North America

Part 5 out of 7

So much I have said wishing to plead the cause of the Northern
States before the bar of English opinion, and thinking that there
is ground for a plea in their favor. But yet I cannot say that
their bitterness against Englishmen has been justified, or that
their tone toward England has been dignified. Their complaint is
that they have received no sympathy from England; but it seems to
me that a great nation should not require an expression of sympathy
during its struggle. Sympathy is for the weak rather than for the
strong. When I hear two powerful men contending together in
argument, I do not sympathize with him who has the best of it; but
I watch the precision of his logic and acknowledge the effects of
his rhetoric. There has been a whining weakness in the complaints
made by Americans against England, which has done more to lower
them as a people in my judgment than any other part of their
conduct during the present crisis. When we were at war with
Russia, the feeling of the States was strongly against us. All
their wishes were with our enemies. When the Indian mutiny was at
its worst, the feeling of France was equally adverse to us. The
joy expressed by the French newspapers was almost ecstatic. But I
do not think that on either occasion we bemoaned ourselves sadly on
the want of sympathy shown by our friends. On each occasion we
took the opinion expressed for what it was worth, and managed to
live it down. We listened to what was said, and let it pass by.
When in each case we had been successful, there was an end of our
friends' croakings.

But in the Northern States of America the bitterness against
England has amounted almost to a passion. The players--those
chroniclers of the time--have had no hits so sure as those which
have been aimed at Englishmen as cowards, fools, and liars. No
paper has dared to say that England has been true in her American
policy. The name of an Englishman has been made a by-word for
reproach. In private intercourse private amenities have remained.
I, at any rate, may boast that such has been the case as regards
myself. But, even in private life, I have been unable to keep down
the feeling that I have always been walking over smothered ashes.

It may be that, when the civil war in America is over, all this
will pass by, and there will be nothing left of international
bitterness but its memory. It is sincerely to be hoped that this
may be so--that even the memory of the existing feeling may fade
away and become unreal. I for one cannot think that two nations
situated as are the States and England should permanently quarrel
and avoid each other. But words have been spoken which will, I
fear, long sound in men's ears, and thoughts have sprung up which
will not easily allow themselves to be extinguished.



Speaking of New York as a traveler, I have two faults to find with
it. In the first place, there is nothing to see; and, in the
second place, there is no mode of getting about to see anything.
Nevertheless, New York is a most interesting city. It is the third
biggest city in the known world, for those Chinese congregations of
unwinged ants are not cities in the known world. In no other city
is there a population so mixed and cosmopolitan in their modes of
life. And yet in no other city that I have seen are there such
strong and ever visible characteristics of the social and political
bearings of the nation to which it belongs. New York appears to me
as infinitely more American than Boston, Chicago, or Washington.
It has no peculiar attribute of its own, as have those three
cities--Boston in its literature and accomplished intelligence,
Chicago in its internal trade, and Washington in its Congressional
and State politics. New York has its literary aspirations, its
commercial grandeur, and, Heaven knows, it has its politics also.
But these do not strike the visitor as being specially
characteristic of the city. That it is pre-eminently American is
its glory or its disgrace, as men of different ways of thinking may
decide upon it. Free institutions, general education, and the
ascendency of dollars are the words written on every paving-stone
along Fifth Avenue, down Broadway, and up Wall Street. Every man
can vote, and values the privilege. Every man can read, and uses
the privilege. Every man worships the dollar, and is down before
his shrine from morning to night.

As regards voting and reading, no American will be angry with me
for saying so much of him; and no Englishman, whatever may be his
ideas as to the franchise in his own country, will conceive that I
have said aught to the dishonor of an American. But as to that
dollar-worshiping, it will of course seem that I am abusing the New
Yorkers. We all know what a wretchedly wicked thing money is--how
it stands between us and heaven--how it hardens our hearts and
makes vulgar our thoughts! Dives has ever gone to the devil, while
Lazarus has been laid up in heavenly lavender. The hand that
employs itself in compelling gold to enter the service of man has
always been stigmatized as the ravisher of things sacred. The
world is agreed about that, and therefore the New Yorker is in a
bad way. There are very few citizens in any town known to me which
under this dispensation are in a good way, but the New Yorker is in
about the worst way of all. Other men, the world over, worship
regularly at the shrine with matins and vespers, nones and
complines, and whatever other daily services may be known to the
religious houses; but the New Yorker is always on his knees.

That is the amount of the charge which I bring against New York;
and now, having laid on my paint thickly, I shall proceed, like an
unskillful artist, to scrape a great deal of it off again. New
York has been a leading commercial city in the world for not more
than fifty or sixty years. As far as I can learn, its population
at the close of the last century did not exceed 60,000, and ten
years later it had not reached 100,000. In 1860 it had reached
nearly 800,000 in the City of New York itself. To this number must
be added the numbers of Brooklyn, Williamsburg, and Jersey City, in
order that a true conception may be had of the population of this
American metropolis, seeing that those places are as much a part of
New York as Southwark is of London. By this the total will be
swelled to considerably above a million. It will no doubt be
admitted that this growth has been very fast, and that New York may
well be proud of it. Increase of population is, I take it, the
only trustworthy sign of a nation's success or of a city's success.
We boast that London has beaten the other cities of the world, and
think that that boast is enough to cover all the social sins for
which London has to confess her guilt. New York, beginning with
60,000 sixty years since, has now a million souls--a million
mouths, all of which eat a sufficiency of bread, all of which speak
ore rotundo, and almost all of which can read. And this has come
of its love of dollars.

For myself I do not believe that Dives is so black as he is painted
or that his peril is so imminent. To reconcile such an opinion
with holy writ might place me in some difficulty were I a
clergyman. Clergymen, in these days, are surrounded by
difficulties of this nature--finding it necessary to explain away
many old-established teachings which narrowed the Christian Church,
and to open the door wide enough to satisfy the aspirations and
natural hopes of instructed men. The brethren of Dives are now so
many and so intelligent that they will no longer consent to be
damned without looking closely into the matter themselves. I will
leave them to settle the matter with the Church, merely assuring
them of my sympathy in their little difficulties in any case in
which mere money causes the hitch.

To eat his bread in the sweat of his brow was man's curse in Adam's
day, but is certainly man's blessing in our day. And what is
eating one's bread in the sweat of one's brow but making money? I
will believe no man who tells me that he would not sooner earn two
loaves than one--and if two, then two hundred. I will believe no
man who tells me that he would sooner earn one dollar a day than
two--and if two, then two hundred. That is, in the very nature of
the argument, caeteris paribus. When a man tells me that he would
prefer one honest loaf to two that are dishonest, I will, in all
possible cases, believe him. So also a man may prefer one quiet
loaf to two that are unquiet. But under circumstances that are the
same, and to a man who is sane, a whole loaf is better than half,
and two loaves are better than one. The preachers have preached
well, but on this matter they have preached in vain. Dives has
never believed that he will be damned because he is Dives. He has
never even believed that the temptations incident to his position
have been more than a fair counterpoise, or even so much as a fair
counterpoise, to his opportunities for doing good. All men who
work desire to prosper by their work, and they so desire by the
nature given to them from God. Wealth and progress must go on hand
in hand together, let the accidents which occasionally divide them
for a time happen as often as they may. The progress of the
Americans has been caused by their aptitude for money-making; and
that continual kneeling at the shrine of the coined goddess has
carried them across from New York to San Francisco. Men who kneel
at that shrine are called on to have ready wits and quick hands,
and not a little aptitude for self-denial. The New Yorker has been
true to his dollar because his dollar has been true to him.

But not on this account can I, nor on this account will any
Englishman, reconcile himself to the savor of dollars which
pervades the atmosphere of New York. The ars celare artem is
wanting. The making of money is the work of man; but he need not
take his work to bed with him, and have it ever by his side at
table, amid his family, in church, while he disports himself, as he
declares his passion to the girl of his heart, in the moments of
his softest bliss, and at the periods of his most solemn
ceremonies. That many do so elsewhere than in New York--in London,
for instance, in Paris, among the mountains of Switzerland, and the
steppes of Russia--I do not doubt. But there is generally a vail
thrown over the object of the worshiper's idolatry. In New York
one's ear is constantly filled with the fanatic's voice as he
prays, one's eyes are always on the familiar altar. The
frankincense from the temple is ever in one's nostrils. I have
never walked down Fifth Avenue alone without thinking of money. I
have never walked there with a companion without talking of it. I
fancy that every man there, in order to maintain the spirit of the
place, should bear on his forehead a label stating how many dollars
he is worth, and that every label should be expected to assert a

I do not think that New York has been less generous in the use of
its money than other cities, or that the men of New York generally
are so. Perhaps I might go farther and say that in no city has
more been achieved for humanity by the munificence of its richest
citizens than in New York. Its hospitals, asylums, and
institutions for the relief of all ailments to which flesh is heir,
are very numerous, and beyond praise in the excellence of their
arrangements. And this has been achieved in a great degree by
private liberality. Men in America are not as a rule anxious to
leave large fortunes to their children. The millionaire when
making his will very generally gives back a considerable portion of
the wealth which he has made to the city in which he made it. The
rich citizen is always anxious that the poor citizen shall be
relieved. It is a point of honor with him to raise the character
of his municipality, and to provide that the deaf and dumb, the
blind, the mad, the idiots, the old, and the incurable shall have
such alleviation in their misfortune as skill and kindness can

Nor is the New Yorker a hugger-mugger with his money. He does not
hide up his dollars in old stockings and keep rolls of gold in
hidden pots. He does not even invest it where it will not grow but
only produce small though sure fruit. He builds houses, he
speculates largely, he spreads himself in trade to the extent of
his wings--and not seldom somewhat farther. He scatters his wealth
broadcast over strange fields, trusting that it may grow with an
increase of a hundredfold, but bold to bear the loss should the
strange field prove itself barren. His regret at losing his money
is by no means commensurate with his desire to make it. In this
there is a living spirit which to me divests the dollar-worshiping
idolatry of something of its ugliness. The hand when closed on the
gold is instantly reopened. The idolator is anxious to get, but he
is anxious also to spend. He is energetic to the last, and has no
comfort with his stock unless it breeds with Transatlantic rapidity
of procreation.

So much I say, being anxious to scrape off some of that daub of
black paint with which I have smeared the face of my New Yorker;
but not desiring to scrape it all off. For myself, I do not love
to live amid the clink of gold, and never have "a good time," as
the Americans say, when the price of shares and percentages come up
in conversation. That state of men's minds here which I have
endeavored to explain tends, I think, to make New York
disagreeable. A stranger there who has no great interest in
percentages soon finds himself anxious to escape. By degrees he
perceives that he is out of his element, and had better go away.
He calls at the bank, and when he shows himself ignorant as to the
price at which his sovereigns should be done, he is conscious that
he is ridiculous. He is like a man who goes out hunting for the
first time at forty years of age. He feels himself to be in the
wrong place, and is anxious to get out of it. Such was my
experience of New York, at each of the visits that I paid to it.

But yet, I say again, no other American city is so intensely
American as New York. It is generally considered that the
inhabitants of New England, the Yankees properly so called, have
the American characteristics of physiognomy in the fullest degree.
The lantern jaws, the thin and lithe body, the dry face on which
there has been no tint of the rose since the baby's long-clothes
were first abandoned, the harsh, thick hair, the thin lips, the
intelligent eyes, the sharp voice with the nasal twang--not
altogether harsh, though sharp and nasal--all these traits are
supposed to belong especially to the Yankee. Perhaps it was so
once, but at present they are, I think, more universally common in
New York than in any other part of the States. Go to Wall Street,
the front of the Astor House, and the regions about Trinity Church,
and you will find them in their fullest perfection.

