The delivery of three finished hogs a minute requires the following force of men: two pen-men; one knocker-down; one sticker; two bristle-snatchers; four scrapers; six shavers (who remove the hair from parts not reached by the scrapers); two gamble-men; one gutter; one hose-boy; one slide-boy; one splitter (who fastens the animal open to facilitate cooling); two attendants upon the cutters; one weigher; two cleaver-men; four knife-men; one ham-trimmer; one shoulder-trimmer; one packer; six ham-salters; one weigher and brander; one lard-man; one book-keeper; seven porters and laborers,—in all, fifty men. The system therefore, enables one man to convert into pork thirty hogs a day. The proprietors of these packing-houses pay the owners of the animals sixty cents each for the privilege of killing them, and derive their profit from the refuse. The bristles of a hog are worth seventeen cents; his tongue, five cents; the hair and the fat of the intestines pay the entire cost of killing, dressing, and packing.
There is a moral in all this. In such establishments, a business which in itself is disgusting, and perhaps barbarizing, almost ceases to be so, and the part of it which cannot be deprived of its disgusting circumstances is performed by a very few individuals. Twenty men, in four months, do all that is disagreeable in the slaying of one hundred and eighty thousand hogs, and those twenty men, by the operation of well-known laws, are sure to be the persons to whom the work is least offensive and least injurious.
There are many other industrial establishments in Cincinnati that are highly interesting, but we cannot dwell upon them. One thing surprises the visitor from the Atlantic cities; and that is, the great responsibilities assumed in the Western country by very young men. We met a gentleman at Cincinnati, aged thirty-two, who is chief proprietor and active manager of five extensive iron works in five different cities, one of which—the one at Cincinnati—employs a hundred and twenty men. He began life at fourteen, a poor boy,—was helped to two thousand dollars at twenty-one,—started in iron,—prospered,—founded similar works in other cities,—went to the war and contracted to supply an army with biscuit,—took the camp fever,—lost twenty thousand dollars,—came back to his iron,—throve as before,—gave away twenty-five thousand dollars last year to benevolent operations,—and is now as serene and smiling as though he had played all his life, and had not a care in the world. And this reminds us to repeat that the man wanted in the West is the man who knows how to make and do, not the man who can only buy and sell. This fine young fellow of whom we speak makes nuts, bolts, and screws, and succeeds, in spite of Pittsburg, by inventing quicker and better methods.
Churches flourish in Cincinnati, and every shade of belief and unbelief has its organization, or at least its expression. Credulity is daily notified in the newspapers, that "Madame Draskouski, the Russian wizard, foretells events by the aid of a Magic Pebble, a present from the Emperor of China," and that "Madame Ross has a profound knowledge of the rules of the Science of the Stars, and can beat the world in telling the past, the present, and the future." To the opposite extreme of human intelligence Mr. Mayo ministers in the Church of the Redeemer, and many of his wise and timely discourses reach all the thinking public through the daily press. The Protestant churches, here as everywhere, are elegant and well filled. The clergy are men-of-all-work. A too busy and somewhat unreasonable public looks to them to serve as school trustees, school examiners, managers of public institutions, and, in short, to do most of the work which, being "everybody's business," nobody is inclined to do. Few of the Western clergy are indigenous; it is from the East that the supply chiefly comes, and the clergy do not appear to feel themselves at home in the West. In all Cincinnati there are but three Protestant clergymen who have been there more than five years. The Catholic churches are densely filled three or four times every Sunday, and the institutions of that Church are conducted with the vigor which we see everywhere in the United States. Fortunate, indeed, are the Catholics of Cincinnati in having at their head that gentle, benignant, and patriotic man, Archbishop Purcell. It was pleasant to hear this excellent prelate, when he spoke of the forces of the United States in the late war, use the expression, "our army." Every bishop does not do so. It was pleasant, too, to hear him say, in speaking of other sects, "There are some things in which we all agree, thank goodness." The Young Men's Christian Association is in great vigor at Cincinnati. It provides a reading-room, billiards, a gymnasium, bowling-alleys, and many other nice things for young men, at the charge of one dollar per annum. The Association here is said to be free from that provincial bigotry which, at Chicago, refused to invite to the annual banquet Robert Collyer and the young men of his church, because they were Unitarians.
And this leads naturally to the topic which interested us most at Cincinnati,—the happy way in which the Jews are mingling there with their fellow-citizens, and the good influence they are exerting. There are twelve thousand Jews in the city. Some of the large manufactories and mercantile houses have Jewish proprietors, who enjoy the social consideration naturally belonging to their position. The Jews are worthily represented in the government of the city, in the boards controlling public institutions, and in those which administer private charity. Several of the leading members of this respectable body belong to the class of men whose aid is never solicited in vain for a suitable object, and whose benefactions are limited only by their means or by their duty,—never by unwillingness to bestow,—and who value wealth only as a means of safety and education to their families, and of opportunity to bestow those advantages upon others. Christians in considerable numbers attend the beautiful synagogues, and Jews respond by going to Christian churches. And, O most wonderful of all! Jewish rabbis and Christian clergymen—Orthodox clergymen too, as they are ridiculously called—"exchange pulpits"! Here we have before us the report of a sermon delivered last March before a Congregational church of Cincinnati by Dr. Max Lilienthal, one of the most eminent and learned rabbis in the country. His sermon was an argument for perfect toleration of beliefs,—even the most eccentric,—provided the conduct and the disposition are what they should be. "Religion is right," said he; "theology, in a great measure, wrong." Mr. Mayo and others preach occasionally in the synagogues, and find that a good Christian sermon is a good Jewish one also. We have, too, a lecture delivered by another rabbi, Dr. Isidor Kalisch, before the Young Men's Literary and Social Union of Indianapolis, which is bold even to audacity. He told the young gentlemen that the prevalence of Christianity in the Roman Empire was not an escape from barbarism, but a lapse into it. "As soon," said he, "as Christianity began spreading over the Roman Empire, all knowledge, arts, and sciences died away, and the development of civilization was retarded and checked." Of course any attempt to express the history of five centuries in twenty words must be unsuccessful. This attempt is: but the boldness of the opinion does not appear to have given offence. The learned Doctor further gave his hearers to understand, that knowledge is "the source of all civilization," and theology the chief obstacle in its way.
