Any Englishman or Frenchman residing in the American States cannot fail to be struck with the inferiority of the post-office arrangements in that country to those by which they are accommodated in their own country. I have not been a resident in the country, and as a traveler might probably have passed the subject without special remark, were it not that the service of the post-office has been my own profession for many years. I could therefore hardly fail to observe things which to another man would have been of no material moment. At first I was inclined to lean heavily in my judgment upon the deficiencies of a department which must be of primary importance to a commercial nation. It seemed that among a people so intelligent, and so quick in all enterprises of trade, a well-arranged post-office would have been held to be absolutely necessary, and that all difficulties would have been made to succumb in their efforts to put that establishment, if no other, upon a proper footing. But as I looked into the matter, and in becoming acquainted with the circumstances of the post-office learned the extent of the difficulties absolutely existing, I began to think that a very great deal had been done, and that the fault, as to that which had been left undone, rested not with the post-office officials, but was attributable partly to political causes altogether outside the post-office, and partly--perhaps chiefly--to the nature of the country itself. It is I think undoubtedly true that the amount of accommodation given by the post-office of the States is small, as compared with that afforded in some other countries, and that that accommodation is lessened by delays and uncertainty. The point which first struck me was the inconvenient hours at which mails were brought in and dispatched. Here in England it is the object of our post-office to carry the bulk of our letters at night; to deliver them as early as possible in the morning, and to collect them and take them away for dispatch as late as may be in the day; so that the merchant may receive his letters before the beginning of his day business, and dispatch them after its close. The bulk of our letters is handled in this manner, and the advantage of such an arrangement is manifest. But it seemed that in the States no such practice prevailed. Letters arrived at any hour in the day miscellaneously, and were dispatched at any hour, and I found that the postmaster at one town could never tell me with certainty when letters would arrive at another. If the towns were distant, I would be told that the conveyance might take about two or three days; if they were near, that my letter would get to hand "some time to-morrow." I ascertained, moreover, by painful experience that the whole of a mail would not always go forward by the first dispatch. As regarded myself this had reference chiefly to English letters and newspapers. "Only a part of the mail has come," the clerk would tell me. With us the owners of that part which did not "come," would consider themselves greatly aggrieved and make loud complaint. But in the States complaints made against official departments are held to be of little moment. Letters also in the States are subject to great delays by irregularities on railways. One train does not hit the town of its destination before another train, to which it is nominally fitted, has been started on its journey. The mail trains are not bound to wait; and thus, in the large cities, far distant from New York, great irregularity prevails. It is I think owing to this--at any rate partly to this--that the system of telegraphing has become so prevalent. It is natural that this should be so between towns which are in the due course of post perhaps forty-eight hours asunder; but the uncertainty of the post increases the habit, to the profit of course of the companies which own the wires, but to the manifest loss of the post-office. But the deficiency which struck me most forcibly in the American post-office, was the absence of any recognized official delivery of letters. The United States post-office does not assume to itself the duty of taking letters to the houses of those for whom they are intended, but holds itself as having completed the work for which the original postage has been paid, when it has brought them to the window of the post-office of the town to which they are addressed. It is true that in most large towns--though by no means in all--a separate arrangement is made by which a delivery is afforded to those who are willing to pay a further sum for that further service; but the recognized official mode of delivery is from the office window. The merchants and persons in trade have boxes at the windows, for which they pay. Other old-established inhabitants in town, and persons in receipt of a considerable correspondence, receive their letters by the subsidiary carriers and pay for them separately. But the poorer classes of the community, those persons among which it is of such paramount importance to increase the blessing of letter writing, obtain their letters from the post- office windows. In each of these cases the practice acts to the prejudice of the department. In order to escape the tax on delivery, which varies from two cents to one cent a letter, all men in trade, and many who are not in trade, hold office boxes; consequently immense space is required. The space given at Chicago, both to the public without and to the official within, for such delivery, is more than four times that required at Liverpool for the same purpose. But Liverpool is three times the size of Chicago. The corps of clerks required for the window delivery is very great, and the whole affair is cumbrous in the extreme. The letters at most offices are given out through little windows, to which the inquirer is obliged to stoop. There he finds himself opposite to a pane of glass with a little hole, and when the clerk within shakes his head at him, he rarely believes but what his letters are there if he could only reach them. But in the second case, the tax on the delivery, which is intended simply to pay the wages of the men who take them out, is paid with a bad grace; it robs the letter of its charm, and forces it to present itself in the guise of a burden: it makes that disagreeable which for its own sake the post-office should strive in every way to make agreeable. This practice, moreover, operates as a direct prevention to a class of correspondence which furnishes in England a large proportion of the revenue of the post-office. Mercantile houses in our large cities send out thousands of trade circulars, paying postage on them; but such circulars would not be received, either in England or elsewhere, if a demand for postage were made on their delivery. Who does not receive these circulars in our country by the dozen, consigning them generally to the waste- paper basket, after a most cursory inspection? As regards the sender, the transaction seems to us often to be very vain; but the post-office gets its penny. So also would the American post-office get its three cents. But the main objection in my eyes to the American post-office system is this, that it is not brought nearer to the poorer classes. Everybody writes or can write in America, and therefore the correspondence of their millions should be, million for million, at any rate equal to ours. But it is not so; and this I think comes from the fact that communication by post-office is not made easy to the people generally. Such communication is not found to be easy by a man who has to attend at a post-office window on the chance of receiving a letter. When no arrangement more comfortable than that is provided, the post-office will be used for the necessities of letter writing, but will not be esteemed as a luxury. And thus not only do the people lose a comfort which they might enjoy, but the post-office also loses that revenue which it might make. I have said that the correspondence circulating in the United States is less than that of the United Kingdom. In making any comparison between them, I am obliged to arrive at facts, or rather at the probabilities of facts, in a somewhat circuitous mode, as the Americans have kept no account of the number of letters which pass through their post-offices in a year; we can, however, make an estimate, which, if incorrect, shall not at any rate be incorrect against them. The gross postal revenue of the United States for the year ended June 30th, 1861, was in round figures 1,700,000l. This was the amount actually cashed, exclusive of a sum of 140,000l. paid to the post-office by the government for the carriage of what is called in that country free mail matter; otherwise, books, letters, and parcels franked by members of Congress. The gross postal revenue of the United Kingdom was in the last year, in round figures, 3,358,000l., exclusive of a sum of 179,000l. claimed as earned for carrying official postage, and also exclusive of 127,866l., that being the amount of money order commissions, which in this country is considered a part of the post-office revenue. In the United States there is at present no money order office. In the United Kingdom the sum of 3,358,000l. was earned by the conveyance and delivery of 593,000,000 of letters, 73,000,000 of newspapers, 12,000,000 of books. What number of each was conveyed through the post in the United States we have no means of knowing; but presuming the average rate of postage on each letter in the States to be the same as it is in England, and presuming also that letters, newspapers, and books circulated in the same proportion there as they do with us, the sum above named of 1,700,000l. will have been earned by carrying about 300,000,000 of letters. But the average rate of postage in the States is in fact higher than it is in England. The ordinary single rate of postage there is three cents, or three half-pence, whereas with us it is a penny; and if three half-pence might be taken as the average rate in the United States, the number of letters would be reduced from 300,000,000 to 200,000,000 a year. There is, however, a class of letters which in the States are passed through the post-office at the rate of one half-penny a letter, whereas there is no rate of postage with us less than a penny. Taking these half-penny letters into consideration, I am disposed to regard the average rate of American postage at about five farthings, which would give the number of letters at 250,000,000. We shall at any rate be safe in saying that the number is considerably less than 300,000,000, and that it does not amount to half the number circulated with us. But the difference between our population and their population is not great. The population of the States during the year in question was about 27,000,000, exclusive of slaves, and that of the British Isles was about 29,000,000. No doubt in the year named the correspondence of the States had been somewhat disturbed by the rebellion; but that disturbance, up to the end of June, 1861, had been very trifling. The division of the Southern from the Northern States, as far as the post-office was concerned, did not take place till the end of May, l861; and therefore but one month in the year was affected by the actual secession of the South. The gross postal revenue of the States which have seceded was, for the year prior to secession, 1,200,500 dollars, and for that one month of June it would therefore have been a little over 100,000 dollars, or 20,000l. That sum may therefore be presumed to have been abstracted by secession from the gross annual revenue of the post-office. Trade, also, was no doubt injured by the disturbance in the country, and the circulation of letters was, as a matter of course, to some degree affected by this injury; but it seems that the gross revenue of 1861 was less than that of 1860 by only one thirty-sixth. I think, therefore, that we may say, making all allowance that can be fairly made, that the number of letters circulating in the United Kingdom is more than double that which circulates, or ever has circulated, in the United States. That this is so, I attribute not to any difference in the people of the two countries, not to an aptitude for letter writing among us which is wanting with the Americans, but to the greater convenience and wider accommodation of our own post-office. As I have before stated, and will presently endeavor to show, this wider accommodation is not altogether the result of better management on our part. Our circumstances as regards the post-office have had in them less of difficulties than theirs. But it has arisen in great part from better management; and in nothing is their deficiency so conspicuous as in the absence of a free delivery for their letters. In order that the advantages of the post-office should reach all persons, the delivery of letters should extend not only to towns, but to the country also. In France all letters are delivered free. However remote may be the position of a house or cottage, it is not too remote for the postman. With us all letters are not delivered, but the exceptions refer to distant solitary houses and to localities which are almost without correspondence. But in the United States there is no free delivery, and there is no delivery at all except in the large cities. In small towns, in villages, even in the suburbs of the largest cities, no such accommodation is given. Whatever may be the distance, people expecting letters must send for them to the post-office; and they who do not expect them, leave their letters uncalled for. Brother Jonathan goes out to fish in these especial waters with a very large net. The little fish which are profitable slip through; but the big fish, which are by no means profitable, are caught--often at an expense greater than their value. There are other smaller sins upon which I could put my finger--and would do so were I writing an official report upon the subject of the American post-office. In lieu of doing so, I will endeavor to explain how much the States office has done in this matter of affording post-office accommodation, and how great have been the difficulties in the way of post-office reformers in that country. In the first place, when we compare ourselves to them we must remember that we live in a tea-cup, and they in a washing-tub. As compared with them we inhabit towns which are close to each other. Our distances, as compared with theirs, are nothing. From London to Liverpool the line of railway I believe traverses about two hundred miles, but the mail train which conveys the bags for Liverpool carries the correspondence of probably four or five millions of persons. The mail train from New York to Buffalo passes over about four hundred miles, and on its route leaves not one million. A comparison of this kind might be made with the same effect between any of our great internal mail routes and any of theirs. Consequently the expense of conveyance to them is, per letter, very much greater than with us, and the American post-office is, as a matter of necessity, driven to an economy in the use of railways for the post-office service which we are not called on to practice. From New York to Chicago is nearly 1000 miles. From New York to St. Louis is over 1400. From New York to New Orleans is 1600 miles. I need not say that in England we know nothing of such distances, and that therefore our task has been comparatively easy. Nevertheless the States have followed in our track, and have taken advantage of Sir Rowland's Hill's wise audacity in the reduction of postage with greater quickness than any other nation but our own. Through all the States letters pass for three cents over a distance less than 3000 miles. For distances above 3000 miles the rate is ten cents, or five pence. This increased rate has special reference to the mails for California, which are carried daily across the whole continent at a cost to the States government of two hundred thousand pounds a year. With us the chief mail trains are legally under the management of the Postmaster-General. He fixes the hours at which they shall start and arrive, being of course bound by certain stipulations as to pace. He can demand trains to run over any line at any hour, and can in this way secure the punctuality of mail transportation. Of course such interference on the part of a government official in the working of a railway is attended with a very heavy expense to the government. Though the British post-office can demand the use of trains at any hour, and as regards those trains can make the dispatch of mails paramount to all other matters, the British post- office cannot fix the price to be paid for such work. This is generally done by arbitration, and of course for such services the payment is very high. No such practice prevails in the States. The government has no power of using the mail lines as they are used by our post-office, nor could the expense of such a practice be borne or nearly borne by the proceeds of letters in the States. Consequently the post-office is put on a par with ordinary customers, and such trains are used for mail matter as the directors of each line may see fit to use for other matter. Hence it occurs that no offense against the post-office is committed when the connection between different mail trains is broken. The post-office takes the best it can get, paying as other customers pay, and grumbling as other customers grumble when the service rendered falls short of that which has been promised. It may, I think, easily be seen that any system, such as ours, carried across so large a country, would go on increasing in cost at an enormous ratio. The greater is the distance, the greater is the difficulty in securing the proper fitting of fast-running trains. And moreover, it must be remembered that the American lines have been got up on a very different footing from ours, at an expense per mile of probably less than a fifth of that laid out on our railways. Single lines of rail are common, even between great towns with large traffic. At the present moment, February, 1862, the only railway running into Washington, that namely from Baltimore, is a single line over the greater distance. The whole thing is necessarily worked at a cheaper rate than with us; not because the people are poorer, but because the distances are greater. As this is the case throughout the whole railway system of the country, it cannot be expected that such dispatch and punctuality should be achieved in America as are achieved here in England, or in France. As population and wealth increase it will come. In the mean time that which has been already done over the extent of the vast North American continent is very wonderful. I think, therefore, that complaint should not be made against the Washington post-office, either on account of the inconvenience of the hours or on the head of occasional irregularity. So much has been done in reducing the rate to three cents, and in giving a daily mail throughout the States, that the department should be praised for energy, and not blamed for apathy. In the year ended June 30, 1861, the