Our American Cousins (2)

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CHAPTER V.

MAGNIFICENT DISTANCES"—THE CLIMATE OF AMERICA—CHANGES OF TEMPERATURE—ABSENCE OF TWILIGHT—CLEARNESS OF THE ATMOSPHERE—THE WEATHER BUREAU—TORNADOES—BLIZZARDS.


AN American friend, discussing the outline of a tour in the States, bade me observe that America was a country of long distances.  It might be described—to appropriate the picturesque phrase applied to Washington—as a country of "magnificent distances."  One does not need to travel much in the States before being able to appreciate the humorous advice of a father to his son who was about to visit the old country—not to go out much at night lest he should fall off the island!  We have really nothing in England by which we can compare the enormous stretches of territory to be found in the United States.  We know that it is so many miles from Berwick to Newcastle, so many from Newcastle to Sheffield, so many from Sheffield to London, and so many from London to Brighton.  And then we know that we have got from the northern to the southern borders of the kingdom.  When the average Englishman, with this knowledge in his mind, looks at a map of the United States, he unthinkingly concludes that the chief cities of the Republic are no further apart from each other than the chief cities of his own country; that New York and Chicago stand in the same relation to each other as Newcastle and Sheffield; and that the distance between New York and San Francisco is somewhere about the same as that between Berwick and Brighton.  But the mistake is soon discovered when the journey westward is undertaken.

    It is a three days' ride to Chicago from New York, unless the traveller spends a night on the train; while the journey from New York to San Francisco, in almost a direct line across the continent, takes six days and nights of continuous railway travelling to accomplish.  While I was in Washington I met by accident a gentleman who formerly belonged to Tyneside, but who is now a resident in Salt Lake City, Mr. John Irvine.  "You are now," said he, "some 3000 miles from Newcastle.  Still you are not so very much further from your home than I am from mine.  And yet Salt Lake City is 800 miles from the Pacific coast."  Mr. Irvine's remark may convey to others, as it did to me, a good idea of the vast extent of the American continent.  As I was leaving Chicago for Niagara Falls on the evening of Tuesday, 27th June, I found in the same car several passengers (among them a gentleman from Australia, with his wife, two servants, and six young children) who had been travelling night and day, at an average speed of twenty or thirty miles an hour, since the previous Thursday morning!  The distance across the Atlantic from Queenstown to Sandy Hook is 2800 miles; but the distance across the United States from New York to San Francisco is nearly 3000 miles, while from the north-western Territory of Washington to the south-eastern State of Florida it must be many hundreds of miles more.  Hundreds of miles from the nearest seaboard, too, there are vast lakes which are fitted from their dimensions to be called seas, which are traversed by ships as large as our own screw colliers, and which are visited by storms as terrific, and sometimes as disastrous, as those that disturb the Atlantic itself.

    A country so enormous in extent must necessarily embrace within it almost every variety of climate.  The American invalid, without leaving the jurisdiction of the Republic, can enjoy all the advantages of perpetual summer.  Thanks to the railway and other facilities, fresh fruits and vegetables in the Central States can be obtained all the year round—from the South in winter, from the North in autumn, from their own gardens in spring and summer.  I learnt from a correspondent that peaches were selling in the streets of Chicago on the 5th of August last year at five cents. (2.½d.) a dozen.  "And this," he added, "is not much of a peach year either."

    The climate in the eastern and north-western States of the Union is superior in some respects, but inferior in others, to the climate of our own country.  I was under the impression before I left England that the seasons were better defined in America than we have them at home—that the heat of summer was as constant as the cold of winter.  But I found from experience that the changes of temperature in Massachusetts and Illinois were much more sudden and trying than they are even in our Northern Counties.  It is fair to remark, however, that the months of May and June in 1882 were stated by the residents to be quite exceptional.  Still the fact remains that the five or six days in the middle of June alternated from excessive heat to unpleasant cold.  This at least was the case in the district in which I happened then to be sojourning.  From the notes I made at the time I find that it was hot on the 16th, cold on the 17th, hot again on the 18th, and cold again on the 19th.  The heat was so great on the 23d that merchants and lawyers in Chicago were going about their business without coats, or collars, or neckerchiefs, shading themselves from the rays of the sun under umbrellas, and endeavouring to impart some measure of comfort by means of Japanese fans.  This heat, which caused numerous cases of sunstroke to be recorded in the newspapers, continued through part of the 24th.  But on the afternoon of that day, while crossing a street corner in the business part of the city, I observed a dark cloud coming from the direction of Lake Michigan.  "Looks as if we were going to have a norther," said a stranger to me as he was passing.  Almost before he had finished speaking, the "norther," in the shape of a piercing cold wind, came sweeping along the thoroughfare.  Everybody who wore a coat instantly buttoned it up, while those who were in their shirt-sleeves hurried away to their offices to escape the shivering blast.  There must have been a fall in the temperature of 20 or 30 degrees in almost as many seconds.  Greater variations than even this are sometimes experienced on the Atlantic seaboard; for a friend who resides in New Haven informed me that his thermometer, one day in September, 1881, registered 134 degrees at noon, but only 65 degrees the same night!

    People from the North of England, settling in any part of the United States, would probably miss more than anything else the long evenings and the lovely twilights of the summer months.  No time of the year is so sweet and pleasant as our midsummer nights.  America, however, has little or no twilight in the Northern States, and none at all, I believe, in the Southern.  Moreover, the sudden darkness sets in at what we should consider a very early hour.  The longest day, even in the most northern territory of the United States, does not last more than a few minutes beyond eight o'clock.  At half past eight it was pitch dark at the end of June, unless the moon happened to be shining.  But in our Northern Counties, as every resident knows, it is, during the summer solstice, broad daylight till ten o'clock, while the gloaming, so to speak, continues till daybreak next morning.

    The loss on this account, however, is compensated by the exquisite clearness of the American atmosphere.  So clear is the atmosphere in fine weather that all objects, whatever their distance from the observer, are almost as distinctly defined as if they were close at hand.  When crossing the western plains, travellers who see the comical little prairie dogs for the first time occasionally mistake them for men and women.  Perhaps a still better idea may be obtained of the difference between our atmosphere and that of the New World, if I mention a circumstance I observed in Canada.  One evening in July, while visiting the city of Hamilton, I spent a few hours on the shores of Lake Ontario.  Some twenty miles across its waters, looking towards Toronto, were a series of low hills.  Behind these hills I saw the planet Venus set.  Nor was there at the moment of its disappearance any perceptible diminution of the planet's brilliancy!

