North America

Part 6 out of 7

clean from the taint of slavery. He had probably acknowledged to
himself that while the North and South were bound together no hope
existed of emancipation, but that if the North stood alone the
South would become too weak to foster and keep alive the "social
institution." In which, if such were his opinions, I am inclined
to agree with him. But now he is all for the Union, thinking that
a victorious North can compel the immediate emancipation of
Southern slaves. As to which I beg to say that I am bold to differ
from Mr. Phillips altogether.

It soon became evident to me that Mr. Phillips was unwell, and
lecturing at a disadvantage. His manner was clearly that of an
accustomed orator, but his voice was weak, and he was not up to the
effect which he attempted to make. His hearers were impatient,
repeatedly calling upon him to speak out, and on that account I
tried hard to feel kindly toward him and his lecture. But I must
confess that I failed. To me it seemed that the doctrine he
preached was one of rapine, bloodshed, and social destruction. He
would call upon the government and upon Congress to enfranchise the
slaves at once--now during the war--so that the Southern power
might be destroyed by a concurrence of misfortunes. And he would
do so at once, on the spur of the moment, fearing lest the South
should be before him, and themselves emancipate their own bondsmen.
I have sometimes thought that there is no being so venomous, so
blood-thirsty as a professed philanthropist; and that when the
philanthropist's ardor lies negroward, it then assumes the deepest
die of venom and blood-thirstiness. There are four millions of
slaves in the Southern States, none of whom have any capacity for
self-maintenance or self-control. Four millions of slaves, with
the necessities of children, with the passions of men, and the
ignorance of savages! And Mr. Phillips would emancipate these at a
blow; would, were it possible for him to do so, set them loose upon
the soil to tear their masters, destroy each other, and make such a
hell upon the earth as has never even yet come from the
uncontrolled passions and unsatisfied wants of men. But Congress
cannot do this. All the members of Congress put together cannot,
according to the Constitution of the United States, emancipate a
single slave in South Carolina; not if they were all unanimous. No
emancipation in a slave State can come otherwise than by the
legislative enactment of that State. But it was then thought that
in this coming winter of 1860-61 the action of Congress might be
set aside. The North possessed an enormous army under the control
of the President. The South was in rebellion, and the President
could pronounce, and the army perhaps enforce, the confiscation of
all property held in slaves. If any who held them were not
disloyal, the question of compensation might be settled afterward.
How those four million slaves should live, and how white men should
live among them, in some States or parts of States not equal to the
blacks in number--as to that Mr. Phillips did not give us his

And Mr. Phillips also could not keep his tongue away from the
abominations of Englishmen and the miraculous powers of his own
countrymen. It was on this occasion that he told us more than once
how Yankees carried brains in their fingers, whereas "common
people"--alluding by that name to Europeans--had them only, if at
all, inside their brain-pans. And then he informed us that Lord
Palmerston had always hated America. Among the Radicals there
might be one or two who understood and valued the institutions of
America, but it was a well-known fact that Lord Palmerston was
hostile to the country. Nothing but hidden enmity--enmity hidden
or not hidden--could be expected from England. That the people of
Boston, or of Massachusetts, or of the North generally, should feel
sore against England, is to me intelligible. I know how the minds
of men are moved in masses to certain feelings and that it ever
must be so. Men in common talk are not bound to weigh their words,
to think, and speculate on their results, and be sure of the
premises on which their thoughts are founded. But it is different
with a man who rises before two or three thousand of his countrymen
to teach and instruct them. After that I heard no more political
lectures in Boston.

Of course I visited Bunker Hill, and went to Lexington and Concord.
From the top of the monument on Bunker Hill there is a fine view of
Boston harbor, and seen from thence the harbor is picturesque. The
mouth is crowded with islands and jutting necks and promontories;
and though the shores are in no place rich enough to make the
scenery grand, the general effect is good. The monument, however,
is so constructed that one can hardly get a view through the
windows at the top of it, and there is no outside gallery round it.
Immediately below the monument is a marble figure of Major Warren,
who fell there,--not from the top of the monument, as some one was
led to believe when informed that on that spot the major had
fallen. Bunker Hill, which is little more than a mound, is at
Charlestown--a dull, populous, respectable, and very unattractive
suburb of Boston.

Bunker Hill has obtained a considerable name, and is accounted
great in the annals of American history. In England we have all
heard of Bunker Hill, and some of us dislike the sound as much as
Frenchmen do that of Waterloo. In the States men talk of Bunker
Hill as we may, perhaps, talk of Agincourt and such favorite
fields. But, after all, little was done at Bunker Hill, and, as
far as I can learn, no victory was gained there by either party.
The road from Boston to the town of Concord, on which stands the
village of Lexington, is the true scene of the earliest and
greatest deeds of the men of Boston. The monument at Bunker Hill
stands high and commands attention, while those at Lexington and
Concord are very lowly and command no attention. But it is of that
road and what was done on it that Massachusetts should be proud.
When the colonists first began to feel that they were oppressed,
and a half resolve was made to resist that oppression by force,
they began to collect a few arms and some gunpowder at Concord, a
small town about eighteen miles from Boston. Of this preparation
the English governor received tidings, and determined to send a
party of soldiers to seize the arms. This he endeavored to do
secretly; but he was too closely watched, and word was sent down
over the waters by which Boston was then surrounded that the
colonists might be prepared for the soldiers. At that time Boston
Neck, as it was, and is still called, was the only connection
between the town and the main-land, and the road over Boston Neck
did not lead to Concord. Boats therefore were necessarily used,
and there was some difficulty in getting the soldiers to the
nearest point. They made their way, however, to the road, and
continued their route as far as Lexington without interruption.
Here, however, they were attacked, and the first blood of that war
was shed. They shot three or four of the--rebels, I suppose I
should in strict language call them, and then proceeded on to
Concord. But at Concord they were stopped and repulsed, and along
the road back from Concord to Lexington they were driven with
slaughter and dismay. And thus the rebellion was commenced which
led to the establishment of a people which, let us Englishmen say
and think what we may of them at this present moment, has made
itself one of the five great nations of the earth, and has enabled
us to boast that the two out of the five who enjoy the greatest
liberty and the widest prosperity speak the English language and
are known by English names. For all that has come and is like to
come, I say again, long may that honor remain. I could not but
feel that that road from Boston to Concord deserves a name in the
world's history greater, perhaps, than has yet been given to it.

Concord is at present to be noted as the residence of Mr. Emerson
and of Mr. Hawthorne, two of those many men of letters of whose
presence Boston and its neighborhood have reason to be proud. Of
Mr. Emerson I have already spoken. The author of the "Scarlet
Letter" I regard as certainly the first of American novelists. I
know what men will say of Mr. Cooper,--and I also am an admirer of
Cooper's novels. But I cannot think that Mr. Cooper's powers were
equal to those of Mr. Hawthorne, though his mode of thought may
have been more genial, and his choice of subjects more attractive
in their day. In point of imagination, which, after all, is the
novelist's greatest gift, I hardly know any living author who can
he accounted superior to Mr. Hawthorne.

Very much has, undoubtedly, been done in Boston to carry out that
theory of Colonel Newcome's--Emollit mores, by which the Colonel
meant to signify his opinion that a competent knowledge of reading,
writing, and arithmetic, with a taste for enjoying those
accomplishments, goes very far toward the making of a man, and will
by no means mar a gentleman. In Boston nearly every man, woman,
and child has had his or her manners so far softened; and though
they may still occasionally be somewhat rough to the outer touch,
the inward effect is plainly visible. With us, especially among
our agricultural population, the absence of that inner softening is
as visible.

I went to see a public library in the city, which, if not founded
by Mr. Bates, whose name is so well known in London as connected
with the house of Messrs. Baring, has been greatly enriched by him.
It is by his money that it has been enabled to do its work. In
this library there is a certain number of thousands of volumes--a
great many volumes, as there are in most public libraries. There
are books of all classes, from ponderous unreadable folios, of
which learned men know the title-pages, down to the lightest
literature. Novels are by no means eschewed,--are rather, if I
understood aright, considered as one of the staples of the library.
From this library any book, excepting such rare volumes as in all
libraries are considered holy, is given out to any inhabitant of
Boston, without any payment, on presentation of a simple request on
a prepared form. In point of fact, it is a gratuitous circulating
library open to all Boston, rich or poor, young or old. The books
seemed in general to be confided to young children, who came as
messengers from their fathers and mothers, or brothers and sisters.
No question whatever is asked, if the applicant is known or the
place of his residence undoubted. If there be no such knowledge,
or there be any doubt as to the residence, the applicant is
questioned, the object being to confine the use of the library to
the bona fide inhabitants of the city. Practically the books are
given to those who ask for them, whoever they may be. Boston
contains over 200,000 inhabitants, and all those 200,000 are
entitled to them. Some twenty men and women are kept employed from
morning till night in carrying on this circulating library; and
there is, moreover, attached to the establishment a large reading-
room supplied with papers and magazines, open to the public of
Boston on the same terms.

Of course I asked whether a great many of the books were not lost,
stolen, and destroyed; and of course I was told that there were no
losses, no thefts, and no destruction. As to thefts, the librarian
did not seem to think that any instance of such an occurrence could
be found. Among the poorer classes, a book might sometimes be lost
when they were changing their lodgings; but anything so lost was
more than replaced by the fines. A book is taken out for a week,
and if not brought back at the end of that week--when the loan can
be renewed if the reader wishes--a fine, I think of two cents, is
incurred. The children, when too late with the books, bring in the
two cents as a matter of course, and the sum so collected fully
replaces all losses. It was all couleur de rose; the
librarianesses looked very pretty and learned, and, if I remember
aright, mostly wore spectacles; the head librarian was
enthusiastic; the nice, instructive books were properly dogs-eared;
my own productions were in enormous demand; the call for books over
the counter was brisk; and the reading-room was full of readers.

It has, I dare say, occurred to other travelers to remark that the
proceedings at such institutions, when visited by them on their
travels, are always rose colored. It is natural that the bright
side should be shown to the visitor. It may be that many books are
called for and returned unread; that many of those taken out are so
taken by persons who ought to pay for their novels at circulating
libraries; that the librarian and librarianesses get very tired of
their long hours of attendance, for I found that they were very
long; and that many idlers warm themselves in that reading-room.
Nevertheless the fact remains--the library is public to all the men
and women in Boston, and books are given out without payment to all
who may choose to ask for them. Why should not the great Mr. Mudie
emulate Mr. Bates, and open a library in London on the same system?

The librarian took me into one special room, of which he himself
kept the key, to show me a present which the library had received
from the English government. The room was filled with volumes of
two sizes, all bound alike, containing descriptions and drawings of
all the patents taken out in England. According to this librarian,
such a work would be invaluable as to American patents; but he
conceived that the subject had become too confused to render any
such an undertaking possible. "I never allow a single volume to be
used for a moment without the presence of myself or one of my
assistants," said the librarian; and then he explained to me, when
I asked him why he was so particular, that the drawings would, as a
matter of course, be cut out and stolen if he omitted his care.
"But they may be copied," I said. "Yes; but if Jones merely copies
one, Smith may come after him and copy it also. Jones will
probably desire to hinder Smith from having any evidence of such a
patent." As to the ordinary borrowing and returning of books, the
poorest laborer's child in Boston might be trusted as honest; but
when a question of trade came up--of commercial competition--then
the librarian was bound to bethink himself that his countrymen are
very smart. "I hope," said the librarian, "you will let them know
in England how grateful we are for their present." And I hereby
execute that librarian's commission.