gross revenue of the post- office of the States was, as I have stated, 1,700,000l. In the same year its expenditure was in round figures 2,720,000l.; consequently there was an actual loss, to be made up out of general taxation, amounting to 1,020,000l. In the accounts of the American officers this is lessened by 140,000l. That sum having been arbitrarily fixed by the government as the amount earned by the post-office in carrying free mail matter. We have a similar system in computing the value of the service rendered by our post-office to the government in carrying government dispatches; but with us the amount named as the compensation depends on the actual weight carried. If the matter so carried be carried solely on the government service, as is, I believe, the case with us, any such claim on behalf of the post-office is apparently unnecessary. The Crown works for the Crown, as the right hand works for the left. The post-office pays no rates or taxes, contributes nothing to the poor, runs its mails on turnpike roads free of toll, and gives receipts on unstamped paper. With us no payment is in truth made, though the post-office in its accounts presumes itself to have received the money; but in the States the sum named is handed over by the State Treasury to the Post-office Treasury. Any such statement of credit does not in effect alter the real fact that over a million sterling is required as a subsidy by the American post-office, in order that it may be enabled to pay its way. In estimating the expenditure of the office the department at Washington debits itself with the sums paid for the ocean transit of its mails, amounting to something over one hundred and fifty thousand pounds. We also now do the same, with the much greater sum paid by us for such service, which now amounts to 949,228l., or nearly a million sterling. Till lately this was not paid out of the post-office moneys, and the post-office revenue was not debited with the amount. Our gross post-office revenue is, as I have said, 3,358,250l. As before explained, this is exclusive of the amount earned by the money order department, which, though managed by the authorities of the post-office, cannot be called a part of the post-office; and exclusive also of the official postage, which is, in fact, never received. The expenditure of our British post-office, inclusive of the sum paid for the ocean mail service, is 3,064,527l.; we therefore make a net profit of 293,723l. out of the post-office, as compared with a loss of 1,020,000l. on the part of the United States. But perhaps the greatest difficulty with which the American post- office is burdened is that "free mail matter" to which I have alluded, for carrying which the post-office claims to earn 140,000l., and for the carriage of which it might as fairly claim to earn 1,350,000l., or half the amount of its total expenditure, for I was informed by a gentleman whose knowledge on the subject could not be doubted, that the free mail matter so carried equaled in bulk and weight all that other matter which was not carried free. To such an extent has the privilege of franking been carried in the States! All members of both Houses frank what they please--for in effect the privilege is stretched to that extent. All Presidents of the Union, past and present, can frank, as also, all Vice-Presidents, past and present; and there is a special act, enabling the widow of President Polk to frank. Why it is that widows of other Presidents do not agitate on the matter, I cannot understand. And all the Secretaries of State can frank; and ever so many other public officers. There is no limit in number to the letters so franked, and the nuisance has extended itself to so huge a size that members of Congress, in giving franks, cannot write the franks themselves. It is illegal for them to depute to others the privilege of signing their names for this purpose, but it is known at the post-office that it is done. But even this is not the worst of it. Members of the House of Representatives have the power of sending through the post all those huge books which, with them as with us, grow out of parliamentary debates and workings of committees. This, under certain stipulations, is the case also in England; but in England, luckily, no one values them. In America, however, it is not so. A voter considers himself to be noticed if he gets a book; he likes to have the book bound, and the bigger the book may be, the more the compliment is relished. Hence it comes to pass that an enormous quantity of useless matter is printed and bound, only that it may be sent down to constituents and make a show on the parlor shelves of constituents' wives. The post-office groans and becomes insolvent and the country pays for the paper, the printing, and the binding. While the public expenses of this nation were very small, there was, perhaps, no reason why voters should not thus be indulged; but now the matter is different, and it would be well that the conveyance by post of these congressional libraries should be brought to an end. I was also assured that members very frequently obtain permission for the printing of a speech which has never been delivered--and which never will be delivered--in order that copies may be circulated among their constituents. There is in such an arrangement an ingenuity which is peculiarly American in its nature. Everybody concerned is no doubt cheated by the system. The constituents are cheated; the public, which pays, is cheated; and the post-office is cheated. But the House is spared the hearing of the speech, and the result on the whole is perhaps beneficial. We also, within the memory of many of us, had a franking privilege, which was peculiarly objectionable, inasmuch as it operated toward giving a free transmission of their letters by post to the rich, while no such privilege was within reach of the poor. But with us it never stretched itself to such an extent as it has now achieved in the States. The number of letters for members was limited. The whole address was written by the franking member himself, and not much was sent in this way that was bulky. I am disposed to think that all government and congressional jobs in the States bear the same proportion to government and parliamentary jobs which have been in vogue among us. There has been an unblushing audacity in the public dishonesty--what I may perhaps call the State dishonesty--at Washington, which I think was hardly ever equaled in London. Bribery, I know, was disgracefully current in the days of Walpole, of Newcastle, and even of Castlereagh; so current, that no Englishman has a right to hold up his own past government as a model of purity; but the corruption with us did blush and endeavor to hide itself. It was disgraceful to be bribed, if not so to offer bribes. But at Washington corruption has been so common that I can hardly understand how any honest man can have held up his head in the vicinity of the Capitol or of the State office. But the country has, I think, become tired of this. Hitherto it has been too busy about its more important concerns, in extending commerce, in making railways, in providing education for its youth, to think very much of what was being done at Washington. While the taxes were light, and property was secure, while increasing population gave daily increasing strength to the nation, the people as a body were content with that theory of being governed by their little men. They gave a bad name to politicians, and allowed politics, as they say, to "slide." But all this will be altered now. The tremendous expenditure of the last twelve months has allowed dishonesty of so vast a grasp to make its ravages in the public pockets that the evil will work its own cure. Taxes will be very high, and the people will recognize the necessity of having honest men to look after them. The nation can no longer afford to be indifferent about its government, and will require to know where its money goes, and why it goes. This franking privilege is already doomed, if not already dead. When I was in Washington, a bill was passed through the Lower House by which it would be abolished altogether. When I left America, its fate in the Senate was still doubtful, and I was told by many that that bill would not be allowed to become law without sundry alterations. But, nevertheless, I regard the franking privilege as doomed, and offer to the Washington post-office officials my best congratulations on their coming deliverance. The post-office in the States is also burdened by another terrible political evil, which in itself is so heavy that one would at first sight declare it to be enough to prevent anything like efficiency. The whole of its staff is removable every fourth year--that is to say, on the election of every new President; and a very large proportion of its staff is thus removed periodically to make way for those for whom a new President is bound to provide, by reason of their services in sending him to the White House. They have served him, and he thus repays them by this use of his patronage in their favor. At four hundred and thirty-four post-offices in the States-- those being the offices to which the highest salaries are attached-- the President has this power, and exercises it as a matter of course. He has the same power with reference, I believe, to all the appointments held in the post-office at Washington. This practice applies by no means to the post-office only. All the government clerks--clerks employed by the central government at Washington--are subject to the same rule. And the rule has also been adopted in the various States with reference to State offices. To a stranger this practice seems so manifestly absurd that he can hardly conceive it possible that a government service should be conducted on such terms. He cannot, in the first place, believe that men of sufficient standing before the world could be found to accept office under such circumstances; and is led to surmise that men of insufficient standing must be employed, and that there are other allurements to the office beyond the very moderate salaries which are allowed. He cannot, moreover, understand how the duties can be conducted, seeing that men must be called on to resign their places as soon as they have learned to make themselves useful. And, finally, he is lost in amazement as he contemplates this barefaced prostitution of the public employ to the vilest purposes of political manoeuvring. With us also patronage has been used for political purposes, and to some small extent is still so used. We have not yet sufficiently recognized the fact that in selecting a public servant nothing should be regarded but the advantage of the service for which he is to be employed. But we never, in the lowest times of our political corruption, ventured to throw over the question of service altogether, and to declare publicly that the one and only result to be obtained by government employment was political support. In the States, political corruption has become so much a matter of course that no American seems to be struck with the fact that the whole system is a system of robbery. From sheer necessity some of the old hands are kept on when these changes are made. Were this not done, the work would come absolutely to a dead lock. But as it is, it may be imagined how difficult it must be for men to carry through any improvements in a great department, when they have entered an office under such a system, and are liable to be expelled under the same. It is greatly to the praise of those who have been allowed to grow old in the service that so much has been done. No men, however, are more apt at such work than Americans, or more able to exert themselves at their posts. They are not idle. Independently of any question of remuneration, they are not indifferent to the well-being of the work they have in hand. They are good public servants, unless corruption come in their way. While speaking on the subject of patronage, I cannot but allude to two appointments which had been made by political interest, and with the circumstances of which I became acquainted. In both instances a good place had been given to a gentleman by the incoming President-- not in return for political support, but from motives of private friendship--either his own friendship or that of some mutual friend. In both instances I heard the selection spoken of with the warmest praise, as though a noble act had been done in the selection of a private friend instead of a political partisan. And yet in each case a man was appointed who knew nothing of his work; who, from age and circumstances, was not likely to become acquainted with his work; who, by his appointment, kept out of the place those who did understand the work, and had earned a right to promotion by so understanding it. Two worthy gentlemen--for they were both worthy-- were pensioned on the government for a term of years under a false pretense. That this should have been done is not perhaps remarkable; but it did seem remarkable to me that everybody regarded such appointments as a good deed--as a deed so exceptionably good as to be worthy of great praise. I do not allude to these selections on account of the political view shown by the Presidents in making them, but on account of the political virtue; in order that the nature of political virtue in the States may be understood. It had never occurred to any one to whom I spoke on the subject, that a President in the bestowing of such places was bound to look for efficient work in return for the public money which was to be paid. Before I end this chapter I must insert a few details respecting the post-office of the States, which, though they may not be specially interesting to the general reader, will give some idea of the extent of the department. The total number of post-offices in the States on June 30th, 1861, was 28,586. With us the number in England, Scotland, and Ireland, at the same period, was about 11,400. The population served may be regarded as nearly the same. Our lowest salary is 3l. per annum. In the States the remuneration is often much lower. It consist in a commission on the letters, and is sometimes less than ten shillings. The difficulty of obtaining persons to hold these offices, and the amount of work which must thereby be thrown on what is called the "appointment branch," may be judged by the fact that 9235 of these offices were filled up by new nominations during the last year. When the patronage is of such a nature it is difficult to say which give most trouble, the places which nobody wishes to have, or those which everybody wishes to have. The total amount of postage on European letters, i.e. letters passing between the States and Europe, in the last year, as to which accounts were kept between Washington and the European post-offices, was 275,000l. Of this over 150,000l. was on letters for the United Kingdom; and 130,000l. was on letters carried by the Cunard packets. According to the accounts kept by the Washington office, the letters passing from the States to Europe and from Europe to the States are very nearly equal in number, about 101 going to Europe for every 100 received from Europe. But the number of newspapers sent from the States is more than double the number received in the States from Europe. On June 30th, 1861, mails were carried through the then loyal States of the Union over 140,400 miles daily. Up to 31st May preceding, at which time the government mails were running all through the united States, 96,000 miles were covered in those States which had then virtually seceded, and which in the following month were taken out from the post-office accounts--making a total of 236,400 miles daily. Of this mileage something less than one-third is effected by railways, at an average cost of about six pence a mile. Our total mileage per day is 151,000 miles, of which 43,823 are done by railway, at a cost of about seven pence half-penny per mile. As far as I could learn, the servants of the post-office are less liberally paid in the States than with us, excepting as regards two classes. The first of these is that class which is paid by weekly wages, such as letter-carriers and porters. Their remuneration is of course ruled by the rate of ordinary wages in the country; and as ordinary wages are higher in the States than with us, such men are paid accordingly. The other class is that of postmasters at second- rate towns. They receive the same compensation as those at the largest towns--unless indeed there be other compensations than those written in the books at Washington. A postmaster is paid a certain commission on letters, till it amounts to 400l. per annum: all above that going back to the government. So also out of the fees paid for boxes at the window he receives any amount forthcoming not exceeding 400l. a year; making in all a maximum of 800l. The postmaster of New York can get no more; but any moderately large town will give as much, and in this way an amount of patronage is provided which in a political view is really valuable. But with all this the people have made their way, because they have been intelligent, industrious, and in earnest. And as the people have made their way, so has the post-office. The number of its offices, the mileage it covers, its extraordinary cheapness, the rapidity with which it has been developed, are all proofs of great things done; and it is by no means standing still even in these evil days of war. Improvements are even now on foot, copied in a great measure from ourselves. Hitherto the American office has not taken upon itself the task of returning to their writers undelivered and undeliverable letters. This it is now going to do. It is, as I have said, shaking off from itself that terrible incubus, the franking privilege. And the expediency of introducing a money-order office into the States, connected with the post-office as it is with us, is even now under consideration. Such an accommodation is much needed in the country; but I doubt whether the present moment, looking at the fiscal state of the country, is well adapted for establishing it. I was much struck by the great extravagance in small things manifested by the post-office through the States, and have reason to believe that the same remark would be equally true with regard to other public establishments. They use needless forms without end-- making millions of entries which no one is ever expected to regard. Their expenditure in stationery might I think be reduced by one- half, and the labor might be saved which is now wasted in the abuse of that useless stationery. Their mail bags are made in a costly manner, and are often large beyond all proportion or necessity. I could greatly lengthen this list if I were addressing myself solely to post-office people; but as I am not doing so, I will close these semi-official remarks with an assurance to my colleagues in post- office work on the other side of the water that I greatly respect what they have done, and trust that before long they may have renewed opportunities for the prosecution of their good work.
