Among the Americans (3)
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CHAPTER VII.

WANDERING IN FIVE GREAT CITIES.

Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll
(1833-99)

AWAKENING one night in a railway car, and looking through my bed window and thinking the scenery rather stationary, I learned that we were on the Alleghany Mountains, and that the train had got off the track.  As I promised at home not to take this route, I betook myself to sleep again, not wishing to be killed awake in violation of my compact.  The next evening, while gazing at Harper's Ferry in the moonlight, which had great interest for me, I heard my name called out in the car, which—since I had seen no one for nearly two days that I knew—surprised me.  It was a telegram from Colonel Ingersoll, apprising me I should be five hours late at Washington, and that on arriving there I should find his carriage and two colored servants at the station, who would wait until I came, and take me to his house in Lafayette Square.  How he should find out where I was, and how late I should be, which I did not know myself, excited my curiosity as much as this thoughtfulness gave me pleasure.  He had sent me a letter telling me I was not to leave America until I had seen some of the famous politicians of Washington, and that if I would come and stay with him, he and Mrs. Ingersoll would make me "real happy," all of which came true.  It was midnight when I reached Washington, where I found the carriage and the pleasant Ethiopian attendants of whom I had received information five hours before.

    That was a pleasant day when I went down the sleepy Potomac to visit Mount Vernon, the former home of General Washington.  On the one end is dreamy, quiet Maryland; on the other lies the rival coast of bright Virginia.  Mount Vernon was utterly unlike what I expected.  Near the entrance of the Washington Estate is the tomb of the great, crownless king.  Beyond, is a modest, picturesque country house, with various quaint structures, built of English brick, standing on an elevated plateau, commanding many views of the winding Potomac and open views of country.  The cosy, pleasant rooms where the General lived, the chamber where he died, the chamber where General Lafayette slept, remained as they were in their days.  In one of the kitchens where the repasts were cooked for the General's guests he used to give a dinner to his slaves on Christmas Day, and their feasting lasted as long into the night as their log fire took to burn out.  The artful slaves had an ingenious device for prolonging the time of their entertainment.  They provided a solid chunk of wood for the Christmas log, and put it to soak in water a week or two before the festive day, so that it took unknown hours to burn out, during which time they were their own masters.  No doubt they kept it pretty damp when it gave signs of burning out too soon.  At the death of the General, Mrs. Washington went into the uppermost rooms of the house, and there she lived until her death.  There is still the aperture in the lower part of the door which she had cut for her favorite cats to pass through.  The custodian, who showed us the rooms, said he was sorry he could not show us the cats.  The pleasantry was not said for the first time; but it was said so well, and so freshly spoken, as were all the descriptions he gave us, that they seemed made new for the occasion.

    A light, well-built gateway, through which Washington used to drive as he entered his farm, needed some years ago to be replaced, and a few boys in Wisconsin collected money for the purpose, and brought it all the way themselves.  One, of them, I remember, was named Merrill.  They exhibited the greatest delight on beholding the new gateway, when erected.  Their names ought to be written on the lintel in honor of their bright and auspicious enthusiasm.

    Lineal Americans are mostly as quick as four-eyed people, and seem to see at the back of their heads.  We are apt to think ourselves railroad driven, they regard us as very deliberate in business; but their activity, like their morals and religions, is a good deal geographical.  Washington seems to be a lotus land.  I went into one of the coiffeur rooms of an hotel to have my hair cut.  It was growing long, and I was afraid of being mistaken for a poet, which, unless you happen to be the real thing, leads to social difficulties at editorial offices which it is always my custom to frequent.  The sun was shining brightly in mid-afternoon when I entered the hair-dresser's hall.  By the time I emerged, the shades of evening were setting in.  Delilah was not half so long, in her wanton treachery, in cutting off Sampson's locks as York they had cut my head off in less time.  The Washington operator seemed, like Gerard Dhow when he painted a brush, to work upon a single hair at a time.  Now and then he went away to drink ice water to refresh his minute energies.  When at length I returned home, Mrs. Ingersoll told me that the silk mercers sold ribbons at the same rate, and that it sometimes required a morning to buy a yard.  All this is very pleasant when you give your mind to it.  Washington is the lotus land of business.  Shaving certainly is a fine art in America.  I wondered at first how so rapid a people contrived to lie so still upon the barber's cushion so long a time, in the Northern hotels where I watched them.  The reason I discovered to be that American shaving is as pleasant as a Turkish bath.

President Rutherford Birchard Hayes
(1822-93)

    I spent time, which seemed far too short, with the Sovereigns of Industry.  At the request of their district council, made at the suggestion of General Mussey and Major Ford, I spoke one night in a very handsome hall upon the "English Features of Co-operation," and met many distinguished persons.  My visit to the White House, where I saw the President, Mrs. Hayes, and General Sherman, I have related in the "Nineteenth Century."  The Museum of Patents, of Education, and many other places had features of interest, which I should describe had I found opportunity of making myself sure concerning them.  Washington is full of wonders.  General Eaton, who, if I remember rightly, is at the head of the museum, showed me treasures of instruction. I thought that if he was at South Kensington he would find some in the "Nineteenth Century," means of recovering those earlier relics of educational appa­ratus which lie at New Lanark. The story of their condi­tion, George Eliot told me, in the last letter she wrote to me, had to her mind "a tragic impressiveness."

    Mr. George W. Child (everybody in America seems to have three names; the first and last, as I think I have observed before, are always put in full; the second is represented by its initial letter only) I saw but for a short time, and was surprised to find him young and fresh looking.  His chief office in the "Ledger" buildings presented features of substantial grace and of European art which refreshed the eye to see.  What was to me proof of yet nobler taste was that lofty ceilings, spacious rooms, light, air, and baths were provided for the work-people; that he had omitted to reduce the printers' wages when their own union had sanctioned it.  Two weeks' vacation are allowed, and the full wages paid in advance, and a liberal present of money made besides.  On Christmas Day, also, every man, woman, and boy receives a further present.  Our co-operative stores and manufacturing societies do not do better than this.  This was done by one who, as a Baltimore boy at fourteen, got himself a place in a book store, beginning life in that self-reliant way.  It is rarely that workmen who have become masters themselves treat their own workmen in the spirit of gentlemen.

    When Mr. Child bought the "Ledger" of Philadelphia he excluded from its columns all reports which could not be read in a family, or that poison and inflame the passions of young men, and all scandal, slang, and immoral advertisements.  He doubled the price of the paper, and increased the rates of advertising.  The paper was at a low ebb when he took it; it sank lower now.  His friends warned him that this would never do; that popularity meant sensation; that common people would not buy common sense, nor would advertisers prefer a journal of good taste.  Nevertheless, Mr. Child went on.  He engaged good writers, paid good wages, and made a great paying paper.  People in England would not expect this could be done in America.  I know nothing in journalism more honorable than Mr. Child's sagacity and courage herein, or to the good sense of the people of Philadelphia who gave their support to this unwonted and unexpected enterprise.

    In that city the co-operators were to make arrangements for my lecture, but it fell to my unfailing friends, Mr. Worsley and Mr. T. Stevenson (both formerly of England) to do it.  As I wished to go to Reading, in Pennsylvania, the directors of the railway offered me a special engine to take me there, and gave me introductions in Reading, to secure me seeing objects of interest.  I said I intended to stay all night, my object being to be present at one of Col. Ingersoll's lectures before my return.  The answer was: "The engine shall stay for you and bring you back next day."  If I could recall it, I should mention the name of a Philadelphia gentleman, who, quite unknown to me previously, showed me costly courtesies, who appeared to know everybody, who introduced me to the Mayor, and took me to see the famous halls where the historic relics of American liberty are deposited, and where the Declaration of Independence was signed.  In one of them I saw an oil
painting of Thomas Payne.  How it came there, or why it remained there, nobody knew.  It was more intellectual than Romney's portrait of him, which we cherish in England.  It was the only State memorial of the great Englishman I saw in America.

    While at Philadelphia I paid a visit to the Maple Spring Hotel of Wissahickon, occupied until his death by Joseph Smith, the "sheepmaker," described in my "History of Co­operation," and who died a few days after having had read to him (to his great satisfaction, as I was glad to learn) my account of his career in England.  Mrs. Smith and her family still occupy the hotel.  It was midnight when I entered it.  Though anxious to see his museum it was not until next morning that I cared to do it.  The objects in it were carved by his own hand, out of laurel roots, which abound on the banks of the sparkling Wissahickon, before which his hotel stands.  In 1839 I saw the Social Hall he built at Salford, which showed conventional prettiness in the use of colored glass, and I believed Mr. Smith had no originality, except that of humorous audacity on the platform.

    I expected to find his museum common-place and pretentious.  Whereas, I found the various rooms bearing the appearance of a forest of ingenuity, which a day's study would not exhaust.  There was nothing tricky about it.  Its objects were as unexpected as the scenes in the Garden of Eden must have been to Adam.  Noah's ark never contained such creatures.  Dore never produced a wandering Jew so weird as the laurel Hebrew who strode through these mimic woods.  Scenes from the Old Testament, groups of American orators, statesmen, and railway directors started up in the strange underwood, or held forth in the branches of trees.  Dr. Darwin would require a new theory of evolution to account for the wonderful creatures-beasts, birds, and insects—which confront you everywhere.

