Our American Cousins (4)

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CHAPTER XVI.

PUBLIC AND PATRIOTIC SPIRIT—CORCORAN'S GALLERY—THE LOUISE HOME—POWER'S BLOCK—THE COOPER INSTITUTE—THE ASTOR LIBRARY—PUBLIC LIBRARIES AT CHICAGO AND BOSTON—MOUNT VERNON—INDEPENDENCE HALL—FANEUIL HALL—OLD SOUTH CHURCH—BUNKER HILL MONUMENT—SOLDIERS' MEMORIALS—HARPER'S FERRY—"JOHN BROWN'S FORT"—ENTHUSIASM OF THE NORTHERN STATES DURING THE CIVIL WAR—A MILWAUKEE INCIDENT—DECORATION DAY.


THE public and patriotic spirit of the American people, so often exhibited in the history of the Republic, will save the country from the mischievous consequences of party politics and political dishonesty.  Those who remember the enormous sacrifices which have been made to secure the independence and preserve the union of the States need have little fear for the future.  If other evidences were wanted of the attachment of the people to their institutions, and of the sincere desire of all classes to multiply the public advantages, they are to be found in the memorials, the monuments, and the public edifices which adorn the large cities of the continent.  America is studded with these outward proofs of private generosity and patriotic fervour.

    Let me say a few words, first, about some of the results of private benevolence which came under my own notice.  There is in Washington a handsome gallery, stocked with valuable pictures, which Mr. W. W. Corcoran, a venerable and venerated citizen of the capital, has dedicated to the use of the public at a cost of nearly half-a-million of dollars.  The same amiable gentleman, who brought from Tunis to Washington, at his own cost, the body of John Howard Payne, the author of "Home, Sweet Home," has erected and endowed in the same city a handsome building for the reception of fifty-five women of education and refinement who have been reduced to poverty.  The Louise Home, which is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Corcoran's wife and daughter, and which has cost 200,000 dollars, draws its revenues from a fund of a quarter of a million of dollars.  It is a peculiarity of this asylum for distressed ladies that the inmates are considered and treated by the trustees whom Mr. Corcoran has appointed, not as recipients of a charity, but as guests of the founder.  The largest collection of pictures in America—some of them, it must be confessed, of no great merit—is that which is thrown open to the public in Rochester by a gentleman of the name of Power.  Power's Block is the most conspicuous building in the Flour City.  Much of it is devoted to business purposes; but a series of extensive rooms have been furnished by the proprietor in the most costly style, supplied with paintings, curiosities, and other objects of interest, and then placed at the service of the citizens, with no other charge for admission than is sufficient to defray the expenses of the attendants.  The Cooper Institute in New York, built by Peter Cooper, who died in his ninety-second year, in April, 1883, consists chiefly of a reading-room of vast proportions, which is free to everybody, and which is supplied with newspapers from all parts of the globe.  Connected with this establishment is a system of educational agencies similar to our Science and Art classes. [11]   Corcoran's Gallery, Power's Block, and the Cooper Institute are merely samples of the advantages which Americans all over the States owe to the liberality of private citizens.

    I was somewhat disappointed, not so much with the quality as with the number of Public Libraries in America.  Somehow or other I had formed an impression that every town of any mark or size was endowed with one of these institutions.  This, however, is not the case.  Three only came within my observation, and of these three only two are supported by moneys provided by the local authorities.  The Astor Library in New York, built and furnished at a cost of 400,000 dollars, contains a most valuable collection of works on all subjects.  It was founded and endowed by a gentleman whose name it bears—John Jacob Astor.  The books deposited on its shelves are placed at the service of any person who may wish to consult, but not to borrow them.  The Public Library at Chicago bears an exact resemblance to our own Free Libraries.  It is, however, small in size and not very commodious in respect to accommodation; but then it must be recollected that the original building and its contents were destroyed in the terrible fire of 1871.  The greatest institution of the kind in America is of course the Public Library at Boston.  Founded in 1854, it now contains in the chief building and the eight branches nearly 400,000 volumes.  Theodore Parker, Edward Everett, and George Ticknor bequeathed their magnificent collections to it; while Mr. Bates, a native of Boston who rose from the position of driver of a stone-cart to that of chief of the great mercantile house of the Barings in London, presented £10,000 for the erection of an addition to the building, as well as £10,000 worth of books.  The income of the Library obtained from the municipality amounts to £24,000 a-year, besides a sum of 7000 dollars derived from endowments.  A staff of 200 librarians and assistants attend to the wants of the readers and borrowers.  Large and handsome as the present structure is, it is far too small, as the librarian informed me, for the work that has to be performed in it.  The State of Massachusetts, however, has granted to the city a large block of land on which to erect what will in all probability become the richest and noblest Public Library in the world.

    Evidences of the patriotic spirit of the people are even more numerous and conspicuous in America than evidences of the liberality of private citizens.  There is scarcely a city of any importance that does not contain statues of men who have distinguished themselves in the service of their country.  Washington, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Adams, Webster, Sumner, Lincoln, Garfield—these and numberless others are among the soldiers, patriots, and statesmen who have been thus honoured.  Mount Vernon, the ancestral home of the Washingtons, overlooking the broad and stately Potomac, is preserved by a committee of patriotic ladies in as nearly as possible the same state as the Father of his Country left it. [12]

    While travelling from New York to Washington, I broke my journey for a few hours at Philadelphia, for the purpose of visiting the old State House of Pennsylvania, now known as Independence Hall.  It was from the steps of this unpretentious building that the Declaration of Independence was read on the 4th of July, 1776.  A rich collection of relics of the revolutionary period are preserved within its walls—chairs of the delegates who adopted the Declaration, specimens of the weapons which were used by the colonial volunteers, and portraits of almost all the prominent men who assisted in founding the Republic.  Among the latter objects of interest I was pleased to notice a portrait of Thomas Paine, whose "American Crisis" is as immortal a work as his "Rights of Man."  Like all other exhibitions of a public character in America, Independence Hall is open to everybody who desires to inspect its treasures, which are so well guarded by public honour that I did not notice the presence of a single custodian.  Portraits of revolutionary heroes adorn the walls also of Faneuil Hall in Boston.  Old South Church in the same city, saved from destruction by the patriotism of the citizens, is converted into a museum of relics belonging to "the time which tried men's souls."  Bunker Hill, surmounted by a monument to the memory of the men of Massachusetts who perished in one of the earliest conflicts for Independence, is sacred ground to all Americans.  Nothing exasperated the people of the North more than the declaration of Senator Toombs, when the late civil war was on the point of breaking out, that he would call the roll of his slaves at the foot of Bunker Hill.  Memorials of the conflict in which this daring boast was uttered are profusely scattered over the Northern States.  Almost every city of note has erected monuments in honour of the soldiers who died in the war that extinguished slavery.  A beautiful piece of sculpture, dedicated to the heroes of Massachusetts, excites admiration on Boston Common.  Trophies of the same great struggle are treasured in the State House near at hand.  The newest and most handsome structure in Cambridge, a near neighbour to Boston, is the Memorial Hall, built to preserve the names and commemorate the valour of the students of Harvard University who gave up their lives in defence of the Republic when its very existence was assailed by Southern slave-owners.  But the most interesting memorial of all, though also the least pretentious, remains to be noticed.

