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From The Saturday Review. dress from the negroes of the Spanish coloNIGGER MINSTRELSY.
but that was a point which playgoers ABOUT a quarter of a century since, a never thought to investigate thirty years ago, large proportion of the people of London when they were perfectly content to behold gave themselves up to one of those fits of a citizen of their own day attired after the idolatry which seem so strangely at variance fashion immortalized by Hogarth, and found with the generally phlegmatic character of nothing exceptional in a Falstaff who apour race. For the first time they were made peared as a sort of military Punchinello, with familiar with the sort of negro who forms an obvious leanings towards the costume of element of modern American life; and the William III. The black man with the blue hideous laugh, the wild gestures, and strange and white stripes was the black whom everydialect with which they were reguled by the body went to see, without asking any questhen celebrated “ Jim Crow Rice,” produced lions as to his origin ; and a very funny felin them such a novel mixture of wonder and low he was. From the stage he has now delight that they could not do less than fall passed away, but his literary monument may down and worship their eccentric instructor. be found in the old musical comedy, the PadSo “ Jim Crow" became a fixed idea with lock, to the perusal of which those of our the Cockneys, referred to in cuuntless ways readers who care about the stage may not and manifested in countless shapes. To the unprofitably devote a spare hour. Mungo chimney-pieces of the middle classes, where in the Padlock is the best specimen of the Tom, Jerry, and Logic, Madame Vestris as old conventional black. Giovanni, and Liston as Paul Pry, had pre- No contrast could be more complete than viously been placed as household “ gods," that between the exceedingly neat negro to the effigy of the shabby negro was elevated whom we have just referred and the ragged, with all honor, and aspiring youths who were uncouth vagabond who was introduced to famed for “a good song " regarded a suc- the Londoners by “ Jim Crow Rice.” But cessful imitation of Mr. Rice's vocal per- in his very shabbiness there was an attracformances as an object worthy of the most tion. “ Lelaid, voilà le bcau,” is said to have soaring ambition. Then the burden of Jim been the æsthetical maxim adopted by M. Crow's song, “Turn about, wheel about,” Victor Hugo when he composed tne story of illustrated by a rotary movement on the part |Quasimodo, and there is no doubt that the of the singer, was caught with avidity by the shabby—not in character, but in costumesmall satirists of the day, who, when they is greatly relished by playgoers of every wished to stigmatize statesmen or journals grade. The charm of the “Wandering Minwith an habitual readiness to change their strel,” represented by Mr. Robson to the political principles, found an apt and uni- delight of the most aristocratic audience, versally intelligible illustration of their mean- | lies not only in his song and in his dialect, ing in the revolving figure of Jim Crow. but in his tatters; and an Irisliman who
There is no doubt that Mr. Rice's per- fastens his coat with a skewer, and substiformance was of a kind entirely novel to tutes a hayband for a stocking, is welcomed Europe, and that his representation of the not only as a man and a brother, but as a negro of modern life must be set down as an peculiarly interesting member of the species. important item in that course of ethnologi- In song, dance, rags, dialect, and gesticulacal instruction which at long intervals is tion, Mr. Rice was alike acceptable, and the given to the body of the people at places of world was surprised to find that a black face public amusement. The comic black, who could be associated with attributes once had become a familiar figure to the London- monopolized by the inhabitants of St. Giles' ers prior to the arrival of Mr. Rice, was a and Whitechapel. Billy Waters, the onefanciful personage, whose neatly striped legged black fiddler, copied--if not literally dress, red slippers, bare legs, and huge ear-taken--- from the streets to embellish Tom rings separated him completely from the and Jerry, and Agamemnon, the attendant actual world, and he was accepted as a con- negro of the elder Mr. Charles Mathews' vention, like the ordinary figures of panto- Jonathan in England, had indeed preceded mimes. The learned, we believe, have de- Jim Crow, and had earned their share of nocided that the old stage black borrowed his toriety, but they were too much in the back