    An American Dante, if there be such a one, might find ample material for a new poem in this wooden inferno.  The mind of man never conceived such grotesque creatures before; yet this was the work of in old agitator, executed between his seventieth and eightieth year, with no material but roots of trees, with no instrument but his pocket-knife and a pot of paint, and no resource but his marvellous imagination.  There were snakes that would fill you with terror; stump orators that would convulse you with laughter.  His Satanic Majesty strode on horseback; Mrs. Beelzebub is the quaintest old lady conceivable.  The foreign devils all had a special individuality.  There was the Mohammedan devil, the Indian devil practicing the Grecian bend, the Russian devil eating a broiled Turk, the Irish devil bound for Donnybrook fair, the French devil practicing a polka, the Dutch devil calling for more beer, the Chinese devil delivering a Fourth of July oration.  I observed no American devil—let us hope they have not one.  Mr. Smith's description of his creations endowed every creature with living attributes.  He illustrated his favorite doctrine of man being the creature of circumstances, by saying it was coming to live in the Schuylkill County which first developed in him the latent, slumbering organ of Rootology.  The Wissahickon Museum was the most original thing I saw in America.  I never felt so much the value of a man of energy, as when I missed his animated face as I entered the spacious Hall of St. George to speak, and saw it scarcely half full.  Had he been living he would have had it crowded.  He had the contagious enthusiasm of a hundred men in him.  It was the Hall of the Sons of St. George, a powerful association, composed, I understand, wholly or mainly of Englishmen, having lodges after the manner of the Odd Fellows.  Their hall is the handsomest I spoke in in America.  A fine, full-length painting of the Queen of England hangs in the centre of the platform.  Philadelphia is enviable for many things, and especially for having two mighty rivers running through it—the Delaware and the Schuylkill.  No wonder they extorted from the Irishman who first saw them the exclamation—"They were wonderful rivers for so young a country."

    An "open letter" was addressed to me in a Philadelphian paper by Mr. Thomas Stephenson, characterized by those qualities of frankness and kindness which made interesting his communications to the press in the old country.  It related to topics upon which I was told people in Philadelphia would like to hear my opinions.  In my answer published in "The Trades," I said "I regarded advocacy as an art by which truth is presented with clearness and fairness.  Conciliation simply means intellectual justice to those who differ from you, and this should be observed towards all opponents, whether they observe it towards us or not.  As to speaking in Philadelphia, I shall only have time to treat of co-operation.  My rule is always to speak on what I undertake to speak, and not on any other subject.  As to other opinions of mine, I am too dainty and too proud to indulge any one with a word upon them unless it is desired to hear them.  I am not a hawker of opinions.  I regard new truth as a treasure to be displayed only as a privilege."

    When my letter appeared in the journal to which it was addressed, I was amused to observe that it was two-thirds longer than when I wrote it.  The editor had come to the conclusion that I had made it short from want of time on my travels, and had kindly enlarged it for me.  It no doubt gave the readers a better idea of my versatility and originality, for it contained two styles and two kinds of thought, and dealt with topics of which I had no knowledge.

    Cincinnati is certainly an alluring city.  Its enterprising motto is "L'audace toujours l'audace."  Let us hope it will have the audacity to get rid of the smoke, which is accumulating in it.  On looking down upon it from the hills, it reminded me of Sheffield.  Away out of the town there is an elevated cemetery of surpassing beauty, a perfect park of the dead.  My object there was to visit the grave of a young man, the son of a valued friend of my student days in Birmingham.  The youth had won real friends in Cincinnati, who, together with his comrades, had put up a handsome memorial of him.  A railway line runs through the cemetery.  But so great and umbrageous is the place that the railway scarcely mars its beauty.  My lost friend desired his grave to be within sound of the passing carriages, which, with a touch of Pagan poetry, he associated with the return journey home, of which he thought he should be conscious as he slept.  I went also to a grave in Hamilton, Canada, with Mr. Charlton, to lay flowers on the last resting place of his daughter; and was surprised to find there also that the grave plot purchased by a family was large, like the field of Machpelah, purchased by Abraham.

    In Cincinnati, I had the pleasure to meet with the family of my old friend and coadjutor in London, Mr. Robert Leblond.  One morning I went to hear the Rev. Charles W. Wendte, the Unitarian minister, a man of fine parts and devotional inspiration.  It was the harvest festival of the church.  All around the altar was a splendid affluence of the rich fruits of the season, some of which were given to me.  The discourse was upon the cheerful character of Jewish festivals, which I knew not before were so alluring.  In the afternoon Mr. Wendte occupied the chair at Pike's Opera House, where I delivered the first address of the season to the Unity Club, a society which gives ten-cent lectures to the people on Sunday afternoon.  I was given £15 for a discourse of one hour, the largest sum I ever received for an address.  I generally spoke in America for the pleasure of speaking, but the churches always volunteered me what was called the "pulpit fee," which varied according to the resources of the congregation.

    The Cincinnati "Commercial," which permitted me to explain in its columns practical details of co-operation, recorded that I "advised those who would help in the progress of society, to stand close to truth. It has been said that truth will take care of itself if let alone.  Still, in view of misadventure, we had better keep near to her."

    In Cincinnati, where I was the guest of Mrs. Wilder, I observed that, in directing me to places I had to visit, she said, "Go east, go west," from this point or that.  I told her that such directions did not assist me in the least.  In Scotland, this peculiar language was common, but in England it was never heard.  "Then, how do you go about," she inquired, "if not by the compass?"  I replied, England was, as she had heard, a small country, and we had no room for the points of the compass.  "Then, what do you do when you ask your way?" she said.  I answered, "We ask for the place we want to go to."  If we asked a policeman in the streets whether we should turn east or west, he would inquire of his superintendent if he knew such a place.  We ask for Chelsea, or Islington, or Whitechapel.  We have in London an East End and a West End, but they are names of districts, not of a geographical quarter.  We have no North End, no South End, and nobody conceives that Southwark is in the south.  If Board Schools were to teach such things, we should have Lord Sandon, or some other Tory, make a motion in Parliament to lower the standard of education, lest the common people should know too much, and be discontented with that station to which God had called them.  Mrs. Wilder said, in a kindly and pitying way. "The English are a strange people."  Writing to Mrs. Wilder, afterwards, I dated my letter "West of Somewhere," saying she would know where I was though I did not.

    Good Americans are said to go to Paris when they die; but it appears to depend upon whether they have been to Chicago first.  I like, the pleasant egotism of its citizens.  All towns are not fortunate in their names.  The syllables in New York come together like a nut-cracker, and Boston is quite a mouthful, almost beyond management; but Chicago is the most musical, full-spoken name a great city ever bore.  A place with such a name could not be poor or mean.

    The Chicago "Tribune" had an amusing paper entitled "A Bamboozled Reformer," founded upon an interview with me, furnished by its own reporter.  It did not mean that the reporter had set me on wrong tracks, but that members of the State Socialist party had, who happened not to have been near me.  With the customary fairness of the American press, the next day the editor printed a letter from me, which he put under the title "Mr. Holyoake Explains."  What I explained was, that while his observations were clever and just upon what I was reported to have said, I never said it.  By some fault of expression on my part the interviewer misconceived my meaning.

    The fairness and ability with which his report was made left no doubt that the fault must have been mine.  Addressing the editor, I added: "My impressions agree with yours, that employers in America recognize in their work-people claims of equality beyond that of any other country, but upon that I know too little to express an opinion, and expressed none.  What I said was that in England strikes were often produced by acts of contempt of the claims of men, and prolonged and embittered by words of outrage which impute dishonoring motives and intentions to them.  I have neither met nor have any knowledge of the Socialist leaders whom you name.  If their objects and methods are such as you describe, they know well that they are not mine.  At the same time, if their objects are, as I should suppose them to be, to improve the condition of labor and secure it a fair and permanent proportion of its fruits, I should approve of those objects.  Co-operation, in which I am interested, seeks the same ends, but by self-help, by reason; not by violence, but by creating new wealth—not confiscating any which exists, which would be fatal to the security of the property of workmen when they acquire it.  The policy of co-operation, which has met with the approval of the great leaders of the two great parties in England—Mr. Gladstone and Earl Derby—is not likely to be one of confiscation, or unfair or unfriendly to the rightful interest of employers.  You are quite wrong in thinking that I come here to promote the emigration of the idle to this country.  The idle are they with whom I have no sympathy, and they are precisely the people who never think of emigrating.  While I think there are better methods open to industry than that of strikes, I pray you to permit me to state that many of those who have engaged in strikes have been the most honest and industrious men I have known."

    This and other incidental quotations serve to preserve in these pages a substantial record of what was said on co­operation during my visit.

    In Chicago I had the pleasure of receiving an invitation from the Rev. Brooke Herford, whose name is widely known and regarded in Manchester, and whom I found distinguished in Chicago for the usefulness we have recognized in England.  I was surprised to find his church so large, handsome, and cathedral-like in the interior, without the coldness of aspect common to cathedrals.  The Chicago "Tribune," the day after my visit, contained the following passage:


The pulpit of the Church of the Messiah (the Rev. Brooke Herford's church), at the corner of Michigan avenue and Twenty-third street, was occupied on last evening by Mr. George Jacob Holyoake, of London, England, who delivered a lecture on "Co-operation."  In introducing him the pastor stated that Mr. Holyoake had been a friend of his of thirty years' standing.  As he (the pastor) had, in the days of their early acquaintance, been accorded the privilege of preaching from secular pulpits, so, now, he was glad of the opportunity to have a secular subject presented by Mr. Holyoake from his pulpit.