I find it impossible to resist the subject of inns. As I have gone on with my journey, I have gone on with my book, and have spoken here and there of American hotels as I have encountered them. But in the States the hotels are so large an institution, having so much closer and wider a bearing on social life than they do in any other country, that I feel myself bound to treat them in a separate chapter as a great national arrangement in themselves. They are quite as much thought of in the nation as the legislature, or judicature, or literature of the country; and any falling off in them, or any improvement in the accommodation given, would strike the community as forcibly as any change in the Constitution or alteration in the franchise. Moreover, I consider myself as qualified to write a chapter on hotels--not only on the hotels of America, but on hotels generally. I have myself been much too frequently a sojourner at hotels. I think I know what a hotel should be, and what it should not be; and am almost inclined to believe, in my pride, that I could myself fill the position of a landlord with some chance of social success, though probably with none of satisfactory pecuniary results. Of all hotels known to me, I am inclined to think that the Swiss are the best. The things wanted at a hotel are, I fancy, mainly as follows: a clean bed-room, with a good and clean bed, and with it also plenty of water. Good food, well dressed and served at convenient hours, which hours should on occasions be allowed to stretch themselves. Wines that shall be drinkable. Quick attendance. Bills that shall not be absolutely extortionate, smiling faces, and an absence of foul smells. There are many who desire more than this--who expect exquisite cookery, choice wines, subservient domestics, distinguished consideration, and the strictest economy; but they are uneducated travelers, who are going through the apprenticeship of their hotel lives; who may probably never become free of the travelers' guild, or learn to distinguish that which they may fairly hope to attain from that which they can never accomplish. Taking them as a whole, I think that the Swiss hotels are the best. They are perhaps a little close in the matter of cold water, but even as to this they generally give way to pressure. The pressure, however, must not be violent, but gentle rather, and well continued. Their bed-rooms are excellent. Their cookery is good, and to the outward senses is cleanly. The people are civil. The whole work of the house is carried on upon fixed rules which tend to the comfort of the establishment. They are not cheap, and not always quite honest. But the exorbitance or dishonesty of their charges rarely exceeds a certain reasonable scale, and hardly ever demands the bitter misery of a remonstrance. The inns of the Tyrol are, I think, the cheapest I have known-- affording the traveler what he requires for half the price, or less than half demanded in Switzerland. But the other half is taken out in stench and nastiness. As tourists scatter themselves more profusely, the prices of the Tyrol will no doubt rise. Let us hope that increased prices will bring with them besoms, scrubbing- brushes, and other much-needed articles of cleanliness. The inns of the north of Italy are very good; and, indeed, the Italian inns throughout, as far as I know them, are much better than the name they bear. The Italians are a civil, kindly people, and do for you, at any rate, the best they can. Perhaps the unwary traveler may be cheated. Ignorant of the language, he may be called on to pay more than the man who speaks it and who can bargain in the Italian fashion as to price. It has often been my lot, I doubt not, to be so cheated; but then I have been cheated with a grace that has been worth all the money. The ordinary prices of Italian inns are by no means high. I have seldom thoroughly liked the inns of Germany which I have known. They are not clean, and water is very scarce. Smiles, too, are generally wanting, and I have usually fancied myself to be regarded as a piece of goods out of which so much profit was to be made. The dearest hotels I know are the French--and certainly not the best. In the provinces they are by no means so cleanly as those of Italy. Their wines are generally abominable, and their cookery often disgusting. In Paris grand dinners may no doubt be had, and luxuries of every description--except the luxury of comfort. Cotton-velvet sofas and ormolu clocks stand in the place of convenient furniture; and logs of wood, at a franc a log, fail to impart to you the heat which the freezing cold of a Paris winter demands. They used to make good coffee in Paris, but even that is a thing of the past. I fancy that they import their brandy from England and manufacture their own cigars. French wines you may get good at a Paris hotel; but you would drink them as good and much cheaper if you bought them in London and took them with you. The worst hotels I know are in the Havana. Of course I do not speak here of chance mountain huts, or small, far-off roadside hostels, in which the traveler may find himself from time to time. All such are to be counted apart, and must be judged on their merits by the circumstances which surround them. But with reference to places of wide resort, nothing can beat the hotels of the Havana in filth, discomfort, habits of abomination, and absence of everything which the traveler desires. All the world does not go to the Havana, and the subject is not therefore one of general interest. But in speaking of hotels at large, so much I find myself bound to say. In all the countries to which I have alluded the guests of the house are expected to sit down together at one table. Conversation is at any rate possible; and there is the show, if not the reality, of society. And now one word as to English inns. I do not think that we Englishmen have any great right to be proud of them. The worst about them is that they deteriorate from year to year, instead of becoming better. We used to hear much of the comfort of the old English wayside inn, but the old English wayside inn has gone. The railway hotel has taken its place; and the railway hotel is too frequently gloomy, desolate, comfortless, and almost suicidal. In England, too, since the old days are gone, there are wanting the landlord's bow and the kindly smile of his stout wife. Who now knows the landlord of an inn, or cares to inquire whether or no there be a landlady? The old welcome is wanting; and the cheery, warm air, which used to atone for the bad port and tough beef, has passed away--while the port is still bad and the beef too often tough. In England, and only in England as I believe, is maintained in hotel life the theory of solitary existence. The sojourner at an English inn--unless he be a commercial traveler, and as such a member of a universal, peripatetic tradesman's club--lives alone. He has his breakfast alone, his dinner alone, his pint of wine alone, and his cup of tea alone. It is not considered practicable that two strangers should sit at the same table or cut from the same dish. Consequently his dinner is cooked for him separately, and the hotel keeper can hardly afford to give him a good dinner. He has two modes of life from which to choose. He either lives in a public room--called a coffee-room--and there occupies, during his comfortless meal, a separate small table, too frequently removed from fire and light, though generally exposed to draughts, or else he indulges in the luxury of a private sitting-room, and endeavors to find solace on an old horse-hair sofa, at the cost of seven shillings a day. His bed-room is not so arranged that he can use it as a sitting-room. Under either phase of life he can rarely find himself comfortable, and therefore he lives as little at a hotel as the circumstances of his business or of his pleasure will allow. I do not think that any of the requisites of a good inn are habitually to be found in perfection at our Kings' Heads and White Horses, though the falling off is not so lamentably distressing as it sometimes is in other countries. The bed-rooms are dingy rather than dirty. Extra payment to servants will generally produce a tub of cold water. The food is never good, but it is usually eatable, and you may have it when you please. The wines are almost always bad, but the traveler can fall back upon beer. The attendance is good, provided always that the payment for it is liberal. The cost is generally too high, and unfortunately grows larger and larger from year to year. Smiling faces are out of the question unless specially paid for; and as to that matter of foul smells, there is often room for improvement. An English inn to a solitary traveler without employment is an embodiment of dreary desolation. The excuse to be made for this is that English men and women do not live much at inns in their own country. The American inn differs from all those of which I have made mention, and is altogether an institution apart, and a thing of itself. Hotels in America are very much larger and more numerous than in other countries. They are to be found in all towns, and I may almost say in all villages. In England and on the Continent we find them on the recognized routes of travel and in towns of commercial or social importance. On unfrequented roads and in villages there is usually some small house of public entertainment in which the unexpected traveler may obtain food and shelter, and in which the expected boon companions of the neighborhood smoke their nightly pipes and drink their nightly tipple. But in the States of America the first sign of an incipient settlement is a hotel five stories high, with an office, a bar, a cloak room, three gentlemen's parlors, two ladies' parlors, and a ladies' entrance, and two hundred bedrooms. These of course are all built with a view to profit, and it may be presumed that in each case the originators of the speculation enter into some calculation as to their expected guests. Whence are to come the sleepers in those two hundred bed-rooms, and who is to pay for the gaudy sofas and numerous lounging chairs of the ladies' parlors? In all other countries the expectation would extend itself simply to travelers--to travelers or to strangers sojourning in the land. But this is by no means the case as to these speculations in America. When the new hotel rises up in the wilderness, it is presumed that people will come there with the express object of inhabiting it. The hotel itself will create a population, as the railways do. With us railways run to the towns; but in the States the towns run to the railways. It is the same thing with the hotels. Housekeeping is not popular with young married people in America, and there are various reasons why this should be so. Men there are not fixed in their employment as they are with us. If a young Benedict cannot get along as a lawyer at Salem, perhaps he may thrive as a shoemaker at Thermopylae. Jefferson B. Johnson fails in the lumber line at Eleutheria, but hearing of an opening for a Baptist preacher at Big Mud Creek moves himself off with his wife and three children at a week's notice. Aminadab Wiggs takes an engagement as a clerk at a steamboat office on the Pongowonga River, but he goes to his employment with an inward conviction that six months will see him earning his bread elsewhere. Under such circumstances even a large wardrobe is a nuisance, and a collection of furniture would be as appropriate as a drove of elephants. Then again young men and women marry without any means already collected on which to commence their life. They are content to look forward and to hope that such means will come. In so doing they are guilty of no imprudence. It is the way of the country, and, if the man be useful for anything, employment will certainly come to him. But he must live on the fruits of that employment, and can only pay his way from week to week and from day to day. And as a third reason, I think I may allege that the mode of life found in these hotels is liked by the people who frequent them. It is to their taste. They are happy, or at any rate contented, at these hotels, and do not wish for household cares. As to the two first reasons which I have given, I can agree as to the necessity of the case, and quite concur as to the expediency of marriage under such circumstances. But as to that matter of taste, I cannot concur at all. Anything more forlorn than a young married woman at an American hotel, it is impossible to conceive. Such are the guests expected for those two hundred bedrooms. The chance travelers are but chance additions to these, and are not generally the mainstay of the house. As a matter of course the accommodation for travelers which these hotels afford increases and creates traveling. Men come because they know they will be fed and bedded at a moderate cost, and in an easy way, suited to their tastes. With us, and throughout Europe, inquiry is made before an unaccustomed journey is commenced, on that serious question of wayside food and shelter. But in the States no such question is needed. A big hotel is a matter of course, and therefore men travel. Everybody travels in the States. The railways and the hotels between them have so churned up the people that an untraveled man or woman is a rare animal. We are apt to suppose that travelers make roads, and that guests create hotels; but the cause and effect run exactly in the other way. I am almost disposed to think that we should become cannibals if gentlemen's legs and ladies arms were hung up for sale in purveyors' shops. After this fashion and with these intentions hotels are built. Size and an imposing exterior are the first requisitions. Everything about them must be on a large scale. A commanding exterior, and a certain interior dignity of demeanor, is more essential than comfort or civility. Whatever a hotel may be it must not be "mean." In the American vernacular the word mean is very significant. A mean white in the South is a man who owns no slaves. Men are often mean, but actions are seldom so called. A man feels mean when the bluster is taken out of him. A mean hotel, conducted in a quiet unostentatious manner, in which the only endeavor made had reference to the comfort of a few guests, would find no favor in the States. These hotels are not called by the name of any sign, as with us in our provinces. There are no "Presidents' Heads" or "General Scotts." Nor by the name of the landlord, or of some former landlord, as with us in London, and in many cities of the Continent. Nor are they called from some country or city which may have been presumed at some time to have had special patronage for the establishment. In the nomenclature of American hotels the specialty of American hero worship is shown, as in the nomenclature of their children. Every inn is a house, and these houses are generally named after some hero, little known probably in the world at large, but highly estimated in that locality at the moment of the christening. They are always built on a plan which to a European seems to be most unnecessarily extravagant in space. It is not unfrequently the case that the greater portion of the ground floor is occupied by rooms and halls which make no return to the house whatever. The visitor enters a great hall by the front door, and almost invariably finds it full of men who are idling about, sitting round on stationary seats, talking in a listless manner, and getting through their time as though the place were a public lounging-room. And so it is. The chances are that not half the crowd are guests at the hotel. I will now follow the visitor as he makes his way up to the office. Every hotel has an office. To call this place the bar, as I have done too frequently, is a lamentable error. The bar is held in a separate room appropriated solely to drinking. To the office, which is in fact a long open bar, the guest walks up, and there inscribes his name in a book. This inscription was to me a moment of misery which I could never go through with equanimity. As the name is written, and as the request for accommodation is made, half a dozen loungers look over your name and listen to what you say. They listen attentively, and spell your name carefully, but the great man behind the bar does not seem to listen or to heed you; your destiny is never imparted to you on the instant. If your wife or any other woman be with you--the word "lady" is made so absolutely distasteful in American hotels that I cannot bring myself to use it in writing of them--she has been carried off to a lady's waiting room, and there remains in august wretchedness till the great man at the bar shall have decided on her fate. I have never been quite able to fathom the mystery of these delays. I think they must have originated in the necessity of waiting to see what might be the influx of travelers at the moment, and then have become exaggerated and brought to their present normal state by the gratified feeling of almost divine power with which for the time it invests that despotic arbiter. I have found it always the same, though arriving with no crowd, by a conveyance of my own, when no other expectant guests were following me. The great man has listened to my request in silence, with an imperturbable face, and has usually continued his conversation with some loafing friend, who at the time is probably scrutinizing my name in the book. I have often suffered in patience, but patience is not specially the badge of my tribe, and I have sometimes spoken out rather freely. If I may presume to give advice to my traveling countrymen how to act under such circumstances, I should recommend to them freedom of speech rather than patience. The great man, when freely addressed, generally opens his eyes, and selects the key of your room without further delay. I am inclined to think that the selection will not be made in any way to your detriment by reason of that freedom of speech. The lady in the ballad who spoke out her own mind to Lord Bateman, was sent to her home honorably in a coach and three. Had she held her tongue, we are justified in presuming that she would have been returned on a pillion behind a servant. I have been greatly annoyed by that want of speech. I have repeatedly asked for room, and received no syllable in return. I have persisted in my request, and the clerk has nodded his head at me. Until a traveler is known, these gentlemen are singularly sparing of speech, especially in the West. The same economy of words runs down from the great man at the office all through the servants of the establishment. It arises, I believe, entirely from that want of courtesy which democratic institutions create. The man whom you address has to make a battle against the state of subservience presumed to be indicated by his position, and he does so by declaring his indifference to the person on whose wants he is paid to attend. I have been honored on one or two occasions by the subsequent intimacy of these great men at the hotel offices, and have then found them ready enough at conversation. That necessity of making your request for room before a public audience is not in itself agreeable, and sometimes entails a conversation which might be more comfortably made in private. "What do you mean by a dressing-room, and why do you want one?" Now that is a question which an Englishman feels awkward at answering before five and twenty Americans, with open mouths and eager eyes; but it has to be answered. When I left England, I was assured that I should not find any need for a separate sitting-room, seeing that drawing-rooms more or less sumptuous were prepared for the accommodation of "ladies." At first we attempted to follow the advice given to us, but we broke down. A man and his wife traveling from town to town, and making no sojourn on his way, may eat and sleep at a hotel without a private parlor. But an English woman cannot live in comfort for a week, or even in comfort for a day, at any of these houses, without a sitting-room for herself. The ladies' drawing-room is a desolate wilderness. The American women themselves do not use it. It is generally empty, or occupied by some forlorn spinster, eliciting harsh sounds from the wretched piano which it contains. The price at these hotels throughout the union is nearly always the same, viz., two and a half dollars a day, for which a bed-room is given and as many meals as the guest can contrive to eat. This is the price for chance guests. The cost to monthly boarders is, I believe, not more than the half of this. Ten shillings a day, therefore, covers everything that is absolutely necessary, servants included; and this must be said in praise of these inns--that the traveler can compute his expenses accurately, and can absolutely bring them within that daily sum of ten shillings. This includes a great deal of eating, a great deal of attendance, the use of reading-room and smoking-room--which, however, always seem to be open to the public as well as to the guests--and a bed-room, with accommodation which is at any rate as good as the average accommodation of hotels in Europe. In the large Eastern towns baths are attached to many of the rooms. I always carry my own, and have never failed in getting water. It must be acknowledged that the price is very cheap. It is so cheap that I believe it