What circumstances of blood or food, of early habit or subsequent
education, have created for the latter-day American his present
physiognomy? It is as completely marked, as much his own, as is
that of any race under the sun that has bred in and in for
centuries. But the American owns a more mixed blood than any other
race known. The chief stock is English, which is itself so mixed
that no man can trace its ramifications. With this are mingled the
bloods of Ireland, Holland, France, Sweden, and Germany. All this
has been done within but a few years, so that the American may be
said to have no claim to any national type of face. Nevertheless,
no man has a type of face so clearly national as the American. He
is acknowledged by it all over the continent of Europe, and on his
own side of the water is gratified by knowing that he is never
mistaken for his English visitor. I think it comes from the hot-
air pipes and from dollar worship. In the Jesuit his mode of
dealing with things divine has given a peculiar cast of
countenance; and why should not the American be similarly moulded
by his special aspirations? As to the hot-air pipes, there can, I
think, be no doubt that to them is to be charged the murder of all
rosy cheeks throughout the States. If the effect was to be noticed
simply in the dry faces of the men about Wall Street, I should be
very indifferent to the matter. But the young ladies of Fifth
Avenue are in the same category. The very pith and marrow of life
is baked out of their young bones by the hot-air chambers to which
they are accustomed. Hot air is the great destroyer of American

In saying that there is very little to be seen in New York I have
also said that there is no way of seeing that little. My assertion
amounts to this; that there are no cabs. To the reading world at
large this may not seem to be much, but let the reading world go to
New York, and it will find out how much the deficiency means. In
London, in Paris, in Florence, in Rome, in the Havana, or at Grand
Cairo, the cab-driver or attendant does not merely drive the cab or
belabor the donkey, but he is the visitor's easiest and cheapest
guide. In London, the Tower, Westminster Abbey, and Madame Tussaud
are found by the stranger without difficulty, and almost without a
thought, because the cab-driver knows the whereabouts and the way.
Space is moreover annihilated, and the huge distances of the
English metropolis are brought within the scope of mortal power.
But in New York there is no such institution.

In New York there are street omnibuses as we have--there are street
cars such as last year we declined to have, and there are very
excellent public carriages; but none of these give you the
accommodation of a cab, nor can all of them combined do so. The
omnibuses, though clean and excellent, were to me very
unintelligible. They have no conductor to them. To know their
different lines and usages a man should have made a scientific
study of the city. To those going up and down Broadway I became
accustomed, but in them I was never quite at my ease. The money
has to be paid through a little hole behind the driver's back, and
should, as I learned at last, be paid immediately on entrance. But
in getting up to do this I always stumbled about, and it would
happen that when with considerable difficulty I had settled my own
account, two or three ladies would enter, and would hand me,
without a word, some coins with which I had no life-long
familiarity, in order that I might go through the same ceremony on
their account. The change I would usually drop into the straw, and
then there would arise trouble and unhappiness. Before I became
aware of that law as to instant payment, bells used to be rung at
me, which made me uneasy. I knew I was not behaving as a citizen
should behave, but could not compass the exact points of my
delinquency. And then, when I desired to escape, the door being
strapped up tight, I would halloo vainly at the driver through the
little hole; whereas, had I known my duty, I should have rung a
bell, or pulled a strap, according to the nature of the omnibus in
question. In a month or two all these things may possibly be
learned; but the visitor requires his facilities for locomotion at
the first moment of his entrance into the city. I heard it
asserted by a lecturer in Boston, Mr. Wendell Phillips, whose name
is there a household word, that citizens of the United States
carried brains in their fingers as well as in their heads; whereas
"common people," by which Mr. Phillips intended to designate the
remnant of mankind beyond the United States, were blessed with no
such extended cerebral development. Having once learned this fact
from Mr. Phillips, I understood why it was that a New York omnibus
should be so disagreeable to me, and at the same time so suitable
to the wants of the New Yorkers.

And then there are street cars--very long omnibuses--which run on
rails but are dragged by horses. They are capable of holding forty
passengers each, and as far as my experience goes carry an average
load of sixty. The fare of the omnibus is six cents, or three
pence. That of the street car five cents, or two pence halfpenny.
They run along the different avenues, taking the length of the
city. In the upper or new part of the town their course is simple
enough, but as they descend to the Bowery, Peck Slip, and Pearl
Street, nothing can be conceived more difficult or devious than
their courses. The Broadway omnibus, on the other hand, is a
straightforward, honest vehicle in the lower part of the town,
becoming, however, dangerous and miscellaneous when it ascends to
Union Square and the vicinities of fashionable life.

The street cars are manned with conductors, and, therefore, are
free from many of the perils of the omnibus; but they have perils
of their own. They are always quite full. By that I mean that
every seat is crowded, that there is a double row of men and women
standing down the center, and that the driver's platform in front
is full, and also the conductor's platform behind. That is the
normal condition of a street car in the Third Avenue. You, as a
stranger in the middle of the car, wish to be put down at, let us
say, 89th Street. In the map of New York now before me, the cross
streets running from east to west are numbered up northward as far
as 154th Street. It is quite useless for you to give the number as
you enter. Even an American conductor, with brains all over him,
and an anxious desire to accommodate, as is the case with all these
men, cannot remember. You are left therefore in misery to
calculate the number of the street as you move along, vainly
endeavoring through the misty glass to decipher the small numbers
which after a day or two you perceive to be written on the lamp

But I soon gave up all attempts at keeping a seat in one of these
cars. It became my practice to sit down on the outside iron rail
behind, and as the conductor generally sat in my lap I was in a
measure protected. As for the inside of these vehicles the women
of New York were, I must confess, too much for me. I would no
sooner place myself on a seat, than I would be called on by a mute,
unexpressive, but still impressive stare into my face, to surrender
my place. From cowardice if not from gallantry I would always
obey; and as this led to discomfort and an irritated spirit, I
preferred nursing the conductor on the hard bar in the rear.

And here if I seem to say a word against women in America, I beg
that it may be understood that I say that word only against a
certain class; and even as to that class I admit that they are
respectable, intelligent, and, as I believe, industrious. Their
manners, however, are to me more odious than those of any other
human beings that I ever met elsewhere. Nor can I go on with that
which I have to say without carrying my apology further, lest,
perchance, I should be misunderstood by some American women whom I
would not only exclude from my censure, but would include in the
very warmest eulogium which words of mine could express as to those
of the female sex whom I love and admire the most. I have known,
do know, and mean to continue to know as far as in me may lie,
American ladies as bright, as beautiful, as graceful, as sweet, as
mortal limits for brightness, beauty, grace, and sweetness will
permit. They belong to the aristocracy of the land, by whatever
means they may have become aristocrats. In America one does not
inquire as to their birth, their training, or their old names. The
fact of their aristocratic power comes out in every word and look.
It is not only so with those who have traveled or with those who
are rich. I have found female aristocrats with families and
slender means, who have as yet made no grand tour across the ocean.
These women are charming beyond expression. It is not only their
beauty. Had he been speaking of such, Wendell Phillips would have
been right in saying that they have brains all over them. So much
for those who are bright and beautiful, who are graceful and sweet!
And now a word as to those who to me are neither bright nor
beautiful, and who can be to none either graceful or sweet.

It is a hard task, that of speaking ill of any woman; but it seems
to me that he who takes upon himself to praise incurs the duty of
dispraising also where dispraise is, or to him seems to be,
deserved. The trade of a novelist is very much that of describing
the softness, sweetness, and loving dispositions of women; and this
he does, copying as best he can from nature. But if he only sings
of that which is sweet, whereas that which is not sweet too
frequently presents itself, his song will in the end be untrue and
ridiculous. Women are entitled to much observance from men, but
they are entitled to no observance which is incompatible with
truth. Women, by the conventional laws of society, are allowed to
exact much from men, but they are allowed to exact nothing for
which they should not make some adequate return. It is well that a
man should kneel in spirit before the grace and weakness of a
woman, but it is not well that he should kneel either in spirit or
body if there be neither grace nor weakness. A man should yield
everything to a woman for a word, for a smile--to one look of
entreaty. But if there be no look of entreaty, no word, no smile,
I do not see that he is called upon to yield much.

The happy privileges with which women are at present blessed have
come to them from the spirit of chivalry. That spirit has taught
man to endure in order that women may be at their ease; and has
generally taught women to accept the ease bestowed on them with
grace and thankfulness. But in America the spirit of chivalry has
sunk deeper among men than it has among women. It must be borne in
mind that in that country material well-being and education are
more extended than with us; and that, therefore, men there have
learned to be chivalrous who with us have hardly progressed so far.
The conduct of men to women throughout the States is always
gracious. They have learned the lesson. But it seems to me that
the women have not advanced as far as the men have done. They have
acquired a sufficient perception of the privileges which chivalry
gives them, but no perception of that return which chivalry demands
from them. Women of the class to which I allude are always talking
of their rights, but seem to have a most indifferent idea of their
duties. They have no scruple at demanding from men everything that
a man can be called on to relinquish in a woman's behalf, but they
do so without any of that grace which turns the demand made into a
favor conferred.

I have seen much of this in various cities of America, but much
more of it in New York than elsewhere. I have heard young
Americans complain of it, swearing that they must change the whole
tenor of their habits toward women. I have heard American ladies
speak of it with loathing and disgust. For myself, I have
entertained on sundry occasions that sort of feeling for an
American woman which the close vicinity of an unclean animal
produces. I have spoken of this with reference to street cars,
because in no position of life does an unfortunate man become more
liable to these anti-feminine atrocities than in the center of one
of these vehicles. The woman, as she enters, drags after her a
misshapen, dirty mass of battered wirework, which she calls her
crinoline, and which adds as much to her grace and comfort as a log
of wood does to a donkey when tied to the animal's leg in a
paddock. Of this she takes much heed, not managing it so that it
may be conveyed up the carriage with some decency, but striking it
about against men's legs, and heaving it with violence over
people's knees. The touch of a real woman's dress is in itself
delicate; but these blows from a harpy's fins are as loathsome as a
snake's slime. If there be two of them they talk loudly together,
having a theory that modesty has been put out of court by women's
rights. But, though not modest, the woman I describe is ferocious
in her propriety. She ignores the whole world around her as she
sits; with a raised chin and face flattened by affectation, she
pretends to declare aloud that she is positively not aware that any
man is even near her. She speaks as though to her, in her
womanhood, the neighborhood of men was the same as that of dogs or
cats. They are there, but she does not hear them, see them, or
even acknowledge them by any courtesy of motion. But her own face
always gives her the lie. In her assumption of indifference she
displays her nasty consciousness, and in each attempt at a would-be
propriety is guilty of an immodesty. Who does not know the timid
retiring face of the young girl who when alone among men unknown to
her feels that it becomes her to keep herself secluded? As many
men as there are around her, so many knights has such a one, ready
bucklered for her service, should occasion require such services.
Should it not, she passes on unmolested--but not, as she herself
will wrongly think, unheeded. But as to her of whom I am speaking,
we may say that every twist of her body and every tone of her voice
is an unsuccessful falsehood. She looks square at you in the face,
and you rise to give her your seat. You rise from a deference to
your own old convictions, and from that courtesy which you have
ever paid to a woman's dress, let it be worn with ever such hideous
deformities. She takes the place from which you have moved without
a word or a bow. She twists herself round, banging your shins with
her wires, while her chin is still raised, and her face is still
flattened, and she directs her friend's attention to another seated
man, as though that place were also vacant, and necessarily at her
disposure. Perhaps the man opposite has his own ideas about
chivalry. I have seen such a thing, and have rejoiced to see it.