    Ithaca is not a great city, except in the distinction of being the seat of the Cornell University, the most perfectly secular university that I have known.  They there teach the arts of usefulness as well as learning, and rear the students to be citizens as well as scholars.

    Professor White, the President of the Cornell University, was absent in Europe, he being appointed United States Minister to a foreign court.  The acting president is the Rev. Dr. Russell.  His daughter, the wife of the Rev. Mr. Sharmann of Plymouth (England), had given me a letter of introduction to her father.  The train which brings you to Ithaca travels round and round a mountain, so that I saw the stars shining over the valley of Ithaca three times before arriving at the station.

    Professor Russell met me, and drove me to the pretty and learned eminence on which the president's house stands, and around which the University buildings are spread.  After dinner we fell to discoursing on co-operation, the Professor having long years ago taken an interest in it.  He asked me if I would address the students upon it.  It never occurred to me to speak at the University, and I asked naturally what I could say.  "Say what you have been saying to me," was the answer.

    Next morning at 10 o'clock a written notice affixed on the chapel door told the students that Mr. Holyoake would address them there at 12 o'clock.  Including fifty ladies who graduate there, four hundred and fifty students were present.  Every seat was filled as the president entered, who was received with what resounded against the roof like a hailstorm of cheers.  I never heard anything so distinct and consentaneous elsewhere.  I was about to join in the cheers when I remembered what befell Mark Twain, when he was one of the guests at a Mansion House dinner in London, who relates that a gentleman at his side was discoursing to him on the religious prospects of Great Britain in the future, when he heard a loud clapping of hands at the name of some guest being announced.  The applause swept Mr. Twain into its vortex and he arose and clapped his hands.  "Who is it I am cheering?" he asked of his friend.  "It is yourself," was the reply.  The students were not specially cheering, but some of their applause was probably intended as an expression of their hospitality to their visitor.

    As my address in the University Church was upon the "Moral Effects of Co-operation upon Industrial and Commercial Society," from fifty to sixty members of the Social Science Club met at the president's house by his invitation in the evening, when, during a conversation of three hours, the policy and practice of co-operation were discussed.

 
CHAPTER VIII.

AMERICAN ORATORS.


THERE are many persons who have no very bright idea of American oratory.  The splendid roll of Webster's eloquence is known but to few.  The popular idea of an American orator is of a vivacious speaker who smells a rat, sees it floating in the air, and nips it in the bud.  Yet there is speaking in America which is not volubility­speaking which presents that swift compression of words, that newness and force of thought, that freshness of facts and display of imminent consequences by a luminous imag­ination, compelling the hearer to action—which all men agree to call oratory.

    The public speaker is clear, full, ready, and exact.  His province is to instruct and satisfy the understanding.  The orator inspires the passions.  When the speaker ceases the hearer sees what has to be done; when the orator ceases they do it.

George William Curtis
(1824-92)

   On the day I had the honor of an interview with President Hayes, at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, the Seventh Regiment held a fair in its new armory.  Speeches were made by Mayor Cooper and George William Curtis.  President Hayes was escorted by the regiment from the Fifth Avenue Hotel to the armory.  Mr. Curtis I everywhere heard spoken of as a politician of principle and integrity.  Being unable to accept his invitation to visit him at his seat, at Ashfield, I have no personal knowledge of his manner of speaking, save from the few words he spoke at the Saratoga Convention.  The following are the passages from his oration at the Armory Fair.  No volunteer can read it without pride.  We have no such speech made to soldiers in England.  There is no "bunkum" in its chaste and vigorous words.  The New York papers reported that Mr. Curtis was welcomed with great cheering, and his voice rang out clear and strong, arresting the attention of the crowd that had become restless under its inability to hear the Mayor. Mr. Curtis said:


    "This brilliant presence and the splendid spectacle of to-day's parade recall another scene.  Through the proud music of pealing bugles and beating drums that filled the air as we came hither, I heard other drums and other bugles marking another march.  Under a waving canopy of red, white, and blue, through "a tempest of cheers two miles long," as Theodore Winthrop said, amid fervent prayers, exulting hopes, and passionate farewells, the Seventh Regiment marched down Broadway, on the 19th of April, eighteen years ago.   When you marched, New York went to the war.  Its patriotism, its loyalty, its unquailing heart, its imperial will, moved in your glittering ranks.  As you went you carried the flag of national union, but when you and your comrades of the army and navy returned, the stars and stripes shone not only with the greatness of a nation, but with the glory of its universal liberty.

    These are traditions that will long be cherished in this noble hall.  In great and sudden emergencies the State militia is the nucleus and vanguard of the volunteer army.  Properly organized, it furnishes the trained skill, the military habit and knowledge, without which patriotic zeal is but wind blowing upon the sails of a ship without a rudder.  No public money is more economically spent, no private aid is more worthily given, than that for supporting the militia amply, generously, and in the highest discipline.  Other countries maintain enormous armies by enormous taxation.  The citizen suffers that the soldier may live.  Our kinder fate enables us, at an insignificant cost, to provide in the National Guard not only the material of an army, but a school of officers to command it.  A regiment like the Seventh, and the other renowned regiments of the city, is not only in its degree the model of an admirable army, but it is a military normal school.  It teaches the teacher.  Six hundred and six members of this regiment received commissions as officers in the volunteer army; three rose to be major-generals, nineteen to be brigadiers, twenty-nine to be colonels, and forty-five lieutenant-colonels.

    Mr. Commander, on this happy day every circumstance is auspicious.  The Mayor of the city in which your immediate duties lie, presides over the vast and brilliant assembly which throngs these beautiful bazaars.  The Chief Magistrate of the Union, who may, in a sudden danger, call you into the national service, leaving the National Capital, gladly dignifies the occasion with his presence.  Great officers of the United States and of the State are here to attest their grateful interest in the prosperity of the New York Militia and National Guard.  So should it be, for in the hands of this gallant regiment the flag of the Union and the flag of the State are intertwined.  Their honor and their glory are inseparable.  The welfare of the States is the happiness of the Union.  The power of the Union is the security of the States.  God save the State of New York!  God save the United States of America!


    I have twice abridged this speech and twice restored it.  I give it now as it was spoken.  Soldiers in England will read it with interest for its fine animation, and civilians for its instruction as respects the military policy of a republic.  Last year Mr. Curtis made an oration on unveiling a statue of Robert Burns in the Central Park at New York.  No oration that I read at the time of the Centenary of Burns equalled this in splendor of expression and discrimination between what was unwise in the poet's life and imperishable in his genius.

Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll
(1833-99)

   The next example I quote is also inspired by military memories.  The orator is Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll.  Some orators have argument without wit; some have wit without humor; some have humor without pathos; some have pathos without passion; some have passion without imagination.  Ingersoll has all these qualities.  Everybody knows this in America.  Mr. James White, formerly M.P. for Brighton, who traveled in America when Ingersoll made campaign speeches for Hayes, told me that no orations at that time had the character and originality of Ingersoll's, whose late campaign speeches for President Garfield displayed yet greater qualities.  During the nights that we sat up together in Washington, telling stories of propagandist adventure, I heard the Colonel relate things which others present had heard before.  Yet every one was as much moved to indignation and laughter as I was, who heard them for the first time.  The following speech was made at the great banquet given to General Grant in Chicago, on his return from Europe.  Sherman and Sheridan also sat at the table.  The speech is in the Colonel's graver mood, the subject being in memory of the soldiers who fell in the great war for the freedom of the colored race.  Col. Ingersoll said:


    When slavery in the savagery of the lash, and the insanity of secession confronted the civilization of our country, the question, "Will the great Republic defend itself?" was asked by every lover of mankind.  The soldiers of the Republic were not seekers for vulgar glory, neither were they animated by the hope of plunder or love of conquest.  They were the defenders of humanity, the destroyers of prejudice, the breakers of chains, and, in the name of the future, slew the monster of their time.  They blotted out from our statute books the laws passed by hypocrites at the instigation of robbers, and tore with brave and indignant hands from the Constitution of the United States, that infamous clause that made men the catchers of their fellow men.  They made it possible for judges to be just, for statesmen to be humane, and for politicians to be honest.  They broke the shackles from the limbs of slaves, from the souls of masters, and from the Northern brain.  They kept our country on the map of the world and our flag in Heaven.  They rolled the stone from the sepulchre of progress, and found therein two angels clad in shining garments—nationality and liberty.

    The soldiers were the saviors of the Republic; they were the liberators of men.  In writing the Proclamation of Emancipation, Lincoln, greatest of our mighty dead, whose memory is as gentle as a summer air when reapers sing amid gathered sheaves, copied with the pen what the grand hands of brave comrades had written with their swords.  Grander than the Greek, nobler than the Roman, the soldiers of the Republic, with patriotism as careless as the air, fought for the rights of others, for the nobility of labor, and battled that a mother should own her child, that arrogant idleness might not scar the back of patient toil, and that our country should not be a many-headed monster, made of warring states, but a nation, sovereign, grand, and free.  Blond was as water, money was as leaves, and life was only common air, until one flag floated over one Republic, without a master and without a slave.  There is another question still.  Will all the wounds of war be healed?  I answer, yes.  The Southern people must submit, not to the dictation of the North, but to a nation's will and the verdict of mankind.  Freedom conquered them, and freedom will cultivate their fields, will educate their children, will weave robes of wealth, will execute the laws, and fill their land with happy homes.  The soldiers of the Union saved the South as well as the North.  They gave us a nation.  They gave us liberty here, and their grand victories have made tyranny the world over as insecure as snow upon the lips of volcanos.

