Francis Hall.

The Century, Volume 11 online

. (page 47 of 163)
Online LibraryFrancis HallThe Century, Volume 11 → online text (page 47 of 163)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

nese, who make so much of a figure in our
daily lives, and in the literature of the time,
constitute little more than one-fourth of the
entire number of servants ?

In the first place, of the persons employed

• Another popular delusion, which is exploded by
the Census, is tnat Joseph Smith introduced polyg-
amy into his religious system merely as an indirect
solution of the problem of domestic service; a
shrewd device, at once to keep his handmaidens
under discipline, and to defraud them of their right-
ful wages. The Census shows that, while Utah nas
fewer servants to population than the Territories of
Arizona, New Mexico, Washington and Wyoming,
it has more than Colorado, Dakota, Idaho and

Digitized by




as domestic servants, who were bom in the
United States, not less than 353,275 are
found m the former slave States and the
District of Columbia, nineteen-twentieths
of them being colored. This would leave
but 351,059 from the old free States, includ-
ing the Territories. But of the total num-
ber of domestic servants in these States,
539532 ^6 males, while 34,099 are females
under 16 years of age, neariy all of whom
were bom here. Making deductions on
these accounts, we have, in round nimibers,
280,000 females, 16 years of age and up-
ward, natives of the country, among our
domestic servants, against a somewhat
smaller number of all other nationalities.
But can it be tme that more than one-half
our adult female domestic servants in the
Northern States are native, are American ?
It is true, and it is not tme. According to
the strict sense of the word native, tfie
sense in which the Census uses it, it is tme;
according to its popular meaning, nothing
could be further from the tmth. TTiese Irish
and German girls, as we are accustomed to
call them, who are in our families as second
girls, as nurses, and even as general ser-
vants, what proportion of them ever saw
Ireland or Germany ? They are, in fact, of
the second generation. They are one re-
move from foreigners. Yet, though bom
among us, our general instinctive feeling
testifies that they are not wholly of us. So
separate has been their social life, due alike
to their clannishness and to our reserve ; so
strong have been the ties of race and blood
and religion with them ; so acute has been
the jealousy of their spiritual teachers to-
ward our popular institutions, — that we
speak of them, and we think of them, as

It must be remembered that, so far back
as 1850, there were resident in the United
States 573,225 Germans, and 961,719 Irish,
while the total number of persons of foreign
birth was at that time 2,210,839. Many
of these had then been residing long in the
country. It is from the descendants of this
dass, scarcely less than out of the directly
immigrating dass, that our domestic service
is supplied. It is clear that it will not be
long before these honu-made fartigrurs will
far outnumber the direct immigrants, in the
ranks of our domestic service. Already the
children bom in this country of foreign par-
ents nearly equal those who were bom
abroad. Another Census will see the bal-
ance strongly indined to the side of the
former class ; while their preponderance in

our households will undoubtedly be effected
even earlier by the preference naturally given
to them over new arrivals.

Of those domestic servants who were bom
in foreign coimtries, the Census assigns to
Ireland, 145,^56; to Germany, 42,866; to
British Amenca, 14,878; to England and
Wales, 12,531; to Sweden, Norway, and
Denmark, 11,287; ^^ China and Japan,
5,420; to Scotland, 3,399; to France,
2,874 ; to all other countries, 7,343.

The States of the North and West, in
which the Irish, as compared with the do-
mestic servants of any other foreign nation-
ality, are in excess, are Maine, Massachu-
setts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode
Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylva-
nia, Ohio, Illinois, and Califomia; those in
which the Germans are in excess, Indiana,
Iowa, Nebraska, and Wisconsin; those in
which the Scandinavians are in excess,
Kansas and Minnesota; those in which the
British Americans are in excess, Michigan
and Vermont; those in which die Chinese
are in excess, Nevada and Oregon. The
Chinese, however, very nearly approach the
Irish in Califomia, the numbers being 4,343
against 4,434. Illinois has 3,950 Scandi-
navians, and 5,603 Germans, against 6,346
Irish. Michigan has 1,755 Germans, and
1,748 Irish, against 2,456 Scandinavians.
Ohio has 5,270 Germans, against 5,587
Irish. In Indiana, the Irish very neariy
approach the Germans. In Maine, the
Bntish Americans nearly equal the Irish.
In the remaining States, the preponderance
of the foreign dement first specified, is gen-
erally decided.