    Parts of the continent are exposed to storms more fierce and destructive than we in England have ever experienced.  Every day for a week in June there were reports of cyclones in one or other of the Central States—first in Kansas, then in Iowa, then in Missouri.  One of these destroyed the flourishing little town of Grinnell, causing the death of upwards of a hundred of the inhabitants.  When a cyclone strikes a city, there is nothing for the citizens but to take refuge in their cellars.  There are preserved in the Weather Bureau at Washington some objects which exhibit the wonderful power of the wind during the atmospheric disturbances which visit the prairie regions.  The Weather Bureau, I may state in parenthesis, is attached to the Department of War.  It is the centre of a system of practical meteorology which is probably more complete than anything else of the kind in the world.  Receiving reports from every part of the United States at a given time, General Hazen and his assistants in Washington are able to publish every morning a chart showing the exact state of the barometer all over the Union on the previous day, together with indications of the sort of weather that may be expected in the various districts during the next twenty-four hours.  The daily charts and reports of General Hazen's department are freely supplied to the public without charge.  One of the chief purposes of the Bureau is to trace the track of great storms.  Men of experience are thus stationed in districts commonly visited by hurricanes, in order to follow the course and study the effects of the storms the moment they have passed.  It is from some of these experts that the specimens preserved in Washington have been received.  I was shown the trunk of a tree about a foot in diameter, through which a stake or rail three-quarters of an inch thick and four or five inches broad had been completely driven by the force of the wind.  If the stake had been projected from the mouth of a cannon, it could probably not have been hurled into the position it occupied.  Although the wood was perfectly dry, the rail was as immovable as if it had formed part of the tree itself.  More remarkable specimens still may be seen in the museum of the Bureau; but as the obliging clerks employed there (who are always ready to explain to visitors the delicate instruments and other appliances which fill the rooms) were somewhat sceptical about their genuine character, I need not stop to describe them.  The tornado cloud, I was informed, can readily be discerned by the people residing in the localities exposed to its terrible ravages.  It does not travel at a great rate, nor is its circumference very extensive: so that many people, knowing the direction it is progressing, can get out of its way.  Within the cloud itself, however, the motion is so terrific that nothing can resist it.  As the gentleman who conducted me through the Department explained, the cloud resembles, in its appearance and its movements, a ball of mist, now rising in the air, anon descending to the earth "to scoop up a village or a forest," then rising and falling again till its fury is exhausted.  The districts usually visited by cyclones are the central plains of the United States.  Many other parts of the Union, I believe, have little acquaintance with them except from report.

    The region known as the New North-West, which comprises Minnesota, Dakota, and the Canadian province of Manitoba, is, however, said to be afflicted by winter storms quite as terrible to the inhabitants as the tornado of summer is to the settlers in Kansas and Nebraska.  These disturbances are called blizzards.  Regarding the nature and effects of the blizzard the most extraordinary stories are told.  Although I was assured that exaggerated and romantic statements have been published by persons who have described the phenomenon, there seems little doubt that the blizzard is really a fearful danger in the sections it afflicts.  The storm usually lasts from one to three days.  While it lasts, the wind blows with marvellous rapidity, the air is "filled with particles of snow finer than emery flour," and no person dares venture outside his house lest he fail to find his way back again.  If the farmer is compelled to go to his barn to look after his cattle and horses, or to the well or pump for the purpose of drawing water for his household, he attaches a rope to his door; feels his way to his outhouses, and uses the rope to find his road back again!  Since it is impossible to see two or three feet ahead during a blizzard, settlers who have neglected this precaution are declared to have been frozen to death within a few yards of their own doorsteps.  Some cautious settlers in Dakota are said—said, however, rather in jest than earnest—to prepare for the blizzards by constructing cellars under their houses, whither the family can retire till the danger has passed.  But in spite of these and other discomforts incidental to winter life in the northern section of America, the people who reside on the rich and fertile plains of the New North-West are able, on account of the extreme dryness of the atmosphere, to endure without suffering a far greater intensity of cold than that which commonly troubles us in England.


 
CHAPTER VI.

CAUSE OF AMERICAN ENERGY—SPIRIT OF SPECULATION—SOBRIETY OF THE PEOPLE—LAGER BEER—AMERICAN BAR-TENDERS—SCENE IN THE YELLOWSTONE REGION—SALOON—KEEPERS' ASSOCIATIONS— HOW PETER J. DOOLING'S CUSTOMERS ENJOYED A HOLIDAY—THE WASHINGTON HOME.


WHATEVER may be the general verdict on the old vexed question concerning character and circumstances, it can hardly be disputed that circumstances do in some subtle manner affect and modify character.  Is it not because mankind is influenced by its surroundings that we have distinct classes of people, which distinct classes of people we call nations?  The surroundings of our cousins in America, coupled with a mixture of races more extensive and more thorough than has ever been known on the earth before, are moulding a nation in the New World different from any now existing elsewhere.  Americans are becoming as much a race apart as Englishmen or Germans.  A common language and a common literature are almost the only remaining links of the chain that once bound our cousins and ourselves together.

    The main element in the creation of the new nationality across the Atlantic is probably the climate of the country.  Beyond doubt the light and buoyant quality of the American atmosphere has much to do with the restless energy of the American people.  It appears to impart to those who breathe it a sort of electric activity.  Charles Kingsley compared the effect of the climate to the effect of champagne.  It is commonly believed in America that both Kingsley and Dickens, taking no account of the exhilarating influence of the atmosphere, exerted themselves so much when visiting the States that they considerably shortened their days.  Certain it is that nobody can have been long in America without feeling an overpowering desire to be hard at work at something or other.  All classes labour harder and longer than we do in England.  But then they have not to contend against the depressing effects of our own atmospheric conditions.  Nor can it be disputed that the same amount of labour is much less exhausting to the nervous system in America than it is in these islands.  Our cousins undertake "enterprises of great pith and moment" almost as soon as they conceive them.  And they execute almost as soon as they undertake them.  When one takes into consideration the effervescent character of the air they imbibe, one is less disposed to wonder at the vast schemes and speculations which find favour among them.  The habit of "rushing around," common among all ranks in the West, is born of the Western climate.

    It is from the stimulating surroundings of the people that the passion for speculation springs.  And speculation, in America as elsewhere, has little to distinguish it from gambling.  Business itself, with our kinsfolk, is a sort of gambling.  What else are those operations of which we now and then hear such wonderful accounts—"rings" and "corners"?  The men who succeed in them, who make their "pile," who amass fabulous sums by one daring stroke, are accounted "smart men, sir."  Smart men, indeed!  America is peopled with them.  If you go into the gallery of the Board of Trade at Chicago, and look down on the excited crowd filling the two corn pits on the floor, you cannot be in much doubt as to the keen and calculating character of the people who are shouting frantically at the top of their voices, gesticulating also like men challenging each other to mortal combat, and yet all the time preserving a coolness which never misses the chance of a bargain.  It is there that persons in business "buy what they don't want, and sell what they haven't got."  There is, of course, nothing dishonest in these transactions, which are common enough elsewhere, too, though it is an open question whether the community at large has not to pay the piper in the enhanced price of the commodities it consumes.  Be this as it may, the scene on an American exchange reminds one of nothing so much as that in a betting-ring on an English race-course.  The spirit of speculation is carried into almost all the transactions of life in America.  A stranger whom I met on the railway explained the difference between our countrymen and his own.  "An Englishman," said he, "when he gets a good thing, tries to keep it; but an American, when he gets a good thing, wants to sell it."  The excitement of buying and selling seems to be a necessity of existence in the intoxicating air of the States.  I one day asked a friend in New York—a member of the Produce Exchange of that city—why it was that so much energy was thrown into the business of the country.  "Why," said he, "we know that there is money about, and everybody is afraid that some other fellow is going to get it."  The pursuit of the "almighty dollar" absorbs the best energies of some of the best men in America.  Unfortunately, so much time and talent are consumed in this way, that the interests of the nation are sometimes seriously neglected.  Millionaires are probably more numerous in the States than anywhere else.  And yet the city in which the "kings of Wall Street" operate is, as I shall have occasion to show, far and away the most ill-governed city in the civilized world.