    And now let us drink to the volunteers, to those who sleep in unknown and sunken graves, whose names are known only to the hearts they loved and left—of those who oft in happy dreams can see the footsteps of return.  Let us drink to those who died where lifeless famine mocked at want.  Let us drink to the maimed, whose scars give to modesty a tongue.  Let us drink to those who dared and gave to chance the care and keeping of their lives.  Let us drink to all the living and to all the dead—to Sherman, and to Sheridan, and to Grant, the laureled soldiers of this world, and last to Lincoln, whose life, like a bow of peace, spans and arches all the clouds of war.

Old South Meeting House, Boston

    Only one volume of the orations of Wendell Phillips has been published.  In 1875 he presented to me the last copy which remained.  A new edition is now spoken of, which, if annotated, would certainly greatly interest English readers.  The passages I quote are from subsequent orations, which appeared in occasional pamphlets at the time.  The qualities of Mr. Phillips' speaking, I have already described.  The quality of thought in these passages is so unlike what Englishmen expect in an American speech, that, on reading them, I sent copies to a great orator at home, who was not likely to have seen them.  In Washington Street, Boston, stands the Old South Church, which, in its day, was probably the finest church, or one of the finest in the United States.  The owners proposed to sell it, as its site had become valuable for commercial purposes.  The price they put upon it was $450,000.  Many patriotic ladies in Boston were desirous of saving it, and Mr. Phillips was asked to deliver orations with a view to obtain the necessary funds.  He made one oration in the State House, with a view to induce the State to buy it, and another in the church itself, commonly spoken of as the Old South.  The funds came to hand eventually, and the church was saved.  The passage first following is from the speech in the Old South Meeting House.  The statement of the terrors excited by the idea of universal suffrage, the nature of the courage which took the risk of it, has never been put so vividly by any other orator.  Mr. Phillips said:


I think that the State, on the broadest consideration of duty, is bound to give its citizens something more than the knowledge of arithmetic and geography.  It does well to supplement the common school and the university with that monument at Concord.  I passed through your hall as I came up.  For what has the State set up the bust of Lincoln there?  A fortnight ago I looked in the face of Sam Adams in the Rotunda at Washington.  What did the State send that statue there for?  It was only a sentiment!  For what did she spend ten thousand dollars in setting up a brand new piece of marble, commemorating the man who spoke those words under the roof of the Old South?  It will take a hundred years to make it venerable.  It will take one hundred years to make that monument on Boston Common venerable.  You have got the hundred years funded in the Old South, which you cannot duplicate, which you cannot create.  A package was found among the papers of Dean Swift, that old fierce hater, his soul full of gall, who faced England in her maddest hour, and defeated her with his pen, charged with a lightning hotter than Junius.  Wrapped up amid his choicest treasures was found a lock of hair.  "Only a woman's hair," was the motto.  Deep down in that heart, full of strength, fury, and passion, there lay this fountain of sentiment; undoubtedly it colored and gave strength to all that character.  When they flung the heart of Wallace ahead in the battle, and said, "Lead, as you have always done!" what was the sentiment that made a hundred Scotchmen fall dead over it to protect it from capture?  When Nelson, on the broad sea, a thousand miles off telegraphed, "England expects every man to do his duty," what made every sailor a hero?  If you had given him a brand new flag of yesterday, would it have stirred the blood like that which had faced the battle and the breeze a thousand years?  No, indeed!  Nothing but a sentiment, but it made every sailor a Nelson.

    They say the Old South is ugly.  I should be ashamed to know whether it is ugly or handsome.  Does a man love his mother because she is handsome?  Could any man see that his mother was ugly?  Must we remodel Sam Adams on a Chesterfield pattern?  Would you scuttle the "Mayflower," if you found her Dutch in her build?

    But they say the Old South is not the Old South.  Dr. Ellis told us how few of the old bricks remained, which was the original corner, and which really heard Warren.  They say the human body changes in seven years.  Half a million of men gathered in London streets to look at Grant.  The hero of Appomattox was not there; that body had changed twice, it was only the soul.  The soul of the Old South is there, no matter how many or few of the original bricks remain.  It does not change faster than the human body; and yet all the science in the world could not have prevented London from hurrahing for Grant, or from being nobler when it had done so.  Once in his life the most brutal had felt the distant and the unseen, and done homage to the ideal.


The next passage is from his oration in the State House, with the object of inducing the Government of Massachusetts to save the historic old church.  Mr. Phillips reasoned thus:


    The times which President Eliot has so eloquently described were hours of great courage.  When Sam Adams and Warren stood under that old roof, knowing that, with a little town behind them, and thirteen sparse colonies, they were defying the strongest Government, and the most obstinate race in Europe, it was a very brave hour.  When they set troops in rank against Great Britain, a few years later, it was reckless daring.  History and poetry have done full justice to that element in the character of our fathers, nothing more than justice.  We can hardly appreciate the courage with which a man in ordinary life steps out of the ranks, makes a crisis, while no opinion has yet been ripened to protect him, not knowing whether the mass will rise to that level which shall make it safe—make a revolution instead of a mere revolt.  But there was a much bolder element in our fathers' career than the courage which set an army in the field—than even the courage which faced arrest and imprisonment, and a trial before a London jury.  That, as I think, was the daring which rested this Government, after the battle was gained, on the character of the masses—on the suffrage of every individual man.  That was an in finitely higher and serener courage.  You must remember, Mr. Chairman, no State had ever risked it.

    There never had been a practical statesman who advised it.  No previous experiment threw any light on that untried and desperate venture.  Greece had her republics—they were narrowed to a race, and rested on slaves.  Switzerland had her republics—they were the republics of families.  Holland had her republic—it was a republic of land-owners.  Our fathers were to cut loose from property, from the anchorage of landed estates; they were to risk what no State had ever risked before, what all human experience and all statesmanship considered stark madness.  Jefferson and Sam Adams, representing two leading States, may be supposed to have looked out on their future, and contemplated cutting loose from all that the world had regarded as safe—property, privileged classes, a muzzled press.  It was a pathless sea.  But they had that serene faith in God, that it was safe to trust a man with the rights He gave him.  These forty millions of people have at last achieved what no race, no nation, no age, hitherto has succeeded in doing.  We have founded a Republic on the unlimited suffrage of the millions.  We have actually worked out the problem that man, as God created him, may be trusted with self-government.  We have shown the world that a Church without a bishop, and a State without a king is an actual, real, everyday possibility.

    A hundred years ago our fathers announced this sublime, and as it seemed then, foolhardy declaration, that God intended all men to be free and equal—all men, without restriction, without qualification, without limit.  A hundred years have rolled away since that venturous declaration, and to-day, with a territory that joins ocean to ocean, with forty millions of people, with two wars behind her, with the grand achievement of having grappled with the fearful disease that threatened her central life, and broken four millions of her fetters, the great Republic, stronger than ever, launches into the second century of her existence.  The history of the world has no such chapter, in its breadth, its depth, its significance, or its bearing on future history.

    France has proved, and it has been proved in a variety of cases, that the sort of education that makes a State safe is the education, the training that results in character. It is the education that is mixed up with this much abused element which y you call "sentiment." It is the education that is rooted in emotions, of slow growth, the result of a variety, an infinite variety of causes; the influence of books, of example, of a devout love of truth, reverence for great men, and sympathy for their unselfish lives; the influence of a living faith, the study of nature, keeping the heart fresh by the sight of human suffering and efforts to relieve it; surrendering one's self to the emotions which link us to the past and interest us in the future, and thus lift us above the narrowness of petty and present cases; using ourselves to remember that there is something better than gain and more sacred than life.


    Never before was "sentiment," which "practical" men are accustomed to contemn, so brilliantly vindicated, or its place and influence on national character so discerningly and vividly described.

 
CHAPTER IX.

FAMOUS PREACHERS.


THE pulpits in the places of worship I visited were not like the English preaching barrels, but were rather altars, with space around them, so that the preacher had full freedom of motion: and like the Precenter's desk in Scotch churches, the American pulpits are lower than ours, so that the minister is among the people.  Over the reading desk in Mr. Herford's pulpit, in Chicago, a gas jet is made to burn.  The light is concealed from the spectator so that the countenance of the preacher can be seen unconfused by a blaze of light.  At the same time its strong rays fall on the pages before him, so that he sees with certainty.  This contrivance, I observed, is a common appendage to an American pulpit, though unknown in England.