Considering the number of " French
cooks" we have in this country, it may
seem surprising that so few of our domestic
servants should have been bom in France.
It is known, however, that French cooks
differ from the cooks of other nationalities
in Uiis, that they may be bom anywhere,
and speak English with any sort of accent.
Of the real Frenchmen and Frenchwomen
who have entered our domestic service, the
great majority, as might be anticipated, are
found in towns, obeying, even on our happy
soil, the strongest mstmct of their people.
Thirty dties have the honor to comprise
1,630 out of the total of 2,874 domestic
servants bom in France. Of these, 449 are
found in New York; 368 in New Orleans;
and 286 in San Francisco.

Two foreign dements which are likely to
make an even greater proportionate showing
in the domestic service of 1 880 than in that of

Digitized by




1870, are the Swedes and the British Amer-
icans, — ^if, indeed, by that time, we have not
gratified our national passion by annexing
Sie New Dominion, making thus the Cana-
dians not foreigners, but natives. Speaking
broadly, the Swedes are all found west of
Lake Michigan, in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin,
and Minnesota. The systematic efforts
made to induce immigration firom Sweden
are not unlikely to yield considerable results
in the immediate future. All the social and
industrial conditions of the North-west are
natural to this people, exqept only as being
more favorable than their own at home.
The British Americans, on the other hand,
are substantially all east of Lake Michigan.
They have overspread, more or less densely,
the New England States, have colored
deeply the northern borders of New York,
and form an important element in the pop-
ulation of the peninsula of Michigan. In
the latter State and in Maine the men of
this nationality are lumbermen and rafts-
men ; in Massachusetts and Rhode Island,
they are cotton spinners and shoemakers,
forming, indeed, the bone and sinew of the
redoubtable order of the Knights of St
Crispin. And, if ever our cooks get on a
strike and go a parading the streets with
bands and banners, breathing defiance to
domestic tyranny, be sure it wiD be because
the French Canadian women among them
have formed the order of Ste. Coquula,

Of the natives of the Celestial Empire who
cook and wash for our people, very few have
yet ventiwed across the Rocky Mountains.
Here and there at the East, an almond-eyed
angel "stands and waits" in the house of a
master who is considerably more than half
afiaid of him, with his cat-like step, his dia-
bolical observances, his inscrutable coun-
tenance, and his well-known toxological
accomplishments; but thus £ar, at least.

the great domestic revolution which was
heralded in the newspapers and magazines
with so much noise five years ago, as about
to follow the advent of the Children of the
Sun, has, like many another announced
revolution, failed to come off. Of the total
number of 5420 Chinese servants in the
United States, 4,343 are yet to be found in
California, 503 in Nevada, and 268 in

Is the Chinaman to be the domestic ser-
vant of the fiiture? Will another census
show him stealthily supplanting the Euro-
pean in our households, and setting up his
gods on the kitchen mantels of this Chris-
tian land? I stoutly believe not The
Chinese, whether miners or menials, are
hardly more numerous in the United States
than they were five years ago. "Forty
centuries" have been too much for Mr.
Koopmanschoop and his emigrant nmners.
Even when the Chinaman comes to the
States, he leaves his wife and children be-
hind him ; he comes here with no thought
of resting until he can rest at home; his
supreme wish is ever to return to his native
land, and if he be so unhappy as to die in
exile, his bones at least must be borne back
to sacred soil. Surely, a great element
among us is not to be built up by immigra-
tion of this kind. Masses of foreign popu-
lation thus unnaturally introduced into the
body politic, must sooner or later disappear
like the icebergs that drift upon the currents
of our temperate seas, chilling the waters
all around tiiem, yet themselves slowly
wasting away under the influence of sun
and wind, having in themselves no source
of supply, no spring of energy, no power
of self-protection ; helpless and inert amid
hostile and active forces; their only part,
endurance; their only possible end, ex-



"Wisdom," quoth the sage,
"Cometh only with age."
"Fool!" quacked a goose,
"Then 'tis no use!"