ground to become the leading idols of a pe- tertainment, too, was entirely novel. The riod ; and although the respect paid to Billy minstrels sat in a row of which the two exWaters amounted to a sort of hero-worship, tremities were respectively occupied by the heightened by the circumstance that he was artists on the “ bones” and the tambourine. a fact as well as a figure, he had a formid- These, who were somewhat more in the foreable rival in Dusty Bob, who still lives in ground than the players on the banjo and memory as the type of the old London Dust- violin, were the humorists of the party
throwing themselves into grotesque attiThe worship of Jim Crow was as short- tudes during the performance of the music, lived as it was ardent; for though his per- and filling up the intervals of song with verformance was novel, it could be very easily bal jokes of the kind in which the clowns of imitated, and an English actor named Dunn, the equestrian ring are wont to indulge. Mr. who simply copied Mr. Rice, was soon con- Pell, who himself was “bones,” — for the sidered his successful rival by the lower class word at last came to denote the player as of playgoers, whose opinion with respect to well as the instrument,--had really favored certain branches of art is by no means to be London with a new sensation. With the despised. What with the original, and his castanet, as an accompaniment to the eleimitators, and the repetitions of the “Turn gant Spanish dances of Taglioni and Duverabout” song in every nook and corner, peo- nay, everybody had become familiar; but ple began to think the comic negro a bore, this primitive rattle, played with the most just as about eight years since a decided frantic contortions, was something entirely distaste for the pious negro succeeded the without precedent. rage for Uncle Tom. Jim Crow had been At first a few unreasonable grumblers enforgotten for something less than ten years deavored to stem the popularity of Mr. Pell's when negro humor appeared before the pub- company by declaring that the artists were lic in an entirely new shape. Instead of don- not real blacks, but only white musicians ning the tattered coat and hat which Mr. with blackened faces. This pretended disRice had made popular, or bringing into covery was no discovery at all. Far from fashion the discarded blue and white suit of wishing to pass themselves off for veritable his predecessors, the new artistic negroes ac- niggers, Pell and Co., as free-born American coutred themselves in evening suits of black citizens, would have bitterly resented the -perfect English gentleman in every partic- suspicion that they had the least drop of ular save the face. Mr. Rice had displayed black blood in their veins; so they lost no his talent in broad Adelphi farces; but time in publishing portraits of themselves, Messrs. Pell and Co. eschewed stage-plays, with the white faces bestowed upon them by and got up an entertainment which even the nature, in addition to others in which they Evangelical classes might patronize without wore the sable hue of their profession. Moreinward misgiving. Their maxim was Odi over, they styled themselves “ Ethiopian Serprofanum vulgus et arceo, and instead of in- enaders,” thus selecting the name of an Afviting a roar from the assemblage of an or- rican country totally disconnected with negro dinary gallery, they settled themselves in the slavery. most western theatre, and courted the smiles The popularity of " Jim Crow” was a rage and the tears of the aristocratic. They sang among the middle and lower classes ; but the about the joys and sorrows incident to negro “Ethiopians” set a fashion in the strictest life; and though some of their comic ditties sense of the word. The highest personages were absurdities compared to which “Hot in the land patronized their performances. Codlins " is a work of high literary art, there An ingenious young gentleman who could was a freshness in their tone that gratified play on the banjo and sing “ Lucy Neale” or the most fastidious ears, while the more pa- “ Buffalo gals” was a welcome guest in the thetic melodies were not only pleasing in most aristocratic drawing-rooms; and if four themselves, but frequently accompanied amateurs clubbed together and imitated the words that, rather in sorrow than in anger, entire performance of the professors, they hinted at the miseries of slavery, and there were regarded as benefactors to their species. fore accorded with the serious convictions of Let the music-books of the year 1846, and many of the audience. The form of the en-thereabouts be turned over, and it will be