    Whether due to the climate or not, it is certain that there is very much less drunkenness in America than there is among ourselves.  Great Britain has the reputation of being the most dissipated of the nations of the earth.  As far as the United States are concerned, she undoubtedly sustains it.  I saw more drunk and reeling people in the streets of Newcastle last Bank Holiday, though I was out and about only a couple of hours, than I saw in America during the whole seven weeks I was wandering hither and thither, though I witnessed in New Haven and New York the celebration of two of the great national holidays of the year—Decoration Day and Independence Day.  Seven or eight, certainly not more than a dozen, intoxicated individuals came under my notice from the time I landed to the time I set sail again.  And even one or two of these were English miners, while several of the rest were natives of the sister island.  The native American may drink a good deal; but he unquestionably, as far as my observation went, seldom drinks too much.  It is a rare thing to see in the dining-hall of an American hotel any other liquid on the table than iced water.  But in the intervals of business, or in the excitement of a political campaign, the saloons (the public-houses bear that high-toned name) are visited oftener than they need be.  It did not, however, appear to be the custom with our cousins, as it certainly is the custom with ourselves, to ask every friend who is casually met in the street, "What are you going to have?"  Even when drinks are taken from mere habit, they fire, as a rule, much less intoxicating than English ale or Irish whisky.  Lager beer, the common beverage of the majority of the drinking people, is a light and refreshing article, vastly less intoxicating than the liquids consumed at home.  When spirits are taken, they are usually concocted in a variety of ways.  The American bar-tender is an artist in mixed drinks.  It is a treat to observe the deftness and dexterity with which he fixes a mint julep, a sherry cobbler, a brandy smash, a gin sling, or a cream punch.  The wholesome effect of these compounds may be open to question, but of their palatable character few who have tasted them can have much doubt.

    But it must not he supposed that there is no drunkenness in America, though I saw little of it.  The conductor of a train on the Chicago and Alton Railway, when I asked him whether he had ever any trouble with the passengers, replied, "Not at all, except when we get a party of drunken Irishmen on board.  Then there is sometimes a bit of rough work."  When rows do occur, they seem to lead to personal injuries; for I noticed that a gentleman residing in the Bowery—a locality which has about the same reputation in New York as Sandgate once had in Newcastle and as Ratcliffe Highway still has in London—published in the New York Herald this somewhat suspicious advertisement: "Blackened eyes made natural."  Drunkenness and violence, moreover, are common enough in the newly settled districts of the Far West.  My friend Mr. Fairbairn, who had been on an excursion to the wonderful region of the Yellowstone River, described a tragical scene he had encountered on his journey.  Early one morning he came upon a lonely hut, where he hoped to get something to eat.  It was a saloon.  There had evidently been wild work in that solitary shanty the previous evening.  As they would say in the Far West, "The boys had been enjoying themselves overnight."  Outside the saloon one man was lying drunk and bleeding, while three others were prostrate on the floor in the same condition inside.  All had been using bowie knives in their cups with such disastrous and mutual effect that every man of them was found gashed and helpless in the morning.

    More civilized parts of the States are exposed to drunken troubles, too.  The saloon-keepers of New York have an ugly custom of organizing their customers into associations for political purposes.  Each of these associations bears the name of the saloon-keeper, who is at once its patron and its chief.  The members of the so-called society vote for any candidate for any office he may designate.  The political importance of the saloon-keeper is thus secured.  Since his friends vote as he wishes at election times, and provide him with funds by supporting his bar at all times, he, it seems, makes a practice of giving them a treat every year.  A barge or steamboat is hired for the occasion; the members of the association are invited to a free trip; and an excursion takes place to one or other of the pleasure resorts near the Empire City—on the Hudson River, on the Sea Coast, or in Long Island Sound.  One day in June an excursion of the Peter J. Dooling Association took place to Hudson Park at New Rochelle, where Thomas Paine, the author of "Common Sense," passed his latter days.  The newspapers next morning announced the result.  Hudson Park, it was stated, had been the scene of a "wild riot" on the previous day.  The excursionists started at eleven o'clock in the morning, but did not reach their destination till three o'clock in the afternoon.  "The trip," said the newspaper account, "was not a remarkably fast one; but the bar-tender had an extra supply of lager aboard, and had apparently seen the engineer and arranged to have the trip occupy as much time as possible, so that he might reap the harvest.  In point of numbers the excursion was not a large one; but the crowd soon showed that what it lacked in numbers was more than made up in fighting qualities.  The barge, drawn by a tug-boat, had scarcely been made fast to the dock before a row commenced in the bow of the vessel between two of the excursionists.  Soon half-a-dozen others, in attempting to separate their friends, got into fights themselves.  Swollen and bloody faces told the story of hard hits received and given."  The scrimmage was renewed when Mr. Dooling's customers landed.  A dozen fights were proceeding at one and the same moment.  If the diversion lulled for a time, it broke out afresh soon after.  Screams and imprecations filled the air, mingled with glasses and other missiles.  Knives even were used in the frequent frays.  And so the Peter J. Dooling Association had a "high old time" of it in Hudson Park.  Where publicans organize their patrons after the manner of New York, it does not need to be told that political corruption must go hand in hand with social depravity.

    Drunkenness in America, however, is sometimes made to contribute to useful objects.  There is an institution in Chicago called the Washington Home. If I did not misunderstand the statement I received concerning it, one of the purposes of the institution is to cure and reclaim dipsomaniacs.  The funds of the Washington Home are partly provided by the fines imposed on Chicago drunkards.  But if the managers of the place had no other resources than these fines, I question whether they would be able, with the means furnished by native drunkards, to keep the Home open for a single month in the year.


 
CHAPTER VII.

NATIVES AND FOREIGNERS—DOMESTIC ARRANGEMENTS—TOBACCO—SPITTOONS—ADVENTURES IN QUEST OF SNUFF.


IT was intimated in the first chapter of this book that the statements of the writer were to be received with certain limitations.  Perhaps it should also have been pointed out that the population of the United States is broadly divided into two great classes—those who were born in the country or have resided long enough in it to become thoroughly identified with its institutions, and those who, having recently migrated thither, still retain the habits and manners of the lands they have left.  Natives of America naturally object to being charged with offences against good taste or good behaviour which persons who have been reared in other countries sometimes commit.  The fact that tens of thousands of foreigners are annually imported into the States from all parts of Europe lends some countenance to this protest.  The distinction here explained ought in fairness to be borne in mind when reading one or two of the incidents already described, as well as others that have yet to be mentioned.