I shall always look back to social life in Boston with great
pleasure. I met there many men and women whom to know is a
distinction, and with whom to be intimate is a great delight. It
was a Puritan city, in which strict old Roundhead sentiments and
laws used to prevail; but now-a-days ginger is hot in the mouth
there, and, in spite of the war, there were cakes and ale. There
was a law passed in Massachusetts in the old days that any girl
should be fined and imprisoned who allowed a young man to kiss her.
That law has now, I think, fallen into abeyance, and such matters
are regulated in Boston much as they are in other large towns
farther eastward. It still, I conceive, calls itself a Puritan
city; but it has divested its Puritanism of austerity, and clings
rather to the politics and public bearing of its old fathers than
to their social manners and pristine severity of intercourse. The
young girls are, no doubt, much more comfortable under the new
dispensation--and the elderly men also, as I fancy. Sunday, as
regards the outer streets, is sabbatical. But Sunday evenings
within doors I always found to be what my friends in that country
call "quite a good time." It is not the thing in Boston to smoke
in the streets during the day; but the wisest, the sagest, and the
most holy--even those holy men whom the lecturer saw around him--
seldom refuse a cigar in the dining-room as soon as the ladies have
gone. Perhaps even the wicked weed would make its appearance
before that sad eclipse, thereby postponing or perhaps absolutely
annihilating the melancholy period of widowhood to both parties,
and would light itself under the very eyes of those who in sterner
cities will lend no countenance to such lightings. Ah me, it was
very pleasant! I confess I like this abandonment of the stricter
rules of the more decorous world. I fear that there is within me
an aptitude to the milder debaucheries which makes such deviations
pleasant. I like to drink and I like to smoke, but I do not like
to turn women out of the room. Then comes the question whether one
can have all that one likes together. In some small circles in New
England I found people simple enough to fancy that they could. In
Massachusetts the Maine liquor law is still the law of the land,
but, like that other law to which I have alluded, it has fallen
very much out of use. At any rate, it had not reached the houses
of the gentlemen with whom I had the pleasure of making
acquaintance. But here I must guard myself from being
misunderstood. I saw but one drunken man through all New England,
and he was very respectable. He was, however, so uncommonly drunk
that he might be allowed to count for two or three. The Puritans
of Boston are, of course, simple in their habits and simple in
their expenses. Champagne and canvas-back ducks I found to be the
provisions most in vogue among those who desired to adhere closely
to the manner of their forefathers. Upon the whole, I found the
ways of life which had been brought over in the "Mayflower" from
the stern sects of England, and preserved through the revolutionary
war for liberty, to be very pleasant ways; and I made up my mind
that a Yankee Puritan can be an uncommonly pleasant fellow. I wish
that some of them did not dine so early; for when a man sits down
at half-past two, that keeping up of the after-dinner recreations
till bedtime becomes hard work.

In Boston the houses are very spacious and excellent, and they are
always furnished with those luxuries which it is so difficult to
introduce into an old house. They have hot and cold water pipes
into every room, and baths attached to the bedchambers. It is not
only that comfort is increased by such arrangements, but that much
labor is saved. In an old English house it will occupy a servant
the best part of the day to carry water up and down for a large
family. Everything also is spacious, commodious, and well lighted.
I certainly think that in house-building the Americans have gone
beyond us, for even our new houses are not commodious as are
theirs. One practice which they have in their cities would hardly
suit our limited London spaces. When the body of the house is
built, they throw out the dining-room behind. It stands alone, as
it were, with no other chamber above it, and removed from the rest
of the house. It is consequently behind the double drawing-rooms
which form the ground floor, and is approached from them and also
from the back of the hall. The second entrance to the dining-room
is thus near the top of the kitchen stairs, which no doubt is its
proper position. The whole of the upper part of the house is thus
kept for the private uses of the family. To me this plan of
building recommended itself as being very commodious.

I found the spirit for the war quite as hot at Boston now (in
November) if not hotter than it was when I was there ten weeks
earlier; and I found also, to my grief, that the feeling against
England was as strong. I can easily understand how difficult it
must have been, and still must be, to Englishmen at home to
understand this, and see how it has come to pass. It has not
arisen, as I think, from the old jealousy of England. It has not
sprung from that source which for years has induced certain
newspapers, especially the New York Herald, to vilify England. I
do not think that the men of New England have ever been, as regards
this matter, in the same boat with the New York Herald. But when
this war between the North and South first broke out, even before
there was as yet a war, the Northern men had taught themselves to
expect what they called British sympathy, meaning British
encouragement. They regarded, and properly regarded, the action of
the South as a rebellion, and said among themselves that so staid
and conservative a nation as Great Britain would surely countenance
them in quelling rebels. If not, should it come to pass that Great
Britain should show no such countenance and sympathy for Northern
law, if Great Britain did not respond to her friend as she was
expected to respond, then it would appear that cotton was king, at
least in British eyes. The war did come, and Great Britain
regarded the two parties as belligerents, standing, as far as she
was concerned, on equal grounds. This it was that first gave rise
to that fretful anger against England which has gone so far toward
ruining the Northern cause. We know how such passions are swelled
by being ventilated, and how they are communicated from mind to
mind till they become national. Politicians--American politicians
I here mean--have their own future careers ever before their eyes,
and are driven to make capital where they can. Hence it is that
such men as Mr. Seward in the cabinet, and Mr. Everett out of it,
can reconcile it to themselves to speak as they have done of
England. It was but the other day that Mr. Everett spoke, in one
of his orations, of the hope that still existed that the flag of
the United States might still float over the whole continent of
North America. What would he say of an English statesman who
should speak of putting up the Union Jack on the State House in
Boston? Such words tell for the moment on the hearers, and help to
gain some slight popularity; but they tell for more than a moment
on those who read them and remember them.

And then came the capture of Messrs. Slidell and Mason. I was at
Boston when those men were taken out of the "Trent" by the "San
Jacinto," and brought to Fort Warren in Boston Harbor. Captain
Wilkes was the officer who had made the capture, and he immediately
was recognized as a hero. He was invited to banquets and feted.
Speeches were made to him as speeches are commonly made to high
officers who come home, after many perils, victorious from the
wars. His health was drunk with great applause, and thanks were
voted to him by one of the Houses of Congress. It was said that a
sword was to be given to him, but I do not think that the gift was
consummated. Should it not have been a policeman's truncheon? Had
he at the best done any thing beyond a policeman's work? Of
Captain Wilkes no one would complain for doing policeman's duty.
If his country were satisfied with the manner in which he did it,
England, if she quarreled at all, would not quarrel with him. It
may now and again become the duty of a brave officer to do work of
so low a caliber. It is a pity that an ambitious sailor should
find himself told off for so mean a task, but the world would know
that it is not his fault. No one could blame Captain Wilkes for
acting policeman on the seas. But who ever before heard of giving
a man glory for achievements so little glorious? How Captain
Wilkes must have blushed when those speeches were made to him, when
that talk about the sword came up, when the thanks arrived to him
from Congress! An officer receives his country's thanks when he
has been in great peril, and has borne himself gallantly through
his danger; when he has endured the brunt of war, and come through
it with victory; when he has exposed himself on behalf of his
country and singed his epaulets with an enemy's fire. Captain
Wilkes tapped a merchantman on the shoulder in the high seas, and
told him that his passengers were wanted. In doing this he showed
no lack of spirit, for it might be his duty; but where was his
spirit when he submitted to be thanked for such work?

And then there arose a clamor of justification among the lawyers;
judges and ex-judges flew to Wheaton, Phillimore, and Lord Stowell.
Before twenty-four hours were over, every man and every woman in
Boston were armed with precedents. Then there was the burning of
the "Caroline." England had improperly burned the "Caroline" on
Lake Erie, or rather in one of the American ports on Lake Erie, and
had then begged pardon. If the States had been wrong, they would
beg pardon; but whether wrong or right, they would not give up
Slidell and Mason. But the lawyers soon waxed stronger. The men
were manifestly ambassadors, and as such contraband of war. Wilkes
was quite right, only he should have seized the vessel also. He
was quite right, for though Slidell and Mason might not be
ambassadors, they were undoubtedly carrying dispatches. In a few
hours there began to be a doubt whether the men could be
ambassadors, because if called ambassadors, then the power that
sent the embassy must be presumed to be recognized. That Captain
Wilkes had taken no dispatches, was true; but the captain suggested
a way out of this difficulty by declaring that he had regarded the
two men themselves as an incarnated embodiment of dispatches. At
any rate, they were clearly contraband of war. They were going to
do an injury to the North. It was pretty to hear the charming
women of Boston, as they became learned in the law of nations:
"Wheaton is quite clear about it," one young girl said to me. It
was the first I had ever heard of Wheaton, and so far was obliged
to knock under. All the world, ladies and lawyers, expressed the
utmost confidence in the justice of the seizure; but it was clear
that all the world was in a state of the profoundest nervous
anxiety on the subject. To me it seemed to be the most suicidal
act that any party in a life-and-death struggle ever committed.
All Americans on both sides had felt, from the beginning of the
war, that any assistance given by England to one or the other would
turn the scale. The government of Mr. Lincoln must have learned by
this time that England was at least true in her neutrality; that no
desire for cotton would compel her to give aid to the South as long
as she herself was not ill treated by the North. But it seemed as
though Mr. Seward, the President's Prime Minister, had no better
work on hand than that of showing in every way his indifference as
to courtesy with England. Insults offered to England would, he
seemed to think, strengthen his hands. He would let England know
that he did not care for her. When our minister, Lord Lyons,
appealed to him regarding the suspension of the habeas corpus, Mr.
Seward not only answered him with insolence, but instantly
published his answer in the papers. He instituted a system of
passports, especially constructed so as to incommode Englishmen
proceeding from the States across the Atlantic. He resolved to
make every Englishman in America feel himself in some way punished,
because England had not assisted the North. And now came the
arrest of Slidell and Mason out of an English mail steamer, and Mr.
Seward took care to let it be understood that, happen what might,
those two men should not be given up.

Nothing during all this time astonished me so much as the
estimation in which Mr. Seward was then held by his own party. It
is, perhaps, the worst defect in the constitution of the States,
that no incapacity on the part of a minister, no amount of
condemnation expressed against him by the people or by Congress,
can put him out of office during the term of the existing
Presidency. The President can dismiss him; but it generally
happens that the President is brought in on a "platform" which has
already nominated for him his cabinet as thoroughly as they have
nominated him. Mr. Seward ran Mr. Lincoln very hard for the
position of candidate for the Presidency on the Republican
interest. On the second voting of the Republican delegates at the
Convention at Chicago, Mr. Seward polled 184 to Mr. Lincoln's 181.
But as a clear half of the total number of votes was necessary--
that is, 233 out of 465--there was necessarily a third polling, and
Mr. Lincoln won the day. On that occasion Mr. Chase and Mr.
Cameron, both of whom became members of Mr. Lincoln's cabinet, were
also candidates for the White House on the Republican side. I
mention this here to show that though the President can in fact
dismiss his ministers, he is in a great manner bound to them, and
that a minister in Mr. Seward's position is hardly to be dismissed.
But from the 1st of November, 1861, till the day on which I left
the States, I do not think that I heard a good word spoken of Mr.
Seward as a minister, even by one of his own party. The Radical or
Abolitionist Republicans all abused him. The Conservative or Anti-
abolition Republicans, to whose party he would consider himself as
belonging, spoke of him as a mistake. He had been prominent as
Senator from New York, and had been Governor of the State of New
York, but had none of the aptitudes of a statesman. He was there,
and it was a pity. He was not so bad as Mr. Cameron, the Minister
for War; that was the best his own party could say for him, even in
his own State of New York. As to the Democrats, their language
respecting him was as harsh as any that I have heard used toward
the Southern leaders. He seemed to have no friends, no one who
trusted him; and yet he was the President's chief minister, and
seemed to have in his own hands the power of mismanaging all
foreign relations as he pleased. But, in truth, the States of
America, great as they are, and much as they have done, have not
produced statesmen. That theory of governing by the little men
rather than by the great has not been found to answer, and such
follies as those of Mr. Seward have been the consequence.

