
transplanted, so that the great Exhibition will have such a setting of
natural beauty as none of its predecessors ever enjoyed.

The engineers as well as the landscape gardeners and architects, have
been set effectively to work. Twenty miles of water pipes have been laid
to provide a supply of 64,000,000 gallons daily. For supplying power to
machinery there are boilers and engines of 25,000 horse-power and for
generating electricity, 18,000 horse-power; for driving small
independent exhibits, 2,000 horse-power, for pumps 2,000 horse-power and
for compressed air, 3,000 horse-power. The lighting of the grounds and
buildings will require the use of 7,000 electric arc lights and 100,000
incandescent lamps. Preparations have been made for disposing of
6,000,000 gallons of sewage every 24 hours. Contracts for the work of
construction have been let to the lowest competent bidders wherever
found. They have thus been awarded in Philadelphia, New York, and
Boston; in San Francisco, Seattle, and Omaha; in Minneapolis and Duluth;
in Kansas City and St. Louis; in Leavenworth and Louisville; in
Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh; in Birmingham, Alabama;
in Wilmington, Delaware; in Plainfield, New Jersey; in Jackson,
Michigan; and in Stamford, Connecticut. This is a slight indication of
the national character of the work. Its international character is also
shown by the awarding of contracts in London, Paris, Berlin, Rome,
Edinburgh, Florence, and Constantinople.

But with such characteristic energy is the work of construction now
being pushed that the completed buildings may be spoken of in the
present rather than in the future tense. A brief description of the most
important of them will not come here amiss:

One of the finest structures on the Exhibition Grounds is the
Agricultural Building, as befits the foremost agricultural nation on the
globe. It stands near the shore of the lake, almost surrounded by the
lagoons. The style of architecture is classic renaissance, and the
building is 500 by 800 feet in ground area. It consists of a single
story, with a cornice line 65 feet above the ground. Huge Corinthian
pillars flank the main entrance, each 50 feet high and 5 feet in
diameter. At each corner and from the centre of the building rise huge
pavilions, that at the centre being 144 feet square. The four corner
pavilions are connected by curtains, forming a continuous arcade around
the top of the building. The main entrance leads through an opening 64
feet wide into a vestibule, and thence into the rotunda, 100 feet in
diameter, surmounted by a glass dome 130 feet high. The corner pavilions
are surmounted by domes 96 feet high.

At the south side of the Agricultural Building is another vast
structure, devoted principally to a Live Stock and Agricultural Assembly
Hall. This is to be the common meeting-point for all persons interested
in live stock and agricultural pursuits. This building contains a fine
lecture-room, with a seating capacity of about 1,500, in which lectures
will be delivered and conferences held on topics connected with live
stock, agriculture, and allied industries.

The Forestry Building stands near the Agricultural Building, and is the
most unique of all the Exhibition structures. Its ground area is 200 by
500 feet. On all four sides is a veranda, the roof of which is supported
by a colonnade, each column of which consists of three tree-trunks, each
25 feet long. These trunks are in their natural state, with the bark
undisturbed. They were contributed by the different States and
Territories of the Union, and by various foreign countries, each
furnishing specimens of its most characteristic trees. The walls of the
building are covered with slabs of logs with the bark removed. The roof
is thatched with bark. Within, the building is finished in a great
variety of woods so treated as to show, to the best advantage, their
graining, their colors, their susceptibility to polish, etc. It will
contain a wonderful exhibition of forest products in general, doubtless
the most complete ever seen

[Illustration: BEAR PIT (LINCOLN PARK).]

in the world, including logs and sections of trees, worked lumber in the
form of beams, planks, shingles, etc., dye-woods and barks, mosses,
gums, resins, vegetable ivory, rattan, willow-ware, and wooden-ware
generally, etc. There will also be a large exhibit of saw-mill and
wood-working machinery, including four complete saw-mills, which will be
seen in an annex attached to the Forestry Building.

Close by the Forestry Building is the Dairy Building, which will contain
not only a complete exhibit of dairy products, but also a dairy school,
in connection with which will be conducted a series of tests for
determining the relative merits of different breeds of dairy cattle as
producers of milk and butter. This structure stands near the lake shore
and is 95 by 200 feet in area, and two stories high. On the first floor,
besides office headquarters, there is a large room devoted to exhibits
of butter, and further back an operating room, in which a model dairy
will be conducted. On two sides of this room are seats for 400
spectators, to witness the operations of the model dairy. In a gallery
about this room will be the exhibits of cheese.

The Horticultural Building stands immediately south of the entrance to
Jackson Park from the Midway Plaisance, facing on the lagoon. Between it
and the lagoon is a terrace devoted to out-door exhibits of flowers and
plants, including large tanks for various lilies and other aquatic
plants. The building is 1,000 feet long and 250 feet wide, consisting of
a central pavilion with two end pavilions, each of the latter connected
with the central one by front and rear curtains, forming two interior
courts, each 88 by 270 feet. These courts are planted with ornamental
shrubs and flowers. Over the central pavilion rises a glass dome 187
feet in diameter, and 113 feet high, under which will be exhibited the
tallest palms and tree ferns that can be procured. The building will be
devoted to exhibition of flowers, plants, vines, seeds, horticultural
implements, and all allied objects and industries.

The enormous mining industries of America, apart from those of the rest
of the world, would call for much space for their proper accommodation.
The Hall of Mines and Mining stands at the southern extremity of the
western lagoon, and is 700 feet long by 350 wide. Its architecture is
early Italian renaissance. Within it consists of a single story
surrounded by galleries 60 feet wide. There is thus a huge interior
space 630 feet long and 230 feet wide, with an extreme height of 100
feet at the centre and 40 feet at the sides. It is spanned by a steel
cantilever roof, abundantly lighted with glass.

The Fine Arts Building is a noble specimen of classic Grecian
architecture. Its area is 500 by 320 feet, divided within by nave and
transepts 100 feet wide and 70 feet high, at the intersection of which
is a dome 60 feet in diameter. The top of the dome is 125 feet above the
ground, and is surmounted by a colossal statue representing a Winged
Victory. The building is beautifully located in the northern part of the
park, the south front facing the lagoon, from which it is separated by
beautiful terraces, ornamented with balustrades. A huge flight of steps
leads from the main entrance down to the water’s edge. The north front
faces a wide lawn and a group of State buildings. The grounds about it
are richly ornamented with groups of statues, and other artistic works.

The great development in late years of electrical science calls for a
large building in which to display one of the most novel and brilliant
of all the exhibits in the fair. The Electrical Building, 345 feet wide
and 700 feet long, has its south front on the great Quadrangle, its
north front on the lagoon, its east front toward the Manufactures
Building, and its west front toward the Hall of Mines and Mining. Its
plan comprises a longitudinal nave 115 feet wide and 114 feet high, with
a central transept of the same dimensions. These have a pitched roof.
The remainder of the building, filling the external angles of the nave
and transept, is 62 feet high with a flat roof. The outer walls are
composed of a continuous series of Corinthian pilasters resting upon a
stylobate, and supporting a massive entablature. At the centre of the
north side is a pavilion flanked by two towers 195 feet high. At its
centre is a huge semicircular window, above which, 102 feet from the
ground, is an open gallery commanding a splendid view of the lake and
park. At the south side is a vast niche 78 feet wide and 103 feet high,
its opening framed by a semicircular arch. In the centre of this niche,
upon a lofty pedestal, is a colossal statue of Franklin. The east and
west central pavilions are composed of towers 168 feet high. At each of
the four corners of the building is a pavilion with a tower 169 feet
high. The building also bears 54 lofty masts, from which banners will be
displayed by day and electric lamps at night.

The Fisheries Building consists of a large central structure with two
smaller polygonal buildings connected with it on either end by arcades.
The total length is 1,100 feet, and the width 200 feet. In the central
portion will be the general fisheries exhibit; in one of the polygonal
buildings the angling exhibit, and in the other the aquaria. The
external architecture is Spanish Romanesque. The ingenuity of the
architect has designed after fishes and other sea forms all the
capitals, medallions, brackets, cornices, and other ornamental details.
The aquaria will contain about 140,000 gallons of water, 40,000 of it
being salt. They will consist of a series of ten tanks, with glass
fronts to afford an easy view of their contents.

The contribution of the United States Naval Department is one of the
most novel ever seen at any World’s Fair. It is comprised in a structure
which, to all outward appearance, is one of the newest and most powerful
ships of war. This is, however, only an imitation battle-ship, composed
of masonry and resting on piling in the lake. It has all the fittings
that belong to an actual ship, such as guns, turrets, torpedo tubes,
nets and booms, anchors, chain cables, davits, awnings, smoke-stacks, a
military mast, etc., together with all appliances for working the same.
Near the top of the military masts are shelters for sharpshooters in
which are mounted rapid firing guns. The battery consists of four
13-inch breech loading rifles, eight 8-inch rifles, four 6-inch rifles,
twenty 6-pounder rapid firing guns, six 1-pound rapid firing guns, two
Gatling guns, and six torpedo tubes. These are all placed and mounted
exactly as in a genuine battle-ship. All along the starboard side is a
torpedo protection net. The entire structure is 348 feet long and 69
feet 3 inches wide. It will be manned during the Exhibition by officers
and men detailed by the Navy Department who will give boat, torpedo,
and gun drills and maintain the discipline and mode of life to be
observed on the real vessels of the Navy.

The Woman’s Building, which was fittingly designed by a woman, is
architecturally one of the most attractive. It is encompassed by
luxuriant shrubbery and beds of flowers with a background of stately
forest trees, and faces the great lagoon. Between the building and the
lagoon are two terraces ornamented with balustrades and crossed by
splendid flights of steps. The principal façade of the building is 400
feet long and the depth of the building is 200 feet. The architecture is
Italian renaissance. The main grouping consists of a centre pavilion,
flanked at each end by corner pavilions, connected in the first story by
open arcades in the curtains, forming a shaded promenade extending the
whole length of the building. The structure throughout is two stories
high, with a total elevation of 60 feet. At the centre is a fine
rotunda, 65 by 70 feet, crowned with a richly ornamented skylight. The
building contains a model hospital, a model kindergarten, a model
kitchen, a library, refreshment rooms, a great assembly room, and other
departments for displaying the varied industries in which women are
especially interested.

It is impossible here to describe in detail the architectural features
or the marvellous contents of the great Machinery Hall. It is one of
the most splendid structures on the grounds, measuring 850 by 500 feet
in ground area, and standing at the extreme south end of the Park, just
south of the Administration Building, and west from the Agricultural
Building, from which it is separated by a lagoon. The general design of
its interior is that of three enormous railroad train houses side by
side, each spanned by trussed arches, and surrounded on all four sides
by a gallery, 50 feet wide. The bulk of the machinery exhibited will be
placed in this edifice and its large annex.

The building devoted to displays of Manufactures and Liberals Arts is
the largest of all. Its ground area measures 1,687 by 787 feet, or
nearly 31 acres. Within a gallery 50 feet wide extends around all the
four sides, and projecting from this are 86 smaller galleries, 12 feet
wide. These are reached from the main floor by 30 staircases, each 12
feet wide. An aisle 50 feet wide, called Columbia Avenue, extends from
end to end of the building, and a transept of similar width crosses it
at the centre. The main roof is of iron and glass, and its ridge pole is
150 feet from the ground. It covers an area 1,400 by 385 feet. The
actual floor space of the building, including galleries, is about 40
acres. The general style of architecture is Corinthian, with almost
endless arrays of columns and arches. There are four great entrances,
one in the centre of each façade. These have the appearance of triumphal
arches, the central opening of each being 40 feet wide and 80 feet high.
Above each is a great attic story, ornamented with sculptured eagles 18
feet high. At each corner of the building is a pavilion with huge arched
entrances corresponding in design with the principal portals of the
building. This stately edifice faces the lake, with only lawns and
promenades between it and the water. North of it is the United States
Government Building, south of it the harbor and injutting lagoon, and
west of it the Electrical Building and the lagoon separating it from the
great island.

The Transportation exhibit is one of the most interesting of the whole
display and is housed in a huge Romanesque building, standing between
the Horticultural and Mining Buildings. It faces the east and commands a
fine view of the lagoon and great island. Its area measures 960 by 250
feet, besides a vast annex covering 9 acres more. The principal entrance
to the building is through a huge arch, very richly decorated. Within
the building is treated after the manner of a Roman Basilica, with broad
nave and aisles. At the centre is a cupola rising 165 feet above the
ground, and reached by eight elevators. The exhibits in this building
and its annex will comprise everything pertaining to transportation,
including all manner of railroad engines and cars, steamboats and other
vessels, coaches, cabs and carriage balloons and carrier pigeons,
bicycles and baby carriages, cash conveyors for stores, pneumatic tubes,
passenger and freight elevators, etc.

The United States Government Building stands near the lake shore, south
of the main lagoon. Its architecture is classic, resembling the National
Museum and other Government Buildings at Washington. It is made of iron,
brick, and glass and measures 350 by 420 feet. At the centre is an
octagonal dome, 120 feet in diameter and 150 feet high. The south half
of the building is devoted to exhibits of the Post Office, Treasury,
War, and Agricultural Departments. The north half is given up to the
Interior Department, the Smithsonian Institute, and the Fisheries
Commission. The State Department exhibit is between the rotunda and the
east, and the Department of Justice between the rotunda and the west
end. The rotunda itself will be kept clear of all exhibits.

The gem of all the buildings is that occupied by the Administration of
the Exhibition. It stands at the west end of the great court, looking
eastward, just in front of the railroad stations. It covers an area 260
feet square and consists of four pavilions, each 84 feet square,
connected by a vast central dome 120 feet in diameter and 220 feet high,
leaving at the centre of each façade a recess of 82 feet wide within
which are the grand entrance to the building. The general design is in
the style of the French renaissance. The first story is Doric, of heroic
proportions, and the second Ionic. The four great entrances are each 50
feet wide and 50 feet high, deeply recessed and covered by semicircular
arches. The great dome, which will be one of the most striking features
in the landscape of the Exhibition, is richly gilded externally. Within
it is decorated with a profusion of sculpture and paintings.

The Illinois State Building is naturally by far the finest of all the
structures erected by the various States of the Union. It stands on a
high terrace in one of the choicest parts of Jackson Park, commanding a
splendid view of the grounds. It is 450 feet long and 160 feet wide. At
the north Memorial Hall forms a wing 50 by 75 feet. At the south is
another wing, 75 by 123 feet, three stories high, containing the
executive offices and two large public halls. Surmounting the central
portion of the building is a fine dome 72 feet in diameter and 235 feet
high. The entire edifice is constructed, almost exclusively, of wood,
stone, brick, and steel produced by the State of Illinois.

No sketch of the Columbian Exhibition would be complete without some
mention of its principal projectors and managers. The President of the
World’s Fair Columbian Commission is Thomas Wetherill Palmer, who was
born at Detroit, Michigan, on June 25th, 1830. He is of New England
descent and his parents were among the early settlers in Michigan. Mr.
Palmer was educated at St. Clair College and the University of Michigan,
and after his college days made a long pedestrian tour through Spain,
thus becoming familiar with the country to which he was afterward sent
as United States Minister. After some years of prosperous mercantile
life in Detroit, and honorable participation in State politics he was
elected United States Senator and served six years. In 1889 he was made
Minister to Spain. At the first meeting of the World’s Fair Columbian
Commission, held in Chicago on June 26th, 1890, he was unanimously
elected President and at once entered upon the duties of the office.

[Illustration: GEN. THOS. W. PALMER, PRESIDENT NATIONAL COMMISSION,
WORLD’S COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION.]

Women and their work will be more conspicuously represented at this
Exhibition than at any of its predecessors, and there has therefore
fittingly been formed a Board of Lady Managers. At its first session, on
November 20th, 1890, Mrs. Potter Palmer, of Chicago, was unanimously
elected President. She was born at Louisville, Kentucky, her maiden name
being Bertha Honore, and she was educated at Louisville and Baltimore,
Maryland. She was married in 1871 to Potter Palmer, one of the foremost
business men of Chicago, and has since been one of the most prominent
and most admired leaders of society in that city, besides being
identified with innumerable benevolent and educational enterprises.

[Illustration: MRS. POTTER PALMER, PRESIDENT OF WOMAN’S NATIONAL
COMMISSION.]

The Director-General of the Exhibition, its chief executive officer,
upon whom the real responsibility for the conduct of the World’s Fair
rests, is Col. George R. Davis, of Chicago. He was born in
Massachusetts in 1840, and was educated in the schools of that State.
Early in the war of the Rebellion, he became a volunteer in the Union
Army and served through the entire struggle with great distinction. In
1871 he retired from military service and entered business life in
Chicago, where he was eminently successful. In 1878 he was elected to
Congress and was re-elected in 1880 and 1882, and in the fall of 1886 he
was elected Treasurer of Cook County, Illinois, which includes the city
of Chicago.

[Illustration: HON. GEORGE R. DAVIS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF THE WORLD’S
COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION.]

The President of the Directory of the World’s Columbian Exhibition is W.
T. Baker, a prominent commission merchant of Chicago, who was born in
New York State in 1841. He has been elected and re-elected President of
the Chicago Board of Trade.

Benjamin Butterworth, of Ohio, was chosen Secretary of the World’s
Columbian Exposition. He has for years been known as one of the most
brilliant men in the National House of Representatives at Washington.
During the debate in Congress on the question of an appropriation for
the National Fair Commission he spoke strongly in favor of such an
appropriation, and it was owing chiefly to his efforts that it was
finally passed.

[Illustration: PRESIDENT W. T. BAKER, OF THE WORLD’S COLUMBIAN
EXPOSITION.]

The Hon. John T. Dickinson, Secretary of the World’s Columbian
Commission, was born in 1858, at Houston, Texas, and has for some years
been a conspicuous lawyer, editor, and politician in that State.

The head of the Department of Publicity and Promotion of the Exhibition
is Major Moses T. Handy, one of the best known newspaper men in the
United States. He was born in Missouri in 1847, and was educated in
Virginia, and has had a brilliant career as a journalist on the staffs
of the _Richmond Dispatch_, _Richmond Inquirer_, _New York Tribune_,
_Philadelphia Times_, _Philadelphia Press_, _and Philadelphia News_.

The Exhibition is to be formally dedicated with appropriate ceremonies
on October 12th, 1892, being the 400th anniversary of the landing of
Columbus. It will not be opened to the public, however, for the general
purposes of the Exhibition until May 1st, 1893, and it will continue
open from that day until October 30th, 1893. During its progress there
will be held on its grounds and in its buildings innumerable conventions
and festivals of national and international interest, and it will
doubtless be a more truly universal exhibition than any that has yet
been held in the world. The spirit animating the projectors of the
enterprise cannot perhaps be better expressed than they were by
President Palmer in his eloquent address before the Columbian Commission
in Chicago, on June 26th, 1890. “Education,” he said, “is the chief
safeguard for the future; not education through books alone, but through
the commingling of our people from East, West, North, and South, from
farm and factory. Such great convocations as that of our projected fair
are the schools wherein our people shall touch elbows, and the men and
women from Maine and Texas, from Washington and South Carolina learn to
realize that all are of one blood, speak the same language, worship one
God, and salute the same flag.

“If we are to remain a free people, if the States are to retain their
autonomy, if we are to take a common pride in the name of American, if
we are to avoid the catastrophe of former years Americans must
commingle, be brought in contact, and acquire that mutual sympathy that
is essential in a harmonious family. Isolated, independent travel may do
this, but not to any such extent as will be accomplished by gatherings
like this, where millions will concentrate to consult and compare the
achievements of each other, and of those from across the sea. All must
have observed the effect of the Centennial Exhibition in educating even
what are called educated people, and in the impetus derived therefrom.
It gave to all a larger outlook, it repressed egotism, quickened
sympathies, and set us to thinking.

“It has been well said that the ‘Industrial Expositions are the
mile-stones of progress, the measure of the dimensions of the productive
activity of the human race. They cultivate taste, they bring nations
closer to one another, and thus promote civilization, they awaken new
wants and lead to an increased demand, they contribute to a taste for
art, and thus encourage the genius of artists.’

“And this is civilization--a process by which

[Illustration: THE AUDITORIUM HOTEL.]

the citizens of each State, foreign as well as domestic, will learn
their inter-dependence upon each other. Many will come from selfish
motives, possibly, but the social atmosphere they will here breathe;
that undefinable influence which pervades and affects people who come
together in masses with a common purpose, will broaden them and teach
them that discussion and not violence is the proper way to adjust
differences or promote objects--and thus prepare humanity for that good
time so long coming.

“The world will come to us, by its representatives, if not _en masse_,
and our own people should be drawn to this great school of the citizen
by every device which can be imagined and afforded, while it remains for
all connected with this management to see that no just expectation shall
be disappointed.

“In other times there were convocations where the spirit of rivalry and
comparison appeared, but in them few were invited to participate, and
only a limited number of spectators could afford to attend. In those
tournaments muscle was of more importance than mind. Those exhibitions
taught how to destroy, and not how to create. The rivalry now is in
methods to create and not to destroy, and the knights who participate
are those of the active brain and cunning hand, whose spectators and
judges are the better behaved and better educated citizens of to-day.

“This Exposition--on a new site, in a new world--assumes greater
dimensions than a market for merchandise or than figures of finance. We
should make it a congress of the nations wherein agriculture,
manufactures, and commerce should be the handmaids of ideas--where art
should paint the allegory of Peace and chisel the statue
Fraternity--where music should play a dirge to dead hastes and an
epithalamium on the marriage of the nations.

“Our country has led the advance in peaceful arbitration. The Geneva
Commission, the Fisheries Commission in the settlement of difficulties
already existing, the Pan-American Congress has opened the way for the
peaceful settlement of questions that may arise hereafter to the people
of the hemisphere. I regard these great achievements of our capital
government as more illustrious than any act of any government since our
great Civil War.

“Let the Exposition be fruitful in profit, not only to the exhibitors,
but to all comers, and that they shall carry away a higher conception of
the duty of the citizen and the mission of the State. Our material power
is very great, too great for us to act on any other plane than the
highest. Our resources and capacity to meet our financial obligations
are a wonder to the powers of the old world. It should be our aim to
make our moral altitude on all public questions, national or
international, as unassailable as our monetary credit. Our bonds are
higher in the markets of the world than any other--our opinions and acts
should, relatively, hold as high a place.

“The first 400 years have passed--they have been illuminated by the
heroic deeds of men and women, and shaded by crimes, national and
individual. The descendants of the Puritans and Cavalier, of the
Huguenot and the Catholic, of the slave and the Indian, together with
those from other continents and the isles of the sea meet in peaceful
rivalry where the forest fades away and the prairie expands.

“At last we are a nation with common inheritance. Lexington and
Yorktown, Bunker Hill and Eutaw, Saratoga and Guildford Court House, New
Orleans and Plattsburg, are our common glory.

“We have people to the north and south who can be linked to us with
hooks of steel if we continue to retain their respect and confidence. I
want no forcible addition to our territory, were it practicable. I want
them to come as a bride comes to her husband--in love and
confidence--and because they wish to link their fortunes with ours, to
make their daily walk by our side. To bring about this consummation will
be the work of time, of forbearance, of rigid observance of their
rights, of due regard for their prejudices, of an unselfish desire for
welfare--wherein all the amenities of life shall be cultivated. We must
enforce their respect by order at our own home, and show them that our
composite civilization--wherein we select all that is good from abroad,
and retain all that is good in our own, is calculated to make them also
happier and greater.

“Should this occasion, this National Exposition, promote such a purpose
as if we are rightly inspired, this meeting of all people would be more
than a financial success--more than a vain commercial triumph. It would
emphasize the new era, which I hope is dawning, and take the initiative
in what may result in the federation of this hemisphere.”

Thus the Columbian Exhibition will nobly close the first four centuries
of American history, and by the splendor of its display shed brilliant
rays upon the unknown years and centuries to come. The future must be
estimated from the past and the present. As the present is grander than
the past, so, may we hope, will the future be grander than the present.

Mr. Chauncey M. Depew has drawn this comparison most graphically.

“At the time of the Centennial Exhibition we had 45,000,000 people; now
our numbers reach the grand total of 64,000,000. Then we had
thirty-seven States, but we have since added seven stars to our flag.
Then the product of our farms in cereals was about $2,200,000,000; now
it is over $4,000,000,000. Then the output of our factories was about
$5,000,000,000; now it is over $7,000,000,000. Such progress, such
development, such advance, such accumulation of wheat and the
opportunities for wealth--wealth in the broad sense, which opens new
avenues for employment and fresh chances for independence and for
homes--have characterized no other similar period of recorded time.

“The Columbian World’s Exposition will be international because it will
hospitably welcome and entertain the people and the products of every
nation in the world. It will give to them the fullest opportunity to
teach us, and learn from us, and to open new avenues of trade with our
markets, and discover materials which will be valuable in theirs. But
its creation, its magnitude, its location, its architecture, and its
striking and enduring features will be American. The city in which it is
held, taking rank among the first cities in the world after an existence
of only fifty years, is American. The great inland fresh-water sea,
whose waves will dash against the shores of Jackson Park is American.
The prairie, extending westward with its thousands of square miles of
land, a half century ago a wilderness, but to-day gridironed with
railroads, spanned with webs of electric wires, rich in prosperous
farms, growing villages, ambitious cities, and an energetic, educated,
and progressive people is purely American.

“The Centennial Exhibition of 1876 celebrated the first hundred years of
independence of the Republic of the United States. The Columbian
Exhibition celebrates the discovery of a continent which has become the
home of peoples of every race, the refuge for those persecuted on
account of their devotion to civil and religious liberty, and the
revolutionary factor in the affairs of this earth, a discovery which has
accomplished more for humanity in its material, its intellectual, and
its spiritual aspects than all other events since the advent of
Christ.”



CHAPTER VI.

SOCIETY’S FOUNDATION-STONE.


There ought to be a radical change in marriage customs in the United
States, if we would avoid a terrible deterioration of social life.

In the early days of our country, when most of the inhabitants were
representatives of the classes which have supplied populations for all
new countries, marriage, as among the lower order of peasantry
everywhere else in the world, and among the savages besides, was a mere
mating of male and female. Women were brought over by shiploads to be
disposed of, as wives, to the earlier Virginia planters; no stories have
come down to us of cruelties or mismatings, yet the transactions were as
plainly a matter of purchase and sale as any in the subsequent trade in
black slaves. The rapid settlement of the country, the improvement in
civilization, which has come through the multiplication of large
villages and of cities, the general facilities for obtaining education,
such as exist in no other country, have made ours the land above all
others in which generations may rise rapidly from the social position of
their ancestors. Consequently there is no part of the world in which the
marriage relation should be so closely guarded as here.

Does this seem over particular, in this land of freedom and era of
emancipation from narrow views? Then look carefully over a list of the
richest and most influential men who have come to the front within the
past few years, particularly in the newer States; regard their marital
relations--this will do no harm to any of them who are respectable--and
consider the nature of the influence which these people exert upon
society around them. The subject is not easy or pleasant to discuss,
but, fortunately, there are not many people who cannot discuss it for
themselves.

To expect to bring about the desired change by religious means, which
are the first to suggest themselves either to the Christian or the
philosopher, is impossible. However desirable it may be our political
system has made it impossible for us as a body of people to go back to
the customs of a period which was superior to ours in regard to the
sanctity of marriage relations. However much these relations may be
regarded as sacraments by some, and as specially sanctified by others,
the making of the marriage relation a matter of mere civil contract has
become so generally a fact in law that it is impossible any longer to
expect the majority of people to abide by the precedents and customs of
different churches. The fact is, the churches don’t do it themselves.
Divorced people who have no moral right to remarry are continually
taking new partners and ministers are performing the ceremony.

The danger, aside from easy divorce, of which more anon, is in the
probable change of social condition of the contracting parties. Men and
women, mating in their very early years, as is the custom in all small
villages and agricultural districts, frequently find themselves, by some
happy accident, raised to a higher degree of financial standing than
they had expected, and in the newer portions of the country, which
contain a large majority of our population, such change of material
condition carries social importance and influence with it. As would be
the case anywhere else in the world, the change of condition shows
itself differently in man and woman. The man of means quickly finds
himself a man of mark among his fellows, and rapidly receives a vast
amount of that valuable education which comes from what some philosopher
has called “the attrition of minds.” His wife, relieved of the drudgery
which is almost inseparable from poverty, does not follow her husband
intellectually, unless such is her natural bent. She consequently
devotes her leisure and improved material condition to luxury and to
show. From this difference of conditions in a family which was once
united can be found the basis of many thousands of divorce suits.

You take exception to the expression “intellectual?” You are wrong. I
know it is the fashion to regard literature, law, theology and other
so-called learned professions as sole possessors of the world’s
intellect, but this is all nonsense. It requires just as much
intellect--intellect of just as high order--to put a railroad through a
new country, or to invent a new threshing machine, or to manage a
turbulent town-meeting, or to work a bill through the Legislature, as to
write a poem, sermon, or novel, or to plead a case in court. Edison and
Ericsson are as much men of intellect as Longfellow or Lowell; the
difference in their lives is one of taste and detail--not of brain and
intellectual endeavor. The position in which money places a man
anywhere, except in the large cities--and it isn’t safe to except these
much--compels him to use his intellect a great deal, and to sharpen it
frequently. Unless his wife is his partner in every sense of the word,
she is going to be left behind. That is not the worst of it; there are
plenty of bright women lying in wait for the man who has plenty of money
and a stupid wife.

Among those not yet married the same danger is ever apparent. Men have
always been guided more by impulse than reason in the selection of
their mates, and to this day philosophers often marry fools.
Consequently it is not surprising that young men of strong natural
intelligence and great energy, who nevertheless have not yet received
their fair start in life or developed their powers to the uttermost,
select their brides through some mere fancy or caprice, which might
never lead to bad results were their condition in life always to remain
as it was in the beginning. But the reports of hundreds of divorce
cases, which have amused the public to some extent, disgusted it still
more, and horrified the thinking portion, show that alleged
incompatibilities are generally the results of changes of condition,
which have caused husband and wife to drift apart for reasons not at all
related to the conjugal state.

It would be natural to suppose that the churches would give the subject
special attention, the world’s morality being more dependent upon proper
marriage than all other influences combined, religion itself not
excepted. Well, the church does something in this direction. It does a
great deal, but not one-thousandth part of what is necessary. A pastor
of no matter what denomination gladly welcomes the opportunity, which,
nevertheless, is seldom made by himself, to urge upon young people the
seriousness of the marriage relation, the necessity of affection,
constancy and forbearance, and to show them to the best of his ability
glowing pictures of the final results of conjugal faithfulness. But
constant warnings, such as are given against a great many sins of less
serious influence upon the world, are seldom heard in churches. Homilies
on the subject of marriage are ordered by some denominations to be
delivered once in three months. If they were heard once in three days
their injunctions would be none too frequent for the necessities of the
great mass of people who are most interested in the marriage relation,
or, at least, most curious about it.

A happy wife, happy during and after half a lifetime spent in wedlock
which did not escape the usual number of family troubles and sorrows,
said once to me that the trouble with marriage was that conjugal impulse
and conjugal sense were the scarcest faculties of the feminine nature. I
would not dare quote this if it were not said by a woman instead of a
man. Desiring at times to raise expectant brides to the highest sense of
their coming responsibilities and privileges, but reluctant to put her
own heart upon her sleeve, she tried to find something in print to give
them by way of counsel and admonition, but she did not succeed. Novels
about love and marriage can be found by the thousands. How many of them
are of any value at all for purposes of instruction and forewarning? I
leave the answer to women who most read novels. From those who are
mothers I have never been able to obtain the names of a half dozen.

There seems to be such a thing as inheritance by sex. Woman was for
thousands of years the slave or the plaything of man, and she is
unconsciously but terribly avenging herself for the wrongs done her by
the ruder sex. The best she could hope for in earlier days, the best
that many of her sex now dare hope for, is home, protection and kind
treatment. The kindness may be that the man shows to his horse or his
dog, perhaps to his friend, but the fact that the woman is to be legally
his equal, the appreciation of this, is as rare as the resolve of the
woman herself to make herself equal to the position.

What is the result? Why, girls, sweet girls, girls whom good men regard
as only a little lower than the angels, often marry for causes which
should not justify any but the commonest women in marrying at all. A
girl whom all of us adore for her goodness, delicacy and sweetness,
suddenly appalls us some day by accepting as her husband some gross
fellow who has nothing but his pocket-book to recommend him. Were she to
attach herself to him without marriage vows and ceremony, although
perhaps with absolute honesty of devotion and singleness of purpose, the
world would be horrified. Yet where is the difference as regards her own
life? Many other women know, if she does not, that no elaborateness of
ceremony or solemnity can ever make a perfect marriage between a woman
and a boor. Yet the old story of “Beauty and the Beast” is repeated
every day a thousand times, except that the fairy touch which
transformed the beast into a gentleman never occurs nowadays--except in
novels.

There is prevalent a stupid notion, born of vulgar natures, too vulgar
to understand that the Almighty never endowed humanity with any quality
which had not a noble purpose, that it is not safe to let young people
know or think anything about the realities of marriage. People allude at
once to fixed passion as if the only passion possible to the marriage
state were physical, and as if the companionship, sympathy, devotion,
tenderness and continuity of a friendship solemnly pledged for life, a
friendship of a character that children instinctively long for and
youths desire more earnestly than all things else combined, never
entered into the thoughts of young people. This is an insulting
imputation upon your children and mine and of every other man’s beside.

Strong sense of duty may do much to correct the ruinous notion of young
women regarding marriage, but it is not enough in itself. Women of
strong sense of duty are probably commoner than men with the same
desirable qualification. Yet all of us know of men who have strayed
from married mates who were pure, faithful, and dutiful--well,
everything that a conscientious servant could be. But, if a man’s wife
is no more to him than a first-class servant, she cannot prevent him
yielding to temptation if he is so disposed. No man worthy of the name
marries for the sake of obtaining a servant. It is far more convenient,
besides infinitely cheaper, to obtain servants and housekeepers through
the ordinary channels. Religion is the strongest influence for good that
humanity knows, but religion alone cannot make a perfect wife of a
well-meaning woman. There is no condition of life in which one virtue
can be successfully substituted for another, and no amount of prayer and
faith can make a good wife of a good woman without distinct conjugal
impulse and purpose.

Neither can the maternal instinct, an honest impulse which of itself has
made wives of many good women, who otherwise never would have married at
all. To be the mother of a man’s children should and may entitle a woman
to high respect, but many Mormons, who heartily respect their wives, do
not hesitate to seek companionship of other women.

A woman needs the conjugal instinct to make a good wife of herself and a
happy and faithful man of her husband. If it is not in her she should
acquire it before giving her hand and life to any man. The better the
man, the more persistently should she hesitate before marrying without
this requisite quality. The mother who does not inculcate the necessity
of this impulse and quality is more remiss of her duty than if she left
her children’s stockings undarned and their dinners uncooked.

As nearly all affection concerns itself with the relations of the sexes,
and particularly with what is alleged to be love, it is commonly assumed
that young women are sufficiently instructed through desultory reading
on what is frequently called the grand passion. This appellation, “grand
passion,” truly describes what the novelists usually give us as love,
and is no more education or preparation of the young person
contemplating marriage than the outside of a lot of school-books would
be to a student desiring to graduate at a college. The novelist
prudently ends his story where marriage begins. Up to that time
everything is very plain sailing for both man and woman, but there,
where the necessity for knowledge begins, the novelist discreetly ends
his tale. How can he do more? Were he to make his story as it should be,
in the light of human experience, it is doubtful whether young men and
young women would read it at all.

Is all the blame of marriage failures to be attributed to women? By no
means. The men are terribly faulty creatures, but it is the general

[Illustration: BIRD’S EYE VIEW OF THE PROPOSED BUILDINGS OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO.]

opinion that, through some reason or collection of reasons, the conjugal
instinct in man is more fully developed than in woman. Most of us know
of men not very good, some of them not good at all, who become model
husbands from the time of marriage. How many know of wild women, of
careless girls, of whom the same could be said? Whether this is due to
the invisible connection between the material and the spiritual; whether
woman’s nature is kept in an embryonic state to the verge of
deterioration by the modern custom of bringing up girls in-doors,
denying them physical exercise, separating them from associations with
their brothers, to say nothing of other members of the ruder sex;
whether the increasing prosperity of the world, which makes it no longer
necessary that the entire interests of the family, including some of the
confidences between husband and wife, should be heard by children as
once they were, the fact certainly is that the opinion which the young
girl at the present day has of matrimony is one of the most appallingly
inaccurate notions that can be encountered in conversation anywhere.

Then how is the desired change to be brought about? Only through public
sentiment, in which the churches ought to take the lead. Marriage by
accident, which is the common method, should be frowned upon and
discouraged, no matter how romantic or “cunning” the preliminaries may
seem. Everybody knows that men never enter into a business partnership,
which may be terminated at any time, without some sense of the fitness
and compatibility of the contracting parties. Were they to fail in this
respect, all of their friends would protest, and all of their
acquaintances would make fun of them. Both parties would suffer in
business reputation by such a blunder. It should be the same, though far
more earnestly, regarding the life-partnership that is formed at a
wedding. All relatives of the contracting parties have at least one
interest at stake which justifies them in protesting against a
blunder--I allude to family reputation.

Then aren’t young, tender, loving hearts to be allowed to choose for
themselves? Nonsense! How much of love, in the true meaning of the word,
is to be found in the great majority of marriages? If men, as a class,
loved their sweethearts as much as they loved their dogs, there would be
less ground for complaint; but men seldom tire of their dogs; who is
there that does not know men who tire of their wives?

Am I harping again upon woman’s failure to remain dear to her husband?
No; but I do say that the girl who makes the “best match,” as the saying
is, and by marrying money marries above her station, is accepting more
than she may afterward be able to live up to. Marriages should be
between equals--persons who are competent to support one another in any
and every condition to which their material life can ever lead them.

As for men, the greatest sinners, though not the greatest sufferers, by
marriage blunders, the man who marries except with the idea of making
his wife his closest companion, should be regarded by all his
acquaintances a deliberate scoundrel. A chance passion is no excuse for
marriage; neither is a condescending pity. The man who marries merely
for the sake of getting a permanent cook, housekeeper or plaything, is
equally a scoundrel, and deserves more earnest and general execration
than if he entered into familiar relations with a woman without the
formality of marriage. The whole community should be on guard against
man or woman who makes any less of marriage ties than the highest honor
demands.

Some people whose conjugal relations are irregular, are irreproachable
otherwise, do you say? Yes; but you can say as much about some thieves
and forgers; except for their one fault they are good fellows. The moral
influence upon the community of an unfaithful or careless husband or
wife is worse than that of a common criminal, for there is no fixed
passion in human nature that causes people’s minds to dwell upon theft
or forgery or murder, and to make excuses for the persons who are guilty
of them.



CHAPTER VII.

THE DEMON OF DIVORCE.


In one of the older theological periods, yet not so very old, there was
a theory that Satan was a necessary part of the godhead. At present
there seems to be a theory like unto it. It is that divorce is a
necessary feature of the marriage system.

This notion is working fully as much mischief in morals and manners as
Satan could do if he were part of Omnipotence.

Divorce is popular with certain classes, because married life--not
marriage--is sometimes a failure, but the fault is not with the
institution, but the individual. When Mrs. Mona Caird’s low-toned essay,
“Is Marriage a Failure?” was being talked of a few months ago, Rev.
David Swing, of Chicago, said the question should have been, “Is Good
Sense a Failure?” Dr. Swing then struck at the root of the trouble by
saying, “Ill comes not because men and women are married, but because
they are fools.” Yet this is almost the only class for whom our divorce
laws are made, and the more liberal the laws, the more foolish the
fools can afford to be.

Were divorce popular only for the sake of getting rid of undesirable
partners it would be bad enough. Really it is a thousand times worse
because its principal purpose is to help husband or wife to a new
partner. This cause never is assigned in a petition for divorce; it
doesn’t need to be; the community has learned to assume it, as a matter
of course.

The case was well put a short time ago by Rabbi Silverman, at the great
Temple Emanu-El, in New York, when he said, “The real cause for divorce
is that there is nothing behind the civil contract that cements the
marriage union and so welds it that nothing can tear it asunder. The
real cause for divorce is that the marriage was a failure because it was
not a marriage in fact, but merely in name. It was not a union of hearts
for mutual happiness, but merely a partnership for vain pleasure and
profit.” So long as we allow divorce to be easy, do we not encourage
such marriages?

Any divorce except for the one cause recognized by the founder of
Christianity is more injurious to society at large than any other crime,
murder not excepted. Most crimes may have a good reflex influence by
persuading men to be more watchful of their own impulses and lives, but
the men or women who obtain divorces for any but the gravest cause are
sure, aside from the effect upon themselves, to increase the discontent
of acquaintances whose married life is not all that had been hoped or
wished.

One condition absolutely necessary to a pure and happy married life is
the belief from the beginning that wedlock is to last as long as life
itself. Without the stimulus of this tremendous sense of responsibility
no person will unmake and remake himself so as to be the fit companion
of another. Even with this impulse the effort often fails, as all of us
know from observation of our own acquaintances. To admit the possibility
of a cessation of relations or, worse still, a change of marital
relations, is to relax effort and to become a selfish time-server--to
become a confidence man instead of a partner.

The effect of a divorce suit upon the plaintiff is something which does
not require theorizing. It can be ascertained by personal observation in
almost any American court which grants divorces, for such cases are
becoming more and more frequent. Whether the plaintiff be man or woman,
whether the cause be drunkenness, or desertion, or incompatibility of
temper, or insanity, or improvidence, or any of the various causes for
which divorces are granted in some States, the plaintiff or complainant,
if closely watched from day to day during the proceedings, will be seen,
even by his dearest friends, to show marks of mental deterioration. To
tear two lives apart is a serious thing at best. Two friends bound only
by ordinary ties have seldom separated without bad effects being visible
upon both. Where the friendship is of a nature that has affected every
portion of the life of each, as must have been the case even with wedded
couples who have married at haste and have not even begun to repent at
leisure, the effect is so marked that a person seeking divorce almost
always loses some of his adherents, who previously had been his warmest
friends, before the case is decided. Where love was, hatred is excited
though it may not even have existed in the first place. The contest upon
points of fact, upon recollections of difficulties and differences, the
depressing literalness and materialism of proof such as is demanded in
courts, the entire materialism, heartlessness, callousness, of all the
proceedings, as they must be conducted under forms of law, are such as
to debase any nature but the noblest--but noble natures do not seek
divorce.

Bad as may be the condition of the complainant and the effect upon his
own manner and conduct, it is not as deplorable as that visible upon the
defendant. To face any direct charge in a court of law before witness,
even if these be only officers of the law who are supposed to be
impartial and judicial in their opinions and actions, the violation of
privacy in regard to interests and relations, which above all
others--except perhaps those of a human being toward his God--are sacred
even to the rudest minds, cannot help have its effect upon any nature
but the strongest. The life of the defendant in a divorce suit, unless
the complaint is utterly groundless and unfair, is from the first likely
to be blasted. The more at fault the more the defendant must suffer, not
only in his own self-respect, but in the regard of those about him. The
curious gaze of the spectators, the intent look of the jurors, the
disgust of the judge upon the bench, the flippancy of the witness on the
stand, all have influences which would make many innocent people show
signs of guilt. Upon any one really at fault all these influences must
be still more depressing.

It is a common saying among lawyers that a woman divorced from her
husband, on no matter how slight cause, is pretty sure to go to the bad
thereafter. This is not necessarily an indication, so the lawyers say,
that the woman is at fault, but that the mental strain to which she has
been subjected, the strain upon her self-respect, is greater than poor
humanity is equal to. What the subsequent results are upon her in
society we all know. The present ruler of England has decided that no
divorced woman, no matter in what country her divorce was obtained,
shall ever appear at court. The rule seems cruel, but social results
certainly appear to justify it.

If there are children in the case, as usually there are--for somehow
people without children seldom appear in the divorce courts--if there
are children, the results upon them are worse than upon either the
complainant or defendant. The principal good influence children are
subject to is that of home. A disagreement between father and mother
naturally interrupts this. An absolute break between the parents cannot
fail to immediately have the worst possible effects upon the children.
All children--except yours and mine--are at times brutes. There are no
worse tale-tellers, no worse back-biters, no worse sayers of cruel
things, than little children. It is not that they are unusually wicked
or savage by nature, but insufficient training, lack of self-restraint,
lack of adult sense of propriety, causes the tongue to say whatever is
in the heart; and any adult who is obliged to keep a watch upon his own
tongue should be able through sympathy to imagine the savagery which
will be inflicted upon the children of divorced or divorcing people by
their associates. However disobedient or irreverent children may be to
their parents, the filial instinct exists in all of them, and a stab at
either parent is felt most keenly by the children.

The ordinary consolations of a person wounded through the heart of
another are denied the child. It has neither religion nor philosophy,
nor even stoicism, to support it. It must suffer keenly, and when it
looks for consolation or desires consolation, where is it to go, when
the two authors of its being, whom it has been taught to regard with
equal respect, are at difference, and each is ready to accuse the other
and belittle the other? The child of a divorced person is a marked
object of curiosity in the society of children, whether in neighborhood
parties or at school or Sunday-school, or even in church. The slightest
quarrel brings the inevitable taunt that “your mother ran away from your
father,” or “your father is in love with somebody else’s mother,” or
“you haven’t any father now,” or something of the kind. Only a short
time ago the newspapers of the United States recorded the suicide of a
child of nine years, who had sought death to avoid the torment of being
twitted with the separation of its parents.

Four lines of one of Pope’s poems, which probably are familiar to every
one, indicate the general effect of divorced persons upon society:

    “Vice is a monster of such hideous mien
     That to be hated needs but to be seen;
     But seen too oft, familiar with its face,
     We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

The report that any person has obtained a divorce for any cause but the
most serious generally sends a shudder through any American social
circle which calls itself respectable. Even husbands and wives whose own
marital experiences have not been as joyous as was expected, are
shocked by the legal disruption of a family--the spectacle of the
wifeless husband whose wife really lives, or the woman without mate or
protector whose husband nevertheless is not yet dead. But the force of
the shock gradually weakens through frequent meetings with either party.
The faults of the absent member are recalled, the good points of the
alleged culprit are also recalled, and little by little excuses are
made, until the change is regarded as coolly as the dissolution of a
business copartnership. Unfortunately, too, the parties to a divorce are
often brilliant members of the society in which they have moved, for the
liveliest persons are generally the most discontented. The unrest of
some phases of social life, the desire to be less confined at home, and
to be more in general and congenial company, has a great deal to do with
bringing about divorce, much though the guilty parties may deny it, and
the persons who most frequently appear in the divorce courts are those
who have been the most popular in their respective social sets.

This is bad enough, but it is only the beginning of the evil. What man
has done man--or woman--may do, is as true of evil as of good. If Mr. A
or Mrs. B has escaped a lot of apparent marital trouble by divorce, why
should not Mr. and Mrs. C do likewise? They meant well--this is an
admission which most people sooner or later make in favor of everybody
not absolutely fiendish--they failed. Why should they not try again?
Then besides, they once more have their freedom, and the longing to be
free is strong enough in the animal portion of any one’s nature to rise
and trample down everything else, if it is at all encouraged. Little by
little, yet very rapidly, contemplation of the problem of divorce
discourages efforts towards self-improvement and the perfection of
marital life. It is a benumber and deadener of every honorable conjugal
impulse. To endeavor to decide between two evils is an experience which
is demoralizing to any one; to decide between evil and good, when the
good seems no more desirable than the evil, is a great deal worse. Yet
this is the mental and moral condition of every one still married who
contemplates divorce as a possible release from relations which are
unsatisfactory, yet which might be made all that they should be.

The effect of association with divorced people--and there is no grade of
society which does not contain them--is especially deplorable upon young
people of marriageable age. The veriest heathen who has studied the
influences of marriage will admit that the rising generation needs
greater seriousness in contemplating wedlock. But what can be expected
of any good-natured, well-meaning, thoughtless, careless,
pleasure-loving, selfish young man or girl--and nearly all young people
are fairly described by these adjectives--who, while wondering whether
or no to propose to, or accept, some attractive person of the opposite
sex, is continually reminded by certain facts and incidents that if the
bond becomes irksome it may be broken at will?

Some husbands and wives fight like cats and dogs, but in spite of it
all, thank God, they still dearly love their children. What man or woman
within the pale of decency would give a daughter in marriage with the
thought that she might be put away by her husband at some time for some
cause recognized by the courts of Utah, or Chicago, or Indiana, as
sufficient for divorce? What parent will allow a son to mate with a girl
who might possibly weary of him, release herself through legal measures
and become the wife of some other man?