You will meet these women daily, hourly, everywhere in the streets.
Now and again you will find them in society, making themselves even
more odious there than elsewhere. Who they are, whence they come,
and why they are so unlike that other race of women of which I have
spoken, you will settle for yourself. Do we not all say of our
chance acquaintances, after half an hour's conversation, nay, after
half an hour spent in the same room without conversation, that this
woman is a lady, and that that other woman is not? They jostle
each other even among us, but never seem to mix. They are closely
allied; but neither imbues the other with her attributes. Both
shall be equally well born, or both shall be equally ill born; but
still it is so. The contrast exists in England; but in America it
is much stronger. In England women become ladylike or vulgar. In
the States they are either charming or odious.

See that female walking down Broadway. She is not exactly such a
one as her I have attempted to describe on her entrance into the
street car; for this lady is well dressed, if fine clothes will
make well dressing. The machinery of her hoops is not battered,
and altogether she is a personage much more distinguished in all
her expenditures. But yet she is a copy of the other woman. Look
at the train which she drags behind her over the dirty pavement,
where dogs have been, and chewers of tobacco, and everything
concerned with filth except a scavenger. At every hundred yards
some unhappy man treads upon the silken swab which she trails
behind her--loosening it dreadfully at the girth one would say; and
then see the style of face and the expression of features with
which she accepts the sinner's half muttered apology. The world,
she supposes, owes her everything because of her silken train, even
room enough in a crowded thoroughfare to drag it along unmolested.
But, according to her theory, she owes the world nothing in return.
She is a woman with perhaps a hundred dollars on her back, and
having done the world the honor of wearing them in the world's
presence, expects to be repaid by the world's homage and chivalry.
But chivalry owes her nothing--nothing, though she walk about
beneath a hundred times a hundred dollars--nothing, even though she
be a woman. Let every woman learn this, that chivalry owes her
nothing unless she also acknowledges her debt to chivalry. She
must acknowledge it and pay it; and then chivalry will not be
backward in making good her claims upon it.

All this has come of the street cars. But as it was necessary that
I should say it somewhere, it is as well said on that subject as on
any other. And now to continue with the street cars. They run, as
I have said, the length of the town, taking parallel lines. They
will take you from the Astor House, near the bottom of the town,
for miles and miles northward--half way up the Hudson River--for, I
believe, five pence. They are very slow, averaging about five
miles an hour; but they are very sure. For regular inhabitants,
who have to travel five or six miles perhaps to their daily work,
they are excellent. I have nothing really to say against the
street cars. But they do not fill the place of cabs.

There are, however, public carriages--roomy vehicles, dragged by
two horses, clean and nice, and very well suited to ladies visiting
the city. But they have none of the attributes of the cab. As a
rule, they are not to be found standing about. They are very slow.
They are very dear. A dollar an hour is the regular charge; but
one cannot regulate one's motion by the hour. Going out to dinner
and back costs two dollars, over a distance which in London would
cost two shillings. As a rule, the cost is four times that of a
cab, and the rapidity half that of a cab. Under these
circumstances, I think I am justified in saying that there is no
mode of getting about in New York to see anything.

And now as to the other charge against New York, of there being
nothing to see. How should there be anything there to see of
general interest? In other large cities--cities as large in name
as New York--there are works of art, fine buildings, ruins, ancient
churches, picturesque costumes, and the tombs of celebrated men.
But in New York there are none of these things. Art has not yet
grown up there. One or two fine figures by Crawford are in the
town, especially that of the Sorrowing Indian, at the rooms of the
Historical Society; but art is a luxury in a city which follows but
slowly on the heels of wealth and civilization. Of fine buildings--
which, indeed, are comprised in art--there are none deserving
special praise or remark. It might well have been that New York
should ere this have graced herself with something grand in
architecture; but she has not done so. Some good architectural
effect there is, and much architectural comfort. Of ruins, of
course, there can be none--none, at least, of such ruins as
travelers admire, though perhaps some of that sort which disgraces
rather than decorates. Churches there are plenty, but none that
are ancient. The costume is the same as our own; and I need hardly
say that it is not picturesque. And the time for the tombs of
celebrated men has not yet come. A great man's ashes are hardly of
value till they have all but ceased to exist.

The visitor to New York must seek his gratification and obtain his
instruction from the habits and manners of men. The American,
though he dresses like an Englishman, and eats roast beef with a
silver fork--or sometimes with a steel knife--as does an
Englishman, is not like an Englishman in his mind, in his
aspirations, in his tastes, or in his politics. In his mind he is
quicker, more universally intelligent, more ambitious of general
knowledge, less indulgent of stupidity and ignorance in others,
harder, sharper, brighter with the surface brightness of steel,
than is an Englishman; but he is more brittle, less enduring, less
malleable, and, I think, less capable of impressions. The mind of
the Englishman has more imagination, but that of the American more
incision. The American is a great observer; but he observes things
material rather than things social or picturesque. He is a
constant and ready speculator; but all speculations, even those
which come of philosophy, are with him more or less material. In
his aspirations the American is more constant than an Englishman--
or I should rather say he is more constant in aspiring. Every
citizen of the United States intends to do something. Every one
thinks himself capable of some effort. But in his aspirations he
is more limited than an Englishman. The ambitious American never
soars so high as the ambitious Englishman. He does not even see up
to so great a height, and, when he has raised himself somewhat
above the crowd, becomes sooner dizzy with his own altitude. An
American of mark, though always anxious to show his mark, is always
fearful of a fall. In his tastes the American imitates the
Frenchman. Who shall dare to say that he is wrong, seeing that in
general matters of design and luxury the French have won for
themselves the foremost name? I will not say that the American is
wrong, but I cannot avoid thinking that he is so. I detest what is
called French taste; but the world is against me. When I
complained to a landlord of a hotel out in the West that his
furniture was useless; that I could not write at a marble table
whose outside rim was curved into fantastic shapes; that a gold
clock in my bed-room which did not go would give me no aid in
washing myself; that a heavy, immovable curtain shut out the light;
and that papier-mache chairs with small, fluffy velvet seats were
bad to sit on, he answered me completely by telling me that his
house had been furnished not in accordance with the taste of
England, but with that of France. I acknowledged the rebuke, gave
up my pursuits of literature and cleanliness, and hurried out of
the house as quickly as I could. All America is now furnishing
itself by the rules which guided that hotel-keeper. I do not
merely allude to actual household furniture--to chairs, tables, and
detestable gilt clocks. The taste of America is becoming French in
its conversation, French in its comforts and French in its
discomforts, French in its eating and French in its dress, French
in its manners, and will become French in its art. There are those
who will say that English taste is taking the same direction. I do
not think so. I strongly hope that it is not so. And therefore I
say that an Englishman and an American differ in their tastes.

But of all differences between an Englishman and an American, that
in politics is the strongest and the most essential. I cannot
here, in one paragraph, define that difference with sufficient
clearness to make my definition satisfactory; but I trust that some
idea of that difference may be conveyed by the general tenor of my
book. The American and the Englishman are both republicans. The
governments of the States and of England are probably the two
purest republican governments in the world. I do not, of course,
here mean to say that the governments are more pure than others,
but that the systems are more absolutely republican. And yet no
men can be much farther asunder in politics than the Englishman and
the American. The American of the present day puts a ballot-box
into the hands of every citizen, and takes his stand upon that and
that only. It is the duty of an American citizen to vote; and when
he has voted, he need trouble himself no further till the time for
voting shall come round again. The candidate for whom he has voted
represents his will, if he have voted with the majority; and in
that case he has no right to look for further influence. If he
have voted with the minority, he has no right to look for any
influence at all. In either case he has done his political work,
and may go about his business till the next year, or the next two
or four years, shall have come round. The Englishman, on the other
hand, will have no ballot-box, and is by no means inclined to
depend exclusively upon voters or upon voting. As far as voting
can show it, he desires to get the sense of the country; but he
does not think that that sense will be shown by universal suffrage.
He thinks that property amounting to a thousand pounds will show
more of that sense than property amounting to a hundred; but he
will not, on that account, go to work and apportion votes to
wealth. He thinks that the educated can show more of that sense
than the uneducated; but he does not therefore lay down any rule
about reading, writing, and arithmetic, or apportion votes to
learning. He prefers that all these opinions of his shall bring
themselves out and operate by their own intrinsic weight. Nor does
he at all confine himself to voting, in his anxiety to get the
sense of the country. He takes it in any way that it will show
itself, uses it for what it is worth, or perhaps far more than it
is worth, and welds it into that gigantic lever by which the
political action of the country is moved. Every man in Great
Britain, whether he possesses any actual vote or no, can do that
which is tantamount to voting every day of his life by the mere
expression of his opinion. Public opinion in America has hitherto
been nothing, unless it has managed to express itself by a majority
of ballot-boxes. Public opinion in England is everything, let
votes go as they may. Let the people want a measure, and there is
no doubt of their obtaining it. Only the people must want it--as
they did want Catholic emancipation, reform, and corn-law repeal,
and as they would want war if it were brought home to them that
their country was insulted.

In attempting to describe this difference in the political action
of the two countries, I am very far from taking all praise for
England or throwing any reproach on the States. The political
action of the States is undoubtedly the more logical and the
clearer. That, indeed, of England is so illogical and so little
clear that it would be quite impossible for any other nation to
assume it, merely by resolving to do so. Whereas the political
action of the States might be assumed by any nation to-morrow, and
all its strength might be carried across the water in a few written
rules as are the prescriptions of a physician or the regulations of
an infirmary. With us the thing has grown of habit, has been
fostered by tradition, has crept up uncared for, and in some parts
unnoticed. It can be written in no book, can be described in no
words, can be copied by no statesmen, and I almost believe can be
understood by no people but that to whose peculiar uses it has been

In speaking as I have here done of American taste and American
politics, I must allude to a special class of Americans who are to
be met more generally in New York than elsewhere--men who are
educated, who have generally traveled, who are almost always
agreeable, but who, as regards their politics, are to me the most
objectionable of all men. As regards taste they are objectionable
to me also. But that is a small thing; and as they are quite as
likely to be right as I am, I will say nothing against their taste.
But in politics it seems to me that these men have fallen into the
bitterest and perhaps into the basest of errors. Of the man who
begins his life with mean political ideas, having sucked them in
with his mother's milk, there may be some hope. The evil is at any
rate the fault of his forefathers rather than of himself. But who
can have hope of him who, having been thrown by birth and fortune
into the running river of free political activity, has allowed
himself to be drifted into the stagnant level of general political
servility? There are very many such Americans. They call
themselves republicans, and sneer at the idea of a limited
monarchy, but they declare that there is no republic so safe, so
equal for all men, so purely democratic as that now existing in
France. Under the French Empire all men are equal. There is no
aristocracy; no oligarchy; no overshadowing of the little by the
great. One superior is admitted--admitted on earth, as a superior
is also admitted in heaven. Under him everything is level, and,
provided he be not impeded, everything is free. He knows how to
rule, and the nation, allowing him the privilege of doing so, can
go along its course safely; can eat, drink, and be merry. If few
men can rise high, so also can few men fall low. Political
equality is the one thing desirable in a commonwealth, and by this
arrangement political equality is obtained. Such is the modern
creed of many an educated republican of the States.