At Boston, and indeed elsewhere, I found that there was even then--
at the time of the capture of these two men--no true conception of
the neutrality of England with reference to the two parties. When
any argument was made, showing that England, who had carried these
messengers from the South, would undoubtedly have also carried
messengers from the North, the answer always was--"But the
Southerners are all rebels. Will England regard us who are by
treaty her friend, as she does a people that is in rebellion
against its own government?" That was the old story over again,
and as it was a very long story, it was hardly of use to go back
through all its details. But the fact was that unless there had
been such absolute neutrality--such equality between the parties in
the eyes of England--even Captain Wilkes would not have thought of
stopping the "Trent," or the government at Washington of justifying
such a proceeding. And it must be remembered that the government
at Washington had justified that proceeding. The Secretary of the
Navy had distinctly done so in his official report; and that report
had been submitted to the President and published by his order. It
was because England was neutral between the North and South that
Captain Wilkes claimed to have the right of seizing those two men.
It had been the President's intention, some month or so before this
affair, to send Mr. Everett and other gentlemen over to England
with objects as regards the North similar to those which had caused
the sending of Slidell and Mason with reference to the South. What
would Mr. Everett have thought had he been refused a passage from
Dover to Calais, because the carrying of him would have been toward
the South a breach of neutrality? It would never have occurred to
him that he could become subject to such stoppage. How should we
have been abused for Southern sympathies had we so acted! We,
forsooth, who carry passengers about the world, from China and
Australia, round to Chili and Peru, who have the charge of the
world's passengers and letters, and as a nation incur out of our
pocket annually loss of some half million of pounds sterling for
the privilege of doing so, are to inquire the business of every
American traveler before we let him on board, and be stopped in our
work if we take anybody on one side whose journeyings may be
conceived by the other side to be to them prejudicial! Not on such
terms will Englishmen be willing to spread civilization across the
ocean! I do not pretend to understand Wheaton and Phillimore, or
even to have read a single word of any international law. I have
refused to read any such, knowing that it would only confuse and
mislead me. But I have my common sense to guide me. Two men
living in one street, quarrel and shy brickbats at each other, and
make the whole street very uncomfortable. Not only is no one to
interfere with them, but they are to have the privilege of deciding
that their brickbats have the right of way, rather than the
ordinary intercourse of the neighborhood! If that be national law,
national law must be changed. It might do for some centuries back,
but it cannot do now. Up to this period my sympathies had been
with the North. I thought, and still think, that the North had no
alternative, that the war had been forced upon them, and that they
had gone about their work with patriotic energy. But this stopping
of an English mail steamer was too much for me.

What will they do in England? was now the question. But for any
knowledge as to that I had to wait till I reached Washington.



The two places of most general interest in the vicinity of Boston
are Cambridge and Lowell. Cambridge is to Massachusetts, and, I
may almost say, is to all the Northern States, what Cambridge and
Oxford are to England. It is the seat of the university which
gives the highest education to be attained by the highest classes
in that country. Lowell also is in little to Massachusetts and to
New England what Manchester is to us in so great a degree. It is
the largest and most prosperous cotton-manufacturing town in the

Cambridge is not above three or four miles from Boston. Indeed,
the town of Cambridge properly so called begins where Boston
ceases. The Harvard College--that is its name, taken from one of
its original founders--is reached by horse-cars in twenty minutes
from the city. An Englishman feels inclined to regard the place as
a suburb of Boston; but if he so expresses himself, he will not
find favor in the eyes of the men of Cambridge.

The university is not so large as I had expected to find it. It
consists of Harvard College, as the undergraduates' department, and
of professional schools of law, medicine, divinity, and science.
In the few words that I will say about it I will confine myself to
Harvard College proper, conceiving that the professional schools
connected with it have not in themselves any special interest. The
average number of undergraduates does not exceed 450, and these are
divided into four classes. The average number of degrees taken
annually by bachelors of art is something under 100. Four years'
residence is required for a degree, and at the end of that period a
degree is given as a matter of course if the candidate's conduct
has been satisfactory. When a young man has pursued his studies
for that period, going through the required examinations and
lectures, he is not subjected to any final examination as is the
case with a candidate for a degree at Oxford and Cambridge. It is,
perhaps, in this respect that the greatest difference exists
between the English universities and Harvard College. With us a
young man may, I take it, still go through his three or four years
with a small amount of study. But his doing so does not insure him
his degree. If he have utterly wasted his time he is plucked, and
late but heavy punishment comes upon him. At Cambridge, in
Massachusetts, the daily work of the men is made more obligatory;
but if this be gone through with such diligence as to enable the
student to hold his own during the four years, he has his degree as
a matter of course. There are no degrees conferring special honor.
A man cannot go out "in honors" as he does with us. There are no
"firsts" or "double firsts;" no "wranglers;" no "senior opts" or
"junior opts." Nor are there prizes of fellowships and livings to
be obtained. It is, I think, evident from this that the greatest
incentives to high excellence are wanting at Harvard College.
There is neither the reward of honor nor of money. There is none
of that great competition which exists at our Cambridge for the
high place of Senior Wrangler; and, consequently, the degree of
excellence attained is no doubt lower than with us. But I conceive
that the general level of the university education is higher there
than with us; that a young man is more sure of getting his
education, and that a smaller percentage of men leaves Harvard
College utterly uneducated than goes in that condition out of
Oxford or Cambridge. The education at Harvard College is more
diversified in its nature, and study is more absolutely the
business of the place than it is at our universities.

The expense of education at Harvard College is not much lower than
at our colleges; with us there are, no doubt, more men who are
absolutely extravagant than at Cambridge, Massachusetts. The
actual authorized expenditure in accordance with the rules is only
50l. per annum, i.e. 249 dollars; but this does not, by any means,
include everything. Some of the richer young men may spend as much
as 300l. per annum, but the largest number vary their expenditure
from 100l. to 180l. per annum; and I take it the same thing may be
said of our universities. There are many young men at Harvard
College of very small means. They will live on 70l. per annum, and
will earn a great portion of that by teaching in the vacations.
There are thirty-six scholarships attached to the university,
varying in value from 20l. to 60l. per annum; and there is also a
beneficiary fund for supplying poor scholars with assistance during
their collegiate education. Many are thus brought up at Cambridge
who have no means of their own; and I think I may say that the
consideration in which they are held among their brother students
is in no degree affected by their position. I doubt whether we can
say so much of the Sizars and Bible clerks at our universities.

At Harvard College there is, of course, none of that old-fashioned,
time-honored, delicious, medieval life which lends so much grace
and beauty to our colleges. There are no gates, no porter's
lodges, no butteries, no halls, no battels, and no common rooms.
There are no proctors, no bulldogs, no bursers, no deans, no
morning and evening chapel, no quads, no surplices, no caps and
gowns. I have already said that there are no examinations for
degrees and no honors; and I can easily conceive that in the
absence of all these essentials many an Englishman will ask what
right Harvard College has to call itself a university.

I have said that there are no honors, and in our sense there are
none. But I should give offense to my American friends if I did
not explain that there are prizes given--I think all in money, and
that they vary from fifty to ten dollars. These are called deturs.
The degrees are given on Commencement Day, at which occasion
certain of the expectant graduates are selected to take parts in a
public literary exhibition. To be so selected seems to be
tantamount to taking a degree in honors. There is also a dinner on
Commencement Day, at which, however, "no wine or other intoxicating
drink shall be served."

It is required that every student shall attend some place of
Christian worship on Sundays; but he, or his parents for him, may
elect what denomination of church he shall attend. There is a
university chapel on the university grounds which belongs, if I
remember aright, to the Episcopalian church. The young men, for
the most part, live in college, having rooms in the college
buildings; but they do not board in those rooms. There are
establishments in the town, under the patronage of the university,
at which dinner, breakfast, and supper are provided; and the young
men frequent one of these houses or another as they, or their
friends for them, may arrange. Every young man not belonging to a
family resident within a hundred miles of Cambridge, and whose
parents are desirous to obtain the protection thus provided, is
placed, as regards his pecuniary management, under the care of a
patron; and this patron acts by him as a father does in England by
a boy at school. He pays out his money for him and keeps him out
of debt. The arrangement will not recommend itself to young men at
Oxford quite so powerfully as it may do to the fathers of some
young men who have been there. The rules with regard to the
lodging and boarding houses are very stringent. Any festive
entertainment is to be reported to the president. No wine or
spirituous liquors may be used, etc. It is not a picturesque
system, this; but it has its advantages.

There is a handsome library attached to the college which the young
men can use, but it is not as extensive as I had expected. The
university is not well off for funds by which to increase it. The
new museum in the college is also a handsome building. The
edifices used for the undergraduates' chambers and for the lecture-
rooms are by no means handsome. They are very ugly, red brick
houses, standing here and there without order. There are seven
such; and they are called Brattle House, College House, Divinity
Hall, Hollis Hall, Holsworthy Hall, Massachusetts Hall, and
Stoughton Hall. It is almost astonishing that buildings so ugly
should have been erected for such a purpose. These, together with
the library, the museum, and the chapel, stand on a large green,
which might be made pretty enough if it were kept well mown, like
the gardens of our Cambridge colleges; but it is much neglected.
Here, again, the want of funds--the auqusta res domi--must be
pleaded as an excuse. On the same green, but at some little
distance from any other building, stands the president's pleasant

The immediate direction of the college is of course mainly in the
hands of the president, who is supreme. But for the general
management of the institution there is a corporation, of which he
is one. It is stated in the laws of the university that the
Corporation of the University and its Overseers constitute the
Government of the University. The Corporation consists of the
President, five Fellows so called, and a Treasurer. These Fellows
are chosen, as vacancies occur, by themselves, subject to the
concurrence of the Overseers. But these Fellows are in nowise like
to the Fellows of our colleges, having no salaries attached to
their offices. The Board of Overseers consists of the State
Governor, other State officers, the President and Treasurer of
Harvard College, and thirty other persons, men of note, chosen by
vote. The Faculty of the College, in which is vested the immediate
care and government of the undergraduates, is composed of the
President and the Professors. The Professors answer to the tutors
of our colleges, and upon them the education of the place depends.
I cannot complete this short notice of Harvard College without
saying that it is happy in the possession of that distinguished
natural philosopher Professor Agassiz. M. Agassiz has collected at
Cambridge a museum of such things as natural philosophers delight
to show, which I am told is all but invaluable. As my ignorance on
all such matters is of a depth which the professor can hardly
imagine, and which it would have shocked him to behold, I did not
visit the museum. Taking the University of Harvard College as a
whole, I should say that it is most remarkable in this--that it
does really give to its pupils that education which it professes to
give. Of our own universities other good things may be said, but
that one special good thing cannot always be said.