    When I was in Hamilton, the first city in Canada you reach after leaving Niagara, the Mayor had kindly come down to the Grand Hotel to take me to visit the Fair.  As I stepped into his carriage, he said, "That is the Rev. Mr. Beecher sitting in the shade at your door."  Thereupon I said, "I must go and speak to him."  In the angle of the portico sat a gentleman reading a newspaper: he was dressed in black, and wearing a wide-brimmed white felt hat that served to intercept the stray rays of the fierce sun on the letterpress.  Approaching him I said, "Mr. Beecher, eighteen years ago you told me that when I was next near to you, I was to come to you, and not write to you.  This is the first time since, that I have had the opportunity of seeing you—how do you do?"  He rose, looked at me with his dark, bright eyes, and shaking hands with me very cordially said, "I am delighted to see you—but who are you?"  I answered, "Mr. Holyoake, of London."  "Are you," he said, "George Jacob Holyoake?"  Upon answering "yes," I found I had no reason to regret the abruptness with which I had introduced myself.  He desired me, when next I returned to New York, to let him know my address, as he wished to have a morning conversation with me.  Some weeks later, being again in New York, I sent him the information, but no reply or visit followed.  One Sunday morning I went over the water to hear him preach in his church at Brooklyn.  The church was very crowded, and when my friend who accompanied me, mentioned to one of the officers of the church that I was a stranger from London, and desirous of hearing the famous preacher, a convenient seat was found or made for me.

    While we were singing I looked over the hymn, in which were the following lines:


Let Heaven begin the solemn word,
And send it dreadful down to hell.


    It was a hymn of Dr. Watts's.  If I remember rightly these were among the lines we sang.  I wondered how a man of Mr. Beecher's cultivated taste could admit lines so painful and discordant to appear in a hymn book of his church.  The solemn words of religion ought not to be "dreadful," and if they were "dreadful " there must be enough of misery in hell without sending them there.  Mr. Beecher's discourse, like all he delivers, was very remarkable.  With the greater part I could entirely coincide.  It contained a vivid description of the scantiness of the general records of Christianity so far as it was promulgated by the scriptural founder.  Christ had written nothing himself.  Those who professed to record what he said were themselves mostly illiterate.  No stenography existed in Judea.  Though we are told the world would not contain all the books if his sayings were fully reported, we have but a comparatively brief record of them; we cannot, therefore, fully judge of their beauty, completeness, nor variety.  Through whose hands the apostolic records have passed, what changes they sustained, what interpolations they have suffered, no man can tell.  It was impossible not to be impressed in favor of Christianity preached with this manly candor.

    The discourse was founded upon a text where Christ takes leave of his disciples, promising to communicate with them on another occasion fuller particulars of his mission.  His crucifixion following, a fuller communication was never made.  Hence, argued the preacher, we know not all that really was in the mind of Christ.  After mentioning two cardinal subjects upon which Christ would have undoubtedly spoken, had his life been prolonged, the preacher came to the third.  All along, he had spoken in an undertone, low and clear, which penetrated to every part of the chapel, then breaking into his familiar loudness and finished emphasis of tone, and looking down to where I sat, he said, "The third subject upon which Christ would have spoken, foreseeing, as he must have done, the future needs of society—would have been Co-operation."  I was startled at the communication.  I had heard that Mr. Beecher had a quick eye to perceive and identify strangers in his congregation.  He certainly could not have known that I should be there, and if his introduction of co-operation was a coincidence, it was remarkable, and if designed after becoming aware of my being there, it was a masterpiece of facility of resource.  What he said was expressed as an inseparable part of narration, which was delivered throughout with unerring, unhesitating precision.  His language, manner, and action were more finished than when I heard him in Exeter Hall, in the days of the civil war.  His preaching is entirely that of a gentleman as well as an orator; and from what I read of lectures of his delivered elsewhere, while I was in the States, I judge that his reputation depended, not only upon his excellence as a speaker, but upon the boldness and originality of idea found more or less in every address.

    There are other preachers in America who preach with perhaps equal brilliance, but I heard of no one who speaks so frequently with such sustained newness of thought.  What he said upon co-operation, as a new element promising to instil more morality into commercial life, showed a complete comprehension of its character.  The sacrament followed the morning service on that day, and as I could not be a communicant I left, as my presence there could only have implied a curiosity inconsistent with the spirit of the ceremony.  As a hearer in the church I was, as it were, a natural guest of the congregation, while only those of a common conviction could be properly present at a communion service.  Otherwise I should have remained, for the sake of speaking with Mr. Beecher again at the close.  Anyhow, I caused information to reach him that day of the hours I should be happy to see him at the Hoffmann House, or when I could call upon him at Brooklyn Heights, if that was more convenient to him, but Mr. Beecher made no sign.

    A few weeks later, being again in Boston, I mentioned to Wendell Phillips the circumstance.  "O," he said, "that is just like Beecher.  A friend of his, who had been to Europe, met with some choice ecclesiastical engravings, which he believed it would give Mr. Beecher great pleasure to possess.  They were of some value, and after he had had them mounted he sent them to him.  Months elapsed, and he had no acknowledgment of them.  At length he sent a note saying he did not desire to trouble Mr. Beecher to write a letter to him, but he should be glad of just a word by which he might know that the parcel had not mis-carried.  No answer arrived.  One day, some three months later, the presenter of the engravings was passing down the Lexington Avenue, at a point where the streets cross at right angles: a gentleman, rapidly walking, came in collision with him, and who, prodding him on the breast, said, 'I got your parcel,' and darted on.  It was Mr. Beecher, and that was his acknowledgment."  Mr. Phillips said Mr. Beecher was a busy man, upon whom so many public and private duties were pressed, that his desire to serve the many often deprived him of the opportunity, which would be very pleasant to him, of showing courtesy to individuals.  Though we never met more, Mr. Beecher sent me a very genial letter on my leaving America, which, being characteristic of the writer, I may cite here:

Henry Ward Beecher
(1813-87)

BROOKLYN, N. Y., 124 Columbia Heights.

    Dear Sir:  I did want to see you, and set several days to call, but the pressure of home duties obliterated every arrangement I had made, and you will go home leaving me only two snatches of a sight of you.

    You will leave a good impression behind you.  I admire your prudence and your good spirit, and am deeply interested in the cause that you have so much at heart.  The egg once hatched can never get back to egg again.  The working men of the world can never get back to what are called the "good old days."  They must go forward.  In finding the path the pioneers will make many circuits and track back again a good many times.  While my mind naturally has led me to think more of the intellectual and moral elevation of the common people than of their commercial and industrial necessities, I have not been unmindful of these other things, and have rejoiced to see such experiments made as those which you narrate.  In every feasible plan for the enlargement of the great under mass of men I am with you heart and hand.

I hope the sea may deal gently with you.  May He "who hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, who sitteth King upon the flood," preserve you and let you see prosperity for all the rest of your days.                 Very cordially yours,
                                                                                       H
ENRY WARD BEECHER.


    It is clear from this letter that Mr. Beecher remembered seeing me at Hamilton, Ontario, and in Brooklyn Church.  The "prudence" referred to was merely that of keeping the subject of co-operation clear of other things.  This was simply my duty.  It is a main condition of advocacy not to let the subject get confused in the public mind with any other subject.  For a new idea to be distinctly apprehended it must be seen many times, always seen distinctly, and seen by itself.

A short quotation from an address by Mr. Beecher on the "New Profession," meaning that of the teacher, I take from a Montreal report in the "Daily Witness."  It is an example of his oratory on the platform:


    Governments abroad were largely engaged in protecting themselves; the citizen was respected and feared abroad; the public feeling was that men were chiefly valuable as the stuff with which to build the State.  In America the theory was reversed; here the individual man was the central figure, the nation his servant.  In Europe the emphasis was put on the Government of a nation; in this country on the man.  The great forces now working in this country were those which tended to elevate man and make him better and nobler.  We were developing the manhood of intelligence among the people.  The emigrants had been eggs in Europe, they were hatched here.  He held that the school was the stomach of the Republic.  The schools of America were that stomach by which all nations were digested and assimilated into Americans.

    Education should be compulsory.  The free common schools should be the best in every community.  It was a burning shame when public schools were not as good as private ones.  It was the foundation of the American idea of the development of manhood that the public school and all its appendages should be better than can be found anywhere else.  Its architecture ought to be better than that of the church; its rooms ought to be better than the best in our houses.  It was the duty of every commonwealth to make its school houses gems of art.  He believed that democratic simplicity in this respect was absurd.  He had hated the school house where he had attended, and had never learned anything, and he abhorred it to this hour.  We should not permit the injustice of instructing children in theologies.  It had been said that would be godless, but it was not so.  Was a carpenter's shop godless?  The churches and the households should teach theology.  It was not at all the work of the public schools.  It did not follow that we should let the child go without any religious education.  Let us teach him honesty, frugality, uprightness, and obedience to God and His law.  Our schools should have the full force of professional instruction.  They could not do their work while they were the mere stopping-places for non-professional men and women.  In law and medicine we require experience and professional talent, and it ought to be the same in teaching.  The profession of teaching should rise in dignity.  Its members should have larger pay.  Of all parsimony none was more contemptible than that which asked who was the cheapest teacher.