Physicians and spiritual directors agree that persistent thought upon
the lower developments and interests of the marriage relation are
extremely injurious to human character. What other phases of married
life can be much dwelt upon by the mind of any one who thinks at all of
the possibility of divorce for any cause but the most serious? The
relationship thus regarded is so nearly that of the animals that love,
so far as it has existed, must be brought down to the level of passion,
and passion afterward to that of lust, and lust in turn down to
appetite, until beings, who once had hopes and aspirations and longings
which, in spite of being unfortified by knowledge and principle, were
noble in themselves, place themselves practically on the level of the
beasts. According to managers and chaplains of great prisons there is
hope of reform for almost any criminal whose offences were committed
only through what are called the selfish instincts, by which is
generally meant destructiveness and theft. But these same experts in
crime are utterly hopeless of the reformation of any one whose sexual
instincts have become depraved or even inverted. Yet it is difficult for
any one to go through a divorce case, or to think steadily upon the
possibility of divorce, without such a deterioration of sexual feeling,
impulse, and aspiration. What hope can there be that such persons will
occupy a respectable position in society in the future?

Can divorce be made less popular and easy? Yes. How? By a constitutional
amendment, against which no respectable citizen not a lawyer would dare
to vote, that the national government shall make a divorce law to
replace those of the States. Tricks of, and concessions to divorce
lawyers cannot be slipped through Congress as easily as through a State
Legislature. Congress is up to a great many dirty jobs, but not of that
kind.

Congress can’t make a stringent divorce law, say some lawyers, but
perhaps these gentlemen have their own reasons for saying so.
Ex-Attorney-General Russell, of New York, who has looked into the
subject closely, recently said such a constitutional amendment was
possible, because more than two-thirds of the States already are
inclined to limit divorce to the gravest cause only.

In the framing and adoption of such a constitutional amendment, Congress
would have support from a source whose importance cannot be
overestimated. I mean the Church; not any one denomination, but
all--Mormons excepted. Bishop Foss, of the Methodist Church, said
recently that his denomination could be counted upon to support such a
movement; Bishop Whittaker, of the Protestant Episcopal Church, spoke in
similar strain. The Catholic Church recognizes but one cause of divorce,
and the Hebrews are equally rigid. Indeed, all creeds agree on this
subject, and when the amendment comes up for vote or ratification the
influence of such “Church Union” cannot be combatted--much less
overcome.

The effect of a divorce law upon the community should be like that of a
burned bridge to a lot of soldiers who have just crossed it. With no
possibility of going back, there is every inducement to go ahead and
make the best of whatever is before.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE FARMER’S TROUBLES.


The average American farmer is one of the best fellows in the world. He
also is one of the most unfortunate.

He generally comes to his profession by accident. He may not have meant
to become a farmer, but through death, or change of family, or some
other circumstance entirely out of his own control, he comes in
possession of the family estates, almost certainly encumbered with
mortgages, and must continue the family business to secure a living for
himself. From the first he is doomed to loneliness, which is one of the
worst curses that humanity can suffer. He cannot afford to employ help,
for if he had capital he would not be a farmer, and it requires capital
to secure proper assistance in the conduct of a farm. He must do all of
his work himself. If he cannot do it, it must remain undone. As a rule
the farmers of the United States are awake long before daylight in the
morning, and their work continues long after dark in the evening. The
working hours of the day, which to the

[Illustration: TACOMA BUILDING.]

ordinary laborer are ten hours, and to more favored classes eight or
seven, or even six, are to the farmer as a rule at least fourteen in
twenty-four. His work is never done, any more than woman’s.

As a natural consequence he always is tired out. Custom and the demand
of the markets restrict him generally to a single crop. Whether this be
wheat, or corn, or oats, the seeding time is comparatively short. So is
harvest time. The farm is larger than any one man or family can possibly
manage, but American demand being at present only for raw materials, he
has no choice. He must plant the staples from which foreign countries
are willing to purchase the surplus for cash. Otherwise his condition
would be worse than that of a slave. It is very hard for any one man to
“break up” more than one acre of ground per day with a good team of
horses. What, therefore, can the single-handed American farmer, who owns
a hundred and sixty acres of ground, the customary “quarter section,”
expect to do with his immense estate? To properly care for his family he
should plant all of it; but, except in the case of wheat, if he were to
plant it all, one-half to three-fourths of the crop would be wasted
through lack of necessary cultivation. His horse is like himself, an
overworked animal. In any section of the country the farmer is regarded
safe who owns a pair of good horses. But animals working twenty-six
days per month from sunrise to sunset in the long days of summer cannot
be kept up to their work by any amount of feeding or care. Sooner or
later one or the other of a span of horses may break down, and then the
farmer is helpless unless he has money in hand with which to purchase a
substitute. Not ten farmers thus fortunate can be found in any
contiguous hundred.

For the farmer is always poor. If it were otherwise he would not be a
farmer. A very little experience on the farm and less observation of men
about him show him that there is more money in mechanical or mercantile
business, to say nothing of other callings, than his own. But he is
handicapped from the start, no matter if he begins young, and while he
still is a bachelor. When he has a family on his hands he is simply
helpless so far as the possibility of change goes. The average farmer
lives in hopes that in time his children, of whom he generally has many,
will be of some assistance to him. Frequently his hopes are apparently
fulfilled for a short time. But children are not as steady as grown
people. They roam about in any time which they have to themselves. They
reach the villages. They learn of a life which contains less toil and
more comforts than that to which they are accustomed, and one by one
they begin to intimate a desire for a change. It is utterly out of
nature for the farmer to disregard this desire. No matter how much he
may love their company he knows in his inmost heart that a change from
farm life to some sphere of activity which is less exacting would be a
benefit to them physically and mentally, possibly morally also. His sons
endeavor to become salesmen in stores, or to be clerks in lawyers’
offices, or solicitors for one business enterprise or another--anything
to avoid the persistent and wearing drudgery of the farm. His daughters,
in spite of the boasted independence of the farmer, and of his family,
are very easily persuaded to go into any factory that there may be in
the vicinity. It is not that they love home less, but they love
companionship more, and, being like human beings everywhere else, they
are keenly sensitive to the cheering influence of money--real cash
received once a week instead of a possible balance to the family’s
credit at the village store at the end of the year.

For the American farmer is generally at the mercy of the trader. The
trader is as good as the average merchant, and is practically a merchant
in all respects. He is generally the keeper of a general store at which
the farmer during the year purchases everything which he may need for
his family on an open account; with the understanding that when his
crops are made they shall be turned over to the merchant, and a general
balance struck. When there is a good year the result may be in favor of
the farmer, but good years are not the rule in the United States, even
though the country is, as is said, the garden of the world. People who
work and strain their energies to the uttermost require more in the way
of ordinary creature comforts than those whose lives are more regular,
and, though the farmer may discuss prices with great earnestness with
the local merchant, the end is practically the same: he purchases
whatever his family wants, so long as he can have it “charged.” He must
purchase at the price stipulated by the merchant, for it is utterly
impossible for him to look anywhere else for what he may need.

Some newspapers have made sensational complaints of the system of
peonage to which some southern blacks or freedmen have been reduced by
the storekeepers of plantations since slavery days, but there is no
practical difference between their condition and that of the farmers the
country over. “The borrower is servant to the lender,” and the man who
has no money with which to purchase must submit to the exactions of
whoever is willing to extend credit to him. Farmers’ notes are in the
market in almost every county of the United States, and frequently those
of which sell at the lowest prices are drawn by men of whose honesty of
purpose and intention to pay no one has the slightest doubt. The only
reason is that the farmer’s absolute necessities have been in excess of
the cash value of his farm products.

It is customary to speak of the farmer’s life as being the happiest and
the safest occupation in the world. Nearly every one knows of some one
successful farmer, and bases his judgment upon his knowledge of that
solitary individual. But facts are stubborn things, and they have been
proved by figures in the United States in a manner that should make
those who are envious of the farmer think again.

According to the last census report the average valuation of the
farm-lands of the United States, including buildings, was less than
twenty dollars per acre. The average value of the products was less than
eight dollars per acre. A quarter section of land, which is the ordinary
size of an American farm in the States most devoted to agriculture, is a
hundred and sixty acres. The reader may cipher out his own inferences
with very little trouble, remembering that groceries, medicines,
clothing, and everything else not produced by the farm costs quite as
much in the rural districts as in the large cities, and generally a
great deal more.

It has been said that the gold produced in the mining districts of the
United States has cost far more in labor and physical loss than its
value amounted to. The cost of the farm-land in the United States leaves
the apparent waste on gold in absolute insignificance. There are
thousands of American farms to-day, probably hundreds of thousands, of
which the land under the hammer would not bring as much money as the
fences of those same farms have cost. The expense of clearing wooded
land to fit it for agriculture has been far greater in almost every
section of the country than the value of the land at the highest price
prevailing would repay. The work of fencing and clearing was done by
other generations, who got less from their farms than the present
occupants are receiving.

One of the favorite arguments of men who urge younger men to go West and
take a farm and grow up with the country is, that they will never lack
for plenty to eat. This statement is entirely true. A man can always
have plenty of food from his own estate if he cultivates it at all, or
has any live stock. But one accompanying fact is, and this fact should
be carefully considered--that frequently he has no place at which to
market at a profit what he produces. He is so far from any market that
what he does not eat he frequently is obliged to waste. Corn in the ear
has been used during many winters for fuel in portions of the West, not
because there was no wood to be had, but because there was no convenient
place at which to market the corn, even at the bare expense of shelling
and hauling to market, to say nothing of the previous cost of planting,
cultivation, and harvesting. Where a farmer is near a market, as in some
eastern States, his table is no better set than that of the
cheapest-paid mechanic in the city. He may have eighty acres of wheat,
but if his family wishes to eat a cabbage they are obliged to go to some
village market and purchase it; the farmer himself has not had time to
plant and cultivate it. Summer boarders find fewer vegetables in the
country than in the city.

The natural question occurs, why does not the farmer change his business
as hundreds of thousands of mechanics and other men are doing every
year? The answer is that it is impossible for him to do so. He cannot
leave his farm without ruin to his family, for to neglect to plant and
cultivate is to lose the credit upon which in ninety-nine cases in a
hundred he must subsist. He cannot sell his farm at auction under the
hammer as if it were a city house or a village residence, for purchasers
of farms are the rarest of all purchasers of real-estate in the United
States. This is not in accordance with European precedent or
supposition, but it has been demonstrated in every State, and almost
every county of the Union.

Does all this mean that farming will not pay? No. Farming will pay if
backed by capital as well as practical knowledge. But it is almost
impossible that the American farmer of the present generation shall
have any capital from any source whatever. Farming, when conducted
intelligently, can be made profitable in any portion of the United
States by a man with sufficient money in his pocket. Hiram Sibley, one
of the most remarkable men whom the United States ever produced, was, at
the time of his death, in 1888, managing four hundred different farms in
nine different States of the Union, conducting all through
correspondence, and he made it his boast, in which undoubtedly he was
honest, that from each of these farms he secured a profit. But Sibley
was a millionaire twenty times over, probably forty times. Whatever his
farms needed they could have at once, and at the lowest market price,
for he always had cash to pay for whatever he wanted. Nevertheless, this
successful farmer, this millionaire, this thorough-going man of
business, said, to the day of his death, that there was no more pitiable
character in the United States than the farmer.

Nobody knows more about any one special business than the man who does
not have to attend to its details, so there is a widespread opinion and
assertion that the trouble with the farmer is that he is improvident.
Men call attention to the expenses, apparently unnecessary, which he is
continually making, particularly in the direction of comforts and even
luxuries for his family. But what can the farmer do? Everywhere east of
the Mississippi river he is near a village. His children go to school
with those of the village. They learn of comforts and luxuries to which
they are not accustomed at home. They talk about them. They think about
them. They long for them. The farmer himself is a human being. Any one
who mistakes him for a boor makes a terrible blunder. Whenever it is in
his power to make his home more comfortable he does so with a degree of
earnestness that is almost terrible. He is anxious to save himself from
the possible imputation, by his own children, of being a less careful
provider than any one with whom his family are on intimate terms.

When there comes a year in which crops promise well, the farmer will buy
anything that his family may want, if he can pay by giving his note of
hand, to fall due after the yield of the year is sold. Makers of
sewing-machines, organs, pianos, venders of furniture and bric-a-brac,
agents of subscription-books, go first and most steadily to the farmers
with their wares. The farmer will give his note, the vender will find
some one who will discount it, and in the end it must be paid or
compromised. If the crops go well everything is paid--perhaps. If not,
the farmer is deeper than ever in the morass of debt. He has the
consolation, apparently slight, though it is great to him, that his
family has enjoyed some of the benefits of villagers whom they have
envied, and that some day, somehow, he will get even with the world for
it. Perhaps this apparent extravagance of his will keep his family
together longer than the family of his neighbor A or B or C, from which
the boys have drifted into village stores and shops, and the girls into
domestic service in the town, or perhaps into factories, all to avoid
the hard work, but still more, the loneliness and barrenness of the
average farmer’s home.

How helpless and unpromising is the present condition of the American
farmer can best be imagined by a glance at the farming interest as it
exists at present in the New England States. Here, within the lifetime
of the present generation, mills have dotted the sides of every river
and brook that has sufficient power to turn a wheel. Thousands of people
are gathered closely together every few miles along these water-courses,
working in mills and factories, and absolutely dependant upon the
surrounding country for their food supplies. Yet in no other section of
the country are there so many abandoned farms. A short time ago the
twelve best farms in the State of Vermont were practically abandoned
because it seemed impossible to their owners to work them without a
loss, and a bill was introduced in the Legislature to exempt these
particular farms--which, again I repeat, were the best in the State--to
exempt these farms from taxation so that some one might be persuaded to
work them. It is not that the farmers have no market for what they
produce, but that the finer farm products, or what in the larger cities
are called the products of market-gardening, are of a nature so
perishable that the profitable promise of a good soil may be speedily
lost by the loss of the field itself after gathering.

Even near the large city of New York, where some men pay the interest on
land worth five thousand dollars per acre for the sake of tilling it for
market-gardening purposes, there are thousands of acres of ground
utterly neglected year after year, as they have been for the past twenty
years. It is possible that some of these might have been tilled to
profit, but, with a steady demand for labor in the cities for which sure
and frequent pay is guaranteed, the farmer’s sons and daughters left
their home, and the father was left without assistance and without means
to hire help. Even had he hired it, the results would have been the
same--the balance on the wrong side at the end of the year.

Frequently the suggestion is made that the farmers should receive a
bounty from the Government or from his State on special products, and
this system, so far as individual States are concerned, is in partial
operation. The farmer himself is distinctly of the opinion that, while
legislation provides special relief and assistance for nearly every
other class in the industrial world, he should not be neglected. When he
begins to demand such assistance, as he is now quite willing to do,
there will be before the public a question of greater magnitude than any
labor problem which has yet appeared. Special legislation has an
unpopular sound, but the fact exists, as any follower of Congressional
and legislative proceedings well knows.

The granger movement in the West was the initial of this attempt at
improving the farmer’s condition. Like other great popular movements, it
began with a sudden impulse, in which there was more earnestness than
intelligence; yet any observer of the necessities of the farmer and the
management of the railways knows that there was a substantial basis of
sense to it. For a great many years the railways took the lion’s share
of the farm’s yield, on the plea that it cost that proportion of the
value of the crop to move corn or wheat or pork to market. Why it took
so large an amount is well known in the case of many roads, which by
watering their stock or subsidizing construction companies were
capitalized at several times their value. In the future efforts of the
farmer to secure recognition and proper compensation for his service,
the factors of the problem may not be so distinct, but, unless something
is done in the direction of legislative assistance, the farms of the
West must in time be deserted as largely as those of the eastern States,
in which there are now thousands of farms in which not only the land,
but the buildings, are without occupants, and are at the service of
anyone who may be fool enough to occupy them--that is the farmer’s way
of putting it.

It has frequently been suggested that the farmer could save largely from
the financial results of his year’s work by participating in
co-operative movements for the supply of stores and other necessities of
his family on his farm. It may not be known to theorists that this
suggestion has nothing new in it. It occurred to the farmer in hundreds
of counties, and he endeavored to act upon it. But what can a man do in
the way of purchasing from first hands, who has no capital with which to
purchase? Farmers’ stores and farmers’ clubs were tried, to a large
extent, forty or fifty years ago, all over the States which now are the
most populous section of the Mississippi valley. Sometimes the effort
resulted in the establishment of depots of supply for farmers alone, but
a single year of bad crops, whether caused by drought or insect pests or
overflows, or any other cause entirely outside of the control of the
farmer, would cause the ruin of any establishment which chanced to be
started with capital sufficient only for a little while.

As before stated, and as must be kept in mind in each and in all
considerations of the farmer’s lot and the farmer’s future, the
agriculturist of the United States is almost always a man without
capital, and a man whose constant struggle is to be equal by his output
to his daily demands. When a farmer’s store failed, the deficiency had
to be made up in cash, even if some of the backers had to sell their
estates. Bankruptcy proceedings or “arrangements” with creditors were
not easy. It is no exaggeration to say that it would be far easier, in
most parts of the United States, to sell a white elephant or a
million-dollar diamond than to turn a farm into cash at short notice,
although the seller were willing to submit to a ruinous sacrifice. There
are hundreds of thousands of farmers in the better and more fully
settled States, who for years have had their estates in the market, and
been willing and anxious to sell at a loss, yet have been utterly unable
to find a purchaser, except among men of their own class, who had no
money to pay in advance and who could simply offer a mortgage as
security for future payment, and from which mortgage, in case of default
on interest or principal, nothing could be obtained for a year or more,
and even then only after proceedings most uncomfortable to institute and
likely only to result in a terrible sacrifice to the creditor. The
number of men who are “land poor” in the agricultural districts of the
United States is almost beyond computation. The man who has a farm of
two or three hundred acres, nominally valued at a hundred dollars per
acre, is supposed to be worth twenty or thirty thousand dollars and
quite good for all his debts. The truth is that often he suffers more
for lack of some small necessity for which cash must be paid than the
city mechanic or laborer, who receives only a few dollars per week for
his services.

Why doesn’t he borrow from a bank, giving a mortgage for security? Bless
you, no bank that would lend to farmers, on the risks and time usually
necessary, could continue in business.

The suggestion may be startling, but still it is practical, that it may
yet be necessary, for the proper feeding of the community, that farming,
like the policing of cities and the maintenance of an army and the
conduct of the postal department, shall be done at the expense of the
government. This seems to have been the method in Egypt in the days of
Pharaoh and of Joseph, his steward, and America may yet have to revert
to it. The Government will have either to manage the farms or assist the
farmers; the people may choose which shall be done.



CHAPTER IX.

THE RUM POWER.


Most people have heard of the man who in a difficulty with a vicious
bull finally got the animal by the tail. He could not hurt the brute,
yet he did not dare to let go, so he was slung about most unmercifully,
and at last accounts he was still being slung. The bull was in the
wrong, the man in the right; still he had the animal only by the tail:
instead of quieting or frightening the brute, he merely made him angry
and was severely punished for his well-meant efforts.

The people of the United States in their contest with the rum power are
in the position of the man with the bull. The rum power is in the wrong;
the people are in the right, yet they have the monster only by the tail,
so they only worry him and make misery for themselves.

It is not necessary to recount the harm done individuals and families by
the liquor traffic. Almost every charge that the most rabid
prohibitionist makes can be substantiated by a thousand men who sell
liquor, aside from what total abstainers may know or believe or
imagine.

[Illustration: RESIDENCE HON. POTTER PALMER.]

Bishop Warren, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, is not an excitable
man, but he does not overstate the truth at all when he says:
“Innumerable are the crimes of dolorous and accursed ages, and a
fruitful source of them all is intemperance. It robs the body of its
strength, the senses of their delicacy, the mind of its acuteness, the
spirit of its life. It fires every passion, makes every base appetite
the master of mind and will, leaves man an utter wreck. Of its work
there are frightful statistics of robberies, arsons, murders,
insanities, and curses to the third and fourth generations; but there
are no statistics that can measure the heartbreaks of wives, hungers of
children, disappointments of fond parents, and physical inheritance of
deterioration and unconquerable appetite. It is the one great, stark,
crying curse of our race and age. It is the personal foe of every
parent, Sunday-school teacher, and preacher of righteousness.”

Miss Frances Willard, who is doing more successful temperance work than
any man who is in the same field at present, states the case as
earnestly as Bishop Warren, and with the extra force which figures
always give--figures which no one contradicts because no one can. She
says: “No man of the smallest intelligence can be ignorant of the fact
that the saloon is to-day the chief destructive force in society; that
the cumulative testimony of judge, jury, and executive officers of the
law declares that fifty per cent. of the idiocy and lunacy, eighty per
cent. of the crimes, and ninety per cent. of the pauperism come from
strong drink; that the saloon holds the balance of power in almost every
city of ten thousand inhabitants; that it is the curse of workingmen and
the sworn foe of home.”

It isn’t necessary, either, to call attention to the harm done free
institutions at election times by the influence of rum. The late
“Petroleum” Nasby, whom all of us knew for a lovable fellow and an able
editor, once consumed a gallon of whiskey a day on the average. When he
stopped drinking he wrote a series of temperance editorials, concluding
with the words “Paralyze the rum power.” “Pete” had been in politics
himself: he knew what the “power” of rum was, and how it was used.

The demoralizing effect of plenty of liquor is so well known that the
first duty of a local campaign manager, no matter of which party, is to
make proper arrangements with rum-shops for supplying free drinks for
the purpose of changing voters’ views. The man who has opinions, no
matter what they may be, is quite likely to modify them if asked when he
is under the influence of a few drinks; and if his liquid consolation is
to be supplied at the expense of some other man, the opinions of the two
are likely to be in entire accord before the transaction is concluded.
Votes are easier purchased with rum than with money, no matter how large
the sum that may be at the disposal of any political boss or ward
committee. The public heard, a few years ago, to its horror, that an
important State had been carried for the victorious party by a general
distribution of new two-dollar bills. The truth is, as any one can learn
by visiting the districts which then were close in the State alluded to,
that a great deal more money than the entire number of two-dollar bills
amounted to had previously been expended in rum-shops to which men who
were willing to listen to what was called “a fair presentation of
conflicting views” could be persuaded to come. Liquor is cheaper in the
western States than in large cities. It is worse, too. A little of it
goes a long way, and the man who will spend an evening in a rum-shop in
a rural locality, is equal to any enormity, compared with which an
apparent change of sentiment on political subjects is a mere trifle. As
Channing used to say, “Rum outwits alike the teacher, the man of
business, the patriot, and the legislator.”

Stepping aside from sentiment, and coming down to practical facts, Rev.
Theodore Cuyler says that the liquor question “enters more immediately
into the enrichment or the impoverishment of the national resources than
any question of tariff or currency. More money is touched by the drink
traffic and the effects of the traffic than by any other trade known
among men. The tax upon national resources levied by the bottle is far
heavier than the combined taxes for every object of public well-being.”

Statistics of drink are undoubtedly more appalling than those of the
most bloody and senseless war that the world ever knew. Some that are
published are entirely untrustworthy; a head for reform does not always
mean a head for figures; so figures are often made to lie, like
tombstones. But the truth is bad enough. It is plain to any man who
knows anything about current values that the price of a glass of poor
beer will buy a pound of good bread, and the price of a glass of best
whiskey will buy a pound of the best meat. Yet a great deal more money
goes for beer and whiskey than for bread and meat.

Why?

Depraved appetite, answers the professional moralist. This is the
veriest nonsense, although it is the commonest of the reasons that are
given for inordinate indulgence in stimulants. An appetite, properly
speaking, must be of a fixed nature. There is no drunkard alive who has
a fixed appetite for liquor. The depraved appetite, so-called, is an
occasional manifestation of the influence of long indulgence in
alcoholic stimulants, but it is no more possible to prolong it and make
it a fixed condition of a man’s life than it is for a human being to
make a voyage to the moon.

The first purpose of drink, to any one who is beginning to use liquor,
is to “feel good,” and there is no denying that this is a general
longing in every grade of humanity, from the highest to the lowest. Most
human beings of the lower order are full of physical defects, all the
way from those of the muscles and joints to those of the vital organs
and nerves. If you ask the southern field-hand how he feels, you may
safely bet that he will answer, “pooty porely,” and to get relief from
his aches and pains he resorts to liquor, whenever he can get it. The
Indian is another specimen of the man who wants to “feel good.” He is
supposed to be physically a splendid child of nature, but he seldom is
without some serious functional disorder or inherited curse of the flesh
which makes him the willing slave of any stimulant he can get. A great
host of unfortunates who have come to the United States from other lands
are practically in the same condition; starved, abused, and underfed for
generations and centuries, a glass of rum is to them like the touch of
an angel, and a jugful is the equivalent of a heavenly host. There is no
sense in talking about “depraved appetites” when you contemplate these
people, from whom come the mass of the rumseller’s customers.

The second strong impulse to drink is like unto the first; it is to
“brace up.” Human nature is either a dreadfully weak machine, or one
which the majority persist in overworking. Men’s energies, spurred by
their necessities, too often outrun their strength; then stimulation
will be resorted to if it is at hand. It is quite true to say there is
more strength, and stimulus too, in a loaf of bread or pound of meat
than in a glass of liquor; but the food works slowly; the liquor works
quickly. There are drinkers almost innumerable among the better classes,
who use liquor medicinally, as literally as other men use quinine. Their
liquor habit never is an indulgence; they would as lieve take some other
stimulant were it equally convenient and effective, but they do not know
of any; neither do their doctors.

When men feel the need of stimulation, yet dread the use of alcohol,
they will search for help somewhere else. With the nominal decay of the
rum influence in the United States some years ago, began the enormous
sale of bitters, anodynes, narcotics, stimulants, nerve foods, brain
foods, and other nostrums of similar purpose, with which the advertising
columns of a great many newspapers, including most of the religious
weeklies, were filled, as some are at the present time. In the city of
New York, where there is one rum shop to every thirty families, it is
not a common experience to smell opium or chloral in the breath of the
man next you in church or street-car or business resort. But in the
State of Maine, which has had more experience with close prohibition
than all the other States of the Union combined, it is hard to go into
any community of men without being made cognizant of the fact that
resort to these stimulants is quite common in that virtuous State. I do
not say this in contempt of Maine’s effort to get rid of liquor. The
prohibition movement in Maine has done incalculable good in some
directions. There is no other State in the Union in which young men have
never been invited into bar-rooms, and do not know what public
opportunity for drinking is.

Do I mean to say that alcoholic stimulants are absolute necessities of
life? No; I do not, but--don’t underrate the meaning of that little
word--but the majority of our voters do, and majorities rule in this
country. There is altogether too much indulgence and drunkenness--too
much yielding to the desire to “feel good.” The use of alcohol in large
quantities has a bad effect upon the character and conduct of anyone;
the temperance men will give you all the dreadful statistics you like as
to the part rum plays in filling our jails, poorhouses and insane
asylums, and God himself would shudder to tell us how many homes it
ruins--how many widows and orphans it makes. On a division of the
subject which is out of the province of statisticians, physicians will
admit that more sexual immorality comes from rum than all other causes
combined. There is no fear of overstating the aggregate bad effects of
over-indulgence in liquor--it is beyond the power of words or figures to
overstate it.

Having admitted that the curse of rum in the United States is quite as
great as any moralist or prohibitionist has ever asserted, it follows
that some remedy is necessary, and the question naturally occurs, What
shall it be?

The almost unanimous reply will be, Control the demon by law. The
majority of law-abiding citizens are quite willing to admit that this
should be done, but the question arises and becomes more urgent year by
year, What shall the law be? Shall it be in the direction of
prohibition? The experience of several States, Maine no less than
others, is overwhelmingly to the effect that prohibition does not
prohibit. Perhaps not as much liquor is consumed in Maine as if there
were open bars in every town. But anyone who is fond of a glass knows by
experience that it is quite as easy to gratify his tastes in the State
of Maine as it is in the city of New York. Worse still, the stranger
going from another State to Maine, if he has any acquaintances at all in
the prohibition State, is so importuned by hospitable souls, who wish to
make him feel entirely at home, and as comfortable as he might be if he
were in his native city or village, and has set before him liquors in
such variety, that he generally goes to bed with a heavier head and
awakes in the morning with a harder headache than if he had been in the
worst rum-cursed portion of the country.

Have I heard the arguments in favor of prohibition? Well, can anyone
help having heard them? No project ever placed before the public has
been more earnestly and persistently advocated. But where is the sense
of demanding a law against which you know the majority of the people
will be arrayed? Suppose during momentary enthusiasm a State carries a
prohibition law by a small majority, some drinking men themselves being
constrained by their neighbors to vote for the law and against their own
inclinations, how is the law to be maintained? By public opinion. Who
creates public opinion? The majority. But the majority drink, and will
continue to do so for some generations to come, unless all signs fail.
Every State has a law against bribery and corruption of voters. Is
bribery or corruption less common than before the law passed? No; it
becomes worse year by year. Why? Because public opinion dare not and
will not support the law. Personal interest, expressed in party feeling,
winks at its violation--not all the while, but merely every time there
is anything to be gained by it.

Both sides of the prohibition question were well put in a recent
conversation between a prominent prohibitionist and Bishop Foss, of the
Methodist Church, who has worked industriously for years to decrease the
rum influence, but believes restriction is the only means practical.
“Bishop,” said the prohibitionist, “if you saw a rattlesnake in the
street, biting people and destroying human lives, would you kill it, or
try to pen it up?” The bishop replied, “If I had been chasing it up and
down the street for thirty years, trying to kill it but never succeeding
in doing anything but make it uglier, I would consider myself lucky if I
had a chance to pen it up.”

Then should law take the form of restriction? Yes; but immediately the
law-makers discover in the words of some satirist of the past
generation, that a great many men can be found in favor of a certain
provision in law, who are against its enforcement by any method that is
suggested in the form of a bill before any Legislature or Congress. A
restrictive measure immediately affects a great many business interests.
Moralists would like the sale of liquor restricted. Well, so would a
great many liquor dealers. If a poll were taken of the wholesale dealers
in liquors in the United States, regardless of section or environment,
it would be overwhelmingly in favor of limiting the number of rum-shops,
and compelling the sale of only the better class of goods. Perhaps the
wholesale dealers are not philanthropists, but their work is in the
direction of philanthrophy in the respect that they make more money on
old and well-refined liquors, and consequently would prefer that nothing
else should be sold.

Restriction can be attained in no other way except through license laws,
and upon these at once the entire public agree to disagree. A license
law that would regulate the traffic in a large city would be utterly
destructive of the entire retail liquor interests of the country
districts. Consequently the country dealers, through their
representatives in Legislatures, protest strongly against any such
enactment as the famous Scott bill, which was of such great service in
restricting the liquor trade in the State of Ohio. The license exacted
from a retailer in a large city would consume the entire profit of a
country dealer, even if he were the only one in his town. City prices
and country prices are different. It may be also stated upon undoubted
authority, for the information of prohibitionists and other gentlemen
who have never looked into the practical details of the liquor trade for
themselves, that the countryman’s drink compares with that of the city
man about as a full bath-tub does to a basin of water.

After restriction, and lowest, though not least important, among the
list of reformatory measures, comes the principle of regulation. Can the
liquor trade be regulated? Should it be regulated in the interest of
morality and the public safety? Yes. We regulate everything
else--absolutely everything--that affects the safety of humanity. We
stipulate by law or special license where dynamite factories shall be
located, how dynamite shall be transported, where it shall be stored,
how it shall be sold, and every other stage of the trade in this
dangerous yet useful article of commerce. We regulate the trade in
gunpowder; there are very few States in which any minor is allowed to
purchase any quantity of gunpowder or any other explosive. We regulate
the sales of poisonous medicines, no matter how useful they may be,
forbidding the chemist to sell them except on a physician’s order, and
we make him keep them specially classified, and label every package or
bottle or box of them which he sells, and to record the name of the
purchaser. We regulate even the speed of horses in large cities;
although every man is supposed to be able to take his ease and pleasure
with a horse and carriage if he can afford them or hire them, in all
large communities it is required that he shall not drive at more than a
certain pace. None of these regulations are regarded as abridgements of
personal liberty. All of them are admitted to be necessary precautions
for the good of the entire community.

Unfortunately the principal opposition to regulation, which is the
easiest and most practicable method of reducing the dangers of the rum
traffic, comes not from rum-drinkers themselves, but from those who
never consume any liquor--I mean the prohibitionists. Their principle
seems to be the old, big-hearted, but utterly impracticable one of “a
whole loaf or none.” In a number of recent local and State elections, in
which the regulation of the liquor traffic was concerned, the
prohibitionists usually voted with the advocates of free rum, not that
they love liquor or liquor dealers, but that unless they could have
their own way they preferred to leave things as they were before. Their
purpose, as nearly as it can be discovered, was that the more fearful
condition society could be brought to by the free use of rum, the sooner
would society protest strongly against it and take “the only true view,”
this being the prohibitionist’s modest way of putting his own opinion.
The Russian Nihilists, whom everybody detests, work on the same
principle;--things can’t be better until they have first been as bad as
they can.

The present influence of rum in the United States upon morals, manners,
society, and politics, must be charged upon those who have labored most
earnestly to lessen it. Again I allude to the prohibitionists. They have
discouraged every practical effort to abate the evils of the use of
liquor. They have regarded all restrictive or regulative measures about
as Mr. Garrison once regarded the Constitution of the United States in
its relations to slavery--as a compact with the devil. The time must
come when it will be not only unfashionable but indecorous and degrading
for any man to use liquor, except in cases of sickness; but when that
time comes the people will owe no thanks whatever to those who have
talked most against the influence of rum. Once more, and for the last
time, I allude to the prohibitionists.



CHAPTER X.

NATIONAL DEFENCE.


If Heaven helps only those who help themselves the United States will be
deplorably helpless the first time they fall into difficulty with any
foreign power.

Ever since the late civil war ended the general of the army has annually
given us earnest and intelligent warning as to the incomplete state of
our fortifications, and the inability of our artillery for offensive and
defensive operations against the improved armaments with which other
nations have amply supplied themselves. The admiral of the navy has made
similar reports. For a little while this looked like unnecessary
precaution or what a distinguished Congressman once called old woman’s
fussiness. Hadn’t we just triumphed over the largest armies that had
been brought into the field, except by ourselves, in half a century?
Hadn’t we organized a navy out of nothing, armed it splendidly, and done
with it whatever was desirable that the naval power of the country
should attempt? To be sure, our forts were few, but so were our harbors.
The construction of some of the harbor forts in the United States was
admired by the engineers of all the other civilized powers only thirty
years ago, and the public knew of it. To afterward be told that these
splendid and expensive structures were of no use, that they were
inadequate, that two or three guns on a second or third-rate ship of
some second or third-rate naval power could knock them to pieces would
have been humiliating had it not been enraging.

Attempts were made from time to time, in the earlier years following the
close of the war, to keep our military and naval establishment in fine
condition. We had admirable staff departments, and large “plants” for
the manufacture of almost everything required in ordnance and
ammunition. We had the nucleus of a navy and army from which a peace
establishment unequalled by any on the face of the earth might have been
selected. But we let it all go. No such spectacle as the disbandment and
disappearance of the great armies of the North and South was ever before
seen, and historians have glorified in this. Soldiers, however, whose
opinions we may yet be called upon to respect, regarded the spectacle in
entirely a different light. We had once before been caught--by
England--napping in a most unexpected way, said these old fellows; we
paid dearly for our neglect; but now we are repeating exactly the same
blunder. Excellent men who

[Illustration: MINES BUILDING.]

were willing to remain in the service were allowed to go, material of
every kind was disposed of at auction as rapidly as possible, and
nothing was provided to take its place. The numerical force of the
standing army was reduced more and more until even the Indians held us
in contempt. Indian massacres on the border have frequently been charged
to the rascality or duplicity of the white men. Undoubtedly the Indians
have had a great many provocations, but, so far as restraint through
fear is concerned, they have been subjected to very little of this very
necessary discipline. Large bands of armed Indians have been able to
keep brave but small detachments of United States troops within small
camps or forts, to isolate them and taunt them for days in succession,
to steal cattle, murder settlers, desolate the country, all because they
had contempt for an army which was so small that it never could oppose
more than a handful to any Indian raid which might suddenly be made.

Just look at some of the warnings we have had during recent years. In
his last report as commander of the army (1887), General Sheridan said:
“The condition of our sea-coast defences has continued to deteriorate
during the year, and the majority of them, both as regards the material
of which they are built, their location and present armament, would
prove of but little real service in time of foreign war.”

What was done about it? Nothing.

General Sheridan further advised that we should adopt some modern
magazine rifle for our soldiers, as all foreign nations had refitted
their armies with these guns.

What was done about it? Nothing.

General Sheridan further said: “I am strongly in favor of the general
movement extending all possible aid to the National Guard of the
different States, as they constitute a body of troops that in any great
emergency would form an important part of our military force.”

What was done about it? Nothing.

Before Sheridan, General Sherman made clear, vigorous, sensible protests
every year against our neglect to maintain good defences, but nothing
came of it in the way of improvement. After Sheridan’s death, General
Schofield, the ranking officer of the army, continued the good work;
only two or three months ago General Schofield said in his report that
the new guns we are making will make an increase in the number of
artillerists indispensable, and he urged the formation of two new
regiments at once. Does any one expect to see them?

Admiral Porter has been hammering away valiantly for years at
Congressional thick-heads for the neglect of the navy, but it was not
until the late Samuel J. Tilden gave his own party a blast on the
subject did we begin to construct a navy. Even now there is persistent
halting; Congress, regarding the navy, is like the girl of a certain
class regarding her suitors--so anxious to get the very best that she is
in danger of not getting any.

Both political parties seem agreed on the reduction of the regular army
to the smallest possible numerical force. While the Republicans were in
power some officers of the army used to hope for a change of
administration, and consequently change of party at the head of affairs
so that the army might “have a show.” But when the Democrats came in
with President Cleveland, there was no perceptible difference, except
that there was more trouble than before in obtaining ammunition with
which to salute the flag morning and evening. The army, small as its
maximum strength is according to law, has not been full in years, and
there are grave doubts among some of the higher officers of the army as
to whether it can be made full.

Why? Because men desert--run away at a rate unheard of in the army of
any other nation. General Schofield, in his annual report, says _there
were two thousand four hundred and thirty-six desertions last year--more
than ten per cent. of the entire army!_ Fear of punishment seems to have
no effect, and General Schofield felt obliged to recommend that a full
half of each enlisted man’s pay shall be retained until the end of the
period of enlistment. Isn’t this a humiliating state of affairs for the
army of the freest nation in the world?

There must be serious reason for this anomalous condition of the
military force. Our soldiers are better fed, better clothed, and far
better paid than those of any other country. An American soldier
receives, outside of his allowance for rations and clothing, more money
in a day than the British soldier can show to his credit in a week. His
term of enlistment is shorter and his possibilities of duty are
pleasanter, or should seem so to men of intelligence. Yet to enlist,
which is the first suggestion that presents itself to a man out of work
in a foreign country, seems to be the least popular in the United
States.

Undoubtedly one reason is, that among the inducements to enlist, we are
entirely lacking in anything that approaches the glory of war. Our only
enemies are Indians, the meanest, most sneaking, most treacherous foemen
that any civilized nation is fighting at the present time, and there is
less glory in capturing one of them or a great many of them than in any
taking of prisoners in ordinary war. The soldiers of other countries see
at least a great deal of the pomp of war, if very little of its
circumstance. Showy dresses, frequent parades, numerous occasions of
display, encampment in the vicinity of large cities and towns, freedom
to go about and spend money among civilized people, are all inducements
to men to join and remain in a foreign army at the present time.

But what inducement is offered the American soldier? He is put in a camp
of instruction as soon as he enlists, and sent to the border as soon as
he is fit for service. The border is a delightful country, according to
dime novels, but no sober man with his eyes open finds it anything but
dull. It is a sparsely settled country, uninteresting to every one but
the speculator and hunter. The soldier has nothing to speculate with,
and is very seldom allowed to go hunting. He is kept within narrow
bounds, sees almost no one but his own officers and comrades, has
nothing but camp duty to do, except when on long scouts outside camp
lines, or, still more unpleasant, when detailed for police, gardening,
or other laborious duties within the camp. It naturally occurs to the
American soldier that if he is to work eight hours a day in building
houses or stables, or digging wells, or throwing up embankments, or
ploughing the soil, or hoeing garden crops for the benefit of the post,
that he might as well be doing the same sort of work in the States at a
dollar and a half a day, and have his freedom between sunset and
sunrise.

Except that police precautions against the Indians are still necessary,
the only excuse that any one, except the military officer, seems
inclined to discover for the existence of our army at all, is that we
should have a nucleus of a military establishment in case of necessity.
But what is the nucleus worth? Two thousand officers, among whom
undoubtedly are a number of the best educated soldiers in the world,
constitute nearly all of our military force upon whom we could
confidently rely in case of trouble. The enlisted man, taking him as an
average character, is practically worthless at a time when the
enlargement of the army may suddenly become necessary. In France or
Germany officers may at any time be selected from the ranks. Of course
the systems of the two countries differ greatly from ours. Conscription
and the requirement that every adult man shall serve a portion of his
time in the army, makes a soldier of every one.

But is it not rather significant that the better class of men, to whom
we would have to look for additional officers in case of the necessity
of suddenly making a large army, are seldom found among our own
regulars? Some of the reasons for this deplorable deficiency of valuable
material have already been suggested. There is nothing to induce a man
to enter military life, and the enlisted man is too frequently used as a
common laborer.

But beside this, there is a greater grievance. It is that ours is as
aristocratic an army as any in the world, and that the distance of the
officers from the enlisted men is so great as to be simply immeasurable.
Volunteers used to grumble that some of their officers “put on airs.” It
is scarcely fair to say that regular officers put on airs, but it
certainly is true that the enlisted man, as a rule, is generally treated
by his superiors as a being of an entirely different order. Few men rise
from the ranks. Some men now high up on regimental rosters used to be
private soldiers, and a few instances of the kind occur nowadays, but
the vacancies are too few to attract good men to the ranks. Let any one
live at a military post a little while and explain, if he can, how any
one with sufficient self-respect to be fit for military rank of any kind
can bring himself to enlist in the United States army at all.

All this could be changed, without increasing the numerical strength of
the army, by an entire change of method which would not create any
friction, disorganization or reorganization, but which nevertheless
would encourage a better class of young men to enlist--a change which,
indeed, would secure some of the very best in the country. An army so
small as ours should be in the highest sense a military school. There is
nothing to prevent it. There is no army which has more leisure at its
disposal or officers more competent to act as instructors. No army in
the world has a greater percentage of highly educated officers. No
country can show a larger proportion of well-educated, restless,
unemployed, aspiring young men. There is no engineering party for a
railroad, a mine, a river improvement association, a drainage company or
anything else requiring applied mathematical and mechanical skill but
can secure a large staff of intelligent young men at an expense not
exceeding that of the ordinary soldier. These men generally work harder
and fare worse, regarding personal comfort, than the meanest of
soldiers, yet they are not only entirely satisfied with their chance,
but elbow each other fiercely in their desire to get it.

Suppose that instead of selecting men merely for their physical quality
and their supposed capacity for obedience, the standard of admission to
the ranks of the army should be as high as that of admission to West
Point. Suppose the Government were to assure the people that the
recruits would be treated as well as the cadets at the military or naval
academy; in an instant the army might have its choice from a hundred
thousand intelligent, well-born, well-bred, honorable, aspiring young
men. As already said, there is no trouble in getting any quantity of men
of this class to go out under the control of engineers for hard and
unpleasant duty. The inducement, beside the financial compensation, is
that they will be enabled to fit themselves, at least to some extent,
for the class of work which their superiors are already engaged in. They
are close observers, earnest students, intelligent assistants, and the
beginning of many an engineer, now prominent, has been in just such
parties.

The United States army might as well be one great school of engineering
and military tactics. It is well known that the mere company drill,
which is almost all the drill the American soldier is ever subjected to,
thanks to the distribution of the force in such a way that scarcely any
regiment has been together within a single period of enlistment of any
soldier in the army, requires very little time. It is no harder to
become proficient in than that of the militia of the various States and
cities. Indeed, with company drills once a week, almost any militia
regiment or company can present a finer appearance upon parade than any
but two or three “show” companies of regulars. The remainder of military
life consists in guard duty, the details of camp duty and of applied
engineering, which each man can learn as rapidly by experience as an
equal number of assistants in a construction party anywhere else. It is
known well enough at the West that the construction parties of railways
contain, beside a mass of common laborers, a great many intelligent
young fellows who have put on flannel shirts and cow-hide boots, have
taken pick and shovel and wheelbarrow, not so much for the wages that
are paid them as for what they are learning of the art of railroad
building. If such men can put up with the treatment ordinarily accorded
the section hands of a railway constructing party, they certainly would
be satisfied with the manners of officers of the United States army.

But--and here is an important distinction--no railway boss, however much
of a tyrant he may be, would dare to order one of his hands to cook his
supper or wait at his table or groom his horse or do any other service
of the quality commonly known as menial, but the American soldier in the
regular army is sometimes obliged to regard such demands as a matter of
course.

A plan was suggested a short time ago, by a military officer of
experience, by which the army might be reorganized on this basis without
any additional expense and without any possibility of friction. Several
years ago Major Sumner, of the regular army, himself a son of an old
regular of national fame, suggested a similar plan regarding a single
branch of the service--the cavalry. His plan was to select from among
the floating population of wild boys of the different cities a number of
the more intelligent, and organize from them a single regiment of
cavalry, to be carefully trained and specially educated, the more
promising and deserving recruits to be placed in the line of promotion,
and all to be encouraged to look to possible rank, responsibility, and
position as part of the compensation for the necessary restraint to
which they might be subjected. This restraint could by no possibility be
more severe and continuous than that of West Point.

All that has been said about the army applies with equal force to the
navy. When the apprentice system was formulated there was hope expressed
by hundreds of officers who had served in one branch or other of the
service during the late civil war, that it might afford a stepping-stone
to ambitious young men who wished to adopt a seafaring career, but were
unable to obtain admission to the naval academy, or in any other way to
gain a sufficient education in seamanship and gunnery, which are the two
principal requirements of the American naval officer. But if any number
of naval apprentices have yet reached officers’ uniforms or see before
them any hope of such advancement, the country has not heard of it;
neither has the naval department. The boys are treated kindly, well fed,
well clothed, educated to a certain extent and trained by officers
carefully selected for their intelligence, forbearance, patience, and
tact. But has any one seen any recommendation either to the naval
department or to members of Congress that the apprentice ships should be
schools for naval officers?

The consequence is that in case of our becoming suddenly involved in
war with any power we would be in as bad a position as we were when the
civil war broke out. At that time there was a sudden demand for twenty
times as many trained military officers as the regular army and the
graduating class at West Point could supply, and the demand became
greater every month during the time in which our first million of men
were enlisted. The scarcity of available material was so deplorable that
many lieutenants of regulars were called to the command of volunteer
regiments. Did any one think to go to the ranks of the regular army for
officers? At that time there were in the army thousands of sergeants,
any one of whom, had he been in the militia in a corresponding position,
would have been considered amply fit to organize, drill, and otherwise
care for a company of a hundred men. But there were no such demands, and
had they been made the proper men would not have been forthcoming to any
extent. The lack was not of military skill, but of the many other
qualities which go to the make-up of a soldier. And first among these is
a high degree of self-respect--a quality which has never been nourished
among enlisted men of the regular army of the United States.

The real trouble is lack of proper public spirit. During a recent chat
with Admiral Porter, that fine old sea-dog and fighter bemoaned the
lack of any proper public sense of caution.

“Why don’t you write up the subject yourself?” I asked.

“Write!” exclaimed the veteran, in his energetic way; “I’ve almost
written my finger-nails off, and do not believe it has done a particle
of good. Nothing would please me more than to be able to infuse a
patriotic spirit into the American people--make them feel that they have
a flag and need a navy to protect it. I wish we had some of the energy
and patriotism exhibited by our forefathers, for, according to present
indications, we will one day be humiliated by some fifth-rate naval
power which will come to our shores and teach us a lesson. No reason
exists why we should be exempt from war, for we are easily excited, and,
like the school-boy, dare any one to knock the chip from our shoulder,
though not able to fight.”

So say we all of us--all who give the subject intelligent thought.