To me it seems that such a political state is about the vilest to
which a man can descend. It amounts to a tacit abandonment of the
struggle which men are making for political truth and political
beneficence, in order that bread and meat may be eaten in peace
during the score of years or so that are at the moment passing over
us. The politicians of this class have decided for themselves that
the summum bonum is to be found in bread and the circus games. If
they be free to eat, free to rest, free to sleep, free to drink
little cups of coffee, while the world passes before them, on a
boulevard, they have that freedom which they covet. But equality
is necessary as well as freedom. There must be no towering trees
in this parterre to overshadow the clipped shrubs, and destroy the
uniformity of a growth which should never mount more than two feet
above the earth. The equality of this politician would forbid any
to rise above him instead of inviting all to rise up to him. It is
the equality of fear and of selfishness, and not the equality of
courage and philanthropy. And brotherhood, too, must be invoked--
fraternity as we may better call it in the jargon of the school.
Such politicians tell one much of fraternity, and define it too.
It consists in a general raising of the hat to all mankind; in a
daily walk that never hurries itself into a jostling trot,
inconvenient to passengers on the pavement; in a placid voice, a
soft smile, and a small cup of coffee on a boulevard. It means all
this, but I could never find that it meant any more. There is a
nation for which one is almost driven to think that such political
aspirations as these are suitable; but that nation is certainly not
the States of America.

And yet one finds many American gentlemen who have allowed
themselves to be drifted into such a theory. They have begun the
world as republican citizens, and as such they must go on. But in
their travels and their studies, and in the luxury of their life,
they have learned to dislike the rowdiness of their country's
politics. They want things to be soft and easy; as republican as
you please, but with as little noise as possible. The President is
there for four years. Why not elect him for eight, for twelve, or
for life?--for eternity if it were possible to find one who could
continue to live? It is to this way of thinking that Americans are
driven, when the polish of Europe has made the roughness of their
own elections odious to them.

"Have you seen any of our great institootions, sir?" That of
course is a question which is put to every Englishman who has
visited New York, and the Englishman who intends to say that he has
seen New York, should visit many of them. I went to schools,
hospitals, lunatic asylums, institutes for deaf and dumb, water-
works, historical societies, telegraph offices, and large
commercial establishments. I rather think that I did my work in a
thorough and conscientious manner, and I owe much gratitude to
those who guided me on such occasions. Perhaps I ought to describe
all these institutions; but were I to do so, I fear that I should
inflict fifty or sixty very dull pages on my readers. If I could
make all that I saw as clear and intelligible to others as it was
made to me who saw it, I might do some good. But I know that I
should fail. I marveled much at the developed intelligence of a
room full of deaf and dumb pupils, and was greatly astonished at
the performance of one special girl, who seemed to be brighter and
quicker, and more rapidly easy with her pen than girls generally
are who can hear and talk; but I cannot convey my enthusiasm to
others. On such a subject a writer may be correct, may be
exhaustive, may be statistically great; but he can hardly be
entertaining, and the chances are that he will not be instructive.

In all such matters, however, New York is pre-eminently great. All
through the States suffering humanity receives so much attention
that humanity can hardly be said to suffer. The daily recurring
boast of "our glorious institootions, sir," always provokes the
ridicule of an Englishman. The words have become ridiculous, and
it would, I think, be well for the nation if the term "Institution"
could be excluded from its vocabulary. But, in truth, they are
glorious. The country in this respect boasts, but it has done that
which justifies a boast. The arrangements for supplying New York
with water are magnificent. The drainage of the new part of the
city is excellent. The hospitals are almost alluring. The lunatic
asylum which I saw was perfect--though I did not feel obliged to
the resident physician for introducing me to all the worst patients
as countrymen of my own. "An English lady, Mr. Trollope. I'll
introduce you. Quite a hopeless case. Two old women. They've
been here fifty years. They're English. Another gentleman from
England, Mr. Trollope. A very interesting case! Confirmed

And as to the schools, it is almost impossible to mention them with
too high a praise. I am speaking here specially of New York,
though I might say the same of Boston, or of all New England. I do
not know any contrast that would be more surprising to an
Englishman, up to that moment ignorant of the matter, than that
which he would find by visiting first of all a free school in
London, and then a free school in New York. If he would also learn
the number of children that are educated gratuitously in each of
the two cities, and also the number in each which altogether lack
education, he would, if susceptible of statistics, be surprised
also at that. But seeing and hearing are always more effective
than mere figures. The female pupil at a free school in London is,
as a rule, either a ragged pauper or a charity girl, if not
degraded, at least stigmatized by the badges and dress of the
charity. We Englishmen know well the type of each, and have a
fairly correct idea of the amount of education which is imparted to
them. We see the result afterward when the same girls become our
servants, and the wives of our grooms and porters. The female
pupil at a free school in New York is neither a pauper nor a
charity girl. She is dressed with the utmost decency. She is
perfectly cleanly. In speaking to her, you cannot in any degree
guess whether her father has a dollar a day, or three thousand
dollars a year. Nor will you be enabled to guess by the manner in
which her associates treat her. As regards her own manner to you,
it is always the same as though her father were in all respects
your equal. As to the amount of her knowledge, I fairly confess
that it is terrific. When in the first room which I visited, a
slight, slim creature was had up before me to explain to me the
properties of the hypothenuse, I fairly confess that, as regards
education, I backed down, and that I resolved to confine my
criticisms to manner, dress, and general behavior. In the next
room I was more at my ease, finding that ancient Roman history was
on the tapis. "Why did the Romans run away with the Sabine women
asked the mistress, herself a young woman of about three and
twenty. "Because they were pretty," simpered out a little girl
with a cherry mouth. The answer did not give complete
satisfaction, and then followed a somewhat abstruse explanation on
the subject of population. It was all done with good faith and a
serious intent, and showed what it was intended to show--that the
girls there educated had in truth reached the consideration of
important subjects, and that they were leagues beyond that terrible
repetition of A B C, to which, I fear, that most of our free
metropolitan schools are still necessarily confined. You and I,
reader, were we called on to superintend the education of girls of
sixteen, might not select, as favorite points either the
hypothenuse or the ancient methods of populating young colonies.
There may be, and to us on the European side of the Atlantic there
will be, a certain amount of absurdity in the Transatlantic idea
that all knowledge is knowledge, and that it should be imparted if
it be not knowledge of evil. But as to the general result, no
fair-minded man or woman can have a doubt. That the lads and girls
in these schools are excellently educated, comes home as a fact to
the mind of any one who will look into the subject. That girl
could not have got as fair at the hypothenuse without a competent
and abiding knowledge of much that is very far beyond the outside
limits of what such girls know with us. It was at least manifest
in the other examination that the girls knew as well as I did who
were the Romans, and who were the Sabine women. That all this is
of use, was shown in the very gestures and bearings of the girl.
Emollit mores, as Colonel Newcombe used to say. That young woman
whom I had watched while she cooked her husband's dinner upon the
banks of the Mississippi had doubtless learned all about the Sabine
women, and I feel assured that she cooked her husband's dinner all
the better for that knowledge--and faced the hardships of the world
with a better front than she would have done had she been ignorant
on the subject.

In order to make a comparison between the schools of London and
those of New York, I have called them both free schools. They are,
in fact, more free in New York than they are in London; because in
New York every boy and girl, let his parentage be what it may, can
attend these schools without any payment. Thus an education as
good as the American mind can compass, prepared with every care,
carried on by highly-paid tutors, under ample surveillance,
provided with all that is most excellent in the way of rooms,
desks, books, charts, maps, and implements, is brought actually
within the reach of everybody. I need not point out to Englishmen
how different is the nature of schools in London. It must not,
however, be supposed that these are charity schools. Such is not
their nature. Let us say what we may as to the beauty of charity
as a virtue, the recipient of charity in its customary sense among
us is ever more or less degraded by the position. In the States
that has been fully understood, and the schools to which I allude
are carefully preserved from any such taint. Throughout the States
a separate tax is levied for the maintenance of these schools, and
as the taxpayer supports them, he is, of course, entitled to the
advantage which they confer. The child of the non-taxpayer is also
entitled, and to him the boon, if strictly analyzed, will come in
the shape of a charity. But under the system as it is arranged,
this is not analyzed. It is understood that the school is open to
all in the ward to which it belongs, and no inquiry is made whether
the pupil's parent has or has not paid anything toward the school's
support. I found this theory carried out so far that at the deaf
and dumb school, where some of the poorer children are wholly
provided by the institution, care is taken to clothe them in
dresses of different colors and different make, in order that
nothing may attach to them which has the appearance of a badge.
Political economists will see something of evil in this. But
philanthropists will see very much that is good.

It is not without a purpose that I have given this somewhat glowing
account of a girls' school in New York so soon after my little
picture of New York women, as they behave themselves in the streets
and street cars. It will, of course, be said that those women of
whom I have spoken, by no means in terms of admiration, are the
very girls whose education has been so excellent. This of course
is so; but I beg to remark that I have by no means said that an
excellent school education will produce all female excellencies.
The fact, I take it, is this: that seeing how high in the scale
these girls have been raised, one is anxious that they should be
raised higher. One is surprised at their pert vulgarity and
hideous airs, not because they are so low in our general
estimation, but because they are so high. Women of the same class
in London are humble enough, and therefore rarely offend us who are
squeamish. They show by their gestures that they hardly think
themselves good enough to sit by us; they apologize for their
presence; they conceive it to be their duty to be lowly in their
gesture. The question is which is best, the crouching and
crawling, or the impudent, unattractive self-composure. Not, my
reader, which action on her part may the better conduce to my
comfort or to yours. That is by no means the question. Which is
the better for the woman herself? That, I take it, is the point to
be decided. That there is something better than either, we shall
all agree--but to my thinking the crouching and crawling is the
lowest type of all.

At that school I saw some five or six hundred girls collected in
one room, and heard them sing. The singing was very pretty, and it
was all very nice; but I own that I was rather startled, and to
tell the truth somewhat abashed, when I was invited to "say a few
words to them." No idea of such a suggestion had dawned upon me,
and I felt myself quite at a loss. To be called up before five
hundred men is bad enough, but how much worse before that number of
girls! What could I say but that they were all very pretty? As
far as I can remember, I did say that and nothing else. Very
pretty they were, and neatly dressed, and attractive; but among
them all there was not a pair of rosy cheeks. How should there be,
when every room in the building was heated up to the condition of
an oven by those damnable hot-air pipes.

In England a taste for very large shops has come up during the last
twenty years. A firm is not doing a good business, or at any rate
a distinguished business, unless he can assert in his trade card
that he occupies at least half a dozen houses--Nos. 105, 106, 107,
108, 109 and 110. The old way of paying for what you want over the
counter is gone; and when you buy a yard of tape or a new carriage--
for either of which articles you will probably visit the same
establishment--you go through about the same amount of ceremony as
when you sell a thousand pounds out of the stocks in propria
persona. But all this is still further exaggerated in New York.
Mr. Stewart's store there is perhaps the handsomest institution in
the city, and his hall of audience for new carpets is a magnificent
saloon. "You have nothing like that in England," my friend said to
me as he walked me through it in triumph. "I wish we had nothing
approaching to it," I answered. For I confess to a liking for the
old-fashioned private shops. Harper's establishment for the
manufacture and sale of books is also very wonderful. Everything
is done on the premises, down to the very coloring of the paper
which lines the covers, and places the gilding on their backs. The
firm prints, engraves, electroplates, sews, binds, publishes, and
sells wholesale and retail. I have no doubt that the authors have
rooms in the attics where the other slight initiatory step is taken
toward the production of literature.