affords, as a rule, no profit whatsoever. The profit is made upon extra charges, and they are higher than in any other country that I have visited. They are so high that I consider traveling in America, for an Englishman with his wife or family, to be more expensive than traveling in any part of Europe. First in the list of extras comes that matter of the sitting-room, and by that for a man and his wife the whole first expense is at once doubled. The ordinary charge is five dollars, or one pound a day! A guest intending to stay for two or three weeks at a hotel, or perhaps for one week, may, by agreement, have this charge reduced. At one inn I stayed a fortnight, and having made no such agreement, was charged the full sum. I felt myself stirred up to complain, and did in that case remonstrate. I was asked how much I wished to have returned--for the bill had been paid--and the sum I suggested was at once handed to me. But even with such reduction, the price is very high, and at once makes the American hotel expensive. Wine also at these houses is very costly, and very bad. The usual price is two dollars (or eight shillings) a bottle. The people of the country rarely drink wine at dinner in the hotels. When they do so, they drink champagne; but their normal drinking is done separately, at the bar, chiefly before dinner, and at a cheap rate. "A drink," let it be what it may, invariably costs a dime, or five pence. But if you must have a glass of sherry with your dinner, it costs two dollars; for sherry does not grow into pint bottles in the States. But the guest who remains for two days can have his wine kept for him. Washing also is an expensive luxury. The price of this is invariable, being always four pence for everything washed. A cambric handkerchief or muslin dress all come out at the same price. For those who are cunning in the matter this may do very well; but for men and women whose cuffs and collars are numerous it becomes expensive. The craft of those who are cunning is shown, I think, in little internal washings, by which the cambric handkerchiefs are kept out of the list, while the muslin dresses are placed upon it. I am led to this surmise by the energetic measures taken by the hotelkeepers to prevent such domestic washings, and by the denunciations which in every hotel are pasted up in every room against the practice. I could not at first understand why I was always warned against washing my own clothes in my own bed-room, and told that no foreign laundress could on any account be admitted into the house. The injunctions given on this head are almost frantic in their energy, and therefore I conceive that hotel-keepers find themselves exposed to much suffering in the matter. At these hotels they wash with great rapidity, sending you back your clothes in four or five hours if you desire it. Another very stringent order is placed before the face of all visitors at American hotels, desiring them on no account to have valuable property in their rooms. I presume that there must have been some difficulty in this matter in bygone years; for in every State a law has been passed declaring that hotel-keepers shall not be held responsible for money or jewels stolen out of rooms in their houses, provided that they are furnished with safes for keeping such money and give due caution to their guests on the subject. The due caution is always given, but I have seldom myself taken any notice of it. I have always left my portmanteau open, and have kept my money usually in a traveling-desk in my room; but I never to my knowledge lost anything. The world, I think, gives itself credit for more thieves than it possesses. As to the female servants at American inns, they are generally all that is disagreeable. They are uncivil, impudent, dirty, slow--provoking to a degree. But I believe that they keep their hands from picking and stealing. I never yet made a single comfortable meal at an American hotel, or rose from my breakfast or dinner with that feeling of satisfaction which should, I think, be felt at such moments in a civilized land in which cookery prevails as an art. I have had enough, and have been healthy, and am thankful. But that thankfulness is altogether a matter apart, and does not bear upon the question. If need be, I can eat food that is disagreeable to my palate and make no complaint. But I hold it to be compatible with the principles of an advanced Christianity to prefer food that is palatable. I never could get any of that kind at an American hotel. All meal-times at such houses were to me periods of disagreeable duty; and at this moment, as I write these lines at the hotel in which I am still staying, I pine for an English leg of mutton. But I do not wish it to be supposed that the fault of which I complain--for it is a grievous fault--is incidental to America as a nation. I have stayed in private houses, and have daily sat down to dinners quite as good as any my own kitchen could afford me. Their dinner parties are generally well done, and as a people they are by no means indifferent to the nature of their comestibles. It is of the hotels that I speak; and of them I again say that eating in them is a disagreeable task--a painful labor. It is as a schoolboy's lesson, or the six hours' confinement of a clerk at his desk. The mode of eating is as follows: Certain feeding hours are named, which generally include nearly all the day. Breakfast from six till ten. Dinner from one till five. Tea from six till nine. Supper from nine till twelve. When the guest presents himself at any of these hours, he is marshaled to a seat, and a bill is put into his hand containing the names of all the eatables then offered for his choice. The list is incredibly and most unnecessarily long. Then it is that you will see care written on the face of the American hotel liver, as he studies the programme of the coming performance. With men this passes off unnoticed, but with young girls the appearance of the thing is not attractive. The anxious study, the elaborate reading of the daily book, and then the choice proclaimed with clear articulation: "Boiled mutton and caper sauce, roast duck, hashed venison, mashed potatoes, poached eggs and spinach, stewed tomatoes. Yes--and, waiter, some squash!" There is no false delicacy in the voice by which this order is given, no desire for a gentle whisper. The dinner is ordered with the firm determination of an American heroine; and in some five minutes' time all the little dishes appear at once, and the lady is surrounded by her banquet. How I did learn to hate those little dishes and their greasy contents! At a London eating-house things are often not very nice, but your meat is put on a plate and comes before you in an edible shape. At these hotels it is brought to you in horrid little oval dishes, and swims in grease; gravy is not an institution in American hotels, but grease has taken its place. It is palpable, undisguised grease, floating in rivers--not grease caused by accidental bad cookery, but grease on purpose. A beef-steak is not a beef-steak unless a quarter of a pound of butter be added to it. Those horrid little dishes! If one thinks of it, how could they have been made to contain Christian food? Every article in that long list is liable to the call of any number of guests for four hours. Under such circumstances how can food be made eatable? Your roast mutton is brought to you raw; if you object to that, you are supplied with meat that has been four times brought before the public. At hotels on the Continent of Europe different dinners are cooked at different hours; but here the same dinner is kept always going. The house breakfast is maintained on a similar footing. Huge boilers of tea and coffee are stewed down and kept hot. To me those meals were odious. It is of course open to any one to have separate dinners and separate breakfasts in his own rooms; but by this little is gained and much is lost. He or she who is so exclusive pays twice over for such meals--as they are charged as extras on the bill--and, after all, receives the advantage of no exclusive cooking. Particles from the public dinners are brought to the private room, and the same odious little dishes make their appearance. But the most striking peculiarity of the American hotels is in their public rooms. Of the ladies' drawing-room I have spoken. There are two, and sometimes three, in one hotel, and they are generally furnished at any rate expensively. It seems to me that the space and the furniture are almost thrown away. At watering-places and sea-side summer hotels they are, I presume, used; but at ordinary hotels they are empty deserts. The intention is good, for they are established with the view of giving to ladies at hotels the comforts of ordinary domestic life; but they fail in their effect. Ladies will not make themselves happy in any room, or with ever so much gilded furniture, unless some means of happiness are provided for them. Into these rooms no book is ever brought, no needle-work is introduced; from them no clatter of many tongues is ever heard. On a marble table in the middle of the room always stands a large pitcher of iced water; and from this a cold, damp, uninviting air is spread through the atmosphere of the ladies' drawing-room. Below, on the ground floor, there is, in the first place, the huge entrance hall, at the back of which, behind a bar, the great man of the place keeps the keys and holds his court. There are generally seats around it, in which smokers sit--or men not smoking but ruminating. Opening off from this are reading-rooms, smoking-rooms, shaving-rooms, drinking-rooms, parlors for gentlemen in which smoking is prohibited and which are generally as desolate as ladies' sitting-rooms above. In those other more congenial chambers is always gathered together a crowd apparently belonging in no way to the hotel. It would seem that a great portion of an American Inn is as open to the public as an Exchange or as the wayside of the street. In the West, during the early months of this war, the traveler would always see many soldiers among the crowd--not only officers, but privates. They sit in public seats, silent but apparently contented, sometimes for an hour together. All Americans are given to gatherings such as these. It is the much-loved institution to which the name of "loafing" has been given. I do not like the mode of life which prevails in the American hotels. I have come across exceptions, and know one or two that are very comfortable--always excepting that matter of eating and drinking. Taking them as a whole, I do not like their mode of life; but I feel bound to add that the hotels of Canada, which are kept I think always after the same fashion, are infinitely worse than those of the United States. I do not like the American hotels; but I must say in their favor that they afford an immense amount of accommodation. The traveler is rarely told that a hotel is full, so that traveling in America is without one of those great perils to which it is subject in Europe.
In speaking of the literature of any country we are, I think, too much inclined to regard the question as one appertaining exclusively to the writers of books--not acknowledging as we should do that the literary character of a people will depend much more upon what it reads than upon what it writes. If we can suppose any people to have an intimate acquaintance with the best literary efforts of other countries, we should hardly be correct in saying that such a people had no literary history of their own because it had itself produced nothing in literature. And, with reference to those countries which have been most fertile in the production of good books, I doubt whether their literary histories should not have more to tell of those ages in which much has been read than of those in which much has been written. The United States have been by no means barren in the production of literature. The truth is so far from this that their literary triumphs are perhaps those which of all their triumphs are the most honorable to them, and which, considering their position as a young nation, are the most permanently satisfactory. But though they have done much in writing, they have done much more in reading. As producers they are more than respectable, but as consumers they are the most conspicuous people on the earth. It is impossible to speak of the subject of literature in America without thinking of the readers rather than of the writers. In this matter their position is different from that of any other great people, seeing that they share the advantages of our language. An American will perhaps consider himself to be as little like an Englishman as he is like a Frenchman. But he reads Shakspeare through the medium of his own vernacular, and has to undergo the penance of a foreign tongue before he can understand Moliere. He separates himself from England in politics and perhaps in affection; but he cannot separate himself from England in mental culture. It may be suggested that an Englishman has the same advantages as regards America; and it is true that he is obtaining much of such advantage. Irving, Prescott, and Longfellow are the same to England as though she herself had produced them. But the balance of advantage must be greatly in favor of America. We gave her the work of four hundred years, and received back in return the work of fifty. And of this advantage the Americans have not been slow to avail themselves. As consumers of literature they are certainly the most conspicuous people on the earth. Where an English publisher contents himself with thousands of copies, an American publisher deals with ten thousand. The sale of a new book, which in numbers would amount to a considerable success with us, would with them be a lamentable failure. This of course is accounted for, as regards the author and the publisher, by the difference of price at which the book is produced. One thousand in England will give perhaps as good a return as the ten thousand in America. But as regards the readers there can be no such equalization: the thousand copies cannot spread themselves as do the ten thousand. The one book at a guinea cannot multiply itself, let Mr. Mudie do what he will, as do the ten books at a dollar. Ultimately there remain the ten books against the one; and if there be not the ten readers against the one, there are five, or four, or three. Everybody in the States has books about his house. "And so has everybody in England," will say my English reader, mindful of the libraries, or book-rooms, or book-crowded drawing-rooms of his friends and acquaintances. But has my English reader who so replies examined the libraries of many English cabmen, of ticket porters, of warehousemen, and of agricultural laborers? I cannot take upon myself to say that I have done so with any close search in the States; but when it has been in my power I have done so, and I have always found books in such houses as I have entered. The amount or printed matter which is poured forth in streams from the printing presses of the great American publishers is, however, a better proof of the truth of what I say than anything that I can have seen myself. But of what class are the books that are so read? There are many who think that reading in itself is not good unless the matter read is excellent. I do not myself quite agree with this, thinking that almost any reading is better than none; but I will of course admit that good matter is better than bad matter. The bulk of the literature consumed in the States is no doubt composed of novels--as it is also, now-a-days, in this country. Whether or no an unlimited supply of novels for young people is or is not advantageous, I will not here pretend to say. The general opinion with ourselves, I take it, is that novels are bad reading if they be bad of their kind. Novels that are not bad are now-a-days accepted generally as indispensable to our households. Whatever may be the weakness of the American literary taste in this respect, it is I think a weakness which we share. There are more novel readers among them than with us, but only I think in the proportion that there are more readers. I have no hesitation in saying that works by English authors are more popular in the States than those written by Americans; and, among English authors of the present day, readers by no means confine themselves to the novelists. The English names of whom I heard most during my sojourn in the States were perhaps those of Dickens, Tennyson, Buckle, Tom Hughes, Martin Tupper, and Thackeray. As the owners of all these names are still living, I am not going to take upon myself the delicate task of criticising the American taste. I may not perhaps coincide with them in every respect. But if I be right as to the names which I have given, such a selection shows that they do get beyond novels. I have little doubt but that many more copies of Dickens's novels have been sold, during the last three years, than of the works either of Tennyson or Buckle; but such also has been the case in England. It will probably be admitted that one copy of the "Civilization" should be held as being equal to five and twenty of "Nicholas Nickleby," and that a single "In Memoriam" may fairly weigh down half a dozen "Pickwicks." Men and women after their day's work are not always up to the "Civilization." As a rule, they are generally up to "Proverbial Philosophy," and this, perhaps, may have had something to do with the great popularity of that very popular work. I would not have it supposed that American readers despise their own authors. The Americans are very proud of having a literature of their own, and among the literary names which they honor, there are none more honorable than those of Cooper and Irving. They like to know that their modern historians are acknowledged as great authors, and as regards their own poets, will sometimes demand your admiration for strains with which you hardly find yourself to be familiar. But English books are, I think, the better loved: even the English books of the present day. And even beyond this--with those who choose to indulge in the luxuries of literature--books printed in England are more popular than those which are printed in their own country; and yet the manner in which the American publishers put out their work is very good. The book sold there at a dollar, or a dollar and a quarter, quite equals our ordinary five shilling volume. Nevertheless, English books are preferred, almost as strongly as are French bonnets. Of books absolutely printed and produced in England, the supply in the States is of course small. They must necessarily be costly, and as regards new books, are always subjected to the rivalry of a cheaper American copy. But of the reprinted works of English authors the supply is unlimited, and the sale very great. Almost everything is reprinted: certainly everything which can be said to attain any home popularity. I do not know how far English authors may be aware of the fact; but it is undoubtedly a fact that their influence as authors is greater on the other side of the Atlantic than on this one. It is there that they have their most numerous school of pupils. It is there that they are recognized as teachers by hundreds of thousands. It is of these thirty millions that they should think, at any rate in part, when they discuss within their own hearts that question which all authors do discuss, whether that which they write shall in itself be good or bad, be true or false. A writer in England may not, perhaps, think very much of this with reference to some trifle of which his English publisher proposes to sell some seven or eight hundred copies. But he begins to feel that he should have thought of it when he learns that twenty or thirty thousand copies of the same have been scattered through the length and breadth of the United States. The English author should feel that he writes for the widest circle of readers ever yet obtained by the literature of any country. He provides not only for his own country and for the States, but for the readers who are rising by millions in the British colonies. Canada is supplied chiefly from the presses of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, but she is supplied with the works of the mother country. India, as I take it, gets all her books direct from London, as do the West Indies. Whether or no the Australian colonies have as yet learned to reprint our books I have never learned, but I presume that they cannot do so as cheaply as they can import them. London with us, and the three cities which I have named on the other side of the Atlantic, are the places at which this literature is manufactured; but the demand in the Western hemisphere is becoming more brisk than that which the Old World creates. There are, I have no doubt, more books printed in London than in all America put together. A greater extent of letter-press is put up in London than in the three publishing cities of the States; but the number of copies issued by the American publishers is so much greater than those which ours put forth that the greater bulk of literature is with them. If this be so, the demand with them is of course greater than it is with us. I have spoken here of the privilege which an English author enjoys by reason of the ever-widening circle of readers to whom he