    The Rev. Dr. Robert Collyer, well regarded in England as in America, is of commanding stature, and has what in an Englishman is always to be admired—when found—confidence without arrogance.  Dr. Bartol, in describing Dr. Channing, the famous Boston preacher, stated his weight to be about one hundred pounds.  If oratory goes by weight, Dr. Collyer holds no mean rank.  When Dr. Channing, the slender, gave out the line of the hymn:


Angel, roll that stone away,


the congregation thought they heard it rumbling on its way.  If Dr. Collyer gave out the line they would really have heard it move—there is such genial authority in his voice.  When the deputation from a spacious church in New York came to Chicago, to invite Dr. Collyer to be their minister, they had but one misgiving "would his voice fill the place."  "If that is all," said the Doctor, "I shall do, for my voice is cramped in Chicago."  His voice would reach across a prairie.  If John the Baptist spoke with his pleasant power, I do not wonder that the desert was crowded with hearers.  Strong sense borne on a strong voice is influential speaking.  When weighty sense sets out on a weak voice, it falls to the ground before it reaches half the hearers.  At Dr. Collyer's church, in New York, I met the Poughkeepsie Seer, Andrew Jackson Davis.  I never met a Seer in the flesh, before, and was surprised to find that he was graceful, pleasant and human.  I congratulated him on the advantage he had over all of us, in having the secrets of two worlds at his disposal.

    The Rev. Robert Collyer was one of the few ministers who felt that it was his duty to protest against slavery, come what might.  He told the deacons of his congregation of his intent, who prayed him to reconsider it, as he would "burst up the church."  He answered like an Anglo-American, "Then it has got to burst."  He entered his pulpit in Chicago, and began his protesting sermon.  The war was coming then, but had not broken out.  He had not spoken long before he observed a commotion at the end of the church.  The hearers were conversing from pew to pew; the buzzing voices travelled near to him.  He thought the church was about to "burst up" before he had made his protest, when, seeing that he was ignorant of the cause of the commotion, a hearer leaped up and called out that the "Southerners had fired upon Fort Sumter."  That was the news that had set the worshippers on fire.  All the church leaped up with inconceivable emotion.  "Then," said the brave preacher, "I shall take a new text —'Let him who has no sword sell his garment and buy one."'  Then all the church went mad—Mr. Collyer said he was as mad as any of them—and the choir sang "Yankee Doodle."  The church witnessed a similar scene for several Sundays.  The churches were freed in a night from the yoke of slavery, and religion has been sweeter in America ever since.  Not only the almighty dollar was forgotten, but every family in the North, in the highest class as well as the humblest, gave a father or a son to die in the noblest war ever waged for freedom.

    Englishmen must have an imperishable respect for America, which made these sacrifices for a generous sentiment.  They fought for the freedom of a race which could not requite them, whom they did not like, and whose management would bring untold trouble upon them for years to come.  But they would no longer bear the shame of holding human beings in slavery.

    One of the remarkable preachers of New York is the Rev. Dr. Felix Adler, who was some time professor at Cornell University.  His father was an eminent Rabbi, but his son, Dr. Felix, while retaining all the passion and fervor of the Jewish faith, no longer insists upon its ceremonials, but rather upon the moral holiness of life.  He is the founder of a Church of Ethical Culture, which meets in the Chickering Hall, New York.  The congregation includes a large proportion of Jews, and at the morning service, at which I was present, there were 1,000 to 1,500 persons assembled.  The platform had no assistance from art, which it wanted.  But the preacher soon caused you to forget that.  Professor Adler is a slender, middle-statured gentleman, apparently thirty or thirty-five years of age, with a glistening eye and sleepy features, denoting rather latent passion than langor.  His voice is pleasant, with a sincere tone.  Stepping towards the front, but not in the centre of the copious stage of Chickering Hall, without altar, book, or note, he spoke for an hour with eloquence and enthusiasm, which held everybody in attention.

Chickering Hall, New York

    I never heard a discourse anywhere like his as to ideas.  His argument set forth that the Church believed in morality, not because God required it, but because humanity needed it; not because it might be rewarded hereafter, but because the reward of right-doing was here, and because the neglect of it followed every man like the shadow of an evil spirit, from which there was no escape.  The love of God and the hope of future life were graces of conviction.  God has not set his bow in the clouds more palpably than he has set the sign of morality in every house, in every street.  Men may disbelieve the priests, but they cannot disbelieve their own daily experience.  The gods had not left morality dependent upon the rise and fall of Churches.  The philosopher was a greater teacher of morality than the theologian.  Since the death of my friend, the Rev. Thomas Binney, who taught men "How to make the best of both worlds," I have heard from no pulpit arguments like those of the Rev. Dr. Adler.  The Church of culture and morality proves itself to be one of charity and enthusiasm.  One of the congregation, Mr. Joseph Seligman, had given $10,000 for promoting the kinder-garden schools of the Church, which had great repute.

 
CHAPTER X.

CO-OPERATION IN THE NEW WORLD.

 

Robert Collyer
(1823-1912)

THE reader has already seen some description of the meeting at Cooper Institute, New York, which was the most important meeting on co-operation in which I was concerned.  It was there I first met Dr. Robert Collyer, who presided.  The address I delivered was reprinted in many papers, and in the "Worker," in which it occupied nine columns.  Professor Raymond stated they had commenced the Cooper Union Lectures for the year, earlier than usual, as I was about to return to England, and they wished to commence with an address on co-operation.  Mr. Thomas Ainge Devyr, of the "Irish World," who was on the platform, was the first to advocate in Ireland that doctrine of Land Reform which has since occupied so much public attention.  About 1858, three years before the slave war broke out in America, he sent me from New York a printed statement of the causes whose operations would end in war.  It  was  a perfect political prophecy.

Peter Fennimore Cooper
(1791-1883)

    Mr. Devyr  raised  some  question  at  the Cooper Union as to its administration, when Mr. Peter Cooper, the founder, arose, handed to me his overcoat, and advancing to the front, spoke in a clear, frank voice, and without digression, vindicating his management by statistical facts which showed an accurate memory.  "We educate," he said, "2,000 people here, and now I am building a new story for the purpose of affording education to 1,000 more.  But I am glad," he added, "to hear suggestions which may enable me to make the place more useful.  As I grow older I hope to profit by sound advice (if I get it).  I am only now in my eighty-ninth year."  Thus pleasantly the practical patriarch of New York closed the discussion.  He bears a striking resemblance to Sir Josiah Mason; of Birmingham, who is but five years his junior, and who has equally distinguished himself by discerning educational munificence.  Mr. Cooper told me that his mother's house in her earlier years was barricaded against the attack of Indians in New York, which carries the memory a long way back.

    The author of "Our Visit to Hindostan," relates that at Ulwar, the political agent wished to plant an avenue of trees on either side of the road in front of the shops, for the purpose of giving shade, and had decided to put in peepul trees, which are considered sacred by the Hindoos; but the bunniahs, or native shopkeepers, one and all declared that if this were done they would not take the shops, and, when pressed for a reason, replied it was because they could not tell untruths or swear falsely under their shade, adding, "And how can we carry on business otherwise?"  The force of this argument seems to have been acknowledged, as the point was yielded, and other trees were planted instead.  This was the moral of my lecture.  I contended that co-operators could permit the peepul to be planted before their stores, as they could do business under their shade, having no taste and no interest in telling "untruths," or "swearing falsely" in business.  Co-operative inspiration is that which Wendell Phillips has defined in his oration on Garrison—it is character.  Co-operation is not merely a search for dollars—it is a search for honesty and equity in trade.  How can a man worship the good God of honesty in his church who has been cheating all the week over his counter or in his counting-house?  Next I endeavored to make clear the distinction between co-operation and State Socialism.  The adventures which befel me in consequence will be found in another chapter.

    One passage in the interview recorded in the "Tribune" was the following: "Have you a purchasing agency in New York?" "Yes. The English co-operators have been doing business in New York for five years.  Mr. Gledhill, the trusted agent of the great Co-operative Wholesale Society of Manchester, has occupied offices at No. 14 Broadway, since 1874.  During the past year we have made £10,000 or $50,000 of profit upon cheese alone bought in the New York market.  I find that since May last Mr. Gledhill has shipped from this city 60,000 boxes of cheese to Liverpool for the consumption of the co-operators of England, and, as the cheese no doubt has a good republican flavor, American principles are being rapidly assimilated into the British constitution."  This was the first intimation the citizens of New York had of the residence in their midst of an official representative of the Co-operative Wholesale Society of Manchester, in England.

    The Oneida community no entreaty induced me to go near.  My main reason was that a visit from me would have been in the papers, and it would have been thought at once that co-operation was some form of communism.  It was my duty to take care that co-operation should be seen as a distinct thing.  The communist may be a co-operator, but the co-operator may not be a communist.  Of all forms of communism in America, I least liked Oneidaism, with its special sexual theory which nobody can explain.  While I was there, Mr. J. H. Noyes, the leader of this society, announced what he called a "change of platform."  He had given up, he said, the practice of "complex marriages" in deference to the public sentiment "evidently rising against it."  Public sentiment always rose against it.  He stated that their society would in future take Paul's platform, which permits marriage, but allows celibacy.  It was stated, privately, that Mr. Noyes's son, who was a physician, refused to subject his wife to "complex marriage," and that this was the cause of its abandonment.  If the devisor of Oneidaism was convinced that complex marriage was wrong, it was manly to relinquish it.  Since, however, he admitted that he did not renounce the belief in his principle, the abandonment of it was therefore indefensible.  The Mormons behaved with more courage and consistency, and refused to follow Mr. Noyes's example, saying, "Why should we abandon our position unless we are convinced we are in error?"