    Harper's Ferry is situated in Virginia, at the confluence of the Potomac and the Shenandoah, some fifty miles from Washington.  It was there that John Brown, accompanied by a handful of followers, nearly all of whom perished in the desperate venture, made his heroic attempt to excite an insurrection of the Southern slaves.  Revering the memory of the hero, and desiring to see the scene of his last and greatest exploit, I made a pilgrimage to Harper's Ferry.  The scenery in the neighbourhood is of a picturesque character.  President Jefferson, whose name is commemorated in Jefferson's Rock on Bolivar Heights, is said to have declared that the view from that point was worth a journey from Europe to see.  Having myself made the journey from Europe, I did not share Jefferson's enthusiasm.  Neither the town nor its surroundings, notwithstanding the combination of river, fell, and forest, look quite so pleasing in reality as they do in guide books and illustrated newspapers.  The town, what there is of it, has a rather squalid appearance.  On the higher ground (there is room on the level near the river for little more than a railway station and a couple of streets) there are the ruins of a chapel and other buildings which had suffered damage during the war between North and South: for Harper's Ferry was several times occupied by the contending forces.  Formerly an arsenal belonging to the Government was established there.  It was to obtain possession of the weapons stored in it that John Brown selected Harper's Ferry for the scene of his memorable exploit.  The old man and his daring comrades were soon surrounded in the building they had captured.  Most of them were slain, including two of the leader's sons.  John Brown himself, however, was taken prisoner, removed to Charlestown, and there executed a few weeks subsequently.  What remains of the armoury, which has long since been dismantled, is preserved as a memorial of the heroic adventure.  It is a common-place structure of red brick, bearing the painted inscription, "John Brown's Fort."  Mean and common-place as it is, however, the dilapidated building is one of the most interesting in all America for there the freedom of a race began!  John Brown was hung at Charlestown on the 2nd of December, 1859.  Little more than two years afterwards Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the emancipation of the slaves.  Within less than five years from the date of the Charlestown execution four millions of negroes had been liberated, not a single slave or a single slave-owner remaining to defile the soil or disgrace the character of the American Republic!

    The war which was precipitated by the descent on Harper's Ferry evoked an exhibition of patriotism such as had probably never been witnessed in the world before.  The struggle lasted four years; it extended over a territory as large as Europe; it cost the country an inconceivable number of lives and a still more inconceivable amount of treasure; but it swept away once and for ever a national curse and a national crime.  Professor True, of Rochester, assured me that it was impossible to describe or even to imagine the desperate enthusiasm of the people when the news of the attack on Fort Sumter was received.  The spirit which the slaveowners thus aroused, he said, so penetrated all classes of the population that the very school-boys were eager to share in the dangers of suppressing the rebellion.  Mr. W. P. Copeland, a newspaper correspondent whom I met in Washington, declared that there were very few Americans of his age in the Northern States (he was about forty) who had not, like himself, participated in the conflict.  A remarkable incident bearing out Mr. Copeland's statement was mentioned to me in Milwaukee.  Two gentlemen connected with the Evening Wisconsin,—Julius and Herman Bleyer—were showing me through the office of that paper.  "I see," I observed, "that you employ women compositors."  "Yes," said Mr. Bleyer, "that is a custom which has come down to us from the war."  "How so?" I inquired.  "Well, it happened in this way.  When the rebellion broke out, the entire staff of printers and compositors volunteered to assist in suppressing it.  A deputation waited on Mr. Atkinson, the proprietor of the paper, to announce the resolution that had been formed.  Mr. Atkinson was considerably perplexed at first.  Sharing in the enthusiasm of his workmen, however, he at length accompanied them to the enlistment office, and then set about engaging a number of girls to help him in bringing out the paper.  Women have been employed here ever since."  This story is a striking illustration of the patriotic temper of the nation in a time of great peril.

    The manner in which the insolent challenge of the slave-owners was accepted by the Northern States was not more admirable than the ease and readiness with which the armies of the Republic at the close of the war returned to the peaceful occupations of life.  Macaulay has recorded with pride that the disbanded soldiers of Cromwell, whose backs no enemy had ever seen, gave no trouble to the State.  When the Confederacy had been crushed, more than a million troops had to be mustered out of the military service.  All these troops, without disturbance of any kind, resumed their old places in the field, the counting-house, or the workshop.  Of all the marvels of that crisis, nothing is more marvellous than the peace and order which succeeded it.  Every year now the 30th of May is dedicated to the solemn and graceful ceremony of decorating the graves of the heroes who died for the Republic.  The little flags of stars and stripes which are dotted over every cemetery in the North on Decoration Day testify at once to the valour and devotion of the dead and the esteem and affection of the living.


 
CHAPTER XVII.

AMERICAN NEWSPAPERS—PERSONAL ABUSE—THE SPADE THEORY—SPIRIT OF FLIPPANCY—A ST. LOUIS TRAGEDY—MURDER OF COLONEL ALONZO W. SLAYBACK—THE "CHICAGO TRIBUNE"—HOW A LEADING POLITICIAN IN CHICAGO IS DESCRIBED—ENGLISH AND AMERICAN JOURNALS.


THE low tone of public sentiment in regard to political matters in America is reflected in the newspapers.  Those organs of public opinion sustain, if they do not actually originate, the sentiment in question.  Politicians and newspapers, as we have seen, have been described as two of the most unpleasant things in the States.  The manner in which American journalists write of public men, and indeed, for that matter, of private individuals as well, cannot fail to have a demoralising tendency.  It is certainly calculated to drive sensitive people out of public life altogether.  When a citizen becomes a candidate for any office or position in the country, no matter which may be the party that supports him, the newspapers on the opposite side set about assailing him in the most violent and apparently vindictive terms.  The consequence is, of course, disastrous.  Decent men, whether Democrats or Republicans, whether green-backers or free-traders, do not like to see themselves written about as if they were so many pickpockets.  And so they leave the conduct of public affairs to less refined and it may be less scrupulous persons.  Such is the general mischief which an abusive press produces in America.

    The newspapers which indulge in strong language would probably reply, if challenged on the subject, that they call a spade a spade in their country.  The virtue of candour and audacity cannot be denied to them.  They are so accustomed to speak their minds openly, not only on all subjects of public interest, but on all questions of a private character also, that the spade theory is abundantly sustained in their case.  The misfortune is, however, that they call almost everything a spade, whatever its size or its quality.  Since trifling offenders are pelted with the strongest epithets in the language, the writers who use them have necessarily nothing worse to say of even atrocious villains.  The spade in the one case is only a spade in the other.  As the man who merely makes a mistake and the man who commits an enormous crime are described in pretty much the same phrases, it can readily be seen that the press, as a critic of public affairs and a corrector of public morals, loses the influence it would otherwise be able to exercise.  For the sake of the newspapers themselves, not less than for the sake of the beneficial action of public censure on public wrong, every good friend of America must regret that a higher tone does not prevail in the press of the country.

    I was struck, while reading the daily papers of some of the chief cities of the States, with the spirit of flippancy that seemed to characterise them all.  Trivial and serious subjects alike were treated in much the same manner.  A great fraud or a great crime was discussed with almost as little gravity as a social scandal or a ludicrous adventure.  The ordinary run of newspaper writers appeared to be afflicted with an irrepressible desire to imitate the humorous style of Josh Billings or Mark Twain.  Such is the inveterate habit of joking that jokes are perpetrated in the press on the most solemn subjects or the most melancholy occasions.  While the assassin Guiteau was awaiting his doom, the newspapers were filled with jocular accounts of his behaviour in prison; nor did they hesitate to exercise their humorous powers even when the unfortunate wretch was standing beneath the gallows.  It is a well-understood doctrine in England that newspapers are bound in honour to abstain from expressing opinions concerning the guilt or innocence of an accused person until he has been tried by the laws of his country.  No such reticence appears to be observed in America.  Offenders are there tried in the newspapers long before they come into court at all.  During the legal proceedings in all great cases, comments are freely made on the prospects of the prosecution, the demeanour of the prisoner, or the conduct of the advocates and judges concerned in the cause.  If contempt of court be a recognised offence in America, it is certainly not often punished.  Nor is the law of libel any more frequently put in force.  If it were, there is scarcely a journal in America that would not have one or more of these affairs on its hands every week.  When I asked how it was that certain public men whom I saw denounced in the newspapers as fiercely as if they were so many cut-throats or train-wreckers, did not institute proceedings against the libellers, I was answered—"Oh, nobody here pays any attention to newspapers."

    Attention is, however, sometimes paid to newspapers, with startling and tragical results too.  A case in point occurred last year in St. Louis.  As the case illustrates both the licence of the press and the dangers of the profession of journalism, it may be interesting if I recite the main facts of the affair.  St. Louis is the chief city of Missouri, one of the most lawless States in the Union.  It was from that State that the Border Ruffians poured into Kansas and Nebraska in the days when the doctrine of "squatter sovereignty" was invented to augment the power of the Slave party.  It was chiefly in that State also that the "atrocious villains, sons of a Baptist minister," the James Boys, as they were called, pursued for years their career of rapine and murder.  Two gentlemen, both colonels, occupied prominent positions in St. Louis—Colonel John A. Cockerill and Colonel Alonzo W. Slayback.  The former was the editor of the Post-Dispatch.  A dispute had arisen between the gallant ex-officers in respect of something that the one had written about the other.  Slayback had called Cockerill a "blackmailer," threatened to shoot him if he attacked him again, and publicly denounced him at a meeting of the Democratic party.  The Post-Dispatch thereupon published statements which Slayback considered, and no doubt rightly considered, offensive.  One evening, while Cockerill was in his office arranging some business affairs with the foreman printer, Victor T. Cole, the room was entered by Colonel Slayback and a lawyer named William H. Clopton.  A revolver seems to be a necessary part of an editor's personal effects in that part of America.  At all events the editor of the Post-Dispatch was provided with one of those pernicious articles.  It was lying on the table, as if for immediate use in emergencies, when Slayback and his friend invaded the "editorial sanctum."  The visitor was furnished with a pistol also.  Both weapons were apparently drawn at the same time; but Cockerill fired his while Slayback failed in attempting to do the same.  It was found soon afterwards that the shot had proved fatal.  An inquest was of course held on the body.  John M. McGuffin, the business manager of the Post-Dispatch produced the pistol he had wrested from Colonel Slayback—"a pearl-handled revolver of the British bull-dog pattern."  The reporter, in describing the weapon, seemed to indicate that it was part of the wearing apparel of its late owner.  "It shows," he said, "signs of having been worn in warm weather, the cylinder being rusted by perspiration."  The jury, at the close of the inquiry, returned a sort of compromising verdict—"That Alzono W. Slayback came to his death from the effects of internal hæmorrhage, caused by a gunshot wound in the chest, inflicted with a bullet fired from a revolver in the hands of John A. Cockerill."  While "Slayback's slayer," as he was called in the newspapers, was awaiting the "final developments" of the homicide—developments which, after all, brought with them no penalties for Colonel Cockerill, except an action for 50,000 dollars damages on the part of Mrs. Slayback—the friends of the unfortunate victim promoted "matinees" and other entertainments for the purpose of raising funds to commemorate his tragic fate.  Such is a recent instance of the consequences of reckless journalism in America.

    The extraordinary freedom of the press in dealing with political opponents may receive illustration from another part of the country.  Chicago, the second city in the Union, appears to be dominated by politicians of foreign origin—Germans and Irishmen mainly.  The Chicago Tribune, on the eve of the Fall elections in 1882, after explaining that people from all parts of the world are free to participate in the Government of the United States, printed a pathetic appeal to the strangers not to ostracise the native Americans.  It said, "the native-born population make no objection to being crowded by those of alien birth, it is ungenerous and unfair for the latter to proscribe or to combine against the Americans, or to demand that offices, honours, or places shall be given to the naturalised to the exclusion of the native-born citizen."  Yet Democrats and Republicans, the Tribune showed, had alike chosen aliens—"Irish and Germans from top to bottom, with scarcely an exception."  The managers of the former party, indeed, had, according to the same paper, adopted the motto—"No Americans need apply!"  It was, perhaps, owing to the annoyance provoked by this partiality of the politicians that the editor of the Tribune, which is really one of the best papers in America, attached the chief wire-puller of the Democrats in fierce and vindictive terms.  "The leading question in Cook County election this year," he wrote in October, "is whether Mike McDonald and Joe Mackin and their gang shall be permitted to possess themselves of the machinery for the administration of justice under the State Laws as well as the machinery for running the affairs of the City Government."  And who is Mike McDonald?  "McDonald has been for years the sponsor for the gamblers, the roughs, and the vicious classes who find protection at the hands of the police."  Returning to the subject a few days later, the Tribune gave this further flattering account of the Democratic manager:—


Mike McDonald has been for many years the mainstay of the vicious classes in Chicago.  He is the ruling spirit among the gamblers, the roughs, and the crooks.  He is rich.  He spends his money freely to maintain his supremacy, for it all comes to him easy.  He is liberal in his contributions when a public reception is to be tendered to an official, or a testimonial to be presented to one of his retainers in office.  He is always on hand to furnish bail and secure counsel for any gambler, or "con" man, or criminal who "gets into trouble" in spite of his precautions.  The gambling houses of Chicago are run under his personal protection; those who are outside the favoured circle are not permitted to run their crooked business.


Elsewhere in the same article "the professional gambler, Mike McDonald," was said to be running "the Democratic machine," to have nominated the "Democratic ticket," and to be scheming to get command of five million dollars of taxes which would have to be expended by his "puppets."  Any one reading these objurgations must come to one of two conclusions: either the politics of Chicago are in a "parlous state" indeed, or the liberty of the press in that city surpasses our English ideas even of licence.

    A Washington journalist inquired of me one day whether I thought "a newspaper conducted on American principles would 'take' in England."  No, I answered, I thought not.  English people would not stand the constant interference with their private concerns such as was common in the United States.  Our papers, I added, may be dull, but they are certainly respectable.  They discuss the public conduct of public men, but they draw the line at private character.  In a word, they respect the decencies of private life.  They are thus less lively and piquant than American newspapers; but they obtain and deserve the good opinion of the people.  One can only fancy what would happen if a newspaper of the standing of the Times or the Daily News were to write of the Lord Mayor of London or the Chancellor of the Exchequer as some American journals of similar importance were last year writing of Governor Cornell and Secretary Folger.  And it was in connection with the contest in which the latter gentleman was one of the candidates that I noticed how little influence even the New York Herald exercised in public affairs.  If American journals were less personal they would be more influential.  Dulness and heaviness are not characteristics of newspapers in any part of the States.  They may be libellous, scurrilous, offensive, vulgar; but they are certainly neither dull nor heavy, neither common-place nor conventional.


 
CHAPTER XVlII.

ABUNDANCE OF NEWSPAPERS—INTERVIEWING—HERBERT SPENCER—MRS. LANGTRY—A NEWSPAPER JOKE—"PERSONALS"—SUNDAY EDITIONS—THE "FARGO ARGUS"—HUMOROUS PIETY—JAMES GORDON BENNETT—NEWSPAPER ENTERPRISE.


NEWSPAPERS, comparing the population of the two countries, are much more numerous in America than they are in England.  Towns of the size of Morpeth or Hexham can boast, not of struggling weeklies, but of flourishing dailies.  The larger the towns, of course, the more numerous and more prosperous the papers they support.  Where foreign settlers most do congregate, there journals are printed in the native language of the settlers.  While Swedish and German papers are published in Chicago, and almost all other foreigners (even Chinese) are similarly accommodated in New York, the journals of Santa Fe in New Mexico appear partly in English and partly in Spanish.  But there is one important matter in which we have an immense advantage over our cousins.  Our papers, as a rule, are better printed, and consequently more easily read, than those of the States.

    The system of interviewing is almost universal in America.  When a prominent man from one State visits another State, he is immediately invited by the representative of the local journal to explain his views on any subject in which he or the public may be interested.  A gentleman from Chicago who takes an active part in the Irish politics of that city was heard in a Washington office to speak in emphatic terms of the murders in Phoenix Park.  Almost before he was aware of it, a couple of gentlemen of the press were preparing to interview him on the subject.  I was myself invited to undergo the same ordeal, so that the public of America might be informed of what an obscure stranger thought of Land Leaguers in Ireland and military insurgents in Egypt.  Mr. George Jacob Holyoake, who has lately been visiting America, was waylaid at every point of his journey by members of the "press gang."  Even Herbert Spencer, though he protested against the system, found it convenient to fall in with it at last, for the purpose of disabusing the public mind of certain false statements concerning his opinions which had been published in the newspapers.  The views which are made public through the intervention of a friendly reporter are sometimes of great value, as in the instance last mentioned.  Sometimes, however, the result is simply puerile.  Here is a sample of the latter sort from the report of an interview with Mrs. Langtry:—


    "You have been unable, of course, to receive any impressions of New York in your short stay?"

    "I have not seen it.  But it does strike me as resembling Paris in a great many ways.  The streets are like those of the French capital, especially some that are lined by trees."

    "Have you any friends in New York?"

    "I do not think that I know more than a couple of people in it."

    "Are you acquainted with many Americans abroad?"

    "I have met some of course, but I only know Lady Mandeville, Lady Paget, and one or two others."

    "You have, then, made no arrangements of a social nature?"

    "None.  In fact it would be impossible for me to give my attention to anything except my profession at present.  I am to appear on Monday next, and of course I shall be busily engaged at rehearsals throughout the week."


    It is frequently difficult to understand the exact degree of credit or importance to attach to statements in American newspapers.  The writers are so habitually jocular, sarcastic, or ironical that one must get acquainted with the character of the particular journal one is reading before accepting or discrediting anything it may say.  The New York Herald, a few years ago, published a harrowing account of the loss of life that had ensued in the streets of the city from the escape of a crowd of wild beasts.  The narrative, which was adorned with the usual startling head-lines common to American journals, gave minute details of the fright and havoc that had been caused by tigers, lions, leopards, serpents, and other animals and reptiles.  And then the story was wound up by a small paragraph to the effect that the foregoing chapter of horrors was just what might happen if the menagerie in the Central Park should some day break loose!

    One of the most popular features of American newspapers is that which is known by the term "personals."  Almost every journal devotes some portion of its space to a record of the private movements of the inhabitants of the cities in which it is printed.  American journalists act upon the theory that people like most to read about their own doings.  And they take a good deal of trouble to ascertain the necessary particulars.  For example, here is a circular which was sent last summer to all the more prominent citizens of Chicago—


Chicago, 22nd June, 1882.


    The Inter Ocean will publish, in a few days, a sort of Summer Directory of Chicago people, giving the plans, as far as possible, of the leading families of this city for summer travel and recreation.

    Please send at once to the City Editor of the Inter Ocean a brief sketch of your plans, as far as they are formed, stating when and where you will take your summer vacation, and when you expect to return to the city, in something like the following form:—


"Mr. and Mrs. George Washington leave for Europe, July 10, by the steamer Servira, and will make a tour of Great Britain, France, and Italy, returning in October," or
"Mrs. James Madison will spend most of the summer visiting friends in New England, where her husband will join her in August for a short trip to the sea shore," or
"Mr. and Mrs. James Monroe expect to spend a few weeks at Lake Geneva, and later in the summer will make a journey to Colorado."


If your plans are not fully formed, please state them as near as possible, and if you cannot send us a memorandum now, do so as early as convenient.


    Some specimens of the "personals" published in the Cincinnati Enquirer one day in June, may not be uninteresting as showing the sort of items that find a place in widely-circulated papers.  Let me premise that the collection from which the following specimens are taken filled an entire page of exceedingly small type:—


    A delightful little party, consisting of Mrs. Z. M. Martin, and daughters Ada and Mollie, Miss Gertrude Hopper, and Mr. F. Courtney Fisher, of Taunton, England, left Lakewoods, Lake Chautauqua, N.Y., on last Thursday for a visit to Niagara Fails.

    E. A. Miller, the efficient secretary to the Southern Transportation Company, expects to spend his well-deserved vacation with Eastern friends in the White Mountains and other points of interest.

    Among the many other highly appreciated conveniences on the Loveland Camp Grounds is the telegraph office, now open and in charge of Miss Macie Jones.

    Mr. W. H. McKinney, Manager of the Cincinnati Floral Company, and his accomplished wife, left for the East on Friday last to spend a month at the fashionable resorts.


    Nor do conductors of newspapers think it beneath their dignity to chronicle particulars of children's games and parties.  Considerable space was accorded in the Cincinnati Enquirer on the 30th August to a "surprise party" that was given in that week by one Master Norwood Osborn, of Newark, New Jersey, to the Misses Sally and Nellie Kelly, of Madisonville, Ohio.  The names of all the little folks who took part in the entertainments were duly recorded, together with a description of the games and romps with which they delighted themselves.  It even happens sometimes that a trifling accident to a child furnishes a paragraph for a "personal" column:—


Little Harry May, of the Grand Pacific Hotel, Moorhead, whose leg was broken a few days ago, is getting along finely, and in four or five weeks will be able to go with a hop, skip, and jump, like an india-rubber boy.


    All the more prominent daily papers in the United States are issued every day in the week, Sunday included.  The practice of publishing Sunday editions commenced during the late war, and has never since been discontinued.  As a rule, the Sunday edition is far the most lively issue of the week.  That the system might not prove displeasing to religious folks, the New York Herald, in the earlier stages of the new departure, devoted some portion of its space to a column or so of suitable reflections for the day.  It was in one of these pious articles that the writer, discoursing on the sacred personages of the Old Testament, remarked that "Moses, in many of his characteristics, bore a strong resemblance to the late General Jackson"!  Amusing paragraphs relating to the churches and the persons who attend them are inserted in one journal of large circulation under the head of "Pious Smiles."  But the Sunday sermon is still an established feature of the Fargo Argus.  Colonel Donan, the editor of that paper, who was formerly an officer in the Confederate Army, every Sabbath entertains his readers with marvellous touches of Western humour.  "Woe!  Woe!" is the startling head-line to one of his Sunday discourses, which is preceded, after the fashion adopted in the Argus, by a sort of rhyming summary.  Here are two of the five verses prefixed to the discourse in question:—


THE PROPHETS FOR AGES, IN THUNDERING
TONES, PROCLAIMED UNTO MAN IN HIS
SIN, THAT HIS CANTING, HIS PRAYING,
HIS SIGHS AND HIS GROANS, THE
CROWN AT THE END COULD
NOT WIN.

THAT ALTHOUGH THE OUTSIDE OF THE PLATTER
BE CLEAN, AND THE SEPULCHRE'S FACE
WHITE AS SNOW, GOD, WHO JUDGES
THE SECRETS, AND KNOWS THE
UNSEEN, WILL BRING HYPO-
CRITES SWIFTLY TO
WOE.


    From the sermon which was thus introduced I take a few sentences that must have astonished the pious people of Fargo, if anything in American newspapers could have astonished them:—


    How few of us really in heart and soul believe, and how infinitely fewer of us practice, what we profess!  Are not multitudes of our loudest prayer-grinders and psalm-singers, our most conspicuously devoted saints, our ostensible fathers and mothers in Israel, base impostors on their fellows, would-be gullers of an Omniscient and Onmipotent God, hypocrites as damnable as the scribes and pharisces who strained at a gate and swallowed a saw-mill?  Brethren beloved! it certainly looks so to a calm-eyed man up a newspaperial gum-stump.  Cheap piety, half-priced religion, the faith which would gobble a corner-lot in the New Jerusalem on the grab-game, panic-rate plan, is not worth a d—ime.


    Here, again, are some of the gallant colonel's reflections on "Vanity":—


    What a weary round is human life at best.   How terrible was and is that curse which was thundered forth, some years before the birth of Clara Louise Kellogg and old Aleck Stephens, among the blooming banana orchards and asparagus-beds of primeval Paradise upon the Red River banks of fair Dakota:  "In the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat thy bread for ever."   Ah, Eve, Eve, grandmamma of editors as well as common folks—if then couldst have foreseen all the aching heads and weary limbs, the fevered brains and blistered palms, the digging, delving, hewing, scribbling, the cares, anxieties, disappointments, and sorrows, which thy thoughtless little speculation and peculation in Fall apples has, for six thousand years, inflicted upon thy hapless children-wouldst then have hearkened to the persuasion of the vile serpentine ancestor of nine-tenths of all American statesmanship and statesmen?


    Lastly, the Harvest supplied the humorist with a text on which he descanted in this startling manner:—


What shall the harvest be in this wheat by and by?  The grand harvest-time of the year has come.  Dakota's glorious wide-spreading fields wave with the green and gold of teeming plenty.  Dakotan brother and sister! you have much to be thankful for.  Your powerful self-binders cut their twelve-mile long swathes through wheat six feet tall, that yields from twenty to forty bushels to the acre, and all grades "No. 1 Hard."  But, as your reapers cut down the broad bands of yellow grain, and the song of the harvesters resounds in your broad fields, as everything tells of prosperity, and plenty, and gladness, remember another great harvest is coming.   The mighty reaper is Death.   He uses no patent four-horse self-binder; but his remorseless sickle has mown down thousands of millions of men and women just like you!   Your time will come, and soon.   It will not be, it cannot be long until the harvest time of your life will be reached.   The grim reaper will hold not his hand for a moment.  You will go down as the yellow heads of grain are going down now all around you, as countless generations past have fallen.  What shall the harvest be?  Will you grade, in the great elevator beyond the skies, as "No. 1 Hard," and forty bushels to the acre? or will you be tied up as a bundle of worthless and noxious cockles and cheat, smartweed, thistles, dogfennel, and tares, and be cast out into the fires of everlasting remorse and despair? Dakota harvester, which?


    These extracts show that the lively character which I have ascribed to American newspapers is not exaggerated.  It will be seen that our cousins can make even sermons amusing.  Perhaps there is nothing wonderful in this, since American preachers some-times provoke laughter, and frequently elicit applause in places of worship.  As I have already remarked, Henry Ward Beecher, when I attended his church in Brooklyn, deliberately used phrases of such grotesque humour that the congregation several times "teetered on the precipice of a laugh."

    As a rule, the literary character of American newspapers is not equal to that of our own.  There is, however, one attribute in which they are almost supreme.  Nothing can exceed the enterprise with which the more prosperous journals of the New World are conducted.  Let us take the case of the New York Herald as an illustration.  That paper was commenced with little or no means by the late James Gordon Bennett.  It is related that that adventurous Scotchman made profit even out of the indignities he suffered.  When he was horsewhipped for publishing an offensive article, he issued a special edition of his paper containing particulars of the event.  And when the thrashing was repeated, the Herald came out with full details of the occurrence under the heading "Whipped Again!"  But the paper has no longer any need for resorting to these dubious tricks to obtain readers.  It is now probably one of the best newspaper properties in the world.  Its circulation is enormous; it has correspondents in almost all parts of the globe; and its columns are filled day after day with news which has been sent by telegraph, much of it through the Atlantic cable.  The enterprise of the present proprietor is even more remarkable than that of the founder of the paper.  Mr. James Gordon Bennett sent the late Mr. McGahan to represent it in the Arctic regions, with the Russian armies in Central Asia, and at the seat of war in the Turkish Empire.  It was Mr. Bennett, again, who commissioned Mr. Stanley to find Livingstone in the centre of Africa.  More recently he fitted out at his own expense an expedition to the Arctic Seas.  If it were possible to despatch a correspondent to follow the movements of the comet, that is a work which it would not be beyond the daring enterprise of the proprietors of American newspapers to undertake.  Whatever may be thought of interest to the public, from the whereabouts of a lost traveller to the mystery connected with an undiscovered crime, is sought out by American journalists with rare personal courage and at a lavish expenditure of money.  American newspapers, indeed, undertake adventures of vast pith and moment, with no other object than that of gratifying the curiosity of the public and increasing their own reputation for energy, sagacity, and invention.


 
CHAPTER XIX.

AMERICAN RAILWAYS—COMFORTS OF TRAVELLING—DESCRIPTION OF CARS—NO CLASSES—SLEEPING AND PARLOUR CARS—RECLINING CHAIRS—DINING CARS—SAMPLE BILLS OF FARE—NIGHT TRAVELLING IN MICHIGAN—FIRE FLIES—RAILWAY CONDUCTORS—NEWS-BOYS.


NOTHING in America appeared to me so much superior to what we have in England as the system of railway travelling.  (Our cousins, by the way, have almost universally adopted the term railroad instead of railway.)  It is a real comfort to travel in America: but in England, as a rule, if one rides in the ordinary carriages, it is a weary, dreary business.  Here we get tired with a few hours' journey; but there people can travel day after day and night after night for a week together, sleeping and dining, washing and dressing, reading and smoking, without feeling more fatigue than would result from a voyage of the same space on board an Atlantic steamer.  Here we are boxed up in a compartment so small that there is no room to breathe in it when the windows are closed; but there you can wander from car to car through the whole length of the train.  Here, again, you may make a long journey without knowing that an intimate friend is in the next compartment; but there you can look around, find out who is on board, and take a seat alongside the fellow-traveller whose company you may prefer.  Here, finally, travelling is a toil and a trouble; but there it is a pleasure and a luxury.

    What more than anything else perhaps conduces to the comfort of railway travelling in America is the construction of the carriages, which are there universally called cars.  We know what our own carriages are like—low, cold, draughty, and ill-ventilated, or rather not ventilated at all.  But the American cars are so constructed that no discomfort of any kind is experienced.  A platform at each end furnishes access to what is really a long, lofty, and handsome apartment.  Seats for the accommodation of two persons are ranged on each side of a passage that extends the whole length of the vehicle.  These seats are reversible, so that the members of a party travelling together can face each other if they wish.  Tables in some cases are fixed between the seats in order to accommodate those who may care to take a hand at whist or join in other games.  The windows, which can of course be opened or shut at pleasure, are fitted with venetian blinds in such a way that the direct rays of the sun can be excluded at the will of the traveller.  The lofty roofs of the cars admit of an easy system of ventilation—a system which, besides being thoroughly effective, causes no inconvenience to the passengers.  To persons familiar with the dim and dismal lights supplied on our English railways, the bright and cheerful illumination of an American car must be at once grateful and surprising.  Handsome chandeliers hang from the ceiling—some of them supplied with oil, others with gas, and others again, as I saw lately announced in the newspapers; with electricity!  Indeed, the appearance of the first car I entered on the American continent had a close resemblance to a tastefully-furnished parlour.  When the lamps were lit at night, the illusion was still more perfect.  Iced water is provided in every car, while the other conveniences attached are of such a nature that the traveller seldom or never needs to leave the train till he arrives at his journey's end.  Winter travelling would be almost impossible in America without apparatus for warming the cars.  Instead of the miserable system that we have in England—I allude to foot-warmers, which are frequently more effective as stumbling-blocks than anything else—stoves or other appliances for heating the whole atmosphere of the vehicle are everywhere used on the American lines.  Railway cars in America vary of course, just as our railway carriages do in England.  Some of them have a common appearance, others are as comfortable as they are commodious, while others are so prettily ornamented that the general effect can only be described as elegant.

    It is, perhaps, well known that there is only one class on American railways—not three as in England.  And this is true as a rule.  For ordinary traffic and short distances the carriages are common to all passengers.  The homelier portion of the travelling community, however, generally betake themselves to the smoking cars, while in some cases particular cars are reserved for ladies and children.  But special rates have to be paid by persons who travel by fast trains or certain through trains.  Moreover, for long journeys, Pullman, Wagner, and Woodruff cars—sleeping, parlour, or palace cars—are provided for the accommodation of such passengers as can afford to pay for the increased comfort supplied.  The arrangements connected with these magnificent and ingenious conveyances—magnificent in decoration and ingenious in design—are so near perfection that travelling has become a luxury for those who use them.  But neither the Pullman nor the Wagner car is superior in point of elegance or comfort to the cars which are run on the Chicago and Alton Railroad between the former city and Kansas or St. Louis.  No charge beyond the ordinary fare is made for travelling in these splendid vehicles.  The reclining chairs, which supply the place of fixed seats on the Chicago and Alton, are covered with red velvet, and are so ingeniously constructed in combination with rests for the feet that the passenger can adjust them to eight or ten different positions.  Hence, when tired of sitting, he can, if he pleases, compose himself for a nap as comfortably as if he were in his own house reclining on his own sofa.

    The long journeys customarily travelled in the United States have necessitated a better provision for eating and drinking than the refreshment-rooms found at our stations in England, where, as everybody knows, the ten or twenty minutes allowed for refection are generally wasted in confusion and scramble.  The traveller on a long journey in America can ascertain beforehand where and when he will be able to get a comfortable meal.  For example, if he be a passenger on the Erie Railway between New York and Niagara Falls, he knows precisely at what place and at what time he can obtain a good dinner and a good supper.  The meals are always waiting for him when the train arrives, and ample time is allowed for consuming them before the train departs.  There is no hurry, no confusion, no trouble of any kind.  Where arrangements are not made for breakfasting or dining at certain specified depots, still better accommodation is afforded by means of a regular system of dining cars.  These vehicles are attached to the train at different places on the route, and all that the traveller needs to do is to pass from his own carriage to the dining car, where he can discuss at ease and in comfort as varied and wholesome a breakfast or dinner as he can purchase at a first-class hotel.  It will, however, give the reader a better idea of the convenient system in vogue if I print a couple of specimens of bills of fare, premising that the charge for each meal is 75 cents, or about 3s.  Here, then, is the "breakfast bill of fare," handsomely printed and illuminated, which I had placed before me while travelling on the Canada Great Western:—


The "supper bill of fare" on the Michigan Central Railway is equally extensive and varied:—


    The traveller on an American or Canadian railway is supplied with almost everything he can possibly require.  What he cannot obtain, however, is a sufficient amount of physical exercise.  Still he can walk through the train, change his seat from one car to another, take a cigar in the smoking carriage, or indulge in a chat with the conductor.  One other advantage is at his command.  He can stand on the platform outside the car, breathing the fresh air, and obtaining a wider view of the surrounding scenery than can of course be obtained from the windows.  I shall never forget the delightful hour I spent one summer evening on the platform of a Michigan railway.  The train was whirling through a country which was more or less forest; the air was sweet and balmy; and the darkness of the night was illuminated by the flight of myriads of fire-flies.  These little insects, which the common folks call "lightning-bugs," darted hither and thither like November meteors.  The brilliant lines of light they emitted, crossing and re-crossing each other, produced an effect that cannot be described.  The gratification thus afforded the traveller could not have been obtained except for the advantage supplied by the platform attached to every railway car in America.

    When a passenger takes his seat, he receives a visit from the conductor, who examines his ticket, punching or retaining it, as the case may be.  To save the passenger unnecessary trouble, a slip of coloured cardboard is fixed in his hat, or on some other conspicuous part of his dress.  By this means the conductor, when he comes round again, as he does after every stoppage of the train, can see at once that the passenger's ticket has already been examined.  Conductors on American railways are persons of considerable importance.  I understand they are paid handsome salaries.  Dignified in appearance, yet courteous in behaviour, they are ready at all times to afford information without fee or reward.  Indeed, as I have remarked in a previous chapter, they would resent the offer of a "tip" as they would an insult.  The charge of the entire arrangements inside the cars is placed in their hands.  Few are ever inclined to dispute their authority.  If any difficulty occur, they know precisely how to settle it.  Should a passenger make himself disagreeable, they oblige him to change his seat, to restrain his temper, or to otherwise behave civilly.  It has sometimes happened, when intoxicated or obstreperous persons have got on board, that the conductor has stopped the train, expelled the offending passengers; and left them on the track to find their way for the rest of the journey as they best could.  I asked the conductor of a train on the Chicago and Alton Line whether he ever had any trouble in keeping order among the passengers.  "Oh, no," he replied, "never, except when a party of drunken Irishmen get up a row among themselves."  Travellers in America, however, are so well behaved that cases even of this kind must be of rare occurrence.  The mere knowledge of the fact that the conductor and his assistants are always at hand to repress disorders is sufficient, as a rule, to keep the most uproarious in check.