Cambridge boasts itself as the residence of four or five men well
known to fame on the American and also on the European side of the
ocean. President Felton's* name is very familiar to us; and
wherever Greek scholarship is held in repute, that is known. So
also is the name of Professor Agassiz, of whom I have spoken.
Russell Lowell is one of the professors of the college--that
Russell Lowell who sang of Birdofredum Sawin, and whose Biglow
Papers were edited with such an ardor of love by our Tom Brown,
Birdofredum is worthy of all the ardor. Mr. Dana is also a
Cambridge man--he who was "two years before the mast," and who
since that has written to us of Cuba. But Mr. Dana, though
residing at Cambridge, is not of Cambridge; and, though a literary
man, he does not belong to literature. He is--could he help it?--a
"special attorney." I must not, however, degrade him; for in the
States barristers and attorneys are all one. I cannot but think
that he could help it, and that he should not give up to law what
was meant for mankind. I fear, however, that successful Law has
caught him in her intolerant clutches, and that Literature, who
surely would be the nobler mistress, must wear the willow. Last
and greatest is the poet-laureate of the West, for Mr. Longfellow
also lives at Cambridge.

* Since these words were written President Felton has died--I, as I
returned on my way homeward, had the melancholy privilege of being
present at his funeral. I feel bound to record here the great
kindness with which Mr. Felton assisted me in obtaining such
information as I needed respecting the institution over which he

I am not at all aware whether the nature of the manufacturing
corporation of Lowell is generally understood by Englishmen. I
confess that until I made personal acquaintance with the plan, I
was absolutely ignorant on the subject. I knew that Lowell was a
manufacturing town at which cotton is made into calico, and at
which calico is printed--as is the case at Manchester; but I
conceived this was done at Lowell, as it is done at Manchester, by
individual enterprise--that I or any one else could open a mill at
Lowell, and that the manufacturers there were ordinary traders, as
they are at other manufacturing towns. But this is by no means the

That which most surprises an English visitor on going through the
mills at Lowell is the personal appearance of the men and women who
work at them. As there are twice as many women as there are men,
it is to them that the attention is chiefly called. They are not
only better dressed, cleaner, and better mounted in every respect
than the girls employed at manufactories in England, but they are
so infinitely superior as to make a stranger immediately perceive
that some very strong cause must have created the difference. We
all know the class of young women whom we generally see serving
behind counters in the shops of our larger cities. They are neat,
well dressed, careful, especially about their hair, composed in
their manner, and sometimes a little supercilious in the propriety
of their demeanor. It is exactly the same class of young women
that one sees in the factories at Lowell. They are not sallow, nor
dirty, nor ragged, nor rough. They have about them no signs of
want, or of low culture. Many of us also know the appearance of
those girls who work in the factories in England; and I think it
will be allowed that a second glance at them is not wanting to show
that they are in every respect inferior to the young women who
attend our shops. The matter, indeed, requires no argument. Any
young woman at a shop would be insulted by being asked whether she
had worked at a factory. The difference with regard to the men at
Lowell is quite as strong, though not so striking. Working men do
not show their status in the world by their outward appearance as
readily as women; and, as I have said before, the number of the
women greatly exceeded that of the men.

One would of course be disposed to say that the superior condition
of the workers must have been occasioned by superior wages; and
this, to a certain extent, has been the cause. But the higher
payment is not the chief cause. Women's wages, including all that
they receive at the Lowell factories, average about 14s. a week,
which is, I take it, fully a third more than women can earn in
Manchester, or did earn before the loss of the American cotton
began to tell upon them. But if wages at Manchester were raised to
the Lowell standard, the Manchester women would not be clothed,
fed, cared for, and educated like the Lowell women. The fact is,
that the workmen and the workwomen at Lowell are not exposed to the
chances of an open labor market. They are taken in, as it were, to
a philanthropical manufacturing college, and then looked after and
regulated more as girls and lads at a great seminary, than as hands
by whose industry profit is to be made out of capital. This is all
very nice and pretty at Lowell, but I am afraid it could not be
done at Manchester.

There are at present twelve different manufactories at Lowell, each
of which has what is called a separate corporation. The Merrimack
Manufacturing Company was incorporated in 1822, and thus Lowell was
commenced. The Lowell Machine-shop was incorporated in 1845, and
since that no new establishment has been added. In 1821, a certain
Boston manufacturing company, which had mills at Waltham, near
Boston, was attracted by the water-power of the River Merrimack, on
which the present town of Lowell is situated. A canal called the
Pawtucket Canal had been made for purposes of navigation from one
reach of the river to another, with the object of avoiding the
Pawtucket Falls; and this canal, with the adjacent water-power of
the river, was purchased for the Boston company. The place was
then called Lowell, after one of the partners in that company.

It must be understood that water-power alone is used for preparing
the cotton and working the spindles and looms of the cotton mills.
Steam is applied in the two establishments in which the cottons are
printed, for the purposes of printing, but I think nowhere else.
When the mills are at full work, about two and a half million yards
of cotton goods are made every week, and nearly a million pounds of
cotton are consumed per week, (i e. 842,000 lbs.,) but the
consumption of coal is only 30,000 tons in the year. This will
give some idea of the value of the water-power. The Pawtucket
Canal was, as I say, bought, and Lowell was commenced. The town
was incorporated in 1826, and the railway between it and Boston was
opened in 1835, under the superintendence of Mr. Jackson, the
gentleman by whom the purchase of the canal had in the first
instance been made. Lowell now contains about 40,000 inhabitants.

The following extract is taken from the hand-book to Lowell: "Mr.
F. C. Lowell had, in his travels abroad, observed the effect of
large manufacturing establishments on the character of the people,
and in the establishment at Waltham the founders looked for a
remedy for these defects. They thought that education and good
morals would even enhance the profit, and that they could compete
with Great Britain by introducing a more cultivated class of
operatives. For this purpose they built boarding-houses, which,
under the direct supervision of the agent, were kept by discreet
matrons"--I can answer for the discreet matrons at Lowell--"mostly
widows, no boarders being allowed except operatives. Agents and
overseers of high moral character were selected; regulations were
adopted at the mills and boarding-houses, by which only respectable
girls were employed. The mills were nicely painted and swept"--I
can also answer for the painting and sweeping at Lowell--"trees set
out in the yards and along the streets, habits of neatness and
cleanliness encouraged; and the result justified the expenditure.
At Lowell the same policy has been adopted and extended; more
spacious mills and elegant boarding-houses have been erected;" as
to the elegance, it may be a matter of taste, but as to the
comfort, there is no question--"the same care as to the classes
employed; more capital has been expended for cleanliness and
decoration; a hospital has been established for the sick, where,
for a small price, they have an experienced physician and skillful
nurses. An institute, with an extensive library, for the use of
the mechanics, has been endowed. The agents have stood forward in
the support of schools, churches, lectures, and lyceums, and their
influence contributed highly to the elevation of the moral and
intellectual character of the operatives. Talent has been
encouraged, brought forward, and recommended." For some
considerable time the young women wrote, edited, and published a
newspaper among themselves, called the Lowell Offering. "And
Lowell has supplied agents and mechanics for the later
manufacturing places who have given tone to society, and extended
the beneficial influence of Lowell through the United States.
Girls from the country, with a true Yankee spirit of independence,
and confident in their own powers, pass a few years here, and then
return to get married with a dower secured by their exertions, with
more enlarged ideas and extended means of information, and their
places are supplied by younger relatives. A large proportion of
the female population of New England has been employed at some time
in manufacturing establishments, and they are not on this account
less good wives, mothers, or educators of families." Then the
account goes on to tell how the health of the girls has been
improved by their attendance at the mills; how they put money into
the savings banks, and buy railway shares and farms; how there are
thirty churches in Lowell, a library, banks, and insurance office,;
how there is a cemetery, and a park; and how everything is
beautiful, philanthropic, profitable, and magnificent.

Thus Lowell is the realization of a commercial Utopia. Of all the
statements made in the little book which I have quoted, I cannot
point out one which is exaggerated, much less false. I should not
call the place elegant; in other respects I am disposed to stand by
the book. Before I had made any inquiry into the cause of the
apparent comfort, it struck me at once that some great effort at
excellence was being made. I went into one of the discreet
matrons' residences; and, perhaps, may give but an indifferent idea
of her discretion, when I say that she allowed me to go into the
bed-rooms. If you want to ascertain the inner ways or habits of
life of any man, woman, or child, see, if it be practicable to do
so, his or her bed-room. You will learn more by a minute's glance
round that holy of holies, than by any conversation. Looking-
glasses and such like, suspended dresses, and toilet-belongings, if
taken without notice, cannot lie or even exaggerate. The discreet
matron at first showed me rooms only prepared for use, for at the
period of my visit Lowell was by no means full; but she soon became
more intimate with me, and I went through the upper part of the
house. My report must be altogether in her favor and in that of
Lowell. Everything was cleanly, well ordered, and feminine. There
was not a bed on which any woman need have hesitated to lay herself
if occasion required it. I fear that this cannot be said of the
lodgings of the manufacturing classes at Manchester. The boarders
all take their meals together. As a rule, they have meat twice a
day. Hot meat for dinner is with them as much a matter of course,
or probably more so, than with any Englishman or woman who may read
this book. For in the States of America regulations on this matter
are much more rigid than with us. Cold meat is rarely seen, and to
live a day without meat would be as great a privation as to pass a
night without bed.

The rules for the guidance of these boarding-houses are very rigid.
The houses themselves belong to the corporations, or different
manufacturing establishments, and the tenants are altogether in the
power of the managers. None but operatives are to be taken in.
The tenants are answerable for improper conduct. The doors are to
be closed at ten o'clock. Any boarders who do not attend divine
worship are to be reported to the managers. The yards and walks
are to be kept clean, and snow removed at once; and the inmates
must be vaccinated, etc. etc. etc. It is expressly stated by the
Hamilton Company--and I believe by all the companies--that no one
shall be employed who is habitually absent from public worship on
Sunday, or who is known to be guilty of immorality, it is stated
that the average wages of the women are two dollars, or eight
shillings, a week, besides their board. I found when I was there
that from three dollars to three and a half a week were paid to the
women, of which they paid one dollar and twenty-five cents for
their board. As this would not fully cover the expense of their
keep, twenty-five cents a week for each was also paid to the
boarding-house keepers by the mill agents. This substantially came
to the same thing, as it left the two dollars a week, or eight
shillings, with the girls over and above their cost of living. The
board included washing, lights, food, bed, and attendance--leaving
a surplus of eight shillings a week for clothes and saving. Now
let me ask any one acquainted with Manchester and its operatives,
whether that is not Utopia realized. Factory girls, for whom every
comfort of life is secured, with 21l. a year over for saving and
dress! One sees the failing, however, at a moment. It is Utopia.
Any Lady Bountiful can tutor three or four peasants and make them
luxuriously comfortable. But no Lady Bountiful can give luxurious
comfort to half a dozen parishes. Lowell is now nearly forty years
old, and contains but 40,000 inhabitants. From the very nature of
its corporations it cannot spread itself. Chicago, which has grown
out of nothing in a much shorter period, and which has no
factories, has now 120,000 inhabitants. Lowell is a very wonderful
place and shows what philanthropy can do; but I fear it also shows
what philanthropy cannot do.

There are, however, other establishments, conducted on the same
principle as those at Lowell, which have had the same amount, or
rather the same sort of success. Lawrence is now a town of about
15,000 inhabitants, and Manchester of about 24,000, if I remember
rightly; and at those places the mills are also owned by
corporations and conducted as are those at Lowell. But it seems to
me that as New England takes her place in the world as a great
mannfacturing country--which place she undoubtedly will take sooner
or later--she must abandon the hot-house method of providing for
her operatives with which she has commenced her work. In the first
place, Lowell is not open as a manufacturing town to the
capitalists even of New England at large. Stock may, I presume, be
bought in the corporations, but no interloper can establish a mill
there. It is a close manufacturing community, bolstered up on all
sides, and has none of that capacity for providing employment for a
thickly growing population which belongs to such places as
Manchester and Leeds. That it should under its present system have
been made in any degree profitable reflects great credit on the
managers; but the profit does reach an amount which in America can
be considered as remunerative. The total capital invested by the
twelve corporations is thirteen million and a half of dollars, or
about two million seven hundred thousand pounds. In only one of
the corporations, that of the Merrimack Company, does the profit
amount to twelve per cent. In one, that of the Booth Company, it
falls below seven per cent. The average profit of the various
establishments is something below nine per cent. I am of course
speaking of Lowell as it was previous to the war. American
capitalists are not, as a rule, contented with so low a rate of
interest as this.