The eyes of every stranger who walks about Cincinnati are caught by an edifice ornamented with domes and minarets like a Turkish mosque. This is the "Reformed Synagogue," of which Dr. Isaac M. Wise is pastor,—a highly enlightened and gifted man. It is a truly beautiful building, erected at a cost of three hundred thousand dollars by one of the best architects in the West, Mr. James Keys Wilson, who also built the Court-House and Post-Office of Cincinnati. The interior, for elegance and convenience combined, is only equalled by the newest interiors of Chicago, and even by them it is not surpassed. Except some slight peculiarities about the altar, it is arranged precisely like one of our Protestant churches, and the service approaches very nearly that of the Unitarians who use a liturgy. It is the mission of Dr. Wise to assist in delivering his people from the tyranny of ancient superstitions by calling their attention to the weightier matters of the law. Upon some of the cherished traditions of the Jews he makes open war, and prepares the way for their not distant emancipation from all that is narrowing and needlessly peculiar in their creed and customs. For the use of his congregation he has prepared a little book entitled "The Essence of Judaism," from which the following are a few sentences, gathered here and there:—
"It is not the belief of this or that dogma, but generous actions from noble motives, which the sacred Scripture calls the path of salvation." "The noblest of all human motives is to do good for goodness' sake." "The history of mankind teaches, that man was not as wicked as he was foolish; his motives were better than his judgment." "Reward or punishment is the natural consequence of obedience or disobedience to God's laws." "Great revolutions in history always resulted in the progress of humanity." "The first duty a man owes himself is the preservation of his life, health, and limbs." "The special laws of the Sabbath are: 1. To rest from all labor; 2. To recruit our physical energies by rest and innocent enjoyments; 3. To sanctify our moral nature; 4. To improve our intellect." "The best maxim of conduct to our parents is, treat them as you would wish to be treated by your children." "No offensive words or actions afford a shadow of justification for killing a human being, or injuring him in his limbs or health." "Only self-defence with equal arms, defence of others, or the defence of our country against invasion or rebellion, are exceptions to the above law of the Lord." "Domestic happiness depends exclusively upon the unadulterated affections and the inviolable chastity of parents and children." "Palestine is now defiled by barbarism and iniquity; it is the holy land no more. The habitable earth must become one holy land." "The sons and daughters of the covenant have the solemn duty to be INTELLIGENT." "Punishment must be intended only to correct the criminal and to protect society against crimes."
In the same spirit he conducts "The Israelite," a weekly paper. "Liberty of Conscience—Humanity the object of Religion," is the title of one article in the number before us, and it expresses the whole aim and tendency of the movement which the editor leads. Nothing is more probable than that soon the observance of Saturday will be abolished, and that of Sunday substituted. It is impossible that the enlightened Jews of Cincinnati can continue to attach importance to a distinction which is at once so trivial and so inconvenient. Indeed, we hear that some of the Jews of Baltimore have begun the change by holding their Sabbath schools on Sunday. Who knows but that some rabbi, bold and wise, shall appear, who will lead his people to withdraw the bar from intermarriage with Christians, and that at last this patient and long-suffering race shall cease to be "peculiar," and merge themselves in mankind?
The golden rule seems to run in the very blood of the best Jews. One of the publications of Dr. Lilienthal is a History of the Israelites from the days of Alexander to the present time. He recounts the sufferings of his ancestors from blind and merciless bigotry; and then states in a few words the revenge which his people propose to take for fifteen hundred years of infamy, isolation, and outrage.
"We have accompanied," he says, "the poor exile through centuries of agony and misery; we have heard his groaning and his lamentations. The dark clouds of misery and persecution have passed away; the bloody axe of the executioner, the rack and stake of a fanatic inquisition and clergy, were compelled to give way to reason and humanity; the roar of prejudice and blind hatred had to cease before the sweet voice of justice and kindness. Israel stands, while his enemies have vanished away from the arena of history; their endeavors to make Israel faithless to his God and his creed have proved futile and abortive. Israel has conquered politically and religiously. Day after day witnesses the crumbling to pieces of the barriers that have secluded them from intercourse with their fellow-citizens; the old code of laws has become obsolete, and on the new pages is inscribed the name of the Jew, not only enjoying all rights and privileges with his Christian brethren, but fully deserving them, and excelling in every department of life in which he now is allowed and willing to engage. And his religion—the holy doctrine of an indivisible Unity of God, of man's creation in the image of God, of our destination, to become by virtue, justice, and charity contented in this, and happy in after life—is daily gaining more ground as the only religion complying with the demands of reason and our destination on earth. And Israel does not falter in the accomplishment of its holy mission,—to be the redeeming Messiah to all mankind, to become a nation of priests, teaching and preaching the truth."
The noble rabbis of Cincinnati are an enlightening and civilizing power in the city, and their fellow-citizens know it and are grateful for it.