    If man is a creature of habit, habit itself is the result of circumstances.  The habits of the American people—perhaps it would be more correct to say the habits of the people who inhabit the American Continent—have grown out of the surroundings of the country.  They are so like our own, and yet at times so different from our own, that one can only attribute the divergencies which exist to the different conditions in which the two peoples are placed.  If any number of Englishmen were transplanted to America, they would certainly become, in ten or twenty years, with perhaps a few rare exceptions, as much American as the Americans themselves.  Nor is there anything wonderful in this; for the great bulk of the natives of the States are descended from settlers who originally emigrated from the old country.  America, after all, is simply a larger England, with such other differences in the manners and customs of the inhabitants as climate and circumstances have produced.  Some gentlemen whom I met on the other side of the Atlantic, and who had spent their earlier years in one or other of our Northern Counties, have acquired so much of the natural vim and vigour of the country that they now stand at the head of the professions they have adopted.  On the other hand, I know some who, not having renounced their allegiance to their native land, are still as firmly attached to the mother country as if they had never left it.

    One effect of the climatic differences of the two countries is a marked variation in domestic arrangements.  Our summers are not so hot, nor are our winters so cold, as those of America.  We are not troubled with mosquitoes in the one season, nor are we compelled to heat our houses with enormous stoves in the other.  Where insect pests abound, mosquito blinds and doors are fitted to the dwelling-places of all but the very poorest of the people.  These blinds and doors, which are constructed of wire gauze, are so convenient and effective that an abundant supply of fresh air can be admitted, while flying scourges of all kinds are excluded from the rooms.  When cold weather commences, another contrivance is called into requisition.  Most of the houses are fitted with huge stoves in the basement for the purpose of supplying hot air to the various apartments.  The stove is fitted with a self-feeding apparatus, so that the warmth it diffuses continues day and night all through the winter.  As valves for regulating the admission of hot air are placed in the hall, in the sitting-rooms, and in the sleeping-rooms, a tolerably even temperature can be maintained all over the premises.  It is owing to this convenient arrangement that our cousins are enabled to wear, when at home, the same amount of clothing in winter as they wear in summer, resorting to furs and flannels only "whene'er they take their walks abroad."  Stoves are in vogue also in hotels, offices, railway cars, public buildings—everywhere, in fact, where people most do congregate.  The system is certainly conducive to personal comfort, whatever may be its effects on the health of the community.

    No part of Dickens's "American Notes" excited more indignation among the people of the United States than that in which he referred to the habit of chewing and spitting.  Having read Dickens's description again, after making myself personally acquainted with some of the districts our great novelist visited, I am decidedly of opinion that the particular habit in question was either greatly exaggerated in the "American Notes" or has been greatly modified since that work was published.  Certain it is that I saw nothing even to approach the scene which Dickens pictured as occurring in the cabin of the canal boat on his way to Pittsburg.

    Prevalent as is the use of tobacco in this country, it is still more prevalent in America.  Shops for the sale of it are as numerous as long bars in this country.  Nor is there any mistaking the tobacco shops in the United States; for outside them there is generally placed on a pedestal a nearly life-size figure of an Indian warrior or an idealised warrior's wife.  I observed no marked difference between the shops here and there, except that plug tobaccos have a more prominent position assigned them among the wares exhibited in America.  It has already been remarked that our cousins generally smoke cigars instead of pipes.  Briar-woods, or meerschaums, or short pipes of any kind, are seldom seen, while the churchwarden is almost an unknown luxury in the States.  Those who can afford it indulge in cigars, while many of those who can't resort to chewing.  Smoking seemed to me a much more costly habit among our cousins than it is among ourselves; for the price of the cigars they commonly consume ranged from five cents to thirty each—that is to say, from 2½d. to 1s. 3d.  Considering that smokers smoke at all times, not only in the streets, but in their offices—not only in the intervals of business, but in business hours as well—the amount of money spent on this luxury must be very large indeed.

    The habit of chewing tobacco, which is not confined in America, as it is among ourselves, to the poorer classes of the community, has created that other habit on which Dickens so strongly animadverted.  Some of the persons who indulge in it seemed to me to be endowed with an inexhaustible supply of saliva.  Travelling in an ordinary smoking-car, as I frequently did, I had abundant opportunities of observing the astonishing frequency with which the process of expectoration was performed.  The weather being warm, the windows of the car were all thrown open.  And the open window was highly favourable for the exercise of the talent of the "straightest-spitting nation on the face of the globe."  Now and then I tried to amuse myself by counting how often particular individuals discharged their saliva into space.  Though I was not able to make any accurate calculation, I should say that the most expert adepts at the practice average a pretty straight shot every two or three minutes, which is probably about the average of our own youths when they meet of an evening in a popular neighbourhood.  Chewing, however, has a geographical range.  There is not very much of it in New York, less in Chicago, and scarcely any at all in Boston.  But in Washington, where men from the old Slave States and the wilder regions of the Far West are somewhat numerous during the sessions of Congress, the habit seemed almost universal.  The white marble steps of the Capitol were so splashed and blotted with tobacco stains that one wished for a friendly deluge to wash the impurities away.  Even in Congress itself—in the Senate Chamber no less than in the hall of the House of Representatives—it was almost painful to notice how little regard was paid to the rich carpets which covered the floors.  Although smoking is not allowed within the rooms assigned to legislation, the apartments provided for the members who wished to smoke were so near at hand as to be practically part of the chambers themselves.  Outside the two chambers, in the lobbies and passages, which were open to everybody who cared to enter them, there appeared to be little or no restriction whatever.  Indeed, the spittoons that were placed in all available corners clearly indicated that arrangements were made for the free and comfortable indulgence of the popular habit.

    The humorous story of the lady who was anxious about her carpet, and who had provided a receptacle for the superabundant saliva of her guest, comes forcibly to one's mind in some American cities.  The lady in the story, it may be remembered, pushed the spittoon in front of her guest every time he soiled her carpet, while the guest so often avoided the attention that he at last exclaimed, "If you don't take that darned thing away, I'll spit in it!"  But the spittoons generally in use in America are so large that it is difficult, not to hit, but to avoid hitting them.  Our English counterpart is a miserable, common-place affair compared with that which one sees in hotels and other places of public resort in the United States.  Sometimes it is made of leather, and is as big round as a footstool; at other times it is made of metal, as ornamental as a flower vase, and as large in size as a coal-box.  Most of the hotels are supplied with great numbers of these prodigious utensils.  They are dotted over the floor of the hall; they are disposed in rows along the corridors; they are placed in corners on the staircases; and no bed-room is considered furnished without at least one of them.  Public buildings are likewise adorned with them, and notices are sometimes hung against the walls requesting visitors not to spit on the floors.  Even the platform (there is no pulpit) of Mr. Beecher's church in Brooklyn is ornamented with a huge and shapely specimen of this almost universal article.  The prevalence of the spittoon, however, is indicative not so much of the prevalent use of tobacco as of the cleanly habits of the people.