CHAPTER XI.

LABOR.


Laboring men--this is their own title for themselves--do not work any
harder than the remainder of their fellow-beings. But those who come
under this title as it is generally understood have some grievances that
must be removed before several million men can transverse the long
distance between dissatisfaction and comfort.

The Labor party, so-called, has made an ass of itself a great many
times, but its blunders cannot change the fact that many of its
complaints have a great deal of ground to stand on. The farmer who
shoots the man that stole his horses may be a murderer, but that does
not alter the fact that his horses, upon whose work depend his crops,
his family’s fate, and the ownership of his farm, have been stolen. So,
when a railroad strike prevents thousands of travellers not owning any
railway stock, not having any part or influence in railway management,
from reaching their destination, the strikers may be absolute scoundrels
in their disregard of the rights of their fellow-men; nevertheless it
is entirely true that their own wages may have been ground down to
starvation basis, and consequently the men have a right to complain.

Labor is sure to be imposed upon just as much as the laboring class will
endure the imposition. The poorer the man the more necessary is it that
he shall work in order to live. This being so, he is sure sooner or
later to encounter somebody who will take advantage of him. No man need
be a scoundrel in order to drive a sharp bargain if he gets the chance.
To drive a sharp bargain is something that all of us rather pride
ourselves upon. Probably the laboring man would do it himself if he got
the opportunity. Nevertheless, the purpose and aim of the laboring man
should be to be so “fixed” that no one can catch him at a disadvantage.

Labor--that is, organized labor, must be in ceaseless conflict with the
spirit of competition that prevails among employers. In every
manufacturing industry that admits of competition, all the way from
making door-mats to building houses and railroads, men try by
underbidding one another to get business. The energy of a new country is
always in excess of its capital and also of its demand. This is very
encouraging so far as the outlook for energy goes, but it does work a
great many wrongs and unpleasantnesses. In business it does not take
long to reach bedrock as to cost of raw material. After that, the
strain of competition must come entirely upon labor, and, if labor does
not resist, it must starve.

Consequently the workingman must fight, and fight continually, to keep
from being reduced to slavery in one form or other. The word slavery has
a dreadful sound, but there are ways of muffling it so that the slave
himself does not always see himself in a true light.

It is only a short time ago that New England was thrown into a fervor of
patriotic indignation by the spectacle presented in one town of a native
bringing a laborer in chains to the market-place to be sold. The owner
regarded himself as entirely in the right, and explained his position
very distinctly. He had obtained his vassal on a contract that a certain
amount of labor would be given for a specified sum of money. The sum was
small; nevertheless it was paid and accepted, and the man afterward
imagined that he could escape from the terms of his contract.
Consequently the employer, or purchaser, as he seemed to consider
himself, put chains upon the fellow, and as literally brought him for
sale as any slave was ever offered in any slave-mart in the world. The
beholders rose in their wrath, dragged both men before the court, the
slave was freed and the owner was fined.

But the point is here: this was simply a case

[Illustration: U. S. MAN-OF-WAR.]

in which the slave-dealer, taking advantage of an ignorant, unthinking
man, was found out. How many thousands of similar cases exist in the
United States at the present time of which the public know nothing? All
newspaper men at the principal sea-ports know that people come to this
country by the thousand on contracts to do a certain amount of labor for
specified prices. The prices may be below the cost of living,
nevertheless the contracts hold good in all courts of law, and the men
are obliged to do their duty. We are sorry for them, but, according to
the practice of all countries, man seems to be made for the law and not
the law for man.

Do I really mean to say that slavery is possible in the United States?
Why, such a question is behind the times, for slavery practically
exists. What else but slavery can you call the condition of some of the
coal-miners, tanners and factory hands of the United States? Men with
their wives and families go to a small town which practically belongs to
their employer. They live in houses owned by their employer, buy their
household supplies at stores owned by their employer, take their pay in
checks, tickets or orders signed by their employer, and get the
remainder of their pay when their employer is ready. Suppose they wish
to improve their condition and go away; how can they move at all unless
they have saved some money, the saving of which, by a peculiarity well
understood in all such localities, is simply impossible?

The method is practically that of South America. In some of our sister
republics the laboring men who are on a plantation are called a
_consistado_. Men are obtained, in the first place, by a small advance
of money, and are told that they can obtain additional sums at such
times as they may need them, provided the money is already due them for
work done. But these laborers are improvident. When they wish to spend
money, the employer good-naturedly--so it is supposed--allows them to
draw slightly in advance, and by the laws of the country the laborer can
never leave until his indebtedness to the employer is paid.

In some of the South American republics there are _consistados_, from
which no man can escape to work elsewhere without being claimed and
returned by forms very similar to those which prevailed in the United
States under the old fugitive slave law in slavery times. If a workman
on the plantation of Don Tomas recovers from a feast-day celebration in
a state of mind which leads him to run away and go to the plantation of
Don Jorge, he is missed at roll-call, his absence is reported to his
employer, and straightway a lot of notes are sent out to the owners of
surrounding estates notifying them of the runaway and requesting them to
return him to his employer, who will pay the expenses incurred by the
return. The request is always honored, because what neighbor knows when
some member of his own _consistado_ may disappear in the same manner,
and be, of course, slightly in debt to his employer?

The same state of affairs prevails practically in a number of our mining
and manufacturing regions. Men who are paid only once a month or once in
two months get advances from their employers in the shape of orders for
family supplies upon stores in the vicinity, stores probably owned by
the employer. So long as the purchaser is in debt he may be stopped if
he attempts to leave the country, and if he goes alone, as usually he
must, his family is unable to follow him, and, still more, unable to
retain a home and get food, for the roof which shelters them belongs
also to the employer, as does the only store which gives credit. Only a
few years ago I met in the State of New York a tanner, who was said to
be one of the ablest men in his business, who told me that he had been
seven years in the town and house in which I found him, trying to work
out his indebtedness to his employer, so as to take his family somewhere
else where they could have better society and where his children could
have better facilities for education, but in spite of all efforts at
economy he was still in debt to his employer. As the said employer
fixed the rate of wages, the tanner could not possibly see how his
condition would ever be otherwise.

This apparently anomalous feature of our civilization may appear to the
reader to be accidental and exceptional, but it is not. In the larger
cities the same conditions prevail under different forms. There are a
great many shops in New York and other cities where men and women,
principally the latter, work at starvation wages, and are so assisted by
the pretended kindness of their employers that they always are in debt
and cannot possibly leave without fear of suit and possibly arrest. The
so-called slave marts of certain districts of the city of New York on
Sundays are not overdrawn pictures, as the reading public may imagine
them. There are hundreds of thousands of people so absolutely bound to
their present employers that their only method of escape seems to be
death.

Public sentiment does not countenance slavery, though, and public
sentiment is all-powerful? The will of the people is the law of the
land? Yes, yes; that sounds very well. There is a good deal of truth in
it, too, but the truth is all on one side. Public sentiment does not
concern itself with anything which is not brought closely to its
attention. Public sentiment in the United States did not countenance
African slavery long after the Constitution was adopted, nevertheless
the institution grew and flourished until it almost destroyed the
nation. Public sentiment did not approve of any of the abuses of the
colored race which individual overseers and owners might be mean enough
to indulge in. Nevertheless, as in everything else, the public acted
upon the old-fashioned principle of not interfering in other people’s
business. The general public does not handle the slaves, still less does
the general public manage the employers. It hears once in a while of
abuses and cruelties, and thinks these are outrageous, but they are not
its affair. Each man must look out for himself, Heaven helps those who
help themselves, _etcetera, etcetera_. There are a good many ways of
getting rid of moral responsibility in this world, and nearly everybody
is mean enough to take advantage of them when the moral responsibility
does not affect any one of his own family, much less his own
pocket-book.

But can the condition of labor be improved? Yes, if labor is entirely in
earnest about it. Labor’s principal need is brains. I don’t mean they
must increase their own brains; but in their conflicts with employers
the laboring men should be led, or their interests should be managed, by
men who know both sides of the question. Are there such men in the ranks
of the laborers? It appears not; if there were, such men would not be
laborers at all. How many men there are whose hearts have been strongly
stirred up by the wrongs endured by labor in the United States, who have
longed for an opportunity to assist the working classes with their
sympathy and counsel, but who have been repelled again and again by the
utterly unbusinesslike and senseless methods of the very men whom they
desired to help! During the strikes in the cotton mills of New England,
a few years ago, it was remarked by a millionaire, a man of leisure, who
desired to assist the operatives with his time, his money and his legal
ability, that could he have such a faculty of working as the laboring
class had of blundering he would be the greatest man who ever lived.

There is no objection, on the part of Americans, to workingmen enjoying
all proper rights and protection under the law; the only trouble is in
unwise methods of procedure. President Cleveland puts the whole matter
in a nutshell as follows:

“Under our form of government the value of labor as an element of
national prosperity should be distinctly recognized, and the welfare of
the laboring man should be regarded as especially entitled to
legislative care. In a country which offers to all its citizens the
highest attainment of social and political distinction, its workingmen
cannot justly or safely be considered as irrevocably consigned to the
limits of a class and entitled to no attention and allowed no protest
against neglect. The laboring man, bearing in his hand an indispensable
contribution to our growth and progress, may well insist, with manly
courage and as a right, upon the same recognition from those who make
our laws as is accorded to any other citizen having a valuable interest
in charge; and his reasonable demands should be met in such a spirit of
appreciation and fairness as to induce a contented and patriotic
co-operation in the achievement of a grand national destiny. While the
real interests of labor are not promoted by a resort to threats and
violent manifestations, and while those who, under the pretexts of an
advocacy of the claims of labor, wantonly attack the rights of capital,
and for selfish purposes or the love of disorder sow seeds of violence
and discontent, should neither be encouraged nor conciliated, all
legislation on the subject should be calmly and deliberately undertaken,
with no purpose of satisfying unreasonable demands or gaining partisan
advantage.”

The press of the United States, as a rule, is on the side of abused men
of any class, not excepting laboring men who strike against oppression
of any kind or against reduced compensation, but often and often within
a very few years, within the memory of men who are still young, the
press has been obliged by common-sense alone to condemn strikes of men
whose condition they regarded as deplorable, but whose immediate purpose
was absolutely indefensible. A business man in a position which he does
not entirely understand seeks the counsel of a lawyer or of some one who
fully comprehends the case in all its bearings. The laboring man seems
to think such a course unnecessary, and he suffers the consequences.

Will any unions, guilds, Knights of Labor, help the workingmen to
maintain such rights as they have and gain such as they need? Yes, if
there are brains behind them. “In union is strength,” but strength may
be just as effective in a bad sense as a good one, and the more of it
there is the worse will be the showing made if the cause is not just. If
workingmen were divine, all their past efforts would have done a great
deal of good, but they are only human, and there is no getting away from
the fact that when any lot of men first are brought together through
sense of wrong, their first thought is revenge, which never meets the
public’s views. “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord,” is an expression
from authority so high that we are obliged to treat it with respect, and
it is certain that during the present generation a desire for vengeance
by any one or for any reason whatever has never called forth the
sympathy of the public.

Human nature is a very weak article. No one knows this better than the
wise man who has a great deal of it himself; so in all quarrels he
assumes that there is a great deal of right on both sides and that
reconciliation or adjustment must be brought about by conciliation and
compromise. The laboring man on strike is not given to either
conciliation or compromise. Whatever his wrongs may be, he has first
endured them for a long time and when he has begun to complain of them
his complaints have never been made directly, but simply are voiced
among his fellows, then increased in volume. The argument on the other
side has never been brought to his attention, and consequently he
regards himself as the only person wronged and almost as the only person
who has any interest in the matter in any way. It never occurs to him
that his employer, like nineteen in twenty of all the employers of the
United States, is doing his business on the basis of general confidence
and borrowed capital, and that what might seem fair to the employer as
an individual may be utterly impossible when demanded of the employer as
a business man.

In all the manufacturing centres outside of large cities the majority of
employers do business with money borrowed from savings banks which have
obtained this money by deposits from the laboring men themselves. An
injury done to one is an injury to all. If labor goes back upon the
employer, the banks also must go back upon him, and after this nothing
but a very wise head can prevent injury to both. When upon such a
complication there comes the spirit of revenge nothing but a special
interposition of Providence can prevent injury for everybody.

One fact that should be constantly borne in mind is that trades unions,
no matter what their titular name may be, can never be sure of support
from men in the same trade who have most sense and influence. Protests,
whether with words or blows, are always made by the discontented, but
the better class of workingmen are not of that variety. They either have
better sense than their associates or make better use of the sense they
have, so they are in positions with which they are fairly contented. Men
who have been “inside” of a great many labor movements are no less
vigorous in their denunciation of the stupidity of labor than the most
earnest or most hypocritical employer that can be named. They say or
they have said to newspaper men whose business it has been to
interrogate them closely that “if” so-and-so had happened the results
would have been different, but A or B or C, each of whom had a number of
personal retainers, thought differently, and consequently the trouble
was prolonged. Had certain other men in the business belonged to the
unions or guilds, or whatever associations made the formal protest
against wages or hours, or whatever the grievances might have been,
there would have been a chance for compromise, or arbitration, or some
other method which would have brought the conflicting interests into
harmony. But these men “stayed out,” as the saying is. They were men who
saw opportunities for something better before them; consequently they
did not intend to compromise their own position and future prospects by
taking part in a fight.

Neither can the unions depend upon support from mechanics and laborers
outside of the large cities and of villages and manufacturing centres
which are tributary to large cities. The carpenter, mason and blacksmith
in a country town feels insulted when asked to organize or join a trade
union. He does not feel the need of any protection. He, with good right,
considers himself as smart as any merchant or manufacturer or capitalist
in his vicinity, and he not only does not see the need of any protection
against such people, but he thinks himself smart enough to overcome them
all in matters pertaining to his own business. Experience proves that he
is right. Such a man slowly but surely becomes a proprietor, and thus an
employer himself. The idea that he is always to be a laborer is
extremely distasteful to him, and even if he were convinced that such
were to be the fact he would not admit it. He would feel that he would
be voluntarily taking a lower level by making any such admission. The
natural consequences may be seen by any man who has done business in a
number of small towns or villages. The journeyman workman in any trade
whom he knew ten or fifteen years ago, in his beginning, is probably now
an employer and a proprietor himself. Quite possibly he has “struck a
big thing,” as the saying goes, and has money of his own; his sons are
being as well educated, his daughters as well dressed, as those of any
of his neighbors, and his wife associates on terms of equality with the
families of the judge or Congressman or whosoever else the local magnate
may be.

So far as labor expects to be helped by public sympathy, which is always
on the side of the unfortunate and oppressed, it cuts its own throat by
denying the right of any laborer to work at cheaper rates than his
fellows. The abuses and indignities to which so-called scabs have been
subjected have alienated public “sympathy” from labor movements to a
most deplorable degree. No American, not even the millionaire, is free
from the influence of competition in business, and the richest are
sometimes those who suffer the most. Competition has been defined as the
soul of business, and no one yet has been skilful enough to deny or
modify the assertion. If employers may compete, if clerks, teachers,
salesmen, lawyers, physicians, even clergymen, may compete with one
another for wages or compensation for their services, why may not
workmen? Can any one imagine a body of clerks, or dry-goods salesmen, or
lawyers, forming a clique and standing at dark corners with clubs and
pistols to bully other men of their own profession into demanding
certain wages on penalty of refusing to do any business at all?

“What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.” If one class of
labor is entitled to take as much wages as it may get for such services
as it can render, why should not another be entitled to the same
privilege? It is very true that the laboring man often sees in free
competition by a large number of men a possibility that he shall be
deprived of his daily occupation. But whose fault is it? That of the
competitor who will work for lower wages or of the man who has done so
little outside of his daily stint of labor as to be obliged to stand in
the position of a highwayman or bully toward any one who can do the same
work for less money than he?

Can law improve the condition of the workingman? Can you make a horse
drink by leading him to the water? The law has done a great deal for the
laborers in many States by giving workmen a first lien upon the results
of their work, but it cannot and will not compel the community to regard
the inefficient worker as the equal of the good one, which is the point
upon which some trade unions and other organizations seem inclined to
insist. Neither will it allow the employee to manage his employer’s
business. The employer may occasionally find himself “in a hole,” where
he must submit to any terms imposed by the only men who can help him
out, but if he gets in any such fix a second time his bankers and
customers will go back upon him, after which he will have no use for
labor at any price.

Then can law and public opinion do more for laboring men than they have
done? Not much. Why? Because law and public opinion are made by people
who themselves work--people who stand just as much of this world’s wear
and tear as any common dirt-shoveller, to say nothing of any skilled
mechanic. There are more farmers than mechanical laborers, and they work
longer hours, but how often do they demand help of the law or the
public? In every large city there are tens of thousands of clerks who
are driven to their utmost capacity at less compensation per day than
the common laborer receives. It has been ascertained that a bank-teller
who recently defaulted was getting a salary of only six dollars per
week, though he had long hours and great responsibility.

Does not underpaid labor, outside the mechanical arts, frequently
improve its own condition? Yes, frequently. Well, how? Why, by using its
brains. If it were to insist that its whole duty was done when its
daily work was over the public would laugh at it. The clerk, the
teacher, the salesman considers it his duty to continually improve
himself in order to be fit for such opportunities as may arise. A man in
any one of these positions who would spend his non-working hours in
indulgence, carelessness, or, worse still, at the nearest beer-shop,
would be considered by his employers as unfit for confidence and by his
associates as a man who never would rise. If such men are so badly paid,
so severely worked, yet are skilful enough to rise from the low
financial level upon which their work places them, why should not the
laboring class in general rise in the same manner? It is useless to say
they cannot, because thousands upon thousands have done it for years. It
has already been said that the mechanics of a few years ago are the
employers and managers of to-day. A great deal more might be said in the
same direction, for there are great mills, factories and industries of
the United States to-day controlled by men who were merely poor laborers
at day wages a few years ago. The question is not one of a class or of
an industry; it is entirely one of individual manhood, and the man
stands or falls by himself. The more he depends upon an association or
his fellow-men the less strength there is in himself to resist injury or
to make his way upward.



CHAPTER XII.

SELF-HELP FOR LABOR.


If the laboring man doesn’t want to be in a state of slavery, he must
refrain from putting himself into chains.

He is a good deal like the rest of us; he always blames somebody else
for his condition. He won’t be able to get out of trouble until he lays
most of the blame on himself.

If a man feels obliged to enter into business relations with a lion he
does not begin by putting his head into the animal’s mouth. If a
workingman begins life with the belief, which seems prevalent now, that
all employers will enslave a man if they can, he should not allow
himself to be in such condition that he cannot take care of himself.
Why, even a dog or a cat going into a strange room spends its first
moments in looking around to see how it can get out again in case of
necessity.

Employers as a class have so many sins to answer for that there will be
lively times for them on judgment day, I suppose, but that is no reason
why the employee should be a fool. If a

[Illustration: AGRICULTURAL BUILDING.]

man sticks a knife into you, and is sent to State’s prison for it, his
sentence punishes him, but it does not pay your doctor’s bill, or make
up to you what you have lost in time and money while you have been lying
in bed under the surgeon’s care.

The workingman is too often satisfied to do whatever is before him
without fitting himself to do anything else in case of accident or
change of business, or lack of demand, or any one of the various other
accidents that may occur to disturb the even routine of his life. No man
in any other line of business dare be so careless. There are clerks and
book-keepers and men in the highest mechanical arts who are very good in
their places, but who never fit themselves for anything better or
anything else. These men are slaves--literally. Their employers know it,
if the slaves themselves don’t. No matter how honest they may be, no
matter how capable they are in their own specialties, these are the men
who always are passed over when promotions are to be made, or when men
are to be selected for higher positions.

By a strange coincidence these are also the men who grumble most at
their rate of pay, their hours, the amount of work they have to do, and
the manner in which their employers treat them. Many of them are such
good fellows personally, so full of human virtues that are not
specially business virtues, that they excite a great deal of sympathy
among their acquaintances, but in the case of any acquaintance who
happens also to be an employer there is no sympathy whatever.

The American workingman, above all others on the face of the earth,
needs to take this warning to heart, for one result of competition has
been the subdivision of most varieties of mechanical labor to a degree
which requires twenty or thirty men sometimes to complete a bit of work
which once was done by a single individual. Undoubtedly work can be done
cheaper in this way, and both capital and labor have some obligations to
fulfil toward the consumer, but the less a man is a “full-handed
workman,” which means that he can do all branches of the business in
which he is engaged, the more necessary it is for him to be prepared to
do something else in case of emergency.

To illustrate: there was a time, almost within the memory of the present
generation, when miniature painting was the most profitable division of
art work in the United States. A fine miniature would bring more money
than an oil painting. Suddenly the process of daguerreotyping was
discovered. Then came the ambrotype and photograph, and other cheap
methods of making accurate likenesses, and as a consequence miniature
paintings became less and less in demand, and the few members of the
profession who still survive have none at all of the work at which they
once were famous. Some of them took to drawing on wood, others went into
oil portraits, some devoted themselves to water-colors, and others went
into mechanical businesses where a good and accurate eye for color and
proportion commanded good pay. But if the miniature painters, whose
misfortunes were greater than those of any class of common laborers now
complaining to the public, had insisted that the public owed them a
living and they were going to have it, and that Congress should make
laws enabling them to get a living out of their business, they would
have been laughed to scorn. The miniature painters had no more brains
than mechanics. What is fair for one is fair for another.

One of the first things that the young laboring man does is to take a
wife. A wife is a desirable object of possession. So is a horse, a yacht
or a handsome house, but the man who would load himself with either
while he sees no means of supporting it except by weekly earnings which
might be stopped at short notice by any one of a dozen accidents to life
or business, would be regarded as a fool. Some people would call him a
scoundrel. Yet when financially pushed a man can sell a horse or yacht,
and get at least part of the value while getting rid of responsibility.
He cannot sell a wife, though, even if he is willing. That sort of
business has become illegal. Even if it had not, the probabilities are
that a wife, taken by a fellow who is so reckless as to marry before he
is able to properly care for so precious and complicated a bit of
property as a woman, would not be in salable condition.

The possession of a wife implies, quite implies, occasional bits of
income, but also of responsibility, in the shape of children. “He who
has wife and children has given hostages to fortune.” The rich man knows
this to his cost, though he may get enough delight out of the experience
to pay him a thousand times over. But to the poor man dependent upon
daily wages, and with no property or savings to fall back upon, a family
is often fetters, with ball and chain to boot. Thank God, such bonds
often feel as light as feathers and soft as silk, but these sensations
do not decrease the weight or dragging power one particle. If a man
determines to marry while he has nothing to marry on, let him at least
be honest with himself, tell himself that he is going to be the slave of
whoever employs him, and blame himself instead of employers, or capital,
or public opinion for the consequences.

There is a large class of workingmen who do not seem to think they are
fit for anything but what they are doing. Such men may be honest,
cheerful, obedient, industrious, painstaking and obliging. Well, slaves
have been all this and more. Such men are bound to be slaves. Nothing
that trade unions, Knights of Labor, law, religion or public sentiment
can do, can save them from practical slavery.

The men who organized any State, county or town in this Union had no
bigger or healthier brains than the workingmen of to-day; but if each of
them had imagined he could do but one kind of work, the map of our
country would not look as it does now. Any of these men considered
himself equal to taking a hand at building houses, clearing land,
shoeing horses, digging post-holes, following the plough, planting corn,
tending stock, loading steamboats, acting as deck-hand of a flatboat,
carrying mails, or doing whatever else had to be done. They blundered
terribly at times, but who did not and who does not? Each new kind of
work they laid their hands to sharpened their wits and widened their
view of what might be done in the way of getting ahead in the world.
That is the reason why trade unions do not flourish in new countries.
Men there have been taught by experience to take care of themselves. The
common laborer in a new country thinks himself the equal of the judge,
the doctor, the lawyer and the railway president. And so he is, so far
as a fair impulse and a fair show can make one man equal to another in
the race for life.

It is a great pity that representative workingmen in our large cities
cannot once in a while be sent on a tour of observation by their
respective trade societies. It is the custom of almost every man to
regard every one in his own business as about in his own condition. But
an observing man going outside of the large cities and the manufacturing
towns will quickly be undeceived regarding the possibilities and future
of his own business, or of himself, or of any of his associates who have
any spirit in them. He may find men of his own specialty doing work
longer hours per day and for less money than he is accustomed to get,
and they may seem to be having terribly hard times, but there is one
significant difference between the two classes: the men in new countries
never grumble at whatever their hard times may be. If nature refuses a
crop, or makes a river overflow and washes away a town, or a plague of
locusts comes upon them, they can grumble quite as badly as any one
else. But so far as they have free use of their own wits and their own
hands, they “don’t ask nothin’ of nobody,” to use their own emphatic
expression.

The mechanic who works all day in the newer countries can seldom be
found in the beer-shop at night. He drops into the post-office, or the
store, or the office of the justice of the peace, or wherever he sees a
crowd of men, or knows that men will congregate, so that he may learn
what is going on. He will change his business six times in the week, and
then be guilty of doing it twice on Sunday, if there is any money in it.
You never know the business of a man in a new country for more than a
week at a time, unless you have your eye on him. It may seem awfully
stupid to the stranger, but among people where his lot is cast the
workingman manages to keep his end up, as the saying is, and the man who
attempts to depress that end is dealt with by the individual himself. If
a laboring man aggrieved in any of the newer countries were to go to his
fellow-workmen for relief, he would be called either a fool or a coward.
If he does not like what he is doing he is expected to try something
else, just as every one else in the country does. The banker does not
restrict himself to one single business, or one subdivision of business.
Neither does the merchant, or the manufacturer, or any of the few
farmers who have become “forehanded.” He does whatever he sees most
money in, and he has blind faith in his ability to do it. It may not be
the finest variety of finished labor, but that is not found anywhere
except in the competitive trades.

It should not need any argument to prove all this. There seldom is a
great strike at any manufacturing centre during which a large number of
the operatives do not disappear. Some of them find work elsewhere in
their own specialty, but the oldest inhabitant, or the village gossip,
or some one else who has time to pay close attention to other people’s
business, can tell you that some of these men have struck out for
themselves in some other direction, and they very seldom are able to
tell you that any such change of business has brought unfortunate
results. It has already been said in this book that some of the great
industries of the country to-day are managed by men who once were common
laborers.

However ignorant the workingman may be of the fact, or however willing
he may be to ignore it, the truth is that the workingman half a century
ago was a great deal worse off than his successors to-day. He worked
longer hours, he got smaller pay--I mean smaller pay in proportion to
the purchasing power of money, and his social position was very bad.
Even the Revolutionary war, the Declaration of Independence, the rights
of man, and all that sort of thing, didn’t break down at once the laws
of caste that had come to us from the old country. It was not so very
long ago that even the students of Harvard University were classified
according to their ancestry, the list being led by gentlemen, which was
followed by the profession and then brought up by the general assortment
of what the late Mr. Venus called “humans various.”

The apprentice was not only household servant as well as work-boy to his
employer, but he was kept in order by a strap or a club, and the law not
only could give him no redress for personal abuse, but it recognized the
right of the employer to treat his boys in that manner. Boys brought up
in that way had not much independence when they became men, and the
independent spirit of the present generation was a thing almost unknown
in the more thickly settled communities at that time. The workingman in
that day was more religious than his successors in the present
generation, but when he went to church he sat in the poorest seats;
generally he sat in the gallery. When he was out of work he went to the
poor-house. The poor-house was built especially for people of his kind.
Perhaps in some of the large cities workingmen and their families go to
the poor-house to-day, but most of them will take pains to go to another
community than that in which they are known before they allow themselves
to be supported in such manner.

The people of the United States cannot afford at any price to support a
class which proposes to stay in one spot, making no endeavor to go
further or go higher. No grade of society can afford to support such a
class. The class itself cannot afford to remain in any such position.
Allusion has already been made to the willingness of men of the present
generation to enslave their fellow-men when they get special
opportunity. The methods are not the same as of old, but the fact is the
same and the practice is steadily fostered by the inability of a great
number of men and women to impress upon the public any ability to be
anything better than slaves.

The workingman may take such consolation as there may be in the fact
that this rule does not apply to him or to his own class alone. It
exists everywhere. There are plenty of business houses who keep their
men under their power, body and soul, by a custom, apparently founded on
good nature, of lending them money in excess of their earnings. It is a
modification of the South American _consistado_ plan, to which allusion
has already been made, and it works just as well in New York or Chicago,
or any other manufacturing centre, as it does in South America. A man
who will not spend his earnings in advance if he can get them is pretty
hard to find. If this were not so there would be very little of running
to banks, by business men, for discounts and loans, and “shaves.” The
impulse to discount the future is almost as old as the world itself. It
dates all the way back to the Garden of Eden, when our first parents
began to devour some fruit which they were not yet entitled to.

It may be that slavery sometimes is pleasant. Indeed, it often is. In
spite of all the bad stories that were told about the treatment of the
southern blacks during old slavery days, there were a great many
plantations from which the slaves did not run away, even after they
heard of the Emancipation Proclamation, and knew, from what they heard
in the dining-room and parlor, that the South was on its last legs, and
that the good old times could not possibly come back again. There were
many plantations found by the Union army, during its tramps through
certain States, which the masters and the mistresses had abandoned, but
to which the colored people clung closely, from old association alone,
and were found there when the owners came back again. Slavery exists
still in many portions of the world, principally eastern countries, and
Europeans of high character and close observation have declared that the
condition does not inflict cruel or unfair burdens upon the enslaved.

But this is a free country. All our institutions are based upon the
theory that one man is just as good as another, and not only so, but
that he ought to be expected to be as good as his neighbors, and that as
soon as he ceases to be an independent being, the master of his own
time and of his own family, including all their interests, he is not
equal to his duties and responsibilities as a citizen. We hear a great
deal about votes purchased for money and whiskey and offers of office;
but does any one realize how entirely the political status of certain
States and counties and towns depends upon the opinions of even the
temporary whims of certain large employers? There are thousands of men
in each of at least three New England States who would not dare vote any
way than they are requested to do by their employers. Fac-similes of
cards and written notices have been printed to show that in certain
mills the proprietors announced that their operatives were expected to
vote for certain candidates which were named. If an American, an
inhabitant of the freest country of the world, cannot vote as he
pleases, what does his personal liberty amount to? Even a tramp has a
right to his own vote, or to sell it to the highest bidder, if he has
been long enough a resident of the locality in which he attempts to
deposit his ballot. There are slaves in banks and mercantile houses as
well as in manufacturing establishments, so the laboring man need not
feel hurt at the intimation that he is in danger of being subjected to
an involuntary servitude which not only will control his time, but also
his mind, to such an extent that he is not a free agent in anything
regarding moral opinion or his duties as a citizen.

The principal outlet for the energies of the workingman at the present
time is undoubtedly in the newer parts of the country. There is where he
is almost sure to be found if he is a man of proper spirit and has not
handicapped himself so it is impossible for him to reach there. This
outlet will be practicable for at least a generation to come. We hear a
great deal about the new countries being filled up and there being no
chance for a man any longer, but some thousands of men who have footed
it half-way across the continent can tell us differently, and show
substantial proofs that they are right.

The man who resolves not to take any heavy responsibilities upon his
time or pocket until he considers himself fairly settled in life, can
always make his way to the new country, and there in no part of this
land, although it is not a land flowing with milk and honey, in which he
cannot find something to do. I once was made curious, by the
conversation of a number of workingmen in a large pork-packing
establishment in a small town in the West, to know where they had come
from, and what their previous occupation had been, and among
twenty-seven men I found twenty-one businesses and professions
represented, not one of which was pork-packing. Nevertheless each of
these men was earning two dollars and a half a day, and keeping an eye
open for something better, which I am happy to say I saw some of them
realize within a few months. At that very time at least one-half of the
trades which these men had originally learned, and in which they were
all supposed to be experts, were languishing in the East, and a great
number of those engaged in them were in that desperate condition of mind
that in other countries has often precipitated riots and brought about
bloodshed and prolonged disorder.

But--let workingmen note the distinction--only two of these twenty-seven
men were already married. What they had earned already was their own.
They were able to move about from place to place until they found a
satisfactory opening in life. Some of them afterward went to the dogs.
It is impossible to find any lot of men together by chance in which
there will not be some incompetents and some who, through one failing or
other, would be their own enemies if they were in the best of hands.
There were only twelve men in the first company of assistants organized
by Jesus Christ, and one of them turned out to be a scoundrel in spite
of the excellent company in which he found himself.



CHAPTER XIII.

IMMIGRATION.


Because this is a land of liberty a great many foreigners imagine it a
land of license. To do them justice, they do not know any better. But we
do, and it is our duty to teach them the difference. If we don’t, we,
not they, will be the principal sufferers.

The subject of immigration has been largely discussed by the newspapers
of late, and a good deal of demagogy has been got off in Congress on the
same subject. But sensible people are pretty well agreed that it is time
to put some restriction upon the use of America as a common dumping
ground for the world’s offal and rubbish. This country is not an asylum
for criminals or paupers. That ought to go without saying and it should
not require any argument to prove, but it seems we have been very
careless in this direction. A short time ago the New York _Herald_ said:
“America is no longer to be considered the legitimate dumping ground for
the paupers, the idiots, the insane and the criminals of Europe,” and
Congressman Ford, chairman of the Immigration Committee and father of
the bill which was presented in January, made the statement that “if the
law could be strictly enforced I believe our immigration would be
decreased from these sources at least one hundred and fifty thousand per
annum.” This is an awful proportion of the aggregate of immigration, for
the entire figure exceeds half a million per year very little. Still Mr.
Ford may be supposed, from his position, to know what he is talking
about, for his committee has spent a great amount of time in examining a
great many witnesses who are supposed to understand the nature of the
immigration to this country of the peoples of the whole world. But
enough about paupers, idiots, insane and criminals; everybody is agreed
that we do not want them.

Are there any other classes whom we do not want? Yes; we cannot afford
to have the contract laborer. The native labor organizations have talked
a good deal of nonsense about the foreigner, but not on this one
subject. The importation on contract of men to do a certain amount of
work for a smaller sum than American citizens would accept, and to carry
back almost all their earnings to be spent in another country, is a very
successful way of making a nation poor. If we were to send all of our
money to Europe for the purchase of supplies and Europe were to buy
nothing of us in return, it would soon be

[Illustration: PERSPECTIVE VIEW LOOKING SOUTH, SHOWING END OF WORLD’S
COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION.]

impossible to raise enough coin to buy a postage stamp. Yet contract
labor is a transaction of exactly the same nature, and it is increasing
at a rate that may be estimated from the known ability and willingness
of large employers to have work done as cheaply as possible, regardless
of the consequences to every one but themselves.

When, however, statesmen or politicians, or demagogues or well-meaning
labor agitators or leaders, insist that skilled labor should be kept out
of the country, it is to the interest of the community to firmly,
persistently and indignantly oppose any such proposition. Lack of
skilled labor is the curse of the country. Because a man is employed on
work which requires skill and experience is no sign that he is fully
competent to do it. The tramps who bind the farmer’s wheat, the
cast-aways and chance laborers who build some houses in the West, the
riff-raff who are gathered together occasionally to work a mine, or sail
a ship, or do the work of a plantation or a farm for a short season, are
the most costly labor that could be employed, and a great deal of work
supposed to be done by experts in the United States is almost as
expensive. So long as we don’t allow young men to learn trades--and that
seems to be the rule at present--we must have men who have learned
trades somewhere else. Plenty of Americans can be found in New York city
at half an hour’s notice who complain with real patriotic feeling that,
while they would like all their own employés to be Americans, they
cannot find a large number or even a respectable majority of natives who
are sufficiently skilled to do the work for which they are called upon.
The consumption of pianofortes, for instance, in the United States, is
twenty times as great, according to statistics of trade, as in any other
country of equal population in the world. But in going through a piano
factory one might very quickly imagine himself in a foreign country. It
is not that the manufacturers are all foreigners, for they are not, or
that they prefer foreign labor, or that foreign piano-makers work
cheaper than those of native birth, but simply because we have scarcely
any of native birth, although this variety of manufacturing industry has
been active in this country for nearly two generations.

In many other of the mechanical arts the same lack of native skilled
labor is manifested. The wall-paper printers, the engravers, the better
class of weavers, and several other mechanical arts, which require the
services of draughtsmen and colorists, are almost all obliged to depend
upon men of foreign birth for their work. It is pleasing to realize that
most of these foreign workmen are now naturalized American citizens and
probably quite as loyal to the Union and the Constitution as any of our
native-born operatives, but the probabilities are, that as they grow
old or disabled, and have to be replaced, the new men must come from the
same sources as the old. Between Americans not being allowed to learn
trades, and Americans not being willing to learn trades, we are pretty
badly off for mechanical labor unless we can depend upon foreign
countries.

We need not blame foreigners for this; we have only our own selves to
blame and our own people. The reason for the general dependence upon
foreign labor, beside the inability of young men who wish to learn a
trade to be allowed to follow their inclinations, is that the most of
our own people are rapidly getting above anything and everything that
does not afford an opportunity for speculation. Beside, it is one of the
inevitable results of the theory of social equality, a theory which must
do a great deal more harm than it yet has done before we abandon it,
that, as the wealth and prosperity of the country increases, and new
opportunities of making money multiply, the sons of farmers and
mechanics will be reluctant to follow the occupations of their fathers.
We have heard a great deal about the unwillingness of the Hebrews to
indulge in any mechanical or routine labor, and their avidity to enter
all branches of trade where barter and sale are the principal
occupations, but the modern American can double discount the Hebrew in
this particular and then get ahead of him about as often as not.

There is no sign that the native-born American youth will revert to the
good old custom of his fathers, and endeavor to learn a trade, even if
he were able to do it. It is unfashionable to work with one’s hands in a
country where most of the money is made by working with one’s wits. The
mechanic’s son, and the farmer’s son, and the day laborer’s son gets as
good a common-school education as the children of the richest men in the
town, and has equal opportunities for going into mercantile business, or
for entering the offices of business houses and corporations, and his
own father will tell him that he is a fool unless he embraces these
opportunities. No man gets rich by farming alone, or by laboring at
day’s wages at any mechanical occupation, whereas some men in trade and
speculation amass great fortunes. That forty-nine out of every fifty
finally fail and never get upon their feet again does not occur either
to the youth or to his parents. Let us hope that some day it will, and
that our young men will not be ashamed to earn their bread literally by
the sweat of their brow. But the prospect at present for any such change
seems exceedingly remote. Indeed, until the change occurs we will need
all the skilled labor we can get from abroad. Unless the supply
increases we will either have to give up some of our country’s business
schemes and prospects, or we will be obliged to offer a bounty or a
premium to foreign laborers to come over here.

We especially need foreign farmers and workmen for the instruction of
our own farmers, and a large immigration of foreign agriculturists, if
they could be sprinkled among our agricultural communities in the
various States, would do more than any proposed legislation to improve
the condition of the American farmer. In his efforts to get beyond his
strength and resources, efforts which are natural in all new countries,
our farmer wastes enough to support another farmer. The Englishman, or
Frenchman, or German, or Swede, can teach him how not to do this. There
are a great many unprofitable farms near the city of New York, but when
you see a small piece of ground tilled to the full extent of its
capacity, and sending in large loads of fat vegetables to the city every
day, you may safely bet that the proprietor is a foreigner. In one
neighborhood very near New York city, a lot of discontented farmers are
envious of the prosperity of one fellow who is tilling only thirteen
acres, yet who has saved enough money to buy three houses in the city of
New York, each of which yields him a handsome income. And who is this
lucky fellow? A highly educated German, or a scientific English farmer?
No; he is a wretched Laplander, a man who is obliged to be ashamed of
the province which gave him birth, and who poses among acquaintances as
a Swede. He was a common farm laborer in his own country, and came here
with very little more money than would pay his board at a den near the
Battery for two or three days until some one should employ him. But he
had learned how to turn every scrap of soil to the best advantage, how
to make the most of all fertilizers, and how to get the largest number
of crops out of a given amount of soil in a given time. During the
agricultural depression of Great Britain a few years ago, which followed
several successive wet years, a number of English farmers sold out at a
sacrifice, came over here and located wherever best they could, and it
is astonishing to see how fast some of these men have got along, and how
well fixed they now are, as the saying is. They didn’t seem to be very
smart fellows. In a horse-trade, or a shooting-match, or a political
squabble, the best of them cannot hold his own for five minutes with an
ordinary American. But when it comes to farming so as to make every
resource of the estate count for all that it is worth, they leave the
American farmer far behind.

Nevertheless, we need to restrict and regulate more systematically, and
with more rigor than we ever did it before. Of course we have the right
to refuse absolutely undesirable immigrants. No one can deny this with
any show of reason, and if we would fight to maintain this principle no
nation could blame us. But we also have the right to deny citizenship to
workmen coming from any portion of the world, until we are satisfied
that they intend to become citizens, and that they will be desirable
acquisitions. We are quite competent to keep up our own supply of
idiots, and paupers and criminals. No nation has a monopoly of that sort
of thing, and we do quite as well in that way as could be expected of
us, and far better than suits our tax-payers. For the freedom of mind
and body, and the prospects of founding homes for all of his posterity,
an honest man should be willing to remain in this country a long time
before claiming full rights of citizenship. There never were any
complaints under the old rule, which required a very long term of
probation, and there would be none under the new. Property rights of
aliens are respected quite as much as those of natives, and there is no
other right in which our laws distinguish between the native and the
foreigner. A chance tourist arriving here and getting into legal
difficulty of any kind has quite as good a chance of obtaining justice
as the richest man in the nation. This is not an American idea, for
foreigners themselves have said the same. Intelligent foreigners, makers
of opinion on the other side of the water, have marvelled again and
again in speech and in print at the carelessness with which America
admitted all classes of foreign-born persons to the rights of
citizenship, and have declared that were citizenship rights to be
delayed until the second generation came of adult age, there would be
nothing in the law or customs of the country which would give a
foreign-born resident any reason for complaint.

Unless we restrict immigration there is nothing to prevent any foreign
nation, desiring to pick a quarrel with us so as to steal some of our
property, or have some of her own troublesome inhabitants disposed of by
bullet wounds, or “to weld the people together” when they are pulling
every which way, from sending a few carefully selected men here for the
express purpose of fitting out a pretended dynamite expedition or
something of the kind, for which the United States would be called to
account. But that is only part of what they can do. At the present day
every German and Frenchman under middle age has received a military
training. There is nothing to prevent a few thousand picked soldiers,
with their officers, being sent here in small parties in the guise of
ordinary immigrants, to rally and rise at a given signal, seize some of
our cities, forts and navy-yards, overcome our make-believe army and
establish a reign of terror, from which we could not release ourselves
speedily without ransom. They could find arms and munitions of war
without the slightest trouble, for such things are on sale to every
purchaser in every village in the land, and when desired in large
quantities they can be purchased from any of our large manufacturers
without the purchaser first undergoing the formality of answering
unpleasant questions. As for commissariat, they could live on the land.
There is no portion of it from which a body of armed men could not
obtain all they need in the way of food and clothing. There would be no
difference between such a movement and the insurrections by which almost
all of the older nations have suffered from time to time--insurrections
some of which have been dignified by success to the rank of revolutions.
The mobs which started the French revolution had a large army to oppose
them, and they had little opportunity for arming and organizing
themselves, nevertheless they succeeded in overturning one of the oldest
monarchies in the world, and apparently one of the strongest.

Among the classes whom we must most resolutely exclude from this country
are those which, in good earnest and with justifiable sense of wrong,
but nevertheless with utter disregard of the land of their adoption,
organize disturbances to be carried on in the lands from which they
come. Russian nihilists, disaffected Canadians, Irish dynamiters, French
socialists and anarchists, and all the other broods of disturbers of
the peace of foreign lands are out of place in the United States. Many
of them have abundant cause for the hatred which they manifest toward
the governments from which they have escaped. Most of them have the
sympathy of the people of the United States, to the extent of wishing
that desirable reforms might be accomplished in lands where any classes
are wrongly treated or find themselves at disadvantage in comparison
with other classes more favored. But this country cannot afford to be a
hot-bed of discontent from which the germs may be sent abroad. When the
time for accounting comes, the bill will not be sent to the disturbers,
but to the nation which harbored them. We have been dangerously near war
with Great Britain two or three times on account of the operations of
the large class generally known as Irish sympathizers. There is probably
no class of foreign-born residents of the United States who have more
reason in law and morals for the feeling which they manifest than these
same Irish sympathizers. But when they come here as citizens the safety
of this country, which we have the right to regard as an interest
paramount to that of any other which may exist in the hearts of our
people, must rank first. If this class or any other class of disturbers
of the peace of foreign countries persist in their agitation on this
side of the water, it is the duty of the nation to expel them. Where
they may go is an important question to them, but it is not one with
which we can afford to concern ourselves. Perhaps there may be
individuals among us who would take personal friends into their families
with the understanding that they came there for the sole purpose of
making trouble with their families; but nations have none of that sort
of disinterested philanthropy. The few that have tried it cannot be
found to-day on the maps of any well-edited atlas.

The United States has nothing to fear from honest, well-meaning
immigrants, no matter how stupid they are. Transplanting does wonders
for wild-wood trees and shrubs that amount to nothing in their native
wastes, and the improvement which some unpromising foreign stock has
often made in this country recalls the traditional remark of the Bad
Habit to the Small Boy: “Look at me now and the day you got me.” Some of
the most exquisite gentlemen and able men of our land descended from
clodhoppers of no one nationality, who came to this country only a
generation or two ago. Some of the wisest and grandest spirits of our
revolutionary periods were descendants of articled servants who came
away not many years before. But, pshaw! Which of us who has not pure
Indian blood in his veins did not descend from immigrants who a little
while ago were so badly off in the old country that they had to move to
get enough to eat and wear? Some self-appointed aristocrats may except
to this general classification, but either they lie or they don’t know
why their ancestors came here. No foreigner who is living comfortably at
home, and who has nothing to be ashamed of, is going to a new country
unless he has some unrest in him which will make him a nuisance if he
remains at home. Of course political annoyances have been influential in
sending us many immigrants, but very few from the classes who have any
possible excuse for thinking themselves better than other men. The
development of fine natures from very rude stock in the United States
has been so marvellous in some of its instances as to deserve a large
book specially devoted to the subject. A little while ago it was
discovered that a famous judge, whose opinions and rulings are held in
respect in courts of every State of this Union, was the son of a pauper
immigrant. A gentleman who was very favorably mentioned a few years ago
as a candidate for the Presidency of the United States said himself that
his father, who was an immigrant, was so poor that the son went to
school without breakfast for five successive years, and acquaintances of
this estimable and highly cultivated gentleman, who stood at the very
head of one of the most learned professions, said that the father was
unable to read or write at the time of his death. The population of the
State of California started with men of all classes from all parts of
the world. Probably more adventurers and worthless men took part in the
rush for gold than can be found in all the state-prisons of the United
States at the present day. Yet the descendants of some of these very
objectionable characters are to-day men of prominence and character. The
natives of that State attributed this wonderful change to the “glorious
climate of California.” But it is not necessary to make any such
explanation. Cases of the same kind, though not perhaps in so large
proportion, can be found in all the States of the Union. It is
impossible that it should be otherwise. Whatever may happen to the
original immigrant, his posterity has as fair a chance as that of any
native. His children go to the same schools, the same churches, they
mingle freely with all persons of their own age, have the same
interests, same impulses, aspirations, and opportunities.

There is another great promise to this country also through its
immigrant population, which may not be announced as a fact, but which
certainly has a great deal of probability in it. Mr. Darwin, who in
tracing the descent of species seemed to interest himself in the descent
of everything else, explained once the method by which forests suddenly
appear upon some tracts of land which apparently had been long
destitute of any of the larger varieties of vegetation. He found upon
examination of one such tract that while the arboreal shoots which had
first come into view that year were small, they nevertheless had
enormous roots. Ploughing and cultivation had kept the soil above these
roots broken for a great many years, or cattle in grazing over the
ground had kept everything nipped short. Nevertheless the roots or germs
were there, and through the very process of repression seemed to
accumulate a strength which they put forth, when they were allowed to do
so, as if they were making up for lost time, which was exactly the
deduction which Mr. Darwin made in longer and more scholarly form. It is
known to breeders that the strain of families of various species is
frequently improved by infusion of the blood of an animal of the sort
commonly known as a “runt;” that is, one which has been stunted in its
growth. The average immigrant is a man who has been repressed for
generations and perhaps for centuries. When his opportunity for
development comes he really seems to have the capacity to make up for
lost time. There is no other way of explaining the wonderful improvement
in many thousands of American families of foreign extraction. There have
been some amusing results of efforts of men, suddenly become prominent
and deservedly so, in tracing their ancestry. They learned what Burns
once expressed about himself after he had made similar investigations:

                “Through scoundrels’ blood
    My race has crept, e’er since the flood.”