A place like Cincinnati needs the active aid of every man in her midst who is capable of public spirit. There is a great sum of physical life there, but much less than the proper proportion of cultivated intelligence. The wealthy men of Cincinnati must beware of secluding themselves in their beautiful villas on the other side of the hill, and leaving the city to its smoke and ignorance. The question for Cincinnati, and indeed for the United States, to consider, was well stated by Mr. Mayo in his celebrated lecture upon "Health and Holiness in Cincinnati," one of the most weighty, pathetic, eloquent, and wise discourses we ever read:—
"Shall our Western city children be saved to lead the civilization of America by their superior manhood and womanhood? or shall they be buried out of sight, or mustered into the 'invalid corps' before they are thirty years of age, and hard-headed Patrick, slow and sturdy Hermann, and irrepressible Sambo, walk in and administer the affairs of the country over their graves?"
A LILIPUT PROVINCE.
Towards the close of summer, all well-feathered Londoners migrate, and may at that season be observed flying from their native streets or squares in large flocks, like wild geese, with outstretched necks, and round, protruding eyes. Some settle on the Scotch moors, where they industriously waddle themselves thin. Others take short flights to neighboring bathing-places, where they splash in the water with their goslings, strut proudly on the sands, display a tendency to pair, and are often preyed upon by the foxes which also resort to those localities. Many more cross the Channel, and may be heard during two months cackling more or less loudly in every large hotel upon the Continent. And in addition to all these there are the stragglers,—a small and select race, which defy the great gregarious laws, and delight in taking solitary, and, if possible, unprecedented flight.
I must own that it is my weakness to pry into the untrodden nooks and corners of life. I have wasted many precious hours in toiling through black-letter folios and tracts which had no other merit than their rarity. And I have put myself to the greatest pains and inconvenience to arrive at a desert island out at sea, or some obscure village hid away among mountains, simply for the pleasure of feeling that I had been where few other civilized travellers had been. I have seldom received any better reward than that, but once or twice I have fallen upon a store of facts, which, however insignificant, had at least the charm of being new, and which have answered the purpose of stimulating me to fresh absurdities.
A few months ago I was standing on the deck of a steamer bound from London to Hamburg. It was midnight, and we were approaching the mouth of the Elbe. Right ahead was a light of great brilliancy and power; this, the captain informed me, shone from Heligoland, and was seen so clearly because the island was about a hundred and fifty feet above the level of the sea,—a great boon to navigators, the neighboring coasts being very low. But my informant had been in the habit of regarding Heligoland as a lighthouse and nothing more; he could tell me nothing about its constitution, its manners, or its customs, and I determined to visit it forthwith.
By the late wars upon the Continent, the political geography of the Elbe has been completely changed. Between the mouth of the river and Hamburg, the right bank formerly belonged to Holstein, and the left to Hanover. Now both are Prussian. Hamburg itself is under the wing of the Prussian eagle, and may soon be under its claw. The feeling in that city is anti-Prussian; but the citizens were wise enough to side with their powerful neighbor, and to contribute troops. This has certainly saved them from the fete of Frankfort, but it is not probable that Hamburg will be allowed to remain a thoroughly independent state. Prussia will probably abolish her diplomatic, and perhaps her consular service, and permit her to retain certain important rights and privileges. It is, at the present moment, an anxious crisis for the great merchants. In Hamburg, fortunes are made with a rapidity, and to an extent, unequalled in any Continental town; this is owing to the freedom of the port; but, were the Prussian custom-house system to be introduced, Stettin and Koenigsberg would spring into dangerous rivalry, and her commercial interests would decline.
Hamburg is the only city in Europe which bears much resemblance to New York. It has no antiquities, for the old town was entirely burnt down about twenty years ago. It has no treasure-house of art, it has not many "historical associations." It is a city of business, and four thousand persons meet together every day in its Exchange. Its river is crowded with shipping; American cars rattle along its streets; and ferry-boats built on the American principle steam to and fro across the Alster-Dam. Its hospitals, sailors' home, libraries, and ornamental gardens are not inferior to those of New York itself: in these two cities, if the dollar does jingle too often in conversation, it is sometimes made to shine in a worthy cause. After dusk, Hamburg becomes dissolute and gay. It is difficult to pass through a single street without hearing a violin. Lager-bier saloons, oyster-cellars, cafes, dancing-rooms, and restaurants of every kind are lighted up, and quickly filled. Debauchery runs riot, and yet, strange to say, there is very little crime. The respectable classes are less well provided for as regards amusement. I went to the opera, and heard William Tell. The performance was mediocre, though far superior to anything that could be done upon the English operatic stage. But I was chiefly amused in watching the habits of the gentlemen who patronized the stalls.
The custom of visiting and receiving at the opera was invented by the Italians, to avoid the trouble and expense of receiving in their own homes; from Italy it spread through Europe; and although the opera-houses of London and Paris do not so closely resemble a public drawing-room as those of Florence and Milan, yet the Italian opera could scarcely exist in those cities unless it were supported as much by people of fashion as by people of taste. But I was hardly prepared to find in Hamburg a parody of polite life in this respect. During the whole performance there was a continual interchange of social greetings between corpulent ship-chandlers, their heads violently greased for the occasion, and certain frowsy women sprinkled scantily through the house. There was an old gentleman sitting next to me who turned the performance to a nobler use; he had apparently brought his son there for the purpose of tuition; holding the libretto between them, he translated with great rapidity and in a clear voice the Italian words, at the moment that they were sung, into one of the most guttural of German dialects, thus playing the part of Dutch chorus to the entertainment, and producing a conflict of sounds which it would be difficult to describe.
* * * * *
I discovered, to my astonishment, that Heligoland, in summer at all events, was by no means an isolated rock; that since 1840 it has been blessed with a Season; that, celebrated for its waves, it has become the Scarborough of Northern Germany, and is visited by thousands of sea-bathers every year.