    Next to the conductor, the most useful person attached to an American train is the news-boy.  This young gentleman is most incessant in his attentions.  The first time he pays the passengers a visit he brings round a stock of newspapers.  Soon afterwards he makes his appearance with an armful of books, magazines, and views.  Leaving each passenger a specimen of his wares, he retires for a short time to the corner of the train which serves him for a store.  When he returns, he collects such of the articles as the passengers are indisposed to purchase, asking all in turn whether they would like to look at anything else.  The next visit of the news-boy is in the character of a vendor of sweetmeats, figs, peanuts, bananas, and so forth.  Nor are these the only temptations the news-boy offers to his customers.  Cigars can be bought of him, also fans in hot weather, sometimes, also, what are called "notions."  Then, on certain picturesque routes, it is part of his business to call the attention of the passengers to the points of interest, the trains stopping for a few minutes at the spot from which the best view can be obtained.  Altogether the news-boy is an exceedingly useful institution on the American railway.


 
CHAPTER XX.

RAILWAY TRACES--DEPOTS--PRESIDENT GARFIELD--ENGINE BELLS--"LOOK OUT FOR THE CARS"--RAILWAY AT SYRACUSE--"SOME-BODY'S GRANDFATHER"--SYSTEM OF COMMUNICATION--ADVENTURE IN ILLINOIS--THE BAGGAGE SYSTEM--"DEAD-HEADS"--TIME-TABLES--RAILWAY ADVERTISEMENTS--RAILWAY NICKNAMES.


SOME years ago, when the Derwent Valley Railway, in the neighbourhood of Newcastle-on-Tyne, was being constructed, I was wandering with an American friend near Rowland's Gill.  Noticing the temporary waggon-way that had then been formed, my companion remarked that such a line in his country would be deemed good enough and strong enough for a permanent railroad.  The remark was no doubt quite true of the pioneer railways of America.  There is a story, indeed, that an easy method of crossing a ravine was conceived by a certain contractor, the workmen simply sawing off the tops of the trees and laying the rails across the stumps!  Though cheap and expeditious modes of building a railroad may still be pursued in remote parts, it is indisputable that many of the main lines in America are as firmly constructed as our own.  One company can boast of four tracks for hundreds of miles, while others claim credit for so improved a system of ballasting that no inconvenience is experienced from dust.  The bridges, however, are often of too fragile a character.  Some of them are so slight that they look like cobwebs stretched from hill to hill across an abyss; while others consist of wooden trestles planted in the beds of rivers and creeks that are considerably more than a mile wide.  Examples of the former kind may be seen between New York and Niagara; of the latter, between New York and Baltimore.  There is probably not in all America so substantial a structure as the High Level Bridge across the Tyne.

    What we call railway stations in England are invariably called railway depots in America.  The depots are in many cases, even in populous cities, mere sheds.  The depots at Rochester and Cleveland, for instance, might easily be mistaken for empty goods warehouses, except for the fact that the floors are seamed with lines of iron rails.  When several trains are standing in the place at one time, the traveller has to thread his way among them, and sometimes to clamber over one in order to reach the others.  A platform (as we understand the term) is rarely to be seen; but then platforms are not necessary, for the reason that every car carries its own.  Nor is there the same need for waiting-rooms and refreshment rooms in America as there is in England, since the wants of the passengers can nearly all be supplied on board the trains.  But handsome edifices for the accommodation of the travelling public are not uncommon either.  The depot of the Pennsylvania Company at Washington, of the New York Central in New York, of the Chicago and Alton in Chicago, and of some of the New England lines in Boston--these are perhaps as elegant in design and as commodious in arrangement as anything we have in this country.  It was at the Washington depot of the Pennsylvania Company that President Garfield was assassinated by the unhappy miscreant Guiteau.  A silver star, inserted in the floor, marks the spot where the President fell, and a medallion portrait placed on the nearest wall commemorates the tragic event that occurred on the 2nd of July, 1881.

    Stone walls or stout wooden railings enclose the property of railway companies in England, trespassers being warned at the same time that they will be prosecuted with all the rigour of the law.  It is quite otherwise in America.  There strong fences do not seem to be considered necessary at all.  Excepting in rare cases, the lines run over fields, alongside country roads, and even through the streets of populous cities, often without any protection whatever.  Bridges, except over rivers and ravines, are regarded as superfluities!  If a line strikes a road, a level crossing serves all the purposes of traffic.  A gate at each side of the line is, in such a case, the sole safeguard provided.  And sometimes the expense of even this precaution is saved to the company.  A huge bell is attached to every engine.  The clanging of this bell is the only warning the public receive of the approach of a train through a town, though of course the speed of the engine is reduced.  But the bell is not rung in country districts, where a signboard, bearing the inscription, "Look out for the Cars," is erected at the junction of the railroad with the highway.  Our cousins act on the assumption that everybody is competent to look after his own safety.  As for children, their parents or guardians must look after them.  One of the great lines between New York and the Far West runs through the main street of Syracuse, a large and important city in New York State.  When I passed that way one summer afternoon, children were playing with each other within a few feet of the track.  The tramways through our streets are no more open to the public than is the railway through the city of Syracuse.  Indeed, at that point, the traveller between New York and Chicago can see as busy a sight from the train as a passenger between the Monument and the Central Station can see from a Newcastle tramcar.  Accidents not unfrequently happen from this free and easy arrangement.  The train by which I was returning to Chicago from Milwaukee stopped at a road side.  An old man had been caught by the engine on the level crossing, and "somebody's grandfather" lay dead in the ditch.  A still more terrible accident occurred in Syracuse a few weeks afterwards.  While the fast train of the New York Central was crossing West Genessee Street, one of the principal thoroughfares of the city, the locomotive struck a carriage in which a merchant, his wife, and two other ladies were seated.  The three ladies were instantly killed, and the gentleman who accompanied them was so injured that he was not expected to live till the next morning.

    Although accidents of this description are not of course uncommon in America, others are less likely to happen there than among ourselves.  It will be remembered, in connection with a fatal fire in a Pullman car, that it was not found possible to stop the train till several miles had been run.  Such a failure in the method of communication between conductor and engine-driver could scarcely happen on an American railway.  A few lines will explain the system in operation across the Atlantic.  The communication cord, passing through a series of rings attached to ornamental straps suspended from the roofs of the cars, extends from one end of the train to the other.  As this cord is within reach of the passengers, and as the conductor and his assistants are always within call, a train can be stopped without a moment's delay.  I had myself a curious adventure which shows the completeness of this part of the railway arrangements of the United States.  Having to get out at a junction between Chicago and St. Louis, I was informed by the conductor that the next station was the place I wanted.  When the train stopped a few minutes afterwards, I naturally concluded that we had arrived at the junction.  I picked up my satchel, hurried to the platform, and, as the train was again in motion, lost no time in stepping down on the track.  But there was no sign of house or station near at hand.  I found myself standing alone on the Illinois prairies under a burning June sun.  Then I learned, what I had had no time to learn before, that the engine had pulled up for some purpose unknown.  Fortunately, however, one of the officials of the train, seeing that I had mistaken the unexpected stoppage for the regular stoppage at the depot a few miles further on, immediately pulled the communication cord, caused the engine-driver to draw up again, and so enabled me, to use his own words, "to make the connection."  The circumstance is mentioned here only in order to prove how readily persons in charge of trains in America can communicate with the persons who are driving them.