writes. I should have said the writers of English literature, seeing that the privilege is of course shared by the American writer. I profess my belief that in the States an English author has an advantage over one of that country merely in the fact of his being English, as a French milliner has undoubtedly an advantage in her nationality, let her merits or demerits as a milliner be what they may. I think that English books are better liked because they are English. But I do not know that there is any feeling with us either for or against an author because he is American. I believe that Longfellow stands in our judgment exactly where he would have stood had he been a tutor at a college in Oxford instead of a Professor at Cambridge in Massachusetts. Prescott is read among us as a historian without any reference as to his nationality, and by many, as I take it, in absolute ignorance of his nationality. Hawthorne, the novelist, is quite as well known in England as he is in his own country. But I do not know that to either of these three is awarded any favor or is denied any justice because he is an American. Washington Irving published many of his works in this country, receiving very large sums for them from Mr. Murray, and I fancy that in dealing with his publisher he found neither advantage nor disadvantage in his nationality; that is, of course, advantage or disadvantage as respected the light in which his works would be regarded. It must be admitted that there is no jealousy in the States against English authors. I think that there is a feeling in their favor, but no one can at any rate allege that there is a feeling against them: I think I may also assert on the part of my own country that there is no jealousy here against American authors. As regards the tastes of the people, the works of each country flow freely through the other. That is as it should be. But when we come to the mode of supply, things are not exactly as they should be; and I do not believe that any one will contradict me when I say that the fault is with the Americans. I presume that all my readers know the meaning of the word copyright. A man's copyright is right in his copy; is that amount of legal possession in the production of his brains which has been secured to him by the law of his own country and of others. Unless an author were secured by such law, his writings would be of but little pecuniary value to him, as the right of printing and selling them would be open to all the world. In England and in America, and as I conceive in all countries possessing a literature, there is such a law, securing to authors and to their heirs, for a term of years, the exclusive right over their own productions. That this should be so in England, as regards English authors, appears to be so much a matter of course that the copyright of an author seems to be as naturally his own as a gentleman's deposit at his bank, or his little investment in the three per cents. The right of an author to the value of his own productions in other countries than his own is not so much a matter of course; but nevertheless, if such productions have any value in other countries, that value should belong to him. This has been felt to be the case between England and France, and an international copyright now exists. The fact that the languages of England and France are different, makes the matter one of comparatively small moment. But it has been found to be for the honor and profit of the two countries that there should be such a law, and an international copyright does exist. But if such an arrangement be needed between two such countries as France and England--between two countries which do not speak the same language, or share the same literature--how much more necessary must it be between England and the United States! The literature of the one country is the literature of the other. The poem that is popular in London will certainly be popular in New York. The novel that is effective among American ladies will be equally so with those of England. There can be no doubt as to the importance of having or of not having a law of copyright between the two countries. The only question can be as to the expediency and the justice. At present there is no international copyright between England and the United States, and there is none because the States have declined to sanction any such law. It is known by all who are concerned in the matter on either side of the water that as far as Great Britain is concerned such a law would meet with no impediment. Therefore it is to be presumed that the legislators of the States think it expedient and just to dispense with any such law. I have said that there can be no doubt as to the importance of the question, seeing that the price of English literature in the States must be most materially affected by it. Without such law the Americans are enabled to import English literature without paying for it. It is open to any American publisher to reprint any work from an English copy, and to sell his reprints without any permission obtained from the English author or from the English publisher. The absolute material which the American publisher sells, he takes, or can take, for nothing. The paper, ink, and composition he supplies in the ordinary way of business; but the very matter which he professes to sell--of the book which is the object of his trade--he is enabled to possess himself of for nothing. If you, my reader, be a popular author, an American publisher will take the choicest work of your brain, and make dollars out of it, selling thousands of copies of it in his country, whereas you can perhaps only sell hundreds of it in your own; and will either give you nothing for that he takes, or else will explain to you that he need give you nothing, and that in paying you he subjects himself to the danger of seeing the property which he has bought taken again from him by other persons. If this be so, that question whether or no there shall be a law of international copyright between the two countries cannot be unimportant. But it may be inexpedient that there shall be such a law. It may be considered well that, as the influx of English books into America is much greater than the influx of American books back to England, the right of obtaining such books for nothing should be reserved, although the country in doing so robs its own authors of the advantage which should accrue to them from the English market. It might perhaps be thought anything but smart to surrender such an advantage by the passing of an international copyright bill. There are not many trades in which the tradesman can get the chief of his goods for nothing; and it may be thought that the advantage arising to the States from such an arrangement of circumstances should not be abandoned. But how then about the justice? It would seem that the less said upon that subject the better. I have heard no one say that an author's property in his own works should not, in accordance with justice, be insured to him in the one country as well as in the other. I have seen no defense of the present position of affairs, on the score of justice. The price of books would be enhanced by an international copyright law, and it is well that books should be cheap. That is the only argument used. So would mutton be cheap if it could be taken out of a butcher's shop for nothing. But I absolutely deny the expediency of the present position of the subject, looking simply to the material advantage of the American people in the matter, and throwing aside altogether that question of justice. I must here, however, explain that I bring no charge whatsoever against the American publishers. The English author is a victim in their hands, but it is by no means their fault that he is so. As a rule, they are willing to pay something for the works of popular English writers; but in arranging as to what payments they can make, they must of course bear in mind the fact that they have no exclusive right whatsoever in the things which they purchase. It is natural also that they should bear in mind, when making their purchases and arranging their prices, that they can have the very thing they are buying without any payment at all, if the price asked do not suit them. It is not of the publishers that I complain, or of any advantage which they take, but of the legislators of the country, and of the advantage which accrues, or is thought by them to accrue, to the American people from the absence of an international copyright law. It is mean on their part to take such advantage if it existed; and it is foolish in them to suppose that any such advantage can accrue. The absence of any law of copyright no doubt gives to the American publisher the power of reprinting the works of English authors without paying for them, seeing that the English author is undefended. But the American publisher who brings out such a reprint is equally undefended in his property; when he shall have produced his book, his rival in the next street may immediately reprint it from him, and destroy the value of his property by underselling him. It is probable that the first American publisher will have made some payment to the English author for the privilege of publishing the book honestly, of publishing it without recurrence to piracy; and in arranging his price with his customers he will be of course obliged to debit the book with the amount so paid. If the author receive ten cents a copy on every copy sold, the publisher must add that ten cents to the price he charges. But he cannot do this with security, because the book can be immediately reprinted and sold without any such addition to the price. The only security which the American publisher has against the injury which may be so done to him is the power of doing other injury in return. The men who stand high in the trade, and who are powerful because of the largeness of their dealings, can, in a certain measure, secure themselves in this way. Such a firm would have the power of crushing a small tradesman who should interfere with him. But if the large firm commits any such act of injustice, the little men in the trade have no power of setting themselves right by counter-injustice. I need hardly point out what must be the effect of such a state of things upon the whole publishing trade; nor need I say more to prove that some law which shall regulate property in foreign copyrights would be as expedient with reference to America as it would be just toward England. But the wrong done by America to herself does not rest here. It is true that more English books are read in the States than American books in England, but it is equally true that the literature of America is daily gaining readers among us. That injury to which English authors are subjected from the want of protection in the States, American authors suffer from the want of protection here. One can hardly believe that the legislators of the States would willingly place the brightest of their own fellow-countrymen in this position, because, in the event of a copyright bill being passed, the balance of advantage would seem to accrue to England. Of the literature of the United States, speaking of literature in its ordinary sense, I do not know that I need say much more. I regard the literature of a country as its highest produce, believing it to be more powerful in its general effect, and more beneficial in its results, than either statesmanship, professional ability, religious teaching, or commerce. And in no part of its national career have the United States been so successful as in this. I need hardly explain that I should commit a monstrous injustice were I to make a comparison in this matter between England and America. Literature is the child of leisure and wealth. It is the produce of minds which by a happy combination of circumstances have been enabled to dispense with the ordinary cares of the world. It can hardly be expected to come from a young country, or from a new and still struggling people. Looking around at our own magnificent colonies, I hardly remember a considerable name which they have produced, except that of my excellent old friend Sam Slick. Nothing, therefore, I think, shows the settled greatness of the people of the States more significantly than their firm establishment of a national literature. This literature runs over all subjects: American authors have excelled in poetry, in science, in history, in metaphysics, in law, in theology, and in fiction. They have attempted all, and failed in none. What Englishman has devoted a room to books, and devoted no portion of that room to the productions of America? But I must say a word of literature in which I shall not speak of it in its ordinary sense, and shall yet speak of it in that sense which of all, perhaps, in the present day should be considered the most ordinary; I mean the every-day periodical literature of the press. Most of those who can read, it is to be hoped, read books; but all who can read do read newspapers. Newspapers in this country are so general that men cannot well live without them; but to men and to women also in the United States they may be said to be the one chief necessary of life; and yet in the whole length and breadth of the United States there is not published a single newspaper which seems to me to be worthy of praise. A really good newspaper--one excellent at all points--would indeed be a triumph of honesty and of art. Not only is such a publication much to be desired in America, but it is still to be desired in Great Britain also. I used, in my younger days, to think of such a newspaper as a possible publication, and in a certain degree to look for it; now I expect it only in my dreams. It should be powerful without tyranny, popular without triumph, political without party passion, critical without personal feeling, right in its statements and just in its judgments, but right and just without pride; it should be all but omniscient, but not conscious of its omnipotence; it should be moral, but never strait-laced; it should be well assured but yet modest; though never humble, it should be free from boastings. Above all these things it should be readable, and above that again it should be true. I used to think that such a newspaper might be produced, but I now sadly acknowledge to myself the fact that humanity is not capable of any work so divine. The newspapers of the States generally may not only be said to have reached none of the virtues here named, but to have fallen into all the opposite vices. In the first place, they are never true. In requiring truth from a newspaper the public should not be anxious to strain at gnats. A statement setting forth that a certain gooseberry was five inches in circumference, whereas in truth its girth was only two and a half, would give me no offense. Nor would I be offended at being told that Lord Derby was appointed to the premiership, while in truth the Queen had only sent to his lordship, having as yet come to no definite arrangement. The demand for truth which may reasonably be made upon a newspaper amounts to this, that nothing should be stated not believed to be true, and that nothing should be stated as to which the truth is important without adequate ground for such belief. If a newspaper accuse me of swindling, it is not sufficient that the writer believe me to be a swindler. He should have ample and sufficient ground for such belief, or else in making such a statement he will write falsely. In our private life we all recognize the fact that this is so. It is understood that a man is not a whit the less a slanderer because he believes the slander which he promulgates. But it seems to me that this is not sufficiently recognized by many who write for the public press. Evil things are said, and are probably believed by the writers; they are said with that special skill for which newspaper writers have in our days become so conspicuous, defying alike redress by law or redress by argument; but they are said too often falsely. The words are not measured when they are written, and they are allowed to go forth without any sufficient inquiry into their truth. But if there is any ground for such complaint here in England, that ground is multiplied ten times--twenty times--in the States. This is not only shown in the abuse of individuals, in abuse which is as violent as it is perpetual, but in the treatment of every subject which is handled. All idea of truth has been thrown overboard. It seems to be admitted that the only object is to produce a sensation, and that it is admitted by both writer and reader that sensation and veracity are incompatible. Falsehood has become so much a matter of course with American newspapers that it has almost ceased to be falsehood. Nobody thinks me a liar because I deny that I am at home when I am in my study. The nature of the arrangement is generally understood. So also is it with the American newspapers. But American newspapers are also unreadable. It is very bad that they should be false, but it is very surprising that they should be dull. Looking at the general intelligence of the people, one would have thought that a readable newspaper, put out with all pleasant appurtenances of clear type, good paper, and good internal arrangement, would have been a thing specially within their reach. But they have failed in every detail. Though their papers are always loaded with sensation headings, there are seldom sensation paragraphs to follow. The paragraphs do not fit the headings. Either they cannot be found, or if found, they seem to have escaped from their proper column to some distant and remote portion of the sheet. One is led to presume that no American editor has any plan in the composition of his newspaper. I never know whether I have as yet got to the very heart's core of the daily journal, or whether I am still to go on searching for that heart's core. Alas! it too often happens that there is no heart's core. The whole thing seems to have been put out at hap-hazard. And then the very writing is in itself below mediocrity; as though a power of expression in properly arranged language was not required by a newspaper editor, either as regards himself or as regards his subordinates. One is driven to suppose that the writers for the daily press are not chosen with any view to such capability. A man ambitious of being on the staff of an American newspaper should be capable of much work, should be satisfied with small pay, should be indifferent to the world's good usage, should be rough, ready, and of long sufferance; but, above all, he should be smart. The type of almost all American newspapers is wretched--I think I may say of all--so wretched that that alone forbids one to hope for pleasure in reading them. They are ill written, ill printed, and ill arranged, and in fact are not readable. They are bought, glanced at, and thrown away. They are full of boastings, not boastings simply as to their country, their town, or their party, but of boastings as to themselves. And yet they possess no self-assurance. It is always evident that they neither trust themselves, nor expect to be trusted. They have made no approach to that omniscience which constitutes the great marvel of our own daily press; but finding it necessary to write as though they possessed it, they fall into blunders which are almost as marvelous. Justice and right judgment are out of the question with them. A political party end is always in view, and political party warfare in America admits of any weapons. No newspaper in America is really powerful or popular; and yet they are tyrannical and overbearing. The New York Herald has, I believe, the largest sale of any daily newspaper; but it is absolutely without political power, and in these times of war has truckled to the government more basely than any other paper. It has an enormous sale, but so far is it from having achieved popularity that no man on any side ever speaks a good word for it. All American newspapers deal in politics as a matter of course; but their politics have ever regard to men and not to measures. Vituperation is their natural political weapon; but since the President's ministers have assumed the power of stopping newspapers which are offensive to them, they have shown that they can descend below vituperation to eulogy. I shall be accused of using very strong language against the newspaper press of America. I can only say that I do not know how to make that language too strong. Of course there are newspapers as to which the editors and writers may justly feel that my remarks, if applied to them, are unmerited. In writing on such a subject, I can only deal with the whole as a whole. During my stay in the country, I did my best to make myself acquainted with the nature of its newspapers, knowing in how great a degree its population depends on them for its daily store of information; for newspapers in the States of America have a much wider, or rather closer circulation, than they do with us. Every man and almost every woman sees a newspaper daily. They are very cheap, and are brought to every man's hand, without trouble to himself, at every turn that he takes in his day's work. It would be much for the advantage of the country that they should be good of their kind; but, if I am able to form any judgment on the matter, they are not good.