    Since leaving America I have received many reports of public meetings, held in New York and elsewhere, to introduce co-operation on the English plan.  There appears no prejudice against any scheme which is good, whatever country it may originate in.  There would be more English features introduced into both America and Canada than there are, "were it not," as an intelligent observer told me in Ottawa, "that many Englishmen come over there filled with bitterness towards their own country, which tends to discourage the introduction of improvements on the English plan.  Nevertheless, co-operation has certainly won many friends.  Articles upon it, or reports concerning it, continually appear in the American papers.  The idea of a Wholesale Agency supplying genuine articles to the stores seemed to most persons one worth realizing.  Mr. A. R. Foote and the Rev. Dr. Rylance, of New York, have commenced to create a Wholesale Agency there.  Everything in America seems to be adulterated—the certainty that it will be, if it can be, seems to be taken for granted.  If co-operation takes root and changes this it will amount to the commercial re-education of the people.

    Roughly speaking, no commodity can be trusted.  Quinine pills are not real, candles are short of weight, and silk short of the yard.  Indeed, if stores were opened on the English plan—of genuineness of quantity and quality—they would be distrusted.  The public would suspect any store which proposed to treat them honestly.  They would think that somewhere the snake of interest lay concealed.  Yet there is reason to think that this distrust will be overcome, for there is no difficulty which discourages an American when he has fairly made up his mind that the thing he has in hand ought to be "put through."  If the people do resolve upon association they mean it, and one or more of the active associates bear the name of "organizing members."  This term has been introduced into England now, but in America they have long had the actual person.  In New York the gentleman who is one of the foremost in co-operative advocacy, Mr. Allan R. Foote, has a genius for organization.  He has written and published a scheme of a wholesale society and of co-operative stores, and written co-operative pamphlets which are interesting, brief and wise in expression, as well as business-like.  The following are some of the sentences he prints as mottoes in his small books of "Co-operative Laws":


"1. To grow rich, earn money fairly.  2. Spend less than you earn.  3. Hold on to the difference.  The first requires muscle; the second, self-denial; the third, brains."

"The competition of the individual system is for every man to see how much money he can divert into his own pocket from the pockets of those who labor for him.  The only competition possible in commercial co-operation is to see which store will put and keep the most money into the pockets of those who support it."

"If any man counsels you that you can gain wealth any other way except by working and saving, he is your enemy."  "If a man owns a sovereign, he is a sovereign to that extent.  If a man owes a sovereign, he is a slave to that extent."


    These are maxims worthy of consideration elsewhere than in America, and the ideas expressed have never been put better anywhere.  "Lectures on Social Questions," including Competition, Communism, Co-operation, and the Relation of Christianity to Socialism, are a series of the luminous discourses delivered by the Rev. Dr. J. H. Rylance in St. Mark's Church, New York, which would be read with great interest in England.

    The custom of a store is called the "patronage" of it.  It is odd that independent self-helping Americans should retain a word which is so distasteful and disused under our "effete monarchy."  In Mr. Foote's rules it is provided that "2½ per cent. of the surplus accruing shall be expended by the directors in such manner as in their judgment shall best serve the purpose of recreation and education of members."  Before this clause was drawn you had to look all about America to find a single society which made provision for education.  This arises partly because Americans have more education about their cities than any other country, and partly because they do not know that of the social education necessary for industrial concert—they have none.

    Mr. Charles H. White invited me to New Harmony, Indiana.  He told me that the old co-operators, who first formed a library there forty-two years ago, which was commenced with less than 100 volumes, has now 4,000.  The land and the old library were given by Mr. William Macguire.  The library tenement has been rebuilt, at a cost of more than 6,000 dollars.  A community, founded by Rapp, residing at Economy, near Pittsburg, assisted them by a contribution of 3,000 dollars.  Dr. Richard Owen arranged a collection of minerals and objects in natural history in the large room of the society devoted to lectures and discussions.

    At the close of a night's voyage from New York I arrived at Watuppa, at the east of Quequechan.  Watuppa is the Indian name for "the place of boats," and Quequechan signifies "falling water."  Its modern name is Fall River, the largest cotton manufacturing centre in America, running nearly a million and a half of spindles.  I spoke twice at Fall River, and at the Narragansett Hotel I met for the first time a real Russian Nihilist—a lady, wondrously restless and vehement.  On returning to the city I was the guest of Dr. Dwight Snow, the homœpathic physician, who printed outside his envelopes a scheme of the metric system, and with it a recommendation of its adoption, published by the Post-office, which showed a wise, practical interest in metric calculation.  Mr. King (editor of the "Fall River Herald,") we formerly knew in London as a man of varied information.  He spoke at one of the lectures, and gave accounts of them in his paper, which were far more effective than reports, since they combined criticism and fact stated as only a journalist can state them.  I owe many acknowledgments to the English as well as the Americans at Fall River.

    The Fall River Working Men's Co-operative Association occupies an entire block, consisting of several shop fronts.  Very few stores in England look more imposing.  Stores in America seem mostly to have been begun by two or three enterprising persons, who find the money to build the place and trust to the public coming to deal there.  Beginning, as we do in England, with a few small shareholders, and increasing the premises and business as new members are induced to join, and looking forward to the education of the neighborhood around it for increase of members and purchasing success, is a plan quite unknown in America.  Wondering whether this arose from the impetuosity of the people, I found it was partly due to this; but mainly to the laws affecting co-operation, which prevent the formation of stores on our plan.  Yet in a country so unfettered as America no one would expect industrial impediments.  On the contrary, there are complications in the air.  The Act passed in 1867 for the purpose of legalizing co-operative and industrial unions, prescribed that a capital of £1,000 must be found before commencing.  I pointed out that this law rendered co-operation impossible on the English plan, since poor men, who most needed co-operation, could never commence it.  However, when I pointed out that co-operation was legally impossible there as we conducted it, steps were at once taken to obtain a new law.  Mr. Strahan, a very able counsellor of New York, and a brother of the editor of the "Contemporary Review" in England, kindly undertook to make a draft of the Act required.  The one thing wanted in America to insure the success of co-operation is the art of "making haste slowly," which the new law will enable them to do.


 
CHAPTER XI.

STATE SOCIALISM IN AMERICA.


THE "Worker," which was published in New York when I arrived there, I found to be a species of American "Co-operative News," written with sense and taste.  Its object was to apply co-operative principles to emigration and village life.  In the first article I wrote in New York I said "there was no inflation in its language—the "Worker" proposes no new system—it does not undertake to clear the world, or recast the world, or begin all things anew.  It does not call upon the State to coddle the community and do everything for the people, but to assist the people to do something for themselves.  In England we do not want the State to overspread us like a universal mosquito, and suck all independence out of our working men.  Our great co-operative organizations have grown by being let alone.  Our aim always was to set up co-operative colonies which should be self-provided, self-directed and self-supported."  Before I wrote these words in New York, I had flattering offers of welcome from the Socialist Labor Party there, and at Fall River, at Chicago, at Cincinnati, San Francisco, and elsewhere.  Afterwards the welcomers came not.  The Socialist Labor Parties were absent from every meeting at which I spoke, as though they existed not.  There was no need for this suspicious abstention.  I was what I had always been—an advocate of the "republic democratic and social."  Nevertheless, in their absence, I defended the objects of the socialist party without accepting its methods of realizing them.  One who had given me proof of great friendliness, wrote to me concerning his colleagues in New York, saying:


    "Immediately after our interview last evening I called upon the president of the New Club, and he promised to send you a card giving you the freedom of the Club during your stay in America.  I also saw the editor of the "New Yorker Volks-Zeitung," our daily German Socialistic paper, and he (Mr. Alexander Jonas), together with Mr. S. E. Shevitch, of that journal, and the distinguished Russian Nihilist of whom I spoke, will call upon you at the Hoffman House some time to-morrow.

    "I enclose a page of the Chicago "Socialist," which, I think, will answer the query you made to me last evening as to the condition of Socialism in the United States.  In addition to the gentleman of the "Volks-Zeitung" who will visit you, the special committee of the Central Committee of the Socialistic Labor Party of New York City, will, I am confident, furnish you with the most satisfactory reports of how many thousands of earnest men in the United States are endeavoring to solve the great effort of your life—the success of co-operative industry."


    This friend gave me the first portrait of Lassalle I had seen, and promised me an introduction to the famous lady who became the chieftainess of a Lassalle party.

    Adherents such as that described in my friend's letter—numerous, influential, and organized in the name of Socialism and Labor—had great interest for me, and were well worth addressing.  It would have been a pleasure to know them.  The deputation referred to came.  It was my fault we did not meet.  I was at Coney Island the night they called.  The Council of Trades and Labor Union of Chicago, instructed Mr. C. M'Auliff, their secretary, to invite me to lecture on co-operation to the workmen of that city.  It was Mr. M'Auliff's fault we never met when I was there.  My answers to his letters were uncollected at his address.  It matters very little to me what other people say with whom I am associated, so long as they concede to me reasonable opportunity for expressing my own opinions, and do not force upon me the responsibility for those they hold and I do not.  I am not like the late M. Blanqui, who expected a perfect government to be carried out by perfect men, and arranged to kill all of them who did not come up to his standard at once.  In the "Trades" of Philadelphia, in which I myself wrote, appeared the following article, headed by the disturbing words, "Make Ready for Revolution:"


    The present order of things will go down in revolution and blood.  The accumulated corruptions, wrongs, and mistakes of two thousand years are near the bursting point.  The world does not know its danger.  A peaceable solution of the discords in the world is impossible.

    Property has no rights which humanity is bound to respect.  The wealth of the world belongs to labor.  The present possessors of the bulk of it are the possessors of stolen property stolen by themselves.