I took my passage in the little steamer which runs from Hamburg, and arrived at my destination at 10 P. M.. In the dim light of the moon and stars the island bore a fantastic resemblance to the Monitor, a little magnified; the lights of the village answering to those of the hull, and the lighthouse to the lantern at the mast-head. The island presents this appearance only at a distance and in a doubtful light. When I walked over it the next morning I found that it was composed of a sand-bank lying under a red cliff. The sand-bank was covered with houses, which were divided by three or four streets; these were paved with wooden boards. Every house was a shop, an inn, or a lodging-house. The cliff is accessible on one side only, and is ascended by means of sinuous wooden staircases. When the summit is reached, one stands upon the real island, for the sand-bank below is an accident and an intruder. Heligoland proper may be described as a precipice-plateau, containing a small cluster of houses, a lighthouse, various pole-nets, springes, and other contrivances for catching woodcocks in their migratory flights, and a few miniature potato and corn fields. The extent of this plateau is not quite equal to that of Hyde Park. As soon as I had made this discovery I felt an intense compassion for all persons of the Teutonic race to whom sea-bathing once a year happens to be indispensable. However, if dull, it must at least be economical, I thought; but this illusion was dispelled when I found that there was a roulette-table in the dingy little Conversations-Haus, and when my landlord handed me in a bill which would not have disgraced any hotel in Bond Street or the Fifth Avenue.
How on earth, thought I, can these poor deluded creatures pass their time? They get up at some absurd hour in the morning; they sail to a neighboring sand-bank where they bathe and then take coffee in a whitewashed pavilion; they return to breakfast, and then—what can they do? There is nowhere to walk; there is nothing to read; and in the height of the season there must be a scarcity of elbow-room. Although every house offers accommodation to visitors, it has not unfrequently happened that persons have been obliged to sleep on board the steamers which brought them, and to return to the main-land. Imagine an island being full, like an omnibus!
Then a thought came upon me which wrung my heart. The Governor! How could this unfortunate man exist? With a precipice on one side of his house and a potato-field on the other, what could save him from despair and self-destruction? This question was answered for me when I heard that he was married.
My eccentric wanderings have at least served to convince me of this,—that a man's sole refuge from the evils of solitude is to be found in the domestic sentiments. There is, it is true, a solitude of genius; there are minds which must climb out of the common air and breathe alone. There is also the solitude of enthusiasm, which is more common, and which is found among a lower order of men, who become so possessed with a single idea that it leaves them neither by day nor night, but is their bride, their bosom friend, and their constant occupier. But what becomes of the ordinary man, if he is excluded from the busy regions of the world, and if his heart remains as solitary as his life? Everything dries up in him; he becomes uncouth, bigoted, selfish, egotistical, and usually ends by falling into a semi-torpid state, and by hibernating into death.
I remember that once I had contrived to creep into the centre of one of the most remote of the Cape Verde Islands. My mule suddenly turned into a by-path and broke into a cheerful amble. Experience has proved to me that, when a mule has thoroughly made up its mind, resistance is out of the question. I contented myself with asking my youthful companion what the animal's probable intentions were. The boy said that the mule was going to see the Judge, and pointed to a lovely little cottage which came in view at that moment. Then I recollected that I had heard this gentleman spoken of, and that I had a letter of introduction to him. The mule carried me into the stable from which I was conducted into a drawing-room. There, for the first time during many months, for I had been travelling in strange lands, I saw a number of the Revue de Deux Mondes. I plunged into it, and made an ineffectual effort to read every article at once. The Judge came in, and I at once perceived that I was in the presence of a remarkable man. After an hour's conversation we began to interchange confidences. He told me about his student dreams at Coimbra,—of the nights which he had passed in book-toil,—of his aspirations, his poverty, and his exile. Perhaps he saw a little compassion in my eyes when he had finished, for he added, "Those young hopes have all been crushed, and yet I am happier in this desolate spot than I have ever been in my life before." The door opened at that moment, and a beautiful woman came in, leading two little children by the hands.
"This is my happiness, sir," he said, as he introduced me to his wife. Then he looked at his children, and his eyes filled with unutterable love. "And these," he said, "are my ambition."
But before my visit to the island was concluded, I found that a governorship of Heligoland was very far from being a tranquil retreat. The present Governor, it seems, had founded a new constitution, and was charged with having assumed despotic powers, and with having perpetrated various acts of inhumanity. Governor Wall himself appeared in the light of a philanthropist as compared with this military ogre, who, having acquired a taste for blood in the Crimean War, had been sent to Heligoland to gratify his ruthless propensities. He was as bad as Eyre, for he had suspended a native politician from the Council. He was worse than Sir Charles Darling, who had defied a constitution; for he had destroyed one.
My curiosity having been excited by these complaints, I went to the proper sources of information, and in a few hours had mastered the political history of Heligoland.
In 1807 it was captured by Vice-Admiral Russell from the Danes. From that time until 1864 the government of the colony consisted of a Governor, six magistrates, and a closed popular body called the Vorsteherschaft, containing, besides the magistrates aforesaid, eight quartermasters and sixteen elders. The elders were the tribunes of the people; the quartermasters acted as pilot officers, and superintended all questions of pilotage and wreck; while the magistrates had the power of nominating persons to fill vacancies in the Vorsteherschaft, and appointed to them their own particular adherents, or else dangerous political antagonists. The Governor was a Doge.