    But if our cousins chew tobacco to a much larger extent than we do in England, there is one form of the narcotic weed in which, as far as I observed, they scarcely indulge at all.  Snuff is so rarely taken that it is almost unknown among them.  I don't think I once saw a snuff box during the whole time of my visit.  One day, while in Rochester, I was suffering from catarrh in the head.  Knowing from experience that a pinch of snuff sometimes relieved the discharge, I inquired where I could purchase some of the article.  My adventures in search of it were curious and amusing.  I tried tobacconist after tobacconist without result.  None of them kept it.  When I entered one shop, which happened also to be a shaving saloon, my request for snuff was received with surprise, which was speedily followed by a peal of laughter at my expense from shaver and customers alike.  If I had asked for a crocodile, a patent anchor, or a pair of stilts, I could not have caused more amusement.  I at last discovered that the material of which I was in quest could only be obtained at the chemist's.  There I got my wants supplied.  The chemist, however, seemed almost as cautious in disposing of it, and almost as careful in weighing it, as he would have been in dealing with a deadly poison.  Moreover, the snuff had been so long in his store that it was not only as dry as dust, but had lost nearly all its pungency.


 
CHAPTER VIII.

STATE FAIRS—THE VALUE OF THE DOLLAR—COST OF MANUFACTURED ARTICLES—EFFECTS OF PROTECTION.


EXHIBITIONS for the display of specimens of native industry are much more common in America than they are in England.

    There is scarcely a city of importance in the older States of the Union that cannot boast of handsome and commodious buildings which have been specially erected for exhibition purposes, and which are preserved for future use in the same direction.  The existence of these buildings, which are also available of course for political and other demonstrations when required, renders it a comparatively easy matter to gather under one roof the mechanical inventions of the district.  State Fairs, as they are called, are held at stated periods—in most cases every year, in fact.  Exhibitors and the general public are thus enabled to estimate the progress effected in the interval in the application of science to the useful arts.  The advantage of these periodical displays is simply incalculable.  It is to them no doubt in a considerable measure that America owes very much of her success in the discovery and multiplication of mechanical appliances; for machinery is there applied to many more purposes of a labour-saving character than it is here.

    As showing the enterprise of our cousins in this direction, it may be mentioned that a casual copy of the New York Herald which I picked up last autumn contained reports of the opening of a New England Fair at Boston and an Industrial Exhibition at Cincinnati.  A similar affair occurred on the same day at Chicago.  Mr. Long, the then Governor of Massachusetts, a gentleman who had offered me various courtesies when I was in Boston, opened the Fair in that city with much ceremony.  Boston is the capital and chief city of Massachusetts.  Coming close after it in importance is the City of Worcester, where also an Industrial Fair was being held at the same time as that in Boston.  The Exhibition at Cincinnati was inaugurated in an imposing fashion.  The procession was so long that it occupied nearly all day in moving through the streets.  Among the more striking features of the pageant were "twenty-six tableau cars, representing ten epochs, beginning with Cincinnatus at his plough, and ending with Cincinnati as it is now."  More than "three thousand mounted and uniformed men" imparted a triumphal character to the procession, which was beaded by the Governor of Ohio in person.  The day previous to the demonstration at Cincinnati a similar festival, accompanied by similar ceremonies, was held at Milwaukee.  There, again, a great procession marched through the broad and handsome streets to celebrate the occurrence of the annual Fair.  No fewer than five cities in America were thus at almost the same moment the scenes of popular ceremonies connected with the presentment and development of the industry of the country.

    It will be shown hereafter that ingenious contrivances for increasing the comforts of the people and improving the conveniences for the transaction of business in large cities are much more numerous in America than they are in England.  Notwithstanding, however, the number of American "notions," it is undeniable that the cost of manufactured articles, and even of many of the necessaries of life, is much greater in the one country than in the other.  People will tell you that the purchasing power of a dollar is about the same as the purchasing power of a shilling—that is to say, that a shilling will procure as much in England as four shillings will in America.  But this statement is an exaggeration of the actual condition of things.  It would probably be correct to say, however, that the price of manufactured articles is about double in America what it is in England.  Articles of clothing are so excessively dear in the States that I have heard that a lady, who makes an annual visit to her old home, and who while here provides herself with raiment for the whole year, finds the saving sufficient to practically pay the entire expenses of her holiday tour.  On the day I landed in Liverpool I was walking with two American fellow-passengers through the streets.  Both were loud in their expressions of astonishment at what they thought the extraordinary cheapness of the goods that were exhibited and ticketed in the tailors' shops of that city.

    The cause of the wide difference in the prices of manufactured goods in the two countries is, of course, the high tariff which the Government of the United States maintains for financial and economical reasons.  The system of protection which finds favour among our cousins, and which is probably as popular in America now as it ever was in England before our Free Trade movement commenced, is deliberately maintained in the interest of the manufacturing classes.  Protection enables the manufacturer in some instances to pay higher wages to his workpeople; but then the workpeople have to pay higher prices for all the goods they consume.  When I asked any Americans of my acquaintance why it was that the system was retained, since it had the effect of vastly increasing the cost of living, the almost invariable reply was—"What does it matter?  Our boots and our coats cost double what they cost you; but then we have twice as much money to pay for them.  You have cheap goods and low wages; we have dear goods and high wages; where is the practical advantage you have over us?"  If I had been inclined to argue the matter, I might have pointed out that the effect of a protective tariff on the industry of America is much more disastrous than the Americans themselves seem to be aware.


 
CHAPTER IX.

POPULAR ERRORS ABOUT AMERICANS—BROTHER JONATHAN—"THE COLONEL"—EATING CUSTOMS—DEFERENCE TO LADIES—FASHION IN HAIR AND HATS—SHAVING A FINE ART.


MANY popular errors are prevalent in England regarding the American people.

    First of all, the caricature of Brother Jonathan is no more like the general body of citizens of the Republic than the caricature of John Bull is like the average run of Englishmen.  The typical American, instead of being lank and lean, is a robust, portly personage, with a ponderous head on an equally ponderous pair of shoulders.  Nor does he talk in the nasal twang people here commonly suppose.  The intonation of the educated classes, indeed, is admirably and pleasantly reproduced by Mr. Edgar Bruce in his impersonation of "The Colonel."  Again, the common notion that Americans are a singularly inquisitive race was not sustained by my experience.  There is an impression in England (it has received some countenance from American humorists themselves) that a stranger in the States is perpetually plied with questions about his business, his intentions, his family affairs, and his private opinions on men and things.  I noticed nothing of the kind.  I certainly was asked what I thought of the country.  It was the most natural inquiry in the world.  But the inquiry did not come, as from what I had heard I might have expected it to come, in this spread-eagle fashion—"Wal, stranger, I guess you air pretty con-siderably astonished at the greatness and elegance of this magnificent and mighty nation—ain't that so?"  It was left to me to punctuate my opinion with notes of admiration.  The fact is, the American people, as a rule, are nearly as reticent and reserved as we are ourselves.  When, however, there was a chance of obliging a fellow-traveller, I never found them to fail in either frankness or civility.