In one of the earlier chapters of this volume--now some seven or eight chapters past--I brought myself on my travels back to Boston. It was not that my way homeward lay by that route, seeing that my fate required me to sail from New York; but I could not leave the country without revisiting my friends in Massachusetts. I have told how I was there in the sleighing time, and how pleasant were the mingled slush and frost of the snowy winter. In the morning the streets would be hard and crisp and the stranger would surely fall if he were not prepared to walk on glaciers. In the afternoon he would be wading through rivers, and, if properly armed at all points with India-rubber, would enjoy the rivers as he waded. But the air would be always kindly, and the east wind there, if it was east as I was told, had none of that power of dominion which makes us all so submissive to its behests in London. For myself, I do not believe that the real east wind blows elsewhere. And when the snow went in Boston I went with it. The evening before I left I watched them as they carted away the dirty uncouth blocks which had been broken up with pickaxes in Washington Street, and was melancholy as I reflected that I too should no longer be known in the streets. My weeks in Boston had not been very many, but nevertheless there were haunts there which I knew as though my feet had trodden them for years. There were houses to which I could have gone with my eyes blindfold; doors of which the latches were familiar to my hands; faces which I knew so well that they had ceased to put on for me the fictitious smiles of courtesy. Faces, houses, doors, and haunts,--where are they now? For me they are as though they had never been. They are among the things which one would fain remember as one remembers a dream. Look back on it as a vision and it is all pleasant; but if you realize your vision and believe your dream to be a fact, all your pleasure is obliterated by regret. I know that I shall never again be at Boston, and that I have said that about the Americans which would make me unwelcome as a guest if I were there. It is in this that my regret consists; for this reason that I would wish to remember so many social hours as though they had been passed in sleep. They who will expect blessings from me, will say among themselves that I have cursed them. As I read the pages which I have written, I feel that words which I intended for blessings when I prepared to utter them have gone nigh to turn themselves into curses. I have ever admired the United States as a nation. I have loved their liberty, their prowess, their intelligence, and their progress. I have sympathized with a people who themselves have had no sympathy with passive security and inaction. I have felt confidence in them, and have known, as it were, that their industry must enable them to succeed as a people while their freedom would insure to them success as a nation. With these convictions I went among them wishing to write of them good words--words which might be pleasant for them to read, while they might assist perhaps in producing a true impression of them here at home. But among my good words there are so many which are bitter, that I fear I shall have failed in my object as regards them. And it seems to me, as I read once more my own pages, that in saying evil things of my friends I have used language stronger than I intended; whereas I have omitted to express myself with emphasis when I have attempted to say good things. Why need I have told of the mud of Washington, or have exposed the nakedness of Cairo? Why did I speak with such eager enmity of those poor women in the New York cars, who never injured me, now that I think of it? Ladies of New York, as I write this, the words which were written among you are printed and cannot be expunged; but I tender to you my apologies from my home in England. And that Van Wyck Committee--might I not have left those contractors to be dealt with by their own Congress, seeing that that Congress committee was by no means inclined to spare them? I might have kept my pages free from gall, and have sent my sheets to the press unhurt by the conviction that I was hurting those who had dealt kindly by me! But what then? Was any people ever truly served by eulogy; or an honest cause furthered by undue praise? O my friends with thin skins--and here I protest that a thick skin is a fault not to be forgiven in a man or a nation, whereas a thin skin is in itself a merit, if only the wearer of it will be the master and not the slave of his skin--O my friends with thin skins, ye whom I call my cousins and love as brethren, will ye not forgive me these harsh words that I have spoken? They have been spoken in love--with a true love, a brotherly love, a love that has never been absent from the heart while the brain was coining them. I had my task to do, and I could not take the pleasant and ignore the painful. It may perhaps be that as a friend I had better not have written either good or bad. But no! To say that would indeed be to speak calumny of your country. A man may write of you truly, and yet write that which you would read with pleasure; only that your skins are so thin. The streets of Washington are muddy and her ways are desolate. The nakedness of Cairo is very naked. And those ladies of New York--is it not to be confessed that they are somewhat imperious in their demands? As for the Van Wyck Committee, have I not repeated the tale which you have told yourselves? And is it not well that such tales should be told? And yet ye will not forgive me; because your skins are thin, and because the praise of others is the breath of your nostrils. I do not know that an American as an individual is more thin skinned than an Englishman; but as the representative of a nation it may almost be said of him that he has no skin at all. Any touch comes at once upon the net-work of his nerves and puts in operation all his organs of feeling with the violence of a blow. And for this peculiarity he has been made the mark of much ridicule. It shows itself in two ways: either by extreme displeasure when anything is said disrespectful of his country, or by the strong eulogy with which he is accustomed to speak of his own institutions and of those of his countrymen whom at the moment he may chance to hold in high esteem. The manner in which this is done is often ridiculous. "Sir, what do you think of Mr. Jefferson Brick? Mr. Jefferson Brick, sir, is one of our most remarkable men." And again: "Do you like our institutions, sir? Do you find that philanthropy, religion, philosophy and the social virtues are cultivated on a scale commensurate with the unequaled liberty and political advancement of the nation?" There is something absurd in such a mode of address when it is repeated often. But hero worship and love of country are not absurd; and do not these addresses show capacity for hero worship and an aptitude for the love of country? Jefferson Brick may not be a hero; but a capacity for such worship is something. Indeed the capacity is everything, for the need of a hero will produce a hero. And it is the same with that love of country. A people that are proud of their country will see that there is something in their country to justify their pride. Do we not all of us feel assured by the intense nationality of an American that he will not desert his nation in the hour of her need? I feel that assurance respecting them; and at those moments in which I am moved to laughter by the absurdities of their addresses to me I feel it the strongest. I left Boston with the snow, and returning to New York found that the streets there were dry and that the winter was nearly over. As I had passed through New York to Boston the streets had been by no means dry. The snow had lain in small mountains over which the omnibuses made their way down Broadway, till at the bottom of that thoroughfare, between Trinity Church and Bowling Green, alp became piled upon alp, and all traffic was full of danger. The cursed love of gain still took men to Wall Street, but they had to fight their way thither through physical difficulties which must have made even the state of the money market a matter of indifference to them. They do not seem to me to manage the winter in New York so well as they do in Boston. But now, on my last return thither, the alps were gone, the roads were clear, and one could travel through the city with no other impediment than those of treading on women's dresses if one walked, or having to look after women's band-boxes and pay their fares and take their change if one used the omnibuses. And now had come the end of my adventure, and as I set my foot once more upon the deck of the Cunard steamer, I felt that my work was done; whether it were done ill or well, or whether indeed any approach to the doing of it had been attained, all had been done that I could accomplish. No further opportunity remained to me of seeing, hearing, or of speaking. I had come out thither, having resolved to learn a little that I might if possible teach that little to others; and now the lesson was learned, or must remain unlearned. But in carrying out my resolution I had gradually risen in my ambition, and had mounted from one stage of inquiry to another, till at last I had found myself burdened with the task of ascertaining whether or no the Americans were doing their work as a nation well or ill; and now, if ever, I must be prepared to put forth the result of my inquiry. As I walked up and down the deck of the steamboat I confess I felt that I had been somewhat arrogant. I had been a few days over six months in the States, and I was engaged in writing a book of such a nature that a man might well engage himself for six years, or perhaps for sixty, in obtaining the materials for it. There was nothing in the form of government, or legislature, or manners of the people as to which I had not taken upon myself to say something. I was professing to understand their strength and their weakness; and was daring to censure their faults and to eulogize their virtues. "Who is he," an American would say, "that he comes and judges us? His judgment is nothing." "Who is he," an Englishman would say, "that he comes and teaches us? His teaching is of no value." In answer to this I have but a small plea to make--I have done my best. I have nothing "extenuated, and have set down naught in malice." I do feel that my volumes have blown themselves out into proportions greater than I had intended; greater not in mass of pages, but in the matter handled. I am frequently addressing my own muse, who I am well aware is not Clio, and asking her whither she is wending. "Cease, thou wrong-headed one, to meddle with these mysteries." I appeal to her frequently, but ever in vain. One cannot drive one's muse, nor yet always lead her. Of the various women with which a man is blessed, his muse is by no means the least difficult to manage. But again I put in my slight plea. In doing as I have done, I have at least done my best. I have endeavored to judge without prejudice, and to hear with honest ears and to see with honest eyes. The subject, moreover, on which I have written is one which, though great, is so universal in its bearings that it may be said to admit, without impropriety, of being handled by the unlearned as well as the learned; by those who have grown gray in the study of constitutional lore, and by those who have simply looked on at the government of men as we all look on at those matters which daily surround us. There are matters as to which a man should never take a pen in hand unless he has given to them much labor. The botanist must have learned to trace the herbs and flowers before he can presume to tell us how God has formed them. But the death of Hector is a fit subject for a boy's verses, though Homer also sang of it. I feel that there is scope for a book on the United States form of government as it was founded, and as it has since framed itself, which might do honor to the life-long studies of some one of those great constitutional pundits whom we have among us; but, nevertheless, the plain words of a man who is no pundit need not disgrace the subject, if they be honestly written, and if he who writes them has in his heart an honest love of liberty. Such were my thoughts as I walked the deck of the Cunard steamer. Then I descended to my cabin, settled my luggage, and prepared a table for the continuance of my work. It was fourteen days from that time before I reached London, but the fourteen days to me were not unpleasant. The demon of sea-sickness spares me always, and if I can find on board one or two who are equally fortunate--who can eat with me, drink with me, and talk with me--I do not know that a passage across the Atlantic is by any means a terrible evil to me. In finishing these volumes after the fashion in which they have been written throughout, I feel that I am bound to express a fixed opinion on two or three points, and that if I have not enabled myself to do so, I have traveled through the country in vain. I am bound by the very nature of my undertaking to say whether, according to such view as I have enabled myself to take of them, the Americans have succeeded as a nation politically and socially; and in doing this I ought to be able to explain how far slavery has interfered with such success. I am bound also, writing at the present moment, to express some opinion as to the result of this war, and to declare whether the North or the South may be expected to be victorious-- explaining in some rough way what may be the results of such victory, and how such results will affect the question of slavery; and I shall leave my task unfinished if I do not say what may be the possible chances of future quarrel between England and the States. That there has been and is much hot blood and angry feeling, no man doubts; but such angry feeling has existed among many nations without any probability of war. In this case, with reference to this ill will that has certainly established itself between us and that other people, is there any need that it should be satisfied by war and allayed by blood? No one, I think, can doubt that the founders of the great American Commonwealth made an error in omitting to provide some means for the gradual extinction of slavery throughout the States. That error did not consist in any liking for slavery. There was no feeling in favor of slavery on the part of those who made themselves prominent at the political birth of the nation. I think I shall be justified in saying that at that time the opinion that slavery is itself a good thing, that it is an institution of divine origin and fit to be perpetuated among men as in itself excellent, had not found that favor in the Southern States in which it is now held. Jefferson, who has been regarded as the leader of the Southern or Democratic party, has left ample testimony that he regarded slavery as an evil. It is, I think, true that he gave such testimony much more freely when he was speaking or writing as a private individual than he ever allowed himself to do when his words were armed with the weight of public authority. But it is clear that on the whole he was opposed to slavery, and I think there can be little doubt that he and his party looked forward to a natural death for that evil. Calculation was made that slavery when not recruited afresh from Africa could not maintain its numbers, and that gradually the negro population would become extinct. This was the error made. It was easier to look forward to such a result and hope for such an end of the difficulty, than to extinguish slavery by a great political movement, which must doubtless have been difficult and costly. The Northern States got rid of slavery by the operation of their separate legislatures, some at one date and some at others. The slaves were less numerous in the North than in the South, and the feeling adverse to slaves was stronger in the North than in the South. Mason and Dixon's line, which now separates slave soil from free soil, merely indicates the position in the country at which the balance turned. Maryland and Virginia were not inclined to make great immediate sacrifices for the manumission of their slaves; but the gentlemen of those States did not think that slavery was a divine institution destined to flourish forever as a blessing in their land. The maintenance of slavery was, I think, a political mistake--a political mistake, not because slavery is politically wrong, but because the politicians of the day made erroneous calculations as to the probability of its termination. So the income tax may be a political blunder with us--not because it is in itself a bad tax, but because those who imposed it conceived that they were imposing it for a year or two, whereas, now, men do not expect to see the end of it. The maintenance of slavery was a political mistake; and I cannot think that the Americans in any way lessen the weight of their own error by protesting, as they occasionally do, that slavery was a legacy made over to them from England. They might as well say that traveling in carts without springs, at the rate of three miles an hour, was a legacy made over to them by England. On that matter of traveling they have not been contented with the old habits left to them, but have gone ahead and made railroads. In creating those railways the merit is due to them; and so also is the demerit of maintaining those slaves. That demerit and that mistake have doubtless brought upon the Americans the grievances of their present position; and will, as I think, so far be accompanied by ultimate punishment that they will be the immediate means of causing the first disintegration of their nation. I will leave it to the Americans themselves to say whether such disintegration must necessarily imply that they have failed in their political undertaking. The most loyal citizens of the Northern States would have declared a month or two since--and for aught I know would declare now--that any disintegration of the States implied absolute failure. One stripe erased from the banner, one star lost from the firmament, would entail upon them all the disgrace of national defeat! It had been their boast that they would always advance, never retreat. They had looked forward to add ever State upon State, and Territory to Territory, till the whole continent should be bound together in the same union. To go back from that now, to fall into pieces and be divided, to become smaller in the eyes of the nations, to be absolutely halfed, as some would say of such division, would be national disgrace, and would amount to political failure. "Let us fight for the whole," such men said, and probably do say. "To lose anything is to lose all!" But the citizens of the States who speak and think thus, though they may be the most loyal, are perhaps not politically the most wise. And I am inclined to think that that defiant claim of every star, that resolve to possess every stripe upon the banner, had become somewhat less general when I was leaving the country than I had found it to be at the time of my arrival there. While things were going badly with the North, while there was no tale of any battle to be told except of those at Bull's Run and Springfield, no Northern man would admit a hint that secession might ultimately prevail in Georgia or Alabama. But the rebels had been driven out of Missouri when I was leaving the States, they had retreated altogether from Kentucky, having been beaten in one engagement there, and from a great portion of Tennessee, having been twice beaten in that State. The coast of North Carolina, and many points of the Southern coast, were in the hands of the Northern army, while the army of the South was retreating from all points into the center of their country. Whatever may have been the strategetical merits or demerits of the Northern generals, it is at any rate certain that their apparent successes were greedily welcomed by the people, and created an idea that things were going well with the cause. And as all this took place, it seemed to me that I heard less about the necessary integrity of the old flag. While as yet they were altogether unsuccessful, they were minded to make no surrender. But with their successes came the feeling, that in taking much they might perhaps allow themselves to yield something. This was clearly indicated by the message sent to Congress by the President, in February, 1862, in which he suggested that Congress should make arrangements for the purchase of the slaves in the border States; so that in the event of secession--accomplished secession--in the Gulf States, the course of those border States might be made clear for them. They might hesitate as to going willingly with the North, while possessing slaves, as to sitting themselves peaceably down as a small slave adjunct to a vast free-soil nation, seeing that their property would always be in peril. Under such circumstances a slave adjunct to the free-soil nation would not long be possible. But if it could be shown to them that in the event of their adhering to the North compensation would be forthcoming, then, indeed, the difficulty in arranging an advantageous line between the two future nations might be considerably modified. This message of the President's was intended to signify that secession on favorable terms might be