A colony governed by pilots, lodging-house-keepers, and small tradesmen could scarcely be expected to prove a success. In 1820 there was a debt of L1,800; in 1864, of L7,200. Owing to the rapacity of the quartermasters, the pilot-trade fell into the hands of the people of Cuxhaven. And in the island itself the wildest anarchy prevailed. The six magistrates were unable to execute their own decrees; there was no prison in the island, and it seems to have been the custom for the authorities to kidnap convicted criminals and deposit them on the main-land. Petitions were being constantly presented to the Home Government from the magistrates, asking for more power; and from the people, demanding the right to elect their own representatives.
So, in 1864, a new constitution was inaugurated, by an order of her Majesty in Council. Its plan is similar to that extant in many other British colonies, consisting of an executive council to advise the Governor; of a legislative body, twelve members of whom are nominated by the crown, and twelve others annually elected by the people, and forming the so-called Combined Court, by whom all money ordinances have to be passed. The right of franchise is exercised by all persons of sound mind who have arrived at the age of twenty-one, and who have not been convicted of felony,—the last proviso, by the by, might be introduced with propriety in New York. The candidates for representation must be, to a certain extent, men of property; that is, they must own land to the value of L1 per annum; or the half of a boat; or the fourth part of a fishing-vessel; or the tenth part of a decked vessel; or must have a yearly income of L4; or must pay a house-rent of not less than thirty shillings a year.
The new constitution was at first popular enough. The Heligolanders were willing to accept the benefits, but they soon began to complain of the burdens, of civilization. The new Governor determined to strike at the two great abuses of Heligoland,—the roulette-table, and the public debt,—which were entangled together in a very embarrassing way. Were the gaming-table at once abolished, the number of visitors would decrease, and those who, on the security of the gaming-table, had invested their money in the colonial funds, would suffer pecuniary loss. It was therefore enacted that the table should be abolished at the expiration of the lease (1871), and that in the interim every measure should be taken to increase the revenue with a view to the reduction of the debt.
Heligoland, indeed, after a period of bungling and robbery, was placed in the same financial position as the United States after a period of war. In one case, as in the other, taxation was the only remedy. But the Heligolanders did not like their medicine, and, like children, protested that they were quite well. They refused to entertain a new and startling idea,—still less, to pay for it. They had never heard of such a thing before; their fathers and grandfathers had never paid taxes, and why should they? It was no use telling them that other people paid taxes. They were not other people. They were Heligolanders. This, it seems, when spoken in their own patois, means a great deal; for they consider themselves intellectually and morally superior to all the other nations of the earth, whom they call, individually and collectively, skit,—a word in their language signifying dirt. As soon as it was known that "an ordinance enacting taxation on real and personal property" had been "enacted by the Governor of Heligoland, with the advice and consent of the Legislative Council, and the concurrence of the Combined Court," there was a grand disturbance. A reactionary party immediately arose, with the cry of The old state of things, and no taxation! When the tax-collectors went round, the men laughed in their faces, and the women called them names. It was in vain that the Governor summoned a meeting of the inhabitants, and addressed them in very excellent German, and gave them six months to turn the matter over in their minds. At the end of that time they were still obstinate, the tax-collectors resigned, and this victory was celebrated with festivities. But suddenly a British man-of-war appeared; a file of marines marched on shore; the ringleaders of the reactionists were put into durance vile—for an afternoon; and the taxes were paid up with marvellous rapidity.
The next move of the opposition was a petition, which was signed by three hundred and fifty out of the two thousand islanders, and was sent into the Colonial Office, protesting against the new constitution, and requesting the abolition of all the ordinances which it had passed. Since a certain occurrence which took place in the reign of George III., the British government has been in the habit of paying most careful attention to all popular petitions from the colonies, but this one, as may well be imagined, was refused. The constitution being popular, and the taxes being light, (there is but one person on the island who pays as much as L3 a year,) and the population extracting considerable wealth from their season visitors, they have no real grievance to complain of, and when last I heard from the island I was informed that the public debt was rapidly melting away, and that peace and good feeling had been quite restored.
This Liliput Province, in which the Governor is the only Englishman, and his cow almost the only quadruped, deserves to be more frequently visited by tourists, as it is perfectly unique in its way. It also merits the study of English politicians. This island rock is the Gibraltar of the North Sea. With a few companies of infantry and casemated batteries, it might be held against any force, and it commands the mouths of the Weser and the Elbe. The Heligolanders are not Germans,—ethnology perhaps would rather class them with the Danes,—and they have no German sympathies. There can be no excuse, therefore, for giving up the island to Prussia, as has been seriously recommended in an English journal; though the objection to this—that by so doing England might lose prestige upon the Continent—is a groundless fear: at the present moment she has none to lose.
REVIEWS AND LITERARY NOTICES.
Early and Late Papers, hitherto uncollected. By WILLIAM MAKEPEACE THACKERAY. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.
It appears to us that the graceful art of Thackeray was never more happily employed than in the first paper of this series. The "Memorials of Gormandizing" is a record of thrilling interest, and every good dinner described has the effect upon the reader of a felicitous drama. He goes from course to course, as from act to act of the play; he is agonized with suspense concerning the fate of the dishes, as if they were so many heroes and heroines; if the steak is not justly cooked, it shall give him almost as great heart-break as a disappointment of lovers; when all is fortunately ended, he takes a long breath, as when the curtain falls upon the picture of the united young people, the relenting uncle, and the baffled villain. As good as a novel? There are mighty few novels that have so much of life and human nature in them as that simple and affecting history, given in this book, of a dinner at the Cafe de Foy, in Paris. But they make one hungry with an inappeasable appetite, these "Memorials of Gormandizing," bringing to mind all the beautiful dinners eaten in Latin countries, and filling the heart with longing for the hotels that look out on the Louvre at Paris, the Villa Reale at Naples, the Venetian sunsets, the Arno at Florence, and even for the railway restaurants which so enchantingly diversify the flat, monotonous, and desolate Flemish landscape.