    There is another part of the American railway system which is very much superior to anything we have in this country.  I allude to what our cousins call the "baggage system."  It is one of the torments of railway travelling in England that passengers are in constant dread of losing their luggage.  They have first to see it labelled, then to see it deposited in the luggage van, then to make sure that it is transferred at the various junctions, and finally to run the risk of getting their shins scraped and their corns crushed when, on arriving at their destination, they go through the confused business of picking out their goods from among the properties of other travellers.  Even then the passenger has no guarantee that some of his belongings may not have gone astray.  But no such inconvenience as this is experienced in America.  When the traveller has obtained his ticket, he deposits his luggage in the baggage office, receiving for each box or portmanteau a metal check, which is impressed with a number, and which is perforated with an oblong slit for the purpose of hanging it on the porter's strap.  A similar check is attached to the luggage.  This is all the trouble that the traveller need take in the matter till he arrives at the end of his journey, though that end may be at the furthest corner of the States, two or three thousand miles away from the point of departure.  Before the train arrives at the depot for which he is booked, an official of the railway walks through the cars with a strap of metal checks on his arm, asking each passenger in turn whether he has any baggage he wants delivered at any house or hotel in the city.  If he requires this service, the traveller hands his check to the official, the official takes his name and address, and the company undertakes to deliver the luggage at the place indicated.  As a rule, the traveller finds his property at his hotel or his house as soon as he arrives there himself.  It is easy to understand that so simple and commodious a system as this is infinitely superior to the confusing and troublesome process adopted on our own railways.

    The practice of giving passes for exhibitions and entertainments, known throughout the country as the "dead-head system," extends to American railways also.  A large number of people are in this manner carried over the American lines free of charge.  Of course the privilege is conceded on the understanding that an equivalent in some way or other will be returned.  A story is told of a railway official who, on his first arrival in the United States from England, resolutely set his face against a system to which he had not been accustomed, and for which he had a rooted dislike.  But the poor man soon became a dead-head himself.  The first year he refused to accept a pass at all; the next he applied for the favour; and the third he begged for tickets for his wife, his family, and one or two of his relations!

    Owing to the competition among railways in America, the managers advertise the advantages and attractions of the various routes to a greater extent than we in England can have any conception of.  Time-tables, folded up like the prospectuses of public companies, containing maps of the United States or sections of the United States, and printed in bright and varied colours, are supplied to the hotels and other places of resort for the use of the public at large.  Books and pamphlets of an expensive character, embellished with beautiful engravings of the picturesque scenes on the routes, are printed and distributed gratuitously by some companies; lithographic views, executed in the highest style of the art, are given away by others; while almost all spend large sums every year in printing elaborate, handsome, and characteristic placards relating to the inducements they offer to the public.  These placards are hung up in the halls or lobbies of hotels like circus or theatre bills.  Having made a collection of these interesting and entertaining productions, I am enabled to give a few samples of the humorous manner in which some, of the wealthiest corporations on the American continent advertise the facilities they place at the traveller's disposal.  As the lines of the Chicago and Alton Railway form themselves on the map into the shape of a reclining chair, the managers have produced a show-card, representing Oscar Wilde seated on the outlines of the railway, with his head in Chicago and his feet in St. Louis, contemplating a sunflower!  The same company has issued a clever parody on "Patience," with illustrations handsomely printed in colours.  For the rest, it is impossible to convey in black and white any idea of the costly, artistic, and sometimes grotesque style in which such announcements as those on the next page are set forth.


THE OLD WAY WAS GOOD, BUT THE NEW IS BETTER.


    This is what all are saying who have travelled on the Chicago and North-Western Railway between Chicago and Council Bluffs since, the famous Dining Cars began running.  No haste!  Plenty time!  Eat all you want!  You cannot get left!


I C


    That you are interested in the great West. Don't forget that the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, running west from Kansas City and Atchison, is the best route to the country you wish to see.  It passes right through the Great Arkansas Valley.  The A., T., and S.F.R.R. is the best route to California, making connections at the pivotal city of Pueblo with the Denver and Rio Grande Railway, and reaching nearly all the principal cities and mining camps twelve hours ahead of competition.


STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.


    You are at liberty to mention to your intimate friends that the Chicago and North-Western Railway have placed in service upon its Chicago, St. Paul, and Minneopolis Line its new and elegant Dining Cars.  If your friends are going to St. Paul, Minneopolis, or any point beyond, keep in mind that this is the only line running dining cars of any sort, north or north-west of Chicago.  Breakfast, dinner, or supper, only 75 cents.  And all the time necessary for health and pleasure given to eat them.


THE GARDEN OF THE GODS.


    Take the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe R. R. for the Summer Resorts of Colorado, etc.  We can't quite carry you for nothing, but we offer the lowest rate.  Round trip, thirty-eight dollars.


DO YOU KNOW THIS?


    Colorado and Wyoming, Utah and Idaho, Oregon and Washington, the Black Hills of Dakota, California and Nevada.  All Pacific Coast and Trans-Pacific Ports, are best reached by the Union Pacific Railway.  If you do, and want to know more about any particular section of the West and North-West, how to get there, what it will cost, when to go, etc., call upon any agent of the Union Pacific.


    The humour of the country finds expression, too, in the nicknames invented for different railways.  Here are a few of them:--The Fishing Line, the Bee Line, the Blue Line, the Nickel Plate Line, the Star and Crescent Line, the Sunset Route, the People's Route, the Horse Shoe Route, the Pan Handle Route, the Reclining Car Route, and the Great Four Track Route.  Again, there are several Air Lines, and two or three All-Rail Lines.  Some of these nicknames are suggested by obvious circumstances; others are mere fanciful tricks of the managers; all, however, are characteristic of a people who think there is nothing unbecoming in the application of the art of the showman to the ordinary transactions of business.

    Almost the whole of our railways are owned or controlled by half-a-dozen great companies.  But the companies in America are so numerous that a mere list of the names occupies nearly eight pages of the ponderous Official Guide of the National Ticket Agents' Association.  Our railways, however, are only some 17,000 miles long, while those of America at the end of 1881 were 104,813 miles.  Since that time new lines have been constructed at so rapid a rate that fully 10,000 additional miles have to be counted as the increment for 1882.  The railways in 1881 gave employment to 1,600,000 men, nearly a thirty-second part of the whole population of the United States.  It is scarcely necessary to say that the greater part of the 850,000,000 dollars expended in operating and extending the railway system was paid out as wages to the vast army of officials and workmen.  America is a country of great and daring enterprises.  Not the least daring is that which has been seriously broached for the construction of a railway the entire length of the western hemisphere, from the Arctic Regions to Terra del Fuego!


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FOOTNOTES.


11.     Mr. Cooper, besides spending 630,000 dollars on the edifice which bears his name, endowed it during his lifetime to the extent of 200,000 dollars.  A further sum of 100,000 dollars was bequeathed to the institution in his will.  The loss of so eminent a man and so generous a benefactor was naturally regarded as a great public calamity.  While signs of mourning were everywhere exhibited in the streets of New York, the following tribute to his memory, written by Joaquin Miller, the Poet of the Sierras, was printed in the leading journal of the city:—


"Give honour and love for evermore
     To this great man gone to rest;
 Peace on the dim Plutonian shore,
     Rest in the land of the blest.

"I reckon him greater than any man
     That ever drew sword in war;
 I reckon him nobler than king or khan,
     Braver and better by far.

"And wisest he in this whole wide land
     Of hoarding till bent and grey;
 For all you can hold in your cold, dead hand
     Is what you have given away."


12.     The visitor to Mount Vernon has to sail some miles down the Potomac, passing Alexandria (well known to English readers during the late war) on the way.  One of my companions on the voyage was George Q. Cannon, the Mormon delegate to Congress from Utah, whom I found an exceedingly pleasant gentleman, and who helped to make the excursion particularly agreeable.

 


 

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