    Another error is equally widespread—that Americans consume their food with such lightning rapidity that they are scarcely seen to eat at all.  This marvellous phenomenon, however, did not come within my observation.  The persons whom I saw going through the prandial operation occupied as much time in the process as we do in England.  But there is a wide difference between us and our cousins, not only in the mode of dining, but in some of the dishes that are greatly in favour.  It is no uncommon thing at an hotel table to fill oneself surrounded by seven or eight little platters containing the substantial elements of the feast.  Butter and iced water are invariable accompaniments of almost every meal.  Clams, a sort of mussel, are largely in demand in the Eastern States, and a clam-bake is a famous "feed."  Some friends once invited me to a special treat of dainties—frogs' legs and devilled crab.  I should probably have relished the former delicacy if I had not been informed beforehand what it was I was eating.  A glass of cream punch afterwards enabled me to drown the recollection of the frogs.  I might otherwise have had to dispose of the matter in a more summary fashion.

    Deference to the fair sex is universal in America.  I doubt whether there is any other country in the world where so much attention is paid to the ladies.  That they might not be incommoded in any way, in their goings out or their comings in, separate entrances are provided for them at hotels, railway stations, and elsewhere.  The fact that brutal assaults on women are almost unknown goes to show that respect for the weaker sex is founded in the genuine sentiment of the people.  One might say, indeed, that the age of chivalry, which has almost gone out in Europe, has taken fresh root in America.  But the ladies there like their sisters on this side of the Atlantic, have some strange weaknesses.  One of these weaknesses is the tendency betrayed in two or three cities of the Eastern Seaboard to disfigure themselves by a grotesque arrangement of the hair, Goldsmith's Citizen of the World promised to send his friend in China a map of an English lady's face, showing the marks and patches that were once considered beautiful.  A map, or at all events a drawing, would be necessary to convey a correct idea of the fashion of dressing the hair adopted by many ladies in America.  That fashion does not strike a stranger as in the least becoming.  Indeed, the hair is so plastered about the face that it almost gives the wearer the appearance of being adorned with what our cousins call "side whiskers."  For the rest, festoons and other devices cover the forehead down to the eyes, so that not much of the face is in some cases to be seen at all.  And what is left untouched by the hand of the decorator is frequently obscured by hats of such vast size that they approach the dimensions of an ordinary cart-wheel.  But our own fashions would perhaps appear as unbecoming to Americans as the fashions of New York and New Haven appeared to me.

    The costumes of the male members of the community do not differ much from those worn on our side of the Atlantic.  Almost the only variation in this respect seems to be due to the greater prevalence of felt hats in cool weather and straw hats in warm.  It is, however, in the mode of dealing with the hair and beard that the American is distinguished from the Englishman.  When the hot season commences, many citizens of the Republic get their hair cut so close that they almost look as if they had had their heads shaved.  This custom would, of course, be less widespread than it is if it were the practice of the prison authorities there, as it is of the prison authorities here, to treat convicts in much the same fashion before releasing them.  As persons in England who wore beards or moustaches before our veterans returned from the Crimean war were put down for foreigners, circus performers, or proprietors of waxworks or menageries, so persons who do not shave in America are generally understood to be either strangers or immigrants.  The present fashion in the states is to shave every hair off the face except the moustache.  Shaving, indeed, is so commonly practised that it has become one of the fine arts.  Long rows of reclining chairs are placed in front of an equally extensive mirror.  Here the customers deposit themselves in the easiest of postures while the operator performs his work with all the grace and dexterity of a master at the business.  Since shaving, as performed in America, is a real luxury, one does not wonder that the custom should be almost universal.


 
CHAPTER X.

RELIGION—HENRY WARD BEECHER—CHURCH CHOIR OPERA COMPANY—SUNDAY PLAYS—COLONEL INGERSOLL—THE BIBLE AND SHAKSPEARE—NEW WORDS, NEW PHRASES. A NEW LITERATURE—NOMENCLATURE OF CITIES.


IT hardly comes within my province to speak of the religious aspect of American society.  Nor shall I deal with the matter at any length.  A casual observer, however, can hardly help noticing that a much greater latitude in respect to the profession of theological beliefs is allowed in America than is the case in this country.  Mrs. Grundy is not so exacting there as she is here.  Sunday is less a day of prayer than a day of rest and recreation.  The newspapers on Monday morning commonly report the sermons delivered on the previous day; but then these sermons are often devoted to the discussion of secular subjects.  Moreover, the preachers, as a rule, are much more entertaining than the generality of the class.  Henry Ward Beecher deliberately set himself one Sunday evening, when I attended Plymouth Church, in Brooklyn, to excite the risibility of his flock.  Phrases were introduced into his discourse which, besides being humorous in themselves, were comical from the sudden and unexpected manner in which they were thrown out.  Dr. Talmage, again, is an astonishing divine who is constantly challenging by his extravagance and his eccentricities the attention of the public.  The line of separation between the sacred and profane is thus dimly defined.  Still more striking examples of the tendency to efface the distinction may be mentioned.  Mr. Miln, a Chicago preacher of considerable note, has forsaken the pulpit for the stage; while a party of ladies and gentlemen who were formerly attached to a religious establishment are making the tour of the States as the Chicago Church Choir Opera Company.  When I visited Milwaukee, large posters on the walls announced that Gilbert and Sullivan's "Patience" would be performed in the theatre on the following Sunday.  The disregard of the Sabbath as a religious institution was probably due in this instance to the fact that a very large number of Germans have settled in Milwaukee.  Elsewhere the theatres are generally closed on Sundays, though that day is nowhere observed with the same pious rigour as it is among ourselves.  One of the most eminent lawyers in America—Robert G. Ingersoll—employs his leisure in delivering lectures on Freethought subjects.  Colonel Ingersoll, whose fame has extended to Europe, is, besides being a great lawyer, an orator of rare eloquence.  Copies of his lectures are sold in immense quantities all over the States; his portrait may be seen in almost every picture shop and on almost every bookstall in the country; and there is scarcely a divine between the Pacific and the Atlantic who has not at one time or other attempted to answer his arguments or confound his philosophy.  While travelling from Boston to Newport, I listened to a long and interesting discussion on Ingersoll and his doctrines between some occupants of the same railway car.  Indeed, conversation on the subject was almost universal.  But Colonel Ingersoll does not command the less respect or wield the less influence on account of his heterodoxy.  It was this eminent man who delivered on Decoration Day one of the most powerful and brilliant orations in honour of the soldiers who died in defence of the Union that I ever read.  As showing the esteem in which he is held, not of course on account of his heresy, but on account of his intellectual eminence, it may be mentioned that he was accompanied on the platform by President Arthur, General Grant, and all the most conspicuous public men then in the Empire City.