We travel with Mr. Titmarsh to Bruges, Ghent, and Antwerp, through the latter region, and we enjoy every one of those "Roadside Sketches," so delicate, so unerring, and so suggestive. Thackeray is a delightful traveller; for he, who can talk more wisely of old clothes than most preachers of eternity, gets out of the nothings that tourists see the very life and spirit of a country. Here is something also about modern art and pictures in England and France, which comes as near not at all boring as anything of that nature can; but we find the account of "Dickens in France" so much more attractive, that we shall always read it by preference hereafter.
For this is a book to be read many times by those loving to feel the conscious felicity of a writer who knows that every sentence shall happily express his mind, and succeed in winning the reader to the next. The security is tacit in the earlier papers here reprinted; in the later ones it is more declared, and becomes somewhat careless, though it can never beget slovenliness. It appears to this great master that what he does so easily can scarcely be worth doing, and he mocks his own facility.
The spirit of the book is the same throughout. It is not different from that of Thackeray's other books, and it is that of a man too sensible of his own love of the advantages he enjoys from the existing state of things ever to assail, with any great earnestness of purpose, the errors and absurdities of the world,—who trusted, for example, in one of his essays, never to be guilty of speaking harshly either of the South or North of America, since friends in both sections had offered him equally good claret. He is forever first in his art; and if we do not expect too much from him, he gives us so much that we must rejoice over every line of his preserved for our perusal.
A Vindication of the Claim of Alexander M. W. Ball, of Elizabeth, N. J., to the Authorship of the Poem, "Rock me to Sleep, Mother." By A. O. MORSE, of Cherry Valley, N. Y. New York: M. W. Dodd.
It is no great while since Miss Peck proved to her own satisfaction her claim to what Mr. Morse would style the "maternity" of "Nothing to Wear," and now hardly has Judge Holmes of Missouri determined that the paternity of Shakespeare is due to Bacon, when the friends of Mr. Ball of New Jersey spring another trouble upon mankind by declaring him the author of Mrs. Akers's very graceful and touching poem, "Rock me to Sleep, Mother," which we all know by heart. In the present pamphlet they give what evidence they can in Mr. Ball's behalf, and, to tell the truth, it is not much. It appears from this and other sources that Mr. Ball is a person of independent property, and a member of the New Jersey Legislature, who has written a great quantity of verses first and last, but has become all but "proverbial" in his native State for his carelessness of his own poetry; so that we suppose people say there of a negligent parent, "His children are as unkempt as the Hon. Alexander M. W. Ball's poems"; or of a heartless husband, "His wife is about as well provided for as Mr. Ball's Muse." Still Mr. Ball is not altogether lost to natural feeling, and he has not thrown away all his poetry, but has even so far shown himself alive to its claims upon him as to read it now and then to friends, who have keenly reproached him with his indifference to fame. To such accidents we owe the preservation in this pamphlet of several Christmas Carols and other lyrics, tending to prove that Mr. Ball could have written "Rock me to Sleep" if he had wished, and the much more important letters declaring that he did write it, and that the subscribers of the letters heard him read it nearly three years before its publication by Mrs. Akers. These letters are six in number, including a postscript, and it is not Mr. Ball's fault if they all read a good deal like the certificates of other days establishing the identity of the Old Original Doctor Jacob Townsend. Two only of the six are signed with the writers' names; but these two have a special validity, from the fact that the writer of one is a very old friend, who has more than once expressed his wish to be Mr. Ball's literary executor, while the writer of the other is evidently a legal gent, for he begins with "Relative to the controversy in re the authorship," etc., like a legal gent, and he concludes with the statement that he is able to fix the date when he heard Mr. Ball read "Rock me to Sleep" by the date of a paper which he thinks he called to draw up at Mr. Ball's residence some time in the autumn of 1859. This is Mr. J. Burrows Hyde. Mr. Lewis C. Grover, who would like to be Mr. Ball's literary executor, is more definite, and says that he heard Mr. Ball read the contested poem with others in 1857, during a call made to learn where Mr. Ball bought his damask curtains. H. D. E. is sorry that he or she cannot remember where he or she first heard Mr. Ball read it, but he or she distinctly remembers that it was in 1857 or 1858. L. P. and I. E. S. witness that they heard Mr. Ball read it in his study in 1856 or 1857, and state that the date may be fixed by reference to the time "when Mrs. Ball took Maria to Dr. Cox's, and placed her in the school in Leroy," and the pamphleteer, turning to a bill rendered by the principal of the Leroy school, "fixes the date called for by the writers in February, 1857," at which time, according to the pamphleteer himself, Mr. Ball was on his way to California in an ocean steamer! The postscript mentioned among the letters is said to be dated at Brooklyn in 1858, and merely asks Mr. Ball to "send by the doctor"—not a dozen more bottles of his invaluable Sarsaparilla, but—the poem entitled "Rock me to Sleep," and this postscript has no signature, and is therefore worthless.
It appears, then, that these letters do not establish a great deal; the legal gent fixes the time when he heard the poem by the date of a paper which he thinks was drawn up at a certain period; H. D. E. is sorry that he or she cannot remember, and then distinctly remembers; the postscript is without signature; two other friends declare that they heard Mr. Ball, in his own study, read "Rock me to Sleep, Mother;" at the moment when the poet was probably very sea-sick on a California steamer. Mr. Grover alone remains to persuade us, and we respectfully suggest to that enthusiast whether it was not "Rock-a-by Baby" that he heard Mr. Ball read? We do not think that he or the other writers of these letters intend deceit; but we know the rapture with which people listen to poets who read their own verses aloud, and we suspect that these listeners to Mr. Ball were carried too far away by their feelings ever to get back to their facts. They are good folks, but not critical, we judge, and might easily mistake Mr. Ball's persistent assertion for an actual recollection of their own. We think them one and all in error, and we do not believe that any living soul heard Mr. Ball read the disputed poem before 1860, for two reasons: Mrs. Akers did not write it before that time, and Mr. Ball could never have written it after any number of trials.
