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occupy his feeling; and, though his pas- able, and he is often careless whether his sion sometimes passes the conventional picture is understood or not. He carism of art, and his grief becomes mor- ries his indifference to mere physical bid, as, in his pictures, the subjectivity beauty to such a degree as often to make of his treatment sometimes makes his his faces ugly, in the seeking for intense work almost a riddle to the unlearned; expression, and, in the action of his figthere is no affectation and no willing ures, passes the limits of the natural as weakness, as there is no unconscientious well as graceful, to obtain force. But, trifling with his art, but his tendency, with all his defects and peculiarities, on the contrary, is to neglect those he stands to-day, in general artistic means of success which would make power, first amongst the painters of his art much more widely felt and valu- England.



NEW YORK, 1869.

perance, combined, have been and are MON CHER AMI:

the means whereby the poor and ambiDo you remember standing with me, tious have risen to social influence, wide years ago, on a beautiful point of land, activity, and political or professional and gazing on the mountains and the honor. sea ? How vast and exhilarating was But when, drawing in both thought the view, what picturesque grandeur and vision from the broad scenes, from and novel evidences of human thrift the human generalization, I look critiand science in the valley-dwellings, old cally at what is going on immediately churches, and careering sails; while, at around me, often—to use a phrase of our feet, washed up by the tide, garb- the native pioneer author—"hope darkage, and bits of wreck, made the details ness into anxiety, anxiety into dread, around such a crude and dreary contrast and dread into despair ;” for this very to the scene beyond and above.

smartness a favorite and significant Thus, my friend, is it here. When I term—is often unscrupulous; this very think of the myriads who, in Europe, temperance cold blooded; and this very had no hope or prospect but drudgery success unsoftened by sentiment, unand indigence, who, in the lands of the elevated by aspiration, unredeemed by great West as farmers, and in the cities beneficence. as mechanics, have attained competence, The devotion to wealth, as such, the often wealth; and whose children are temporizing with fraud, the triumph of now educated, prosperous, and, best of impudence, the material standard and all, progressive citizens of this great Re- style of life, make me look back upon public; when I see how free is the the homely ways, the genial content, scope, how sure the harvest reaped by the cultured repose so often found in intelligence, industry, and temperance, the Old World, with a kind of regretful in this land, I feel heart and brain ex- admiration. And yet it is just and panded. and vivified with gratified hu- rational to bear constantly in mind the man sympathies and limitless aspira- fact that here every thing comes to the tion.

surface; no polished absolutism guards You may wonder at my including from view the latent corruption ; no temperance as a condition of success : system of espionage and censorship, of it is because intemperance is still the police and military despotism, keeps the curse of the country; and, upon inves- outside fair, while private rights and tigation, I find that smartness and tem- public virtue are mined for destruction ;