" If like cures like," quoth Bibulus athirst,
"Each second glasa must siurely cure the fij:5t"
Alas 1 he missed his count, and, sad to see.
The drinks came out imeven — so did he!

Digitized by




Now when the landscape lies all hushed and stilly
Beneath the cold gray sky and shrouding snow,

Dawns the dim birthday, shadowy and chilly,

Of my sweet winter-child — my rare white lily,
Loved all too well, and lost so long ago.

Sometimes I marvel, dazed by doubt and distance,

Whether she was a mortal baby fair,
Or some more glorified and piure existence
I^ent for a little — a divine assistance

To help me over uttermost despair.

1 bring to other birthdays kiss and token,

A^d loving wishes crowding fond and fast-
To this I only bring a woe unspoken,
Bitter rebellious tears, a heart half broken, ;
Bruising itself against the cruel past.

Year after year I think of her as older,

And muse upon her growth, and softly speak :
Now without stooping I could clasp and hdd her,
And now her golden head would reach my shoulder.

And now her sweet white brow would touch my cheeks.

Would earthly years have had the power to render

That holy face less innocent and fair?
And those clear eyes, so luminous and tender.
Would they have kept undimmed their depths of splendor.

Amid these heavy clouds of grief and care ?

I wonder, when I see my locks grown duller

By blighting years, and strewed with silvery strands,
If her bright hair has stOl the sun-warm color
It wore when on my breast I used to lull her,

Smoothing its shining waves with loving hands.

While time has aged and saddened me so greatly,
Has she outgrown each changing child^h mood?

By the still waters does she walk sedately

A tall and radiant spirit, fair and stately,
In the full prime of perfect angelhood ?

In that far dwelling, where I cannot reach her.

Has she who was so fragile and so sweet, —
An untaught babe, a tender Uttle creature, —
Grown wise enough to be my guide and teacher,
And will her presence awe me when we meet?

Oh, if her baby face has waxed no older,

Or if to angel stature she has grown —
Whether as child or woman I behold her.
With what wild rapture will these arms enfold her-—

This longing heart reclaim her for its own!

Digitized by





American Authorship.

Mr. Charles Reade is a man of plain speech.
He applies his epithets with snch hearty hate and
contempt that they acquire dignity in the handling.
The ** gorillas," " chimpanzees/' and " idiots," who
have been the objects of his trenchant thrusts in his
recent letters in **^ The Tribune," will look into their
mirrors under a strong apprehension that their per-
sons will indorse his characterization. On behalf
of American authorship, we thank him for his un-
answerable plea for justice. There is but one side
to this question, and he has stated it A creator
and inventor has a natural right to the product of
his brain, and wherever and by whomsoever that
product is used, he is entitled to a royalty. There
is not a rational argument .which sustains the laws
of international patent right that does not i^ply per-
fectly to international copyright We have settled the
principle, in our own national legislation, and settled
it forever, and the refusal, on the part of our Gov-
ernment, to accord international copyright amounts
to self-stultification and self-condemnation.

We hope that during the coming session of Con-
gress this matter will be taken up, and settled as it
ought to be. The President's Annual Message
would be dignified by asking at the hands of Con-
' gress such le^lation as will protect the authorship
of this country, and of all other countries, in its
property. Our own authors have been compelled
to compete in the market with stolen books long
enough They have been preyed upon by foreign
publishers long enough. Our people have lived upon
stolen bread long enough We occupy, in this mat-
ter, as a nation, a most undignified and disgraceful
position. There is nothing under heaven that stands
in the way of international copyright but a desire
to maintain the profitable fireedom of stealing. The
authors want protection; they need it; they must
have it; they will have it; and no adverse interest
can interfere with their efforts, without great injus-
tice and discourtesy.

We were particularly impressed by Mr. Reade's
closing letter. It ought to be read by every well-
wisher of his country. He shows how, under the
patent laws, our inventors lead, the world. Other
nations print on our presses, reap with our reapers,
and sew with our sewing-machines, while, in litera-
ture, we are only a moon reflecting the light of other
national literatures. The American patentee and
the American author are at opposite poles, in their
fortunes and in the world's consideration. One
leads the world ; the other follows it Mr. Reade
simply reiterates what we have long claimed, when
he asserts that the American writer has larger, more
varied and richer materials than the English writer.
*< Land of fiery passions and humors infinite," he says,
« you offer such a garden of fi^its as Moli^re never
sunned himself in, nor Shakespeare either." Nothing
is truer than this, and the only reason that American

authorship does not rise to the commanding position
which its capacities and materids render possible, is»
that men cannot live on the returns of their labor.

The history of our failure lies all around us. A
genius blossoms, and we throw up our hats. The
next thing we heur of him is that he is at work upon
a salary, getting bread for his wife and children.
He hardens and sours into a literary drudge, and
never bears the fruit that was promised in his blos-
soming. The rare genius Halleck spent his life in
a counting-room. Our living Bryant, who should
have had a purely literary life, and left, as the herit-
age of his country, the consummate firuits of his
genius and scholarship, spent his best years on a
political newspaper. George William Curtis gives
now all the products of his strong and graceful pen
to the editor's office. Stoddard, a genuine genius,,
produces very sparingly, and is giving the weight
of his culture to the presentation of other authors
and other lives, mostly British. Stedman divides
his time between the beautiful work that he loves,
— the work to which nature has so generously^
fitted him,— and the harassing cares of Wall street
Taylor, who holds in his industrious and aocom^
pUshed hands the materials and the power to write-
a better Life of Goethe than ever was produced,,
delivered last winter a hundred and thirty lectures,
and is now editing, for the consideration that is so
necessary to *<keep the pot boiling." Does any
one suppose that he would be doing this if he had
the British market of his book secure, with the right
of trai^lation into German and Frendi? Moses
Coit Tyler, who has an important history on hand,
for which, in the intervals of productive toil, he has
long been collecting material, is plodding along upon
a professor's salary at Ann Arbor. Hawthorne, who,,
as a writer of fiction, did more for the literary feme
of America abroad than any other American, was
glad to accept political office, that he might be sure
of the bread he could not earn by his pen. Emer-
son has probably been obliged to earn by lecturing
more money than he has evo* received from copy-
right The magazines are flooded ^th articles from
pens that ought to be at work upon our permanent
national litoature, simply because money is wanted,,
and wanted now.

It is an old, sad story. The experiment has been
repeated ad nauseam^ and yet American authors are-
blamed for writing hastily and without due prepa-
ration. The question lies between writing hastily
and starving. Give American authors half a chance ;
give them an opportunity to live, and they will do
their work better. Give them the markets of the
world, secure a return to them from all who now
steal the usufruct of their genius and their labor,
relieve them from the present killing competition
with books that pay no copyright, and they will do
for themselves and their country what the patentees
have done for themselves and the country. We do not
wonder that Charles Reade, with his intelligent eye

Digitized by




npon oar position, and his strong sense of eqoity
and right, should use the most convenient and tell-
ing epithets that come to his hand to characterize
his opponents. Opposition is so unjust, so short-
sighted, so inconsiderate of the interests of a class
on which the permanent fame and character of the
country most depend, that it may well evoke his ire,
in any terms in which he may see fit to express it
Our Government fosters agriculture, fosters rail-
roads, fosters manufactures, fosters invention, fos-
ters mining interests, fosters scientific exploration,
and even fosters the weather, but it does not foster,
it never has fostered, that great interest of authorship
on which its moral and intellectual character and
consideration depend. Anybody can get rich but
an author. Anybody can realize from his labor his
daily bread, except an author. II all the receipts
from the copyright of accepted American authors
should be put together, and all the authors were
compelled to live from it, they would not live; they
would starve. Is this ri^t ? Is it too much to ask
of the Government that it place the authorship, not
only of this country, but of the world, in a posidon
where it can have an even chanoe with other inter-
ests ? It does not ask for the pensions accorded to
useful authorship in other countries; it does not
seek for grace or guerdon ; it simply asks for justice
and a frir chance to win for itself the return for
labor which it needs, and for its country the oon-
sideratioQ due to productive genius and culture.

^^oter AfliuaemeBta.