Let us take one of Mr. Ball's "Christmas Carols,"—probably the poem which his friends now recall as "Rock me to Sleep, Mother,"—for all proof and comment upon this last fact:—
"And as time rolls us backward, we feel inclined to weep, As the spirit of our mother comes, to rock our souls to sleep. It raised my thoughts to heaven, and in converse with them there I felt a joy unearthly, and lighter sat world's care; For it opened up the vista of an echoless dim shore, Where my mother kindly greets me, as in good days of yore."
Here, then, is that quality of peculiarly hopeless poetasting which strikes cold upon the stomach, and makes man turn sadly from his drivelling brother. Do we not know this sort of thing? Out of the rejected contributions in our waste-basket we could daily furnish the inside and outside of a dozen Balls. It is saddening, it is pathetic; it has gone on so long now, and must still continue for so many ages; but we can just bear it as a negative quality. It is only when such rubbish is put forward as proof that its author has a claim to the name and fame of a poet, that we lose patience. The verses given in this pamphlet would invalidate Mr. Ball's claim to the authorship of Mrs. Akers's poem, even though the Seven Sleepers swore that he rocked them asleep with it in the time of the Decian persecution. But beside the irrefragable internal evidence afforded by the specimens given of Mr. Ball's poetry, and by his "first draft" of the disputed poem, and by his "completed copy" of the poem, there is the well-known fact that Mr. Ball is a self-confessed plagiarist in one case, and a convicted plagiarist in several others. He has lately allowed in a published letter that he used a poem by Mrs. Whitman in "concocting" one of his own. It was some years since proven that he had plagiarized other poems,—even one from Mrs. Hemans.
Mr. Ball has some claims to forbearance and interest as a curious psychological study. Kleptomania is a well-known disorder. The unhappy persons affected steal whatever they can, wherever they can, and come home from evening parties with their pockets full of silver spoons, which are usually sent home with the apologies of mortified friends. We believe, however, this is the first instance of kleptomania of which the victim not only steals, but turns upon the person plundered and makes accusation that the stolen goods had been first filched from him. Mr. Ball is phenomenal, but is a legislative assembly the place for this sort of curiosity? If he is of sound mind, he is guilty of a very cruel and shameless wrong, meriting expulsion from any body that makes laws against larceny. If sane, let him go be elected to the New York Common Council.
Of this pamphlet, aside from Mr. Ball, we have merely to say that it appears to be written by the most impudent and the most absurd man in America.
Literature and its Professors. By THOMAS PURNELL. London: Bell and Daldy.
A cultivated intellect, a fair degree of shrewd perception, an inviolable conscientiousness, a common sense frankly self-satisfied, are some of the qualifications which Mr. Purnell brings to the discussion of literature as seen in modern journalism, and in the lives of Giraldus Cambrensis and Montaigne,—of Roger Williams, the literary statesman,—of Steele, Sterne, and Swift, essayists,—of Mazzini, the literary patriot.
Many of the conditions of literary journalism alluded to in these essays are unknown in our country, where literature has not yet become merely a trade, and where we cannot see that literary men are sinking in popular esteem, and deservedly sinking, as being no better informed, or better qualified to control opinion, than their non-writing neighbors. We can better understand Mr. Purnell when he speaks of the imperfections and discrepancies of criticism, but are not better able to sympathize with all his ideas. The trouble is not, we think, that "critics who conceive themselves to be men of taste give their opinions fearlessly, having no misgivings that they are right," and "if a book is bad, feel it is bad," without being able to refer to a critical principle in proof, but that many who write reviews have not formed opinions and have not felt at all, and have rather proceeded upon a prejudice, a supposed law of aesthetics applicable to every exigency of literary development. A sense of the inadequacy of criticism must trouble every honest man who sits down to examine a new book; and it might almost be said, that no books can be justly estimated by the critic except those which are unworthy of criticism. Upon certain points and aspects of an author's work the critic can justly give his convictions, and need have no misgivings about them; but how to present a complete idea of it, and always to make that appear characteristic which is characteristic, and that exceptional which is exceptional, is the difficulty. Still, criticism must continue: the perfect equipoise may never be attained, and yet we must employ the balance, or nothing can be appraised, and traffic ceases.
It appears to us that criticism would be even more inadequate than it is, however, if, as Mr. Purnell desires, it should have "to do solely with the disposal of the materials, and but incidentally with the quality of the materials themselves." If the German critics whom we are asked to imitate have taught us anything, it is to look through form at the substance within, and to judge that. When criticism was supposed a science, it declared with a mathematical absoluteness that no drama was good or great which did not preserve the unities. Yet Shakespeare has written since, and no critic in the world thinks his plays bad or weak,—thanks, chiefly, to the German criticism, which is an art, and not a science, as Mr. Purnell desires us to think it. In fact, criticism is almost purely a matter of taste and experience, and there is hardly any law established for criticism which has not been overthrown as often as the French government. Upon one point—namely, that a critic should judge an author solely by his work, and never by anything known of him personally—we think no one will disagree with our essayist.
