Samuel Manning.

American pictures drawn with pen and pencil online

. (page 11 of 12)
Online LibrarySamuel ManningAmerican pictures drawn with pen and pencil → online text (page 11 of 12)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook



jobbery and corruption which pre
vail in New York. Most as
tounding charges of embezzle
ment and fraud are openly made
against the leading politicians in
the city. To some extent these
accusations are groundless. No
where is party spirit more fierce
and unscrupulous. The principle
announced by Sala in his Ameri
can Diary is freely
acted upon : " Never
accuse youradversary
of ignorance or error.
Declare boldly that
he murdered his
grandmother andstole
clocks." But, after
making all possible
allowance for the ex
aggerations and mis
representations of
heated partisans, it
cannot be doubted
that the government
of the city is fearfully
corrupt. It
ought, however,
to be remem
bered that New
York is a
litan, ra
ther than
an Ameri
can city.
For the
last fifty
years it
has been
the com
mon sewer



Every day sees a fresh flood
of ignorance and pauperism
and crime poured upon its
shores. The wonder is not
that it is so bad, but that
it is not far worse. If I
were an advocate for Ameri
can institutions, I should
point to New York as a
proof of their excellence,
seeing that they have sur
vived the tremendous strain
put upon them. When we
remember that the worst
class of emigrants remain
in the city, whilst the ma
jority of the virtuous and
industrious go up the coun
try, it is surprising that the
evil is kept so well in check.
Visiting Blackwell's Island,
which is the city prison, poor house and penitentiary, we find that the Irish
form more than one half of its inmates. German emigrants come next, then

the English, whilst native-
born Americans are only
about ten per cent, of the

From the public and
private immorality of New
York it is pleasant to turn
aside to the efforts made
to stem the tide of evil.
Probably in no city in the
world are religious and phi-
lanthropicorganisations more
vigorously and earnestly at
work than here. The mag
nitude of the evil to be
encountered has called forth
a corresponding zeal and
devotion on the part of the
Christian Church. The form
which these philanthropic



efforts assume may sometimes offend a fastidious taste and jar upon our
feeling's of propriety, yet it is impossible not to admire the vigour with
which they are conducted, or rejoice in the success by which they are
followed. There are multitudes in New York who live in the spirit of the
prayer with which the minute book of the Common Council of the city
commences :

" We beseech Thee, O Thou who art the fountain of all good gifts,
qualify us by Thy grace, that we may, with fidelity and righteousness, serve
in our respective offices. To this end enlighten our darkened understandings,
that we may be able to distinguish the right from the wrong, the truth from
falsehood ; and that we may give pure and uncorrupted decisions ; having an
eye upon Thy Word, a sure guide, giving to the simple wisdom and know
ledge. Let Thy law be a
light to our feet and a lamp
to our path, so that we may
never turn away from the
path of righteousness.
Deeply impress on all our
minds that we are not ac
countable unto men but unto
God, who seeth and heareth
all things. Let all respect
of persons be far removed
from us, that we may award
justice unto the rich and the
poor, unto friends and ene
mies alike ; to residents and
to strangers, according to
the law of truth, and that
not one of us may swerve
therefrom. And since sifts


do blind the eyes of the
wise, and destroy the heart, theretore keep our hearts aright. Grant unto
us, also, that we may not rashly prejudge any one without a fair hearing,
but that we patiently hear the parties, and give them time and opportunity
for defending themselves, in all things looking up to Thee and to Thy
Word for counsel and direction."

Some of the most pleasing scenery on the continent may be found in
the State of New York, and within easy reach of the city. If the American
people were less addicted to travel, they would explore the beauties of their
own land before visiting Europe. I have seen tourists in raptures over the
banks of the Rhine or the Danube, to whom those of the Hudson were
unknown. And yet, paradoxical as it may sound, the Hudson is the most




beautiful river of the three.
It lacks the ruined castles
and romantic legends of its
German rivals. Its tradi
tions are but of yesterday,
and are either grotesque or
prosaic. But it has an afflu
ence and variety of natural
beauty which more than
compensate for this de
ficiency. Rising amongst
the Adirondack Mountains
in the northern part of the
state, it flows in a southerly
course for about three hun
dred miles. For the first hundred and fifty miles it rushes over a series
of rapids and cascades, which prevent navigation. But at this point, where
the city of Troy (!) stands, it becomes a navigable river flowing down in a
broad deep channel to the sea.

In assigning the palm
of beauty to the Hudson
over its more famous Euro
pean rivals, I must admit
that they have single points
of views which it cannot
equal. It surpasses them,
however, in variety and in
uninterrupted loveliness. On
the Rhine and the Danube
are long stretches of country
with little to attract the eye,
and in sailing up the former
of these rivers we feel a
certain monotony in the
succession of hill-sides, ter
raced to the summits with
vineyards. Vineyards, how
ever poetical in idea, are
very prosaic in fact. As
cultivated in France and
Germany, they are the most
stiff and formal covering for
the landscape that can be



well imagined, with no more grace or beauty than a row of raspberry bushes
might have. But on the Hudson, from New York to Poughkeepsie, there
is not a single bend of the river but discloses a new and varied beauty.
Bare cliffs are succeeded by soft swelling hills ; lovely glens run up into the
mountains ; stretches of greensward, groves of arbor vita^, forests of oak,
and walnut, and pine ; villages, farms, stately mansions, parterres gay with
flowers, come and go in quick succession, like the figures in a kaleidoscope.
And over all, the Catskill Mountains rise along the horizon, cutting the sky-



line with their serrated summits, and forming a noble background to a
charming picture.