all is exposed and discussed ; and the mental effrontery which, under the plea good and evil elements of society, poli- of reform, of free thought, of progress, tics, opinion, trade, speculation, pastime, profanes the modest instincts of humanand crime, have free play and frank ex- ity, and desecrates the beautiful and the position. But, you will ask, how is it true in the interest of an eager, intolerwith regard to the intellectual life in its ant vanity. higher phase? What are the tenden- While Mammon is widely worshipped, cies and triumphs of the mind, apart and Faith widely degraded, bright, befrom the sphere of fashion, of com- nign exceptions to this pagan spirit merce, of civic duty ? My answer is, "give us pause." I have never met audacious ; no other word so well ex- more choice and charming illustrations presses the animus of the would-be of mental integrity, truth to personal thinkers of the land. They despise pre- conviction, heroic fidelity in legitimate cedents, ignore discipline, contemn the individual development, than among past; they serve up ideas as old as the free and faithful citizens of this Plato, as familiar to scholars as Mon- Republic; but they are unappreciated, taigne, in new-fangled sentences, and except by the few who intimately know delude themselves and their disciples them; their influence is limited, and with the pretence of originality. They they are unambitious, as are all human espouse an opinion, à cause, a theory, beings who live intrinsically from withand make capital thereof on the rose in, and not conventionally from withtrum and through the press, without a out. And, with all the deference to particle of philosophic insight or moral and passion for money, there never was consistency; in education, in religion, a commercial city in the world where in what they call culture, with an ego- so much is given in charity, where so tism that is at once melancholy and many rich men habitually devote a not ridiculous, they maintain "what is new inconsiderable portion of their income but not true, and what is true but not to the relief of distress, or where the new," and, with a complacent hardihood response to appeals for aid in any huthat repudiates the laws of humanity, mane or patriotic cause is more frethe pure and primal sentiments that lie quent, prompt, and generous than in at the basis of civilization and the con- this same badly-governed, money-getstitution of man and woman. Without ting, and money-spending city of New reverence there is no insight; without York. sympathy there is no truth ; all is bold, After all, perhaps, I must confess that self-asserting, conceited, unscrupulous, the disappointment experienced grows and, in the last analysis, vulgar; but out of extravagant anticipations. The there is, in all this perversion of har- American theory of government, the monious intellectual life and complete equality of citizens, the character of intellectual equipment, what takes with the early patriots, the absence of rank, the half-informed — sensationalism, the kingcraft, and a terrible disparity of love of letters, and speculative thought. condition, had long endeared the counClosely studied, the cause of this incon- try to me and mine; but the behavior gruous development may be found in a of the people in the civil war, their certain lack of moral sensibility, which cheerful self-sacrifice, their patient deinstinctively guards from paradox on votion, their contented return to prithe one hand and guides to truth on the vate life from the army and the field, other. It is, as you well know, essential their unparalleled triumph and magnato artistic perception; and those of nimity, had raised affection into admiAmerican writers and thinkers, who ration; I longed to tread so illustrious have the sense and sentiment of art, like a land, to greet so noble a race, and to Irving and Bryant, Hawthorne and fraternize with such brave, wise, and Longfellow, have been thereby protect- true men. With the returning tide of ed from the reckless vagaries and the peace, of course, habits of gain and luxury were resumed in the populous through the dirt of Broadway, or crushcentres, and the inevitable demoraliza- ing, like half-inflated balloons, their amtion of war left its traces; the sal- ple skirts through a densely-packed ient divisions between the patriotic omnibus. The triumph of extravagant and the disloyal, the martyrs and the luxury may be seen, at certain seasons, mercenaries, which kept compact and at what looks like a palace-a huge, imposing the army of noble and true lofty marble building, in the principal citizens during the struggle, when it thoroughfare of this city; it is not a ceased, were obliterated, and society be- royal residence, nor a gallery of art, nor came more heterogeneous than ever, its a college-it is a drygoods shop. Immanifestations less characteristic, its su- agine a thousand women there conperficial traits more, and its talent and vened, an army of clerks showing patvirtue less, apparent. Hence the Amer- terns, measuring off goods, or rushing ica of my fond imagination seemed for- to and fro with change and orders. ever vanished; and, only by patient ob- Every one of these females is dressed in servation and fortunate rencontres, have silk; at least one half, if attired accordI gradually learned to discriminate and ing to their means and station, would recognize the soul of good in things- wear calico or homespun; perhaps an eyil.