We hardly know how much or how little to value the clever workmanship of these essays, which is characteristic of a whole class of literature in England, though we suspect it has not much greater claim to praise than the art possessed by most Parisians of writing dramatic sketches of Parisian society. It seems to come of a condition of things, rather than from an individual faculty. Still, it is remarkable, and even admirable, though in Mr. Purnell's case it is not inconsistent with dealing somewhat prolixly with rather dry subjects, and being immensely inconclusive upon all important matters, and very painfully conclusive on trivial ones. Our essayist says little that is new of Montaigne, and does not add to our knowledge of Steele, Swift, and Sterne, though he speaks freshly and interestingly of Roger Williams as the first promoter of religious toleration. He requires seventeen pages ("Literary Hero-Worship") to declare that a great poet ought not to be thought great because he is not a great soldier, and vice versa; he is neat and cold, and generally doubtful of things accepted, and assured of things doubted,—and, without being commonplace himself, he seems to believe that he was born into the world to vindicate mediocrity of feeling.
The College, the Market, and the Court; or, Woman's Relation to Education, Labor, and Law. By CAROLINE H. DALL. Boston: Lee and Shepard.
Here is a woman's showing of women's wrongs, a woman's appeal to men for simple justice. All the facts of the matter are grouped and presented anew with emphasis and feeling; and a demand is finally made for the right of suffrage as the protection for women from all kinds of oppression.
We do not care to discuss the wisdom of this conclusion; but from the premises no man can dissent. It is unquestionably true that thousands of women in America suffer an oppression little less cruel than slavery; that they toil incessantly in shops and garrets for a pittance that half sustains life, and at last drives them to guilt as the alternative of starvation; it is true that women are shut out from the practice of the liberal professions; it is true that in the trades to which they are educated they often receive less pay than men for the same amount and quality of work; it is true that the laws still bear unfairly upon them. If the right of suffrage will open to them any means of earning bread now forbidden them, if it will help in any way to give them an equal chance with men in the world, they ought to have it. We are all alike guilty of their wrongs, as long as they continue; it is not the wretch who enslaves the needlewoman,—it is not the savage in whose "store" or "emporium" the poorly paid shop-girl is forbidden to sit down for a moment, and swoons away under the ordeal,—it is not the rogue who gives a woman less wages than a man for a man's service,—it is not these and their kind who are alone guilty, but society itself is guilty. The reform of very great evils will be cheaply accomplished if women by voting can right themselves. It must be confessed, to our shame, that we have failed to right them; though it may at the same time be doubted whether the elective franchise, which is claimed as the means of justice, would not now belong to women, if it had been even generally demanded. So far the responsibility is partly with woman herself, who must also help to bear the blame for failure to ameliorate the condition of her sex in the existing political state. Mrs. Dall is by no means blind to this fact, and she speaks candidly to women, as she speaks fearlessly to men. We think her arguments would have been more forcible if they had been less complex. It is not worth while to argue the intellectual capacity of women for the franchise in a country where it is given to ignorant immigrants and freedmen. It was by no means necessary to show woman's qualification for all the affairs of life, in order to prove that she should not be hindered or limited in her attempts to help herself. Indeed, Mrs. Dall's strength is mainly in her facts concerning woman's general condition, and not in her researches to prove the exceptional success of women in the arts and sciences.
The Land of Thor. By J. ROSS BROWNE. New York: Harper and Brothers.
Mr. Browne's stories of what he saw in Russia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland have that variety ascribed by Mr. Tennyson to the imitations of his poetry,—
"And some are pretty enough, And some are poor indeed."
It is this traveller's aim to keep his reader constantly amused, and to produce broad grins and other broad effects at any cost. Naturally the peoples whom he visits, his readers, and the author himself, all suffer a good deal together, and do not so often combine in hearty, unforced laughter as could be wished. This is the more a pity because Mr. Browne is a genuine humorist, and must be very sorry to fatigue anybody. In his less boisterous moments he is really charming, and, in spite of all his liveliness, he does give some clear ideas of the lands he sees. It appears to us that the travels through Iceland are the best in his book, as the account of Russia is decidedly the dullest,—the Scandinavian countries of the main-land lying midway between these extremes, as they do on the map. Of solid information, such as the old-fashioned travellers used to give us in honest figures and statistics, there is very little in this book, which is the less to be regretted because we already know everything now-a-days. The work is said to be "illustrated by the author"; but as most of the illustrations bear the initials of Mr. Stephens, we suppose this statement is also a joke. We confess that we like such of Mr. Browne's sketches as are given the best: there at least all animate life is not rendered with such a sentiment that cats and dogs, and men and women, might well turn with mutual displeasure from the idea of a common origin of their species.
Half-Tints. Table d'Hote and Drawing-Room. New York; D. Appleton & Co.
Here is the side which our polygonous human nature presents to the observer in a great New York hotel. Throngs of coming and going strangers, snubbingly accommodated by the master of the caravansary, who seeks to make it rather the home of the undomestic rich than the sojourning-place of travel; the hard faces of the ladies in the drawing-room; the business talk of the men of the gentlemen's parlor; the twaddle of the jejune youngsters of either sex in the dining-room; and individual characters among all these,—are the features of hotel-life from which the author turns to sketch the exchange, the street, the fashionable physician, and the modish divine, or to moralize desultorily upon themes suggested by his walks between his hotel and his office. The manner of the book is colloquial; and the author, addressing an old friend, seeks a relief and contrast for the town atmosphere of his work in recurring reminiscences of a youth and childhood passed in the purer air of the country. Some of his sketches are caricatured, some of his pictures rather crudely colored; but at other times he is very skilful, and generally his tone is pleasant, and in the chapters, "Not a Sermon," "And so forth," and "Out of the Window," there is shrewd observation and sound thought.