The wonderful virility and prosperity of the Hebrew in this country, as
well as in those European countries where he has been allowed a chance
beside his fellow-men, cannot be explained except upon this theory of
accumulated strength during long periods of repression.

Americans can stand all this sort of thing that Europe can bless us
with. According to statisticians it costs two or three thousand dollars
to bring a child from the cradle up to adult age and working power.
Consequently every able-bodied foreigner we get who is willing to work
is worth two or three thousand dollars to our nation and is so much
capital in our pockets. Let us have all we can of them. The men who
complain of them are those who are not capable of taking care of
themselves.



CHAPTER XIV.

ANNEXATION.


This country has many important duties to fulfil in the family of
nations, but annexation of other lands is not one of them.

The contrary opinion is sometimes expressed, but the sooner we sit down
upon it the less likely we are to neglect our own business.

Annexation is an old business, and sometimes it has been profitable; but
the nations who best understood it have but few of their old possessions
left, and they would get rid of some of these, if they could without
being laughed at.

What nations could we stand any fair chance of annexing? Perhaps Mexico,
Canada and some of the West India Islands. What could be done with them?
Nothing that, in the long run, would benefit us. What would they do with
us? They would merely introduce discordant elements that would not help
us a particle in making our own national position secure. Our country is
so large already that there are jarring interests making themselves felt
and known in Congress, in the press, in public opinion, and

[Illustration: ADMINISTRATION BUILDING.]

with all the efforts that have been made they are approaching solution
at so slow a rate that a number of the advocates of one side or the
other are discouraged and indignant. There are a great many brilliant
theories of what might be done by the annexation of this or that country
by the United States. But an ounce of fact is worth a ton of theory, and
fortunately we have enough facts to keep us for a long time in
examination if we will take the pains.

The ancient nation called Rome was the champion annexer of the world.
She annexed every territory that it was possible for her soldiers to
reach, and at one time the entire world owed allegiance to Rome. It was
practical allegiance, too, because we read in the Gospel according to
St. Matthew that in the days of Augustus Cæsar there went out a decree
that all the world should be taxed. To collect taxes from annexed
countries is more than some modern nations have ever been able to do.
The military and political prestige of Rome was afterward strengthened
by religion. Rome ruled the souls as well as the bodies and estates of
men, but even the Holy Roman empire went to pieces.

Greece did a great deal of annexing in the days of Alexander, who
penetrated farther into the civilizations of the East than the legions
of the Cæsars ever did, but Greece to-day is a mere spot upon the map.

But it is not necessary to go so far back. The great colonizing and
annexing schemes of the world, when nation after nation became numerous
and free enough to compete with each other, began soon after the
discovery of America. Nearly every European power planted colonies in
some portions of the new world. Most of these powers exist and are
strong to-day. But where are their colonies? England has Canada to be
sure, simply because she does not know how to get rid of it. But Spain
has not a foot of ground upon the mainland of America, and holds her
island possessions by very uncertain tenure. Look at Cuba, “the
ever-faithful island,” as she is called, with the greatest extremity of
sarcasm. The majority of the inhabitants detest the mother country and
all the officials she sends out there, her taxes are paid grudgingly,
again and again a large minority of the inhabitants have struggled to
free themselves from the Spanish yoke, and the struggle will probably
continue in view of the illustrious examples set by Mexico and all the
South American republics. Perhaps you will say that Spain is a bankrupt
old brute. Well, that is not overstating the matter at all. But look
from Spain to Holland. The Dutch have not been cruel taskmasters. They
have planted a number of colonies, and their paternal government, if
characterized by thrift, has also been unstained by any of the cruelties
and brutalities which have made the name of Spain a synonym for
savagery. How many of Holland’s colonies remain in the possession of the
mother country? None of any consequence except the island of Java, and
Java is no longer a treasury for Holland.

France at one time had large colonial possessions. She owned nearly
one-half of the territory now embraced by the boundaries of the United
States and all of Canada beside. France has now a few insignificant
islands and some undesirable swamp-land in Africa, which is valuable
chiefly as a place to send military officers who are so ambitious at
home as to be somewhat troublesome. Sweden has no colonies at all.
Denmark has two or three little islands near the Equator, and has an
elephant on her hands in the shape of Iceland.

But, you say that England is an exception to all these relations. Well;
is she? Do facts and figures justify the assertion? The most peaceable
portion of the British empire at the present time is the Dominion of
Canada. Canada gives England absolutely no trouble on her own part.
Australia is about as good. But of what use is either country to England
except as a resort for dissatisfied Englishmen who wish to begin life
anew somewhere else?--an opportunity which they could have equally well
if England didn’t own a particle of soil outside the British islands.

But England has a large empire in the East. She holds nearly all of
India. Yes; but how does she hold it? Some of it by absolute possession,
and a great deal through protectorates and treaties, through intrigues
with native princes and by other means which the people of the United
States would think beneath the dignity of our own country to exercise
anywhere else. We know what happened in India a few years ago when great
masses of people rose against English rule, and gave us the most
horrible details of war that this century has ever heard of. England’s
unrest and uneasiness about her possessions in India can be seen by any
one who reads the English newspapers or magazines or reviews. Some phase
or other of the Indian question is continually popping up, and there
never is anything in it to pacify the national unrest as to the future
of the two countries. The possibility of assimilation of the population
of India and England is laughed at by Englishmen of all degrees. Britons
will not live in India unless they are compelled to do so, and also
coaxed by compensation such as Englishmen never expect to receive at
home. Even in the days of “John Company” it was impossible to keep an
army there without double pay. I am not certain about the private
soldiers, but the officers received their pay from the home government
and an equal amount from the company, and even then the majority of
them were discontented.

As for the natives liking England or English habits or English customs,
it would be unreasonable to expect it, even did not facts prove that it
is impossible. Native Indians of wealth and intelligence frequently
visit England but very few remain. What is called the superior
civilization of the West has no charms for them. And they don’t take
English customs and principles home with them to disseminate among their
own class and the orders beneath it. Many intelligent natives will admit
that portions of the country are better ruled than they were under the
native princes a hundred or more years ago. But at heart the feeling is
that the old ways, if not the best, are certainly the most desirable and
the most fitted to the nature of the people. England is in chronic fear
of uprisings and disturbances. Her most statesmanlike public officials
and her ablest soldiers are sent to India; not enough of them can be
spared even to cross the channel to Ireland.

And, speaking of Ireland, which is another of Great Britain’s
annexations, is there a more prominent and damning disgrace existing in
the name of any civilized government of the world? It is not necessary
to go over the Irish question at all. Every man knows enough about it to
know that England’s rule of Ireland has been an entire and disgraceful
failure, and that with ample opportunities for colonization, for
maintaining military establishments, for pacifying the people, England
has persistently and continuously failed to make Ireland anything but a
hot-bed of hatred.

Where England is at peace with her colonies, what price does she pay?
Why, she simply makes them almost absolutely independent of the home
government. Except nominal allegiance to the mother country and the
acceptance of a viceroy, governor-general, or representative of the
throne by some title or other, these countries are almost as free of
England as the United States. They have their own parliaments, elect
their own officials, make their own laws, assess their own taxes, and
even perpetrate huge tariff lists, under which the products of the
mother country are obliged to pay handsomely for being admitted at all.
The only bond between Canada or Australia and England is one of
affection to the mother country. This sometimes endures to the second
generation, but there is precious little of it in the third. You can
easily enough find that out for yourself by going up to Canada and
becoming acquainted in almost any town in the Dominion. It seems
farcical, but it is nevertheless a fact, that the best English citizens
in Canada are Frenchmen, descendants of the original settlers who fought
England furiously and often successfully for more than a hundred years.
And the only ground for the loyalty of these people is apparently that
there is no other place for them to go, and no way to take with them
what little they possess.

Australia is just as independent as Canada. If she should attempt to
secede and declare herself as independent as she really is, England
would probably send down fleets and armies, and there would be war for a
long time, with the same result in the end that followed the attempt to
change the opinions of the thirteen colonies who organized this nation
of ours. England’s rule of the United States certainly was not severe.
Now that the spirit of the Revolution has been watered out through two
or three generations, it is perfectly safe to admit that England never
took as much money out of this country as she put into it. So, regarded
as a business enterprise, annexation or colonization did not pay here.
As soon as she began to demand taxes from the colonies the revolt began.
The question of her moral right is one that is not discussed now.
Discussion would not do any good. But if taxes cannot be levied upon a
colony or an annexed country, of what possible service is the new land
to the old?

Well, what is our lesson from all this? What would be the result of our
annexing either Mexico, Canada, or Cuba, for instance, to say nothing
of the small republics in the Caribbean Sea and in Central America,
toward which some of our demagogues have occasionally pretended to cast
longing eyes, and found a few fools to encourage them in doing so? It
would be utterly impossible under the spirit of our institutions for us
to treat any such land as a conquered country. The Declaration of
Independence would have to be completely overturned before we could
consistently enter upon any such custom. The most that we could do would
be to admit these countries as portions of the Union. We would scarcely
pretend to obtain them by force for this purpose, but if we were to want
to get them peaceably, what would be the only method? Why, by granting
them equal rights with our own citizens. Successful annexation would
depend upon the acquiescence of the majority of the inhabitants of the
countries alluded to. These people, like people everywhere else, have
leaders of their own. All leaders have aspirations and personal
ambitions, and personal pockets which never are sufficiently full. We
would have to provide for them first before we could be certain of the
people. We would be obliged to divide each country into States bearing
some proportion of population to those which we already have. We would
be obliged to give them representation in both Houses of Congress,
provide judicial systems for them, and in every way recognize them as
our equals.

Now, the truth is, no sane American believes the people of any of those
countries to be equal to those of our own. There are intelligent
Mexicans and Cubans and Canadians, but we as a body have very little
respect for the general run of people in those countries; no more
respect than their own rulers have, and that is very little. Some
exception must be made in the case of Canada, which is inhabited, so far
as the whites are concerned, mainly by intelligent people. But Mexico,
according to its own statesmen and according to all travellers who have
been in it, is practically a semi-civilized country. The most of the
inhabitants are deplorably ignorant. Freedom of ballot is an utter
farce. Law is a matter of barter, and life and property, while nominally
secure, are frequently threatened by uprisings which no local government
has yet been able to promptly suppress, and which certainly could not be
suppressed by a central government three thousand miles away with an
army of the conventional size of that of the United States.

Cuba is worse than Mexico rather than better. Cuba has been in a
condition of discontent and disturbance for so long that there are but
few portions of the island on which life and property are safe. The
majority of the voters can be purchased at any election time for a very
small outlay of money or rum, and the same purchased voters could be
persuaded by similar means to rise within a week against the newly
elected authorities, even if all happened to be their own candidates for
office. The class of representatives which Cuba would be obliged to send
to Washington could not possibly be expected to have any interest in
national legislation except such as pertained to their own portion of
the land. They have no sympathies of any sort with any portion of the
people or industries or aspirations of the United States. It would be
unfair to expect it of them. By birth and tradition they are radically
different from us. Their isolation from us would be none the less even
were they part of our country, and the consequence would be an alien
class, demanding everything and yielding nothing, exactly what would be
the case were we to annex Mexico.

Canada may drift to us in time. Some statesmen on both sides of the line
regard this as inevitable. Well, what must be will be. But before any
such marriage of nations there ought to be a long courtship between the
parties. At present there is no love whatever between them, and until
there is a marked change in this respect the union would be too utterly
selfish on each side to be safe for either. We want some things from
Canada, it is true. We have used up most of our visible supply of
standing timber, and we could find enough in Canada for a century to
come to make up for all deficiencies. But what else would we get? Very
little. We assume that Canada will buy a great deal from us. But it does
not seem to occur to the majority of our people that Canada is not a
large purchasing country. Canada has not only no rich class, as we
regard the expression, but her well-to-do class is poor, and the
majority of her people are not only very poor, but have very few needs
and demands to be supplied even had they unlimited means. The French
Canadians, who are probably the most industrious of the population, live
more plainly than any American would believe until he had travelled in
the country largely. They are so poor that they regard themselves in
paradise financially when they can find occupation upon American fishing
vessels and in American factories. The pay of factory hands in the
Eastern States is very small, as the trades’ unions have informed us
frequently and without any exaggeration, but it is infinitely better
than anything that the young men and young women of Lower Canada could
find at home. The home of the French Canadian, who seems to be entirely
contented, contains so little furniture that to the poor mechanic of a
Northern city it would seem very bare and empty. The farming population
of English birth is better off, lives better and has broader and more
expensive tastes. But it is one thing to have tastes and quite a
different thing to have the means to gratify them. The means would not
be any greater if those people were citizens of the United States than
they are now.

One thing we would receive in bountiful measure from Canada were we to
annex her, and that is debt. She is loaded with debt in proportion to
the assessed value of everything within her borders about five times as
heavily as the United States, and let no one imagine that the Canadian
is going to be fool enough to become part of our country and pay a
proportion of our debts without having her own debts paid by us. The
Canadian debt and ours would have to be amalgamated, with the result
that each individual taxpayer of the United States would have to take a
share in paying, literally paying, for Canada.

I know that a great deal is said about the vexatious questions that
would be entirely disposed of were Canada to become part of this Union.
But would we really get rid of them? All of the territory to the north
of us is not strictly Canadian. Some of it still belongs to England, and
even if England were quite willing to be entirely rid of the Dominion,
she would keep a foothold here if only for the purpose of having a
source of food supply from the fisheries. Nearly two hundred years ago,
when the British islands were nowhere near as populous as at present,
and the sea yielded a bountiful harvest all along the British coast,
England fought France savagely on the fisheries question, and America
so fully sympathized with her as to assist her to the best of her
ability. So, as long as England is anywhere on our border, it would be
useless to imagine ourselves rid of her as a possible enemy. She could
concentrate troops and munitions of war quite as easily upon any large
island or point of the upper half of North America as she can in Canada.
She might not be quite so near our border or have so many opportunities
for crossing, but she would be far enough away for us not to be able to
watch her so closely.

The only purposes of annexation, now that men are no longer stolen and
killed for the nominal reason that we wish to make Christians of them,
are to get something worth having for its own sake or to find a place of
overflow for surplus population. None of our neighbors are rich except
in debt. They have nothing we want which we cannot get cheaper by
purchase than at the expense of time, money and patience that even
peaceable annexation would require.

As for receptacles of overflow, we already have enough to last us a
century or two. Do not take any stock in the story that there is no more
government land worth having, and that there are no more chances for the
poor man in the United States. I know that such stories are told
frequently by those who are supposed to know most about it. The younger
men of the farming communities of the West, some thousands of them,
have been howling for years to be allowed to enter the so-called
territory of Oklahoma. But if to each of the majority of these men were
given a quarter section of land in the Garden of Paradise as it existed
before the fall of Adam, they would still be looking out for some new
location. There is a great floating, discontented mass of people in the
new countries. The proportion is quite as great as it is in the large
cities. There are many farmers in the West who have occupied half a
dozen different homesteads on pre-emption claims in succession, turned
up a little ground, built some sort of house which never was finished,
become discouraged or disheartened or restless, sold out at a loss or
abandoned their claims, put their portable property in a wagon or boat
and started in search of some new country. Their impulse seems to be
exactly that of the small boy who is out fishing. He always seems to
think the fish will bite better a little further on, either up or down
the stream, it does not matter which, and he rambles from one to the
other because rambling is a great deal easier work than fishing. The
unsurveyed territory of the United States is still enormous. Between the
city of New York and the Ohio river there are still hundreds of
thousands of acres of good land which never echoed the sound of the
lumberman’s axe nor heard the ploughman’s whistle or oath.

Several years ago the president of a prominent railway corporation, a
trunk line, said to me that there were hundreds of miles of his
company’s land which never contributed in any way to the support of the
road. It produced nothing, and scarcely anything was carried over the
road to it. And he wanted to know if I could give him any possible
reason why immigrants by hundreds went over the line to points a
thousand miles away when so much good land was awaiting tillage, and was
several hundred miles nearer markets than the country to which they were
going. I could not, except to suggest that it was human nature to
imagine that the places which were furtherest away offered the greatest
advantages.

Why, even in the State of New York, with its five or six million
inhabitants, there are large counties, and not in the Adirondack region
either, of which not more than half the good land is under cultivation
to-day. The land is not bad, the distance from rail communication and
from markets is not great. Everything is more favorable to the settler
than in some portions of the Western States that are filling up rapidly,
and yet the immigrant passes all these localities and goes further away,
and he who already is there is often dissatisfied and anxious to sell
out and go somewhere apparently for no other purpose except to get a new
start. The hill countries of all the older States still contain immense
quantities of valuable ground which might be made to yield more
profitable crops per acre than anybody’s wheat-land in the most favored
sections of the United States. The ground that the State of Tennessee
some years ago placed upon the market at six cents an acre so as to have
it in personal instead of public possession, and with the hope of
getting a little something out of it in the way of taxes, is as good as
many of the more valuable portions of the Eastern States. The entire
table-land of the mountain range that separates the Eastern States from
the West is but sparsely inhabited. Not much of it can be utilized for
large planting of staple crops, but all of it is valuable for something
that might be turned to profit. It is better ground than the Switzers
live well on in their native country and far better naturally than that
of some of the more prosperous provinces of France. On the basis of the
population of the State of New York, which State certainly is not
overcrowded in its agricultural districts, this nation has room for all
people who will be born in it or who by any possibility can immigrate to
it for two or three centuries to come.

We need no place of overflow for any of our population that is not
criminal, and this class can be trusted to find its own outlets and
places of refuge without any assistance from the government or the
people.

[Illustration: ELECTRICAL BUILDING.]



CHAPTER XV.

THE INDIAN.


It was not very long ago that the Indian was the object of a great deal
of discussion and alarm in the United States.

He had a habit of breaking out at unexpected times and in unexpected
places. He might be quiet in winter when the snow was deep and the
reservation warehouse was so full of stores there was no possibility of
his getting hungry, and consequently angry. When, however, the spring
sun melted away the snow and brought the grass to the surface, so that
it was cheaper to let a pony fatten on the grass than to kill him while
he was lean, the Indian picked up his spirits and rifle--which always
was a good one--and started on the warpath. He did not particularly care
whom he might kill; but if there were no other Indian tribes about, he
was not going home without a scalp, even if he had to kill a white man.
The development of some of our Territories was arrested for months, and
even years, by some Indian wars which began upon very slight pretext,
and which our army, contemptible in numbers, was unable to suppress
promptly; and the savages gained confidence from the knowledge, which
they were not compelled to ignore, that we were not a fighting nation.

Either through better soldiers or less dishonest agents, there has been
a change in late years. The Indian has not been on the warpath in a long
time, and some of the exciting accounts of Indian raids in the West
amount only to this--that a body of men have left their reservation
against the advice of their associates, and started on a stealing and
murdering tour just far enough ahead of the military force to be able to
do a great deal of harm in a short time.

At the same time, however, the idea has been creeping to the surface
that the Indian might possibly be regarded as a human being and as
amenable to the ordinary laws and customs of civilization.

All of us have heard the old brutal remark, attributed to General
Sheridan and several other army officers, that the only good Indian is a
dead one. But this is a base and cruel slander. There are a great many
good Indians, and every honest Indian agent as well as every military
officer who has much to do with the savage tribes knows that in each
reservation there are a number of men, rude though they may be, who are
of considerable character and large self-control, and whose principal
faults may be charged to the negligence of the government, which has
regarded the red man as its special ward.

The Indian has brains. No one is quicker to admit this than the army
officer who has had occasion to fight the Indian. General Custer was a
good soldier and an experienced Indian fighter, but Chief Gall was a
better one. The defeat of Custer is usually attributed to Sitting Bull,
but that old ruffian simply did out-and-out fighting; the brains of the
conflict--all the strategy and all the tactics--were supplied by an
Indian named Gall, who still lives, and for whose military ability every
officer in our army has a profound respect, not unmixed with fear.

The flowery and elaborate speeches which different representatives of
savage tribes have made to the Great Father at Washington, through their
interpreters, may seem to have a good deal of nonsense in them, but the
Indian Bureau knows that they also contain a great deal of admirable
diplomacy. It may be because the Indian has very little to think of and
can give his whole mind to the subject under consideration; but whatever
the reason, the fact is assured that in pow-wows between representatives
of our Indian Bureau and some of the tribes in the Far West the
preponderance of brains has not always been on the side of the white
man.

Another unexpected development of the Indian question is, that the
Indian will work. This may seem a wild statement in view of what a
number of travellers and military officers have seen on reservations in
the Far West and at railway stations on the slender line which connects
the civilization of the West with that of the Rocky mountains and the
Pacific slope. But fortunately there are a number of witnesses to
substantiate it; for instance, the Apaches are currently supposed to be
the most irreclaimable tribe of wild men within our nation’s borders. It
will not be hard to recall the difficulties which General Crook
experienced in following, defeating and recalling Geronimo’s famous gang
of Apaches a few years ago, when they were followed to a mountain
fastness in Mexico. Yet when some of the demons who had murdered,
ravished and burned everything in their path were finally brought back
to the reservation and taught that by tilling the soil they could earn
some money, or at least the equivalent of money, they worked harder than
any American farmer whose achievements had ever been recorded. These
so-called lazy devils supplied a military post with hundreds of tons of
hay, every particle of which was cut by hand with such knives as the
savages happened to have: they had no other tools with which to work.
They also supplied the post with vegetables of various kinds, beside
keeping themselves well fed with products of the soil which were
results of their own labor. Farms managed by Indians are not at all
uncommon in the West. It was the eviction, or the fear of eviction of an
old Indian woman from her farm, that led to the murder of Indian Agent
Meeker in Colorado. An Indian named Ouray was for a long time one of the
most successful and respected farmers in Colorado. Ouray not only
managed his own business well, but kept in order all the Indians in his
vicinity. His methods were somewhat rude to be sure, but they always
were effective, and no army officer of his acquaintance hesitated to
trust him as implicitly as he would trust the Secretary of War for the
time being. An Indian at present is one of the land barons of the West,
and has held his little estate near the centre of a large and
flourishing town in spite of all temptations and machinations of
rum-sellers, traders, lawyers and other scoundrels that have endeavored
to swindle him out of his own.

But it isn’t necessary to go West to find out whether the Indian will
work. One needs only to go down to Hampton, Virginia, where the
government is supporting a lot of young Indians in the Normal school
conducted by General Armstrong. I had heard so much about the unwonted
spectacle of Indians, clothed and in their right minds, with clean faces
and hands, studying books and using tools and behaving themselves like
human beings--that a little while ago I went down to Hampton myself and
went through the schools. First, I asked General Armstrong whether the
Indian would work.

“Will he work?” said the General, with a merry twinkle of his eye. “Well
now, you roam about here yourself all day; I presume you know a red man
from a black one when you see him; and you will have the question
answered to your entire satisfaction.”

I did, and was convinced. I saw Indians out-of-doors working the soil,
and Indians indoors, in the shops, handling tools as skilfully as the
average white man. I saw houses inhabited by picked Indian
families--young people with children, and the “housekeeping”--one of the
most comprehensive words in the world--was so thorough in all visible
respects that either family seemed fit to teach domestic economy and
neatness in many Northern villages I have seen. I saw four Indians in a
class-room, at four separate blackboards, draw, inside of three minutes
by the clock, four quite accurate maps of North America, putting the
principal lakes and rivers in their proper places. Several prominent
Americans (white) were with me at the time, and each admitted, for
himself, that he could not have done as well to save his life; yet one
was one of those railroad monopolists who want to own the earth, and
are supposed to carry at least their own section of it in their mind’s
eye.

From General Armstrong himself I got the following brief statement of
the Indian situation, and I have been unable to find any one in
authority who is able to contradict any part of it.

“There are now in this country (exclusive of the Alaskans) some 246,000
Indians, of whom 64,000 belong to the so-called civilized tribes, the
Choctaws, Cherokees, Creeks and Chickasaws. These, including their
16,000 ex-slaves, a rapidly increasing negro element, live, in the main,
like white men. They, however, pay no taxes, receiving ample revenues
from their interest in the sales of land to the government, but, while
they have schools and churches and an organized government of their own,
are held back by their adherence to the old tribal idea. This is
thoroughly anti-progressive, and the savage Indian of to-day, who,
taking his land in severalty, comes under the same law as his white
neighbor, will probably in twenty years be well in advance of his Indian
Territory brother, who, under existing conditions, can be neither one
thing nor the other.

“The principal uncivilized tribes are the 20,000 Navajos in the
Southwest, and the 30,000 Sioux in the Northwest. The first of these
have nearly doubled in ten years, own 1,000,000 sheep and 40,000 ponies,
are wholly independent and self-supporting, but wild and nomadic; while
the Sioux, who are but just holding their own, are still victims to the
ration system. In spite, however, of this demoralizing influence, they
have improved remarkably of late, chiefly because they have been
fortunate in their agents. It is upon the agents that everything
depends, and those in charge of the Sioux have gradually decreased the
food supply, thus forcing self-support and inducing the younger men to
scatter along the river bottoms where there is wood and water, instead
of huddling in hopeless dependence about the agencies. Along the banks
of the Upper Missouri and its tributaries, and on the Rose-bud and Pine
Ridge Agencies, the Sioux have generally broken from the heathenish
village life and taken farms up of from one to thirty acres. As I drove
last fall down the west bank of the Missouri river I saw hundreds of
these farms, with their wire fences, log huts with the supplementary
ti-pi, stacks of grain and hay, and everywhere men working in the
fields, nineteen out of twenty in citizen’s clothing. As a better class
of white settlers comes in, a better feeling comes with them, and the
Indian can get in no other way such education as he receives from
contact with these people.

“The best of these Sioux, 3,500 of whom are now self-supporting,
illustrate what we mean by ‘progressive Indians,’ and what has been
done for them can be done for all Indians. It is only a question of
time and work. Between the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountain Ranges,
and in Montana, there are many thousand Indians whose condition is not
encouraging, chiefly for lack of adequate effort in their behalf; while
on the other hand, there are many on the Pacific coast who, under the
influence of good agents and good conditions, are doing well. On farming
lands Indians improve much faster than in a grazing country.

“Government paid last year $1,050,000 for beef for reservation Indians,
and $1,200,000 for their education, and only twelve thousand children
are at school out of the total of forty thousand who are of an age to
receive education. More education and less beef is the need.

“An experience of eleven years with Indian students at Hampton, together
with careful study of reservation life, has convinced me that Indians
are alive to progressive influences. They are intelligent and clear
thinkers, quick at technical work in trades shops, unused to steady
application but willing to take hold. They do not learn English easily,
and are shy of speaking it, while they have no appreciation of the value
of time, and cannot endure prolonged effort; this last being a result of
their lack of physical vigor, which I believe to be their chief
disadvantage. In my dealings with them I have treated them as men and
have found them manly, frank, resentful, but not revengeful; with a keen
sense of justice, ready to take punishment for wrong doing, and to speak
the truth to their own hurt.

“Of 247 sent home from the Hampton school, three-fourths have done from
fairly to very well. At least one-third are doing excellently. There
must always be a certain percentage of poor material, and there is a
curious fickleness in the average Indian; but our students are always
surprising us by doing better than we expect, and this is especially the
case with the girls, for whom often we hardly dare to hope. Over
one-half of our returned Indians have had temporary relapses, but there
are few who do not recover themselves. A majority are working for their
living as teachers, mechanics, farmers, teamsters, clerks, etc.

“The need of the Indian is good agents, teachers, and farm instructors.
They are born stock-raisers and their lands are the best cattle ranges
in the country. With the right men in charge they could in ten years
raise such a proportion of their own beef as to reduce the beef issue by
one-half.

“In their way stands a short-sighted economy, and a service so organized
that it changes with every change of party. The lines of work for the
Indian are indicated with sufficient clearness; the one thing now
essential is intelligent co-operation of his friends.

“The saying that ‘there is no good Indian but a dead one’ is a cruel
falsehood and has done great harm. They are a good deal like other
people, and with a fair chance do well.”

That the Indian will work and that he also will learn was first
demonstrated--officially--by Captain Pratt, of the regular army, who now
is busily engaged in solving individual Indian problems at his noble
school at Carlisle, Pa. The change in the government’s policy toward the
redskins is attributed, with good reason, to Captain Pratt’s endeavors.
Says Senator Dawes, who labored so hard for the bill enabling Indians to
take farms instead of living in barbarous communism on reservations:

“The division line between the present policy and the past is drawn
here; in the past the government tried, by fair means or foul, to rid
itself of the Indian. The present policy is to make something of him.
That policy had its origin almost in an accident. Eight or nine years
ago the government sent Captain Pratt with warriors, covered with the
blood of a merciless war, from the Indian Territory down to Florida; and
Captain Pratt, in the discharge of his duty, undertook to relieve
himself of the labor of keeping these warriors in idleness, no matter if
the work was of no service to anybody if it would keep them out of
idleness. With this end in view he got permission to let them pick
stones out of the streets. Then he enlisted ladies to teach them to
read. Out of that experiment of Captain Pratt’s has come all the rest.
Behold what a great fire a little matter has kindled!”

Senator Dawes further says the following pertinent words on the Indian
question; no American can fail to realize the force of his remarks:

“If St. Paul was here and had 250,000 Indians on his hands, whom the
United States had sought for one hundred years to rob of every means of
obtaining a livelihood, and had helped bring up in ignorance, he never
would have said to them, ‘He that will not work, shall not eat.’ You did
not say that to the poor black man; you did not say that to the little
children whom you sent by contribution out into the country for fresh
air, and you ought not to say it to this poor, helpless race, helpless
in their ignorance, and ignorant because we have fostered their
ignorance. We have appropriated more money to keep them in absolute
darkness, and heathenism, and idleness, than would have been required to
send every one of them to college, and now we propose to turn them out.
We did not relieve ourselves of the responsibility by that indifference;
we have got to take them by the hand like little children and bring them
up out of this ignorance, for they multiply upon our hands, and their
heritage is being wrenched away from them, and good men as well as bad
are devising means to take it away.

“What is to become of them then? Have we done our duty to this people
when we have said to them: ‘We will scatter you and let you become
isolated and vagabonds on the earth, and then we will apply to you the
philosophic command, “Go, take care of yourselves; we have every dollar
of your possessions, every acre of your heritage; we have killed more of
your fellows than there are of you left; we have burnt your little
homes, and now we have arrived at the conclusion that it is time to take
away from you the last foot of ground upon which you can rest, and we
shall have done our duty when we command you to take care of
yourselves?”’ That is not the way I read it; I know how sincere and
honest, and probably as near right everybody else is, but I am only
telling how I feel. I feel just this: that every dollar of money, and
every hour of effort that can be applied to each individual Indian, day
and night, in season and out of season, with patience and perseverance,
with kindness and with charity, is not only due him in atonement for
what we have inflicted upon him in the past, but is our own obligation
towards him in order that we may not have him a vagabond and a pauper,
without home or occupation among us in this land. One or the other is
the alternative; he is to be a vagabond about our streets, begging from
door to door, and plundering our citizens, or he is to be taken up and
made a man among us; a citizen of this great republic, absorbed into the
body politic and made a useful and influential citizen.”

President Cleveland voiced the opinion of all thoughtful and intelligent
citizens when he wrote that “the conscience of the people demands that
the Indians within our boundaries be fairly and honestly treated as
wards of the government, _and their education and civilization promoted
with view to ultimate citizenship_.”

With a chance to work, the Indian needs also the chance to learn, and
this he is getting more and more. Whether he _will_ learn is a question
no longer open to doubt. General Armstrong’s testimony is given above.
Captain Pratt says “scarcely a student but is able to take care of
himself or herself among civilized people at the end of their five
years’ course.” Bishop Hare, of the Episcopal Church, who has been doing
splendid work among the Indians for many years, gives unwearying
attention to schools on the reservations, but says, “I cannot shut my
eyes to the incalculable service which well-conducted Eastern
boarding-schools have done the Indians.”

When we shall have for a few years treated the Indian like a human
being, there will be no “Indian question” to discuss.



CHAPTER XVI.

THE PRESS.


The editor is the great American schoolmaster. None other is worthy to
be compared with him.

He is about as numerous as all other teachers combined. His lessons are
given more frequently, they last longer and they cost less than any
others.

To him forty-nine students in every fifty are indebted for the only
post-graduate course they ever receive. Many others would have no
education at all if it were not for him.

He does not always know his business so well that he could not know it
better, but whatever he does know he imparts steadily, as well as some
that he does not honor.

He is the only influence upon whom the public can absolutely depend to
right any wrong which is being endured in spite of the efforts and oaths
of legislators. When law is lazy and legislators are venal it is the
editor, and the editor only, who comes to the relief of the public. The
public will not do this for itself. It seems to consider its duty done
when it casts its ballot. More than half a century ago, when editors
were not supposed to think their souls their own, the first Napoleon
said, “Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand
bayonets.” Napoleon certainly knew the value of bayonets.

The newspaper is the universal tribunal. It is an open court and there
is justice of a sort for every one there at a trifling cost, one cent,
two or three, as the case may be. The editor is the lawyer to whom the
poor man must of necessity come. His court is one of equity, and it is
to equity courts after all that all of us are inclined to resort when we
insist upon a final decision.

He is the people’s advocate. Before a law can be suggested in
legislature or Congress to undo a wrong or strengthen a right, the
editor has already suggested it, debated both sides of it and rendered a
decision, frequently a dozen or twenty decisions, which the public are
inclined to admit or regard as accurate. He sometimes gets hold of a
subject wrong end first, but he will submit to correction and
improvement quicker than any judge or jury on record. He may not always
admit that he has changed his mind, or that he turned over, or that he
has turned his coat, but the change is there all the same, to any one
who will read his paper.

He is the only biographer and historian which the mass of the people can
read. And he gives

[Illustration: GALLERY OF FINE ARTS.]

more information for a given amount of money than the cheapest
circulating library in the world.

The editor is also invaluable as a social barometer. As Thackeray once
said, “The newspaper is typical of the community in which it is
encouraged and circulated; it tells its character as well as its
condition.” This is awfully severe upon some communities, and upon the
readers of certain papers, but it is none the less true.

Unselfish thinkers, who are concerned chiefly for the good of the
community, are always the men who esteem the editor most highly. Wendell
Phillips, who for more than thirty years was abused by about half the
editors of the land, said, “Let me make the newspapers, and I care not
what is preached in the pulpit or what is enacted in Congress.” Many
years before, Thomas Jefferson, one of the founders of our government,
said, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government
without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should prefer
the latter.”

The editor has improved more rapidly in the past twenty-five years than
the representative of any other profession. Theologians, physicians and
lawyers all belong to schools of one sort or other, but of late years
there has come up a new school of journalism which is called
independent, and it has become so popular with readers of newspapers
that the number of professors and students in it are increasing at a
most gratifying rate.

James Gordon Bennett, Jr., explains one difference clearly when he says:
“There is one grand distinction between journals--some are newspapers,
some are organs. An organ is simply a daily pamphlet published in the
interest of some party, or persons, or some agitation.” But the organs
are not as numerous as they used to be.

Who would have imagined any time before the late civil war that in any
great political campaign preceding a general election in this country
there would be scores and almost hundreds of independent newspapers. The
time was when a newspaper could not exist unless it were a party or
personal organ. But the newspaper has gradually risen from being a mere
partisan or personal mouthpiece to being the mouthpiece of its own
proprietor. At the present day no properly qualified journalist need
attach himself to either party for financial reasons. If he is competent
to make a good newspaper he is quite free to express his own opinions
regardless of whom he may help or hurt, and the position is so
delightful that a great many editors rush into it apparently for the
mere pleasure of expressing their own opinions. During the last general
election the scarcity of strong party organs, even in the largest
cities where they were supposed most to be needed, was a matter of
general comment among practical politicians, and it is known that some
newspapers changed hands solely for the purpose of being turned into
party organs and that it was frequently so difficult to obtain control
of existing journals that new ones had to be started for the sole
purpose of supplying their respective parties with mouthpieces. This may
be considered a compliment to the personal interest of the average
journalist or to his personal ability. But, whichever it is, it is
highly creditable to the profession, and it is a result which could not
have been hoped for twenty-five years ago.

Now-a-days every journalist of actual ability, no matter which party he
belongs to, wishes that he may become owner of an independent newspaper.
It is impossible for him not to see that the independent newspaper is
not only the most quoted and the most talked about, but the most
profitable. The paper which is read by both parties is sure of more
subscribers, purchasers and advertisers than that which draws all its
inspiration from the platform formed by a single convention. The
independent editor hears himself quoted in Congress by men of both
parties; and these same men are quite likely to grumble and swear within
a week to find themselves castigated by the same men whose words of
wisdom they recently availed themselves of.

The possibilities of the press for good, now that independence in
journalism is practicable and also a business temptation, cannot be
overestimated. Public opinion can be created more rapidly by daily
appeals and arguments which the newspaper reader can quietly look over
by himself, pausing whenever he may like to think over what he has read,
than anything that can appear in campaign speeches or magazine essays or
books by the most noted writers and specialists. The editor, as a rule,
has dropped the old stilted form of the essay, and puts his arguments in
the ordinary colloquial form, with homely illustrations and forcible
applications so far as words go. If it didn’t seem like complimenting
him too highly and making him vain, it would not be unfair to say that
his method is that in which the more valuable portion of the four
gospels was written. He has learned that political power is no longer in
the hands of the learned classes, but that all portions of the community
feel and read and think; and that, as every man has a vote, the larger
the audience he talks to, the simpler and clearer must be his arguments.
Consequently the press is giving us a class of debaters such as the
world never knew before, and such as no parliamentary body in the world
possesses even now or can hope to possess for some time to come.

With increased freedom from party reins and ties, the editor is
continually increasing and enlarging the interests to which he addresses
himself. There is scarcely a newspaper in the United States at the
present day which restricts itself entirely to political subjects.
Anything in the nature of human interests, social economies, moral
reforms, and even the tastes and amusements of the people is a fair
subject for the editor. He is not only a teacher; he is a preacher, and
he preaches six days in the week instead of one. In fact, he frequently
extends his ministrations into the seventh day also, to the great
annoyance of preachers who occupy more dignified positions, but with not
so large a congregation.

The press hereafter must be the principal moral, political and social
influence of the country. There is no way to put it backward. It is
being more and more trusted--more and more read--more and more depended
upon to be equal to every emergency; and, to do it justice, it seldom
disappoints expectations--a statement that cannot be made with any
shadow of truth of any class of statesmen, except the very best. Years
ago Lamartine was laughed at as a dreamer when he said, “Newspapers will
ultimately engross all literature; there will be nothing else published
but newspapers,” but Lamartine’s prophecy is being rapidly fulfilled.
The newspaper is invading every department of literature, and giving
the reader the best at the lowest price.

There is a great hubbub once in a while in courts and among lawyers
about what they are pleased to style trial by newspaper, and it is
astonishing that before a court can reach any important case, the
conduct of the case, its merits and its probable conclusion have been so
well foreshadowed by the press that interest in the trial itself is
comparatively slight. So general is the resort to newspapers for
information and opinion, that a short time ago when one of the famous
boodle aldermen of New York was called up for trial, it was impossible,
under the jury laws of the State, to find even one single competent
juror in a city the population of which was one million and a half.
Everybody had formed opinions, and the opinions generally agreed. They
had seen the testimony--seen it discussed from all sides and all
points--discussed so clearly, that they had no reasonable doubt of the
guilt of the accused. And all this they saw in the newspapers.

It begins to look as if the time might come when lawyers, courts,
jurors, judges, would all be supplanted by the editor, and as if soon
afterward teachers and preachers also might feel occasion to shake in
their shoes. There is no danger in such an event of the editor becoming
conceited. He always has a regulating principle close at hand. It is
right in the counting-room at the book-keeper’s desk. The public can
change its opinion of a newspaper as quickly as it can of a political
candidate; and when it does, the editor knows of it at once by a class
of figures that never are allowed to lie.

Because all this is true--and everybody admits that it is--a great many
men of more ambition than brains are attempting to be full-fledged
editors at a single bound. “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”
Angels, who have unequalled opportunities of knowing the true inwardness
of things, would think twice, or oftener, before attempting to be
editors, without first going through a laborious apprenticeship. It
seems the easiest thing in the world for a man who has a lot of money of
his own, or, better still, some money which belongs to other people, to
start a newspaper and air his own opinions--which consist principally of
partialities and prejudices--but the end is sure to be disastrous. Many
daily papers have started in our large cities and reached a large
temporary circulation, which afterward disappeared in the mists of
oblivion and left nothing but debts behind. A successful newspaper is
the result of natural growth and accretion.

Henry Watterson, editor of the Louisville _Courier-Journal_, says: “The
result of any newspaper enterprise depends upon the character of the
man who engages in it--his capacity to discern correctly and to adapt
his paper to the wants and needs of the audience it is meant to serve.”

Whitelaw Reid, editor of the New York _Tribune_, and now Minister to
France, says: “Every great newspaper represents an intellectual, a moral
and a material growth--the accretion of successive efforts from year to
year--until it has become an institution and a power. It is the voice of
the power that the twenty or thirty years of honest dealing with the
public and just discussion of current questions have given.”

Horace Greeley, the founder of Mr. Reid’s paper, said truthfully that
“The office of a newspaper is first to give the history of its time, and
afterward to deduce such theories or truths from it as shall be of
universal application.” Can any mere peddler of news and scandals, or
any man whose sole gratification is a desire to see his own impressions
in print, live up to this standard?

Conscience, application and money, as well as intellect, is necessary to
the successful management of a newspaper. George W. Childs, editor of
the Philadelphia _Ledger_, snatched the sympathies of all decent members
of the editorial fraternity when he said: “Few persons who peruse the
morning papers think of the amount of capital invested, the labor
involved, and the care and anxiety incident to the preparation of the
sheet which is served so regularly.” Charles A. Dana, editor of the New
York _Sun_, says: “The legal responsibility of newspapers is a reality,
but their moral responsibility is greater and more important.” E. L.
Godkin, editor of the New York _Evening Post_, says: “News is an
impalpable thing--an airy abstraction; to make it a merchantable
commodity, somebody has to collect it, condense it, and clothe it in
language, and its quality depends upon the character of the men employed
in doing this.”

George William Curtis, editor of _Harper’s Weekly_, admitting the
tremendous influence of the press, voices the sentiment of successful
editors everywhere when he says: “If the newspaper is the school of the
people, and if upon popular education and intelligence the success and
prosperity of popular government depends, there is no function in
society which requires more conscience as well as ability.”

Evidently newspaper men who amount to anything realize their
responsibilities. The press is not “all right,” but it seems as far from
wrong as conscience and common sense can make any earthly institution.



CHAPTER XVII.

THE SCHOOL-ROOM.


The late lamented Sam Weller once spoke of a schoolboy, who, having
learned the alphabet, wondered whether it was worth going through so
much to learn so little. The same reflection has come to millions of
Americans as they thought of how much time they had spent in schooling
and how little they knew when they got out.

There are parts of our vast country where the people are lucky enough to
have teachers who know so little about the theories of teaching that
they impart to their pupils more information than the law demands. But
in the cities and large towns where teaching has been elevated, or more
properly speaking, reduced to a science, where the most money is spent
on the schools and where the school terms are longest, the prevalence of
“how not to do it” is simply appalling.

The country boy who goes to school only four or five months in the year
knows quite as much as his city cousin who annually has nine or ten
months of schooling. What does the city pupil get for the double outlay
of time, bad air, back-ache and discipline?

As he cannot make any subsequent use of his accumulation of bad air and
back-ache, his entire gain over the country boy would seem to be in
discipline. What does this discipline do for him in the adult life for
which school life is a preparation?

Does it make him a better business man? No. If it does, why is it that
the majority of business men in our large cities are from the rural
districts? A few months ago I happened to be a guest at a dinner party
at which more than a dozen men prominent in New York business and
professional life came together. A question being asked about a social
custom of thirty years before, it gradually transpired that not one of
the party had been born or brought up in the city of New York, a city of
which all now were permanent citizens.

I have told this story to prominent citizens of Chicago, St. Louis and
Cincinnati, and in return received long lists of the great men of those
cities who came from the country. With some fear and trembling I tried
the same story in Boston at a large public dinner, but the man to whom I
told it--he was a man who seemed to know everybody’s antecedents--replied
that not more than one in ten of Boston’s Brahmans or live business men
were born at the Hub.

Congress is fairly a representative body, but if you will look at the
book which gives biographical sketches of all the members, you will be
astonished to find how few cities and large towns are represented by men
born in them. Nearly all the members were born and brought up in the
country. Occasionally you will find that some representative or senator
was born in Philadelphia or New York, but if you look at the head of the
page you will discover that he is representing a rural district of some
State other than his own.

You will find it the same way in the learned professions. In law,
medicine and theology, art, literature and science, the men who are most
prominent at all the great centres of education and intelligence date
back to some farmhouse and country school. Most of these men went to
college in the course of time, but whenever you find one of them and
talk with him so long that he feels inclined to unbosom himself to you,
you discover that the amount of schooling he had at his birthplace was
very small. As most of these men have passed the period of their boyhood
by at least a quarter of a century, it is not surprising to hear them
tell of school years consisting of only three or four months, and of
school-room exercises where the number of text-books were so few that
many of the lessons were delivered orally by the teacher, and boys and
girls took turns with one another’s books.

If discipline, school discipline, counts for anything, these professions
should be full of city-bred men. But they are not, except at the
bottom--way down at the bottom. City schools graduate an immense number
of young men who enter seminaries and especially departments of
colleges, to gain a special education, but somehow these are not the men
who are prominent in the new blood of their respective professions.

If discipline, so called, does not make the city-schooled youth superior
to his country cousin, what is it good for? Well, it is good to keep the
school-room in order. The larger the school the more necessary it is for
a teacher to maintain order. In a building containing two or three
thousand children, as many school-buildings in the larger cities do,
rigid discipline is absolutely necessary to this end. But, to come back
to original facts, why does it take seven or eight years to impart a
common, a very common, school course which any bright boy or girl of
fifteen years could master alone and unaided in a quarter of the time?

School systems, where there are any, seem designed for the special
purpose of making the school a machine which should do credit to the
individuals who run it. This would be excusable with an actual machine
made of wood and metal, but children are not tough enough to be put to
such use. Besides, there is better use for them. It is not odd that
teachers should look out for themselves and for their own records in the
management of schools. If they don’t look out for Number One they will
be an exception to all the rest of humanity. Nevertheless, compared with
the children, the teachers’ number one as about one to fifty, and their
importance should be judged from this standpoint of comparison.

School systems of study seem based on the capacity of the stupidest
pupils. All the others must crawl because the stupid ones cannot walk.

This isn’t right. If armies were trained in that way we never would have
any soldiers. Let schools, like regiments, have their awkward squads to
be specially trained, so that they may catch up with those who are
proficient.

What are the branches in which the common schools give elementary
instructions? Spelling, reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, and
grammar. The farther from the large city, the surer the student is of
getting any instruction beyond those branches during the first six or
seven years of a common-school course. He may be qualified by home
reading to go into the natural sciences or into mathematics at an early
age, but that isn’t part of the system. It seldom pleases the teacher
of a graded school to be told of such acquirements of a new pupil. The
school exists not to improve the intelligence of the pupil from the
standpoint at which the teacher finds it, but to give him such
instruction as the teacher is already detailed and instructed by law to
give. A boy may forget all he knows of natural science, or algebra, or
geometry, in the many years in which he is drilled in elementary studies
leading up to the branches which he already understands.

In the country districts boys are often fit to pass rigid examinations
for matriculation at college at the age of fifteen years. But the boy
who does not begin to go to school until he is eight years of age finds
himself at fifteen, in a city, merely fit to enter a high-school, and
not a very high school either. Some of the most noted men in our
country’s history graduated from college at sixteen or seventeen years.
The curriculum of a college in those days was not as high as now.
Nevertheless, the graduates certainly gave a very good account of
themselves from their earliest entrance into public life. One of them
was Alexander Hamilton, who graduated at seventeen, and who elaborated a
system of financial management which a whole century of successive
Secretaries of the Treasury have not considered themselves competent to
improve upon. A very long list of men of similar prominence might be
given, but such illustrations are not necessary. Any intelligent man who
has been to school knows that a great deal of his class-room time has
been entirely at his own disposal, for the lessons were easily
memorized; and therefore his hands were idle and Satan found something
for them to do. The worst boys in school can often be found among the
scholars who stand highest in the classes, and for the very natural
reason that there is nothing to occupy their minds during a large
portion of the school time.