    The Bible and Shakspeare, it has been said, will preserve the identity of the language used in England and America.  But parts of Shakspeare are already becoming obsolete, while certain of our wiseacres have taken it into their heads to alter the Bible, spoiling all, or almost all, that they have touched.  Still the two books will help to maintain the purity of the Anglo-Saxon tongue wherever it may be spoken or written.  It must happen in course of ages that the language of peoples so widely separated as the English and the Americans will undergo a process of variation.  Already words and phrases are in common use in America which are either unknown or have a different meaning in England.  So numerous are these departures from lingual orthodoxy that I at first found it prudent, when sitting at table with an American family, not to join in the conversation, lest I should have misinterpreted some of the idioms and images the younger people used.  As these idioms and images were for the most part new to me, I could only guess at the meaning of them.  Changes of language originate as often in slang as in scholarly invention.  A word is first used by vulgar people, then appropriated by the more refined, then accepted by the literary classes, and finally incorporated in the language of the entire nation.  Such, no doubt, is the history of some of the new words and phrases which are current in the United States.  People who hear them for the first time, especially when uttered in the peculiar and pleasant intonation common among educated Americans, cannot help being struck with the picturesque freshness which seems to belong to them.  When an American addresses another, he usually commences, "Say, Harry," or, "Say, Christopher," as the case may be.  If the answer is in the affirmative, it takes the now well-known form of "Why, cert'nly"—if in the negative, it is generally conveyed in the words, "No, sir," with especial emphasis on the last word.  If surprise be expressed, it generally takes the shape of a question, "Is that so?"  "Crowd" is used to signify, not only a mob, but a party or a company.  "Balance," meaning the rest or the remainder, is applied in a variety of ways, as the balance of an argument, the balance of a meeting.  "Booming" is a new word which signifies the bounding progress of rising districts.  "Trouble," again, is substituted for difficulty, as "England's trouble with Ireland," or "the trouble of the United States with the Indians."  "Elegant" and "handsome," in the sense of pretty or good, are in constant use.  "Clever," as used in Chicago, is equivalent to the northern word decent.  "Right here," or "right away," means directly, at once.  "Left" has a world of meaning as heard in the States.  If an American tells another that he will arrange any matter for him, he says he will "fix it" or "put it through."  "Back down" and "burst up" are well enough known even in England.  But "break him all up," "give himself away," and "got the bulge on him"—the first meaning to flabbergast a person, the second a person who divulges matters to his own disadvantage, and the third a person who has got the better of another—can only be properly appreciated when a genuine American imports them into his conversation.  It may be seen from these few examples of a new departure in language that the process of creating at least a new dialect has commenced on the other side of the Atlantic.

    A new literature as well as a new dialect is being created in the States.  Extracts from American newspapers (now a common feature of our own journals) are quite unlike anything we have in this country.  Our humour is made of different stuff, built on different lines, and produces different results; for even the laughter which Artemus Ward, or Mark Twain, or Russell Lowell provokes is louder and more contagious than that provoked by English professors of the same art.  But Americans generally have so much of the humorous element in their character and composition that it bubbles out in almost all they say or write.  Their newspapers and magazines are full of it; their conversation and speeches are full of it. Henry Ward Beecher cannot keep it out of his sermons; nor could Abraham Lincoln keep it out of his State papers.  It obtrudes itself even in the titles of their journals, as, for instance, the Toledo Blade, the Calico Print, and the Tombstone Epitaph.  More remarkable still it is seen in their business advertisements and in the notices posted in their offices.  Here, as one example, is a copy of a printed card I saw exhibited in the office of a leading railway official in Chicago:—


NOTICE.

MEBBE YOU DON'T PETTER HAD LOAF ROUNT HERE WHEN YOU DON'T GOT SOME PEESENIS, AIN'T IT?
 


    The nomenclature of the cities and territorial divisions of the United States is here and there somewhat peculiar.  Where the settlers have adopted old Indian names, a genuine flavour is imparted to what may be called the baptismal geography of the country.  There are names in America that belong to America alone, that were common among the original inhabitants, and that are so distinctive and characteristic that nobody is likely to locate the places bearing them in any other part of the globe.  Such are Chicago, Niagara, Kansas, Nebraska, Dakota, Milwaukee, Michigan, Mississippi, Massachusetts, and so forth.  It is likely that Indian words would have been more extensively utilised in christening localities than they have been had they been more in harmony with European notions of spelling and pronunciation.

    Objection cannot be taken, however, to names possessing historical significance, as Carolina, Virginia, Baltimore, Pennsylvania, etc.  Nor can anything be said against the practice of honouring the Fathers of the Republic by bestowing their names upon new communities.  Washington, Jefferson, and Madison, among others, have been honoured in this way.  Equally unobjectionable are names which have grown naturally out of circumstances connected with the first pioneers.  Rochester, which derived its name from a backwoodsman who erected the first wooden shanty on the banks of the Genessee; Carson, which was so designated from the fact that the famous Kit Carson took up his abode on the spot long before civilization had penetrated beyond the Rocky Mountains—these are examples of a natural system of nomenclature.  Perhaps the same may be said for Eltopia, the name of a settlement in Washington Territory, which has been ingeniously adapted from its original designation—"Hell-to-Pay."  But the earlier settlers who applied to their new homes the names of the towns and cities they had quitted for ever introduced a system which is infinitely confusing, Boston and Plymouth, Cambridge and Bristol, Exeter and Falmouth, compel the addition of other particulars in order that they may not be mistaken for the towns and cities of the same name in the old country.  If Tremont, the original name of the settlement, had been retained instead of Boston, the capital of Massachusetts would have been in no danger of mixing up its identity with our Lincolnshire town.  Manhattan, again, would have been more redolent of the soil than New York.

    Worse than these mistakes, which were at least excusable on the part of emigrants who carried with them to the New World an abiding affection for the homes they had left, has been the process adopted in some parts of the country of importing names which have no natural or historical significance whatsoever.  Memphis and Thebes and Cairo have nothing in common with Egypt; nor have Rome and Athens, Syracuse and Troy, Ithaca and Utica, which are situated within no great distance from each other in the State of New York, anything to do with the Greek and Roman Empires.  This same State can boast also of a Paris, a Genoa, a Venice, a Lyons, and a Warsaw.  The original settlers therein, moreover, made abundant use of the poets, philosophers, and heroes of antiquity; for we find Homer and Ovid, Romulus and Cato, Tully and Seneca, Fabius and Aurelius, among the names of the cities they established.  The ancient and the modern world, in fact, have been ransacked to furnish designations for the communities of the West.  I venture to think, however, that it would have been better if the founders of the Commonwealth had exhibited in the christening of their cities just a little more of the characteristic inventiveness of the American people.


 
CHAPTER XI.

A DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY—NO CLASS DISTINCTIONS—MILLIONAIRES—"THE SILVER KING"—MR. CHARLES CROCKER—"TIPS "—THE PEOPLE A LAW UNTO THEMSELVES—THE ARMY—THE POLICE FORCE—FAMILIARITY WHICH DOES NOT BREED CONTEMPT.


AMERICA is a democratic country.  No stranger can be long in it without seeing that one man is pretty much as good as another.  There is, certainly, nothing of that deference to rank and position, which is seldom to be distinguished from servile flunkeyism, that one sees in the southern parts of England.  Men do not touch their hats, or look meek and lowly, or shuffle out into the dirty parts of the pathway, when they meet a person who happens to be better clothed than themselves.  Since all classes—including the working classes, except when they are engaged in their daily toil—are well dressed, the distinctions noticed on this side of the Atlantic are not so observable on the other.  As concerns outward appearances at all events, the wealthiest man in America might very well be mistaken for an honest and prosperous artizan, while the aforesaid artizan might pass equally well for a capitalist or a manufacturer.