    We must seize and run all the great trunk lines of railroads and all the telegraph lines, and pay their owners a fair value in legal tender money redeemable in the wealth of the country.


    And much more to the same effect.  Friends who found me contributing to this furious journal must have thought I had turned into a Socialistic Comanche.  Those who made these peremptory proposals meant honestly in their way.  Though their terrific scheme of improvement is as appalling as oppression itself.

    I have said I met a real Nihilist lady at Fall River.  Many of these refugees meet with sympathy, on account of the oppression from which they have fled.  At the same time it would be to their advantage if their language was a little less disturbing among a free people.  Mr. P. Popoff, Russian Nihilist Secretary in New York, sent word that "Nihilism in Russia joined hands with the spinners on strike at Fall River."  The "Labor Standard" announced that the news, that Miss Le Compte was to be the Russian Nihilist delegate "flashed like lightning through the city."  The Spinners' Hall, in which she was to speak, "was packed to overflowing, hundreds being unable to find even standing room."  When she entered the hall, "escorted by a number of prominent labor men, it was a signal for an outburst of the wildest applause."  The Chairman then introduced Miss Le Compte, who said:


Comrades of Fall River—I am sensible of the honor you do me in asking me to deliver your Fourth of July address.  The Russian Nihilists are a terrible sort of people, most absurdly prepossessed in favor of public duty, and with no sympathy at all for the little human feelings of comfort or cowardice.  I went through your city, saw your mills like palaces and your houses like barns and pigsties, and I wondered at the effrontery of a corporation which provides such places of abode for the people who build and run such mills.  (Hear, hear.)  When the mill-owners, toadying as they do to the press, sent their agents to me soon after my arrival, to explain to me the "situation," as they called the strike, I told them I had seen the situation—I saw it on Six-and-a-half-street—and that if there should not be a strike on this particular point of wages, there should be a strike against homes that are hog-pens.  (Applause.)  While awaiting your return, and hearing of the hardness and heartlessness of the manufacturers, and seeing everywhere the damning evidences of their rapacity and shamefulness, I realized that this was Fall River, and the black flag of starvation was floating over the city! and I wondered that the operatives could have the heart to celebrate the Fourth of July.  ["Labor Standard," Extra, Fall River, July 10, 1879.]


    This was pretty free language from a stranger to the chief citizens of a town which gave her security.  If the "mill-owners" did, as she says, "send their agents to her to explain the situation," it was an act of great courtesy.  To represent this as "toadying" was an outrage which imperialism might not excel.  The oratress continues:


    Take the situation in Fall River to-day.  One would think that for the sake of human decency the manufacturer would not pursue his victim beyond the threshold of the poor hovel which he calls his own.  But do they do it?  Men of Fall River, answer!  Are your homes any refuge from the lords of the long chimneys?  Do they not confront you even there?  You beat them in your trade unions, but they foil you on your own hearth-stones.  They set the wives of your bosoms and the children of your loins against you; they prove to you that the operative has no rights which the manufacturer is bound to respect, and now their latest declaration is that "The mules will be taken out, and the men will be discharged and their women and children shall run the ring-frames."  (voice from a spinner: "And we will take in washing.")  No; spinners of Fall River, you will not take in washing, the Chinese will do the washing, you will rock the cradles of the brats of the lords of the long chimneys.  (Tremendous excitement of the audience.)


    Miss Le Compte is not only fervid, she has a brilliant readiness of invective.  When riding through the town with the Mayor of the city, he being a large manufacturer, I asked him what he thought of these furious speeches, and whether he was called upon to take official action upon it.  "Oh, no," he answered, "if anybody actually breaks the law we interfere then, but in America we don't care about a little hot talking."

    One day I asked Mr. Wendell Phillips whether the cry of "State Socialism," with its talk, loud and tall, was really a matter of political apprehension.  "We cannot look upon it," he answered, "as a thing of any danger, if we can be said to recognize it in any sense which implies looking at it at all.  If any party is numerous amongst us it can get its claims accredited at the ballot box.  If it has strength in the State it can command redress that way.  If not numerous enough to make an impression on the ballot box it is not numerous enough to fight the question otherwise."

    In San Francisco one Denis Kearney, an Irishman, who, complaining that his countrymen had been driven out of Ireland, was employing himself in attempts to drive the poor Chinese out of the country which had sheltered him, when one day the "New York Tribune" said:—


Kearney, in the sand-lots of San Francisco, threatens revolution and riot, as he did ten days ago.  "I now appeal to you," he cried, "to get ready, for, by the eternal God, the men we have elected must be seated, and by physical force, if necessary.  I, for one, will kiss my wife and children, bid them good-bye, buckle on my armor, and come into the street, prepared to seat the men I voted for.  I have weighed my words, and claim that it is the noblest cause that sword was drawn for.  I appeal to all good, faithful citizens to do what I tell you.  I have told you for two years that when the ballot failed I would resort to bullets, and we will do what we said.  All that is left for you now is the dagger and the bullet.  If you do not show the courage I expect of you, you will be enslaved for ever.  I feel it in my bones that it is my duty and yours to seat those men.  Prepare for the worst.  Arm yourselves with bullets, hatchets, pistols.  No man must go to work on that day.  I know that a thousand or two of us will get killed, but all the thieves will get killed.  When the melee is over, you bet there won't be a Chinaman left in Chinatown."


    If language like this was used in England, agitated people in every part of the country would be clamoring to the government to call out troops and pass coercion bills, before assassination began.  When the agitator proceeds to act, a Republican Government is a dangerous thing to deal with, but it does not, like a monarchy, shriek out at tall talk.  Its calmness and dignity was shown at the time in the following passage from the New York "Tribune:"


The patience of the people is the furthest thing in the world from timidity.  It tolerates bluster because it has no fear of it.  It permits Mr. Denis Kearney to foam at the mouth and breathe out threatenings and slaughter simply because it takes intelligent measure of him, and rates him as contemptible rather than dangerous.  It trusts "the common sense of most" to hold this person and his followers in reasonable check; and unless he infringes law or does some overt act of violence, it lets him rant.  Kearney is a sort of steam escape—noisy, but not dangerous, though rasping and disagreeable.  There could be no better proof of the absolute confidence we have in popular government, and of our belief that under it there is no injury without a remedy, nor injustices without redress, than the indifference with which we view the efforts of fanatics of one kind and another to array classes against each other, and disturb the public peace.


    Mr. John Ehmann has published a lecture he delivered in Cincinnati to the Socialist Labor party.  He commences by saying: "The Editor of a daily paper is a prejudiced and a totally ignorant man, because he thinks he knows all about it" (that is, about Socialism).  He quotes the conceited saying of Lassalle to some one who had questioned something he had said: "I can forgive the ignorance of the man because he is an Editor."  Ehmann, who is himself an able thinker, declares that Socialism does not intend to abolish private property; on the contrary, its main principle is to establish private property.  Mr. Ehmann adopts Proudhon's epigram that "Profit is Robbery;" but he explains that it does not mean that private property is in itself robbery, but that private property so used as to obtain from others their property, without giving an equivalent to that received, is robbery.  State Socialism has some advocates who are worth contending with.  The chief thing against them is that they are understood to seek to impose their opinions upon society by violence; and what is reasonable in their views will never be fairly considered by any who believe that violence is their chosen mode of persuasion.  They are certainly intolerant, suspicious, and denunciatory, of all who do not at once and entirely agree with them.  The main error they hold to is the Lassalle doctrine of the hopelessness of individual effort, which co-operation alone confutes.  It has done so since Lassalle's days.  But the success of co-operation is English.  Neither in Germany nor America has the same success been witnessed.  When co-operation takes to propagandism in America the most instructive field of its debates will be in the midst of State Socialists.

    It, however, is some defence of working-class State Socialists that they do not stand alone in their theory.  The political class in America, even its chief statesmen, hold and defend theories of Protection, which is open State Socialism in its worse form, being the daily confiscation of the incomes of the great body of the people for the benefit of a small class of manufacturers and producers.

Ferdinand Lassalle
(1826-64)

    The most instructive little works I met with in America, were the "Causes of Communism, by an Average Citizen;" and a project of "A Continental Colony," published by the National Socialists of Cincinnati, and an elaborate pamphlet by Dr. Van Buren Denslow, of Chicago, a very able book, in which the political and communistic theories prevalent in America are discussed.  Another was the small pamphlet already mentioned, entitled Ferdinand Lassalle's "Open Letter," never seen in England, but which has been translated into English by the Germans.  It is the gospel of the Socialist Labor Party, and is to be found in the hands of workmen wherever that party prevails.  A reply to this "Open Letter," written with the brevity and ability which Lassalle displays, would be of very great value. Lassalle had heard of Rochdale, and cites the early efforts of the Pioneers as proofs of the inability of the working classes to raise themselves. Lassalle was shot before their success confuted his argument.

    While there exists in any country the intolerable spectacle of thousands of persons able to live without work, and thousands more not able to live with it, there will always be wild theories of State Socialism.  The co-operative solution of the problem is to enable the people to acquire profit, and to teach them how to keep it when they have acquired it.  This process is slow, but agitation is slow, and fighting is slow.  Half the weary, conspiring years and perpetual sacrifices necessary to secure success by fighting, would suffice to accomplish the ends by wise and persistent co-operation.



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