found what an enormous influerice the Pells the Merchant Tailors' Company. They have company had over the social pianoforte per- likewise established a regular form of enterformances of their day. But though the tainment which is universally recognized ; Ethiopians started under aristocratic pat- and to this form their competitors, the ronage, there was nothing in the nature of “ Buckley's” and the “ Campbell's,” genertheir entertainment to favor a continuance ally adhere. The first part of the exhibition of exclusiveness. Italian operas and French consists of a concert, in which the performplays will always repel the masses, from the ers appear in black evening suits, and play, simple circumstance that the words employed sing, and joke after the model set by Pell are in a foreign language, but there was and his associates. There is, however, this nothing either in the humor or in the music difference, that the sentimental songs are of Pell's company that could not be as read-comm
mmonly without reference to the peculily appreciated in St. Giles's as in St. James's. iarities of negro life, and are not unfrequently Consequently the people rushed into the par-composed by leading musicians, such as ticipation of an enjoyment so keenly relished Balfe and Wallace. The second part is by the upper classes, and not only did imi- miscellaneous, and contains a great deal of tators of the Ethiopians spring up in the grotesque dancing, together with a comic cheapest concert-rooms, but a band of itine- scene or two, in which the shabby vagabond rant black musicians became as necessary negro of " Jim Crow Rice" once more makes an appurtenance of the London streets as his appearance. A burlesque of some wellPunch's show or a barrel-organ, much to the known Italian Opera concludes the whole. discomfiture of lovers of quiet in general, and If we consider that all this is done, and exof Dr. Babbage in particular.
ceedingly well done, by a company not above Among the higher classes, the predilec- twelve strong, we shall have just cause to tion for Ethiopian minstrelsy apparently wonder at the concentration of talent, musidied out, but in the lower stratum of society cal, histrionic, and gymnastic, that has been the tradition of Pell was faithfully pre- accomplished in the formation of the troop, served ; and recent events show that even and still more, to marvel at its vitality. in the fashionable world the love of banjoes When the Arlecchino of an old Italian comand black faces was rather in abeyance than pany died, his loss was regarded as a terriutterly extinct. Though negro melody and ble calamity, the extemporaneous character negro wit had been so done to death in every of the “ Commedie dell'arte " requiring acshape and in every quarter, that they seemed complishments of no ordinary kind ; and it on the point of descending into a mere street would seem that only a rare combination of nuisance, important only to the police, the muscular, vocal, and mimetic powers would arrival of the “ Christy's Minstrels,” about enable a man to be chief comedian of the four years since, revived the dormant flame. Christy's. So firmly is nigger minstrelsy now A host of well-dressed folks were again heard established as one of the leading amusements to declare that Ethiopian minstrelsy was the of the metropolis, that London without its most amusing thing in London, and the regular black band would seem shorn of pianoforte books were once more filled with a necessary appurtenance. The banjo is songs testifying to the popularity of the new thrummed all the year round; for when the favorites among the most select classes of " Christy's" retire to swallow a mouthful of the metropolis.
fresh air and to pick up a pocketful of money And the Christy's Minstrels have kept in the provinces, the Buckley's or the Camptheir ground. Pell and Co., founded the bell's are quick to relieve guard, and make taste, which long survived its originators; a very respectable figure. but the Christy's have secured a permanent Those who look on everything with a seriexistence to their own corporate body. Their ous face will find in the popularity of nigger principal comic artist died, their manager minstrelsy among the educated classes a sinretired with a fortune in his pocket; but gular illustration of the close connection they appointed a new humorist and subjected that exists between Puritanism and extreme themselves to a new chief, and their corpo- frivolity. Scores of persons who would think rate existence has been no more affected by it wicked to see the highest work of drathe ordinary casualties of life than that of matic art performed by the finest company in the world, will, with the utmost compla- in the drama, and to promote the encourcency, spend a long evening in listening to agement of all that is trivial. trivial jokes, provided they cannot be con- There is something melancholy in the fact victed of "going to the play." It is not that a form of religion has widely spread that these persons object to the theatre as which manifestly tends to lower the civilizaan edifice, for they will unscrupulously enter tion of the educated classes; but those who any playhouse in London to witness the are content to take things as they find them tricks of a conjurer; neither are they partic- may agreeably pass an evening with the ularly averse to the dramatic form of enter- • Christy's Minstrels,” and respect them as tainment, for this is constantly employed in a clever set of artists, who have thoroughly their presence by the artists they delight to understood how to make the best of the cir. patronize. But they must not “ go to the cumstances in which they are placed, and play" on any consideration, and the distinc- deport themselves ably and conscientiously tion they draw is sufficiently practical to pre- in their singular vocation. vent the patronage of all that is elevating
ALLEGHANIA.—Mr. James W. Taylor of St. Iginin, to Knoxville, to Chattanooga, to King's Paul, Min., has published a pamphlet with the Mountain, to Dahlonega, to Huntsville, every. above title, designed to show, by a geographical whero drawing but the support of a population and statistical argument, the peculiar condition still loyal at heart, as he says. Two questions of the mountain districts of the South, as a source arise in our minds as we retiect on the glowing of strength to the Union and of weakness to the picture. First, we do not know why our armies rebellion. This mountain region embraces con- have not long ago been advanced more confiterminous parts of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennes- dently into a section so important and so favorsee, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and able. And, secondly, we are at a loss to exAlabama, with an area of 85,835 square miles, plain how or why such a people, in such a including 181 counties, and containing 1,373,690 mountain region, have so cravenly allowed theminhabitants, of whom only_201,024, or less than selves to be trampled on by the rebellion.-1915 per cent, are slaves. This was by the census dependent. of 1850, and it is believed that the proportion of slaves is now still smaller. Mr. Taylor possesses one capital defect as a statistician, he does not foot his columns ! We have performed this “ labor of love," and hence elaborated the following table, showing at a glance the States in- The Gorilla Hunters ; a Tale of the Wilds of Af volved, the number of counties, the free popula
rica. By R. M. Ballantyne. T. Nelson and tion, and the slaves :
Sons. States. Counties. Free Inhab. Slaves.
The gorilla hunting constitutes but a small Virginia, 78
487,708 64,255 portion of this fictitious narrative of daring adKentucky, 12
Elephants, rhinoceroses, and “such Tennesseo, 35
268,295 32,152 small deer" are knocked over in the most sportsN. Carolina, 17
130,572 14,222 man-like manner; lions and leopards are bagged S. Carolina, 4
58,653 25,923 like partridges, and the native savages, vet more Georgia, 27
119,358 23,868 cruci than the beasts of the forest, are lattled or Alabama, 8
74,920 38,044 overcome as counsel or valor happens to pre
dominate. Truly marvellous are the escapes of 181 1,172,666 201,024 these daring Englishmen. Now they tumble
down a sheer precipice, now are tossed by an inThe writer dilates, with the enthusiasm of a furiated buffalo. This one is charged by an elenative, on the beauties and grandeur of the phant, that one by a black rhinoceros, while in scenery, the fertility of the soil for grass and the dead of night a lion springs upon the carcase grain, the wealth of the mines of gold and iron of a zebra lying beside their watch.fire, and at And salt and coal, the various mineral springs, the same moment is shot through the brain by the abundance of water-streams, the salubrity of the slumbering sentinel. As to the gorilla, com. the climate, the central position, the mountain mend us to the single combat at the close of the fastnesses, and other advantages of that beauti- volume as far surpassing anything witnessed or ful region, and then argnes the importance of an imagined by Mr. du Chaillu viimself. The illusearly advance of the Union armies through the trations are as terrific as the narrative, and quite Cumberland Gap and along the valley of Vir- | as truthful.-Spectator.