New York is built upon an island, which is I believe about ten
miles long, counting from the southern point at the Battery up to
Carmansville, to which place the city is presumed to extend
northward. This island is called Manhattan, a name which I have
always thought would have been more graceful for the city than that
of New York. It is formed by the Sound or East River, which
divides the continent from Long Island by the Hudson River, which
runs into the Sound, or rather joins it at the city foot, and by a
small stream called the Harlem River, which runs out of the Hudson
and meanders away into the Sound at the north of the city, thus
cutting the city off from the main-land. The breadth of the island
does not much exceed two miles, and therefore the city is long, and
not capable of extension in point of breadth. In its old days it
clustered itself round about the Point, and stretched itself up
from there along the quays of the two waters. The streets down in
this part of the town are devious enough, twisting themselves about
with delightful irregularity; but as the city grew there came the
taste for parallelograms, and the upper streets are rectangular and
numbered. Broadway, the street of New York with which the world is
generally best acquainted, begins at the southern point of the town
and goes northward through it. For some two miles and a half it
walks away in a straight line, and then it turns to the left toward
the Hudson. From that time Broadway never again takes a straight
course, but crosses the various avenues in an oblique direction
till it becomes the Bloomingdale Road, and under that name takes
itself out of town. There are eleven so-called avenues, which
descend in absolutely straight lines from the northern, and at
present unsettled, extremity of the new town, making their way
southward till they lose themselves among the old streets. These
are called First Avenue, Second Avenue, and so on. The town had
already progressed two miles up northward from the Battery before
it had caught the parallelogramic fever from Philadelphia, for at
about that distance we find "First Street". First Street runs
across the avenues from water to water, and then Second Street. I
will not name them all, seeing that they go up to 154th Street!
They do so at least on the map and I believe on the lamp-posts.
But the houses are not yet built in order beyond 50th or 60th
Street. The other hundred streets, each of two miles long, with
the avenues, which are mostly unoccupied for four or five miles, is
the ground over which the young New Yorkers are to spread
themselves. I do not in the least doubt that they will occupy it
all, and that 154th Street will find itself too narrow a boundary
for the population.

I have said that there was some good architectural effect in New
York, and I alluded chiefly to that of the Fifth Avenue. The Fifth
Avenue is the Belgrave Square, the Park Lane, and the Pall Mall of
New York. It is certainly a very fine street. The houses in it
are magnificent--not having that aristocratic look which some of
our detached London residences enjoy, or the palatial appearance of
an old-fashioned hotel in Paris, but an air of comfortable luxury
and commercial wealth which is not excelled by the best houses of
any other town that I know. They are houses, not hotels or
palaces; but they are very roomy houses, with every luxury that
complete finish can give them. Many of them cover large spaces of
the ground, and their rent will sometimes go up as high as 800
pounds and 1000 pounds a year. Generally the best of these houses
are owned by those who live in them, and rent is not, therefore,
paid. But this is not always the case, and the sums named above
may be taken as expressing their value. In England a man should
have a very large income indeed who could afford to pay 1000 pounds
a year for his house in London. Such a one would as a matter of
course have an establishment in the country, and be an earl, or a
duke, or a millionaire. But it is different in New York. The
resident there shows his wealth chiefly by his house; and though he
may probably have a villa at Newport or a box somewhere up the
Hudson, he has no second establishment. Such a house, therefore,
will not represent a total expenditure of above 4000 pounds a year.

There are churches on each side of Fifth Avenue--perhaps five or
six within sight at one time--which add much to the beauty of the
street. They are well built, and in fairly good taste. These,
added to the general well-being and splendid comfort of the place,
give it an effect better than the architecture of the individual
houses would seem to warrant. I own that I have enjoyed the vista
as I have walked up and down Fifth Avenue, and have felt that the
city had a right to be proud of its wealth. But the greatness and
beauty and glory of wealth have on such occasions been all in all
with me. I know no great man, no celebrated statesman, no
philanthropist of peculiar note who has lived in Fifth Avenue.
That gentleman on the right made a million of dollars by inventing
a shirt collar; this one on the left electrified the world by a
lotion; as to the gentleman at the corner there, there are rumors
about him and the Cuban slave trade but my informant by no means
knows that they are true. Such are the aristocracy of Fifth
Avenue, I can only say that, if I could make a million dollars by a
lotion, I should certainly be right to live in such a house as one
of those.

The suburbs of New York are, by the nature of the localities,
divided from the city by water. Jersey City and Hoboken are on the
other side of the Hudson, and in another State. Williamsburg and
Brooklyn are on Long Island, which is a part of the State of New
York. But these places are as easily reached as Lambeth is reached
from Westminster. Steam ferries ply every three or four minutes;
and into these boats coaches, carts, and wagons of any size or
weight are driven. In fact, they make no other stoppage to the
commerce than that occasioned by the payment of a few cents. Such
payment, no doubt, is a stoppage; and therefore it is that Jersey
City, Brooklyn, and Williamsburg are, at any rate in appearance,
very dull and uninviting. They are, however, very populous. Many
of the quieter citizens prefer to live there; and I am told that
the Brooklyn tea parties consider themselves to be, in esthetic
feeling, very much ahead of anything of the kind in the more
opulent centers of the city. In beauty of scenery Staten Island is
very much the prettiest of the suburbs of New York. The view from
the hillside in Staten Island down upon New York harbor is very
lovely. It is the only really good view of that magnificent harbor
which I have been able to find. As for appreciating such beauty
when one is entering a port from sea or leaving it for sea, I do
not believe in any such power. The ship creeps up or creeps out
while the mind is engaged on other matters. The passenger is
uneasy either with hopes or fears, and then the grease of the
engines offends one's nostrils. But it is worth the tourist's
while to look down upon New York harbor from the hillside in Staten
Island. When I was there Fort Lafayette looked black in the center
of the channel, and we knew that it was crowded with the victims of
secession. Fort Tompkins was being built to guard the pass--worthy
of a name of richer sound; and Fort something else was bristling
with new cannon. Fort Hamilton, on Long Island, opposite, was
frowning at us; and immediately around us a regiment of volunteers
was receiving regimental stocks and boots from the hands of its
officers. Everything was bristling with war; and one could not but
think that not in this way had New York raised herself so quickly
to her present greatness.

But the glory of New York is the Central Park--its glory in the
minds of all new Yorkers of the present day. The first question
asked of you is whether you have seen the Central Park, and the
second is as to what you think of it. It does not do to say simply
that it is fine, grand, beautiful, and miraculous. You must swear
by cock and pie that it is more fine, more grand, more beautiful,
more miraculous than anything else of the kind anywhere. Here you
encounter in its most annoying form that necessity for eulogium
which presses you everywhere. For in truth, taken as it is at
present, the Central Park is not fine, nor grand, nor beautiful.
As to the miracle, let that pass. It is perhaps as miraculous as
some other great latter-day miracles.

But the Central Park is a very great fact, and affords a strong
additional proof of the sense and energy of the people. It is very
large, being over three miles long and about three-quarters of a
mile in breadth. When it was found that New York was extending
itself, and becoming one of the largest cities of the world, a
space was selected between Fifth and Seventh Avenues, immediately
outside the limits of the city as then built, but nearly in the
center of the city as it is intended to be built. The ground
around it became at once of great value; and I do not doubt that
the present fashion of Fifth Avenue about Twentieth Street will in
course of time move itself up to Fifth Avenue as it looks, or will
look, over the Park at Seventieth, Eightieth, and Ninetieth
Streets. The great water-works of the city bring the Croton River,
whence New York is supplied, by an aqueduct over the Harlem River
into an enormous reservoir just above the Park; and hence it has
come to pass that there will be water not only for sanitary and
useful purposes, but also for ornament. At present the Park, to
English eyes, seems to be all road. The trees are not grown up;
and the new embankments, and new lakes, and new ditches, and new
paths give to the place anything but a picturesque appearance. The
Central Park is good for what it will be rather than for what it
is. The summer heat is so very great that I doubt much whether the
people of New York will ever enjoy such verdure as our parks show.
But there will be a pleasant assemblage of walks and water-works,
with fresh air and fine shrubs and flowers, immediately within the
reach of the citizens. All that art and energy can do will be
done, and the Central Park doubtless will become one of the great
glories of New York. When I was expected to declare that St.
James's Park, Green Park, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens
altogether were nothing to it, I confess that I could only remain

Those who desire to learn what are the secrets of society in New
York, I would refer to the Potiphar Papers. The Potiphar Papers
are perhaps not as well known in England as they deserve to be.
They were published, I think, as much as seven or eight years ago;
but are probably as true now as they were then. What I saw of
society in New York was quiet and pleasant enough; but doubtless I
did not climb into that circle in which Mrs. Potiphar held so
distinguished a position. It may be true that gentlemen habitually
throw fragments of their supper and remnants of their wine on to
their host's carpets; but if so I did not see it.

As I progress in my work I feel that duty will call upon me to
write a separate chapter on hotels in general, and I will not,
therefore, here say much about those in New York. I am inclined to
think that few towns in the world, if any, afford on the whole
better accommodation, but there are many in which the accommodation
is cheaper. Of the railways also I ought to say something. The
fact respecting them, which is most remarkable, is that of their
being continued into the center of the town through the streets.
The cars are not dragged through the city by locomotive engines,
but by horses; the pace therefore is slow, but the convenience to
travelers in being brought nearer to the center of trade must be
much felt. It is as though passengers from Liverpool and
passengers from Bristol were carried on from Euston Square and
Paddington along the New Road, Portland Place, and Regent Street to
Pall Mall, or up the City Road to the Bank. As a general rule,
however, the railways, railway cars, and all about them are ill
managed. They are monopolies, and the public, through the press,
has no restraining power upon them as it has in England. A parcel
sent by express over a distance of forty miles will not be
delivered within twenty-four hours. I once made my plaint on this
subject at the bar or office of a hotel, and was told that no
remonstrance was of avail. "It is a monopoly," the man told me,
"and if we say anything, we are told that if we do not like it we
need not use it." In railway matters and postal matters time and
punctuality are not valued in the States as they are with us, and
the public seem to acknowledge that they must put up with defects--
that they must grin and bear them in America, as the public no
doubt do in Austria, where such affairs are managed by a government

In the beginning of this chapter I spoke of the population of New
York, and I cannot end it without remarking that out of that
population more than one-eighth is composed of Germans. It is, I
believe, computed that there are about 120,000 Germans in the city,
and that only two other German cities in the world, Vienna and
Berlin have a larger German population than New York. The Germans
are good citizens and thriving men, and are to be found prospering
all over the Northern and Western parts of the Union. It seems
that they are excellently well adapted to colonization, though they
have in no instance become the dominant people in a colony, or
carried with them their own language or their own laws. The French
have done so in Algeria, in some of the West India islands, and
quite as essentially into Lower Canada, where their language and
laws still prevail. And yet it is, I think, beyond doubt that the
French are not good colonists, as are the Germans.

Of the ultimate destiny of New York as one of the ruling commercial
cities of the world, it is, I think, impossible to doubt. Whether
or no it will ever equal London in population I will not pretend to
say; even should it do so, should its numbers so increase as to
enable it to say that it had done so, the question could not very
well be settled. When it comes to pass that an assemblage of men
in one so-called city have to be counted by millions, there arises
the impossibility of defining the limits of that city, and of
saying who belong to it and who do not. An arbitrary line may be
drawn, but that arbitrary line, though perhaps false when drawn as
including too much, soon becomes more false as including too
little. Ealing, Acton, Fulham, Putney, Norwood, Sydenham,
Blackheath, Woolwich, Greenwich, Stratford, Highgate, and Hampstead
are, in truth, component parts of London, and very shortly Brighton
will be as much so.