The States in these matters have had a great advantage over
England. They have been able to begin at the beginning.
Manufactories have grown up among us as our cities grew--from the
necessities and chances of the times. When labor was wanted it was
obtained in the ordinary way; and so when houses were built they
were built in the ordinary way. We had not the experience, and the
results either for good or bad, of other nations to guide us. The
Americans, in seeing and resolving to adopt our commercial
successes, have resolved also, if possible, to avoid the evils
which have attended those successes. It would be very desirable
that all our factory girls should read and write, wear clean
clothes, have decent beds, and eat hot meat every day. But that is
now impossible. Gradually, with very up-hill work, but still I
trust with sure work, much will be done to improve their position
and render their life respectable; but in England we can have no
Lowells. In our thickly populated island any commercial Utopia is
out of the question. Nor can, as I think, Lowell be taken as a
type of the future manufacturing towns of New England. When New
England employs millions in her factories instead of thousands--the
hands employed at Lowell, when the mills are at full work, are
about 11,000--she must cease to provide for them their beds and
meals, their church-going proprieties and orderly modes of life.
In such an attempt she has all the experience of the world against
her. But nevertheless I think she will have done much good. The
tone which she will have given will not altogether lose its
influence. Employment in a factory is now considered reputable by
a farmer and his children, and this idea will remain. Factory work
is regarded as more respectable than domestic service, and this
prestige will not wear itself altogether out. Those now employed
have a strong conception of the dignity of their own social
position, and their successors will inherit much of this, even
though they may find themselves excluded from the advantages of the
present Utopia. The thing has begun well, but it can only be
regarded as a beginning. Steam, it may be presumed, will become
the motive power of cotton mills in New England as it is with us;
and when it is so, the amount of work to be done at any one place
will not be checked by any such limit as that which now prevails at
Lowell. Water-power is very cheap, but it cannot be extended; and
it would seem that no place can become large as a manufacturing
town which has to depend chiefly upon water. It is not improbable
that steam may be brought into general use at Lowell, and that
Lowell may spread itself. If it should spread itself widely, it
will lose its Utopian characteristics.

One cannot but be greatly struck by the spirit of philanthropy in
which the system of Lowell was at first instituted. It may be
presumed that men who put their money into such an undertaking did
so with the object of commercial profit to themselves; but in this
case that was not their first object. I think it may be taken for
granted that when Messrs. Jackson and Lowell went about their task,
their grand idea was to place factory work upon a respectable
footing--to give employment in mills which should not be unhealthy,
degrading, demoralizing, or hard in its circumstances. Throughout
the Northern States of America the same feeling is to be seen.
Good and thoughtful men have been active to spread education, to
maintain health, to make work compatible with comfort and personal
dignity, and to divest the ordinary lot of man of the sting of that
curse which was supposed to be uttered when our first father was
ordered to eat his bread in the sweat of his brow. One is driven
to contrast this feeling, of which on all sides one sees such ample
testimony, with that sharp desire for profit, that anxiety to do a
stroke of trade at every turn, that acknowledged necessity of being
smart, which we must own is quite as general as the nobler
propensity. I believe that both phases of commercial activity may
be attributed to the same characteristic. Men in trade in America
are not more covetous than tradesmen in England, nor probably are
they more generous or philanthropical. But that which they do,
they are more anxious to do thoroughly and quickly. They desire
that every turn taken shall be a great turn--or at any rate that it
shall be as great as possible. They go ahead either for bad or
good with all the energy they have. In the institutions at Lowell
I think we may allow that the good has very much prevailed.

I went over two of the mills, those of the Merrimack corporation
and of the Massachusetts. At the former the printing establishment
only was at work; the cotton mills were closed. I hardly know
whether it will interest any one to learn that something under half
a million yards of calico are here printed annually. At the Lowell
Bleachery fifteen million yards are dyed annually. The Merrimack
Cotton Mills were stopped, and so had the other mills at Lowell
been stopped, till some short time before my visit. Trade had been
bad, and there had of course been a lack of cotton. I was assured
that no severe suffering had been created by this stoppage. The
greater number of hands had returned into the country--to the farms
from whence they had come; and though a discontinuance of work and
wages had of course produced hardship, there had been no actual
privation--no hunger and want. Those of the work-people who had no
homes out of Lowell to which to betake themselves, and no means at
Lowell of living, had received relief before real suffering had
begun. I was assured, with something of a smile of contempt at the
question, that there had been nothing like hunger. But, as I said
before, visitors always see a great deal of rose color, and should
endeavor to allay the brilliancy of the tint with the proper amount
of human shading. But do not let any visitor mix in the browns
with too heavy a hand!

At the Massachusetts Cotton Mills they were working with about two-
thirds of their full number of hands, and this, I was told, was
about the average of the number now employed throughout Lowell.
Working at this rate they had now on hand a supply of cotton to
last them for six months. Their stocks had been increased lately,
and on asking from whence, I was informed that that last received
had come to them from Liverpool. There is, I believe, no doubt but
that a considerable quantity of cotton has been shipped back from
England to the States since the civil war began. I asked the
gentleman, to whose care at Lowell I was consigned, whether he
expected to get cotton from the South--for at that time Beaufort,
in South Carolina, had just been taken by the naval expedition. He
had, he said, a political expectation of a supply of cotton, but
not a commercial expectation. That at least was the gist of his
reply, and I found it to be both intelligent and intelligible. The
Massachusetts Mills, when at full work, employ 1300 females and 400
males, and turn out 540,000 yards of calico per week.

On my return from Lowell in the smoking car, an old man came and
squeezed in next to me. The place was terribly crowded, and as the
old man was thin and clean and quiet, I willingly made room for
him, so as to avoid the contiguity of a neighbor who might be
neither thin, nor clean, nor quiet. He began talking to me in
whispers about the war, and I was suspicious that he was a
Southerner and a secessionist. Under such circumstances his
company might not be agreeable, unless he could be induced to hold
his tongue. At last he said, "I come from Canada, you know, and
you--you're an Englishman, and therefore I can speak to you
openly;" and he gave me an affectionate grip on the knee with his
old skinny hand. I suppose I do look more like an Englishman than
an American, but I was surprised at his knowing me with such
certainty. "There is no mistaking you," he said, "with your round
face and your red cheeks. They don't look like that here," and he
gave me another grip. I felt quite fond of the old man, and
offered him a cigar.



We all know that the subject which appears above as the title of
this chapter is a very favorite subject in America. It is, I hope,
a very favorite subject here also, and I am inclined to think has
been so for many years past. The rights of women, as
contradistinguished from the wrongs of women, has perhaps been the
most precious of the legacies left to us by the feudal ages. How,
amid the rough darkness of old Teuton rule, women began to receive
that respect which is now their dearest right, is one of the most
interesting studies of history. It came, I take it, chiefly from
their own conduct. The women of the old classic races seem to have
enjoyed but a small amount of respect or of rights, and to have
deserved as little. It may have been very well for one Caesar to
have said that his wife should be above suspicion; but his wife was
put away, and therefore either did not have her rights, or else had
justly forfeited them. The daughter of the next Caesar lived in
Rome the life of a Messalina, and did not on that account seem to
have lost her "position in society," till she absolutely declined
to throw any vail whatever over her propensities. But as the Roman
empire fell, chivalry began. For a time even chivalry afforded but
a dull time to the women. During the musical period of the
Troubadours, ladies, I fancy, had but little to amuse them save the
music. But that was the beginning, and from that time downward the
rights of women have progressed very favorably. It may be that
they have not yet all that should belong to them. If that be the
case, let the men lose no time in making up the difference. But it
seems to me that the women who are now making their claims may
perhaps hardly know when they are well off. It will be an ill
movement if they insist on throwing away any of the advantages they
have won. As for the women in America especially, I must confess
that I think they have a "good time." I make them my compliments
on their sagacity, intelligence, and attractions, but I utterly
refuse to them any sympathy for supposed wrongs. O fortunatas, sua
si bona norint! Whether or no, were I an American married man and
father of a family, I should not go in for the rights of man--that
is altogether another question.

This question of the rights of women divides itself into two heads--
one of which is very important, worthy of much consideration,
capable perhaps of much philanthropic action, and at any rate
affording matter for grave discussion. This is the question of
women's work: How far the work of the world, which is now borne
chiefly by men, should be thrown open to women further than is now
done? The other seems to me to be worthy of no consideration, to
be capable of no action, to admit of no grave discussion. This
refers to the political rights of women: How far the political
working of the world, which is now entirely in the hands of men,
should be divided between them and women? The first question is
being debated on our side of the Atlantic as keenly perhaps as on
the American side. As to that other question, I do not know that
much has ever been said about it in Europe.

"You are doing nothing in England toward the employment of
females," a lady said to me in one of the States soon after my
arrival in America. "Pardon me," I answered, "I think we are doing
much, perhaps too much. At any rate we are doing something." I
then explained to her how Miss Faithful had instituted a printing
establishment in London; how all the work in that concern was done
by females, except such heavy tasks as those for which women could
not be fitted, and I handed to her one of Miss Faithful's cards.
"Ah," said my American friend, "poor creatures! I have no doubt
their very flesh will be worked off their bones." I thought this a
little unjust on her part; but nevertheless it occurred to me as an
answer not unfit to be made by some other lady--by some woman who
had not already advocated the increased employment of women. Let
Miss Faithful look to that. Not that she will work the flesh off
her young women's bones, or allow such terrible consequences to
take place in Coram Street; not that she or that those connected
with her in that enterprise will do aught but good to those
employed therein. It will not even be said of her individually, or
of her partners, that they have worked the flesh off women's bones;
but may it not come to this, that when the tasks now done by men
have been shifted to the shoulders of women, women themselves will
so complain? May it not go further, and come even to this, that
women will have cause for such complaint? I do not think that such
a result will come, because I do not think that the object desired
by those who are active in the matter will be attained. Men, as a
general rule among civilized nations, have elected to earn their
own bread and the bread of the women also, and from this resolve on
their part I do not think that they will be beaten off.

We know that Mrs. Dall, an American lady, has taken up this
subject, and has written a book on it, in which great good sense
and honesty of purpose is shown. Mrs. Dall is a strong advocate
for the increased employment of women, and I, with great deference,
disagree with her. I allude to her book now because she has
pointed out, I think very strongly, the great reason why women do
not engage themselves advantageously in trade pursuits. She by no
means overpraises her own sex, and openly declares that young women
will not consent to place themselves in fair competition with men.
They will not undergo the labor and servitude of long study at
their trades. They will not give themselves up to an
apprenticeship. They will not enter upon their tasks as though
they were to be the tasks of their lives. They may have the same
physical and mental aptitudes for learning a trade as men, but they
have not the same devotion to the pursuit, and will not bind
themselves to it thoroughly as men do. In all which I quite agree
with Mrs. Dall; and the English of it is--that the young women want
to get married.