Seriously, what is there about the elementary branches, as taught in our
common schools almost anywhere, that should consume such an immense
amount of time? In the Southern States a number of the despised blacks,
children of slaves who themselves could date back their ancestors from
generations of slaves, became quite proficient in elementary branches
during a year or two, lounging about military camps in the capacity of
servants. Special schools were founded, as soon as the war ended, by
missionary societies, which prepared courses of study which they
considered within the comprehension of the Anglo-African mind. Of course
there were a great many stupid blacks; but, while some of these stupid
children were making faces at text-books and drawing inartistic pictures
on slates, their old fathers and mothers were learning from

[Illustration: TRANSPORTATION BUILDING.]

the same children’s text-books more rapidly than the best children in
the public schools of the North are allowed to learn.

Sir John Lubbock complains that “A thousand hours in the most precious
seed-time of life of millions of children spent in learning that _i_
must follow _e_ in _conceive_, and precede it in _believe_; that two
_e’s_ must, no one knows why, come together in _proceed_ and _exceed_,
and be separated in _precede_ and _accede_; that _uncle_ must be spelled
with a _c_, but ankle with a _k_,--while lessons in health and thrift,
sewing and cooking, which should make the life of the poor tolerable,
and elementary singing and drawing which should make it pleasant, and
push out lower and degrading amusements, are in many cases almost vainly
trying to gain admission.”

Take the course all through, and what is there about it that should
require any great consumption of time? Reading certainly is not hard to
acquire. Children out of school learn it in spite of any efforts to hold
them back. Spelling is learned more effectually through reading than
from any text-book. Writing requires only a model of which copies may be
made, for there is no business man in New York or in any other large
city who writes a copy-book hand. If he did, he would be considered
incompetent for whatever position he may occupy. The first thing that a
boy must learn on leaving school is to unlearn his writing-lessons.
Arithmetic undoubtedly requires considerable practice to make the pupil
perfect and quick in computations, but as it consists entirely of
applications of the first four rules, why is it that so much time is
spent over the text-books and very abstract propositions and problems?
Text-books of arithmetic seem to be skilfully designed for the purpose
of keeping the child from practical knowledge on the subject as long as
possible. Examples that are called practical are given in many of these
books, but only after a large amount of figuring, the purpose of which
the pupil is not allowed to clearly understand. A man whose education in
figures has been obtained on the sidewalk with a piece of chalk will
cypher more accurately and quickly any problem of ordinary nature that
may be given him than his own son or daughter who has been several years
in school, because he understands the relations and purposes of the
factors, which never seem to be impressed upon the child.

General F. A. Walker, once superintendent of the census and now
president of the Boston Institute of Technology, says: “The
old-fashioned readiness and correctness of cyphering have been to a
large degree sacrificed by the methods which it is now proposed to
reform. A false arithmetic has grown up and has largely crowded out of
place that true arithmetic, which is nothing but the art of numbers.”

Geography is so largely a matter of memory of the eye that no man who
was denied the privilege of studying this science while he was at school
ever thinks it necessary to spend a great amount of time over it
afterward, even if his business requires him to have a practical
knowledge of the subject. It is simply a question of sight and of
memory, just as is the case with knowledge of localities which he may
visit either to a great or small extent, yet geography in the public
schools is divided into two, three, and sometimes five different books,
by the use of which the pupil goes again and again over the same
lessons, obtaining in the end no more information than that he would get
by a few days’ deliberate study of an atlas or a set of maps.

Prof. Geikie, a recognized authority on this subject, says: “Every
question of geography should be one which requires for its answer that
the children have actually seen something with their own eyes and taken
note of it.” This is reasonable; it would also be practicable if globes
and large maps were in the class-rooms, but generally they are
conspicuous only by their absence.

It is quite true that grammar must occupy considerable of the pupils’
time. For all the persons who have studied it, there seem very few of
any age at the present time who are able to apply the principles of
this science in such a manner that they habitually write and speak
correctly. But this isn’t so much the fault of the pupil and of the
teacher as of the text-books from which the science shall be studied.
Good example, from which adults learn grammar more correctly and rapidly
than in any other way, seems to be considered too good for children, so
they are given text-books with definitions utterly beyond their
comprehension--definitions so subdivided that there is nothing which the
intelligent teacher so dreads as a few intelligent questions on the
subject from a pupil on the grammar-lesson of the day. I have seen an
intelligent man, himself a college graduate, and a public speaker of
high reputation and elegant style, labor with one of his children over a
lesson in grammar, and finally give up in despair and toss the book
across the room. If a man of such character is unable to understand a
grammatical text-book, what can be expected of the child?

The greater the scholar or teacher, the greater is his contempt for
text-books of grammar. Old Roger Ascham, tutor to Queen Elizabeth of
England, delights in saying that his distinguished pupil “never yet
tooke Greek or Latin Grammer in her hande after the first declininge of
a Noun and a Verb.” A more celebrated teacher, John Locke, complained
that “Our children are forced to stick unreasonably in grammatical
flats and shallows.” Dr. Parkhurst said recently: “The way for a boy to
talk correctly is to talk subject to correction--not to apply himself to
linguistic anatomy, surgery and dissection. I studied grammar in the
ordinary way about three weeks--just long enough to find out what a
genius some people can show for putting asunder what God hath joined
together. It is a splendid device for using up a boy’s time and souring
his disposition.”

Well, all this routine is being imposed upon the children, and the
little wretches are losing spirit and impulse through the delay to which
the cleverer ones are subjected and the lack of clearness which causes
the stupider ones to despair. Nothing whatever is done toward training
the senses and physical intelligence of the child. They do this sort of
thing abroad, but for some reason Americans are not allowed to follow
the foreigners’ example. Apparently our children have a divine call to
whatever handiwork may fall to their lot thereafter in the world, for
certainly they get as little training in it as the twelve apostles had
in theology before they were called to preach and teach. The French or
German, the Swedish child, and even many a Russian child, is taught to
use his hands and his eyes and all his senses that can be applied to
practical affairs, but the American child gets no opportunity of that
sort, except in the few schools which conform more or less to the
kindergarten system. We have a few technical schools in large cities,
but they are regarded as means to finish a course of education instead
of part of the ordinary elementary instruction.

When technical education, which means simply the use of the hands and
eyes, is spoken of to members of Boards of Education and Superintendents
of common school systems in large cities, the result is generally an
impatient gesture or word. There is no room for that sort of thing, we
are told; beside, it is a mere notion of theorists. The general run of
children are not equal to it and would be more troubled than benefited
by it.

Well, experience is more valuable than argument in answering assertions.
A few years ago a man who had scarcely ever done any work in the
school-room brought some theories on the subject of technical education
over here from Germany, although he was an American. He went to
Philadelphia and started a little class for the instruction of teachers.
The majority of common school teachers sneered at his theories, so he
proposed to silence all further opposition by a practical test. He
started a model school for the purpose of demonstrating that what he
asserted was practicable. He did not select the brighter pupils in the
public schools, but went deliberately into the streets and picked up at
random a lot of little gutter-snipes who had never been to school at
all, or who, if they had, were persistent truants ever since. In a short
time people saw--for it was necessary to have them see in order to make
them believe at all--these ignorant children of the street doing better
technical work in several directions than could be found anywhere else
in the city except in establishments paying high prices for artistic
labor. They carved wood, they modelled in clay, they made designs on
paper, they stamped leather and brass and even showed some capacity for
engraving and coloring in the direction of the higher arts.

The effect of this display should have been to have given the system
prominence and practical demonstration in the public schools, but it
amounted to little except the gathering of a few wide-awake teachers who
wished to learn to teach as the theorist had been teaching. A few of
those who took the course went into public school work elsewhere and
have succeeded admirably ever since. In the city of Elizabeth, New
Jersey, any child who wishes can now receive a technical education under
the direction of the common school authorities. The work began in a
single school with a single teacher. It has since been extended to all
the public schools of the city, and two teachers work hard from morning
until night. A strange development of this course of teaching deserves
notice. Elizabeth is a city containing a great many large manufacturing
establishments, and the modest young woman who had charge of the
technical education in the public schools was amazed one day to receive
a written request from a number of master mechanics in different
establishments for a night school for their own benefit, for which they
were willing to pay freely; and some of them told the teacher that their
attention to the subject was first attracted by their own children doing
clearer and more rapid work in the line of design than they, these
master mechanics, who had been in the business all their lives, had ever
yet succeeded in doing. So for months there was visible the astonishing
spectacle of a lot of middle-aged men being taught their own business by
a young woman who herself knew nothing whatever of their business.

The helplessness of the average American teacher when the subject of
technical education is mentioned was shown amusingly a few years ago
when one of the several superintendents who have general charge of the
New York city schools devised a system of teaching from what he called
object lessons. He prepared a manual and a set of charts and the Board
of Education in compliment to him purchased a great many and placed them
in the class-rooms. But it was almost impossible to have them used
unless the superintendent himself took the work in hand. The teachers
didn’t understand it. They said they couldn’t get the hang of it. The
truth was they had never had any education of the same kind themselves
and the matter was as foreign to their intelligence as Hebrew or
Sanscrit would have been. But, mark the difference; when news of this
system penetrated the wilds of the rowdy West, demands and orders for
the material to work with came East rapidly, and I was told that a
single State in the new West made more use of this system than all the
Eastern and Middle States combined. The West knows what it wants; the
teachers are closer to the children than in the East. This may be one of
the blessings, or perhaps penalties, of life in a new country, but,
whatever it may be, the results seem to justify a wish that all of us
could be transplanted to a new country, for at least a little while,
from the older centres of our American civilization.

General Walker, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
says: “The introduction of shopwork into the public system of education
cannot fail to have a most beneficial influence in promoting a respect
for labor and in overcoming the false and pernicious passion of our
young people for crowding themselves into overdone and underpaid
departments where they may escape manual exertion.” Col. Auchmuty, the
philanthropic founder of New York’s great “Trades School,” says: “What
scientific schools are to the engineer and architect--what the law
school and the medical school are to the lawyer and the physician, or
what the business college is to the clerk--trade schools must be to the
future mechanics.” President Butler, late of Columbia College’s faculty,
now president of the Industrial Association’s great model school, says:
“Manual training does not claim admittance as a favor; it demands it as
a right. The future course of study will not be a Procrustean
structure--absolutely and unqualifiedly alike for all localities and for
all schools; but it will have in it a principle, and that principle will
be founded on a scientific basis--the highest duty of the educator will
be its application to his own particular needs and demands.”

Is the experience of practical educators like these to be cast aside in
favor of the antiquated theories of teaching now in vogue?

Any one who wonders why country boys become prominent city men, and why
there are about as many Western men in New York city in business as
there are men from the East, can find out by looking closely to the
difference between city and country systems of education. If a country
village is too small to have a high school, it is nevertheless generally
the case that the higher branches are taught to a large extent in the
commonest of schools. College graduates find the profession of teaching
a very handy means of paying their expenses while looking about the
country and seeing where to begin the practice of law or medicine, or
perhaps drop into the pulpit. Boys and girls of twelve or fourteen years
may be found studying physiology, algebra and geometry, natural sciences
and chemistry in schools all over the new West at a time when children
of the same age in the large Eastern cities are slowly wrestling with
the lessons and elementary text-books of geography and grammar and
arithmetic. When competitive examinations for West Point cadetships are
held in the West the general trouble is that the candidates are too
young to enter the military academy even could they pass the necessary
examination and succeed in winning the competitive prize. I saw such an
examination myself in one Western town, which was narrowed down to two
boys. These youngsters, the ablest of all the applicants, were aged
respectively thirteen and fourteen years. They passed rigid examinations
in mathematics, with scarcely a mark against them. That is more than
could be done by any boys of similar age in the public schools of New
York and Brooklyn and Philadelphia, the three largest cities in the
Union.

The rapidity with which children pass through text-books in the newer
States and more sparsely settled districts is the cause of the great
number of so-called colleges which are found all over our country. There
are more colleges by title in the United States than in all the rest of
the world beside. Their standards are never those of the universities of
Europe--seldom of Yale or Harvard. But they are higher than those of the
ordinary high schools, and the young man or young woman who passes
through them has a very fair general education, and is fitted to go on
by private reading to almost any extent. In the larger cities of the
East such opportunities are few. There is, perhaps, a single large
institution in each city, like the High School of Philadelphia or the
Normal College of New York, at which girls are educated, or the College
of the City of New York, to which the better boys are sent for a full
college course if they desire it. But these same facilities are demanded
and obtained in the newer cities at a rate that would astonish the
Eastern person who chose to look into the subject.

The most pressing need of our common school system is more teachers.
With more teachers greater personal attention could be paid to each
pupil, and smaller time would be required for the ordinary school
course. In the cities it is the rule that boys and girls must leave
school at a very early age in order to help earn a living for their
respective families. The majority of them are children of parents who
are very poor, who have to work terribly hard and save in every possible
way in order to keep their families from starvation. Consequently the
children go to work as soon as they are large enough to be accepted by
any employer at any sort of occupation. Their subsequent opportunities
for learning anything are necessarily limited. They must learn by
general reading if at all, except for such few opportunities as are
granted them by night schools, a beneficent class of educational
institutions, which those who most need them are least able to attend,
for how much studying can a boy or girl do after nine or ten hours of
work in a counting-room or shop or factory? With more teachers our city
children could obtain a fair high school education at the age of
fourteen, and be better able to make their way in the world at whatever
their work might be.

The best finishing school that the people of the United States have ever
been able to avail themselves of is the course of home reading which one
society or other has within a few years devised, and which some of them
are conducting with great care and success. Systems of reading and
consecutive study are devised, books are supplied, individuals are
selected to receive and inspect examination papers to show the capacity
of the students and to give suggestions according as the students may
seem to require, and in this way one single society has now eighty
thousand students, with more than a hundred instructors and inspectors.
This system might be definitely extended at very small expense by the
various States as part of the local system of education. Until the
blunders of the common school system are modified or done away with, it
is as little as the State can do to give an intelligent child this much
of consolation and assistance for the time that it has been compelled to
lose by incompetent tuition in the public schools.



CHAPTER XVIII.

RAILROADS.


The railroad problem is one of the most complicated and vital questions
of the day. Nothing, perhaps, is so typical of the ingenuity, skill and
colossal power of our modern civilization as the railroad train--a
solitary man holding the lever which controls this tremendous mass of
wood and metal, with its freight of goods and passengers rushing past us
at the rate of a mile a minute.

The growth of the railroad is one of the greatest marvels of this
wonderful century. England got her first road from the Romans in 415
A.D. To move the Roman armies it was necessary to have the “Roman Way,”
and the remains of those wonderful works still excite the admiration of
all beholders. The dangers and delays of roads in the middle ages, and
even in the stage-coaching days of our fathers, beset as they were with
difficulties and terrorized by highwaymen, all seem to us to belong to
some remote past.

It is a new tribute to the genius of that imperial people who swayed
the world in the earlier ages of Christianity that even now, with all
our facilities of modern travel, our people are beginning to realize the
necessity of roadways approximating those which they constructed. The
farmer often has to haul the products of his fields many miles to reach
the railway station, and the time and the effort needed to get his wheat
or corn over tortuous and defective roadways entails a very serious
loss. In many parts of the country the roads in fact are so impassable
in certain months that the farmer is unable to transport his grain to
the railway at a time, perhaps, when the markets are high, and is forced
to hold it until the season opens, and to dispose of it at a much lower
price. There is a general awakening of public sentiment to the necessity
for improvement in this direction, and for some years to come there will
probably be quite as much effort expended in the bettering of country
roads as in the further improvement and extension of our already
colossal railroad system.

Until the opening of the railway era, commerce and travel followed the
natural lines of transportation--the water-ways. There were, it is true,
a few exceptional instances like those of the ancient caravan routes
which crossed the lines of the great rivers and built up inland cities,
but the operation of natural laws in time

[Illustration: HORTICULTURAL HALL.]

prevailed, and these cities fell into ruins, while others sprang up
along the coasts and water-ways. Even after the introduction of
railways, the cost of transportation thereby was so heavy that the
water-ways still commanded the general direction of commerce, and it is
only since the wonderful cheapening of railway rates--due to the
enormous growth of the traffic and the introduction of more heavily
loaded cars and other economies--that the iron way has dominated the
water-way and subverted what had been one of the maxims of commercial
development from the earliest times.

At the present time, where the question of time is not important, the
carriage of passengers and goods by water is so much cheaper than by
rail as to survive in competition. Where the passenger’s time is of
value, or perishable goods are carried, or the merchant is in a hurry to
receive his consignment, the railway, following virtually the shortest
distance between the two points--piercing mountains, spanning ravines
and crossing the rivers, is, of course, the necessary means of
communication. Most of the great cities that have sprung up within the
memory of people still living, like those of old, are reared on the
sea-coasts or the shores of great lakes, or on the banks of navigable
streams, the facilities of transportation by water conspiring to create
these centres of activity and industry. Where a number of railroad
lines concentrate, a great city may spring up--like Indianapolis; or
where great manufacturing facilities exist, as in the juxtaposition of
the coal, ore and flux--as at Birmingham, Alabama. But these are
comparatively few in number, and have not such limits of expansion as
cities which may be reached by water. Aside from their commercial
disadvantages, the inland cities present difficult problems, among the
most important being that of successful sewage and sanitation.

In this country, indeed, most of the earlier railroads were projected
merely to connect navigable streams with one another, or with the coast,
their founders evidently regarding rail transportation as an auxiliary
of the natural ways, and not as a great rival which was in a very few
years to dominate them. In other instances, railways in the early days
were simply built along the banks of the rivers, because the people
found that when the latter were frozen in the winter, they needed some
other means of transportation. These scattered bits of road here and
there were, in after years, as the possibilities of railroad development
began to dawn upon the minds of far-seeing men, united by connecting
links and reorganized into roads of much greater length. In fact some of
the most difficult features of the railroad problem of the present day
grew out of the failure of projectors of railroads in the early days to
grasp the meaning of the system which they were instituting. France,
Germany, Belgium and other European cities have had no serious railway
problem. The English people, however, have passed through very nearly
the same experience as ours, and we are now solving the same questions
which puzzled their heads nearly a generation ago.

The immunity of the continental nations from many difficult railway
questions arises from the fact that they began building railroads after
England and our own country had undertaken them, and after we had
sufficiently developed their possibilities to show the absurdity of many
of the ideas that prevailed when they were inaugurated. It was supposed
that the first companies chartered would build a railway just as they
would build a highway, and that the iron way would be open to
competitive traffic by individuals or combinations of individuals, just
as the ordinary highway was open. In the charter of the first railway
company which built a line, the Manchester and Liverpool Railway, and in
fact in all the charters which were granted in England prior to 1829,
and the charters granted in this country in the same period, this idea
is clearly expressed. The Ithaca and Owego Railway, now a portion of the
great New York Central trunk line, was chartered in 1828, and one
section of the charter contains this provision: “All persons paying the
toll aforesaid may, with suitable and proper carriages, use and travel
upon the said railroad, subject to such rules and regulations as the
said corporators are authorized to make by the ninth section of this
act.”

It is obvious that the notion entertained by the founders of this
railway was that they would simply own a turnpike with rails upon it,
and would derive their revenue from the tolls charged upon the vehicles
that should be rolled over it by individuals. It was not until railway
building had proceeded for about a dozen years that it became evident,
from the nature of the power employed and the higher rate of
speed--unforeseen until then--that might be attained, that the railway
company must monopolize the service over the road they built. This
rendered necessary an entire revolution of the principles upon which all
future charters should be granted. But the fundamental mistake was made.
The continental peoples began to build their railways after this fact
was discovered, and therefore had the benefit of their predecessors’
mistakes, and adopted precautions which have relieved them of many
awkward complications.

Besides this, another mistake of ignorance was the belief that railways
would be used exclusively for the transportation of passengers, and it
was long after the first rails had been laid that the notion that
“light goods” might be conveyed, dawned upon their minds.

Any man who should have told these pioneers of the railway world that
the United States would possess in the year 1889 a hundred and sixty
thousand miles of railroad, enough to belt the world seven times at the
Equator, would have been regarded as a lunatic. The ownership of this
vast property is represented by stocks and bonds aggregating
$9,000,000,000. They receive yearly from the public for carrying
passengers and freights the sum of $1,000,000,000 and, after paying the
expenses of their operation, including the wages of more than 1,000,000
employés, they have left an available revenue of $415,000,000. More than
one of the larger companies has a revenue greater than that of the
United States government was thirty years ago. To earn this enormous sum
the roads work night and day, seven days a week. Through the darkest and
stormiest winter midnight, as well as through the pleasantest summer
afternoon, the locomotive fires are kept alight and the wheels revolve
unceasingly along the rails. The work they accomplish is something
startling in the aggregate. In the year 1887, the latest for which the
complete figures are at hand, the railroads of the country carried
428,000,000 passengers, travelling 10,500,000 miles, a distance equal to
450 times around the globe. The freight carried in the same year
amounted to 552,000,000 tons, and the distance traversed 62,000,000
miles.

It is a commonplace to speak of what the railroads have done in the way
of opening up the country and bringing the blessings of civilization
into the wilderness. In the Western country, where the people formerly
wore homespun or the coarsest fabrics of Eastern looms, the women now
receive weekly fashion plates still damp from the press, and every
cross-roads store has in stock the latest patterns, not only from the
great cities of our own land, but from the centres of European fashion.
The postal system follows along the iron way, the metropolitan newspaper
reaches the most obscure hamlet daily, and a chapter might be written
upon the growth of the railway postal service alone. The telegraph lines
enter new territory with the railway, putting the dweller in the
remotest regions within reach of instantaneous communication with all
parts of the world.

The effect of the railroad in thus multiplying and exchanging not only
material products, but distributing the news of the day and bringing the
inhabitants of the Pacific slope and those of the Atlantic seaboard into
daily intellectual intercourse, and thus welding all into one
homogeneous people, is a theme which has yet to be fully dealt with by
the pen of the historian. From Maine to Texas, go where you will, you
find the people read the same news, discuss the same questions, and are
subjected to the same vivifying influences, the ideas of the farmer on
the borders broadening in even pace with those of the dwellers in the
cities until such a thing as provincialism is unknown on this continent.
Indeed, foreigners who visit our shores, who have a taste for the
picturesque, complain of this monotony, and bewail the fact that the
American town or hamlet, whether situated on the borders of the great
northern lakes or on the torrid shores of the Gulf, presents essentially
the same exterior aspect and identical social conditions.

It would be too much to expect that this great railway system, with its
unprecedented army of employés and the revenues of an empire, should be
an unadulterated blessing; that it should not carry some alloy in its
composition. Like most humane institutions, even the most beneficent, it
has wrought mischiefs as well as brought great benefits. Until now the
needs of our rapidly developing country were such that communities
everywhere were clamoring for roads which would bring to them what they
needed from the outside world and place within reach markets for their
own products. Consequently, every possible inducement was offered for
the building of railway lines, and without surrounding their
construction with such safeguards as had already been found necessary in
old and thickly populated countries. The result has been in many parts
of the country an over-building of lines which has entailed subsequent
losses and difficulties and the creation of abuses and complications
which together constitute what has come to be known as “the railway
problem.” It is clear that what might be broadly called the constructive
period in our railway system is ended, and that we have now fairly
entered upon a period of restriction and regulation. The people have now
to learn to subdue and control these great Frankensteins of their own
creation.

As Mr. Frederick Taylor, President of the Western National Bank of New
York, who has all his life been a close student of the railway question,
says: “Though the railroads have probably contributed more than all
other agencies combined to make the United States what they are, no one
will deny that the incalculable benefit which we have derived from their
growth and development has not been, and is not, wholly ‘unmixed of
evil.’ Leaving out other considerations, it is not unfair to say that
three-quarters of all the legislative corruption from which we have
suffered during the past fifty years have been directly chargeable to
the railways; and that a very large proportion, perhaps nearly as much
as half, of the litigation that has occupied our courts during the same
period has been directly connected with railway matters.”

The great panic of 1873 was directly due to the over-building of
railroads. Following it came several years of terrible business
depression throughout the country, in which time and money was spent in
trying to clear away the wreck. Hundreds of railroad companies were
bankrupted and loss and suffering were entailed upon hundreds of
thousands of persons who had invested their savings in these
enterprises. In no end of instances the stocks of the companies were
wiped out of existence entirely, the roads sold under foreclosure and
reorganized. Again, in 1877, when the country was just beginning to
recover from the shock, it was disturbed and depressed for a long time
by the trouble between the railroad companies and their workmen, which
in some cases culminated in riot and bloodshed. Another period of
artificially stimulated railroad building reached its culmination in the
panic of 1884, and two years later widespread strikes among railway
operatives again disturbed the entire business of the country. During
all this period the legislatures of the various States and the National
Congress were busy with legislation intended to modify or remedy the
evils complained of.

The question presents such difficulties that many students, including
Mr. Taylor, can find a solution of the question only in the suggestion
of national control of the railroads throughout the country. Mr.
Taylor’s idea, however, is that they should not be owned and operated by
the nation, but that the government should have the same sort of control
which it now exercises over the national banks; in other words, that the
national railway commission should supervise the railroads with the same
authority which the Treasury Department exercises over the national
banking system.

The unrestricted building of railroads under the provisions of the
general railroad acts passed in most of the States, following that
adopted in New York in 1850, has given rise to destructive competition
and brought about some of the knottiest points in the railroad problem.
It was held for many years, and is even now contended by a great many
people, that the building of railroads, like any other business, should
be left free to the unrestricted enterprise of individuals and
associations of individuals. “If a lot of fellows see fit to put their
money into building a railroad where there is not enough traffic to
sustain it, and the road goes into bankruptcy, that is their affair, not
ours; it is their money that is lost.” That is about how the average
citizen talks on this subject. There could be no greater mistake.

In the first place the railroads are public highways, and as such must
be supervised by the community. When in ordinary conversation in this
country we speak of a “road,” from Chicago to St. Paul for instance, it
is always understood that a railroad is meant. In the older countries
the mention of “roads” is understood to refer to a turnpike. The reason
for the difference of usage is obvious. In old and settled countries the
highways were in existence for centuries before rails were laid, and the
word “road” therefore continues to hold its primary meaning. With us it
is the railroad line which first enters into new territory, and it may
be years before the contiguous region is sufficiently settled to render
an ordinary wagon-road necessary.

The vital fallacy in the popular argument that “competition will settle
this question of too many roads” lies in assuming that a railroad is,
like an individual, private enterprise. If a man starts a hat shop in a
neighborhood already well supplied with hatters, and he is bankrupted in
the struggle for business, that is the end of him. He has lost his money
and the shop is closed and the equilibrium of supply and demand in hats
is restored. But when a railroad becomes bankrupted it does not go out
of existence in that way. Where is there an instance in this country of
a road, once built, having been abandoned or obliterated? No; the
bankrupted road is placed under the protection of a court and in the
hands of a receiver. It conducts a fiercer warfare than ever against its
solvent rivals; for the bankrupted road is relieved from the necessity
of paying interest on its mortgage or paying its debts, and continues
to do business at lower rates than ever, for the receiver must keep it
a-going pending its reorganization or whatever disposition is to be made
of it.

The English people long ago reached a point which we are approaching
fast, in that before a railroad is built its projectors must obtain a
special charter, and in order to obtain that they must prove that there
is a public need of the new line. Any one who has read the papers for
the past few years will readily recall many instances of the destructive
effects of building lines in territory already well supplied with
transportation facilities. Take the West Shore road, which paralleled
the New York Central, and not only sunk the capital of its own builders
but forced a decline of fifty per cent. in the market price of New York
Central, which from an eight per cent, dividend-paying corporation
practically ceased to earn more than its fixed charges. The “Nickel
Plate” road, paralleling the Lake Shore from Buffalo to Toledo, is
another glaring instance in point. And still later we have the building
of an unnecessary line from Kansas City to Chicago by the Atchison,
Topeka and Santa Fé Railroad, which has resulted in the fall of the
stock of the latter company from about par to less than fifty cents on
the dollar, with a coincident cessation of dividends.

A host of mischiefs and evils have sprung from the almost unrestrained
power of railroad officials in the matter of their charges. By charging
some shippers more and others less by means of secret contracts, the
officials opened to themselves a field of unlimited profit. An awkward
fact, which there is no denying, is the large fortunes, in most cases
running into the millions, possessed by men who are or who have been
railroad officials on modest salaries, and who had nothing before
entering upon these positions. The cost of transportation being such an
important factor in the price of commodities, it was quite easy for the
railway to enrich one man and beggar or drive out of business another in
the same trade, and this was done according to the personal interests of
the man or men who could thus make rates. More than this, it was not at
all difficult for the railroad to impoverish one town or city and build
up another by discriminating in rates.

In fact, the railroad had the power to say whether a merchant should or
should not succeed in business, whether a town should or should not grow
in population and prosperity. In the Hepburn committee’s investigation
of the New York railroads in 1879 it was shown that the milling business
in certain towns of northern New York had been killed by railroads
granting rates which favored Minneapolis and other western points. In
one town all the millers but one were obliged to go out of business, and
it was elicited in the investigation that this man had a secret contract
with the railroad by which they carried his commodity for much lower
rates than any of the others. The merchants of New York at that time
complained that the discriminations of the railroads against the
metropolis were driving away its trade to Baltimore and other points.
The nefarious contracts made by the railroads with the Standard Oil
Company were discovered so recently as to be still fresh in the public
mind. It will be remembered that the railroads not only carried the
Standard’s oil for a fraction of that charged a certain individual oil
refiner, but actually paid over to the Standard Oil Company the
overcharges of which they mulcted the unfortunate individual refiner.

The creation of railroad commissions in the various States, and the more
recent establishment of the Interstate Commerce Commission under the
provisions of an act prohibiting these discriminations, forbidding the
charging more for a longer than for a shorter haul, and inflicting a
severe penalty for making railroad pools, goes far to remedy many of the
most glaring evils complained of. But laws after all cannot make men
moral, and, as President Charles Francis Adams, of the Union Pacific
Railroad, said recently, “one of the chief causes of the railroad
troubles is the low standard of commercial honor among railway
officials.” The opportunities for personal profit possessed by dishonest
railroad officials, while somewhat diminished by the prohibition of
discriminating rates by which they were enabled to build up one town in
which they had an interest, or to favor certain firms in which they or
their friends were partners, have been removed; but the avenues of
unlawful gain still open to them are almost innumerable. As Herbert
Spencer remarked in dealing with this same subject in England a quarter
of a century ago, “corporations have no souls.” A combination of men
will stoop to acts which the conscience of no one of them would sanction
as an individual act. So, too, a man will deal with the rights and
property of a corporation as he would never think of dealing with those
of an individual.

Among the more frequent abuses of their official power, we find railroad
officers personally buying lands in new territory or mining lands, and
then building at the expense of the corporation branch lines to reach
these properties and enhance their value; the establishment of
manufacturing or business enterprises, in which the railway men are
often secret partners, and securing for these enterprises favorable
terms, and then contracting with the railroad to do business for less
than cost; the fast freight lines, which ply over many roads, and which
have exceptionally easy contracts with the corporations and are in many
instances the individual enterprises of railway officials. It was not
long since shown that some of these lines were actually competing with
the railroad proper for freight, and carrying it with express speed as
low as the railroad could afford to carry it in ordinary freight cars.

Many of the swindles and abuses in railroad management owe their
conception to the scandalous example of Fisk and Gould in the Erie
Railroad. One or two of the little tricks played by Gould and his
partner in that road, will give an idea of the possibilities of profit
in dishonest railway management. When Gould became president and
treasurer of the road twenty years ago, the Erie had a very favorable
and longstanding lease of the Chemung and Canandaigua roads. The rental
was exceedingly low, having been made at a time when the leased lines
were in financial trouble. By the terms of the contract, if the Erie
should at any time fail to pay the rental, the lease was to be thereby
abrogated. Under the circumstances, the securities of these roads were
naturally selling for a mere song. Gould, through his agents, quietly
bought up these securities for about their weight in waste paper, thus
becoming the sole owner of the roads. Then, in his capacity as president
and treasurer of the Erie, he deliberately failed

[Illustration: FISHERIES AND AGRICULTURAL.]

to pay the rental, thus cutting off the road from its lease and leaving
him free to dispose of it as he pleased. He thereupon sold the roads to
the Northern Central Railroad of Pennsylvania for three million dollars.

Again, the Northern Railroad of New Jersey had a stock capital of
$159,000 and $300,000 of bonds. It had never been able to earn dividends
on this small amount of stock. It was leased to the Erie on favorable
terms. Here was another example of Gould’s genius. Four million dollars
in bonds were issued on the property, and a million dollars of stock,
which was divided among the conspirators; and then, to give these
securities a market value, a new lease was made to the Erie by which the
latter guaranteed thirty-five per cent. of the road’s net
earnings--enough to pay interest on the enormous creation of new bonds
and four or five per cent. on the stock.

One more instance: The National Stock Yard Company was organized by the
conspirators. The Erie Company advanced a million dollars, taking bonds
to that amount. A million dollars of stock was then issued, representing
not one cent of money paid, and was divided among the gang.

It is well known that in nearly every large railroad company there is a
construction ring which builds all extensions and feeders on the most
extravagantly profitable terms granted by the railroad company, the
officials of the railroad being the chief parties in interest in the
ring.

Aside from all these rascalities in the actual management of the
properties, is the deplorable fact that the officials and directors
speculate in the shares of their own concerns, thus betraying the
interests of the _bona fide_ stockholders, whose trustees they are. It
is more than suspected that the chief bears who have been active in
depressing the securities of some of the Western roads during the past
winter were in partnership with the directors and other officers of
these corporations. It is easy to see that those in a position to know
the exact earnings of a company and to foresee the possibilities in the
way of dividends have the advantage of everybody else in estimating the
future market value of the securities.

While the holders of railroad bonds and shares, however, display so much
apathy with reference to the management of their properties and the
election of proper men to administer them, they deserve little sympathy.
It is notorious that the annual elections of most of our railroads are
the merest _pro forma_ affairs. The men who are in power send out blanks
every year asking for the proxies of shareholders, and the latter
forward them, and thus enable these men to continue in power and
practically own the corporations they control. Where there is a contest
for control, it usually lies, not between the shareholders, on some kind
of principle in the administration of the property, but is found to be
between two speculative Wall street factions, each of whom is anxious to
secure the pickings. Until the shareholders of American roads take an
active interest in their properties, as do English shareholders for
instance, and insist upon the publication of the annual reports in
advance of the meetings in order that they may attend the meetings and
question their officials upon all dubious points, there can be little
hope of permanent reform. In cases where there is a contest, it is not
at all uncommon for an interested faction to pay stockholders a small
sum for the proxies on their stock--a proceeding which has been aptly
compared to a merchant selling to a burglar for a dollar in cash the use
of the key of his safe every night. So much for the relations of holders
of shares and bonds to the men who manage the corporations. As to the
relations of the railroads to the public, it is clear that the recent
widespread discussion and the salutary influence of the Interstate
Commission must lead to beneficent results.

Aside from the great majority of the people, whose interests are
indirectly but surely affected by any juggling with railroad properties
and principles, is a great army of men who obtain their livelihood and
that of their families by work on or for railroads. An army? Yes; more
men than ever were seen in the largest army in the world. All of them
are “effectives,” too--none of them can be found among “the sick, lame
and lazy.” Chauncey M. Depew, President of the New York Central road,
says truly: “With those who are actually in the service, and those who
contribute by supplies, one-tenth of the working force of the United
States are in the railroad service; and that tenth includes the most
energetic men and most intelligent among the workers of this magnificent
country. There are ten million working men in this country, and six
hundred thousand are _directly_ employed in the railway service. With
their families they constitute a larger population than the largest of
the States.”

Mr. Depew further says, with equal truth: “There is no democracy like
the railway system of this land. Men are not taken out of rich men’s
parlors and placed in positions of responsibility. Men are not taken
because they are sons of such, and put into paying places in the railway
systems; but the superintendents all over the country, the men who
officer and man the passenger, the freight, and motive power and
accounting departments, all of them come up from the bottom. Are you
going to stop this thing? No! There are no men being born or to be born
who are to be by inheritance the superintendents, treasurers,
comptrollers, auditors, the freight and ticket agents, the conductors,
the yard masters, who are to be the master mechanics, the foremen of the
shops, of the future. They are not born. They have got to be made and
come from the bottom up. And in every one of these departments to-day,
in every railroad in the United States, in the humblest positions,
earning the smallest salaries, are men, who within the next twenty-five
years, are to fill all these places by promotion. Don’t tell me there is
no chance to rise in this country.”

When this army grumbles, as once in a while it does, there is good cause
for alarm; not that they, like the disaffected of other armies, may do
damage to life and property, but because their troubles are almost
always traceable to stock-juggling rascalities, from which the men have
no hope of redress. Some of the companies allow no business operations
to interfere with the rights of their employees. Mr. Cornelius
Vanderbilt is probably the most extensive owner of railway stock in the
world, but he finds time to see his own employees frequently, and has
even built and furnished a handsome club-room for them. He has also been
active in assisting the Young Men’s Christian Association in
establishing reading rooms at railway centres. President Charles Francis
Adams, of the Union Pacific Company, found time not long ago to
publish, in a magazine article, the outline of a system for retaining
and encouraging competent employees. President Roberts, of the great
Pennsylvania road, is as proud of his men as any general ever was of his
army.

These railroad magnates, and others who might be named, are setting a
good example, which it is to be hoped some other officials will have
sense enough to follow. It is bad enough for stockholders to be annoyed
and impoverished by stock-juggling operations, but when the employees
also suffer the whole country suffers with them. It is an unpardonable
crime for any company, managing a road which deserves to exist, to take
such good care of its managers that its employees must strike and even
fight to be sure of living wages. Railway strikes hurt every traveller,
every shipper, every receiver in the country. They never would begin if
managers were honest. Stick a pin here and keep your eye on it.



CHAPTER XIX.

BANKS AND BANKING.


We are told by an old chronicler of the quaint and curious that in
ancient times a number of Hebrews scattered in the cities along the
shores of the Mediterranean conducted a most profitable banking business
without the use of capital, by drawing one upon the other, in a perfect
circle, the draft upon one being taken up by the next banker in the
series, and so on _ad infinitum_.

Perhaps it will not do to scrutinize this story too closely, but there
are many instances of almost as odd and ingenious devices in the history
of banking. It was not until within a comparatively recent period that
banks began to issue circulating notes. The early bankers were for the
most part merely lenders of money, and this species of banker was called
into existence very early in the world’s history. In fact, he was the
natural result of the invention of money.

“A simple invention,” says Carlyle, “it was in the Old World grazier,
sick of lugging his ox about the country until he could get it bartered
for corn or oil, to take a piece of leather and thereon scratch or
stamp the mere figure of an ox (_pecus_), put it in his pocket and call
it _pecunia_, money. Yet hereby did barter grow sale; the leather money
is now golden and paper, and all miracles have been out-miracled; for
there are Rothschilds and English national debts; and whoso has sixpence
is sovereign to the length of sixpence over all men; commands cooks to
feed him, philosophers to teach him, kings to mount guard over him--to
the length of sixpence.”

It has been claimed on behalf of the bankers’ craft that they date back
to Abraham, because it is recorded that he weighed out four hundred
shekels of silver as the purchase-money for the cave and field of
Macpelah wherein to bury Sarah. But this is rather far-fetched. Livy,
however, writes of the tables of the money-changers in the Roman forum
existing 300 years before Christ, and later Latin writers refer to
deposits, checks and drafts, with all the familiarity of a financier of
the present day, as if they were in general use. In these days, when the
capitalists of the world are puzzled to invest their money safely to
yield them three per cent., it is refreshing to remember that the old
Greek bankers or money-lenders exacted as much as thirty-six per cent. a
year from the spendthrift youths or embarrassed merchants of that day.
Aristophanes, in one of his comedies, makes a money-lender bitterly
bewail the fact that he has only been able to get four per cent. on his
loan. The Greek bankers used the temples as safe-deposit vaults for the
storage of their treasures, and seem to have taken the priests into a
sort of partnership. Something of the same sort probably prevailed among
the Jews, and it is not difficult to believe that they were usurious,
for the Saviour, when He overturned their tables in the temple, called
them thieves--“My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have
made it a den of thieves.”

During succeeding ages, however, the methods of banking seem to have
been lost until re-discovered and re-established by the Jews. A bank was
established at Venice in the latter part of the twelfth century, another
at Genoa in 1345, and they came into existence in several of the Dutch
cities early in the seventeenth century. All of these were, in a sense,
state banks, lending money to the state, and exercising their functions
under its authority and protection. The Jews, and the Lombards, who had
been taught in their schools, were almost the only money-lenders of
Europe from the twelfth to the fifteenth century.

The first money-lender in England who at all approaches our modern idea
of a banker was William de la Pole, a shipping-merchant of Hull, who
loaned Edward the Third large sums to carry on his French wars, and in
return the king made over to him the collection of customs and internal
revenues. He collected the royal rents and acted as paymaster of the
army, and in a general way became the royal banker. Naturally a title
was conferred upon him.

The prefix of “Sir” was subsequently given to Dick Whittington, of cat
celebrity, for similar services to Henry the Fourth and Henry the Fifth.
The goldsmiths in those times acted as money-lenders and pawnbrokers.
After Charles the First grabbed about a million dollars, which they had
deposited in the mint for safe-keeping, the nobles began to deposit
their money with the goldsmiths, who allowed them interest thereon, and
from having the custody of their rents and their income it was a natural
step for them to request the goldsmiths to collect the money. The
goldsmiths gave written evidences of indebtedness for the sums intrusted
to them, and these were often transmitted by the holders in settlement
of debt. When one of these goldsmiths speculated unfortunately or his
business went wrong, his depositors naturally had to suffer.

Losses of this kind paved the way for the establishment of the Bank of
England in 1694. It was planned by a Scotchman named William Patterson,
who, however, derived many of his ideas from the Bank of Amsterdam,
which was then in successful operation. In return for a loan of twelve
hundred thousand pounds sterling to the government the lenders, who
organized the bank, were granted certain exclusive privileges, and their
concern became the depository of the government money and has remained
such ever since. It has now the accounts of many thousand private
depositors, pays the interest on the government debt, issues circulating
notes, and to a certain extent controls the rate of interest on money in
England.

As to the establishment of banking, Congressman Ben Butterworth, of
Ohio, says:

“In the forces of civilization we find the banker in the forefront. It
was a banker that first taught the world the maxim of an honest
commerce. It was the Bank of Venice that was the first to arbitrate
commerce and control the seas; it was a banker that first taught a
nation that the public fidelity was the right basis of all successful
effort in the business world. For six hundred years Venice maintained
unstained her honor, elevating the civilization of the world. In course
of time she was succeeded by Amsterdam and Antwerp, their bankers
honoring every check and paying every piece of paper, teaching the world
that there was a giant in trade and commerce capable of strangling a
nation. The bankers thus brought the world together, made the nations of
the earth one man, one commonwealth.”

Savings banks originated in Switzerland, and were instituted mainly for
the benefit of the poor. They were organized by benevolent persons, who
received no salaries for their services, and no capital was required.
The purpose was rather to induce working-people to save from their
earnings something for a rainy day or to provide for their old age, and
consequently but little effort at first was made to secure large
earnings on the deposits. The first we can learn of in Switzerland was
established in 1805. A dozen years later they were organized in Scotland
and England, and shortly after in France. In this country the first was
organized in Boston in 1816, and within a few years they were to be
found in New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, and their success in
these centres soon led to their establishment in all the large towns
throughout the country. They were chartered by the States, and were held
by the State authorities to account for their honest and prudent
management. Naturally the ideas of legislators in the various States
differed somewhat as to the nature and functions of the banks, and hence
there was a difference in their organization at the beginning, which
subsequent legislation has made still more marked. There are now in
existence three different classes of savings banks: the first is of the
primitive type, instituted without capital; the second are joint-stock
concerns, and the third are of the trust-company type, and transact a
banking business aside from the mere receipt and investment of deposits.

As population increased and the banks multiplied in number, and the
desirability of establishing these banks became more general, they were
no longer required to have a special charter in each instance, but were
permitted to organize under general laws. The deposits in these now
amount to a thousand million dollars, and the number of depositors in
the Northern and Middle States is about three millions. Objection has
been raised in some quarters to the joint-stock type of savings bank, on
the ground that its deposits must be loaned profitably for the payment
of dividends, and that consequently greater risks are incurred. This
risk is still greater where savings banks are permitted to do a
commercial business, as the paper which they discount may prove
inconvertible in a time of commercial depression or in a panic. In some
of the States the depositors are given the preference in such
circumstances.

Mr. T. H. Hinchman, a prominent banker of Detroit, says: “The change
from the purpose and policy of original savings institutions has been
progressive, but of questionable character. It was not the acquirement
of experience or the result of greater wisdom, but of enterprise by
those in pursuit of greater profit. Different aims and objects should be
under distinct, separate, and appropriate laws. Benevolent institutions
require different men and other management than those conducted on a
commercial basis for profit.” He argues that there should be separate
enactments for savings institutions and for trust companies, and indeed
a wise distinction is made by the laws of most of the older States.
These undoubtedly prove advantageous to all banks and bankers, as they
simplify and increase their business. Officers of banks doing a mixed
business are thereby relieved from error, responsibilities, risks, and
cares, and savings depositors escape commercial hazard, and are free
from risks caused by mismanagement of persons who advertise as savings
banks.

Those who remember the frightful confusion that prevailed before the
establishment of the National Banking system, when the notes of the old
State banks constituted a considerable portion of the circulating
medium, are among the most ardent admirers of the present system, at
least so far as its method for the issue and guarantee of notes is
concerned. In those days the laborer often went to his home on Saturday
night carrying the wages of his week’s labor in the shape of notes
issued by banks in half a dozen different States, and when his thrifty
wife went out to expend them in purchase of the necessaries of life for
her family she would be distressed to find that for some she could get
but ninety cents on the dollar, for others eighty cents, and that still
others were of too questionable a character to be accepted by the
shopkeepers at all. The farmer often received for the fruits of his toil
notes of which he could know nothing, and which would be subsequently
declared by experts to be worthless because the bank which had issued
them was in liquidation, and it was not at all uncommon to find a forged
note or two among them, for in the myriad issues of bills of every
conceivable design and character of engraving the forger had an easy
task.

The present National Banking system probably never could have been
called into existence except for the difficulties in which the
government was involved by the war with the South, for a scheme
overthrowing, as it did, so many other systems organized by the
authority of States would have met with an irresistible storm of
opposition. As it was, the act authorizing it was fought not only by the
opponents of the administration then in power, but by men like Roscoe
Conkling, of New York, and Senator Collamer, of Vermont.

Mr. Logan C. Murray, President of the United States National Bank of New
York city, thus speaks of the National Banking system:

“In 1863 the government of the United States, irrespective of State
lines, took hold of the bank question and made it a national one,
inaugurating a state of perfection which I believe is unparalleled in
the history of finance among the nations of the world.

“This child of the war between the States, born in the very travail of
the soul of the nation, is to-day full-grown, of five and twenty years,
comely, substantial, and has not been disappointing. Hard money was
scarce in 1861. There had been built upon this limited supply, through
the channels of credit, a massive structure; suddenly, as the storm
arose, the sky became dark and the curtains of night were let down
around State boundaries; with these parcels of credit, known as State
currency, far from home, with no foster parent hand near by to protect
it, intercourse cut off, we found ourselves depending upon a broken
staff which was as chaff in the mighty storm, commercial ruin on every
hand, and our shores strewn with the wrecks of a dismembered, useless
and faithless medium.

“We found the Secretary of the Treasury knocking at the doors of our
strongest moneyed institutions, asking from them aid in his great
distress, appealing to the wisdom, courage, patriotism and resources of
an almost forlorn hope. How nobly he was met is a matter of history.

“Not, however, until 1863, or two years afterwards, did the National
Bank system have its birth--born of despair, of want, blood-bought, yea,
in the very darkness of that midnight storm.

[Illustration: MANUFACTURES AND LIBERAL ARTS BUILDING.]