Onk of the most puszling questions whidi parents
have to deal with is that whidi relates to the amuse-
ments of their children, and especially to those
among them who have reached young manhood and
young womanhood. The most of us are too apt to
forget that we have once been young, and that,
while we are tired enough with our daily work to
enjoy our evenings in quiet by our fireskies, the
young are ove r flowing with vitality, which must
have vent somewhere. The girls and young women
particularly, who cannot join in the rough sports of
the boys, have, as a rule, a pretty slow time of it
They go to parties when invited; but parties are all
alike, and soon become a bore. A healthy social life
does not consist in packing five hundred people to-
gether in a box, feeding them with ices, and sending
them home with aching limbs, aching e3res, and a first-
dass chance for diphtheria. But the young must
have social life. Tliey must have it regularly ; and
how to have it satisfactorily — ^with freedom, without
danger to health of body and soul, with intellectual
stimulus and growth — is really one of the most
important of social questions.

It is not generally the boy and the girl who spend
their days in school that need outside amusement
or sodety. They get it, in large measure, among
their companions, during the day; and, as their
evenings are short, they get along very comfortably
with their little games and their recreative reading.
It is the young woman who has left school and the
young man who is preparing for life, in office or

counting-room, in the shop or on the farm, that
need sodal recreation whidi will give significance
to their lives, and, at the same time, culture to their
minds. If they Tail to unite culture with their rec-
reations, they never get it It is not harsh to say
that nine yoiing men in every ten go into life with-
out any culture. The girls do better, because, first,
they take to it more naturally, and, second, because,
in die absence of other worthy objects of Ufe, this is
always before them and alwajrs attainable. The
great point, then, is to unite culture with amusement
and social enjoyment Dancing and kindred amuse-
ments are well enough in their time and way, but
they are childish. There must be something better ;
there is something better.

It is an easy thing to establish, either in country
or dty nd^borhoods, the reading dub. Twenty-
five young men and women of congenial tastes,
habits, and social belongmgs can easily meet in one
another's houses, once during every week, through
five or six months of the year. With a small fund
they can buy good books, and, over these, read aloud
by one and another of their number, they can spend
an hour and a half most pleasantly and profitably.
They will find in these books topics of conversation
for the remainder of the time they spend together.
If they can illuminate the evening with music, all
the better. Whatever accomplishments may be in
the possession of diffierent members of the dub
may be drawn upon to give variety to the interest
of the occasion. This is entirely practicable, every-
where. It is more profitable than amateur theatri-
cals, and less exhaustive of time and energy. It
can be united with almost any literary object The
** Shakespeare Club" is nothhig but a reading dub,
devoted to the study of a single author ; and Shake-
speare may well engage a dub for a single winter.
Such a dub would cultivate the art of good reading,
which is one of the best and most useful of all
aooomplishments. It would cultivate thought,
imagination, taste. In brie(^ the whole tendency
of the reading dub is toward culture— the one
thing, notwithstanding all our educational advan-
tages, the most deplorably lacking in the average
American man and woman.

There was a time when the popular lecture was
a source not only of amusement but of culture —
when it stimulated thought, devdoped healthy opin-
ion, conveyed instruction, and elevated the taste.
The golden days when Sumner, Everett, and
Holmes, Starr King, and Professor Mitdicll,
Bishop Huntington and Bishop Clark, Beecher and
Chapin, Emerson, Curtis, Taylor, and Phillips, were
all activdy in the field, were days of genuine prog-
ress. Few better things could happen to the
American people than the return of such days as
those were ; and the " lecture system," as it has
been called, is dedining in its usefulness and inter-
est, simply because it has not men like these to
give it tone and value. A few of the old set linger
in the field, but death, old age, and absorbing pur-
suits have withdrawn the most of them. The plat-
form is not what it was. The literary trifler, the
theatrical reader, the second or third rate concert.

Digitized by




have dislodged the reliable lecture-goers ; and the
popular lecture will certainly be killed if bad man-
agement can kill it The standard has not been
raised or even maintained ; it has been lowered—
lowered specially, and with direct purpose, to meet
the tastes of the vulgar crowd.

Well, the young people, in whose hands the

Online LibraryFrancis HallThe Century, Volume 11 → online text (page 47 of 163)