regarded by the North as not undesirable. Moderate men were beginning to whisper that, after all, the Gulf States were no source either of national wealth or of national honor. Had there not been enough at Washington of cotton lords and cotton laws? When I have suggested that no Senator from Georgia would ever again sit in the United States Senate, American gentlemen have received my remark with a slight demur, and have then proceeded to argue the case. Six months before they would have declared against me and not have argued. I will leave it to Americans themselves to say whether that disintegration of the States will, should it ever be realized, imply that they have failed in their political undertaking. If they do not protest that it argues failure, I do not think that their feelings will be hurt by such protestations on the part of others. I have said that the blunder made by the founders of the nation with regard to slavery has brought with it this secession as its punishment. But such punishments come generally upon nations as great mercies. Ireland's famine was the punishment of her imprudence and idleness, but it has given to her prosperity and progress. And indeed, to speak with more logical correctness, the famine was no punishment to Ireland, nor will secession be a punishment to the Northern States. In the long result, step will have gone on after step, and effect will have followed cause, till the American people will at last acknowledge that all these matters have been arranged for their advantage and promotion. It may be that a nation now and then goes to the wall, and that things go from bad to worse with a large people. It has been so with various nations, and with many people since history was first written. But when it has been so, the people thus punished have been idle and bad. They have not only done evil in their generation, but have done more evil than good, and have contributed their power to the injury rather than to the improvement of mankind. It may be that this or that national fault may produce or seem to produce some consequent calamity. But the balance of good or evil things which fall to a people's share will indicate with certainty their average conduct as a nation. The one will be the certain sequence of the other. If it be that the Americans of the Northern States have done well in their time, that they have assisted in the progress of the world, and made things better for mankind rather than worse, then they will come out of this trouble without eventual injury. That which came in the guise of punishment for a special fault, will be a part of the reward resulting from good conduct in the general. And as to this matter of slavery, in which I think that they have blundered both politically and morally, has it not been found impossible hitherto for them to cleanse their hands of that taint? But that which they could not do for themselves the course of events is doing for them. If secession establish herself, though it be only secession of the Gulf States, the people of the United States will soon be free from slavery. In judging of the success or want of success of any political institutions or of any form of government, we should be guided, I think, by the general results, and not by any abstract rules as to the right or wrong of those institutions or of that form. It might be easy for a German lawyer to show that our system of trial by jury is open to the gravest objections, and that it sins against common sense. But if that system gives us substantial justice, and protects us from the tyranny of men in office, the German will not succeed in making us believe that it is a bad system. When looking into the matter of the schools at Boston, I observed to one of the committee of management that the statements with which I was supplied, though they told me how many of the children went to school, did not tell me how long they remained at school. The gentleman replied that that information was to be obtained from the result of the schooling of the population generally. Every boy and girl around him could read and write, and could enjoy reading and writing. There was therefore evidence to show that they remained at school sufficiently long for the required purposes. It was fair that I should judge of the system from the results. Here, in England, we generally object to much that the Americans have adopted into their form of government, and think that many of their political theories are wrong. We do not like universal suffrage. We do not like a periodical change in the first magistrate; and we like quite as little a periodical permanence in the political officers immediately under the chief magistrate; we are, in short, wedded to our own forms, and therefore opposed by judgment to forms differing from our own. But I think we all acknowledge that the United States, burdened as they are with these political evils--as we think them--have grown in strength and material prosperity with a celerity of growth hitherto unknown among nations. We may dislike Americans personally, we may find ourselves uncomfortable when there, and unable to sympathize with them when away. We may believe them to be ambitious, unjust, self-idolatrous, or irreligious; but unless we throw our judgment altogether overboard, we cannot believe them to be a weak people, a poor people, a people with low spirits or with idle hands. Now to what is it that the government of a country should chiefly look? What special advantages do we expect from our own government? Is it not that we should be safe at home and respected abroad--that laws should be maintained, but that they should be so maintained that they should not be oppressive? There are, doubtless, countries in which the government professes to do much more than this for its people--countries in which the government is paternal; in which it regulates the religion of the people, and professes to enforce on all the national children respect for the governors, teachers, spiritual pastors, and masters. But that is not our idea of a government. That is not what we desire to see established among ourselves or established among others. Safety from foreign foes, respect from foreign foes and friends, security under the law and security from the law, this is what we expect from our government; and if I add to this that we expect to have these good things provided at a fairly moderate cost, I think I have exhausted the list of our requirements. I hardly think that we even yet expect the government to take the first steps in the rudimentary education of the people. We certainly do not expect it to make the people religious, or to keep them honest. And if the Americans with their form of government have done for themselves all that we expect our government to do for us; if they have with some fair approach to general excellence obtained respect abroad and security at home from foreign foes; if they have made life, liberty, and property safe under their laws, and have also so written and executed their laws as to secure their people from legal oppression,--I maintain that they are entitled to a verdict in their favor, let us object as we may to universal suffrage, to four years' Presidents and four years' presidential cabinets. What, after all, matters the theory or the system, whether it be king or president, universal suffrage or ten-pound voter, so long as the people be free and prosperous? King and president, suffrage by poll and suffrage by property, are but the means. If the end be there, if the thing has been done, king and president, open suffrage and close suffrage, may alike be declared to have been successful. The Americans have been in existence as a nation for seventy-five years, and have achieved an amount of foreign respect during that period greater than any other nation ever obtained in double the time. And this has been given to them, not in deference to the statesmanlike craft of their diplomatic and other officers, but on grounds the very opposite of those. It has been given to them because they form a numerous, wealthy, brave, and self-asserting nation. It is, I think, unnecessary to prove that such foreign respect has been given to them; but were it necessary, nothing would prove it more strongly than the regard which has been universally paid by European governments to the blockade placed during this war on the Southern ports by the government of the United States. Had the nation been placed by general consent in any class of nations below the first, England, France, and perhaps Russia would have taken the matter into their own hands, and have settled for the States, either united or disunited, at any rate that question of the blockade. And the Americans have been safe at home from foreign foes; so safe, that no other strong people but ourselves have enjoyed anything approaching to their security since their foundation. Nor has our security been at all equal to theirs, if we are to count our nationality as extending beyond the British Isles. Then as to security under their laws and from their laws! Those laws and the system of their management have been taken almost entirely from us, and have so been administered that life and property have been safe, and the subject also has been free, under the law. I think that this may be taken for granted, seeing that they who have been most opposed to American forms of government have never asserted the reverse. I may be told of a man being lynched in one State, or tarred and feathered in another, or of a duel in a third being "fought at sight." So I may be told also of men garroted in London, and of tithe proctors buried in a bog without their ears in Ireland. Neither will seventy years of continuance, nor will seven hundred, secure such an observance of laws as will prevent temporary ebullition of popular feeling, or save a people from the chance disgrace of occasional outrage. Taking the general, life and limb and property have been as safe in the States as in other civilized countries with which we are acquainted. As to their personal liberty under their laws, I know it will be said that they have surrendered all claim to any such precious possession by the facility with which they have now surrendered the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. It has been taken from them, as I have endeavored to show, illegally, and they have submitted to the loss and to the illegality without a murmur! But in such a matter I do not think it fair to judge them by their conduct in such a moment as the present. That this is the very moment in which to judge of the efficiency of their institutions generally, of the aptitude of those institutions for the security of the nation, I readily acknowledge; but when a ship is at sea in a storm, riding out through all that the winds and waves can do to her, one does not condemn her because a yard-arm gives way, nor even though the mainmast should go by the board. If she can make her port, saving life and cargo, she is a good ship, let her losses in spars and rigging be what they may. In this affair of the habeas corpus we will wait awhile before we come to any final judgment. If it be that the people, when the war is over, shall consent to live under a military or other dictatorship, that they shall quietly continue their course as a nation without recovery of their rights of freedom, then we shall have to say that their institutions were not founded in a soil of sufficient depth, and that they gave way before the first high wind that blew on them. I myself do not expect such a result. I think we must admit that the Americans have received from their government, or rather from their system of policy, that aid and furtherance which they required from it; and, moreover, such aid and furtherance as we expect from our system of government. We must admit that they have been great, and free, and prosperous, as we also have become. And we must admit also that in some matters they have gone forward in advance of us. They have educated their people, as we have not educated ours. They have given to their millions a personal respect, and a standing above the abjectness of poverty, which with us are much less general than with them. These things, I grant, have not come of their government, and have not been produced by their written Constitution. They are the happy results of their happy circumstances. But so also are not those evil attributes which we sometimes assign to them the creatures of their government or of their Constitution. We acknowledge them to be well educated, intelligent, philanthropic, and industrious; but we say that they are ambitious, unjust, self-idolatrous, and irreligious. If so, let us at any rate balance the virtues against the vices. As to their ambition, it is a vice that leans so to virtue's side that it hardly needs an apology. As to their injustice, or rather dishonesty, I have said what I have to say on that matter. I am not going to flinch from the accusation I have brought, though I am aware that in bringing it I have thrown away any hope that I might have had of carrying with me the good-will of the Americans for my book. The love of money--or rather of making money--carried to an extreme, has lessened that instinctive respect for the rights of meum and tuum, which all men feel more or less, and which, when encouraged within the human breast, finds its result in perfect honesty. Other nations, of which I will not now stop to name even one, have had their periods of natural dishonesty. It may be that others are even now to be placed in the same category. But it is a fault which industry and intelligence combined will after awhile serve to lessen and to banish. The industrious man desires to keep the fruit of his own industry, and the intelligent man will ultimately be able to do so. That the Americans are self-idolaters is perhaps true--with a difference. An American desires you to worship his country, or his brother; but he does not often, by any of the usual signs of conceit, call upon you to worship himself; as an American, treating of America, he is self-idolatrous; that is a self-idolatry which I can endure. Then, as to his want of religion-- and it is a very sad want--I can only say of him that I, as an Englishman, do not feel myself justified in flinging the first stone at him. In that matter of religion, as in the matter of education, the American, I think, stands on a level higher than ours. There is not in the States so absolute an ignorance of religion as is to be found in some of our manufacturing and mining districts, and also, alas! in some of our agricultural districts; but also, I think, there is less of respect and veneration for God's word among their educated classes than there is with us; and, perhaps, also less knowledge as to God's word. The general religious level is, I think, higher with them; but there is, if I am right in my supposition, with us a higher eminence in religion, as there is also a deeper depth of ungodliness. I think, then, that we are bound to acknowledge that the Americans have succeeded as a nation, politically and socially. When I speak of social success, I do not mean to say that their manners are correct according to this or that standard; I will not say that they are correct or are not correct. In that matter of manners I have found those with whom it seemed to me natural that I should associate very pleasant according to my standard. I do not know that I am a good critic on such a subject, or that I have ever thought much of it with the view of criticising; I have been happy and comfortable with them, and for me that has been sufficient. In speaking of social success I allude to their success in private life as distinguished from that which they have achieved in public life; to their successes in commerce, in mechanics, in the comforts and luxuries of life, in physic and all that leads to the solace of affliction, in literature, and I may add also, considering the youth of the nation, in the arts. We are, I think, bound to acknowledge that they have succeeded. And if they have succeeded, it is vain for us to say that a system is wrong which has, at any rate, admitted of such success. That which was wanted from some form of government, has been obtained with much more than average excellence; and therefore the form adopted has approved itself as good. You may explain to a farmer's wife, with indisputable logic, that her churn is a bad churn; but as long as she turns out butter in greater quantity, in better quality, and with more profit than her neighbors, you will hardly induce her to change it. It may be that with some other churn she might have done even better; but, under such circumstances, she will have a right to think well of the churn she uses. The American Constitution is now, I think, at the crisis of its severest trial. I conceive it to be by no means perfect, even for the wants of the people who use it; and I have already endeavored to explain what changes it seems to need. And it has had this defect-- that it has permitted a falling away from its intended modes of action, while its letter has been kept sacred. As I have endeavored to show, universal suffrage and democratic action in the Senate were not intended by the framers of the Constitution. In this respect the Constitution has, as it were, fallen through, and it is needed that its very beams should be restrengthened. There are also other matters as to which it seems that some change is indispensable. So much I have admitted. But, not the less, judging of it by the entirety of the work that it has done, I think that we are bound to own that it has been successful. And now, with regard to this tedious war, of which from day to day we are still, in this month of May, 1862, hearing details which teach us to think that it can hardly as yet be near its end. To what may we rationally look as its result? Of one thing I myself feel tolerably certain, that its result will not be nothing, as some among us have seemed to suppose may be probable. I cannot believe that all this energy on the part of the North will be of no avail, more than I suppose that Southern perseverance will be of no avail. There are those among us who say that a secession will at last be accomplished; the North should have yielded to the South at once, and that nothing will be gained by their great expenditure of life and treasure. I can by no means bring myself to agree with these. I also look to the establishment of secession. Seeing how essential and thorough are the points of variance between the North and the South, how unlike the one people is to the other, and how necessary it is that their policies should be different; seeing how deep are their antipathies, and how fixed is each side in the belief of its own rectitude and in the belief also of the other's political baseness, I can not believe that the really Southern States will ever again be joined in amicable union with those of the North. They, the States of the Gulf, may be utterly subjugated, and the North may hold over them military power. Georgia and her sisters may for awhile belong to the Union, as one conquered country belongs to another. But I do not think that they will ever act with the Union; and, as I imagine, the Union before long will agree to a separation. I do not mean to prophesy that the result will be thus accomplished. It may be that the South will effect their own independence before they lay down their arms. I think, however, that we may look forward to such independence, whether it be achieved in that way, or in this, or in some other. But not on that account will the war have been of no avail to the North. I think it must be already evident to all those who have looked into the matter, that had the North yielded to the first call made by the South for secession all the slave States must have gone. Maryland would have gone, carrying Delaware in its arms; and if Maryland, all south of Maryland. If Maryland had gone, the capital would have gone. If the government had resolved to yield, Virginia to the east would assuredly have gone, and I think there can be no doubt that Missouri, to the west, would have gone also. The feeling for the Union in Kentucky was very strong, but I do not think that even Kentucky could have saved itself. To have yielded to the Southern demands would have been to have yielded everything. But no man now presumes, let the contest go as it will, that Maryland and Delaware will go with the South. The secessionists of Baltimore do not think so, nor the gentlemen and ladies of Washington, whose whole hearts are in the Southern cause. No man thinks that Maryland will go, and few, I believe, imagine that either Missouri or Kentucky will be divided from the North. I will not pretend what may be the exact line, but I myself feel confident that it will run south both of Virginia and of Kentucky. If the North do conquer the South, and so arrange their matters that the Southern States shall again become members of the Union, it will be admitted that they have done all that they ought to do. If they do not do this--if instead of doing this, which would be all that they desire, they were in truth to do nothing; to win finally not one foot of ground from the South--a supposition which I regard as impossible--I think that we should still admit after awhile that they had done their duty in endeavoring to maintain the