    Our cousins have no aristocracy.  Politically, at any rate, they stand on a footing of perfect equality one to another.  The system under which they flourish may be described as a democracy tempered by wealth.  Riches are of consequence everywhere—in America as well as anywhere else.  But there is not, for all that, any disposition to make a superior creature or a new order of society out of the rich man.  Nor, it must be confessed, does the rich man attempt to stride the high horse.  As far as I was able to judge, mere wealth makes no difference whatever in the deportment of American citizens.  Senator Jones, who represents Nevada in Congress, and who is known throughout the United States as the " Silver King," would no doubt have kindly entertained me—a poor and undistinguished stranger—at his house at Washington, if I had had the opportunity of accepting the invitation I received from a gentleman who was then acting as his secretary and assistant.  Mr. Jones is, or was, one of the wealthiest men in America.  But millionaires are probably more numerous in that country than in any other part of the world.  Among these gentlemen is Mr. Charles Crocker, Vice-President of the Central Pacific Railway.  Mr. Crocker, who is reputed to be worth fifty million dollars (about ten millions sterling), was a fellow passenger of mine on board the Celtic, one of the White Star Line of Atlantic steamers.  The only thing I heard about him on board the vessel was, that he had been threatened with violence and assassination by a person named Denis Kearney, once a prominent character in San Francisco.  Mr. Crocker put on no airs, assumed no superiority, claimed no preferences.  An English officer, who sailed in the same ship, held himself aloof from the rest of the passengers.  Mr. Crocker, on the other hand, mixed as freely with the company as the most affable among them, smoked and chatted with everybody who wanted a "crack," and joined as heartily as anybody in the amusements of the voyage.  Not only was there nothing in his manners or in his behaviour to indicate that he had as much wealth at his command as the Duke of Northumberland—there was nothing even to indicate that he was more prosperous than the ordinary run of American citizens.  I have no reason to believe, from all I heard, that the other millionaires of the States are any more disposed than Mr. Crocker to "put on frills." ' There is thus nothing, or so little that it may be called nothing, of that odious distinction of classes which unfortunately exists in our own country.

    The effect of the democratic institutions of America may also be noticed in the total absence of that system of "tips" which renders travelling both in England and Europe generally so disagreeable to most people.  When you leave an American hotel, you are not surrounded by waiters and chambermaids, who expect to be rewarded for services which have already been paid for.  Not the least annoyance of this kind meets the traveller from one end of the States to the other.  The same comfort is experienced on the railways.  There the officials have too much self-respect to hang about the carriage doors in expectation of having gratuities surreptitiously slipped into their hands.  The conductor of a train, indeed, is as much a gentleman as any of the passengers.  If you offered him money, he would deem himself so much insulted that he would—well, he would probably stop the train and order you to leave it!  If you offered him a cigar, ten to one he would, if he took it, offer you another in exchange.  During the whole time I was travelling about the States, I did not pay, and I was not expected to pay, a single cent for anything but services I had received.  Even many services of a valuable kind were rendered, not only without payment, but without any expectation of it.  An amusing instance of the independence which early in life takes possession of the American people occurred at a friend's house.  My friend's son—a smart, intelligent lad of some ten or twelve years—had been put to a good deal of extra trouble on my account.  On the day I was leaving I called him aside.  But the moment he saw my hand in my pocket, he turned on his heels and disappeared.  Nor could I get speech with him afterwards.  I learned subsequently that his own explanation was, that he was too old now to receive presents from his father's guests.  If this is the spirit of the youth of America, anybody can understand that the dignity of the elder people will forbid them from asking for what they have not earned.  It is, perhaps, to this same spirit that the country is indebted for its freedom from another evil—beggary.  There may be beggars in America; indeed, there is at least one State in the Union which has enacted penal laws against them; but I was never importuned for alms myself, nor did I see anybody else.  What I did see, however, was a young lad who sold newspapers in the streets of Chicago, who kept and educated an orphan sister out of his earnings, and who was as proud of the girl as any father in the States of his own child.

    The American people are a law unto themselves.  If they were not, democracy would soon end in anarchy.  It is true that daring and atrocious crimes are frequently reported; it is true also that scenes of violence and riot are sometimes witnessed in periods of great excitement; but the fact still remains that order could not be maintained for a single day if obedience to the law were not a general and abiding characteristic of the population.  The Executive Government has little or no power apart from the popular will.  When the troubles with the South commenced in 1860, President Lincoln was dependent for the assertion of his authority upon the volunteer armies be summoned into the field.  Since the civil war closed, so little attention has been given to military affairs that the army of the Republic, compared with the armaments of Europe, may be truly described as an insignificant body. [9]  I don't think I saw a single soldier in any part of the States, except when a patriotic parade of the veterans in the late war took place on Decoration Day—the day on which the citizens of the North decorate the graves of the soldiers who perished in that memorable conflict.  For all ordinary purposes the services of a moderate police force are sufficient to preserve the peace of the community.  Nor were these services, so far as I could observe, very frequently called into requisition.  The streets of the great cities were as safe at any hour of the day or night as those of the most orderly cities of Europe.  Policemen, however, in New York, Boston, and some other places, have an ugly habit of carrying their staves in their hands.  Whether they ever have occasion to use them or not, the mere display of the weapons has a forbidding and alarming aspect.  Curious on the subject, I asked a Boston friend why the custom was observed.  Though he could not answer the question, he informed me that it was only of late years that it had come into practice.

    Democratic institutions are probably responsible for the extraordinary familiarity with which the citizens of the Republic treat one another.  Nobody seems in the least offended if, in print or in public, he is addressed as Tom, Dick, or Harry.  We have examples of this kind of popular treatment in our own country.  But in America it is almost universal.  Jim Blaine is as often heard as James G. Blaine—Bob Ingersoll and Ben Butler oftener than Colonel Ingersoll and General Butler.  Not that any disrespect is necessarily implied or intended in the familiar mode of speech; for Wendell Phillips, in the stateliest and most eloquent of his discourses, speaks in endearing terms of the valiant services of Sam Adams.  Was it not a proof of the affection of his fellow-citizens that President Lincoln was described on banners and devices as "Honest Old Abe"?  It is as customary in newspapers as it is in conversation to speak of General Grant and President Arthur as simply Grant and Arthur.  Equally common is a form of address peculiar to America—William H. Vanderbilt, Cyrus W. Field, Samuel J. Tilden, etc.  I noticed, too, that intimates, here and there, use only the first syllables of the names of their friends if they happen to have more than one—as Cope for Copeland, Pat for Patterson, Brew for Brewster, and so forth.  Titles are abbreviated in much the same way: thus captain becomes "cap." and doctor "doe."  Sometimes nicknames are adopted by the nicknamed persons themselves.  I was introduced to a gentleman of the press whom I knew by no other name than that of the German Chancellor.  And this gentleman was so little annoyed at the effacement of his own proper designation that he invariably referred to himself as Bismarck!  "Familiarity," according to cynics, "breeds contempt."  It is not so in America.  There, on the contrary, it is more often the outward show and semblance of personal regard.


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FOOTNOTES.


9.     The standing army of the United States consists of only of only 25,000 men, whose services are rarely called into requisition except when some of the Indian tribes take to the "war path."

 


 

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