God forbid that they should not so want. Indeed, God has forbidden
in a very express way that there should be any lack of such a
desire on the part of women. There has of late years arisen a
feeling among masses of the best of our English ladies that this
feminine propensity should be checked. We are told that unmarried
women may be respectable, which we always knew; that they may be
useful, which we also acknowledge--thinking still that, if married,
they would be more useful; and that they may be happy, which we
trust--feeling confident, however, that they might in another
position be more happy. But the question is not only as to the
respectability, usefulness, and happiness of womankind, but as to
that of men also. If women can do without marriage, can men do so?
And if not, how are the men to get wives, if the women elect to
remain single?

It will be thought that I am treating the subject as though it were
simply jocose, but I beg to assure my reader that such is not my
intention. It certainly is the fact that that disinclination to an
apprenticeship and unwillingness to bear the long training for a
trade, of which Mrs. Dall complains on the part of young women,
arise from the fact that they have other hopes with which such
apprenticeships would jar; and it is also certain that if such
disinclination be overcome on the part of any great number, it must
be overcome by the destruction or banishment of such hopes. The
question is whether good or evil would result from such a change.
It is often said that whatever difficulty a woman may have in
getting a husband, no man need encounter difficulty in finding a
wife. But, in spite of this seeming fact, I think it must be
allowed that if women are withdrawn from the marriage market, men
must be withdrawn from it also to the same extent.

In any broad view of this matter, we are bound to look not on any
individual case, and the possible remedies for such cases, but on
the position in the world occupied by women in general--on the
general happiness and welfare of the aggregate feminine world, and
perhaps also a little on the general happiness and welfare of the
aggregate male world. When ladies and gentlemen advocate the right
of women to employment, they are taking very different ground from
that on which stand those less extensive philanthropists who exert
themselves for the benefit of distressed needlewomen, for instance,
or for the alleviation of the more bitter misery of governesses.
The two questions are in fact absolutely antagonistic to each
other. The rights-of-women advocate is doing his best to create
that position for women from the possible misfortunes of which the
friend of the needlewomen is struggling to relieve them. The one
is endeavoring to throw work from off the shoulders of men on to
the shoulders of women, and the other is striving to lessen the
burden which women are already bearing. Of course it is good to
relieve distress in individual cases. That Song of the Shirt,
which I regard as poetry of the immortal kind, has done an amount
of good infinitely wider than poor Hood ever ventured to hope. Of
all such efforts I would speak not only with respect, but with
loving admiration. But of those whose efforts are made to spread
work more widely among women--to call upon them to make for us our
watches, to print our books, to sit at our desks as clerks and to
add up our accounts--much as I may respect the individual operators
in such a movement, I can express no admiration for their judgment.

I have seen women with ropes round their necks drawing a harrow
over plowed ground. No one will, I suppose, say that they approve
of that. But it would not have shocked me to see men drawing a
harrow. I should have thought it slow, unprofitable work; but my
feelings would not have been hurt. There must, therefore, be some
limit; but if we men teach ourselves to believe that work is good
for women, where is the limit to be drawn, and who shall draw it?
It is true that there is now no actually defined limit. There is
much work that is commonly open to both sexes. Personal domestic
attendance is so, and the attendance in shops. The use of the
needle is shared between men and women; and few, I take it, know
where the seamstress ends and where the tailor begins. In many
trades a woman can be, and very often is, the owner and manager of
the business. Painting is as much open to women as to men, as also
is literature. There can be no defined limit; but nevertheless
there is at present a quasi limit, which the rights-of-women
advocates wish to move, and so to move that women shall do more
work and not less. A woman now could not well be a cab-driver in
London; but are these advocates sure that no woman will be a cab-
driver when success has attended their efforts? And would they
like to see a woman driving a cab? For my part, I confess I do not
like to see a woman acting as road-keeper on a French railway. I
have seen a woman acting as hostler at a public stage in Ireland.
I knew the circumstances--how her husband had become ill and
incapable, and how she had been allowed to earn the wages; but
nevertheless the sight was to me disagreeable, and seemed, as far
as it went, to degrade the sex. Chivalry has been very active in
raising women from the hard and hardening tasks of the world; and
through this action they have become soft, tender, and virtuous.
It seems to me that they of whom I am now speaking are desirous of
undoing what chivalry has done.

The argument used is of course plain enough. It is said that women
are left destitute in the world--destitute unless they can be self-
dependent, and that to women should be given the same open access
to wages that men possess, in order that they may be as self-
dependent as men. Why should a young woman, for whom no father is
able to provide, not enjoy those means of provision which are open
to a young man so circumstanced? But I think the answer is very
simple. The young man, under the happiest circumstances which may
befall him, is bound to earn his bread. The young woman is only so
bound when happy circumstances do not befall her. Should we
endeavor to make the recurrence of unhappy circumstances more
general or less so? What does any tradesman, any professional man,
any mechanic wish for his children? Is it not this, that his sons
shall go forth and earn their bread, and that his daughters shall
remain with him till they are married? Is not that the mother's
wish? Is it not notorious that such is the wish of us all as to
our daughters? In advocating the rights of women it is of other
men's girls that we think, never of our own.

But, nevertheless, what shall we do for those women who must earn
their bread by their own work? Whatever we do, do not let us
willfully increase their number. By opening trades to women, by
making them printers, watchmakers, accountants, or what not, we
shall not simply relieve those who must now earn their bread by
some such work or else starve. It will not be within our power to
stop ourselves exactly at a certain point; to arrange that those
women who under existing circumstances may now be in want shall be
thus placed beyond want, but that no others shall be affected.
Men, I fear, will be too willing to relieve themselves of some
portion of their present burden, should the world's altered ways
enable them to do so. At present a lawyer's clerk may earn perhaps
his two guineas a week, and he with his wife live on that in fair
comfort. But if his wife, as well as he, has been brought up as a
lawyer's clerk, he will look to her also for some amount of wages.
I doubt whether the two guineas would be much increased, but I do
not doubt at all that the woman's position would be injured.

It seems to me that in discussing this subject philanthropists fail
to take hold of the right end of the argument. Money returns from
work are very good, and work itself is good, as bringing such
returns and occupying both body and mind; but the world's work is
very hard, and workmen are too often overdriven. The question
seems to me to be this--of all this work have the men got on their
own backs too heavy a share for them to bear, and should they seek
relief by throwing more of it upon women? It is the rights of man
that we are in fact debating. These watches are weary to make, and
this type is troublesome to set, We have battles to fight and
speeches to make, and our hands altogether are too full. The women
are idle--many of them. They shall make the watches for us and set
the type; and when they have done that, why should they not make
nails as they do sometimes in Worcestershire, or clean horses, or
drive the cabs? They have had an easy time of it for these years
past, but we'll change that. And then it would come to pass that
with ropes round their necks the women would be drawing harrows
across the fields.

I don't think this will come to pass. The women generally do know
when they are well off, and are not particularly anxious to accept
the philanthropy proffered to them--as Mrs. Dall says, they do not
wish to bind themselves as apprentices to independent money-making.
This cry has been louder in America than with us, but even in
America it has not been efficacious for much. There is in the
States, no doubt, a sort of hankering after increased influence, a
desire for that prominence of position which men attain by loud
voices and brazen foreheads, a desire in the female heart to be up
and doing something, if the female heart only knew what; but even
in the States it has hardly advanced beyond a few feminine
lectures. In many branches of work women are less employed than in
England. They are not so frequent behind counters in the shops,
and are rarely seen as servants in hotels. The fires in such
houses are lighted and the rooms swept by men. But the American
girls may say they do not desire to light fires and sweep rooms.
They are ambitious of the higher classes of work. But those higher
branches of work require study, apprenticeship, a devotion of
youth; and that they will not give. It is very well for a young
man to bind himself for four years, and to think of marrying four
years after that apprenticeship be over. But such a prospectus
will not do for a girl. While the sun shines the hay must be made,
and her sun shines earlier in the day than that of him who is to be
her husband. Let him go through the apprenticeship and the work,
and she will have sufficient on her hands if she looks well after
his household. Under nature's teaching she is aware of this, and
will not bind herself to any other apprenticeship, let Mrs. Dall
preach as she may.

I remember seeing, either at New York or Boston, a wooden figure of
a neat young woman, as large as life, standing at a desk with a
ledger before her, and looking as though the beau ideal of human
bliss were realized in her employment. Under the figure there was
some notice respecting female accountants. Nothing could be nicer
than the lady's figure, more flowing than the broad lines of her
drapery, or more attractive than her auburn ringlets. There she
stood at work, earning her bread without any impediment to the
natural operation of her female charms, and adjusting the accounts
of some great firm with as much facility as grace. I wonder
whether he who designed that figure had ever sat or stood at a desk
for six hours; whether he knew the dull hum of the brain which
comes from long attention to another man's figures; whether he had
ever soiled his own fingers with the everlasting work of office
hours, or worn his sleeves threadbare as he leaned, weary in body
and mind, upon his desk? Work is a grand thing--the grandest thing
we have; but work is not picturesque, graceful, and in itself
alluring. It sucks the sap out of men's bones, and bends their
backs, and sometimes breaks their hearts; but though it be so, I
for one would not wish to throw any heavier share of it on to a
woman's shoulders. It was pretty to see those young women with
spectacles at the Boston library; but when I heard that they were
there from eight in the morning till nine at night, I pitied them
their loss of all the softness of home, and felt that they would
not willingly be there, if necessity were less stern.

Say that by advocating the rights of women, philanthropists succeed
in apportioning more work to their share, will they eat more, wear
better clothes, lie softer, and have altogether more of the fruits
of work than they do now? That some would do so there can be no
doubt; but as little that some would have less. If on the whole
they would not have more, for what good result is the movement
made? The first question is, whether at the present time they have
less than their proper share. There are, unquestionably, terrible
cases of female want; and so there are also of want among men.
Alas! do we not all feel that it must be so, let the
philanthropists be ever so energetic? And if a woman be left
destitute, without the assistance of father, brother, or husband,
it would be hard if no means of earning subsistence were open to
her. But the object now sought is not that of relieving such
distress. It has a much wider tendency, or at any rate a wider
desire. The idea is that women will ennoble themselves by making
themselves independent, by working for their own bread instead of
eating bread earned by men. It is in that that these new
philosophers seem to me to err so greatly. Humanity and chivalry
have succeeded, after a long struggle, in teaching the man to work
for the woman; and now the woman rebels against such teaching--not
because she likes the work, but because she desires the influence
which attends it. But in this I wrong the woman--even the American
woman. It is not she who desires it, but her philanthropical
philosophical friends who desire it for her.

If work were more equally divided between the sexes, some women
would, of course, receive more of the good things of the world.
But women generally would not do so. The tendency, then, would be
to force young women out upon their own exertions. Fathers would
soon learn to think that their daughters should be no more
dependent on them than their sons; men would expect their wives to
work at their own trades; brothers would be taught to think it hard
that their sisters should lean on them, and thus women, driven upon
their own resources, would hardly fare better than they do at

After all it is a question of money, and a contest for that power
and influence which money gives. At present, men have the position
of the Lower House of Parliament--they have to do the harder work,
but they hold the purse. Even in England there has grown up a
feeling that the old law of the land gives a married man too much
power over the joint pecuniary resources of him and his wife, and
in America this feeling is much stronger, and the old law has been
modified. Why should a married woman be able to possess nothing?
And if such be the law of the land, is it worth a woman's while to
marry and put herself in such a position? Those are the questions
asked by the friends of the rights of women. But the young women
do marry, and the men pour their earnings into their wives' laps.