Yet it is but the survival of the fittest. And now let us see after the
uses which have been made of the system, and after the unparalleled
prosperity which has come to us as a nation under its influence, if the
parent of all this prosperity, to a greater or less degree, is to
breathe its last--if its strong arm is to be stilled, and if we are to
look for something better. Shall we wonder that men are bewildered when
we look into the future and ask what is to supply the vacuum caused by
the decay of the National Banking system? I for one answer:

“Do not fear, the National Banking system is not going to be destroyed.
In the fulness of time it will be yet better established.

“Let us divide the system into two parts, as it were, and treat them as
they may be. First, there is the Treasury of the United States, the
Secretary charged with certain duties, the Comptroller of the Currency,
the executive officer with each of the four thousand National Banks in
every section of the land reporting to him, responsible to him, and he
to the country at large--and by far his greatest responsibility is the
care, faithful preservation and safe return to the depositors of the
great mass of the deposits of the people made with these institutions.
This is one part, and the great part of the system--the care of the
deposits of the people and the careful and safe loaning of these
deposits to the commercial and manufacturing community by each
institution, all under its general supervision.

“Now we come to the next part of the business of the system, and that is
issuing note circulation. Does it occur to you how small a proportion of
the circulation of the United States to-day the National Bank
circulation is? Let us say it is about one-fifth part. Now let us assume
that this shall gradually be cut off, as undesirable as that is; it is
gradually declining, while other mediums of circulation are advancing in
volume. We must remember that money, actual money, is about four per
cent. only of all commercial transaction; credit, and credit alone,
supplies the other ninety-six per cent.

“I do not think any National Bank or any other bank should emit any note
or bill, for circulation without it is secured. Is it not true that
there are very many National Banks in the United States to-day which do
not issue circulation, even though banks of a capital of $150,000 and
above are required to lodge but $50,000 of bonds with the Treasury, and
some of these do not take out circulation on those bonds--whereas a
small bank in Dakota is required to lodge one-fourth part of its
capital, say if it is $50,000, it is required to lodge $12,500 of bonds
with the Treasury, whether it takes out circulation or not? Why is it
so? If they issue no circulation, then no bonds should be required. If
large banks to-day are not issuing circulation on the small amount of
bonds required, say $50,000, even though its capital be $5,000,000 (as
is the case), then why require one-fourth part of the capital of a small
bank to be invested in high-priced bonds before beginning business?

“Therefore, repeal that part of the National Bank act which requires a
deposit of United States bonds from a bank which is to receive no
circulation. If a bank choose to lodge bonds, then give it the privilege
of issuing circulation on them, as of old.”

The reduction, and now the current purchase, of government bonds, which
serve as a basis of circulation for National Bank notes, have driven the
bonds to such a high premium that the banks some years ago began to
surrender their circulation at such a rate as to seriously contract the
currency and excite apprehension as to the result. But for the issue of
silver certificates, which have largely taken their place, a crisis
would, in the opinion of many financiers, have been reached long ago.
The profit on circulation was so seriously reduced by the high price of
the bonds, on which it is based, that a number of banks in New York city
and elsewhere surrendered their charters as National Banks and organized
under the law as State institutions. They were largely impelled to do
this by a desire to escape the restrictions imposed by the National
Banking laws and the scrutiny of the Comptroller of the Currency and
the officials of his department. The passage of the law forbidding
over-certification compelled a number of them to take this course. In
August, 1883, the Wall Street National Bank was forced to suspend. An
examination by the government officials showed that it had certified
checks of a firm $200,000 in excess of their balance in cash and that
this was the principal cause of the bank’s failure. The cashier was
indicted, but the bank was wound up, went out of existence, and the
intention of making a terrible example of the delinquent official, who,
however, acted with the approval of the president and directors, appears
to have been abandoned.

Touching the opposition shown in Congress and elsewhere to National
Banking systems, ex-United States Comptroller of the Currency John Jay
Knox says:

“The system has been of immense benefit to the government in its
disbursements and in funding temporary loans and also in the refunding
of its debt which, but twenty-eight years ago, amounted to
$2,845,000,000. The National Banking system rendered more valuable
service to the government than any other human agency in the resumption
of specie payments. The National Banks held on the day of resumption
(January 1, 1879) 125,000,000 of United States demand circulating notes.
Sixty-two National and State banks in the Clearing House of New York
unanimously voted to receive the legal tender notes upon an equality
with gold, and on the day of resumption the banks of that city, which
held $40,000,000 of legal tender notes, did not present a dollar then,
or subsequently to this day, for payment in coin. As at the commencement
of the war the banks parted with their gold for the benefit of the
government, so at its close and upon the resumption of specie payments
they relinquished the right of again demanding it, and were well
satisfied to receive instead the demand notes of the government, which
are redeemable in coin upon presentation. Yet, notwithstanding these
important services, the legislative department of the government has
never been strong in its friendship for this system. The statutes of the
government contain very much restrictive and very little friendly
legislation toward the institutions which were created by its fiat. A
few years ago, when the charters of most of the banks were expiring, it
was only after a long contest that an act was passed authorizing a
renewal of their privileges. If at any time favorable legislation has
been granted by Congress, it has been given ‘grudgingly’ and not as a
‘cheerful giver.’

“We have heard much of the surplus and the necessity of the reduction of
the revenue. Both parties profess to be in favor of such reduction.
Both parties have proposed to reduce the tax on the ‘filthy weed,’ and
both parties proposed legislation granting relief to the whiskey
manufacturer and the whiskey drinker; but not one officer of the
government, nor one man of either House, has had sufficient courage to
propose the lessening or the repeal of the tax on the circulation of the
banks, which now amounts to less than $1,700,000 and which is the last
of the remaining ‘war taxes,’ except the tax upon the two deleterious
articles referred to, which are considered by the leading civilized
nations as the most fit subjects for ‘high taxation.’

“Yet no class of corporations since the organization of the government
have contributed so largely toward the support of the State and the
nation, and no class of corporations have ever been so unmercifully
taxed as the banking institutions of this country. Not only have
Congress and the different State Legislatures imposed high rates of
taxation, but the courts of the country, including the Supreme Court of
the United States, composed as it is of able jurists who should be
devoid of all prejudice, have construed the questions which have been
brought before them with rigor worthy of the bitterest enemy of the
system. While other corporations engaged in precisely the same line of
business are authorized to do business almost without legislative
restrictions and without taxation, the very highest rates that can be
imposed are placed upon these institutions, whose only source of profit
is the loaning of money at the rates of interest fixed by the same high
authority which imposes the taxation. Yet, notwithstanding the
opposition of Congress and the unfriendly decisions of the courts and
the bitter enmity of individuals, the system has steadily and rapidly
grown in favor, until the institutions organized under it from the
beginning number nearly four thousand, some of which are located in
every State and Territory as well as in every considerable village in
the land.”

As the steady reduction of the national debt proceeds, students of
financial questions are casting about for some substitute for the
present outstanding circulation, which has now dwindled to about
$150,000,000. Mr. Edward Atkinson, of Boston, the well-known
statistician and economist, presents this novel suggestion:

“Will any Congress dare to reduce the revenue to such an extent as to
leave any considerable amount of debt unpaid at the end of the present
century, whether it be bonded debt or demand debt represented by legal
tender notes? I submit these as the possible conditions which may make
it an absolute necessity for the people of this country _to invent a new
instrument of exchange_, to take the place of the legal tender notes and
of the bank notes secured by United States bonds, unless the whole
circulating medium is to consist either of bullion, or of certificates
of the government backed by bullion, dollar for dollar. The tendency of
events is to cause the withdrawal from circulation of uncovered paper,
to wit: National Bank notes and legal tender notes, leaving only in
circulation certificates of deposits of gold or silver, backed dollar
for dollar by actual coin, and also gold and silver coin in specie.

“No position could be stronger than this; but the difficulty will arise
in the fact that even were the annual revenues and expenditures of the
government equalized, the working of the Sub-Treasury Act in dealing
with such large sums as now constitute the financial transactions of the
government might seriously interfere with the money market at times.
Under present conditions it is becoming apparent that it is impossible
for the government to adjust its transactions to the ordinary conditions
of the money market; it is also impossible for the government to perform
the functions of a bank of issue; the tension is now very great, and the
conditions cannot possibly be continued for any length of time. The
issue of certificates of deposit of gold or silver would not meet the
varying conditions of supply and demand for instruments of exchange or
circulating notes, and there will soon be no government bonds available
as securities for bank notes. There is a volume of other securities in
existence--Railroad, State and City bonds--which would form an absolute
security for a circulating medium covered in part only by a reserve of
actual coin. Can the arrangements be made and the authority established
for a selection among these securities of those which ought to be made
available to secure the notes which might serve as instruments of
exchange? Can a central bureau, bank or other form of administration be
established by a permissive act, with branches in different parts of the
country, to supply an elastic, safe and suitable paper currency
convertible into coin on demand, on a separate foundation and under a
separate administration from that under which banks of deposit and
discount may continue to be organized?”

The New York banks are naturally the richest and most powerful in the
country, and New York, no doubt, always will be the monetary centre of
this country. But her absolute dominancy of the rest of the country,
which she held for so many years, is passing away. The severest blow to
New York’s banking supremacy perhaps was the passage of the law
permitting the importation of foreign goods in bond direct to interior
points. Formerly the grain from western fields was consigned to New
York, and the contract for its shipment abroad made there. The New York
banks were drawn upon for funds, and earned a commission upon every
bushel of wheat that went out through the Narrows. In like manner, all
goods brought from abroad found a resting-place there, and the duties
were paid in New York, and it was New York capital which forwarded them
to their destination.

But all that has been changed. The merchant in Chicago or St. Louis now
buys his goods in Manchester or Paris and consigns them direct to his
own city. The West reaches out over New York’s head and helps herself to
whatever she wants in the Old World. So, too, with what she has to sell
in Europe. A single rate is made from the western prairie to the dock at
Liverpool. Wheat is rushed through without the intervention of any New
York factor. As new towns and cities have sprung up in the interior, and
new manufacturing centres have been established, and the mineral wealth
of the country has been developed, the West has grown rich, and many of
the banks in the interior now carry lines of deposit which would have
seemed very large to the most important institutions in the East a few
years ago. The increase in the number of “reserve cities” made by act of
Congress two years ago was regarded at the time as destined to increase
the amount of funds in the western banks at the expense of those on the
coast. Up to that time there were but sixteen “reserve cities” in the
United States. Each of these was required to keep on hand at all times,
in loanable money, twenty-five per cent. of its deposits, while every
bank outside of these cities was required to keep but fifteen per cent.
of its deposits on hand. Any of these fifteen per cent. banks were
permitted to keep three-fifths of this fifteen per cent. in the banks of
any of the sixteen cities referred to, and any bank located in the
reserve cities might keep, if it wished to do so, one-half of its
loanable money reserved in the city of New York. The theory was that New
York was the monetary centre of the country, and the other fifteen
cities were the respective centres of the sections in which they were
located. The law, moreover, made provision for counting, as a part of
the required reserve, a portion of the balance which it was supposed the
conditions of trade would require them to keep at the local centres, and
at the general centre.

The new law of 1887 added a number of other cities to the list, with
regard to reserves which New York had held up to that time. The
amendment, however, left money free to seek its natural channels and
reservoirs, assuming that the drift of the current had changed since the
passage of the original act. But experience since has shown that trade
requirements bring a large proportion of the reserves to New York, and
so the new legislation has wrought comparatively little change. The
tendency to withdraw funds from New York under the amended law has been
checked by the fact that as soon as any city takes on its new dignity of
a central reserve point, it can no longer keep a portion of its reserve
in New York, but must keep its full twenty-five per cent. reserve in its
own vaults idle. Chicago and St. Louis have become full central reserve
cities like New York, and, as higher interest rates rule in these cities
than in New York, it is natural that many accounts should be transferred
from the latter city; and this has happened, as is demonstrated by
Chicago bank returns. The drift of currency from New York last fall for
the purpose of moving the crops, demonstrates that, while the western
banks hold more money for current wants, New York must still be drawn
upon for the large sums needed to move grain and cotton harvests.

The frequency of paragraphs in the daily papers announcing the departure
of another cashier for Canada demonstrates that there is something loose
in the methods of banking institutions. The president of the bank does
not give sufficient attention to the actual transaction of business. He
is usually too familiar and easy-going with his cashier and other
important officials. It is seldom that he emerges from his parlor to go
behind the counter and see what is actually going on. As for the
so-called examinations made from time to time by directors, they are in
ninety-nine cases out of every hundred simply farcical. The president of
the bank tells the cashier some fine morning: “Get things straightened
up now, Jimmy, the directors are coming to-morrow, and we want
everything in good shape.” The advent of the directors being thus
heralded, everything presents a fair appearance on the occasion of their
visit. They chat and chaff each other, glance casually over the
statements presented by the president, and then adjourn to indulge in a
luxurious luncheon on the floor above. So ends their examination.

It is because cashiers are relieved from all practical surveillance that
so many of them are led to ultimately test the climate of Canada. A
broker, speaking to the cashier some fine morning, says: “By the way,
Jones, Erie is going to have a big rise; you’d better buy yourself a
couple of hundred.” “Oh, I never speculate,” says Jones; “haven’t got
the money to do it with.” “That’s all right,” says the broker, “I’ll buy
a couple of hundred for you, and if there’s any loss you can make it
good; but I’m sure you’ll make money on it.” Possibly the cashier
accedes to this proposition, but more frequently, if he be a cautious
and circumspect man, he uses the broker’s point in a different way. He
has possibly seen the broker grow rich within a few years and envies
him. Here is a tempting opportunity to make a handsome turn, for his
salary is comparatively small, and he could put a few thousand dollars
to exceedingly good use. It may be, then, that he borrows from a friend,
or draws upon his own savings for money which he secretly deposits as
margin with some stock firm and buys two hundred Erie. It goes down. His
margin is exhausted. The brokers tell him it will probably decline very
little more. But they want more margin. Right under his hands are big
fat packages of bills of large denominations. What shall he do? If his
brokers sell him out, the savings of years are gone in the twinkling of
an eye. If he is a weak man, he argues, “Why not take a thousand dollar
bill out of this package marked $50,000? It would never be missed.” Erie
is sure to go up to-morrow, when he can withdraw the amount from his
brokers and put it back in the bundle. He will be saved from every loss
and nobody the worse for it. Unfortunately, things do not turn out that
way. Erie goes lower. The thousand dollars is gone. What shall he do?
His theft, for such it now plainly has become, will probably not be
discovered for some time. What shall he do? Speculate in some other
stock and try to make up the loss. And he does it. It is useless to
pursue the theme any further. Grown more desperate from day to day, he
plunges; his losses become too large to be longer concealed, and one
day, fearing exposure, he takes to flight, possibly carrying off
additional funds of the bank. It may be that the first money he took was
not to speculate with but to pay some household bill. But it leads to
the same result in the end.

Now, if the president were in the habit of casually dropping around to
the cashier’s desk and looking over his cash, the initial step in this
march to ruin would be prevented. Suppose the president picks up
hap-hazard any one of the many packages of bills and counts them over to
see that they tally with the total marked on the wrapper. The knowledge
that he is liable to do that at any time will deter the cashier from
abstracting that first bill, and he is saved from the subsequent crime
and disgrace.

Unfortunately, dishonesty in banks is not confined to cashiers. Many a
bank director amasses large sums by means which are quite as disgraceful
as embezzlements, although they are not so harshly punished. Mr.
Moneybags, for instance, is a director in several large banking
institutions. He is also in all probability a very heavy speculator in
the stocks of railroads in which he has inside information. As director
of bank No. 1 he sees that a certain man has pledged a block of the
stock of a certain corporation as collateral security for a heavy loan.
As director in bank No. 2 he perhaps learns that the same man is
borrowing largely from that institution and on another block of the same
stock. It is clear that the speculator in question is very heavily
loaded--probably carrying more of that stock than is prudent. Anything
which would seriously depreciate the market value of that stock would
probably force him to throw overboard a considerable portion of his
holdings. The director of easy conscience quietly puts out a line of
shorts in the stock in question at the ruling high prices. At the next
directors’ meeting of bank No. 1 he tells his fellow-directors that he
hears rumors affecting Mr. Speculator’s credit, that he is overloaded
with the stock of the road in question, and suggests to the president
that it would be prudent to invite Mr. Speculator to return the money he
had borrowed and take away his stocks. Possibly he causes similar action
to be taken by the other bank of which he is a director. Mr. Speculator,
so unexpectedly called upon to return very large sums of money, is
embarrassed. He is obliged to go into the market and sell a large amount
of the stock in question. The price falls sharply in consequence and the
director covers his shorts at a handsome profit. It is doubtless true
that a majority of bank directors are above this sort of thing; but
there are bank directors, and not a few of them either, who contrive to
turn their official positions to their personal profit.

[Illustration: MACHINERY HALL.]



CHAPTER XX.

OUR CITIES.


A great city is a great sore--a sore which never can be cured.

The greater the city, the greater the sore.

It necessarily follows that New York, being the greatest city in the
Union, is the vilest sore on our body politic.

If any one doubts it, let him live in New York awhile and keep his eyes
and ears open.

The trouble about great cities is not that they have any impetus or
influence especially their own, but that every one, from the vilest all
the way up to the best, is compelled by circumstances of city life to
often conduct his own daily walk and conversation on lines which are not
entirely natural, and which never can be made so.

It would be useless to deny that in every large city may be found a
number of the best men and women that humanity has been able to evolve.
In the great cities are found many of our wisest statesmen, our greatest
theologians, our best business men, and a host of lesser, but perhaps
not less important individuals, whose influence for good upon the world
is known and recognized everywhere. Nevertheless, these are exceptions
to the rule. They are not what they are because of the city; they are in
the city simply because it gives them a better centre and starting-place
for whatever work may be incumbent upon them.

The first deadening influence of the city is that no one knows any one
else. Of course every one has some acquaintances, and some people are
said to be in the best society and to know everybody, but “everybody” is
a relative term, and it never means as much in the largest city as it
does in a village of a thousand people. The postman knows everybody by
name, and so does the tax-collector and the man who brings you your gas
bill, but individual acquaintance--the touch of elbow--the touch of
nature that makes the world akin, must not be looked for in any large
city in the Union, least of all in New York, which in spite of two
hundred and fifty years of existence, is still so new comparatively that
almost all of its prominent citizens were born somewhere else. The names
of prominent Americans who reside in New York will naturally occur to
any one, yet it is quite safe to say that not one of these gentlemen
know by sight and name, let alone by personal acquaintance, more than
one person in five who reside within a two-minute walk of his house.

An ex-cabinet officer, a gentleman whose varied abilities have made him
known throughout the civilized world, was once asked who was his
neighbor on the right. The houses of the two men touched each other, as
two houses must, in the city of New York, but the wise and largely
acquainted gentleman was obliged to say that he did not know. When the
questioner informed him that the person occupying the adjoining house
was a notorious thief for whom the police had been long in search, he
was astonished and shocked. Nevertheless, when he a few months afterward
had his house robbed and drove about violently in a cab in search of the
police captain of his precinct, it took him an hour to discover that the
said police official resided next door to him on the left. Afterward he
was teased about his lack of knowledge of his neighbors, and he admitted
frankly that, although he was a man without “airs,” and had always made
it a custom to fraternize freely with his fellow-men, he knew but two
individuals who resided on the same block with himself, and one of these
was his own grocer, who occupied a store on the corner.

“If this is so with the green tree, what must it be with the dry?” Men
whose sole business is to earn their daily living are glad to find a
decent roof over their heads anywhere in a large city and drop into the
best place they can find, regardless of who may be their neighbors, and
utterly unable to devote any time to their neighbors, even should they
be fortunate enough to become acquainted with them. Neighborhood feeling
and sentiment, which is of incalculable benefit in all communities not
thickly settled, has no influence whatever in a large city. A man may
not only live in a house between two people of whom he knows nothing,
but the great value of ground in the city of New York and the limited
area has compelled the erection of a number of buildings known as “flat”
and “apartment” and “tenement” houses, and very few men know the people
who live under the same roof with themselves.

An amusing story is told of a couple of editors, who were questioned
about each other and each replied that he had not the honor of the
other’s acquaintance. The answer seemed to puzzle those who heard it,
and the subsequent remarks elicited a demand for an explanation, when it
was learned that these two men, members of the same profession, and both
entirely reputable citizens, had been residing in the same building for
six months; but as one was at home only by daylight, and the other only
at night, they had never chanced to meet under their own roof.

Of course, if such ignorance may come in the ordinary course of events
regarding entirely respectable people, cities must form an admirable
hiding-place for disreputable and dangerous characters of all sorts. The
time was when a man detected in crime thought it advisable to run away
from a large city. But nowadays he knows better. He stays as near home
as possible, knowing that there are numberless opportunities for keeping
himself entirely out of sight and out of mind of every one who ever knew
him. Defaulters who have a great deal of money in their pockets, and
also those who have none at all, occasionally find it desirable to go to
Canada or Europe, but the rogue who has two or three thousand dollars to
spare knows perfectly well that by keeping in-doors in New York he can
absolutely escape detection. The police may know him by sight, but the
keepers of boarding-houses do not, neither do their servants; and so
long as he will remain in his room, have his meals sent to him, and take
his exercise and outings only after dark in such disguise as any one can
improvise at very short notice, he is entirely safe from detection. One
of the bank defaulters who ranks as one of the most successful in the
annals of such crime in the city of New York, was looked for in Canada
and all over Europe for eight months, and finally by accident was
discovered in a boarding-house only two squares away from his original
place of residence.

Criminals when not actually plying their vocation generally go to large
cities, for two reasons; first, to spend their ill-gotten gains in
pleasure, and secondly, that as a rule cities are the best
hiding-places.

For the same reason that causes desperate criminals to hide in the
larger cities, all persons who have in their lives any features which
they wish to conceal, find the cities preferable places of residence.
One man of large property and some national prominence died a few years
ago in the city in which he had been doing business for thirty years,
and after he died it was discovered that he had nine wives living, from
no one of whom had he ever separated through the formality of a divorce.
Each of these nine women imagined herself his one and only wife. Any
man, who has formed an undesirable alliance in business or in love or
otherwise, knows that with very little trouble he can hide all traces of
his mischief by going to a large city to live.

An inevitable consequence is that the number of able but undesirable
characters who exist in the cities, having left other places for the
good of those who are left behind, have a depressing influence upon the
moral atmosphere of other classes of residents. Men meet men whom they
never saw before, and whom they are obliged to judge entirely by
appearance and professions. It is the same in business as it is in
society. Not a year passes in which some adventurer does not impose
himself for a time upon the best society of New York and of other
cities. And although it would seem that his antecedents might easily be
discovered upon the basis of such information as he may feel obliged to
give about himself, the fact remains that society is “taken in” quite as
often as banks and business men and private individuals. Several years
ago a notorious scamp, who had been in several State-prisons, came to
New York, organized a business firm, took a large store, was discovered
in the course of time to be carrying on operations closely akin to
stealing, and when his record was thoroughly searched and sifted by the
police, it was discovered that his victims were principally the largest
wholesale establishments in the city of New York--establishments which
employed a number of men for the sole purpose of investigating the
character and resources of any one applying to them for credit or for
any business relations beyond ordinary purchases for cash.

These smart scamps, who are a hundred times as numerous as the newspaper
disclosures would lead the public to imagine, have a terribly
demoralizing influence upon the young men who flock to the city from all
parts of the rural districts as well as upon those who are brought up in
the city. To see a rascal succeed has a bad effect upon any one. Even
the most righteous man will mournfully quote from Scripture that “the
wicked shall flourish as the green bay tree;” that “their eyes stand out
with fatness; they have more than heart can wish,” where the
respectable man has to lie awake nights to devise ways and means of
paying his coal-bill and avoiding trouble with his landlord. Business
enterprises containing any amount of promise are organized, forced upon
the public by smart schemers of whom no one knows anything, and all of
them succeed in obtaining a great deal of money. When discovery comes,
as of course it must come sooner or later, the villain never makes
restitution to any extent and is never adequately punished for his
crime. So, the citizen who pretends to be respectable, but always has an
eye out for the main chance, is moved by such examples to see whether he
cannot do something sharp himself, and get away before the crash comes.

Society in large cities is said to be exclusive. It must be, for its own
protection. It cannot possibly be too exclusive. People with and without
letters of introduction succeed in forming acquaintances, becoming part
of one or another social set, even get into the churches, open bank
accounts, go into business, and a year or two afterward are discovered
to have antecedents which would make a person of ordinary respectability
hold up his hands in horror. Such occurrences have been so common, and
the individuals concerned have so often been not only men but women,
that the exclusiveness of city society extends even to the churches and
school-rooms. The half-grown child attending a public or private school
is warned against making any acquaintances whatever except with the
children of families whom its parents already know. The member of a
church may have a stranger shown into his pew again and again on
Sundays, and extend to him the courtesy of an open prayer-book or
hymnal, but in self-defence he is compelled to stop at that. The
cordiality, freedom of speech, and general recognition, which is the
custom in small towns and in rural districts throughout the world, is
denied the prudent inhabitant of a city, no matter how hearty his
inclination may be to extend a welcoming hand to every one whom he may
meet. Young men entering society, young women seen for the first time in
some social circle, are at first regarded very much as a stranger
entering a mining town in the West, where it is supposed no one goes
unless he has good reason to get away from his original home.

Nowhere in the world are there more charitable hearts with plenty of
money behind them than in large cities, yet nowhere else is there more
suffering. Your next-door neighbor may be starving to death and you not
know anything about it. You know nothing of his comings and nothing of
his goings; he knows nothing of you, and if he has any spirit whatever,
and any respect for himself, he would rather apply to the police or to
the authorities in charge of the poor than to the people living nearest
to him. Whenever the newspapers of a city make some startling disclosure
of destitution and suffering a number of purses open instantly, and
frequently some of the sufferers have received gifts from their own
landlords, who actually did not know of the name and existence of the
tenant. A judge of the Supreme Court of the city of New York has long
been known as a frequent and prompt visitor in person to all individuals
reported as in destitute condition and deserving of immediate
assistance, yet he said once to his own pastor, and to his own physician
also, who chanced to be present, that the great sorrow of his life was,
that he was utterly incapacitated by the conditions of city life from
discovering for himself the whereabouts of individuals whom he would
gladly assist with his pocket and his counsel.

As nobody knows anybody in the large cities, what is called the floating
population have everything their own way, each one for himself. Business
wrongs that would not be tolerated for an instant in a smaller community
are perpetrated with entire impunity in the large cities. The poorer
classes have no strong friend or acquaintance to complain to. Were they
in a smaller place they would know some one; probably they would know
everybody of any consequence, and also be known, and could quickly
bring public sentiment to their aid, but in a large city there is no
such opportunity. The only hope of the oppressed is in the courts, which
always are overcrowded with business, and can give very little time to
any one, and in the press, which is also overcrowded with work, and
should not be charged with this sort of responsibility.

Temptation will exist wherever humanity is found, but for a
concentration of all temptations, graded to suit all capacities of human
weakness, the great city stands pre-eminent. There is no vice that
cannot be committed in it--committed with reasonable assurance that it
will not be discovered. A man whose habits are apparently correct, who
has no known vices, whose daily manner with his fellow-men seems all
that it should be, may with entire safety change his manner at night,
and re-enact the drama of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is worse than
that. He not only may, but in a great many instances he does. Any man
whose business compels him to know a number of persons by sight, and
whose hours of duty keep him out-of-doors in the “wee sma’ hours,”
occasionally sees things which stagger him. He sees citizens of good
repute in company which any village loafer would be ashamed to be seen
in by his own acquaintances. He sees policemen taking charge of men who
by daylight the police of their own locality regard with extreme
respect. He sees the high and the low mingle on the same level, and from
their manners he would not be able to know one from the other.
Newspapers are sometimes blamed for publishing sensational stories,
which reminds me of a remark once made by the famous Parson Brownlow, of
East Tennessee. He was called to account one day for using profane
language, he being a minister of the gospel. “If you knew,” said he,
“how many cuss words I hold in, you would not blame me for the few I let
out.” If the newspapers were to print all the sensational stories which
come to them they would have to double the size of their sheets, and
still they would have no room for any decent news whatever.

I repeat it, great cities are great sores, and it is to the interest of
every one that they should in some way be extracted from the body
politic and be allowed and compelled to maintain a separate existence. I
know that the parallel is not exact, but such things have been done in
some cases. The city is a millstone about the neck of the State in
almost all cases. Whatever may be the political preference of the
reader, he must admit the fact that the single city of New York
politically dominates the State, although containing only about
one-fourth of the population, and that the expressed will and intention
of a large majority of the voters of the State outside the metropolis
is steadily neutralized by a great majority composed principally of
ignorant persons who infest a great city. The evil has impressed itself
strongly upon the minds of publicists and journalists of all degrees to
such an extent that the suggestion has often been made that the city
should be allowed a separate organization by and in itself, somewhat
analogous to the position once held by the free cities of Germany. In
such case, whatever may be the ultimate political results, the fact
would remain that each portion of the divided community would have its
own will distinctly expressed, whereas at present one neutralizes the
other. New York has been making the attempt for years by a series of
special governments by commission, the origin being in special
enactments by the legislature at Albany. The results have not been
successful, but the trouble was not lack of principle in the enactments,
but in the individuals selected to carry on the experiment. The
suggestion however continues to be made. Similar plans have been
mentioned regarding some other large cities of the United States. And it
is not impossible that all of them may be granted “home rule” in the
strictest sense, and that the States at large will thus escape the city
rule to which at present they are being subjected.


THE DARKER SIDE.

What already has been said about the evils of city life and influence
may seem bad enough, but there is another side that is worse. Crime and
license affect the human mind strongly when brought before it as the
cause of a large amount of irregularity, but the public heart is more
quickly and firmly impressed by the knowledge of suffering.

The amount of suffering that exists in all large cities merely through
enforced conditions of life passes power of expression. No one has ever
yet been able to do the subject justice. Many who have worked among the
poor have lost life and hope, and mind itself, in contemplation of the
suffering and sorrow which they have witnessed and been unable to
relieve. To attempt to care for the poor of a large city affects one
very much like an effort to pour water into a sieve; the demand is
continual, yet nothing seems to be effected.

Almost everywhere outside of the cities it is assumed at the beginning
that those who suffer through their poverty in large cities are either
indolent or vicious. A more cruel mistake could not possibly be made.
There are many idlers in any large city, as a matter of course, but the
great majority of the people work hard to keep soul and body together.
The largest gathering of idlers that any occurrence can bring together
does not equal in numbers the procession which one may see in five
minutes’ time on any thoroughfare during regular hours of going to work
or returning home.

A full half of the population of the largest city in the Union reside in
tenement houses. The tenement house at best is unfit for human residence
if the people who inhabit it expect to enjoy good health, and if the
children who are part of almost every family are expected to grow and
develop properly in body and soul. Yet the bald fact is that more than
half a million of the inhabitants of this country live on several square
miles of land in one single city. Land is costly, builders’ work is
expensive; the cheapest-built houses cost a great deal of money, and
consequently the space in them must be divided and subdivided with great
skill and detail if the poorer classes are to find habitation at all.

Almost all of this half million people are honest, hard workers. The
heads of families are among the first to go to work in the morning and
among the last to go to their homes at night. They are those who work
for the smallest wages and do the hardest work. They and their families
need just as much food to support life as any of the well-to-do portion
of the population. But in any large city the necessities of life are
costly, and they are particularly so in our largest city. The wages of
an ordinary mechanic or workingman will barely pay the rent of the
cheapest apartment and buy food for five people. Clothing must be left
to chance, luxury must be unthought-of, and the only possible relaxation
is that to be found in the streets or at places where entertainment is
free.

More heroism is displayed in some of these humble homes than ever was
witnessed on any battle-field of which the world has knowledge. The wolf
at the door is a thousand times worse foe than the enemy on the
frontier. The soldier always has glory to look to in case he dies. The
suffering laborer dies, if die he must, in abject misery at the thought
of his family’s future. Whatever his health, however numerous his
discomforts, however small his pay, he must work and go on working, or
his family must starve. He has no friends who are rich or influential;
if he had, he would not be a poor working-man; his only friends are
those of his own kind, and while almost any of them would in time of
necessity share their last loaf with him, there are times when the most
friendly of them have no loaf to share. A day or two of sickness of the
head of the family imposes a stern chase which lasts long and costs
frightfully. The death of a member of their family means absolute ruin.
This would seem bad enough, but there is worse behind it. The necessity
of sending the remains of the

[Illustration: WOMAN’S BUILDING.]

loved one to the burial ground of the paupers is one of the terrible
experiences which are very common in large cities. Some of them cannot
afford even the small time necessary to do that much; so, with many
tears and prayers, perhaps sometimes with many curses upon the hard luck
to which fate or fortune has reduced them, the remains are quietly
carried to the river-side at night and there dropped from sight, though
not from memory. A few years ago a newspaper attaché, attending one of
the large excursions given by charitable persons to children of the
poor, overheard a mother and daughter talking about a sick babe which
the daughter was to carry on board the boat. The mother could not go.
She had to work or the family must starve. She took her child in her
arms, again and again kissed it, cried over it, and then began a skilful
conversation with her daughter leading up to the possibility and
advisability, in case of death during the trip, of dropping the little
darling’s remains overboard, saying that the deep, clean sea was a
cleaner burial place than the dark ground in the cemetery. The child
listened with wondering face and finally agreed with her mother. As for
the reporter, he was so horrified that he was utterly unfit for work for
a year after, although he imagined himself hardened to scenes of
suffering.

The wildest imagination cannot possibly exceed some actual facts of
tenement-house life. The story has been told again and again, until
there is no novelty in it, of families crowded together so closely that
all the decencies of life were forgotten, because it was impossible to
observe them, of bad associations formed, of children wilting and
weakening unto death because the air they breathed was unfit to support
life, of food purchased at cheaper and cheaper prices until that finally
used was little better than poison to those who ate it, of poverty
induced by payments deferred, of the wretchedness and semi-starvation
that exist through some of the long strikes of some of the laboring
classes; but none of it fully equals the truth. There are happy,
virtuous, well-fed, well-clothed families in tenement houses, and it is
probably fair to say that these are perhaps in the majority, but the
minority is so numerous that the heart is appalled at contemplating it.
Out of their wretched homes these people cannot go. There is no other
place for them. While a man and his wife are young and before they have
children, they may roam about if they choose as tramps in pleasant
summer weather, until some happy chance finds work for one or the other
in the rural districts. But once anchored in the city by a family of
children, and the opportunities of the laboring man of small income to
ever change his condition are almost nothing. Some men say that the
influence of religion is declining. The strongest refutation, and an
absolute one, of this statement is that the miserable people in large
cities do not arise in frenzied mobs and destroy everything which they
cannot steal. The long, patient and then despairing struggle against the
inevitable is enough to reduce any man to frenzy, were it not, as
Longfellow says, that poverty

    “Crushes into dumb despair
     One-half the human race.”

It nevertheless is true that as large a proportion of these people as of
any other class in the city are religious by instinct, training and
practice. The churches which they attend are more crowded on Sundays
than those of the better classes, and the painter who wishes to find
models of patience and resignation and determination can find them
better at the doors of these churches than anywhere else in the world.

Still the misery goes on. It increases. The tenement-house population
grows larger and larger every year. The accommodations become smaller
because the tendency of the rents of such property is steadily upward.
There is no way of escape. Little by little the parents of the family of
young children prevail upon themselves to allow children to help support
the family. There is no cruelty about it in the intention of the
parents. The children have little enough to interest them. Their
parents are too busy to talk with them or answer any of their questions.
During the day the children are in the way, and to the father and mother
comes the suggestion that if the entire family were at work together
there might be a closer family life. The children are quite willing to
take part in whatever their parents are doing. Indeed, it is hard to
keep them from doing so. So the transition for children from utter
indolence to child labor is very short and easy.

There are a great many businesses in a large city in which children may
help their parents. Among these, the most prominent probably will be
found among the clothing manufacturers and the makers of that
much-abused article, the tenement-house cigar. It isn’t necessary for
the reader to be frightened at the idea that cigars are made in
tenement-houses, because a respectable man or woman with their children
are less likely to have any habits or surroundings which will make the
tobacco leaf deleterious than the workman in any famous factory in
Havana. There are diseases among the operatives in Cuban cigar factories
of which the less said the better. Whatever other ailments there may be
in tenement-house life, these particular diseases are not to be found
there. Nevertheless the idea of a man and woman and several children
working ten or twelve or fourteen hours a day in a room ten feet square
with a lot of decaying vegetable matter--which is exactly what leaf
tobacco in the course of manufacture really is--to pollute the
atmosphere about them, is not a pleasant thing. Tobacco has powerful
medicinal qualities, most of which are of a poisonous nature. A small
amount of nicotine, the essential principle of tobacco, has been
powerfully effective either as a narcotic, or stimulant, or a germicide.
The effect upon persons who handle it incessantly during a full half of
every day can consequently be imagined. Every one in the room becomes
irritable unless the food supply is abundant and carefully selected;
every one finally becomes extremely nervous. Men and women do not well
endure the life of tobacco manufacturers. To children the constant
handling of the leaf is frequently poisonous. Nevertheless, a certain
amount of money ought to be earned every day by the family; the father
and mother are not able to do it; the children help; the family earnings
are as much for the child’s sake as for the parents, and so the work
goes on.

In the manufacture of clothing the details, so far as they affect human
life, are not so injurious. But one commercial result is always
perceptible in a short time. Those operatives who can avail themselves
of child labor are enabled to underbid their associates, who are also
their competitors. Consequently it is a very short time before the
income of the family is no larger than it already had been, while the
number of persons occupied in earning it has doubled and perhaps
trebled.

Just think a moment what all this really implies. A number of people are
excluded from all possibility of exercise or recreation and exciting
themselves to the utmost to accomplish a given amount of work in a
specified time. Children are quicker than grown people to respond to any
exciting influence, and the most enthusiastic workers in tenement-house
rooms will always be found to be the children. Sometimes this amuses the
parents, occasionally it interests them, but more often it is extremely
pathetic. To see a child at an early age absorbed in the details of the
battle of life would horrify any one of us, yet 100,000 children of this
kind can be found in the city of New York, and a large number of them
can be found in any one of forty or fifty specified blocks.

There is only one end to this sort of thing. Persistent stimulation and
entire lack of recreation or exercise must have a debasing and dangerous
effect upon any physique. Much more must this be the case regarding
children. Boys and girls are not driven to work as they were in England
forty or fifty years ago. They are not flogged if they do not accomplish
a certain amount of work in a given time, as they used to be under the
good old English customs. But they are just as thoroughly destroyed,
physically and mentally, as if they were under taskmasters who were not
their own parents.

Children in the country frequently work very hard. A farmer’s life is
hard at best, and between necessity and sympathy his children early
learn to take part in their father’s endeavors. They rise early in the
morning and work perhaps quite late in the night, but they are in pure
air even while they are at work. They have an abundance of food and they
always see something before them, just as their parents do. Perhaps it
is that there is a war abroad and the price of wheat will probably go up
a few cents a bushel. Or a railroad is coming in the vicinity of the
farm, and acres which have been devoted to common crops and pasture are
expected suddenly to attain to the dignity of town lots. There are
evening festivities in which all the children take part, and there is
also the great and comforting and uplifting American sentiment that each
one of them is as good as any one of their richest neighbors, and the
fact that they may live in a poorly-built house and not wear quite as
good clothes on Sunday as some of their associates can always be
overlooked in view of the possibilities of the near future. But before
the children of the poor in the large cities there is no prospect
whatever of advancement or pleasure or recreation. The old dull grind
goes on day by day. While every one is well and every one is at work,
the family probably has enough to eat and has a roof over its head; and
to that extent it can congratulate itself, for some of their
acquaintances and neighbors are not so well off. But the first day that
sickness comes into the family the entire aspect of things changes. The
work must go on or there will be nothing to live on at the end of the
week. The invalid may be put to bed in one of the little closets which
are dignified by the name of rooms, but the adult members of the family
must continue to work, and so must all who are old enough to assist. If
there is a sewing-machine in the room it must go on clicking, no matter
if some member of the family is dying. There is no lack of sympathy, no
lack of affection, no lack of longing; but all these put together do not
take the place of proper medical attendance, pure air and good food. If
in any single town of the United States the death rate were as large as
it is in the city of New York, the best citizens would pack up their
things and run away, no matter at what cost. But New York can lose
thirty or forty of every thousand of its inhabitants every year, and the
only comment of those who know best about it is that it is a mercy of
heaven that the loss is no greater.

The customary way of city people, in avoiding responsibility and deep
thought on this subject, consists in saying that the people who live in
this way are of low organizations any way, and that they can exist and
flourish and grow fat amid surroundings which would kill any decent
person. There is some truth in this so far as certain low organizations
are concerned. Unfortunately, however, there is no race, sex,
nationality or creed among the very poor in the large city. All of them
are people who either were born very poor or who, having been reduced to
poverty, are endeavoring to make the best of their lot. There are
Americans of good name and good family now serving in the commoner
mechanical capacities in the city of New York, and only a little while
ago it was discovered that the wife of a gallant Major-General, who
served the United States faithfully during the late unpleasantness, was
“living out” as a domestic servant. It is not a result of poverty,
misfortune, sickness or anything of the kind. All those horrors are the
results, first of all, of city life, of living where no one knows his
own neighbors and where the person who falls into embarrassments or is
overwhelmed by misfortune has no one to whom to turn, and takes to
anything at short notice and in utter desperation, to keep the wolf from
the door.

Cities should be suppressed, but that is impossible. They should be
properly policed by persons competent to discover and report those most
in need of assistance; but that also seems impossible. The only chance
left seems to be that the larger the city the greater shall be the
missionary work done in it by all denominations. When Jesus was alive
and was anxious to secure the attention of the people, he did not bemoan
their sad condition, but on one occasion, when some thousands of them
followed him, he himself supplied them with food. The servant is not
greater than the master, and religious people, regardless of differences
of creed, can find no better work in large cities than to search out the
needy and endeavor to lift their feet out of the mire and put them in a
dry place, to quote from the inspired psalmist in one of his most
eloquent passages.

One good and pressing reason--though a selfish one--for closer and more
sympathetic attention to the poor of large cities, is that the great
mass of criminals come from the poorer classes, and that when criminals
are once made it is hard to unmake them. The famous Inspector Byrne, of
New York, the man most feared by wrongdoers everywhere, spends annually
a great deal of his hard-earned money in trying to persuade criminals
not to drop back into their old ways, but he believes that he only
retards their return to crime--not that he effects any reformations. The
following words from a man of his stern experience and sympathetic
nature are terrible in their warning against neglect of the class from
which most criminals spring:

“My personal opinion is that it is utterly impossible to reform
criminals. There are certain fancy measures pursued in this city for the
reformation of criminals, but they are all bosh; they do not reform the
outlaws. To some extent such efforts are made for the purpose of public
notoriety. I know people in this city who claim that they want to reform
thieves. They get hold of notorious scoundrels when they come out of
state-prison, and so long as the thief is a good ‘star-actor,’ and goes
from place to place and tells all sorts of things that are villanous and
bad about himself (no matter whether they be lies or the truth), he is
lauded around by these people as a great attraction. The moment he
discontinues that kind of performance they throw him out in the street
because he is of no use to them; he doesn’t ‘draw.’

“So far as the efforts of religious people are concerned in this matter
of criminal reformation, I say that their efforts are laudable. They
certainly mean well. They devote time and money to the work; but they
have no practical experience with criminals, and their efforts count for
very little. It is sometimes claimed that, under the influence of
prayers and preaching, the criminal’s heart is touched, he sees the
error of his ways, he is converted; I do not believe it. As the word
‘reformation’ is ordinarily used, I know there is no such experience
among thieves.”

It will not do to dispose of the subject by saying that there must be
criminals in the world, and that we pay policemen to take care of them.
No police force can entirely suppress crime; there are too many
evil-doers to be watched, and each has his own style. Inspector
Williams, of New York, an officer almost as widely known as Inspector
Byrne, and who has had charge of the most dangerous precincts in the
city, wrote recently:

“The general public, who look upon criminals as a class by themselves,
are apt to think that one criminal is very much like another. This is
not a fact. I have been a policeman for nearly a quarter of a century,
and I have never seen two criminals who were very nearly alike in
character. A Siamese-twinship in the annals of crime is unknown. When we
enter the criminal world and seek to deal with its members from any
point of view, we must look upon them individually, not collectively.”

All of which means that the only way to lessen the number of criminals
is to see to it that wretchedness of the masses of population in our
large cities shall not be allowed to send new recruits to the ranks.



CHAPTER XXI.

RELIGION.


Ours is the most religious country on the face of the earth. There are
more churches to the square mile of city and village area than any other
part of the world, not excepting the grand old city of Rome. They may
not be all of the same denomination, but their attendants worship the
same God. They may quarrel a great deal about points of faith, but on
essentials they are, if not exactly one, so closely related that there
is room for any amount of hope. About baptism and regeneration and
sanctification and adoption and perhaps damnation they may differ
frightfully; but all of them base their belief upon the Apostles’ Creed,
and look for their spiritual inspiration to the law of the Old and New
Testament, preferably that of the four gospels.

Religion is a life, whatever else it may or may not be. No person who
makes any pretence of being religious declines to admit that his creed
is the basis of the life which he would like to lead, whether or not he
may succeed in making his practice conform to his principles.

That religion consists in proper life with a view to a life to come, or
at least that it is so regarded, is proved by the custom which becomes
more and more prevalent of judging men and women according to their
religious professions.

There was a time when, if a man assented to a given form of faith, his
life might be almost anything he pleased; and some of the most active
“Defenders of the Faith,” as they styled themselves, whether they were
Catholics, Protestants, Trinitarians or Unitarians, have been found
among men who would nowadays not be considered fit to introduce into
respectable society. The time when such things were has departed, and
shows not the faintest sign of ever returning again. To-day a man’s
religious profession is regarded as an assertion by himself of what he
would have his life, and what he proposes that his life shall be judged
by.

A cheering sign of the earnestness and sincerity of religion in modern
times is that there is very little proselyting now. People who smile
cheerfully at one another during six days of the week, do not glare and
frown at one another on Sunday, as they used to do when meeting on their
ways to their respective churches, and from the manners of members of
different denominations meeting in business or polite society, no one
could imagine or discern to what particular creed any one of those
people subscribed. The Methodist, the Baptist, the Catholic, the
Episcopalian, meet each other cheerily in business and in society, their
families intermarry, they have business relations with each other, and
no one in indorsing or cashing a business man’s note ever thinks of
asking to what particular church he may belong.

In a number of country towns this fraternal feeling has been largely
stimulated and strengthened by what are called “union meetings,” in
which all the members of all the congregations in the town unite at
appointed dates in general services of prayer and worship. Occasionally
the pastor of some church in the vicinity may object to taking part in
such services, but pastors in congregations are frequently like
Congressmen and the people--the followers are ahead of the leader. Only
a little while ago a Catholic priest of high repute in his own
denomination, and held in high esteem by the entire community in which
he was known, ascended the platform at a western camp-meeting, in which
denominations differing from his own had united, and made a most earnest
undenominational and spiritual address to the entire audience before
him.

Revival meetings, however they may be laughed at by the more refined and
fastidious of church people, have had the effect in late years of
attracting a great many thousands of people toward religious life. The
most noted of these were conducted, as every one knows, by Messrs.
Moody and Sankey, two men who were never regularly ordained as clergymen
by any authority whatever--they are simple laymen and undenominational
workers. Yet these men never went to any city or town to begin their
peculiar system of work until all, or nearly all, the pastors of
churches had united in calling them and had promised to assist to the
best of their ability. No effort was made by these men to make converts
for any denomination whatever. Their sole purpose was to cause men and
women to change their manner of life from that of the ordinary every-day
selfishness of the unregenerate man and to compel him to recognize an
over-ruling Providence who should also be the guide of his daily life in
every respect. Mr. Moody, however “shaky” he may have been according to
any theological test, was earnest and sincere enough to say to all the
clerical fraternity of any town in which he worked, that he came only to
sow seed and that it was the business of others to reap the harvest, and
that he cared not into whose flock the lambs were led, so long as they
were rescued from the wilderness. The Moody and Sankey movement is open
to a great deal of criticism, and probably no one has regarded it with
more jealous eye than newspaper editors, yet the editorial fraternity
throughout the country has been compelled to admit that the agitation
begun by these men had a marked influence for good on whatever community
it was exerted.

Such a movement would have been utterly impossible fifty years ago,
perhaps twenty-five years ago. To attempt to lead men to God without
outlining a road which traversed a great many other roads said to lead
in the same direction would have united against the leader all the
churches in the vicinity.

There are no fights between denominations now-a-days. A church may fight
within its own borders as furiously as a gang of worried dogs, but for
the occupants of several different pulpits in any given town or in any
portion of a great city to call each other bad names and intimate that
the followers of any one but the speaker would find themselves after
death in a most uncomfortable and irremediable condition of soul and
body is no longer the case. The principal feeling now excited by large
success in any particular congregation is one of emulation. If one
church holds a successful mission or revival meeting or series of
special efforts, and succeeds in persuading a number of people to enroll
themselves formally among any band of persons professing to be
Christians, the only competitive result that can be seen or heard of is
an effort of the neighboring churches to go and do likewise.

Why, it is no longer necessary for churches to be built solely by those
who are members of the congregation which is endeavoring to erect the
edifice. A subscription for the building fund of a church of any
denomination is passed around among people of all faiths and no faith,
and money is subscribed as freely and as unreservedly as if the effort
was being made simply for the relief of some individual in
embarrassment. It has come to be considered in the United States that a
church, no matter of what denomination, is a good thing to have in the
neighborhood, and the more churches the better. Any man of public spirit
or Christian feeling who has any money to spare can be depended upon to
subscribe to the erection of a church of any denomination, the Mormon
church always excepted.

All this is immensely encouraging to men who regard religion as the
greatest moral influence of life, as well as a promise of things less
seen yet more important in which the majority of people believe more or
less blindly. The change has come about through the different pulpit
method that has come in vogue within a very few years. Men have learned
to look upon religion of any kind as infinitely preferable to no
religion at all. No man who keeps his eyes open has failed to see
changes, such as can be accounted for by no other theory, as to the
possibilities of human nature, suddenly and quietly achieved through the
practice of religious life as indicated by some particular creed. So
far as changes in the lives of individuals are concerned, creed seems to
make very little difference. Within the lines of all denominations men
can be found who, according to every rule and precedent of human nature,
should be dishonest, indolent, vile, and brutal, yet who have suddenly
become respectable and in all things visible entirely decent. Any
attempts to break down religion, as such, are stoutly combated by the
entire intelligent portion of the community, barring the few dilettanti
who are not certain about anything, and least of all about whatever will
make themselves amenable to the moral law. Colonel Bob Ingersoll can
draw a large crowd in a large city, but never in his life has he had as
large an audience as can be found any Sunday in any one of twenty
churches in the city of New York, and were he to enter some of our
smaller towns he would find himself with the same proportion of hearers.
Most religious people who think--and most of them do think--have periods
of doubt on a great many topics which in the earlier portion of their
new life seemed to them essentials. Nevertheless they have learned by
experience not to change their faith, much less to abandon it, because
of some things which they do not understand. Since religion has become a
life instead of a mere belief, all men who sincerely practice it have
learned that there is a great unknown of human experience beyond which
their own lives cannot reach except at certain times and under certain
influences, and to abandon what they doubt would mean to them to also
forego the fruits of what they already know and believe.

There is not the slightest fear that the United States will become an
irreligious nation. Some church pews may be empty, some men may go very
seldom to service, or confession, but that most men think and feel the
influence of religion upon the young and upon the family circle is too
well known and established to admit of any doubt. The heads of families
who are most careless about their own personal lives are often most
earnest in urging upon their families all the ministrations of whatever
churches they may chance to attend. It matters no longer from what
denomination is selected the clergyman who shall ask grace at a large
public dinner, or open a solemn public gathering with prayer, or as to
what may be the creed of the spiritual teacher who may be asked to take
part in deliberations upon grave moral interests of the community.

All this is immensely encouraging, and promises lasting good to the
nation.



CHAPTER XXII.

WOMAN AND HER WORK.


For a whole generation the public has been hearing a great deal of
woman’s rights. Already, however, woman has secured one of the greatest
rights in the world. She has the right to labor in any capacity in which
men hitherto have been employed.

Some close observers have dignified this change by calling it the
liberation of woman. But closer observers realize that it is also the
liberation of man. Woman is doing a great deal of work which man used to
do and which it was supposed only man was competent to do, but woman has
stepped in and done it just as well as man ever did, and men, sometimes
with thanks and occasionally with curses, have retired to other kinds of
labor more fit for strong arms.

The opinion of men on this subject would probably receive no
consideration from the gentler sex, but a journal recently started
specially to advance the interests of women, declares that at the
present time there are over three hundred occupations in the United
States, aside from housekeeping, in which women find abundant and
remunerative employment. What woman has said, man would be a brute to
unsay.

There has been a decided gain to the world by this change, but the
greatest gain has been to the sex to which the world has been, if not
cruel, certainly indifferent. Woman has been the slave, the plaything,
the toy of man so long that it is hard to get out of the public mind the
idea that woman is simply an appendage to the ruder being, and that
whatever she is or is to have depends upon the generosity of man. The
generosity of man is no more to be depended upon by the gentler sex than
it is by men themselves. All men are generous when they are not likely
to lose anything by it. All men also are selfish, and woman would not
now have her present chance in the United States were it not that men
saw a gain for themselves in the change.

Woman may not be getting as much money for some kinds of work as man
would were he doing the same work himself. But the beginning counts for
a great deal in this world. Everybody knows the old saying that the
first step is half the battle, and woman has taken the first step.
According to the authority above quoted she has taken over three hundred
of them, which is more than man can say for himself during the same
period.

No matter what may be said by the men who have been displaced by women
in the various departments of business; no matter what may be said by
unpardonable gossips about women stepping aside from the family circle
to do work which has no appearance of domesticity about it, the truth is
that the appearance of women in the business world has been of immense
service to the gentler sex, and indirectly of great benefit to the lords
of creation. It is absolutely necessary to the civilization of the world
that the great mass of mankind should realize that woman is something
better than a mere dependent on man, and there is no quicker way of
teaching this lesson than that of demonstrating that woman is quite
competent to take care of herself if she has a fair chance.

A fair chance has been offered. It has been embraced, and some hundreds
of thousands of women in the United States are doing for themselves far
better than they would have been done for by the men into whose power
they would have fallen under the old custom of making a woman’s
maintenance and existence entirely dependent upon the male members of
her own family.

A large department of industry in which women are employed, outside of
household duties, is that of work at the government offices at
Washington. Irresponsible newspaper paragraphers used to write a great
many ugly things about treasury clerks and pension office clerks and
other feminine employés of the government. But that sort of writing has
gone entirely out of practice. Seeing is believing, and the hundreds of
thousands of American citizens who have yearly visited the national
capital are satisfied from their own observation and still more by their
personal acquaintance with attachés of the different departments that
woman not only knows how to work, but can prolong her efforts and
maintain regular hours quite as well as any man; and, to put it mildly,
that she is quite as respectable as man.

Still more important, woman has not yet found it necessary to go out to
drink. It is a severer joke and comment upon the stronger sex than any
man yet has been willing to admit that, while clerks in all departments
of the government service at the national capital may be found who deem
it necessary to stimulate themselves during business hours, women work
the customary hours prescribed, do their work well, and find no need of
artificial stimulation.

Does this mean that for sixty centuries the world has been mistaken as
to which of the two sexes is the stronger? This is a good conundrum to
think over when you have some spare time on your hands.

It has also been reported by the aforesaid irresponsible paragrapher
that women clerks at Washington have very little to do, and that the
work with which they are charged could be attended to by men with equal
celerity and accuracy; but the fact seems to be, according to Cabinet
officers of half a dozen successive administrations, that the men work
neither so fast nor so well, and cost a great deal more money.

More money probably will come in time. No slave can shake off all his
chains at a single blow. Old Samson himself, when he had broken the
manacles that bound him, was still blind and had to be led about by the
hand. And woman, perhaps, may yet need some instruction and friendly
counsel, but where in a single city a great many thousands of the
gentler sex are performing arduous labor and living up to exacting
restrictions, it is far too late to say anything whatever about the
incapacity of woman for persistent labor.

Reference has been made quite freely in this screed to the feminine
employés of the government at the national capital, but only because
this is the most prominent instance and illustration of the capacity of
women to work. Any observer, however, can satisfy himself, if he will,
on the subject by looking through prominent business houses in any large
city. Where once every desk had a man behind it and all the
sales-counters were lined with masculine salesmen, the word now in New
York and some other cities is that no man shall be employed at any work
for which a woman can be found. Woman has some qualities especially
attractive to the management of a large business. She never gets drunk,
she seldom goes into speculation, and still less frequently does she
look around for something else to do. Male clerks and salesmen are
continually on the lookout for something better. They are likely to put
their savings into Wall street or some other gambling den. They expect
to make a great career in business somewhere, somehow, some time; but
woman has the superior quality, or so it seems to her employer, of being
satisfied to do well what work she has in hand, and look for nothing
else. Consequently, marriage is almost the only influence that can ever
remove her from whatever may be her chosen sphere of duty.

But woman no longer is satisfied to work for poor wages. There are in
the United States thousands of feminine physicians. There are a few
female lawyers, and indeed two or three pulpits have been satisfactorily
filled for a number of years by women. Other women can be found as
principals of large business enterprises. Everybody in Wall street knows
Mrs. Hetty Green, one of the sharpest and most successful speculators in
railroad securities that Wall street ever has known. If she has made any
losses nobody knows of them. On the other side her gains may be counted
by millions by any broker on the street. She and her husband were
mutually interested in a large railroad enterprise. Her husband has
dropped out of sight. The wife remains, and no broker or operator who is
not very new at the business ever attempts to get the better of Mrs.
Green. Her fortune has been rolling up steadily until it is estimated
almost as high as that of any but the three most prominent men in Wall
street, and it continues to roll up. If she has any outside advisers,
nobody has ever been able to discover who they are. Her methods are so
quiet and straightforward that she mystifies the very elect among
railroad men.

The business of editing a newspaper is supposed to call for at least as
high a combination of intellectual qualities as that of being President
of the United States, and there are men who imagine that the first-class
editor would let himself down were he to accept the Presidency. Yet
several prominent newspapers in the United States are not only edited,
but managed in their business departments by women. They are not those
most talked about; nevertheless their stock is not in the market, and it
seldom changes hands.

Woman is said to be of quicker sensibilities than man. No one will doubt
it who has seen a woman count currency at the Treasury Department at
Washington, or handle a type-writing machine in an office in a large
city. Recently there have been some exciting contests between
type-writers, and most of the winners have been women. In the city of
Cincinnati, which contains more artistic furniture probably than the
city of London or Paris, the work has been done almost entirely by the
eyes and hands of women.

A few years ago Hood’s “Song of the Shirt” was quoted as frequently in
America as it once was in England, but nowadays only the stupidest of
women, or those caught most suddenly in embarrassments and without any
preparation for the battle of life, give themselves to the needle. Men
do that sort of work now. Reduced gentlewomen who support themselves by
sewing still exist, but they are not easy to find. Instead of making
shirts or other cheap clothing at starvation wages, the woman out of
employment nowadays turns herself to some specialty of needlework if she
knows no other tool or method, and there are “exchanges” at which her
work may be displayed and at which orders are given according to the
samples shown and at prices which would astonish the old-time slaves of
the needle. Women are in all the telegraph offices. They are clerks in
thousands of business houses. They are mechanics, artisans and artists
all over the country. It has become so much the fashion for women to
work that nowadays there are signs in London, Paris and New York of
common business enterprises presided over by women with titles. The
Princess de Sagan, one of the brilliant lights of the court of the last
Napoleon, manages a dress-making establishment in Paris and New York.
Other ladies, equally illustrious, are well known in trade circles in
London and on the Continent.

All this looks strongly like the emancipation of women, but it does not
at first sight convey its full meaning to the observer or reader. The
most important result of it all is that woman is thus made independent
of man. A woman of brains no longer needs to marry in order to have a
home. It would be difficult to suggest the proportion of unhappy
marriages which have been due to the fact that admirable women have been
utterly unable to care for themselves in the world, and consequently
have attached themselves for prudential reasons, although by a revered
form and sacrament, to some man. But no longer is this necessary. There
are all kinds of women as well as all kinds of men in business, but it
is far safer in society to attempt a romantic flirtation with a woman
than to make similar attempts in any business circles where women are
employed. There are a great many handsome and spirited women in the
departments at Washington, but no sentimental young man is fool enough
to lounge about these places with the hope of getting up a flirtation.
The woman who knows how to support herself is not going to be in haste
to marry. When she marries she is going to have a husband, in fact as
well as in name, as well as a home. She can afford to wait. She has
entire control of her own destiny and she cannot be taken at a
disadvantage. Instead of marrying for a home, the tables have been so
turned that nowadays a large number of men are on the lookout for women
who can give them a home. Plenty of men can be found who are desirous of
marrying in order to be supported, instead of marrying for the purpose
of supporting somebody else.

The gain to woman in this change of affairs is simply inestimable. It is
unnecessary to call any one’s attention to the comparative greatness of
risk which woman sustains in entering the marriage relation now, and the
helplessness in which she found herself under the old rule, when man was
the only wage-earner. Women are working for themselves, even married
women, all over the United States. In many of the New England
manufacturing towns there are hundreds, and in some of them thousands,
of women, already married, working at the same trades as their husbands,
but keeping their own separate bank accounts at the savings banks. A man
can no longer afford to abuse a woman because she is dependent upon him,
and dare not complain, for fear of losing her source of maintenance. A
woman of any brains in any industry can care for herself quite as well
as any husband is likely to care for her. The consequence is that
divorces are very infrequent in New England manufacturing towns. If
either member of a married couple is given to lounging and bad habits,
it is likely to be the man. It is only fair to say in man’s favor that
the temptations are principally on the masculine side. Women have not
yet to any extent taken to drink, billiards and politics. They do not
bet on horse-races or buy pools on sparring matches or go on excursions
to neighboring towns for the sake of indulging habits which are unsafe
to make public at home; so the woman of the house is far less likely to
be out of work or to be away from her post than her husband.

What the effect of this change in the industrial outlook may be upon
children is yet unknown. But it is a fair question, whether the woman
whose daily hours are employed at mechanical or clerical occupations is
likely to bring up her children worse than the woman whose leisure
moments are consumed in small talk and social dissipation. No child can
be less cared for than that of the society queen. The commonest
washer-woman, who leaves her home at early dawn and does not return
until dark, can give her offspring more attention than can be expected
by the children of many ladies whose names appear in the fashionable
columns of newspapers which give considerable space to that sort of
thing. Whether each family should not contain one member whose duties
and interests are entirely confined to the home circle, is also a
question upon which a great deal can be said upon both sides. But the
fact to be brought into prominence at the present time is that woman has
already acquired the right to earn her own living and is doing it, to
the extent of some hundreds of thousands of women, most admirably. Women
are presidents of large colleges in the United States; colleges, it is
true, intended solely for the education of members of their own sex;
nevertheless the course of study and the subsequent social and literary
standing of the graduates shows that the work done in these institutions
is well done. The best proof of this is in the better colleges for girls
in the United States. The demand for scholarships far exceeds the
supply, and there are millionaires in this country who have not yet been
able to put their daughters in any one of the three or four best
feminine colleges in the land.

In literature woman has made her way to an extent which every one knows,
if he reads at all. Our most popular novels are all written by women.
Women write a great deal of our poetry. It is impossible to find a
first-class magazine which does not contain a number of contributions by
women, and those contributions are quite as much talked about and quite
as

[Illustration: SEALS OF THE THIRTEEN ORIGINAL STATES.

  MARYLAND
  MASSACHUSETTS
  PENNSYLVANIA
  DELAWARE
  NEW HAMPSHIRE
  NEW JERSEY
  VIRGINIA
  SOUTH CAROLINA
  GEORGIA
  NORTH CAROLINA
  NEW YORK
  RHODE ISLAND
  CONNECTICUT]

frequently read as anything written by the most prominent masculine
minds in the land. As a novelist, the young woman is immeasurably the
superior of the young man. No young man ever wrote a novel as famous as
“Charles Auchester” at as early an age (seventeen years) as that of the
young lady who is the author of this still much-read book; and our
publishers are flooding the market with other novels by women who have
not yet reached their majority. If quick perception, facility of
expression, and piquant comment are sufficient to make the novelist, our
future novels must be written principally by young women. That they make
some dreadful blunders is very true. Some of the most abominable books
that have been inflicted upon a much-suffering public during the past
year have been from the pens of young women who ought to have known
better, if they had known anything at all. Nevertheless, it is a great
deal easier in literature to tone down than to tone up, and somehow the
necessity for toning down has not been apparent to any great extent in
fiction and poetry written by young men.

The “restraining force,” to which social philosophers attribute the
sudden rise of some family, nation and tribe, may account for the sudden
prominence and brilliancy of women in many departments of life. There
may be such a thing as inheritance by sex, and a sex long suppressed,
as woman certainly has been, in all but the domestic virtues, may have a
great deal to give the world and then suddenly fade out of prominence.
But at present all odds are in favor of woman. She has made her way so
rapidly, though unobtrusively, and so pleasantly, that every man who has
the proper manly heart within him will be glad to see her go a great
deal further, and believe that she is quite competent to do it.



CHAPTER XXIII.

OUR LITERATURE.


Americans are the greatest readers on earth. Any one can tell you
this--any one from a college president down to the newsboy on a railway
train.

They read pretty much everything, and never are at a loss for ways of
obtaining something to read.

Books are cheaper here than anywhere else in the world, thanks to
immunity from arrest and punishment for theft of literary property. We
can take the brains of all Europe, as expressed in printed pages on the
other side of the Atlantic, and reprint them here without fear of the
sheriff, and what man can do without fear of the law he is likely to do
so long as he sees any money in it.

There is no section, State or town so poor that its people cannot find
something to read when they want it. The inhabitants of a township whose
centre is nothing but a post-office, a store and a blacksmith shop, may
be too poor to buy a paper of pins, unless they have credit with the
storekeeper, but they always are able to find something to read. If
there is nothing else, they can fall back upon the Sunday-school books,
and nowadays Sunday-school libraries are not as bad as they used to be.
Almost any book that is respectable and has any feature of interest can
be worked into a Sunday-school library by an enterprising publisher. A
Methodist parson, who was congratulated a short time ago on his great
success in organizing a Sunday-school in a sparsely settled district in
one of the Western States, said, with a long sigh: “These children don’t
come here to learn the truths of the Gospel; they come to get books for
their families to read during the week.” Perhaps the old man was right
in his fear that the religious work of his parish was not going on as
well as he wished; he certainly was entirely correct regarding the
demand for the books. Children who were dull and listless while the
prayers and singing and lessons were going on brightened up quickly when
the librarians came in to distribute the books which had been asked for,
and the worst boys in town would cheerfully forego base-ball, swimming
parties, watermelon stealing, cock-fighting and card-playing for an hour
or two on Sunday for the sake of borrowing a book upon which to spend
the spare hours of the week that was to follow. A good many people were
drawn to Jesus by the loaves and fishes, but books are the most
successful bait of the modern church.

But the Sunday-school library is the most modest of the many sources
from which the poorer class of Americans draw their reading matter.
There are at least a dozen series of novels being published in the
United States at the present time on a plan which enables the publishers
to dodge the postal laws regarding printed matter by assuming to be
serial publications. Under the law any book sent out by a publisher
should pay postage at the rate of half a cent an ounce; but a library,
so called, may send out its publications under the rules governing
serials of every kind, which can be paid for at the post-office at the
rate of two cents per pound; consequently for several years there has
been an absolute inundation of fiction. Stimulated by this feature of
the law, a number of enterprising men have reprinted all the standard
novels of the past century in cheap form and distributed them broadcast
over the entire country; and, to do them justice, have also issued a
number of histories and other standard works in the same manner, and as
people have purchased them, it is reasonable to suppose that they have
read them.

But books are not all that is read by that great portion of our people
who have a great deal of leisure time and no sufficient means of
enjoying it beyond reading. A million magazines are circulated every
month, and twice as many weeklies. Some time ago the newspapers began to
realize this fact, and straightway they supplemented their Saturday or
Sunday editions with additional sheets containing miscellaneous
reading-matter of all kinds, some of it as good as any that appears in
the magazines. The worst of it is quite as good as the majority of
current novels; and as the highest price of a newspaper in the United
States is five cents per copy, and the supplementary sheets of some
papers contain as much as an entire magazine, there is no lack of
reading matter for any one who has the price of a glass of beer or a
cheap cigar.

Not only is the supply of printed matter great, but the demand is being
increased in many ways that are entirely admirable. There are now
several societies which at a very trifling cost advise people what to
read, and in what order to take certain books in hand. Some of
them--notably the well-known Chautauqua Society--have reading circles
under advice and partial supervision which number as many people as the
students of all the colleges in the country. A number of societies of
similar purpose are scattered about the country, each with its list of
books which its members are advised to read--books which are carefully
selected by men whose literary judgment would be accepted in any
intelligent circle in the Union.

One result of the American avidity for reading matter is that the guild
of American authors is becoming quite as numerous as that of any other
country in the world. The American who does not write a book is almost a
curiosity at the present time, and generally thinks it necessary to
explain why he has not already done something of the kind, and when and
how he would be able to do it. The stories which are published in cheap
form in the United States are largely from foreign pens, but it is known
to those who observe the subject closely that the number of American
authors is increasing more rapidly than in any other country. Any one
here who knows anything on a particular subject, or who has any
reputation or prominence for any reason whatever, is asked to write a
book, and such invitations are very seldom declined; for if the man
cannot write, he can at least hire some one to put his thoughts into
words. Men who in older countries would be ashamed to take pen in hand
at all to produce anything for publication, have here received enormous
compensation for single volumes on subjects with which they merely were
acquainted, not those upon which they had any reason to be quoted as
authority.

Even in the serious department of history we have recently seen
numerous books from men notoriously unfit in point of judgment to
inflict anything of the sort upon a confiding public. But money is
offered as an inducement, pen and ink are cheap, type-writers are
plentiful, so the work goes merrily on, and it may need all the wisdom
of another generation to correct the mistakes which have been made in
print by writers of the present time.

Nevertheless, the steady demand which seems to be profitable to both
authors and publishers is inciting the intelligent and educated class to
efforts which once would have been impossible except to the very small
number who were sufficiently well off to regard their literary work as a
labor of love, and to expect no compensation except what might come from
approving consciences. The modern novelist frequently gets more for a
single volume than the elder Hawthorne received for all the books of his
incomparable series. Literature has become a business as well as an
intellectual occupation. Mr. Bancroft probably expended more money upon
his well-known “History of the United States” than was received by those
who sold his books at retail, but nowadays the writer of an alleged
history can count upon as much pay for a hastily prepared book as a
prominent lawyer would expect to receive for handling a case requiring
long study and effort.

These things being true--and authors and publishers will assure the
public that they are--it is entirely safe to assume that we are soon to
have a highly successful and valuable class of writers in the United
States. “The coming book,” an expression which must soon go out of date,
may be a history, a poem, a biography or a novel, but there will be so
many more books than heretofore, that a work of great merit in any
department of literature will possibly have to wait until another
generation for proper recognition. There is so much to read that no
book-worm can keep pace with the publishers’ presses. The last new novel
may be very good or very bad, but whichever may be the case the general
public stands very little chance of knowing, for before it has had time
to reach the hands of many readers a dozen more have come from the
press, and it is only chance or an exceptional degree of merit, which it
is unfair to expect of any one more than once in a century, that will
bring a book properly to notice.

For instance, some years ago Gen. Lew Wallace wrote a story entitled
“Ben-Hur,” which sold fairly for a little while, but made no great
excitement in the literary world. Fortunately for the author and the
book, which certainly was an original and meritorious production, Gen.
Wallace had an immense host of personal friends who little by little had
the book brought to their notice; they read it and talked about it,
until finally, by this unsolicited and unpaid advertising, his story
became famous and is now in its third hundredth thousand of circulation,
with a promise of going on perhaps indefinitely.

Two years ago Mr. Edward Bellamy wrote his “Looking Backward.” It was a
thoughtful, able story, touching many of the nearest interests of
humanity, but it sold only a few thousand copies, and seemed making its
way to the backs of booksellers’ shelves, when two or three essays upon
the general subject recalled attention to it. The people of a single
city--which, of course, was Boston--took it up first as a fad, and
afterwards as a serious study, and now the book is in general demand and
promises to renew and widely stimulate public discussion of a very old
subject which must come to the surface once in a little while until
perhaps it becomes a recognized principle of human conduct and
existence.

These are merely two of many books of great value, or at least great
interest, which have been saved from the general literary deluge by
means which seem merely accidental. Of the many which have been lost
perhaps irrevocably the public has no idea. Hawthorne himself, to whom
allusion has already been made, was not read one-twentieth as much by
the people of his own day as now. Carlyle, who probably is more read in
America than in Europe, owes his popularity here and the great sale of
his works to the personal efforts of his friend, Mr. Emerson, who
insisted that the book should be published in this country, but who
would not have succeeded had not his own publishers had reasons for
wishing to oblige him personally.

These facts regarding literature are not peculiar to America. Many years
ago an Englishman named Charles Wells wrote a dramatic poem which did
not pass its first edition of a few hundred copies. About a quarter of a
century later Swinburne chanced upon a copy of the book, and wrote a
review of it, which set all lovers of dramatic poetry to looking for the
poem itself, and now it is making its way through edition after edition.
Only ten years ago Browning’s latest long poem, whatever it may have
been, was refused successively by nearly all reputable American
publishers, yet the Browning craze is now a matter of history.

The meaning of all this is that books come from the press far more
rapidly than people can read them, but the ease of circulation of
literature in the United States promises to change all that. There is
now scarcely a town of two thousand people in the United States which
has not its circulating library, and which has not also some people who
are thoughtful, intelligent and influential. A book getting into such a
library is sure, sooner or later, to find a large number of readers.
The individual reader is the best advertisement that either author or
publisher can ask for, and though the first edition may be very small,
so small that the publisher hesitates to reprint, nevertheless in time a
book of any value is sure to be brought properly to the attention of the
public.

There is every reason, therefore, to believe that our native authors,
and many people who can write and should write but have not yet felt
encouraged to do so, will yet be stimulated to do their best work. A
prominent publisher in New York was once asked--the question being
suggested by a poor book which he had published on a very interesting
subject--why he did not secure a better man to write it? “For the best
reason in the world,” said he; “the men who could do justice to the
subject are all making their living in some other way and have to pay
close attention to their business. They can’t afford to write books.”
This lack of financial encouragement is rapidly disappearing. The man
who has anything to say in this country and knows how to say it properly
can now afford to give time and thought to his subject, with the
assurance that, when he is ready to write and to print, he will find
readers.

It does not follow that everything written with earnestness and
sincerity of purpose is worth attention. “Great minds think alike,” but
not all great minds are properly educated, and we get an immense number
of books, supposed by their authors to be original, whose contents are
mere skeletons of what has been better expressed by some one else. The
publisher often finds himself in the position of the patent office
examiner. It is well known that at the patent office applications in
large numbers are received every week for letters patent on supposed
inventions which were made long ago by some one else, but of which the
latest applicant was entirely ignorant. Men of thoughtful and inventive
minds reproduce each other in every clime. There is not a savage tribe
on the face of the earth which did not find out for itself the art of
making cutting tools, building houses, constructing boats, cooking
utensils and whatever else might be necessary to domestic life and its
many necessities. The same holds in literature. Certain self-evident
truths of philosophy or ethics, certain plots and situations in fiction,
are common to all classes of people; and the consequence is that our
literature is burdened with material of every kind, from the highest
theology to the lowest sensation, which seems mere plagiarism on
something which has preceded. Even Longfellow, who is nearer the
American heart than any other of our poets, was persistently accused of
plagiarism because he expressed thoughts and ideas which had been said
as well, sometimes better, by older poets; yet Longfellow was supposed
to be a man of wide reading.

But American facilities for reading and for learning all that has been
said by the wiser minds and more brilliant wits of other times is bound
to change all that, and probably within the lifetime of the present
generation. Besides from the incidents, peculiarities and necessities of
our own national life, our literature is now extending into all fields
heretofore monopolized by the wiser minds of the old world. American
essays, poems and novels are now frequently reprinted in Europe and
translated into many languages. Many American novels may now be found in
several of the older languages of Europe, and the popular author of the
present day does not consider his work done until he has sent copies of
his original manuscript to at least two European publishers. The French
_Revue des Deux Mondes_, which is supposed to be the most fastidious of
foreign publications in its selection of material, has given a great
deal of space to American novelists and poets, and again and again
English novelists have complained that some upstart American was
crowding their books off of the railway station news-stands. Emerson’s
essays, Longfellow’s poems, and Howell’s novels may be found in any
bookstore in England, and it is not hard to find them on the continent.
There are half a dozen different editions of Poe’s poems in the French
language alone. American historical works not entirely on American
topics may be found in several European languages, and are held in high
esteem by foreign historians. One historical work published in the
United States two or three years ago has already been translated into
every language of Northern Europe. How many more there may be deponent
knoweth not.

All this is cheering, not only to national pride, but because there are
features in American literature which are superior to those of any older
nation. This is noticeably true of our fiction, in which there are
elements of cheerfulness, hope and humor, which are almost entirely
lacking in the light literature, so-called, of other countries. When one
speaks of a foreign novel from any press but that of Great Britain the
supposition naturally is that it relates entirely to the closer
relations of the sexes; that the end of it will not be entirely
pleasing; and that, however strong its plot and diction, it will not be
what is called “entirely proper,”--it will not be a book which one can
safely take home without reading and leave on the table of his
sitting-room for wife, children and visitors to pick up at random.

Some of that sort of stuff has come from the American press of late
years, more’s the pity, but it promises to be rather sporadic and
accidental than a prominent feature of our literature. It resembles an
outbreak of yellow fever in a Northern port--something which may get
there by accident and do mischief for a little while, but which cannot
effect a permanent lodgment. The mass of unclean stories which ventured
into the daylight of print after the publication of Amelie Rives’
sensational novel is already beginning to disappear. When for a day or
two a city chances to fall under mob law, the world seems turned upside
down for the time being; but the better sense and strength of the
community soon come to the rescue and the dangerous element is
suppressed. A similar result is already being accomplished regarding
pernicious fiction. Publishers who have hastily accepted stories which
their professional readers pronounced “strong” are beginning to
apologize for offering such stuff to the public.

American literature will be marked by a hopeful, cheerful, clean,
energetic spirit, and as such it will give our people what they cannot
easily obtain from the presses of foreign countries. We have faults
enough, of which mention has frequently been made in this book, but lack
of respectability and of hopefulness are not among them. Our novels are
cleaner than those of any other land; our history in the main is
decidedly cheering and stimulating in its influence; our poetry,
although perhaps not as elegant as that of Europe, has a great deal more
of inspiration in it for readers, and our fiction is based upon the
life of our own people, which is in the main respectable. Incidents and
scenes as bad as any that the world can supply may of course be found in
American life by those who choose to look for them, but they are not
likely to be written up or read to any extent, except by the vulgar
classes. Books about which intelligent and cultivated people on the
continent will talk freely in social circles are scarcely tolerated
here; some of them are reprinted, but the editions as a rule are very
small. Translations of continental novels have generally failed dismally
in a commercial sense in the United States. There are a few exceptions,
but the rule is so distinct that no one of literary taste, ability and
intelligence now wastes his time in translating foreign novels in the
hope of securing American publishers. The native writer as a rule is not
as skilful as his foreign brother, but he successfully tells our people
of what they wish to know. He is in sympathy with their thoughts,
tastes, customs and aspirations, so his stories and essays are found in
all our weekly papers and magazines, while more skilful productions of
foreign pens, which might be had for nothing, are generally excluded.
There is no longer any question as to whether we shall have a literature
of our own. We have it. It is increasing in volume more rapidly than our
people can follow it. It is a good sign. It means that we are a
“peculiar people”--not perhaps in the sense in which the expression was
used regarding the ancient Hebrews, yet in some respects it means the
same. Conceit aside, it really means that we are better than other
people. Long may we remain so!



CHAPTER XXIV.

AMERICAN HUMOR.


The burden of foreign criticism of the people of the United States may
be expressed in the language of the vulgar by saying that we are “too
fresh.” Well, if we are, we have the salt that will save us, and that
salt is American Humor.

Whatever may be the failing of any American, whether native or adopted,
he may generally be depended upon for a sense of humor. If there is no
other point of contact between him and the stranger who encounters him,
it is quite safe to fall back upon humor as a common meeting ground.

This is the only country in the world in which everybody indulges in
joking. Other countries have their wits and humorists who are a special
class among themselves. But here any and every man must have a sense of
humor and know how to use it if he wants to get along with his
fellow-citizens.

Some of our most humorous men are solemn judges. Others are physicians.
Editors are humorists as a matter of course, and even the clergyman
with a level head leans to the belief that his education is incomplete
until he can turn a joke as well as he can preach a sermon.

We joke about everything. This does not mean that we make fun of
everything, but that, as everything has its possible humorous side, we
are competent to see it and call attention to it.

There is no department of American history, political, military, social
or religious, in which traces of the humorist may not be found. There
was considerable sense of fun among the grim old fellows who came over
in the Mayflower, as any one may find out for himself if he will take
the trouble to look to the original records, and in the many volumes of
correspondence which have appeared in genealogical history of the first
families of New England. There is quite as much sense of humor
manifested as in similar records of the first families of Virginia. It
is the custom in history to draw a sharp dividing line between these two
classes of American pioneers, but the line disappears as soon as one
gets beneath the surface. Solemnity and seriousness, whether counterfeit
or genuine, can be maintained for only a certain length of time by any
one. So Puritan and Cavalier speedily went back to a distinguishing
trait of their common ancestors in the old country, and improved upon
it.

In the United States no subject is too sacred to joke about; or, at
least, too sacred to be examined in the light of humor. Americans as a
class are a reverent people. They would not for the world make fun of
the Deity, but many of them talk of the most sacred sentiments and
personages with a familiarity and play of humor which terribly shock
some of the formalists from the other side of the water. When Mr. Lowell
wrote his earlier series of the “Bigelow Papers” his verses were read
with much curiosity and some delight in Europe, but suddenly the entire
English press was horrified by his lines:

    “You’ve got to get up airly
     Ef you want to take in God.”

This was pronounced by one high English literary authority the most
irreverent and blasphemous expression that ever had appeared in print;
but Mr. Lowell replied by saying that familiarity was not irreverence;
that the early American was intimately acquainted with his God--he had
to be. There was no other friend upon whom he could rely, and
conscientiously he talked about Him in a half playful but always
affectionate manner, which was the custom regarding the earthly parents
of the period.

It is impossible to go anywhere in American society, no matter how high
nor how serious the subject under consideration may be, without
encountering, generally to the hearer’s benefit, the American spirit of
humor. Congress may be in session and the country almost convulsed by
some grave discussion which is going on, nevertheless on the floor of
the House and far more in the committee-rooms and in the lobby one is
sure to hear the strongest arguments advanced in humorous form. They are
called jokes, but some new word should be coined to give them the
dignity which their usefulness has enabled them to attain.

The most serious man in appearance in the United States, excepting none
of the early Puritan divines, was probably the late President Lincoln.
His visage was not only earnest and solemn but positively mournful
whenever it was in repose. He was a debater of high order, he was a
logician whom men who had held him in contempt for his homely ways and
awkward manner learned to respect as soon as they crossed verbal swords
with him, but Lincoln’s strongest argument was always a joke. He said
and wrote many things which were grand in their day, but which seemed to
have been entombed in printed pages and diplomatic papers, for one
seldom hears them quoted now-a-days; yet his jokes still live. They are
perennial, not merely those which were attributed to him, but those
which he really made. “To clinch a point,” which was one of his own
favorite expressions, he tried the patience of his Cabinet severely at
times by persisting in joking upon serious subjects--matters of great
moment at the time; and it is said upon good authority that once he
opened the Cabinet meeting called specially with the hope of averting
great disaster to the Union cause by reading the last printed letter of
“Petroleum V. Nasby on the Democratic doings at Confederit X Roads,
State ov Kentucky.” Before the meeting was over, however, Mr. Lincoln
read his Emancipation Proclamation. While Mr. Seward, as able and adroit
a man as ever held the portfolio of Secretary of State, would be
wondering how to reply to an annoying committee or deputation which had
come from some one of the Northern States to instruct the Government how
to carry on the war, Mr. Lincoln was quietly constructing a little joke
or recalling one from his past experiences which would be appropriate to
the occasion, and after the joke was inflicted upon the committee Mr.
Seward was sure to find that his own carefully prepared speech was
entirely unnecessary.

But it is not only in political circles that humor has been made to
serve the cause of good government, good morals and the highest degree
of righteousness in the United States. The members of the Supreme Court
of the United States are all practical jokers; that is, they all are
fond of avoiding a long-winded argument by telling a story illustrative
of the question at issue. Ministers do the same. A meeting of clergymen
of any denomination is likely to result in some very sharp discussion
which closely approaches to ill temper, but in such cases some one may
always be depended upon to get up and tell a humorous story which gives
point to the proceedings, and also gives them a new direction and acts
like oil upon the troubled waters. Humor is tolerated even in the
pulpit. The late Henry Ward Beecher frequently made his congregation
laugh on Sunday, and some of the newspapers criticised him severely for
it, but he seldom lost a parishioner on that account, and thousands of
people--who never otherwise would have heard him--were brought under his
spiritual influence by appreciation of a faculty that drew them into
closer sympathy with him as a man. A preacher of a very different stamp,
the Rev. Sam Jones, of Georgia, never hesitates to tell funny stories,
always illustrative of his subject, while delivering his talks, and Sam
addresses larger congregations than any other American preacher of the
present time.

Humor makes its way everywhere in the United States. Newspapers are full
of it, and the most high-toned and serious of them find it necessary to
supply their readers with jokes. A New Yorker recently held a neighbor
to account for reading habitually a very serious and almost bilious
daily newspaper. “I don’t read it much,” said he, “but I buy it because
its funny column contains a better assortment of jokes than any other
paper in the city.” The principal editorial writer of a large New York
daily paper, a paper of wide circulation and great influence, once
complained to the managing editor that all the point of a leading
article to which he had devoted two days of thought had been expressed
in the paragraph column by a joke one line long.

The public meeting is the truest, the fairest expression of American
opinion in any given locality, but in the public meeting it is always
the humorist who sways the audience and carries the day. He may be one
of the stated speakers, a man of great wisdom and force, for wisdom and
wit are closely allied in the American nature, however the celebrated
couplet of the late Alexander Pope about “great wit and madness” may
seem to indicate the contrary. In the great political discussions, now
historic, which once were conducted by Abraham Lincoln and Senator
Douglas, when both were comparatively young men, and the Democratic
champion got his adversary into a corner, as occasionally he did,
Lincoln always got out of his predicament with a joke--never with an
argument--and the audience never failed to see the point. This shows the
universality of the American sense of humor. In any other country of the
world the peasantry, who are the nearest possible parallel to the
farmers of America, are stupid and dull of comprehension, but an
American crowd, no matter how far away from the centres of civilization,
nor how solemn, and serious, and weary, and dull of comprehension their
faces may seem, can always be depended upon to take the point of a joke.
They are equally quick to resent an attempt at humor which is not
correctly and sharply pointed. They are all humorists themselves. Get a
seat on the wagon of a farmer driving along a country road and engage
the man in conversation, and you will hear more sharp, pithy, humorous
sayings than you are apt to get from any professed wit in polite
society. Let the man meet a brother farmer coming from the opposite
direction, and, although the conversation will naturally turn on the
crops, and the taxes, and local government, and family or individual
misfortunes, the conversation is sure to be spiced with humor. In other
countries it seems to require a jolly fellow, a man of high spirits, to
say funny things; but here, if you chance not to expect the man of
solemn visage, the man bowed down with care, to break out humorously,
you are sure to be agreeably disappointed.

Even in stated religious meetings this quality of the American nature
frequently displays itself unexpectedly, but always with effect. As
solemn and religious gathering as can be seen in the United States is
the camp-meeting in the far West, where people come from many miles
around to listen to the only form of religious service which they have
the privilege of attending. The sermons and prayers are intensely
earnest. The speakers have an immense sense of responsibility of the
duties incumbent upon them, but in sermon, and even sometimes in prayer,
expressions break forth which show that in no circumstances can the
native American be free from the domination of his sense of humor. The
most powerful individual influence that ever existed in the Western
camp-meetings, according to historians sacred and profane, was a man
named Peter Cartright, a Methodist preacher. He would move audiences to
tears and sometimes to groans by the eloquence and earnestness of his
preaching, yet suddenly, at the most unexpected times, he would say
things that would put his entire congregation into paroxysms of
laughter. The purpose of the meeting never was disturbed by these
discursive efforts. They were as much to the point as the most earnest
statements and exhortations which he had previously made, and were
entirely in keeping with the general intentions of the service.

Passing from conversation to printed utterances, it may be safely said
that the humorous writings of Americans have been more read than any
other literature which has appeared from our press. We have many able
editors in the United States, but those most read are those who say the
funniest things. There never was a more influential editor in the United
States than the late George D. Prentice, who for a long time managed the
newspaper which now is the Louisville _Courier-Journal_. Prentice was a
Whig, but probably half of his readers were Democrats. They didn’t like
his politics, but they couldn’t get along without his fun. His paper was
published in a Southern State, a slave State, but more than half of its
circulation was in the free States of the North. While Prentice lived
there was scarcely a post-office in the Mississippi or Ohio Valley which
did not receive copies of it by mail. Its influence extended as far
North as Chicago and the North-western States, and the local paper which
didn’t repeat his humorous bits was likely to be informed by its readers
that there must be a reform in that direction. For many years the most
popular portion of the very good editorial page of one of the most
prominent daily papers of New York was its humorous editorial. The
topics of the writer were seldom those of the great interests of the
day, yet people read it, turned to it the first thing, talked about it
to their friends, compelled them to read it, and felt lost when the
writer of those articles was transferred to a different field of labor.

We have some popular poets in the United States, but it is doubtful
whether the works of any of them have been as much read as Mr. Lowell’s
“Bigelow Papers.” Mr. Lowell is no mean poet himself; there are critics
who insist that he has not an equal among American versifiers, but the
humorous verses just alluded to have made him better known than all of
his more serious efforts, and it is believed by intelligent men of all
parties that it had immense effect in bringing about the political
changes which immediately preceded the late civil war.

During the civil war there were many editors who used to say, with some
evidence of annoyance, that they wished they could be read as much as
Nasby. Nasby was an Ohio editor who invented a scene and some characters
in the South, and wrote about them so persistently and with such a
realistic air that his effusions were copied regularly in almost all of
the Republican papers of the land. Another man who was more read than
any editor of the day was Artemas Ward. He did not go into politics to
any great extent, but what he did say was so accurately satirical that
nearly everybody read it and was the wiser for it. The mistakes of our
generals, the blunders of our government and the crimes of many of our
contractors were the subject of a great deal of vigorous editorial
writing, but no one succeeded in bringing them so forcibly to the
attention of the public as a wit who wrote under the _nom de plume_ of
Orpheus C. Kerr. During the same period there were facts in the local
history of New York extremely uncomplimentary to one great political
party, and the opposing party lost no opportunity to disclose them and
criticise them in editorial columns and news columns, but one man was
more read than all others combined. It was the man who wrote the satire
entitled “The New Gospel of Peace,” in which the doings of the alleged
Peace Party were set forth in humorous style.

At the present time the men whose writings are most read are not the
historians, editors, essayists, or even novelists. They are the
humorists. Bill Nye is more read than any novelist in the United States.
So is James Whitcomb Riley. In Chicago there are a number of able
journalists, but the one most quoted by name not only in his own city
but throughout the Union is Eugene Field, whose humor finds no subject
too great or too small to dwell upon. A little while ago an _edition de
luxe_ of his humorous prose and verse was published at a very high
price, and some of the later would-be subscribers found to their disgust
that the list was full and no more books could be supplied. Is there any
poet or novelist in the United States who has had a commercial
experience like this?

Mr. John Hay, once a Secretary of President Lincoln, and afterward a
hard-working journalist, is also a poet, and has perpetrated some
graceful verses, but when any one offers to quote a bit from John Hay,
the hearers always understand that it will be something humorous. His
dialect poems do not exceed half-a-dozen, yet they seem as popular now
as when first written twenty years ago. They were not carefully
elaborated; the author is said to have dashed them off in a hurry as a
relief from hard editorial work, but they struck the popular heart at
once, probably because, like most other American humor, there was a
basis of seriousness and sense to them. The finale of his poem, “Little
Breeches,”--a poetic story of a lost child who was saved, as his father
supposed, by angels, will long be the most popular and effective protest
against formal religious ideas. He says of the angels:

    “I think that savin’ a little child
       And bringin’ him back to his own
     Is a durn sight better bizness
       Than loafin’ round the throne.”

Was there ever a greater commercial success in literature than that
achieved by Mark Twain? The combined books of the most successful
American novelist have not sold as many copies as one of Mark Twain’s
books. Why? Because Mark Twain is funny--because he knows how to say
something in a way in which nobody else has said it. Scores of other men
have written about the Holy Land and our own West, but it was not until
“Innocents Abroad” and “Roughing It” appeared that people in general
began to manifest a lively interest in these portions of the world.
Innumerable sketches have been written about life on the Mississippi
River in the old days before railroads and emancipation, but all of them
combined did not “catch” the public as successfully as “Huckleberry
Finn.” The latter was humorous, the others were not; there was no other
point of difference.

It does not matter, to the American people, from where humor comes, so
it really is humorous and has a point to it. We will take it in any
shape or dialect. One of the great successes of humorous literature
during the civil war was that achieved by Col. Charles G. Halpine, who
made a mythical Irish soldier, “Private Miles O’Reilly,” his mouthpiece
for a lot of humorous criticisms of the Government, the army and navy.
During the same period there arose a Southerner, signing himself “Bill
Arp,” who made some hard hits, in humorous style, at the North; somehow
they found their way through the lines and were freely reprinted at the
North. In later years another Southerner--the creator of “Uncle Remus,”
put a lot of delightful stories into negro dialect, and a host of people
at once began to quote them. In New York Mr. Julian Ralph wrote a lot of
humorous sketches under the general head of “The German Barber,” and the
newspaper press began to quote them. Across the ocean Max O’Rell began
to satirize the English people and customs, and straightway his books
sold better here than abroad.

On the stage and platform, as everywhere else, humor is the most popular
and attractive feature. A few years ago, before the theatrical companies
could easily reach any city or large town, the lecture was a favorite
means of entertainment, and more than three hundred Americans and
foreigners were busy every winter in hurrying from town to town to
deliver lectures. The three hundred have been reduced almost to three,
but there is room there still for any one who has anything humorous to
say. “Bob” Burdette, more popularly known as “The Burlington _Hawk-eye
Man_,” works himself almost to death every winter in going all over the
United States to give his humorous recitations. He is a very religious
man, and a working Baptist, but people never ask him for a religious
address: they always want to hear his fun. Another of the few successful
men remaining on the platform is A. P. Burbank, a man who for ten years
has determined every year to go upon the stage in legitimate comedy, but
so humorous are his recitations and so effective his manner in
delivering them that those who have heard him before insist upon hearing
him more, and he goes again and again to towns where he has been a dozen
times before, each time to find his audience larger and more
appreciative, and each time to receive the assurance that they will want
him again the following winter. Little Marshal Wilder, who never took a
lesson in elocution in his life, and has been cruelly handicapped by
nature, attempts merely to make people laugh; he succeeds, so he seldom
is allowed to have an evening to himself, and when the “platform” season
is ended here goes over to England and has three or four engagements a
night.

Everybody knows that on the stage humor takes better than anything else.
There may be a great tragedy well presented on the boards of a city
theatre, or a brilliant spectacle, or a so-called emotional drama which
appeals to everything improper in human nature, but the theatre which is
presenting a good comedy can always depend upon holding its own. No
dead-head seats are to be had at such theatres. The manager can always
depend upon getting money for all the room at his disposal. The fun may
be very rough, sometimes it is decidedly vulgar, but people ask as few
questions and make as few protests against fun, no matter what its kind,
as drunkards do against the quality of their whiskey.