From The Christian Observer. fies that even that full success would bring NAPOLEON THE FIRST: “ THE MAN OF no real happiness. But there may beTHE WORLD."
there has been a result which differs conWe endeavored, not long since, to bring siderably from that pointed out in both of into light an important lesson, taught us in these warnings. A man may devote himthe life of one of the most celebrated of the self so earnestly to the unlawful purpose of sons of men. The misfortunes and suffer- “ gaining the whole world,” as to break his ings of Christopher Columbus, flowing in the own heart in the effort. A man whose menplainest possible sequence from an error of tal power and force of character might have his own, seemed to furnish a perpetual bea- secured for him the fullest amount of enjoycon-light, holding up to all future ages the ment that this world was capable of affording, warning given to Baruch, “Seekest thou may fail even in this temporal and subgreat things for thyself? seek them not, lunary pursuit, from a want of the true wissaith the Lord.”
dom. A consciousness of power may exThe world's history furnishes few such cite arrogance ; an unbroken tide of success warnings ;-few warnings of an equally ex- may lead to inordinate self-confidence; and plicit and intelligible kind, and written in so while the conquering autocrat exclaims, “ Is legible and conspicuous a character. One, not this great Babylon which I have built ? ” however, there is, the most striking, per- the word may be heard from heaven, “ The haps, of all; and claiming our attention the kingdom is departed from thee; and they more imperatively, inasmuch as it is a lesson shall drive thee from among men.” Such of our own time. The records of the past was the fate of Napoleon Bonaparte. And contain no more remarkable name than that there are few more instructive lessons to be of Napoleon Bonaparte ; and they afford us learned in the annals of the different states no plainer or more emphatic lesson than and kingdoms of the earth than that which that which is legible in the life of that is taught us in this eventful history. greatest conqueror of modern times. To The early life of Napoleon exhibits to us “aim high" is the counsel of an eminent at every step a youth of vast energy, enterEnglish philosopher. “Not to have aimed prise, and personal ambition. He eagerly high enough was the chief cause of the acquired the knowledge which was necessary ruin of Napoleon Bonaparte. He strove, for his views ; readily applied that knowland almost successfully, to be the master of edge to practical purposes, and was ever on the world. If he had ever seen, he had dis- the stretch for an upward flight. While in his regarded the testimony of one who had thus twenty-fifth year, a young officer, poor, and recorded his experience: "I was great, and seeking employment in Paris, he could talk increased more than all that were before me of his plans for a visit to the East, and ex... and whatsoever mine eyes desired, I claim : " How strange would it be if a little kept not from them; I withheld not my Corsican soldier should become king of Jeheart from any joy: then I looked on all the rusalem !” works that my hands had wrought, and on He had exhibited both skill and enterprise, the labor that I had labored to do; and be- before this, at the siege of Toulon ; but it hold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit."* was the service rendered by him to the NaAnd unquestionably, the question propound- tional Convention at Paris on the 4th of Oced by the Lord Jesus, “What shall it profit tober, 1795, which placed him at once on the a man if he gain the whole world and lose road to fortune. The greater part of the his own soul ?” never reached his heart, if citizens of Paris disliked the Convention, indeed it ever entered his ear.
and were resolved to deprive it of power. There is, however, in the life of Napoleon The Convention resolved to maintain its Bonaparte, a third lesson discernible,-a authority, but it had but five thousand men lesson not distinctly expressed in our Lord's to oppose to forty thousand national guards question, nor in the testimony of Solomon. united in revolt. In its alarm it gave the The words of Christ assume, for the mo- command of its forces to Barras, one of its ment, that a man may gain the whole own members ; and he exclaimed, “ I have world ; " the declaration of Solomon testi- the man you want,--a little Corsican officer, * Eccles. 2: 9-11.
1 who will not stand upon ceremony.” The THIRD SERIES. LIVING AGE. 825