If little has as yet been done in extending the rights of women by
giving them a greater share of the work of the world, still less
has been done toward giving them their portion of political
influence. In the States there are many men of mark, and women of
mark also, who think that women should have votes for public
elections. Mr. Wendell Phillips, the Boston lecturer who advocates
abolition, is an apostle in this cause also; and while I was at
Boston I read the provisions of a will lately left by a
millionaire, in which he bequeathed some very large sums of money
to be expended in agitation on this subject. A woman is subject to
the law; why then should she not help to make the law? A child is
subject to the law, and does not help to make it; but the child
lacks that discretion which the woman enjoys equally with the man.
That I take it is the amount of the argument in favor of the
political rights of women. The logic of this is so conclusive that
I am prepared to acknowledge that it admits of no answer. I will
only say that the mutual good relations between men and women,
which are so indispensable to our happiness, require that men and
women should not take to voting at the same time and on the same
result. If it be decided that women shall have political power,
let them have it all to themselves for a season. If that be so
resolved, I think we may safely leave it to them to name the time
at which they will begin.

I confess that in the States I have sometimes been driven to think
that chivalry has been carried too far--that there is an attempt to
make women think more of the rights of their womanhood than is
needful. There are ladies' doors at hotels, and ladies' drawing-
rooms, ladies' sides on the ferry-boats, ladies' windows at the
post-office for the delivery of letters--which, by-the-by, is an
atrocious institution, as anybody may learn who will look at the
advertisements called personal in some of the New York papers. Why
should not young ladies have their letters sent to their houses,
instead of getting them at a private window? The post-office
clerks can tell stories about those ladies' windows. But at every
turn it is necessary to make separate provision for ladies. From
all this it comes to pass that the baker's daughter looks down from
a great height on her papa, and by no means thinks her brother good
enough for her associate. Nature, the great restorer, comes in and
teaches her to fall in love with the butcher's son. Thus the evil
is mitigated; but I cannot but wish that the young woman should not
see herself denominated a lady so often, and should receive fewer
lessons as to the extent of her privileges. I would save her, if I
could, from working at the oven; I would give to her bread and meat
earned by her father's care and her brother's sweat; but when she
has received these good things, I would have her proud of the one
and by no means ashamed of the other.

Let women say what they will of their rights, or men who think
themselves generous say what they will for them, the question has
all been settled both for them and for us men by a higher power.
They are the nursing mothers of mankind, and in that law their fate
is written with all its joys and all its privileges. It is for men
to make those joys as lasting and those privileges as perfect as
may be. That women should have their rights no man will deny. To
my thinking, neither increase of work nor increase of political
influence are among them. The best right a woman has is the right
to a husband, and that is the right to which I would recommend
every young woman here and in the States to turn her best
attention. On the whole, I think that my doctrine will be more
acceptable than that of Mrs. Dall or Mr. Wendell Phillips.



The one matter in which, as far as my judgment goes, the people of
the United States have excelled us Englishmen, so as to justify
them in taking to themselves praise which we cannot take to
ourselves or refuse to them, is the matter of Education. In saying
this, I do not think that I am proclaiming anything disgraceful to
England, though I am proclaiming much that is creditable to
America. To the Americans of the States was given the good fortune
of beginning at the beginning. The French at the time of their
revolution endeavored to reorganize everything, and to begin the
world again with new habits and grand theories; but the French as a
people were too old for such a change, and the theories fell to the
ground. But in the States, after their revolution, an Anglo-Saxon
people had an opportunity of making a new State, with all the
experience of the world before them; and to this matter of
education they were from the first aware that they must look for
their success. They did so; and unrivaled population, wealth, and
intelligence has been the result; and with these, looking at the
whole masses of the people--I think I am justified in saying--
unrivaled comfort and happiness. It is not that you, my reader, to
whom in this matter of education fortune and your parents have
probably been bountiful, would have been more happy in New York
than in London. It is not that I, who, at any rate, can read and
write, have cause to wish that I had been an American. But it is
this: if you and I can count up in a day all those on whom our eyes
may rest and learn the circumstances of their lives, we shall be
driven to conclude that nine-tenths of that number would have had a
better life as Americans than they can have in their spheres as
Englishmen. The States are at a discount with us now, in the
beginning of this year of grace 1862; and Englishmen were not very
willing to admit the above statement, even when the States were not
at a discount. But I do not think that a man can travel through
the States with his eyes open and not admit the fact. Many things
will conspire to induce him to shut his eyes and admit no
conclusion favorable to the Americans. Men and women will
sometimes be impudent to him; the better his coat, the greater the
impudence. He will be pelted with the braggadocio of equality.
The corns of his Old World conservatism will be trampled on hourly
by the purposely vicious herd of uncouth democracy. The fact that
he is paymaster will go for nothing, and will fail to insure
civility. I shall never forget my agony as I saw and heard my desk
fall from a porter's hand on a railway station, as he tossed it
from him seven yards off on to the hard pavement. I heard its
poor, weak intestines rattle in their death struggle, and knowing
that it was smashed, I forgot my position on American soil and
remonstrated. "It's my desk, and you have utterly destroyed it," I
said. "Ha! ha! ha!" laughed the porter. "You've destroyed my
property," I rejoined, "and it's no laughing matter." And then all
the crowd laughed. "Guess you'd better get it glued," said one.
So I gathered up the broken article and retired mournfully and
crestfallen into a coach. This was very sad, and for the moment I
deplored the ill luck which had brought me to so savage a country.
Such and such like are the incidents which make an Englishman in
the States unhappy, and rouse his gall against the institutions of
the country; these things and the continued appliance of the
irritating ointment of American braggadocio with which his sores
are kept open. But though I was badly off on that railway
platform, worse off than I should have been in England, all that
crowd of porters round me were better off than our English porters.
They had a "good time" of it. And this, O my English brother who
has traveled through the States and returned disgusted, is the fact
throughout. Those men whose familiarity was so disgusting to you
are having a good time of it. "They might be a little more civil,"
you say, "and yet read and write just as well." True; but they are
arguing in their minds that civility to you will be taken by you
for subservience, or for an acknowledgment of superiority; and
looking at your habits of life--yours and mine together--I am not
quite sure that they are altogether wrong. Have you ever realized
to yourself as a fact that the porter who carries your box has not
made himself inferior to you by the very act of carrying that box?
If not, that is the very lesson which the man wishes to teach you.

If a man can forget his own miseries in his journeyings, and think
of the people he comes to see rather than of himself, I think he
will find himself driven to admit that education has made life for
the million in the Northern States better than life for the million
is with us. They have begun at the beginning, and have so managed
that every one may learn to read and write--have so managed that
almost every one does learn to read and write. With us this cannot
now be done. Population had come upon us in masses too thick for
management, before we had as yet acknowledged that it would be a
good thing that these masses should be educated. Prejudices, too,
had sprung up, and habits, and strong sectional feelings, all
antagonistic to a great national system of education. We are, I
suppose, now doing all that we can do; but comparatively it is
little. I think I saw some time since that the cost for gratuitous
education, or education in part gratuitous, which had fallen upon
the nation had already amounted to the sum of 800,000l.; and I
think also that I read in the document which revealed to me this
fact a very strong opinion that government could not at present go
much further. But if this matter were regarded in England as it is
regarded in Massachusetts, or rather, had it from some prosperous
beginning been put upon a similar footing, 800,000l. would not have
been esteemed a great expenditure for free education simply in the
City of London. In 1857 the public schools of Boston cost
70,000l., and these schools were devoted to a population of about
180,000 souls. Taking the population of London at two and a half
millions, the whole sum now devoted to England would, if expended
in the metropolis, make education there even cheaper than it is in
Boston. In Boston, during 1857, there were above 24,000 pupils at
these public schools, giving more than one-eighth of the whole
population. But I fear it would not be practicable for us to spend
800,000l. on the gratuitous education of London. Rich as we are,
we should not know where to raise the money. In Boston it is
raised by a separate tax. It is a thing understood, acknowledged,
and made easy by being habitual--as is our national debt. I do not
know that Boston is peculiarly blessed, but I quote the instance,
as I have a record of its schools before me. At the three high
schools in Boston, at which the average of pupils is 526, about
13l. per head is paid for free education. The average price per
annum of a child's schooling throughout these schools in Boston is
about 3l. for each. To the higher schools any boy or girl may
attain without any expense, and the education is probably as good
as can be given, and as far advanced. The only question is,
whether it is not advanced further than may be necessary. Here, as
at New York, I was almost startled by the amount of knowledge
around me, and listened, as I might have done to an examination in
theology among young Brahmins. When a young lad explained in my
hearing all the properties of the different levers as exemplified
by the bones of the human body, I bowed my head before him in
unaffected humility. We, at our English schools, never got beyond
the use of those bones which he described with such accurate
scientific knowledge. In one of the girls' schools they were
reading Milton, and when we entered were discussing the nature of
the pool in which the devil is described as wallowing. The
question had been raised by one of the girls. A pool, so called,
was supposed to contain but a small amount of water, and how could
the devil, being so large, get into it? Then came the origin of
the word pool--from "palus," a marsh, as we were told, some
dictionary attesting to the fact, and such a marsh might cover a
large expanse. The "Palus Maeotis" was then quoted. And so we
went on till Satan's theory of political liberty,

"Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven,"

was thoroughly discussed and understood. These girls of sixteen
and seventeen got up one after another and gave their opinions on
the subject--how far the devil was right, and how far he was
manifestly wrong. I was attended by one of the directors or
guardians of the schools; and the teacher, I thought, was a little
embarrassed by her position. But the girls themselves were as easy
in their demeanor as though they were stitching handkerchiefs at

It is impossible to refrain from telling all this, and from making
a little innocent fun out of the superexcellencies of these
schools; but the total result on my mind was very greatly in their
favor. And indeed the testimony came in both ways. Not only was I
called on to form an opinion of what the men and women would become
from the education which was given to the boys and girls, but also
to say what must have been the education of the boys and girls from
what I saw of the men and women. Of course it will be understood
that I am not here speaking of those I met in society or of their
children, but of the working people--of that class who find that a
gratuitous education for their children is needful, if any
considerable amount of education is to be given. The result is to
be seen daily in the whole intercourse of life. The coachman who
drives you, the man who mends your window, the boy who brings home
your purchases, the girl who stitches your wife's dress,--they all
carry with them sure signs of education, and show it in every word
they utter.

It will of course be understood that this is, in the separate
States, a matter of State law; indeed, I may go further, and say
that it is, in most of the States, a matter of State constitution.
It is by no means a matter of Federal constitution. The United
States as a nation takes no heed of the education of its people.
All that is left to the judgment of the separate States. In most
of the thirteen original States provision is made in the written
constitution for the general education of the people; but this is
not done in all. I find that it was more frequently done in the
Northern or free-soil States than in those which admitted slavery,
as might have been expected. In the constitutions of South
Carolina and Virginia I find no allusion to the public provision
for education; but in those of North Carolina and Georgia it is
enjoined. The forty-first section of the constitution for North
Carolina enjoins that "schools shall be established by the
legislature for the convenient instruction of youth, with such
salaries to the masters, paid by the public, as may enable them to
instruct at LOW PRICES"--showing that the intention here was to
assist education, and not provide it altogether gratuitously. I
think that provision for public education is enjoined in the
constitutions of all the States admitted into the Union since the
first Federal knot was tied except in that of Illinois. Vermont
was the first so admitted, in 1791; and Vermont declares that "a
competent number of schools ought to be maintained in each town for
the convenient instruction of youth." Ohio was the second, in
1802; and Ohio enjoins that "the General Assembly shall make such
provisions by taxation or otherwise as, with the income arising
from the school trust fund, will secure a thorough and efficient
system of common schools throughout the State; but no religions or
other sect or sects shall ever have any exclusive right or control
of any part of the school funds of this State." In Indiana,
admitted in 1816, it is required that "the General Assembly shall
provide by law for a general and uniform system of common schools."
Illinois was admitted next, in 1818; but the constitution of
Illinois is silent on the subject of education. It enjoins,
however, in lieu of this, that no person shall fight a duel or send
a challenge! If he do, he is not only to be punished, but to be
deprived forever of the power of holding any office of honor or
profit in the State. I have no reason, however, for supposing that
education is neglected in Illinois, or that dueling has been
abolished. In Maine it is demanded that the towns--the whole
country is divided into what are called towns--shall make suitable
provision at their own expense for the support and maintenance of
public schools.