American appreciation of humor may be found also in the number and wide
circulation of periodicals devoted entirely to fun. There used to be a
theory that there was no room for a humorous paper in the United States
because the ordinary dailies and weeklies indulged in so much fun
themselves. But after the enormous success of _Puck_, _Judge_, _Life_,
and some other periodicals, it is useless to argue any longer on the
subject. After a political or social question has been apparently worn
threadbare in editorials and essays, out comes one of these papers with
a pithy saying or a good cartoon that carries more influence than all
the serious talk combined. It matters little upon which side of the
question, even in politics, these professional humorists are found.
Their hits when well made are cheerfully acknowledged even by their own
enemies. During the palmy days of the New York ring, Mr. Nast, the
cartoonist of _Harper’s Weekly_, was offered an annual allowance several
times larger than his salary if he would give up work entirely and go
abroad. Humor and high character are often allied; one of the strongest
illustrations of the fact is that Mr. Nast without any hesitation
refused this valuable offer. Some of the abuses of local government in
New York have been more effectually fought by Mr. Keppler and his
associate artists in _Puck_ than by all the work of editors, lawyers and
judges. _Puck’s_ influence in politics became so great that before the
last Presidential campaign began it became absolutely necessary for the
party which it was fighting to start a humorous pictorial journal of
their own, and it was quite safe to suppose that it was influential in
the political results that followed.

A delightful thing about humorous writings is that no one seems jealous
of their influence or afraid to give them greater prominence. The only
complaint which the publishers of the humorous weeklies have to make
against their brethren of the daily press is, that their own circulation
might be better were not so many of their good things promptly reprinted
everywhere. No sooner does one of these papers come from the press than
its best sayings are scissored and reprinted in a thousand or more
papers. Almost any daily paper of large circulation seems to think it
necessary to have a humorist of its own. They pay more for humorous
contributions than for any other class of matter, and all of them are
more keenly on the look-out for a new humorist than for a possible
Presidential candidate. The readers of the daily press quote for one
another the funny sayings of their favorite paper long before they think
of mentioning the other contents; indeed, most of them are so absorbed
by the fun that they don’t seem to have remembered anything else.

We cannot possibly overestimate the value of our national faculty of
seeing the humorous side of things. It keeps us from making ourselves
ridiculous; it prevents us, both as individuals and a people, from being
laughed at for anything we may do in sober earnest. It is very hard, in
this day and land, for any man, society, party or church to be a fool
without hearing about it in a good-natured way that robs the rebuke of
its sting. It is not so in other countries.

But our sense of humor does still more for us. It smooths numberless
rough places in the pathway of a people whose road is not easy to
travel. It averts many a quarrel, closes dangerous breaches, and is balm
to wounds that otherwise would smart. It is almost always harmless.
There are men and women whose fun always lingers upon incidents that are
vulgar, but this is a fault of perverted minds--not of the humorous
spirit. It is a better introduction, between strangers, than any letter
or form of words, and it expresses much in little, doing it more
effectively than any of the wise saws and proverbs of more serious
races. It seems irrepressible and omnipresent; a man or woman may be too
tired or sick to reason or to think, but whoever saw an American too
weary to see the point of a joke or to offer another in return? We need
to preserve our humor almost as carefully as if it were our character,
for should we ever lose it our character will be the worse for the
change.



CHAPTER XXV.

THE HIGHER EDUCATION.


America has more colleges, so called, than all the other civilized
nations combined.

These institutions of learning are not results of accident, or
accretions of church reverences and purposes, like the great
universities of older lands. Most of them were founded and have been
maintained by the people at large, and these, until recent times, were
very poor. They are testimonials to the level-head and tenacity of
purpose of the American people. Says President Gilman, of Johns Hopkins
University:

“That tenacity of purpose with which a few settlers in the wilderness
held on to the idea of a liberal education, in spite of their scanty
crops and scantier libraries, their wide separation from the old-world
seats of learning, and their lack of professional teachers, is one of
the noblest of many noble traits possessed by our forefathers, who were
never so weary or so poor that they could not keep alive the altar-fires
in the temples of religion and of learning. Their primitive foundations
did not depend on royal bounty or on feudal liens; they were supported
by free-will offerings from men and women in moderate circumstances, by
the minister’s savings and the widow’s portion. It is only within the
present generation that large donations have reached their coffers. The
good and the bad we inherit in our collegiate systems were alike
developed in the straitened school of necessity.

“The founders of the original colleges were not only high-minded and
self-sacrificing, but they were devoted to an ideal. They believed in
the doctrine that intellectual power is worth more than intellectual
acquisitions; that an education of all the mental faculties is better
for the happiness of individual scholars and for the advancement of the
community than a narrow training for a special pursuit. Accordingly,
their educational system did not begin with professional seminaries, for
the special training of any one class, but with schools of general
culture, colleges of the liberal arts, as good as could be made with
their resources and in that age. Instead of an academic staff made up of
those who professed to teach some special branch of knowledge, these
colleges had a master and fellows (or tutors), men who were fit to teach
others those rudiments of higher learning in which they had themselves
been taught. Moreover, as years rolled on, instead of concentrating
personal and pecuniary support upon a few of the oldest and most
promising foundations, far-sighted men built up in every portion of the
land colleges corresponding in their principal features with the
original foundations, and depending for maintenance on the beneficence
of individuals.

“The history of the colonial foundations abounds in examples of the
wisdom and self-sacrifice with which they were conducted under
circumstances which called for devotion to a lofty ideal. No one can
study the biography of their graduates without discovering that they
were the men who moulded the institutions of this country. It is easy to
point out deficiencies in these academic organizations, as it is to
criticise the defects of the emigrants’ cabins and the foresters’ paths;
it is easy to lament that a deeper impression was not made upon the
scholarship of the world; easy to mention influential men who never
passed a day within college walls; easy to provoke a smile, a sneer, or
a censure by the record of some narrow-minded custom or proceeding. But,
nevertheless, the fact cannot be shaken that the old American colleges
have been admirable places for the training of men. Let the roll of
graduates of any leading institution be scrutinized, or even the record
of a single class selected at random, and it will be seen that the
number of life failures is very small, and the number of useful,
intelligent, high-minded and upright careers very large. It may,
therefore, be said that the traditional college, though commonly
hampered by ancient conditions and by the lack of funds with which to
attain its own ideal, has remained the firm and valiant supporter of
liberal culture, and that any revolutionary or rabid changes in its
organization or methods should be carefully watched. Nevertheless, as we
proceed, it will be evident that changes are inevitable and that most
desirable improvements are in progress. The child is becoming a man.”

But we need more concentration of effort, money and good men, both as
instructors and students, in colleges where the highest education may be
obtained. The great number of our colleges is a source of weakness--not
of strength. A great number of these institutions are mere academies,
and seem to have been founded principally to keep students within the
denominational fences of their parents; the college is charged with what
should be the special work of parent and pastor. Says President Gilman:

“Every important Christian denomination has come to have its distinctive
college, and many an argument has been framed to prove that sectarian
colleges are better than those which seek to promote the union of
several religious bodies. It has not been thought sufficient that a
college should be pervaded by an enlightened Christianity, nor even that
it should be the stronghold of a simple evangelical life and doctrine,
nor that it should be orthodox as to the fundamental teachings of the
Church; but sectarian influences must everywhere predominate, among the
trustees or in the faculty, or in both the governing bodies. Hence we
see all over the land feeble, ill-endowed and poorly manned
institutions, caring a little for sound learning, but a great deal more
for the defence of denominational tenets.”

President Eliot, of Harvard, thus indicates the results of this spirit,
added to another which is still less pardonable:

“In the absence of an established church, or of a dominant sect in the
United States, denominational zeal has inevitably tended to scatter even
those scanty resources which in two centuries have become available for
the higher education; and this lamentable dissipation has been increased
by the local pride of States, cities and neighborhoods, and the desire
of many persons, who had money to apply to public uses, to found new
institutions rather than to contribute to those already established--a
desire not unnatural in a new country, where love of the old and
venerable in institutions has but just sprung up. In short, the
different social, political and religious conditions of this country
have, thus far, quite prevented the development of commanding
universities like those of the mother-country.”

As the greater colleges increase in financial and intellectual
strength, the weaker ones must either drop out of existence, or be
satisfied to impart merely the high-school course of instruction, and
prepare their more aspiring pupils to enter colleges worthy of the name.
Ex-President White, of Cornell University, foreshadows their future as
follows:

“Our country has already not far short of four hundred colleges and
universities more or less worthy of those names, besides a vast number
of high-schools and academies quite as worthy to be called colleges or
universities as many which bear those titles. But the system embracing
all these has by no means reached its final form. Probably in its more
complete development the stronger institutions, to the number of twenty
or thirty, will, within a generation or two, become universities in the
true sense of the word, restricting themselves to university work;
beginning, perhaps, at the studies now usually undertaken in the junior
year of our colleges, and carrying them on through the senior year, with
two or three years of special or professional study afterward. The best
of the others will probably accept their mission as colleges in the true
sense of the word, beginning the course two years earlier than at
present, and continuing it to what is now the junior year. Thus they
will do a work intermediate between the general school system of the
country and the universities, a work which can be properly called
collegiate, a work the need of which is now sorely felt, and which is
most useful and honorable. Such an organization will give us as good a
system as the world has ever seen, probably the best system.”

There is no lack of money for institutions of learning which show
special aptitude in any direction. A belief in thorough education is
common to almost all progressive men, whether they themselves are
college graduates or “self-made” men. President White, after naming many
men who have given largely to different colleges, says:

“Such a tide of generosity bursting forth from the hearts and minds of
strong and shrewd men who differ so widely from each other in residence
and ideas, yet flowing in one direction, means something. What is it? At
the source of it lies, doubtless, a perception of duty to the country
and a feeling of pride in the country’s glory. United with this is,
naturally, more or less of an honorable personal ambition; but this is
not all; strong common sense has done much to create the current and
still more to shape its course. For, as to the origin of this stream,
the wealthy American knows perfectly that the laws of his country favor
the dispersion of inherited wealth rather than its retention; that in
two or three generations at most his descendants, no matter how large
their inheritance, must come to the level determined by their character
and ability; that their character and ability are most likely to be
injured, and therefore the level to which they subside lowered, by an
inheritance so large as to engender self-indulgence; that while, in
Great Britain, the laws and customs of primogeniture and entail enable
men of vast wealth to tie up their property, and so to found families,
this, in America, is impossible; and that though the tendency toward the
equalization of fortunes may sometimes be retarded, it cannot be
prevented.

“So, too, as to the direction of the stream; this same common sense has
given its main channel. These great donors have recognized the fact that
the necessity for universal primary education will always be seen, and
can be adequately provided for, only by the people as a whole; but that
the necessity for that advanced education which can alone vivify and
energize the whole school system, drawing a rich life up through it,
sending a richer life down through it, will rarely be provided for, save
by the few men wise enough to understand a great national system of
education, and strong enough efficiently to aid it.

“It is, then, plain, good sense which has led mainly to the development
of a munificence such as no other land has seen; therefore it is that
the long list of men who have thus distinguished themselves and their
country is steadily growing longer.”

But in opposition to the spirit which founded and has supported our many
institutions of learning there has arisen a pestilent theory, born of
the sudden increase of wealth and love of luxury, that no education is
worth anything which does not enable a man to make more money and make
it easier than his neighbor who has had no liberal schooling. Because
technical schools--of which the more we have the better off we will
be--teach men to use their wits about many practical things, there seems
to be prevalent a stupid notion that material things are all there are
of life, and that sentiments, principles and aspirations are not worth
cultivating. Such stuff might do if we were a nation of shopkeepers, but
we are not that kind of people. For each man who is thinking and caring
only for money and what it will bring him are half a dozen earnest,
clear-headed people who know that all human needs are not satisfied when
the stomach is full and the senses satiated.

In a recent and admirable address to a college society Bishop Potter
fairly stated and answered the current sneer at the higher education, as
follows:

“We are met by a spirit which it is time, I think, that we recognize, as
there is a need that it should be challenged. We Americans are, of all
peoples under the sun, supremely a practical people. No mechanism is
invented, no book is written, no theory is propounded, but that
straightway there is heard a voice demanding: ‘Well, this is all very
interesting, very novel, very eloquent; but what, after all, is the good
of it? To what contrivance, to what enterprise can you hitch this
discovery, this vision of yours, and make it work? How will it push,
pull, pump, lift, drive, bore, so that, employed thus, it may be a
veritable producer? Yes, we want learning for our young men, our young
women; but how can it be converted by the shortest road and in the most
effectual way into a marketable product?’ ‘The man of the North,’ says
De Tocqueville, writing of our North, ‘has not only experience, but
knowledge. He, however, does not care for science as a pleasure, and
only embraces it with avidity when it leads to useful applications.’ And
the worst of such an indictment is the fact that it is still so often
true.

“The conditions of this generation demand that we should be reminded
that, beyond bodies to be clothed, and tastes to be cultivated, and
wealth to be accumulated, there is in each one of us an intellect to be
developed and, by means of it, truth to be discerned, which, beside all
other undertakings to which the mind of man can bend itself, should
forever be foremost and supreme. The gratification of our physical
wants, and next to that the gratification of our personal vanity or
ambition, may seem to many people at once the chief end of existence and
the secret of the truest happiness. But there have been men who have
neither sought nor cared for these things, who have found in learning
for its own sake at once their sweetest rewards and their highest
dignity.

“The vocation of the scholar of our time becomes most plain. He is to
take his stand and to make his protest. With a dignity and a resolution
born of the greatness of his calling and his opportunity, he is to spurn
that low estimate of his work and its result which measures them by what
they have earned in money or can produce in dividends. Here, in his
counting-room or his warehouse, sits the plutocrat who has amassed his
millions, and who can forecast the fluctuations of the market with the
unerring accuracy of an aneroid barometer. To such a one comes the
professor from some modest seat of learning among the hills, minded to
see his old classmate of other days, to grasp his hand again, and to
learn, if it may be, how he fares. And the rich man looks down with a
bland condescension upon the school-fellow who chose the company of his
books rather than the companionship of the market-place, and as he
notes, perhaps, his lean and Cassius-like outline, his seedy if not
shabby garb, and his shy and rustic manner, smooths his own portly and
well-clad person with complacency, and thanks his stars that he early
took to trade. Poor fool! He does not perceive that his friend the
professor has most accurately taken his measure, and that the clear and
kindly eyes that look at him through those steel-bowed spectacles have
seen with something of sadness, and something more of compassion, how
the finer aspirations of earlier days have all been smothered and
quenched! In an age which is impatient of any voice that will not cry,
‘Great is the god of railroads and syndicates, and greater yet are the
apostles of ‘puts’ and ‘calls,’ of ‘corners’ and pools!’ we want a race
of men who by their very existence shall be a standing protest against
the reign of a coarse materialism and a deluge of greed and
self-seeking.

“But to have such a race of men we must have among us those whose vision
has been purged and unsealed to see the dignity of the scholar’s
calling. One may not forget that among those who will soon go forth from
college halls to begin their work in life there must needs be many to
whom the nature of that work, and in some sense the aims of it, are
foreordained by the conditions under which they are compelled to do it.
One may not forget, in other words, that, with many of us, the stern
question of earning our bread is that which most urgently challenges
us, and which we cannot hope to evade. But there is no one of us who may
not wisely remember that, in the domain of the intellect as in the
domain of the spiritual and moral nature, ‘the life is more than meat
and the body than raiment,’ and that the hope of our time, or of any
time, is not in men who are concerned in what they can get, but in what
they can see. Frederick Maurice has well reminded us how inadequate is
that phrase which describes the function of the scholar to be the
acquisition of knowledge. Here is a man whose days and nights are spent
in laborious plodding, and whose brain, before he is done with life,
becomes a store-house from which you can draw out a fact as you would
take down a book from the shelves of a library. We must not speak of
such a scholar disrespectfully; and in a generation which is impatient
of plodding industry, and content, as never before, with smart and
superficial learning, we may well honor those whose rare acquisitions
are the fruit of painful and untiring labor. But, surely, his is a
nobler understanding of his calling as a scholar who has come to see
that, in whatsoever department of inquiry, it is not so much a question
of how much learning he is possessed of, as, rather, how truly anything
that he has learned has possessed him. There are men whose acquirements
in mere bulk and extent are, it may be, neither large nor profound. But
when they have taken their powers of inquiry and investigation and gone
with them to the shut doors of the kingdom of knowledge, they have
tarried there in stillness and on their knees, waiting and watching for
the light. And to these has come, in all ages, that which is the best
reward of the scholar--not a fact to be hung up on a peg and duly
numbered and catalogued, but the vision of a truth to be the inspiration
of all their lives.”

Among the departments of higher education at which the self-styled
“practical” man turns up his nose are the mental, moral and political
sciences. They are sneered at as a mass of mere theories; good enough,
perhaps, to help intellectual natures otherwise unoccupied to pass away
the time, but of no practical good in the world. Yet President Gilman,
whose mind runs largely upon applied science, says of these studies:

“They have twofold value--their service to the individual and their
service to the state. It is by the study of the history of opinion, by
the scrutiny of mental phenomena, and by the discussion of ethical
principles, that religious and moral character is to be developed. The
hours of reflection are redeemed from barrenness and made fruitful, like
sand-plains irrigated by mountain-streams, when they are pervaded by
the perennial currents which flow from the lofty heights of philosophy
and religion. Above all other educational subjects in importance stands
philosophy, the exercise of reason upon those manifold and perplexing
problems of existence which are as old as humanity and as new as the
nineteenth century. For its place in a liberal education no substitute
need apply. What is true of the moral sciences in reference to
individual character may be said of the historical and political
sciences in relation to the state. That nation is in danger of losing
its liberties, and of entering upon a period of corruption and decay,
which does not keep its eye steadily fixed on the experience of other
nations, and does not apply to its own institutions and laws the lessons
of the past. The evils we complain of, the burdens we carry, the dangers
we fear, are to be met by the accumulated experience of other
generations and of other climes.”

Yet this distinguished teacher would not, like some men of equal note
but less breadth of character, have the college student restrict himself
to these departments of study. He shows himself abreast of the times
when he says:

“A liberal education requires an acquaintance with scientific methods,
with the modes of inquiry, of observation, of comparison, of eliminating
error and of ascertaining truth, which are observed by modern
investigators. Such an acquaintance may be better secured by prolonged
and thorough attention to one great department of science, like
chemistry, physics, biology, or geology, than by acquiring a smattering
of twenty branches. If every college student would daily for one or two
years devote a third of his study time to either of the great subjects
we have named, or to others which might be named, he would exercise his
faculties in a discipline very different from that afforded by his
linguistic and mathematical work. He would not only find his observing
powers sharpened; he would find his judgment improved by its exercise on
the certainties of natural law. He would never afterward be prejudiced
against the true workers in science, nor afraid of the progress of
modern learning. Whatever might be his future vocation, ecclesiastical,
educational, or editorial, he would speak of science with no covert
sneer and with no suppressed apprehension. The more religious his
nature, the more reverent would he become. In public affairs which call
for a knowledge of science, he would know how to discriminate between
the quack and the authority, and he would be quick to perceive in how
many departments of government the liberal use of scientific methods is
now imperatively demanded.”

If no other purpose could be attained by raising the standard and
broadening the scope of such of our colleges as aspire to the rank of
universities, and of sending to them all of our young men who sincerely
desire a liberal education, there would be the enormous gain, to each
student, of association with men of his own kind. Such association
elsewhere is almost impossible in this land of scattered population and
magnificent distances. Many ill-balanced “cranks” might have been spared
us could active, restless, inquiring minds have been placed amid
congenial surroundings instead of chafing against barren environments
and consuming their minds over trivialities. Edward Everett Hale is
credited with the saying: “The main good of a college is not in the
things which it teaches; the good of a college is to be had from the
‘fellows’ who are there and your association with them.” President
Dwight, of Yale, while dissenting from the sweeping first clause of Mr.
Hale’s assertion, admits:

“But ‘the fellows’ did me much good in the way of my education. I had a
most excellent and worthy set of friends, especially in the last year of
my college life. My associations with them drew me out of myself, and
gave me, in the best meaning of the term, the sense and the impulse of
good-fellowship. As bearing upon my preparation for my life’s work, this
association did much to give me that common sense, and sympathy, and
warm-heartedness, and love of young men, and comprehension of their
nature and their feelings, the value of which is so great to a college
teacher. The college friendships, in their best development, came to me
at the most fortunate period--in the later years of the course. They
came at a time when they could operate most healthfully and happily upon
all that I had gained from my studies and my teachers, and rounded out
for me, if I may so express it, the education which belonged to the
university.”

One requisite to the greater success of our higher colleges is a better
class of students. When fees for matriculation and tuition formed an
important part of the income from which a school had to maintain itself,
an applicant’s defects of preparation or personal character were winked
at; but this no longer is necessary at Yale, Harvard or any of the half
dozen younger universities which have been richly endowed. No one should
be received as a student who does not “mean business” and who is not
quickly responsive to the influences about him. Says Prof. Shaler, of
Harvard:

“It is very clear that the essential aim of our higher educational
establishments is to take youths who have received a considerable
training in preparatory schools, who have attained the age of about
eighteen years, and have begun to acquire the motives of men, and fit
them for the higher walks of active life. To the youth must be given a
share of learning which may serve to enlarge to the utmost his natural
powers. He must be informed and disciplined in the art and habit of
acquiring information. He must also be disciplined in the ways of men,
in the maintenance of his moral status by the exercise of his will, in
self-confidence and in the faithful performance of duty for duty’s sake.
Every influence which tends to aid him in putting away the irresponsible
nature of the child should be brought to bear; every condition which
will lead him to send forth his expectations and ambitions from his
place in the school to his place among men should surround him.

“Once bring a young man clearly to feel that his career in life is
fairly begun when he resorts to college or the professional school; let
him but conceive that his place in life is to be determined by his
conduct in preparation for it, and we bring to bear a set of motives
which are morally as high as the ordinary motives of discipline are low
in the moral scale. Just so far as the work of a student abounds in
suggestions of his work in the world, so far as his teachers by their
conduct, as well as by their words, serve to arouse his manly, dutiful
sense, the education effects its true end. Every youth who is fitted to
be a student in our higher colleges or universities will quickly respond
to the stimulus he feels in passing from the disciplinary conditions of
childhood to those which are fit for men. If he be in spirit capable of
scholarly manliness, we may be sure that his imagination has forerun the
conditions he has met in his lower schooling. He has longed for
something like the independence and responsibility of manhood; for an
advance to the place of trust to which he is bidden.”

Our higher colleges should not become retreats for that large, lazy,
irresponsible class of young men and women who mistake fondness for
reading for a desire to study. There is no more deceptive creature alive
than the juvenile book-worm. He is like the English king who became
noted as “the most learned fool in Christendom.” Neither should
feebleness of body be regarded as an indication of vigorous intellect;
this mistake has filled colleges as disastrously as pulpits. The
seriousness of ill-health is not an intellectual purpose; it is a mental
disease, and should be treated by the gymnasium instructor--not the
college professor. President White, in outlining the university of the
future, said:

“A long observation of young men and young women has taught me that
there is infinitely greater danger to their health, moral, intellectual
and physical, from lounging, loafing, dawdling and droning over books,
than from the most vigorous efforts they can be induced to make; and I
believe that most thoughtful teachers will agree with me on this point.
In order to meet any danger of the sort suggested, it will be observed
that I have insisted on a proper examination as to physical condition at
the same time with the regular examinations for scholarships and
fellowships, and also upon frequent reports from the successful
candidates as to health as well as progress. The expectation of such
examinations and reports would do much to guard and improve the health
of ambitious young scholars in every part of the country.”

Our higher colleges contain some admirable instructors, but the average
quality is not yet what it should be. President Gilman says:

“For the ordinary instruction of under-graduate students men of broad,
generous, varied culture are needed; men who know the value of letters
and of nature in a plan of study; men who understand their own views
because they are watching the necessities and the transactions of to-day
with the light of historical experience; men who believe that character,
intellectual and moral, is more important than knowledge, and who are
determined that all the influences of college life shall be wholesome.
Such teachers as these have hitherto constituted the faculties of
American colleges; their names may not have been made renowned by any
new discoveries or by the publication of any great treatises, but they
have impressed themselves on generations of pupils who have in their
turn helped to form the best institutions which maintain the nation. It
will be a great misfortune to American education, if, in choosing
specialists for collegiate professorships (as must be done in future),
the authorities fail to make sure that these specialists are men of
general cultivation, of sound morals and of hearty sympathy with the
youth they are to teach.”

But what are college trustees to do? Most of the great gifts to colleges
are for special purposes--the erection of buildings, the purchase of
instruments, the founding of a library, the purchase of a telescope, but
seldom for the purpose of securing a valuable addition to the faculty by
an endowment which would yield a sum that would justify a man of high
attainments in abandoning a lucrative profession and devoting himself to
education. Says President Gilman:

“Is it not time for all who are interested in college foundations to
call for large donations for the increase of ‘the wages fund?’ Ought not
the college authorities to keep in the background their desire for
better buildings, and insist that adequate means must first be provided
for the maintenance of instruction? It will be suicidal if a prosperous
country like this suffers its institutions of learning to be manned by
men of second-rate abilities because they are cheaper, and because the
men of first-rate powers are turned away from the work of higher
education to the professions of law and medicine, to the ministry and
to business pursuits, as giving more hope, more comfort and more
freedom, with equally good opportunities of usefulness and with
prospects of higher honor. It will be a shame if the hoary head in a
college, instead of being a crown of glory, is a sign of poverty and
neglect. A college professorship should be liberally paid, and with an
augmenting salary, so that, in this respect, it may be at least as
attractive as other careers which are open to intellectual men. If the
very best men are not secured for the work of instruction, and if they
are not made so easy in their pecuniary circumstances as to be free from
care on that account, farewell to intellectual advancement, farewell to
literary progress, farewell to scientific discovery, farewell to sound
statesmanship, farewell to enlightened Christianity; the reign of
bigotry and dulness is at hand.”

Our colleges need more scholarships and more fellowships. It ought to be
possible for any one desirous and deserving of a good education to
obtain it, whether he be son of a prince or son of a pauper. It ought
also to be possible for a brilliant and studious graduate to be
specially rewarded and encouraged by being supported by his Alma Mater
so long as he continues his studies to some purpose and for the benefit
of the college. The “fellow” of an English university may be a mere
loafer; his title and its accompanying allowance of money call for no
return; they are merely rewards for what has already been done.
President White says:

“I would allow the persons taking fellowships to use them in securing
advanced instruction at whatever institution they may select at home or
abroad. Probably the great majority would choose the best institutions
at home, but many would go abroad and seek out the most eminent
professors and investigators. Thus, eager, energetic, ambitious young
American scholars would bring back to us the best thoughts, words and
work of the foremost authorities in every department throughout the
world; skill in the best methods, knowledge of the best books,
familiarity with the best illustrative material. From the scholars thus
trained our universities, colleges and academies would receive better
teachers; our magazines and newspapers writers better fitted to discuss
living political, financial and social questions; the various
professions men better prepared to develop them in obedience to the best
modern thought, and the great pursuits which lie at the foundation of
material prosperity--agriculture, manufactures and the like--men better
able to solve the practical problems of the world. Every field of moral,
intellectual and physical activity would thus be enriched. All would be
anxious to train students fitted to compete successfully for these
fellowships, and the stronger institutions would be especially anxious
to develop post-graduate courses fitted to attract these. I can think of
no better antiseptic for the dry-rot which afflicts so many institutions
of learning. The custom of shelving clergymen unacceptable to parishes
in college professorships would probably by this means receive a killing
blow.”

Bishop Potter writes as earnestly on this subject, though from a
different point of view:

“We want place for men who, whether as fellows or lecturers, shall, in
connection with our universities, be free to pursue original
investigation and to give themselves to profound study, untrammelled by
the petty cares, the irksome round, the small anxieties, which are
sooner or later the death of aspiration, and fatal obstacles to
inspiration. It is with processes of thought as it is with processes of
nature--crystallization demands stillness, equanimity, repose. And so
the great truths which are to be the seed of forces that shall new
create our civilization must have a chance first of all to reveal
themselves. Some mount of vision there must be for the scholar; and
those whose are the material treasures out of which came those wonderful
endowments and foundations which have lent to England’s universities
some elements of their chiefest glory must see that they have this mount
of vision.”

Higher education does not require that college discipline, direction and
supervision should be abated; on the contrary, it demands more active
exercise of all these functions. Some quite good and earnest men go to
college only to read; their proper place is a large library in a city.
Others, taking advantage of “elective” studies, want to plunge into a
groove and remain there. Elective studies have their advantages, but
young men are seldom fit to select for themselves. Says President
Bartlett, of Dartmouth:

“From the fact that he has not been over the field, the youth is
incompetent to judge what is the best drill and culture for him. And
while diversity of ultimate aim may modify the latter part of the basal
education, specialism comes soon enough when the special training
begins. And those institutions seem to me wisest which reserve their
electives till the last half of the college course, then introduce them
sparingly, and not miscellaneously, but by coherent courses. A general
and predominant introduction of electives is fruitful of evils. It
perplexes the faithful student in his inexperience. It tempts and helps
the average student to turn away from the studies which by reason of his
deficiencies he most needs. It gives opportunity to the lazy student to
indulge his indolence in the selection of ‘soft’ electives.”

Fortunately discipline is not so hard to maintain in American colleges
as in European universities. There are some “hard boys” at Harvard, and
the Yale Cubs often make night hideous at New Haven, nevertheless the
American student is generally more respectable and law-abiding than his
foreign brother. Says President Eliot, of Harvard:

“The habitual abstinence from alcohol as a daily beverage, which the
great majority of American students observe, explains in some degree the
absence in American institutions of all measures to prevent students
from passing the night away from their college rooms or lodgings. The
college halls at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton stand open all night;
while at Oxford and Cambridge locked doors and gates, and barred and
shuttered windows, enforce the student’s presence in his room after 10
P.M., but are most ineffectual to restrain him from any vice to which he
may be seriously inclined. There is more drunkenness and licentiousness
at Oxford and Cambridge than among an equal number of American students;
but this fact is due rather to national temperament, and to the
characteristics of the social class to which English students generally
belong, than to anything in university organization or discipline. Among
manly virtues, purity and temperance have a lower place in English
estimation than in American.”

So sensible are the mass of American students that when the question of
undergraduate participation in college management was raised at
Dartmouth the college societies reported adversely on the plan, and the
college paper, edited by students, manfully asserted, after a plea for
strong government, “What our colleges really need is more of West
Point.”

Between proper government and amateur police work, however, there is a
wide difference. Ex-President McCosh, of Princeton, who was a studious,
quiet man, whom no one could have suspected of sympathy with wild
hilarity, said:

“There may be colleges, but they are few, which are over-governed by
masters who look as wise as Solomon, but whose judgments are not just so
wise as his were. In some places there may be a harsh repression of
natural impulses, and an intermeddling with joyousness and playfulness.
I have known ministerial professors denounce infidelity till they made
their best students infidel. The most effective means of making young
men skeptics is for dull men to attack Darwin and Spencer, Huxley and
Tyndall, without knowing the branches which these men have been turning
to their own uses. There are grave professors who cannot draw the
distinction between the immorality of drinking and snowballing. It is
true that we have two eyes given us that we may see, but we have also
two eyelids to cover them up; and those who have oversight of young men
should know when to open and when to close these organs of observation.
I have seen a band of students dragging a horse, which had entered the
campus, without matriculating, into a _goody_-student’s room, and a
professor with the scene before him determinedly turning his head now to
the one side and now to the other that he might not possibly see it. I
have witnessed a student coming out of a recitation-room, leaping into a
wagon, whose driver had villanously disappeared, and careering along the
road, while the president turned back from his walk that his eyes might
not alight on so profane a scene.”

But between mere fun and out-and-out brutality Dr. McCosh drew the line
sharply when he said:

“It is certain that there are old college customs still lingering in our
country which people generally are now anxious to be rid of. Some of
them are offsets of the abominable practices of old English schools, and
have come down from colonial days, through successive generations. Thus
American hazing is a modification of English fagging. It seems that
there are still some who defend or palliate the crime--for such it is.
They say that it stirs up courage and promotes manliness. But I should
like to know what courage there is in a crowd, in masks at the dead of
night, attacking a single youth who is gagged and is defenceless! It is
not a fair and open fight in which both parties expose themselves to
danger. The deed, so far from being courageous, is about the lowest form
of cowardice. The preparations made and the deeds done are in all cases
mean and dastardly, and in some horrid. I have seen the apparatus. There
are masks for concealment, and gags to stop the mouth and ears; there is
a razor and there are scissors, there are ropes to bind, and in some
cases whips or boards to inflict blows; there are commonly filthy
applications ready, and in all cases unmanly insults more difficult to
be borne by a youth of spirit than any beating. The practice, so far
from being humanizing, is simply brutalizing in its influence on all
engaged in it. It does not form the brave man, but the bully. The youth
exposed to the indignity this year is prepared to revenge it on another
next year. A gentleman who knows American colleges well tells me that in
those in which hazing is common in the younger classes the very look of
the students is rowdyish. It is astonishing that the American people,
firm enough when they are roused, should have allowed this barbarity to
linger in our colleges, great and small, down to the last quarter of the
nineteenth century of the religion of purity and love.”

Our universities and more progressive colleges are slowly but surely
reshaping themselves on the lines indicated in the foregoing pages, and
the time is not far distant when no graduate can be excused for being
merely book-stuffed instead of educated.



CHAPTER XXVI.

OUR GREAT CONCERN.


Ours is the greatest land in the world, and we, the people of these
United States, ought to be the greatest people.

At the present time it does not require any great amount of conceit to
make us believe that we are superior to our neighbors, but it will not
do to forget that the faculty of being up and growing is not one of
which we have a monopoly.

One of the founders of the Republic said: “Eternal vigilance is the
price of liberty.” He might have added that it is the price of pretty
much everything else worth having and keeping.

We Americans have led the world in a great many respects in most
unexpected ways and at unexpected times, but seldom does a year pass in
which we do not discover that we have no monopoly of the art of taking
the lead. In one way or other, some nations of the earth are continually
showing themselves superior to us in some respects. We have needed a
great many warnings of this kind, and we will need a great many more
unless we act more promptly upon those which have already been granted
us.

We have had enough success in other days to make us very conceited, so
it is natural that occasionally we fall behind our competitors through
the blindness of our fancied security. There was a time when American
sails whitened every ocean, and more American ships could be seen in
foreign ports than those of two or three other nations combined. The man
who would now go out in a foreign port to look for an American flag,
determining not to break his fast till he found one, would stand a fair
chance of starving to death. Whether the disappearance of our flag from
commerce is due only to the ravages of the Alabama and her sister
privateers, or to the navigation laws now in force, is not to the point
of the present situation, which is, that unexpectedly to ourselves and
all the rest of the world we have taken the lowest position among the
nations as carriers of what we have to buy and sell, and that we do not
show any indications whatever of ever resuming our old position.

Another instance: Within the memory of half the people now alive, the
world heard that Cotton was king, and, as cotton was obtainable only
from America, Americans proudly assumed to be the commercial rulers of
the world. Owing to a little family trouble on this side of the water,
the other nations began to look about elsewhere for their cotton. They
found some in unexpected places, and have been finding it there ever
since. We still produce more cotton than any other country, but we are
not kings of the cotton market any longer.

Then came the time when Corn was king. It is true we did not ship much
of it in the grain, but between putting it into pork and putting it into
whiskey, our corn became the first cause of the loading many thousands
of ships to different foreign countries. Foreigners have eyes in their
heads and they began to look about and see whether they could not
produce pork and whiskey as cheaply as those people across the water,
who had to send their products three thousand miles or more to find a
market. They succeeded. At the present day, although our distilleries
and pig-styes are in active operation, a great deal of distilled liquors
and also a great deal of the meat of the hog comes this way across the
ocean. The market still is good abroad for American hams, sides,
shoulders, bacon and lard, but the bottom has dropped out of the whiskey
market, and seems to show no signs of a desire to return.

For a number of years, and until very recently, our wheat had made us
commercially, in one sense at least, the superior of all the other
nations of the world. The finer breadstuffs were not to be had in Europe
except from American sources. Year by year the price of wheat increased
until the American farmer became so enviable an individual that a great
many merchants went out of business, bought farms, and attempted to
compete with him. As is usually the case when any business is so
flourishing that every one wishes to go into it, endeavors were being
made by hundreds of sharp-eyed observers to see whether wheat might not
be more profitably produced in other portions of the world, and the
success which attended these observations has been anything but
gratifying to the American farmer. Russia and Hungary are producing more
wheat than ever before. Wheat is pouring into Europe from Asia, and even
from Africa, and the American farmer now is not quite so sure as to what
will be the result of a good crop of wheat--not sure whether it will
yield a profit or fail to pay expenses. Even the reductions in freight
rates, alike from the agricultural districts to the seashore and from
America to Europe, do not compensate him for the great reduction in the
price of what once he fondly believed was an enduring source of profit.
The time when it was safe to put an entire farm into wheat has passed.
Farmers are studying mixed crops now with all the intelligence that is
in them, for a man’s first duty is to earn food for his family.

Again, when it was discovered that, helped by some refrigerating
process, we could send fresh meat to Europe, the whole country arose,
cheered and patted itself upon the back. Now, surely the whole world
would be at our feet, for were we not feeding Englishmen, Frenchmen and
Germans cheaper than any of their home producers could do it? Our
self-satisfaction increased when it was discovered that live cattle also
could be sent over to Europe in immense quantities and pay a handsome
profit in spite of occasional losses due to storms and injudicious
loading of the vessels which carried the animals. About this time
ranches began to cover all ground in the far West that was fit at all
for grazing, and the estates, nominally the property of those who
managed them, came to be of baronial extent. But what America could do,
Australia began to think she also could do, and even South Africa was
not averse to experimenting in the same direction. We still send a great
deal of meat to Europe, but ranch property is not as much in demand as
once it was. There are ranches now to be had for the taking, but the
takers are few.

Just before the ranch fever began, we struck oil--struck it in such
immense quantities, and also found men so competent to make it fit for
general use, that petroleum in some of its forms promised to be the
leading export article of the United States. There was not a civilized
quarter of the world in which one couldn’t find the American kerosene
oil can. Our oil still continues to go abroad in immense quantities,
but the fortunes which have been made upon it have stimulated
prospectors all over the world, and, as it is known that oil is not
restricted to any single hemisphere, or even grand division of the
world, the prospects begin to look rather dismal for America retaining
supremacy in this particular article of commerce. The Asiatic oil wells
are far more valuable than ours and are worked at less expense, and the
supply can be distributed in Europe quite as easily and cheaply as that
from the American wells and refineries. Evidently we can’t afford to
depend upon oil alone. Large fortunes have been made upon it, but there
is an old song which says: “The mill can never grind with the water that
is passed.” We need something new to keep us at the fore. What it is to
be has not yet been discovered.

Some few unfulfilled expectations of this kind, some great commercial
disappointments, are probably necessary to divest us of part of the
overweening self-confidence which is peculiar to the inhabitants of all
new countries. Simple and unquestioning belief in manifest destiny and
all that sort of talk has quite a stimulating effect at times, but it
also is likely to lull people into a false sense of security. It already
has done so to a large extent in the United States. We have been so well
satisfied that we were superior in intelligence and resources to any
other land on the face of the earth that we have been inattentive to
some of our greater interests. The shipping of raw materials of any kind
is a reputable division of industry, but it is not the highest result at
which a nation should aim, nor should any amount of success at it blind
the people to their greater duties, responsibilities and opportunities.

On the other hand, no other nation of the world has so much as we to be
thankful for and to encourage them. We have no bad neighbors who are
strong enough for us to be afraid of, and all the greater powers of the
world are far enough away to take very little interest in us, unless we
annoy them in some way. We do not have to squander the energies and
sometimes the life-blood of our race by putting all our young men into
armies and navies and teaching them distrust, suspicion, cruelty and the
spirit of rapine. Our taxes are heavy, but, on the other hand, our
national debt, once so enormous, is being reduced with such rapidity
that soon we will show the world the astonishing spectacle of a great
nation without a debt. There is nowhere else in the world where a person
with money to invest and desiring it to remain absolutely secure, no
matter at how small a rate of interest, cannot quickly obtain the
securities of his own government for his gold or notes, but here there
is very little encouragement any longer to buy the national bonds, for
they are being redeemed at a rate which makes it almost impossible for
any one to retain them with certainty for a long time as a permanent
investment. Holders of the debts of other countries expect never to have
their principal redeemed; they are satisfied to get interest
perpetually, as undoubtedly they will unless the debts are repudiated.
There is very little possibility of any foreign country of the first
class ever discharging all of its financial obligations so far as
principal is concerned, unless it provokes a fight with the United
States and holds our cities for ransom. If we must, and certain
economists say we must, continue to extract a large amount of money from
the pockets of the people, we will at least have the satisfaction of
seeing it spent for something besides dead horses.

We also are reducing the proportion of our uneducated and ignorant
classes at a rapid and gratifying rate. Other countries are working in
this direction with more skill, thoughtfulness and accurate appliances,
but, on the other hand, they have to contend against the apathy of a
large portion of the population, an article which, happily, in this
country is of very small proportions. Besides the vast mass of
uneducated beings who have come to us as immigrants, we have also the
entire colored population of the South, but schools are built so rapidly
and all classes of our people, even the most ignorant of blacks, are so
ambitious to be as good as any other class, that it is not at all
difficult to get children to school and to persuade parents to take a
hearty interest in education. Whatever may be our faults in the future,
ignorance promises not to be one of them.

There is another side to this subject, and one which cannot too quickly
begin to turn the thoughtful portion of the public. “A little learning
is a dangerous thing,” is a sentiment which has frequently been quoted.
The inherent right of every citizen to reach the highest office of the
government has so stimulated ambition that almost any one is willing to
try for the position whether fit or not, and the same statement holds
good regarding every other place of trust or profit in public or private
life. Half-educated men, men of almost no education, have brought this
country to great peril again and again. Their numbers are constantly
increasing. We must be on guard against them. Misdirected activity is
worse than no activity at all, but there is something worse than that,
and it is the ceaseless ambition of men whose conscience does not keep
pace with their intelligence. The school supplies intelligence, but
conscience is something which cannot be made to order, and no
institution under charge and supervision of a government can be expected
to supply it. The nations of the Old World have attempted to do it for
centuries through the medium of the church, but good and noble and
self-sacrificing though the church has been at many times and in many
lands, its ministrations cannot be forced upon those who are unwilling
to receive them.

The only available substitute is a high standard of public morality.
This is voiced by the press, by the pulpit and in private life; but,
unfortunately, when it reaches the domain of politics, it immediately
becomes confused and enfeebled. A higher standard must be set by parties
and maintained by the leaders and voters and adherents of those parties.
The hypocrisy of all political utterances has been proved over and over
again during the past few years in the United States. No man of honesty
and high purpose can help blushing for shame when he reviews the broken
promises of his own political organization, no matter what it may be.
“Promises, like pie-crusts, are made to be broken,” says the practical
politician, and while for three years and six months of every four the
respectable citizen protests against such shameful disregard of public
and private morals, in the remaining six months he is likely to give his
tacit assent and his active vote to the party with which he has always
acted in politics, regardless of who may be its leaders and what may be
its actual intentions. Until both parties line down this disgrace and
dishonor there will be a weak joint in our armor and our enemies will
sooner or later discover a way of piercing it. “Righteousness exalteth a
nation,” says an authority which most Americans regard with great
respect--except during a Presidential campaign.

The stability and peace of our nation should be the great concern of our
people, and as there is not a private virtue which may not be
influential in this direction, each individual has it in his power to
further the great purpose of the community. All the other nations envy
us--envy us our form of government, our freedom from conscription, large
armies, privileged classes, vested rights, ugly neighbors, churchly
impositions and hopeless debts. But we can maintain all these features
of superiority only by maintaining an honest and intelligent government.
We cannot do it by being blind, unreasoning partizans of any political
organization. To be a “strong Democrat” or “strong Republican” is often
to be contemptibly weak as an American. Loyalty to party often means
disloyalty to the nation. Party platforms are seldom framed according to
the will of the majority; they are framed by the leaders, and often for
the leaders’ own personal purposes. In all other lands where
constitutional government prevails the intelligent classes sway from one
party to the other, according to their opinion of measures proposed.
Loyalty is accorded to the nation first, the party afterwards. The
party is regarded as a means, not an end; it must be so regarded here,
before we can rise to the level of our opportunities, and the number and
greatness of these opportunities make this duty more imperative here,
even for selfish reasons, than anywhere else. It is peculiarly stupid
and disgraceful that any intelligent American should be able to say,
with Sir Joseph Porter, in “Pinafore:”

    “I always voted at my party’s call,
     And I never thought of thinking for myself at all.”

No party should be a voter’s ruler; it is his servant, and if it is
lazy, dishonest or does not obey him, it should be disciplined or
changed.

We must do much else, by way of vigilance. We must insist that American
land be held only by Americans. A great many rich men on the other side
of the Atlantic are willing and anxious to reproduce here a state of
affairs that has made endless trouble in Europe. Said President
Harrison, while yet in the Senate: “Vast tracts of our domain, not
simply the public domain on the frontier, but in some of our newer
States, are passing into the hands of wealthy foreigners. It seems that
the land reforms in Ireland, and the movement in England in favor of the
reduction of large estates and the distribution of the lands among
persons who will cultivate them for their own use, are disturbing the
investments of some Englishmen, and that some of them are looking to
this country for the acquisition of vast tracts of land which may be
held by them and let out to tenants, out of the rents of which they may
live abroad. This evil requires early attention, and that Congress
should, by law, restrain the acquisition of such tracts of land by
aliens. Our policy should be small farms, worked by the men who own
them.” So says every thoughtful American.

We must give closer attention to the army of the unemployed if we wish
to avoid the bad influence which discontent, of any class, has upon the
prosperity of the community. The neglect of workers who have no work to
do is a blot upon the fair fame of our people. Financially, we do not
seem to be affected, one way or other, when a lot of men are thrown out
of work. Says Mr. T. V. Powderly, long the most eloquent spokesman of
the working class: “It matters not that the carpet-mills suspend three
hundred hands, the price of carpeting remains unchanged. The
gingham-mills and the cotton and woollen-mills may reduce the wages of
employés five and ten per cent., but the price of gingham and calico
continues as before.” But the men who suffer--they and their
families--by partial or total loss of income, feel keenly the apathy of
the general body of consumers, and their indignation and suspicion will
be sure to make themselves known unpleasantly when least expected. We
are all working men; we owe practical sympathy to the least of our
brethren.

We must make more of the individual, and unload fewer of our
responsibilities upon the government, whether local, State or national.
As editor Grady, of Georgia, said recently to the graduating class of
the University of Virginia: “The man who kindles the fire on the
hearthstone of an honest and righteous home burns the best incense to
liberty. He does not love mankind less who loves his neighbor most.
Exalt the citizen. As the State is the unit of government, he is the
unit of the State. Teach him that his home is his castle, and his
sovereignty rests beneath his hat. Make him self-respecting,
self-reliant and responsible. Let him lean on the State for nothing that
his own arm can do, and on the government for nothing that his State can
do. Let him cultivate independence to the point of sacrifice, and learn
that humble things with unbartered liberty are better than splendors
bought with its price. Let him neither surrender his individuality
to government nor merge it with the mob. Let him stand upright
and fearless--a freeman born of freemen--sturdy in his own
strength--dowering his family in the sweat of his brow--loving to his
State--loyal to his Republic--earnest in his allegiance wherever it
rests, but building his altar in the midst of his household gods and
shrining in his own heart the uttermost temple of its liberty.”

On all this, and the general subject of this book, the editor begs to
quote, in conclusion, from a well-known and highly respected authority.

“Men and brethren, think on these things.”


 [A] Por Castilla y por León Nuevo Mundo halló Colón, (n. etext
 transcriber.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:

So hot discussious on this point=> So hot discussions on this point {pg
106}

succeeded in occuping New Mexico=> succeeded in occupying New Mexico {pg
121}

Champs Elysèes=> Champs Élysées {pg 165}

much to be regrettted=> much to be regretted {pg 169}

a sculpure equal to that of Greece=> a sculpture equal to that of Greece
{pg 177}

it had magnifient grounds=> it had magnificent grounds {pg 205}

Danish West Indies, Ecuador=> Danish West Indies, Equador {pg 206}

explained in the words of of=> explained in the words of {pg 212}

His work is never done, any more than womans=> His work is never done,
any more than woman’s {pg 273}

farmers hould receive=> farmers should receive {pg 283}

He wont be able=> He won’t be able {pg 336}

it is atonishing that=> it is astonishing that {pg 406}

exercise sover the national banking system=> exercises over the national
banking system {pg 446}

let us sees after the uses=> let us see after the uses {pg 165}

the bitter enemity=> the bitter enmity {pg 471}

his own and only wife=> his one and only wife {pg 486}

Mr. Bancroft probable expended more money=> Mr. Bancroft probably
expended more money {pg 536}

and has point to it=> and has a point to it {pg 560}





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