integrity of the empire. But if, as a third and more probable alternative, they succeed in rescuing from the South and from slavery four or five of the finest States of the old Union--and a vast portion of the continent to be beaten by none other in salubrity, fertility, beauty, and political importance--will it not then be admitted that the war has done some good, and that the life and treasure have not been spent in vain? That is the termination of the contest to which I look forward. I think that there will be secession, but that the terms of secession will be dictated by the North, not by the South; and among these terms I expect to see an escape from slavery for those border States to which I have alluded. In that proposition which in February last (1862) was made by the President, and which has since been sanctioned by the Senate, I think we may see the first step toward this measure. It may probably be the case that many of the slaves will be driven South; that as the owners of those slaves are driven from their holdings in Virginia they will take their slaves with them, or send them before them. The manumission, when it reaches Virginia, will not probably enfranchise the half million of slaves who, in 1860, were counted among its population. But as to that I confess myself to be comparatively careless; it is not the concern which I have now at heart. For myself, I shall feel satisfied if that manumission shall reach the million of whites by whom Virginia is populated; or if not that million in its integrity, then that other million by which its rich soil would soon be tenanted. There are now about four million of white men and women inhabiting the slave States which I have described, and I think it will be acknowledged that the Northern States will have done something with their armies if they succeed in rescuing those four millions from the stain and evil of slavery. There is a third question which I have asked myself, and to which I have undertaken to give some answer. When this war be over between the Northern and Southern States, will there come upon us a necessity of fighting with the Americans? If there do come such necessity, arising out of our conduct to the States during the period of their civil war, it will indeed be hard upon us, as a nation, seeing the struggle that we as a nation have made to be just in our dealings toward the States generally, whether they be North or South. To be just in such a period, and under such circumstances, is very difficult. In that contest between Sardinia and Austria it was all but impossible to be just to the Italians without being unjust to the Emperor of Austria. To have been strictly just at the moment one should have begun by confessing the injustice of so much that had gone before! But in this American contest such justice, though difficult, was easier. Affairs of trade rather than of treaties chiefly interfered; and these affairs, by a total disregard of our own pecuniary interests, could be so managed that justice might be done. This I think was effected. It may be, of course, that I am prejudiced on the side of my own nation; but striving to judge of the matter as best I may without prejudice, I cannot see that we, as a nation, have in aught offended against the strictest justice in our dealings with America during this contest. But justice has not sufficed. I do not know that our bitterest foes in the Northern States have accused us of acting unjustly. It is not justice which they have looked for at our hands, and looked for in vain--not justice, but generosity! We have not, as they say, sympathized with them in their trouble. It seems to me that such a complaint is unworthy of them as a nation, as a people, or as individuals. In such a matter generosity is another name for injustice, as it too often is in all matters. A generous sympathy with the North would have been an ostensible and crushing enmity to the South. We could not have sympathized with the North without condemning the South, and telling to the world that the South were our enemies. In ordering his own household a man should not want generosity or sympathy from the outside; and if not a man, then certainly not a nation. Generosity between nations must in its very nature be wrong. One nation may be just to another, courteous to another, even considerate to another with propriety. But no nation can be generous to another without injustice either to some third nation or to itself. But though no accusation of unfairness has, as far as I am aware, ever been made by the government of Washington against the government of England, there can be no doubt that a very strong feeling of antipathy to England has sprung up in America during this war, and that it is even yet so intense in its bitterness that, were the North to become speedily victorious in their present contest, very many Americans would be anxious to turn their arms at once against Canada. And I fear that that fight between the Monitor and the Merrimac has strengthened this wish by giving to the Americans an unwarranted confidence in their capability of defending themselves against any injury from British shipping. It may be said by them, and probably would be said by many of them, that this feeling of enmity had not been engendered by any idea of national injustice on our side; that it might reasonably exist, though no suspicion of such injustice had arisen in the minds of any. They would argue that the hatred on their part had been engendered by scorn on ours--by scorn and ill words heaped upon them in their distress. They would say that slander, scorn, and uncharitable judgments create deeper feuds than do robbery and violence, and produce deeper enmity and worse rancor. "It is because we have been scorned by England, that we hate England. We have been told from week to week, and from day to day, that we were fools, cowards, knaves, and madmen. We have been treated with disrespect, and that disrespect we will avenge." It is thus that they speak of England, and there can be no doubt that the opinion so expressed is very general. It is not my purpose here to say whether in this respect England has given cause of offense to the States, or whether either country has given cause of offense to the other. On both sides have many hard words been spoken, and on both sides also have good words been spoken. It is unfortunately the case that hard words are pregnant, and as such they are read, digested, and remembered; while good words are generally so dull that nobody reads them willingly, and when read, they are forgotten. For many years there have been hard words bandied backward and forward between England and the United States, showing mutual jealousies, and a disposition on the part of each nation to spare no fault committed by the other. This has grown of rivalry between the two, and in fact proves the respect which each has for the other's power and wealth. I will not now pretend to say with which side has been the chiefest blame, if there has been chiefest blame on either side. But I do say that it is monstrous in any people or in any person to suppose that such bickerings can afford a proper ground for war. I am not about to dilate on the horrors of war. Horrid as war may be, and full of evil, it is not so horrid to a nation, nor so full of evil, as national insult unavenged or as national injury unredressed. A blow taken by a nation and taken without atonement is an acknowledgment of national inferiority, than which any war is preferable. Neither England nor the States are inclined to take such blows. But such a blow, before it can be regarded as a national insult, as a wrong done by one nation to another, must be inflicted by the political entity of the one or the political entity of the other. No angry clamors of the press, no declamations of orators, no voices from the people, no studied criticisms from the learned few, or unstudied censures from society at large, can have any fair weight on such a creation or do aught toward justifying a national quarrel. They cannot form a casus belli. Those two Latin words, which we all understand, explain this with the utmost accuracy. Were it not so, the peace of the world would indeed rest upon sand. Causes of national difference will arise--for governments will be unjust as are individuals. And causes of difference will arise because governments are too blind to distinguish the just from the unjust. But in such cases the government acts on some ground which it declares. It either shows or pretends to show some casus belli. But in this matter of threatened war between the States and England it is declared openly that such war is to take place because the English have abused the Americans, and because consequently the Americans hate the English. There seems to exist an impression that no other ostensible ground for fighting need be shown, although such an event as that of war between the two nations would, as all men acknowledge, be terrible in its results. "Your newspapers insulted us when we were in our difficulties. Your writers said evil things of us. Your legislators spoke of us with scorn. You exacted from us a disagreeable duty of retribution just when the performance of such a duty was most odious to us. You have shown symptoms of joy at our sorrow. And, therefore, as soon as our hands are at liberty, we will fight you." I have known school-boys to argue in that way, and the arguments have been intelligible; but I cannot understand that any government should admit such an argument. Nor will the American government willingly admit it. According to existing theories of government the armies of nations are but the tools of the governing powers. If at the close of the present civil war the American government--the old civil government consisting of the President with such checks as Congress constitutionally has over him--shall really hold the power to which it pretends, I do not fear that there will be any war. No President, and I think no Congress, will desire such a war. Nor will the people clamor for it, even should the idea of such a war be popular. The people of America are not clamorous against their government. If there be such a war it will be because the army shall have then become more powerful than the government. If the President can hold his own, the people will support him in his desire for peace. But if the President do not hold his own--if some general, with two or three hundred thousand men at his back, shall then have the upper hand in the nation--it is too probable that the people may back him. The old game will be played again that has so often been played in the history of nations, and some wretched military aspirant will go forth to flood Canada with blood, in order that the feathers of his cap may flaunt in men's eyes and that he may be talked of for some years to come as one of the great curses let loose by the Almighty on mankind. I must confess that there is danger of this. To us the danger is very great. It cannot be good for us to send ships laden outside with iron shields instead of inside with soft goods and hardware to these thickly thronged American ports. It cannot be good for us to have to throw millions into these harbors instead of taking millions out from them. It cannot be good for us to export thousands upon thousands of soldiers to Canada of whom only hundreds would return. The whole turmoil, cost, and paraphernalia of such a course would be injurious to us in the extreme, and the loss of our commerce would be nearly ruinous. But the injury of such a war to us would be as nothing to the injury which it would inflict upon the States. To them for many years it would be absolutely ruinous. It would entail not only all those losses which such a war must bring with it, but that greater loss which would arise to the nation from the fact of its having been powerless to prevent it. Such a war would prove that it had lost the freedom for which it had struggled, and which for so many years it has enjoyed. For the sake of that people as well as for our own--and for their sakes rather than for our own-- let us, as far as may be, abstain from words which are needlessly injurious. They have done much that is great and noble, ever since this war has begun, and we have been slow to acknowledge it. They have made sacrifices for the sake of their country which we have ridiculed. They have struggled to maintain a good cause, and we have disbelieved in their earnestness. They have been anxious to abide by their Constitution, which to them has been as it were a second gospel, and we have spoken of that Constitution as though it had been a thing of mere words in which life had never existed. This has been done while their hands are very full and their back heavily laden. Such words coming from us, or from parties among us, cannot justify those threats of war which we hear spoken; but that they should make the hearts of men sore and their thoughts bitter against us, can hardly be matter of surprise. As to the result of any such war between us and them, it would depend mainly, I think, on the feelings of the Canadians. Neither could they annex Canada without the good-will of the Canadians, nor could we keep Canada without that good-will. At present the feeling in Canada against the Northern States is so strong and so universal that England has little to fear on that head. I have now done my task, and may take leave of my readers on either side of the water with a hearty hope that the existing war between the North and the South may soon be over, and that none other may follow on its heels to exercise that new-fledged military skill which the existing quarrel will have produced on the other side of the Atlantic. I have written my book in obscure language if I have not shown that to me social successes and commercial prosperity are much dearer than any greatness that can be won by arms. The Americans had fondly thought that they were to be exempt from the curse of war--at any rate from the bitterness of the curse. But the days for such exemption have not come as yet. While we are hurrying on to make twelve-inch shield plates for our men-of-war, we can hardly dare to think of the days when the sword shall be turned into the plowshare. May it not be thought well for us if, with such work on our hands, scraps of iron shall be left to us with which to pursue any of the purposes of peace? But at least let us not have war with these children of our own. If we must fight, let us fight the French "for King George upon the throne." The doing so will be disagreeable, but it will not be antipathetic to the nature of an Englishman. For my part, when an American tells me that he wants to fight with me, I regard his offense, as compared with that of a Frenchman under the same circumstances, as I would compare the offense of a parricide or a fratricide with that of a mere commonplace murderer. Such a war would be plus quam civile bellum. Which of us two could take a thrashing from the other and afterward go about our business with contentment? On our return to Liverpool, we stayed for a few hours at Queenstown, taking in coal, and the passengers landed that they might stretch their legs and look about them. I also went ashore at the dear old place which I had known well in other days, when the people were not too grand to call it Cove, and were contented to run down from Cork in river steamers, before the Passage railway was built. I spent a pleasant summer there once in those times: God be with the good old days! And now I went ashore at Queenstown, happy to feel that I should be again in a British isle, and happy also to know that I was once more in Ireland. And when the people came around me as they did, I seemed to know every face and to be familiar with every voice. It has been my fate to have so close an intimacy with Ireland, that when I meet an Irishman abroad I always recognize in him more of a kinsman than I do in your Englishman. I never ask an Englishman from what county he comes, or what was his town. To Irishmen I usually put such questions, and I am generally familiar with the old haunts which they name. I was happy therefore to feel myself again in Ireland, and to walk round, from Queenstown to the river at Passage, by the old way that had once been familiar to my feet. Or rather I should have been happy if I had not found myself instantly disgraced by the importunities of my friends. A legion of women surrounded me, imploring alms, begging my honor to bestow my charity on them for the love of the Virgin, using the most holy names in their adjurations for half-pence, clinging to me with that half-joking, half-lachrymose air of importunity which an Irish beggar has assumed as peculiarly her own. There were men, too, who begged as well as women. And the women were sturdy and fat, and, not knowing me as well as I knew them, seemed resolved that their importunities should be successful. After all, I had an old world liking for them in their rags. They were endeared to me by certain memories and associations which I cannot define. But then what would those Americans think of them--of them and of the country which produced them? That was the reflection which troubled me. A legion of women in rags clamorous for bread, protesting to heaven that they are starving, importunate with voices and with hands, surrounding the stranger when he puts his foot on the soil, so that he cannot escape, does not afford to the cynical American who then first visits us--and they all are cynical when they visit us--a bad opportunity for his sarcasm. He can at any rate boast that he sees nothing of that at home. I myself am fond of Irish beggars. It is an acquired taste, which comes upon one as does that for smoked whisky or Limerick tobacco. But I certainly did wish that there were not so many of them at Queenstown. I tell all this here not to the disgrace of Ireland--not for the triumph of America. The Irishman or American who thinks rightly on the subject will know that the state of each country has arisen from its opportunities. Beggary does not prevail in new countries, and but few old countries have managed to exist without it. As to Ireland, we may rejoice to say that there is less of it now than there was twenty years since. Things are mending there. But though such excuses may be truly made--although an Englishman, when he sees this squalor and poverty on the quays at Queenstown, consoles himself with reflecting that the evil has been unavoidable, but will perhaps soon be avoided--nevertheless he cannot but remember that there is no such squalor and no such poverty in the land from which he has returned. I claim no credit for the new country. I impute no blame to the old country. But there is the fact. The Irishman when he expatriates himself to one of those American States loses much of that affectionate, confiding, master-worshiping nature which makes him so good a fellow when at home. But he becomes more of a man. He assumes a dignity which he never has known before. He learns to regard his labor as his own property. That which he earns he takes without thanks, but he desires to take no more than he earns. To me personally, he has, perhaps, become less pleasant than he was;--but to himself! It seems to me that such a man must feel himself half a god, if he has the power of comparing what he is with what he was. It is right that all this should be acknowledged by us. When we speak of America and of her institutions, we should remember that she has given to our increasing population rights and privileges which we could not give--which as an old country we probably can never give. That self-asserting, obtrusive independence which so often wounds us is, if viewed aright, but an outward sign of those good things which a new country has produced for its people. Men and women do not beg in the States; they do not offend you with tattered rags; they do not complain to heaven of starvation; they do not crouch to the ground for half-pence. If poor, they are not abject in their poverty. They read and write. They walk like human beings made in God's form. They know that they are men and women, owing it to themselves and to the world that they should earn their bread by their labor, but feeling that when earned it is their own. If this be so, if it be acknowledged that it is so, should not such knowledge in itself be sufficient testimony of the success of the country and of her institutions?
Notes on the Pseudonums Used by the Bronte Sisters
by Charlotte Bronte [alias Currer Bell]
IT has been thought that all the works published under the names of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell were, in reality, the production of one person. This mistake I endeavoured to rectify by a few words of disclaimer prefixed to the third edition of 'Jane Eyre.' These, too, it appears, failed to gain general credence, and now, on the occasion of a reprint of 'Wuthering Heights' and 'Agnes Grey,' I am advised distinctly to state how the case really stands.
Indeed, I feel myself that it is time the obscurity attending those two names - Ellis and Acton - was done away. The little mystery, which formerly yielded some harmless pleasure, has lost its interest; circumstances are changed. It becomes, then, my duty to explain briefly the origin and authorship of the books written by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell.