« ElőzőTovább »
that sensation " system of repeated news of the Federal victories, newspaper headings and paragraphs the Herald boasted that its average cirwhich offends our taste so constantly. culation was over 113,000. This does not Again, all American papers – I am strike me as enormous. For, if I remember speaking of dailies—are principally local rightly, the Daily Telegraph sold over papers. New York is in no sense the 140,000 copies on the day after Prince capital of the United States in the way Albert's death. Probably, with such in which London and Paris are capi “extra” sale, the average daily sale tals in their countries. New York is of the Herald would be under 100,000. the most important town in America, What the amount of its political inand, therefore, its papers have a wider fluence may be it is more difficult to circulation than those of
other ascertain. Every educated American town; and this is all. As you change you speak to about it rejects with your district you change your news indignation the idea that it has any papers. The whole circulation of the influence whatever; but still I find New York Herald, in the South, previ- they all read it. ous to the secession, was not equal to its With all its faults, the Herald is circulation in one ward of New York the most readable of the New York alone; and yet this was the only papers. The New York Times appears Northern paper which was read in the to me a feebler edition of the Herald, South at all. So, at Philadelphia, the without its “verve," and—as regards reading-room of one of the principal foreign affairs, though not as to home hotels, where I am now writing, is ones--quite as unscrupulous. The Trifilled with local papers, but has only one bune carries more weight by its indiobscure New York print amongst its vidual opinion than any paper in the files, and I have not met with a copy of city. It is better written, better printed, Herald, or Tribune, or Times, for sale in and more carefully got up than any the streets. The New York press is the of its two cent. contemporaries. There nearest approach to a metropolitan press is a kind of " doctrinaire" tone about its that exists in America, but it is an articles, which renders them somewhat approach only. The result of this is heavy to digest ; and, also, though its that the local press in America is very rivals abuse it constantly as a “niggersuperior to ours, while the metropolitan worshipper,” yet its utterances about press is inferior in the same proportion. slavery are hardly outspoken enough Thus, when the low standard of the to give its writing the force which always New York press is taken, not altogether accompanies the expression of strong without reason, as a proof of the absence convictions. The most lucrative part of of high mental culture in the United its sale is derived from its weekly States, the relatively high standard of edition, of which it circulates nearly the local press ought fairly to be taken 200,000 in the Northern States. The as evidence of the extent to which edu most respectable-looking, to English cation is diffused.
eyes, of the New York papers, are the Unfortunately, America is judged Post, of which Bryant is the editor, and abroad by the New York press alone, and the World, which is the organ of the chiefly by the New York Herald. I mercantile community. But neither of believe myself, in spite of many as these papers has a very extensive cirsertions I have heard here to the con culation. trary, that the Herald has the largest There are many small peculiarities circulation of any New York paper. about the New York papers,
which I have seen two people reading the strike an English reader curiously. As Herald for I have observed I said before, if they like to call a leader reading any other paper. Last week, an “editorial,” to talk of letters being when there was an enormous demand mailed," instead of sent by mail, and for newspapers, owing to the daily to spell traveller with one l, all these are
matters of taste, about which there can there are hosts of minor journals-evenbe no dispute. But there is a careless ing ones, bi- and tri-weeklies, and so on ness about the writing, which, to me, is -of more or less note. In every town indefensible. Apparently, leaders are too, almost in every village, there are written without the proofs being revised. local papers; and the American populaConstantly you come across sentences tion might be defined, as a newspaperwhich do not construe ; while clerical reading population, par excellence. The errors are allowed to pass, for not cor cause of this demand for periodical readrecting which the reader of any respect- ing is a fact, not, I think, sufficiently able English paper would be dismissed appreciated in Europe—that the Ameriat once.
Then, again, all the news is can people is probably the best educated broken up into short paragraphs, with one, not excepting the Prussian, in the appropriate headings in large capitals, whole world. For years past, there has in a way which, though convenient to a been a growing conviction in the minds reader in a hurry, is fatal to good writing. of all the upper class of Americans, that The advertisements are arranged upon a the only condition on which a system starring system, with a diversity of type government, based like theirs on uniand variety of space which injure the versal suffrage, could be maintained appearance of the paper. The prominent permanently, was that a large uneduwords are reprinted perhaps a dozen cated class should have no permanent times consecutively, to catch the reader's existence in the State. In obedience to eye. The personal and matrimonial ad this conviction, a more or less perfect vertisements also are a source of constant system of gratuitous education has been amusement to a stranger. From a perusal established throughout the whole of the of them, you would form a curious Free States. In the Slave States no opinion as to the social state of New such cystem exists; and, therefore, it is York, and, amongst other things, you in the South alone that such a thing as would come to the conclusion, that it a mob, in the European signification of was the custom here, whenever a gay the phrase, exists at all; though, from young Lothario met a soft-hearted Dul
the comparative smallness of the cinea in the streets, not to address her Southern cities and the thinness of the personally, but to insert an advertise- population, the Southern mob is not ment next day in the papers, expressive nearly so powerful a class as a similar of admiration and the desire for further body would be in the North. acquaintance. Let me say that, in all The free schools which I visited in questionable advertisements, such as New York impressed me very favourthose of concert saloons, “where gen- ably. The class-rooms are clean, con“ tlemen may indulge in intellectual con venient, and very plainly furnished. “versation with 'pretty waiter girls,' The instruction is entirely gratuitous— or of bachelors, “who require a genteel- everything, down to the pens and ink, “looking housekeeper of domestic habits, being provided by the State. Education "weight not under 160 pounds," or of, is not compulsory ; but the demand for widows “seeking a young husband of it is so great that, practically, a very small loving disposition," or others of an even proportion of the children in the city less questionable kind, the Herald has fail to receive regular instruction, and a deserved and undisputed predominance. the school benches are always more Still, it would be unjust to judge of the than filled. Judging from the entrysocial condition of New York by such books of the school I looked over, the a test. And the Tribune is as free from social standing of the children's parents objectionable advertisements as the most would embrace every class, from the respectable of London newspapers. Take professional man with limited means, to it altogether, the press of America is the common artizan. The sole practical the press of a great and a free country. qualification appeared to be that the
Besides the papers I have mentioned, child's parents must be able to afford it
a decent dress; and, in a city where The highest class of girls were engaged, rags are so uncommon as in New York, when I was taken to their class-room, in this qualification is nothing like so severe the study of what was called intellectual a one as it would be with us. The philosophy, and were set, in my predresses of the pupils varied from silks sence, to discuss the theme, whether the and broadcloth to the commonest stuffs imagination can create, or only combine. and velveteen-but they were all scru I admit freely that they talked as much pulously clean. There is no religious nonsense as any score of young ladiesinstruction given, so that children of all or boys too, for that matter-always do, sects come equally; but, at the com when they begin discussing the question mencement of the day's work, a few of innate ideas; but they obviously verses of the Bible are read, and, I be knew and understood all the stock comlieve, the Lord's Prayer is repeated. mon-places and appropriate illustrations The teachers in all the classes, except which it is proper to quote upon the two or three of the highest boys' classes, subject. The teacher was obviously a
All of them struck me as strong abolitionist in her views, and intelligent, and many were very pretty propounded a question to her class, and ladylike. Their salaries vary from whether a New England minister, who about 501. to 1001. ; and, as their work preached pro-slavery doctrines, could be is finished by 3 P. M. the pay seems right subjectively. Nine-tenths of the liberal enough. The average age of class disposed of the question with more the girl-pupils is from seven to seven feeling than logic-by an enthusiastic teen; that of the boys from seven to negative. Indeed, the vote was unanififteen, after which the ablest boys are mous, with the exception of one lazy, sent from the schools, to receive a clas fat-looking girl, who had been amusing sical education at the Free Academy. herself, during the discussion on innate Reading, writing, ciphering, geography, ideas, by tickling her neighbour's neck grammar, history, book-keeping for the with a pen, and who woke up at this boys, and moral philosophy for the girls, question, with the remark, “Well, I were the staples of instruction : and I guess he'd be about right anyhow." At could not discover that any foreign lan these schools, by the way, coloured chilguage was ever attempted to be taught. dren are not admitted.
I came in to the classes as a casual Besides the State schools, there are visitor, and therefore saw the working several free public schools, kept up by of the system in its every-day aspect. voluntary contributions. The Roman The children apparently understood very Catholics have large schools, to which well what they were taught. I know they try very hard to attract the chilthat I heard a number of those myste dren of their own creed, as they look rious questions asked, about what the with great, and from their own point of price of a silk dress would be, containing view not unfounded, jealousy on the I am afraid to say how many yards and free schools. The “House of Industry” fractions of yards, supposing that three schools, too, at the Five Points, which elevenths and five-seventeenths of a foot I went over, are chiefly maintained of silk cost so much. I believe that the by the Episcopalians, and seem to be answer was given rightly, and I am sure a very useful institution. Situated in that the children explained very dis the very lowest quarter of New York, tinctly why they gave the answer which they are designed to educate children they did give. What struck me most was of a class too low to find admis. the look of intelligence and the orderly sion elsewhere. They are, in truth, behaviour of the children. In some Ragged Schools ; and, in order to induce classes there were nearly fifty children, the parents to let their children come, and yet the one mistress appeared to the school feeds them during school have no difficulty in maintaining order, hours. In the classes I went through, almost without punishment of any kind. there was scarcely a child born of
American parents. There were repre the South, its pro-slavery sympathies sentatives of almost every foreign nation, were stronger than those of any other but the majority were Germans, Irish, Northern town; but, since the secession and Negroes; for the poor about the Five began, public feeling has changed. I Points are too wretched to care for was present the other night at a meeting colour. Of course very little can be in aid of the slaves deserted by their taught to such a class of children, but masters at Port Royal. The room was still they learn to read and write, and, crowded. There were probably some for children, they sing beautifully. By three thousand well-dressed people these and similar schools, as far as I present, who cheered enthusiastically could learn, one half of the children of every expression of abolition sentiment; the “Arab” population in New York but what struck me most was that, receive some kind of education, so that sitting amidst the crowd, were numbers the proportion of the rising generation of blackmen and women-a thing which in this city which will grow up without a few years ago would not have been any education is but small. In the other tolerated at a New York meeting. Again, Free States, where there are not the abolition papers are now popular; aboligreat difficulties of an enormous city to tion lectures are frequent; the negro contend with, the spread of education Douglas can lecture in the city to is even more universal than in New crowded audiences ; and modified aboliYork.
tionism is the fashionable opinion of To this free general education I attach polite society. There are stern facts, extreme importance in relation to slavery. too, to be quoted also, as well as sentiIf, as seems probable, the North subju ments. An American slaver-captain has gates the South, I cannot believe that the just been hung in New York, after forty next generation of the North (educated years virtual suspension of the law as it will be to an extent to which no against the slave-trade, and any attempt generation in the States has been edu to excite popular sympathy in his behalf cated yet), will long submit to the stigma failed signally. It would be well if our of slavery. Hereafter the North will own politicians, who are so fond of have the power, and, I trust, will have demonstrating, on abstract grounds, that the will also. There are already signs the war going on in the Union has no of a great change. In New York, the bearing on the question of slavery, black population is relatively very small; could look more to facts and less to and, from the connexion of the city with theories.
BY THE AUTHOR OF “JOHN HALIFAX, GENTLEMAN."
Post tempestatem tranquillitas.
Epitaph in Ély Cathedral.
THEY lie, with uplift hands, and feet
Stretched like dead feet that walk no more,
As if the olden look each wore,
All waiting : the new-coffined dead,
The handful of mere dust that lies Sarcophagused in stone and lead
Under the weight of centuries :
After long travail sweet repose ;
From any motion, are but shows
Drawn nearer by all nights and days ;
Pierces with momentary gaze,
Arising from the awful void,
Would He make ought to be destroyed ?"
Helped us to follow through all spheres
Lived in dear eyes in smiles and tears,
In worlds without and heart within ;
In guilt by the anguish of the sin;
Above the abyss of common doom,
To us descending to the tomb,
To sleep beneath long faithful eyes,
The silence which is paradise-