As New York is the most populous State of the Union, having the
largest representation in Congress--on which account it has been
called the Empire State--I propose to state, as shortly as may be,
the nature of its separate constitution as a State. Of course it
will be understood that the constitutions of the different States
are by no means the same. They have been arranged according to the
judgment of the different people concerned, and have been altered
from time to time to suit such altered judgment. But as the States
together form one nation, and on such matters as foreign affairs,
war, customs, and post-office regulations, are bound together as
much as are the English counties, it is, of course, necessary that
the constitution of each should in most matters assimilate itself
to those of the others. These constitutions are very much alike.
A Governor, with two houses of legislature, generally called the
Senate and the House of Representatives, exists in each State. In
the State of New York the Lower House is called the Assembly. In
most States the Governor is elected annually; but in some States
for two years, as in New York. In Pennsylvania he is elected for
three years. The House of Representatives or the Assembly is, I
think, always elected for one session only; but as in many of the
States the legislature only sits once in two years, the election
recurs of course at the same interval. The franchise in all the
States is nearly universal, but in no State is it perfectly so.
The Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, and other officers are elected
by vote of the people, as well as the members of the legislature.
Of course it will be understood that each State makes laws for
itself--that they are in nowise dependent on the Congress assembled
at Washington for their laws--unless for laws which refer to
matters between the United States as a nation and other nations, or
between one State and another. Each State declares with what
punishment crimes shall be visited; what taxes shall be levied for
the use of the State; what laws shall be passed as to education;
what shall be the State judiciary. With reference to the
judiciary, however, it must be understood that the United States as
a nation have separate national law courts, before which come all
cases litigated between State and State, and all cases which do not
belong in every respect to any one individual State. In a
subsequent chapter I will endeavor to explain this more fully. In
endeavoring to understand the Constitution of the United States, it
is essentially necessary that we should remember that we have
always to deal with two different political arrangements--that
which refers to the nation as a whole, and that which belongs to
each State as a separate governing power in itself. What is law in
one State is not law in another, nevertheless there is a very great
likeness throughout these various constitutions, and any political
student who shall have thoroughly mastered one, will not have much
to learn in mastering the others.

This State, now called New York, was first settled by the Dutch in
1614, on Manhattan Island. They established a government in 1629,
under the name of the New Netherlands. In 1664 Charles II. granted
the province to his brother, James II., then Duke of York, and
possession was taken of the country on his behalf by one Colonel
Nichols. In 1673 it was recaptured by the Dutch, but they could
not hold it, and the Duke of York again took possession by patent.
A legislative body was first assembled during the reign of Charles
II., in 1683; from which it will be seen that parliamentary
representation was introduced into the American colonies at a very
early date. The Declaration of Independence was made by the
revolted colonies in 1776, and in 1777 the first constitution was
adopted by the State of New York. In 1822 this was changed for
another; and the one of which I now purport to state some of the
details was brought into action in 1847. In this constitution
there is a provision that it shall be overhauled and remodeled, if
needs be, once in twenty years. Article XIII. Sec. 2. "At the
general election to be held in 1806, and in each twentieth year
thereafter, the question, 'Shall there be a convention to revise
the constitution and amend the same?' shall be decided by the
electors qualified to vote for members of the legislature?" So
that the New Yorkers, cannot be twitted with the presumption of
finality in reference to their legislative arrangements.

The present constitution begins with declaring the inviolability of
trial by jury, and of habeas corpus--"unless when, in cases of
rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require its
suspension." It does not say by whom it may be suspended, or who
is to judge of the public safety, but, at any rate, it may be
presumed that such suspension was supposed to come from the powers
of the State which enacted the law. At the present moment, the
habeas corpus is suspended in New York, and this suspension has
proceeded not from the powers of the State, but from the Federal
government, without the sanction even of the Federal Congress.

"Every citizen may freely speak, write, and publish his sentiments
on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and
no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech
or of the press." Art. I. Sec. 8. But at the present moment
liberty of speech and of the press is utterly abrogated in the
State of New York, as it is in other States. I mention this not as
a reproach against either the State or the Federal government, but
to show how vain all laws are for the protection of such rights.
If they be not protected by the feelings of the people--if the
people are at any time, or from any cause, willing to abandon such
privileges, no written laws will preserve them.

In Article I. Sec. 14, there is a proviso that no land--land, that
is, used for agricultural purposes--shall be let on lease for a
longer period than twelve years. "No lease or grant of
agricultural land for a longer period than twelve years hereafter
made, in which shall be reserved any rent or service of any kind,
shall be valid." I do not understand the intended virtue of this
proviso, but it shows very clearly how different are the practices
with reference to land in England and America. Farmers in the
States almost always are the owners of the land which they farm,
and such tenures as those by which the occupiers of land generally
hold their farms with us are almost unknown. There is no such
relation as that of landlord and tenant as regards agricultural

Every male citizen of New York may vote who is twenty-one, who has
been a citizen for ten days, who has lived in the State for a year,
and for four months in the county in which he votes. He can vote
for all "officers that now are, or hereafter may be, elective by
the people." Art, II. Sec. 1. "But," the section goes on to say,
"no man of color, unless he shall have been for three years a
citizen of the State, and for one year next preceding any election
shall have been possessed of a freehold estate of the value of 250
dollars, (50l.,) and shall have been actually rated, and paid a tax
thereon, shall be entitled to vote at such election." This is the
only embargo with which universal suffrage is laden in the State of
New York.

The third article provides for the election of the Senate and the
Assembly. The Senate consists of thirty-two members. And it may
here be remarked that large as is the State of New York, and great
as is its population, its Senate is less numerous than that of many
other States. In Massachusetts, for instance, there are forty
Senators, though the population of Massachusetts is barely one-
third that of New York. In Virginia, there are fifty Senators,
whereas the free population is not one-third of that of New York.
As a consequence, the Senate of New York is said to be filled with
men of a higher class than are generally found in the Senates of
other States. Then follows in the article a list of the districts
which are to return the Senators. These districts consist of one,
two, three, or in one case four counties, according to the

The article does not give the number of members of the Lower House,
nor does it even state what amount of population shall be held as
entitled to a member. It merely provides for the division of the
State into districts which shall contain an equal number, not of
population, but of voters. The House of Assembly does consist of
128 members.

It is then stipulated that every member of both houses shall
receive three dollars a day, or twelve shillings, for their
services during the sitting of the legislature; but this sum is
never to exceed 300 dollars, or sixty pounds, in one year, unless
an extra session be called. There is also an allowance for the
traveling expenses of members. It is, I presume, generally known
that the members of the Congress at Washington are all paid, and
that the same is the case with reference to the legislatures of all
the States.

No member of the New York legislature can also be a member of the
Washington Congress, or hold any civil or military office under the
General States government.

A majority of each House must be present, or, as the article says,
"shall constitute a quorum to do business." Each House is to keep
a journal of its proceedings. The doors are to be open--except
when the public welfare shall require secrecy. A singular proviso
this in a country boasting so much of freedom! For no speech or
debate in either House, shall the legislator be called in question
in any other place. The legislature assembles on the first Tuesday
in January, and sits for about three months. Its seat is at

The executive power, Article IV., is to be vested in a Governor and
a Lieutenant-Governor, both of whom shall be chosen for two years.
The Governor must be a citizen of the United States, must be thirty
years of age, and have lived for the last four years in the State.
He is to be commander-in-chief of the military and naval forces of
the State, as is the President of those of the Union. I see that
this is also the case in inland States, which one would say can
have no navies. And with reference to some States it is enacted
that the Governor is commander-in-chief of the army, navy, and
militia, showing that some army over and beyond the militia may be
kept by the State. In Tennessee, which is an inland State, it is
enacted that the Governor shall be "commander-in-chief of the army
and navy of this State, and of the militia, except when they shall
be called into the service of the United States." In Ohio the same
is the case, except that there is no mention of militia. In New
York there is no proviso with reference to the service of the
United States. I mention this as it bears with some strength on
the question of the right of secession, and indicates the jealousy
of the individual States with reference to the Federal government.
The Governor can convene extra sessions of one House or of both.
He makes a message to the legislature when it meets--a sort of
Queen's speech; and he receives for his services a compensation to
be established by law. In New York this amounts to 800l. a year.
In some States this is as low as 200l. and 300l. In Virginia it is
1000l. In California, 1200l.

The Governor can pardon, except in cases of treason. He has also a
veto upon all bills sent up by the legislature. If he exercise
this veto he returns the bill to the legislature with his reasons
for so doing. If the bill on reconsideration by the Houses be
again passed by a majority of two-thirds in each house, it becomes
law in spite of the Governor's veto. The veto of the President at
Washington is of the same nature. Such are the powers of the
Governor. But though they are very full, the Governor of each
State does not practically exercise any great political power, nor
is he, even politically, a great man. You might live in a State
during the whole term of his government and hardly hear of him.
There is vested in him by the language of the constitution a much
wider power than that intrusted to the governor of our colonies.
But in our colonies everybody talks, and thinks, and knows about
the governor. As far as the limits of the colony the governor is a
great man. But this is not the case with reference to the
governors in the different States.

The next article provides that the Governor's ministers, viz, the
Secretary of State, the Controller, Treasurer, and Attorney-
General, shall be chosen every two years at a general election. In
this respect the State constitution differs from that of the
national constitution. The President at Washington names his own
ministers--subject to the approbation of the Senate. He makes many
other appointments with the same limitation, and the Senate, I
believe, is not slow to interfere; but with reference to the
ministers it is understood that the names sent in by the President
shall stand. Of the Secretary of State, Controller, etc.,
belonging to the different States, and who are elected by the
people, in a general way, one never hears. No doubt they attend
their offices and take their pay, but they are not political

The next article, No. VI., refers to the judiciary, and is very
complicated. As I cannot understand it, I will not attempt to
explain it. Moreover, it is not within the scope of my ambition to
convey here all the details of the State constitution. In Sec. 20
of this article it is provided that no judicial officer, except
justices of the peace, shall receive to his own use any fees or
perquisites of office." How pleasantly this enactment must sound
in the ears of the justices of the peace!

Article VII. refers to fiscal matters, and is more especially
interesting as showing how greatly the State of New York has
depended on its canals for its wealth. These canals are the
property of the State; and by this article it seems to be provided
that they shall not only maintain themselves, but maintain to a
considerable extent the State expenditure also, and stand in lieu
of taxation. It is provided, Section 6 that the "legislature shall
not sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of any of the canals of the
State; but that they shall remain the property of the State, and
under its management forever." But in spite of its canals the
State does not seem to be doing very well, for I see that, in 1860,
its income was 4,780,000 dollars, and its expenditure 5,100,000,
whereas its debt was 32,500,000 dollars. Of all the States,
Pennsylvania is the most indebted, Virginia the second, and New
York the third. New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, Delaware, and
Texas owe no State debts. All the other State ships have taken in

The militia is supposed to consist of all men capable of bearing
arms, under forty-five years of age. But no one need be enrolled,
who from scruples of conscience is averse to bearing arms. At the
present moment such scruples do not seem to be very general. Then
follows, in Article XI., a detailed enactment as to the choosing of
militia officers. It may be perhaps sufficient to say that the
privates are to choose the captains and the subalterns; the
captains and subalterns are to choose the field officers; and the
field officers the brigadier-generals and inspectors of brigade.
The Governor, however, with the consent of the Senate, shall
nominate all major-generals. Now that real soldiers have
unfortunately become necessary, the above plan has not been found
to work well.

Such is the constitution of the State of New York, which has been
intended to work and does work quite separately from that of the
United States. It will be seen that the purport has been to make
it as widely democratic as possible--to provide that all power of
all description shall come directly from the people, and that such
power shall return to the people at short intervals. The Senate
and the Governor each remain for two years, but not for the same
two years. If a new Senate commence its work in 1861, a new
Governor will come in in 1862. But, nevertheless, there is in the
form of government as thus established an absence of that close and
immediate responsibility which attends our ministers. When a man
has been voted in, it seems that responsibility is over for the
period of the required service. He has been chosen, and the
country which has chosen him is to trust that he will do his best.
I do not know that this matters much with reference to the
legislature or governments of the different States, for their State
legislatures and governments are but puny powers; but in the
legislature and government at Washington it does matter very much.
But I shall have another opportunity of speaking on that subject.

Nothing has struck me so much in America as the fact that these
State legislatures are puny powers. The absence of any tidings
whatever of their doings across the water is a proof of this. Who
has heard of the legislature of New York or of Massachusetts? It
is boasted here that their insignificance is a sign of the well-
being of the people; that the smallness of the power necessary for
carrying on the machine shows how beautifully the machine is
organized, and how well it works. "It is better to have little
governors than great governors," an American said to me once. "It
is our glory that we know how to live without having great men over
us to rule us." That glory, if ever it were a glory, has come to
an end. It seems to me that all these troubles have come upon the
States because they have not placed high men in high places. The
less of laws and the less of control the better, providing a people
can go right with few laws and little control. One may say that no
laws and no control would be best of all--provided that none were
needed. But this is not exactly the position of the American

The two professions of law-making and of governing have become
unfashionable, low in estimation, and of no repute in the States.
The municipal powers of the cities have not fallen into the hands
of the leading men. The word politician has come to bear the
meaning of political adventurer and almost of political blackleg.
If A calls B a politician, A intends to vilify B by so calling him.
Whether or no the best citizens of a State will ever be induced to
serve in the State legislature by a nobler consideration than that
of pay, or by a higher tone of political morals than that now
existing, I cannot say. It seems to me that some great decrease in
the numbers of the State legislators should be a first step toward
such a consummation. There are not many men in each State who can
afford to give up two or three months of the year to the State
service for nothing; but it may be presumed that in each State
there are a few. Those who are induced to devote their time by the
payment of 60l. can hardly be the men most fitted for the purpose
of legislation. It certainly has seemed to me that the members of
the State legislatures and of the State governments are not held in
that respect and treated with that confidence to which, in the eyes
of an Englishman, such functionaries should be held as entitled.



From New York we returned to Boston by Hartford, the capital or one
of the capitals of Connecticut. This proud little State is
composed of two old provinces, of which Hartford and New Haven were
the two metropolitan towns. Indeed, there was a third colony,
called Saybrook, which was joined to Hartford. As neither of the
two could, of course, give way, when Hartford and New Haven were
made into one, the houses of legislature and the seat of government
are changed about year by year. Connecticut is a very proud little
State, and has a pleasant legend of its own stanchness in the old
colonial days. In 1662 the colonies were united, and a charter was
given to them by Charles II. But some years later, in 1686, when
the bad days of James II. had come, this charter was considered to
be too liberal, and order was given that it should be suspended.
One Sir Edmund Andross had been appointed governor of all New
England, and sent word from Boston to Connecticut that the charter
itself should be given up to him. This the men of Connecticut
refused to do. Whereupon Sir Edmund with a military following
presented himself at their Assembly, declared their governing
powers to be dissolved, and, after much palaver, caused the charter
itself to be laid upon the table before him. The discussion had
been long, having lasted through the day into the night, and the
room had been lighted with candles. On a sudden each light
disappeared, and Sir Edmund with his followers were in the dark.
As a matter of course, when the light was restored the charter was
gone; and Sir Edmund, the governor-general, was baffled, as all
governors-general and all Sir Edmunds always are in such cases.
The charter was gone, a gallant Captain Wadsworth having carried it
off and hidden it in an oak-tree. The charter was renewed when
William III. came to the throne, and now hangs triumphantly in the
State House at Hartford. The charter oak has, alas! succumbed to
the weather, but was standing a few years since. The men of
Hartford are very proud of their charter, and regard it as the
parent of their existing liberties quite as much as though no
national revolution of their own had intervened.

And, indeed, the Northern States of the Union--especially those of
New England--refer all their liberties to the old charters which
they held from the mother country. They rebelled, as they
themselves would seem to say, and set themselves up as a separate
people, not because the mother country had refused to them by law
sufficient liberty and sufficient self-control, but because the
mother country infringed the liberties and powers of self-control
which she herself had given. The mother country, so these States
declare, had acted the part of Sir Edmund Andross--had endeavored
to take away their charters. So they also put out the lights, and
took themselves to an oak-tree of their own--which is still
standing, though winds from the infernal regions are now battering
its branches. Long may it stand!

Whether the mother country did or did not infringe the charters she
had given, I will not here inquire. As to the nature of those
alleged infringements, are they not written down to the number of
twenty-seven in the Declaration of Independence? They mostly begin
with He. "He" has done this, and "He" has done that. The "He" is
poor George III., whose twenty-seven mortal sins against his
Transatlantic colonies are thus recapitulated. It would avail
nothing to argue now whether those deeds were sins or virtues, nor
would it have availed then. The child had grown up and was strong,
and chose to go alone into the world. The young bird was fledged,
and flew away. Poor George III. with his cackling was certainly
not efficacious in restraining such a flight. But it is gratifying
to see how this new people, when they had it in their power to
change all their laws, to throw themselves upon any Utopian theory
that the folly of a wild philanthropy could devise, to discard as
abominable every vestige of English rule and English power,--it is
gratifying to see that, when they could have done all this, they
did not do so, but preferred to cling to things English. Their old
colonial limits were still to be the borders of their States.
Their old charters were still to be regarded as the sources from
whence their State powers had come. The old laws were to remain in
force. The precedents of the English courts were to be held as
legal precedents in the courts of the new nation, and are now so
held. It was still to be England, but England without a king
making his last struggle for political power. This was the idea of
the people and this was their feeling; and that idea has been
carried out and that feeling has remained.

In the constitution of the State of New York nothing is said about
the religion of the people. It was regarded as a subject with
which the constitution had no concern whatever. But as soon as we
come among the stricter people of New England, we find that the
constitution-makers have not been able absolutely to ignore the
subject. In Connecticut it is enjoined that, as it is the duty of
all men to worship the Supreme Being, and their right to render
that worship in the mode most consistent with their consciences, no
person shall be by law compelled to join or be classed with any
religious association. The line of argument is hardly logical, the
conclusion not being in accordance with or hanging on the first of
the two premises. But nevertheless the meaning is clear. In a
free country no man shall be made to worship after any special
fashion; but it is decreed by the constitution that every man is
bound by duty to worship after some fashion. The article then goes
on to say how they who do worship are to be taxed for the support
of their peculiar church. I am not quite clear whether the New
Yorkers have not managed this difficulty with greater success.
When we come to the Old Bay State--to Massachusetts--we find the
Christian religion spoken of in the constitution as that which in
some one of its forms should receive the adherence of every good

Hartford is a pleasant little town, with English-looking houses,
and an English-looking country around it. Here, as everywhere
through the States, one is struck by the size and comfort of the
residences. I sojourned there at the house of a friend, and could
find no limit to the number of spacious sitting-rooms which it
contained. The modest dining-room and drawing-room which suffice
with us for men of seven or eight hundred a year would be regarded
as very mean accommodation by persons of similar incomes in the

I found that Hartford was all alive with trade, and that wages were
high, because there are there two factories for the manufacture of
arms. Colt's pistols come from Hartford, as also do Sharpe's
rifles. Wherever arms can be prepared, or gunpowder; where clothes
or blankets fit for soldiers can be made, or tents or standards, or
things appertaining in any way to warfare, there trade was still
brisk. No being is more costly in his requirements than a soldier,
and no soldier so costly as the American. He must eat and drink of
the best, and have good boots and warm bedding, and good shelter.
There were during the Christmas of 1861 above half a million of
soldiers so to be provided--the President, in his message made in
December to Congress, declared the number to be above six hundred
thousand--and therefore in such places as Hartford trade was very
brisk. I went over the rifle factory, and was shown everything,
but I do not know that I brought away much with me that was worth
any reader's attention. The best of rifles, I have no doubt, were
being made with the greatest rapidity, and all were sent to the
army as soon as finished. I saw some murderous-looking weapons,
with swords attached to them instead of bayonets, but have since
been told by soldiers that the old-fashioned bayonet is thought to
be more serviceable.

Immediately on my arrival in Boston I heard that Mr. Emerson was
going to lecture at the Tremont Hall on the subject of the war, and
I resolved to go and hear him. I was acquainted with Mr. Emerson,
and by reputation knew him well. Among us in England he is
regarded as transcendental and perhaps even as mystic in his
philosophy. His "Representative Men" is the work by which he is
best known on our side of the water, and I have heard some readers
declare that they could not quite understand Mr. Emerson's
"Representative Men." For myself, I confess that I had broken down
over some portions of that book. Since I had become acquainted
with him I had read others of his writings, especially his book on
England, and had found that he improved greatly on acquaintance. I
think that he has confined his mysticism to the book above named.
In conversation he is very clear, and by no means above the small
practical things of the world. He would, I fancy, know as well
what interest he ought to receive for his money as though he were
no philosopher, and I am inclined to think that if he held land he
would make his hay while the sun shone, as might any common farmer.
Before I had met Mr. Emerson, when my idea of him was formed simply
on the "Representative Men," I should have thought that a lecture
from him on the war would have taken his hearers all among the
clouds. As it was, I still had my doubts, and was inclined to fear
that a subject which could only be handled usefully at such a time
before a large audience by a combination of common sense, high
principles, and eloquence, would hardly be safe in Mr. Emerson's
hands. I did not doubt the high principles, but feared much that
there would be a lack of common sense. So many have talked on that
subject, and have shown so great a lack of common sense! As to the
eloquence, that might be there or might not.

Mr. Emerson is a Massachusetts man, very well known in Boston, and
a great crowd was collected to hear him. I suppose there were some
three thousand persons in the room. I confess that when he took
his place before us my prejudices were against him. The matter in
hand required no philosophy. It required common sense, and the
very best of common sense. It demanded that he should be
impassioned, for of what interest can any address be on a matter of
public politics without passion? But it demanded that the passion
should be winnowed, and free from all rodomontade. I fancied what
might be said on such a subject as to that overlauded star-spangled
banner, and how the star-spangled flag would look when wrapped in a
mist of mystic Platonism.

But from the beginning to the end there was nothing mystic--no
Platonism; and, if I remember rightly, the star-spangled banner was
altogether omitted. To the national eagle he did allude. "Your
American eagle," he said, "is very well. Protect it here and
abroad. But beware of the American peacock." He gave an account
of the war from the beginning, showing how it had arisen, and how
it had been conducted; and he did so with admirable simplicity and
truth. He thought the North were right about the war; and as I
thought so also, I was not called upon to disagree with him. He
was terse and perspicuous in his sentences, practical in his
advice, and, above all things, true in what he said to his audience
of themselves. They who know America will understand how hard it
is for a public man in the States to practice such truth in his
addresses. Fluid compliments and high-flown national eulogium are
expected. In this instance none were forthcoming. The North had
risen with patriotism to make this effort, and it was now warned
that in doing so it was simply doing its national duty. And then
came the subject of slavery. I had been told that Mr. Emerson was
an abolitionist, and knew that I must disagree with him on that
head, if on no other. To me it has always seemed that to mix up
the question of general abolition with this war must be the work of
a man too ignorant to understand the real subject of the war, or
too false to his country to regard it. Throughout the whole
lecture I was waiting for Mr. Emerson's abolition doctrine, but no
abolition doctrine came. The words abolition and compensation were
mentioned, and then there was an end of the subject. If Mr.
Emerson be an abolitionist, he expressed his views very mildly on
that occasion. On the whole, the lecture was excellent, and that
little advice about the peacock was in itself worth an hour's

That practice of lecturing is "quite an institution" in the States.
So it is in England, my readers will say. But in England it is
done in a different way, with a different object, and with much
less of result. With us, if I am not mistaken, lectures are mostly
given gratuitously by the lecturer. They are got up here and there
with some philanthropical object, and in the hope that an hour at
the disposal of young men and women may be rescued from idleness.
The subjects chosen are social, literary, philanthropic, romantic,
geographical, scientific, religious--anything rather than
political. The lecture-rooms are not usually filled to
overflowing, and there is often a question whether the real good
achieved is worth the trouble taken. The most popular lectures are
given by big people, whose presence is likely to be attractive; and
the whole thing, I fear we must confess, is not pre-eminently
successful. In the Northern States of America the matter stands on
a very different footing. Lectures there are more popular than
either theaters or concerts. Enormous halls are built for them.
Tickets for long courses are taken with avidity. Very large sums
are paid to popular lecturers, so that the profession is lucrative--
more so, I am given to understand, than is the cognate profession
of literature. The whole thing is done in great style. Music is
introduced. The lecturer stands on a large raised platform, on
which sit around him the bald and hoary-headed and superlatively
wise. Ladies come in large numbers, especially those who aspire to
soar above the frivolities of the world. Politics is the subject
most popular, and most general. The men and women of Boston could
no more do without their lectures than those of Paris could without
their theaters. It is the decorous diversion of the best ordered
of her citizens. The fast young men go to clubs, and the fast
young women to dances, as fast young men and women do in other
places that are wicked; but lecturing is the favorite diversion of
the steady-minded Bostonian. After all, I do not know that the
result is very good. It does not seem that much will be gained by
such lectures on either side of the Atlantic--except that
respectable killing of an evening which might otherwise be killed
less respectably. It is but an industrious idleness, an attempt at
a royal road to information, that habit of attending lectures. Let
any man or woman say what he has brought away from any such
attendance. It is attractive, that idea of being studious without
any of the labor of study; but I fear it is illusive. If an
evening can be so passed without ennui, I believe that that may be
regarded as the best result to be gained. But then it so often
happens that the evening is not passed without ennui! Of course in
saying this, I am not alluding to lectures given in special places
as a course of special study. Medical lectures are, or may be, a
necessary part of medical education. As many as two or three
thousand often attend these popular lectures in Boston, but I do
not know whether on that account the popular subjects are much
better understood. Nevertheless I resolved to hear more, hoping
that I might in that way teach myself to understand what were the
popular politics in New England. Whether or no I may have learned
this in any other way, I do not perhaps know; but at any rate I did
not learn it in this way.

The next lecture which I attended was also given in the Tremont
Hall, and on this occasion also the subject of the war was to be
treated. The special treachery of the rebels was, I think, the
matter to be taken in hand. On this occasion also the room was
full, and my hopes of a pleasant hour ran high. For some fifteen
minutes I listened, and I am bound to say that the gentleman
discoursed in excellent English. He was master of that wonderful
fluency which is peculiarly the gift of an American. He went on
from one sentence to another with rhythmic tones and unerring
pronunciation. He never faltered, never repeated his words, never
fell into those vile half-muttered hems and haws by which an
Englishman in such a position so generally betrays his timidity.
But during the whole time of my remaining in the room he did not
give expression to a single thought. He went on from one soft
platitude to another, and uttered words from which I would defy any
one of his audience to carry away with them anything. And yet it
seemed to me that his audience was satisfied. I was not satisfied,
and managed to escape out of the room.

The next lecturer to whom I listened was Mr. Everett. Mr.
Everett's reputation as an orator is very great, and I was
especially anxious to hear him. I had long since known that his
power of delivery was very marvelous; that his tones, elocution,
and action were all great; and that he was able to command the
minds and sympathies of his audience in a remarkable manner. His
subject also was the war--or rather the causes of the war and its
qualification. Had the North given to the South cause of
provocation? Had the South been fair and honest in its dealings to
the North? Had any compromise been possible by which the war might
have been avoided, and the rights and dignity of the North
preserved? Seeing that Mr. Everett is a Northern man and was
lecturing to a Boston audience, one knew well how these questions
would be answered, but the manner of the answering would be
everything. This lecture was given at Roxbury, one of the suburbs
of Boston. So I went out to Roxbury with a party, and found myself
honored by being placed on the platform among the bald-headed ones
and the superlatively wise. This privilege is naturally
gratifying, but it entails on him who is so gratified the
inconvenience of sitting at the lecturer's back, whereas it is,
perhaps, better for the listener to be before his face.

I could not but be amused by one little scenic incident. When we
all went upon the platform, some one proposed that the clergymen
should lead the way out of the little waiting-room in which we
bald-headed ones and superlatively wise were assembled. But to
this the manager of the affair demurred. He wanted the clergymen
for a purpose, he said. And so the profane ones led the way, and
the clergymen, of whom there might be some six or seven, clustered
in around the lecturer at last. Early in his discourse, Mr.
Everett told us what it was that the country needed at this period
of her trial. Patriotism, courage, the bravery of the men, the
good wishes of the women, the self-denial of all--"and," continued
the lecturer, turning to his immediate neighbors, "the prayers of
these holy men whom I see around me." It had not been for nothing
that the clergymen were detained.

Mr. Everett lectures without any book or paper before him, and
continues from first to last as though the words came from him on
the spur of the moment. It is known, however, that it is his
practice to prepare his orations with great care and commit them
entirely to memory, as does an actor. Indeed, he repeats the same
lecture over and over again, I am told, without the change of a
word or of an action. I did not like Mr. Everett's lecture. I did
not like what he said, or the seeming spirit in which it was
framed. But I am bound to admit that his power of oratory is very
wonderful. Those among his countrymen who have criticised his
manner in my hearing, have said that he is too florid, that there
is an affectation in the motion of his hands, and that the intended
pathos of his voice sometimes approaches too near the precipice
over which the fall is so deep and rapid, and at the bottom of
which lies absolute ridicule. Judging for myself, I did not find
it so. My position for seeing was not good, but my ear was not
offended. Critics also should bear in mind that an orator does not
speak chiefly to them or for their approval. He who writes, or
speaks, or sings for thousands, must write, speak, or sing as those
thousands would have him. That to a dainty connoisseur will be
false music, which to the general ear shall be accounted as the
perfection of harmony. An eloquence altogether suited to the
fastidious and hypercritical, would probably fail to carry off the
hearts and interest the sympathies of the young and eager. As
regards manners, tone, and choice of words I think that the oratory
of Mr. Everett places him very high. His skill in his work is
perfect. He never falls back upon a word. He never repeats
himself. His voice is always perfectly under command. As for
hesitation or timidity, the days for those failings have long
passed by with him. When he makes a point, he makes it well, and
drives it home to the intelligence of every one before him. Even
that appeal to the holy men around him sounded well--or would have
done so had I not been present at that little arrangement in the
anteroom. On the audience at large it was manifestly effective.

But nevertheless the lecture gave me but a poor idea of Mr. Everett
as a politician, though it made me regard him highly as an orator.
It was impossible not to perceive that he was anxious to utter the
sentiments of the audience rather than his own; that he was making
himself an echo, a powerful and harmonious echo of what he
conceived to be public opinion in Boston at that moment; that he
was neither leading nor teaching the people before him, but
allowing himself to be led by them, so that he might best play his
present part for their delectation. He was neither bold nor
honest, as Emerson had been, and I could not but feel that every
tyro of a politician before him would thus recognize his want of
boldness and of honesty. As a statesman, or as a critic of
statecraft, and of other statesmen, he is wanting in backbone. For
many years Mr. Everett has been not even inimical to Southern
politics and Southern courses, nor was he among those who, during
the last eight years previous to Mr. Lincoln's election, fought
the battle for Northern principles. I do not say that on this
account he is now false to advocate the war. But he cannot carry
men with him when, at his age, he advocates it by arguments opposed
to the tenor of his long political life. His abuse of the South
and of Southern ideas was as virulent as might be that of a young
lad now beginning his political career, or of one who had through
life advocated abolition principles. He heaped reproaches on poor
Virginia, whose position as the chief of the border States has
given to her hardly the possibility of avoiding a Scylla of ruin on
the one side, or a Charybdis of rebellion on the other. When he
spoke as he did of Virginia, ridiculing the idea of her sacred
soil, even I, Englishman as I am, could not but think of
Washington, of Jefferson, of Randolph, and of Madison. He should
not have spoken of Virginia as he did speak; for no man could have
known better Virginia's difficulties. But Virginia was at a
discount in Boston, and Mr. Everett was speaking to a Boston
audience. And then he referred to England and to Europe. Mr.
Everett has been minister to England, and knows the people. He is
a student of history, and must, I think, know that England's career
has not been unhappy or unprosperous. But England also was at a
discount in Boston, and Mr. Everett was speaking to a Boston
audience. They are sending us their advice across the water, said
Mr. Everett. And what is their advice to us? That we should come
down from the high place we have built for ourselves, and be even
as they are. They screech at us from the low depths in which they
are wallowng in their misery, and call on us to join them in their
wretchedness. I am not quoting Mr. Everett's very words, for I
have not them by me; but I am not making them stronger, nor so
strong as he made them. As I thought of Mr. Everett's reputation,
and of his years of study, of his long political life and
unsurpassed sources of information, I could not but grieve heartily
when I heard such words fall from him. I could not but ask myself
whether it were impossible that under the present circumstances of
her constitution this great nation of America should produce an
honest, high-minded statesman. When Lincoln and Hamlin, the
existing President and Vice-President of the States, were in 1860
as yet but the candidates of the Republican party, Bell and Everett
also were the candidates of the old Whig, conservative party.
Their express theory was this--that the question of slavery should
not be touched. Their purpose was to crush agitation and restore
harmony by an impartial balance between the North and South: a fine
purpose--the finest of all purposes, had it been practicable. But
such a course of compromise was now at a discount in Boston, and
Mr. Everett was speaking to a Boston audience. As an orator, Mr.
Everett's excellence is, I think, not to be questioned; but as a
politician I cannot give him a high rank.

After that I heard Mr. Wendell Phillips. Of him, too, as an
orator, all the world of Massachusetts speaks with great
admiration, and I have no doubt so speaks with justice. He is,
however, known as the hottest and most impassioned advocate of
abolition. Not many months since the cause of abolition, as
advocated by him, was so unpopular in Boston, that Mr. Phillips was
compelled to address his audience surrounded by a guard of
policemen. Of this gentleman I may at any rate say that he is
consistent, devoted, and disinterested. He is an abolitionist by
profession, and seeks to find in every turn of the tide of politics
some stream on which he may bring himself nearer to his object. In
the old days, previous to the selection of Mr. Lincoln, in days so
old that they are now nearly eighteen months past, Mr. Phillips was
an anti-Union man. He advocated strongly the disseverance of the
Union, so that the country to which he belonged might have hands


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