eighth out of the whole number of husNo, my friend, I will not expose Wil- bands to these shopping wives are either helmina to the precocious development, bankrupt or at work in Wall-street, with the premature self-assertion, incident to fear and trembling, risking their all to this social atmosphere. I daily see supply the enormous current expenses girls, in their teens, with all the airs of their families, whereof half relate to and much of the way of thinking of female dress. Carry the inference from old women of the world-confidentthese facts a little further; of course, vain, self-indulgent, and, withal, blasé. the daughters marry for an establishTrue, the exceptions are charming. I ment, look abroad for enjoyment; byfind them chiefly among families in and-by go to Europe, ostensibly to edumoderate circumstances, but of good cate their children (leaving papa to his connection, wherein the daughters have club and counting-room), but really to been reared in active, wholesome, and gossip at Dresden, flirt at Rome, or shop responsible duties — had, in short, to in Paris. contribute, directly or indirectly, to I have been surprised to find so many their own support. With intellectual underbred men in society ; but this is tastes and a religious education, this explained by the fact that so many who, discipline in a land where the sex is in youth, have enjoyed few means of · held in respect,--these young women culture and no social training, in their are noble, pure, brave, and conscien- prime have made a fortune, and are able tious, as well as aspiring and intelligent. to give dinners, and send their children I have seen many such in the Normal to fashionable schools. Hence a sinschools, engaged in clerical work in the gular incongruity in manners, ranging departments at Washington, and by the from the most refined to the most infiresides of the inland towns, or in the tolerable in the same salon, or among most thoroughly respectable and least the same class and circle. Remissness fashionable households of this metropo in answering notes, off-hand verbal inlis. But one is disenchanted, not only vitations to strangers without a prelimiof his ideal of womanhood, but of the nary call, forcing personal topics into most homely and humble domestic illu- conversation, stuffing unceremoniously sions, by the sight of crowds of gayly- at receptions, free and easy bearing todressed females, with huge greasy mass- wards ladies, lounging, staring, asking es of hair on the back of their heads, impertinent questions, pushing into noand no modest shield to their brazen tice, intruding on the talk and privacy brows, draggling their long silken trains of others—in a word, an utter absence of delicacy and consideration is mani- of public opinion by social analysis. fest in a sphere where you will, at the There is an instinctive sagacity and same time, recognize the highest type, sense of justice in the popular mind. both of character and breeding, in both If there was one confident idea I ensexes. This crude juxtaposition star- tertained in regard to this country, betles a European; but he is still more as- fore coming here, it was that I should tonished after hearing a man's conduct find plenty of space. I expected an stigmatized, and his character annihi- infinity of room. I said to myself, lated at the club; to encounter the in- those straggling unwalled cities devour dividual thus condemned an accepted suburban vicinage so easily—have so guest of the men who denounce him. much room to spread; I bad heard of In a word, there seems no social dis- the Capital's “ magnificent distances," crimination; one's pleasure in choice and dreamed of the boundless prairies society is constantly spoiled by the and the' vastness of the continent. The presence of those reeking with the es- same impression existed in regard to all sential oil of vulgarity, of foreign ad- social and economic arrangements; venturers without any credentials, and " there,” I said to myself, “I shall exwho succeed in effecting an entrée upon pand at will; every thing is new, unthe most fallacious grounds. It is one bounded, open, large, and free.” Well, of the most remarkable of social phe- thus far, I have found it just the reverse. nomena here, that even cultivated and Assigned a lofty and diminutive bedscrupulously honorable men and high- chamber at the hotels—having to stand bred women are so patient under social up in the horse-cars, because all the inflictions, so thoughtless in social rela- seats are occupied-finding my friends' tions; not that they compromise their pews full—not having elbow-room at characters—they only degrade their hos- the table d'hôte- tired of waiting for pitality. Exclusiveness is, indeed, the my turn to look at the paper at club opposite of republican principle; but and reading-room-being told the new that refers to discrepancies of rank, of novel is "out" at the library-standing birth, and of fortune; exclusiveness in a line at the theatre box-office for an based on character, on culture, on the hour, to be told all the good places are tone and traits of the individual, is and taken-receiving hasty notes from editshould be the guarantee of social vir- ors that my article had been in type but tue, refinement, and self-respect. that their columns were oversupplied

And yet, my friend, inconsistent as it pressed to the wall at parties—jostled may seem, I really think there never in Broadway and Wall-street-rushed was a country where every man's and upon at ferry-boat piers—interrupted in woman's true worth and claims are bet- quiet talks—my neighbor, at dinner, abter tested than this. I mean that when stracted by observation of a distant you turn from the fête or the fashion of guest_I never, in my life, had such a the hour, and discuss character with the painful consciousness of being de trop, sensible people you happen to know, in the way, insignificant, overlooked, they invariably pierce the sham, recog- and crowded out, as here; and I have to nize the true, and justly estimate legiti- go, every now and then, to the country mate claims. Sooner or later, in this to breathe freely and realize my own infree land, where the faculties are so dividuality and independence. keenly exercised, the scope for talent so The security of life and property is wide; where all kinds of people come altogether inadequate here. Consult a together, and there is a chance for every file of newspapers and you will find that one --what there is of original power, of massacres by rail, burglaries, murders, integrity, of kindness, of cunning, of and conflagrations are more numerous, genius, of rascality, and of faith in make less impression, and are less guardhuman being, finds development, comes

ed against and atoned for, by process to the surface, and turns the balance of law, than in any other civilized land.

-as the

These characteristics are, however, very age, or is forced to avoid the companunequally distributed. You must con- ionship of his reckless comrades. And, tinually bear in mind that the facts I worst of all, a woman with a sentiment state, and the inferences thence drawn, of family obligation, a principle of often have but a local application. household duty, cannot regulate the Thus, familiar with the admirable mu- servants, see to the providing of the nicipal system whereby so many towns table, the order and pleasantness of in Europe rose to power and prosperity home-life, without a vigilance, a sacriof old, and with the civic sagacity and fice of time, and an anxiety which takes rectitude of the founders of this Repub- the bloom from her cheek and plants a lic, who, in colonial times, disciplined wrinkle on her brow. The lack of wellthe people to self-government, through trained and contented “help,”the free and faithful administration of domestic servants are ironically called local affairs- I was the more disconcert- -the great expense of living, and the ed at the awful abuses and patent frauds absence of that machinery which, once of the so-called government of this com- set up with judgment, goes on so regumercial metropolis of the United States. larly in our Old World domiciles—are In New England you find the munici- among the causes of weariness and care pal system carried to perfection, unper- in the average female life of this counverted, and effective. In Vermont it try, in a manner and to a degree unexists in elevated simplicity and honor; known in Europe, where leisure and rebut in the large cities, owing to a larger pose are easily secured by competence influx of foreigners, so many of whom and tact. are poor and ignorant, it is degraded. I do not wonder that so many of the

You naturally ask, Why do not the best-bred and most intelligent Amerihonest and intelligent citizens produce can girls prefer army and navy officers a reform in what so nearly concerns both or diplomats for husbands to the “danctheir reputation and their welfare? Mying men " they meet in society, 'usually answer is, partly through indifference vapid, if not dissipated; whereas the and partly through fear, added to utter education for the army, navy, and diplowant of faith in the practicability of macy, or the culture attained by the success. There is a timidity native to discipline thereof, where there is a parriches; the large estate-holders desire ticle of sense or character, insures a certo conciliate the robber; they deem it tain amount of manliness and knowlmore safe to succumb than oppose; they edge, such as are indispensable to a lack moral courage; hence the social clever and refined woman in a life-comcompromises I have noted, and hence, panion. The two classes I pity most too, the ominous civic pusillanimity. here are the very old and the very

Care is the bane of conscientious life young; the former,' because they are here; I mean that, when a man or wom- shamefully neglected, and the latter, an is upright and bent upon duty, the because they are perverted. You see a performance thereof is hampered and gentleman of the old school snubbed made irksome by the state of society by Young America ; a venerable womand the circumstances of the people. an unattended to in a corner, while Thus, in affairs when an honest man is rude and complaisant girls push to the associated with directors, trustees, or front rank; and you see children, who other corporate representatives, he is ought to be kept in the fields or the sure to be revolted by unscrupulous do- nursery, fashionably arrayed and holdings or shameful neglect; he has to ing levées, or dancing the German, with fight for what is just in the manage all the extravagance of toilettes and ment, or withdraw in disgust therefrom. consciousness of manner, that distinSo a young man, who is wise enough to guish their elders, and a zest infinitely eschew alcoholic stimulants and games more solemn. It is painful to see age of hazard, has need of rare moral cour- thus unprivileged and unhonored, and

VOL. VI.-7.

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