Some of these constitutional enactments are most magniloquently
worded, but not always with precise grammatical correctness. That
for the famous Bay State of Massachusetts runs as follows: "Wisdom
and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body
of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights
and liberties, and as these depend on spreading the opportunities
and advantages of education in the various parts of the country and
among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of
the legislatures and magistrates, in all future periods of this
commonwealth, to cherish the interest of literature and the
sciences, and of all seminaries of them, especially the University
at Cambridge, public schools and grammar schools, in the towns; to
encourage private societies and public institutions by rewards and
immunities for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences,
commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the
country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity
and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and
frugality, honesty and punctuality in all their dealings;
sincerity, good humor, and all social affections and generous
sentiments among the people." I must confess that, had the words
of that little constitutional enactment been made known to me
before I had seen its practical results, I should not have put much
faith in it. Of all the public schools I have ever seen--by public
schools I mean schools for the people at large maintained at public
cost--those of Massachusetts are, I think, the best. But of all
the educational enactments which I ever read, that of the same
State is, I should say, the worst. In Texas now, of which as a
State the people of Massachusetts do not think much, they have done
it better: "A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the
preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, it shall be
the duty of the legislature of this State to make suitable
provision for the support and maintenance of public schools." So
say the Texans; but then the Texans had the advantage of a later
experience than any which fell in the way of the constitution-
makers of Massachusetts.

There is something of the magniloquence of the French style--of the
liberty, equality, and fraternity mode of eloquence--in the
preambles of most of these constitutions, which, but for their
success, would have seemed to have prophesied loudly of failure.
Those of New York and Pennsylvania are the least so, and that of
Massachusetts by far the most violently magniloquent. They
generally commence by thanking God for the present civil and
religious liberty of the people, and by declaring that all men are
born free and equal. New York and Pennsylvania, however, refrain
from any such very general remarks.

I am well aware that all these constitutional enactments are not
likely to obtain much credit in England. It is not only that grand
phrases fail to convince us, but that they carry to our senses
almost an assurance of their own inefficiency. When we hear that a
people have declared their intention of being henceforward better
than their neighbors, and going upon a new theory that shall lead
them direct to a terrestrial paradise, we button up our pockets and
lock up our spoons. And that is what we have done very much as
regards the Americans. We have walked with them and talked with
them, and bought with them and sold with them; but we have
mistrusted them as to their internal habits and modes of life,
thinking that their philanthropy was pretentious and that their
theories were vague. Many cities in the States are but skeletons
of towns, the streets being there, and the houses numbered--but not
one house built out of ten that have been so counted up. We have
regarded their institutions as we regard those cities, and have
been specially willing so to consider them because of the fine
language in which they have been paraded before us. They have been
regarded as the skeletons of philanthropical systems, to which
blood and flesh and muscle, and even skin, are wanting. But it is
at least but fair to inquire how far the promise made has been
carried out. The elaborate wordings of the constitutions made by
the French politicians in the days of their great revolution have
always been to us no more than so many written grimaces; but we
should not have continued so to regard them had the political
liberty which they promised followed upon the promises so
magniloquently made. As regards education in the States--at any
rate in the Northern and Western States--I think that the
assurances put forth in the various written constitutions have been
kept. If this be so, an American citizen, let him be ever so
arrogant, ever so impudent if you will, is at any rate a civilized
being, and on the road to that cultivation which will sooner or
later divest him of his arrogance. Emollit mores. We quote here
our old friend the colonel again. If a gentleman be compelled to
confine his classical allusions to one quotation, he cannot do
better than hang by that.

But has education been so general, and has it had the desired
result? In the City of Boston, as I have said, I found that in
1857 about one-eighth of the whole population were then on the
books of the free public schools as pupils, and that about one-
ninth of the population formed the average daily attendance. To
these numbers of course must be added all pupils of the richer
classes--those for whose education their parents chose to pay. As
nearly as I can learn, the average duration of each pupil's
schooling is six years, and if this be figured out statistically, I
think it will show that education in Boston reaches a very large
majority--I might almost say the whole--of the population. That
the education given in other towns of Massachusetts is not so good
as that given in Boston I do not doubt, but I have reason to
believe that it is quite as general.

I have spoken of one of the schools of New York. In that city the
public schools are apportioned to the wards, and are so arranged
that in each ward of the city there are public schools of different
standing for the gratuitous use of the children. The population of
the City of New York in 1857 was about 650,000, and in that year it
is stated that there were 135,000 pupils in the schools. By this
it would appear that one person in five throughout the city was
then under process of education--which statement, however, I cannot
receive with implicit credence. It is, however, also stated that
the daily attendances averaged something less than 50,000 a day,
and this latter statement probably implies some mistake in the
former one. Taking the two together for what they are worth, they
show, I think, that school teaching is not only brought within the
reach of the population generally, but is used by almost all
classes. At New York there are separate free schools for colored
children. At Philadelphia I did not see the schools, but I was
assured that the arrangements there were equal to those at New York
and Boston. Indeed I was told that they were infinitely better;
but then I was so told by a Philadelphian. In the State of
Connecticut the public schools are certainly equal to those in any
part of the union. As far as I could learn education--what we
should call advanced education--is brought within the reach of all
classes in the Northern and Western States of America--and, I would
wish to add here, to those of the Canadas also.

So much for the schools, and now for the results. I do not know
that anything impresses a visitor more strongly with the amount of
books sold in the States, than the practice of selling them as it
has been adopted in the railway cars. Personally the traveler will
find the system very disagreeable--as is everything connected with
these cars. A young man enters during the journey--for the trade
is carried out while the cars are traveling, as is also a very
brisk trade in lollipops, sugar-candy, apples, and ham sandwiches--
the young tradesman enters the car firstly with a pile of
magazines, or of novels bound like magazines. These are chiefly
the "Atlantic," published at Boston, "Harper's Magazine," published
at New York, and a cheap series of novels published at
Philadelphia. As he walks along he flings one at every passenger.
An Englishman, when he is first introduced to this manner of trade,
becomes much astonished. He is probably reading, and on a sudden
he finds a fat, fluffy magazine, very unattractive in its exterior,
dropped on to the page he is perusing. I thought at first that it
was a present from some crazed philanthropist, who was thus
endeavoring to disseminate literature. But I was soon undeceived.
The bookseller, having gone down the whole car and the next,
returned, and beginning again where he had begun before, picked up
either his magazine or else the price of it. Then, in some half
hour, he came again, with an armful or basket of books, and
distributed them in the same way. They were generally novels, but
not always. I do not think that any endeavor is made to assimilate
the book to the expected customer. The object is to bring the book
and the man together, and in this way a very large sale is
effected. The same thing is done with illustrated newspapers. The
sale of political newspapers goes on so quickly in these cars that
no such enforced distribution is necessary. I should say that the
average consumption of newspapers by an American must amount to
about three a day. At Washington I begged the keeper of my
lodgings to let me have a paper regularly--one American newspaper
being much the same to me as another--and my host supplied me daily
with four.

But the numbers of the popular books of the day, printed and sold,
afford the most conclusive proof of the extent to which education
is carried in the States. The readers of Tennyson, Mackay,
Dickens, Bulwer, Collins, Hughes, and Martin Tupper are to be
counted by tens of thousands in the States, to the thousands by
which they may be counted in our own islands. I do not doubt that
I had fully fifteen copies of the "Silver Cord" thrown at my head
in different railway cars on the continent of America. Nor is the
taste by any means confined to the literature of England.
Longfellow, Curtis, Holmes, Hawthorne, Lowell, Emerson, and Mrs.
Stowe are almost as popular as their English rivals. I do not say
whether or no the literature is well chosen, but there it is. It
is printed, sold, and read. The disposal of ten thousand copies of
a work is no large sale in America of a book published at a dollar;
but in England it is a very large sale of a book brought out at
five shillings.

I do not remember that I ever examined the rooms of an American
without finding books or magazines in them. I do not speak here of
the houses of my friends, as of course the same remark would apply
as strongly in England; but of the houses of persons presumed to
earn their bread by the labor of their hands. The opportunity for
such examination does not come daily; but when it has been in my
power I have made it, and have always found signs of education.
Men and women of the classes to which I allude talk of reading and
writing as of arts belonging to them as a matter of course, quite
as much as are the arts of eating and drinking. A porter or a
farmer's servant in the States is not proud of reading and writing.
It is to him quite a matter of course. The coachmen on their boxes
and the boots as they set in the halls of the hotels have
newspapers constantly in their hands. The young women have them
also, and the children. The fact comes home to one at every turn,
and at every hour, that the people are an educated people. The
whole of this question between North and South is as well
understood by the servants as by their masters, is discussed as
vehemently by the private soldiers as by the officers. The
politics of the country and the nature of its Constitution are
familiar to every laborer. The very wording of the Declaration of
Independence is in the memory of every lad of sixteen. Boys and
girls of a younger age than that know why Slidell and Mason were
arrested, and will tell you why they should have been given up, or
why they should have been held in durance. The question of the war
with England is debated by every native pavior and hodman of New

I know what Englishmen will say in answer to this. They will
declare that they do not want their paviors and hodmen to talk
politics; that they are as well pleased that their coachmen and
cooks should not always have a newspaper in their hands; that
private soldiers will fight as well, and obey better, if they are
not trained to discuss the causes which have brought them into the
field. An English gentleman will think that his gardener will be a
better gardener without than with any excessive political ardor,
and the English lady will prefer that her housemaid shall not have
a very pronounced opinion of her own as to the capabilities of the
cabinet ministers. But I would submit to all Englishmen and
English women who may look at these pages whether such an opinion
or feeling on their part bears much, or even at all, upon the
subject. I am not saying that the man who is driven in the coach
is better off because his coachman reads the paper, but that the
coachman himself who reads the paper is better off than the
coachman who does not and cannot. I think that we are too apt, in
considering the ways and habits of any people, to judge of them by
the effect of those ways and habits on us, rather than by their
effects on the owners of them. When we go among garlic eaters, we
condemn them because they are offensive to us; but to judge of them
properly we should ascertain whether or no the garlic be offensive
to them. If we could imagine a nation of vegetarians hearing for
the first time of our habits as flesh eaters, we should feel sure
that they would be struck with horror at our blood-stained
banquets; but when they came to argue with us, we should bid them
inquire whether we flesh eaters did not live longer and do more
than the vegetarians. When we express a dislike to the shoeboy
reading his newspaper, I apprehend we do so because we fear that
the shoeboy is coming near our own heels. I know there is among us
a strong feeling that the lower classes are better without
politics, as there is also that they are better without crinoline
and artificial flowers; but if politics, and crinoline, and
artificial flowers are good at all, they are good for all who can
honestly come by them and honestly use them. The political
coachman is perhaps less valuable to his master as a coachman than
he would be without his politics, but he with his politics is more
valuable to himself. For myself, I do not like the Americans of
the lower orders. I am not comfortable among them. They tread on
my corns and offend me. They make my daily life unpleasant. But I
do respect them. I acknowledge their intelligence and personal


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