Near Poughkeepsie is a characteristic American institution Vassar
College where Tennyson's dream in The Princess approaches realisation.
Here, three hundred and fifty " sweet girl graduates, with golden hair," from
every state in the Union, pass through a university course, the studies of
which are as advanced, and the examinations as severe, as those in the
Colleges of Harvard and Yale. Its founder, Matthew Vassar, having raised
himself, by a life of honourable industry, from a condition of absolute penury



to great wealth, re
solved to devote his
property to this object.
In the year 1861 he
transferred to trustees
securities to the value
of about half a million
dollars, for carrying out
his design, and on his
death, a few years later,
bequeathed large ad
ditional funds to the
college. The grounds,
two hundred acres in
extent, are of rare
beauty, and command
noble views over the
valley of the Hudson.
In addition to the class
rooms, lecture halls,
refectories, and dormi
tories, are an obser
vatory, a gymnasium,
a school and gallery
of art, museums of
natural history, geology,
botany, and other kin
dred sciences, a riding-
school, and a chapel.
Pleasure boats, maimed
by young ladies, skim
across the lake with a
speed which shows that
physical development
is not neglected. Dr.
Maria Mitchell is Pro
fessor of Astronomy
and Director of the Ob
servatory, Miss Frances
Ellen Lord is Profes
sor of Greek, Helen
W. Webster, M.D.,
Professor of Physiology


and Hygiene, and Resident Physician. The higher branches of mathematics
and mental and moral philosophy, I regret to say, are taught by gentlemen,
but it is hoped that in due time this blot may be removed, and the absolute
equality of the sexes demonstrated by the appointment of lady professors even
for the abstract sciences. Having heard the graduates read Plato and
Demosthenes, Tacitus, and Cicero, having listened with wonder to their dis
sertations on Sir William Hamilton's Lectures on Philosophy, and witnessed
their performances on the blackboard, working out abstruse problems in the
higher calculus, I ventured to ask the Lady Principal what portions of time
were devoted to the humbler duties of house-keeping, cookery, and similar
sublunary, but not altogether unimportant parts of a lady's life. The question
was treated with the scorn which it deserved, and I was informed that the
higher education of women needs the same concentration of mind as in the
case of men.

It is satis
factory to read
in an article re
printed from
Scribners Maga
zine by the Col
lege authorities,
that "It is an ad
mirable sight to
look upon these
grounds, filled
with bright and
happy girls,
walking, garden
ing, engaged in

games, rowing on the lake, or occasionally making ready, in some shady
recess, for work in class-rooms. It is a constant joy at Vassar to see that
bodily health is not to be sacrificed to any other object whatever." In
illustration of this the dietary is given, which has an additional interest as
showing our English girls how their American sisters live. "These young
ladies and their teachers eat two hundred pounds of beef, mutton, or lamb,
or seventy shad for dinner daily, after one hundred and twenty-five pounds
of steak for breakfast. They consume two hundred and seventy to three
hundred and fifty quarts of milk per day ; from seventy-five to one hundred
pounds of butter daily ; one-half barrel of granulated sugar, six pounds of coffee,
and three to four pounds of tea for the same time. Canned fruit of all sorts
is eaten largely. Twice a week they make away at dinner with one hundred
and sixty quarts of ice-cream. Farinaceous food abounds. From twelve to
fourteen varieties of bread are on the tables, in profusion. Two articles,



with bread and butter, are always supplied at tea. Twice a day they have
some acid. Winter brings buckwheat and rice cakes, and twenty barrels of
syrup are used in a year."

In his address to the trustees of the College at their first meeting,
Mr. Vassar laid down certain principles which were to be observed in the
management of the institution, concluding with " Last, and most important
of all, the daily systematic reading and study of the Holy Scriptures as the
only and all-sufficient rule of Christian faith and practice. All sectarian
influence should be carefully excluded ; but the training of our students
should never be intrusted to the sceptical, the irreligious, or the immoral."
This the managers of the College have kept steadily in view. In their address
issued in 1865, they avow their purpose to make it "a School of Christ a
place where His Word and doctrine shall be taught in purity and power, and
where His renewing and sanctifying Spirit shall continually dwell."

Vassar is not
the only educa
tional experiment
which is being
worked out in the
State of New York.
Cornell University
is equally deserv
ing of notice. In
the year 1 862, when
the civil war was
at its height, and

the prospects of the country were the gloomiest, Congress resolved to appro
priate large tracts of public lands for the purpose of encouraging the study of
agriculture and the mechanical arts. The share allotted to the state of New
York amounted to nearly a million acres. Four hundred thousand acres of
this were sold at a dollar an acre. To this capital sum Ezra Cornell added a
further amount of half a million dollars, and likewise gave land on which to
erect the college buildings. The site chosen was at Ithaca, near the head of
the Cayuga Lake, in the north-western part of the state. Within five or six
years the College was fully equipped and organised with libraries, class-rooms,
workshops, and an efficient staff of professors. The peculiarities of the insti
tution may be best stated in the words of Mr. Cornell himself. He says : " I
would inform all who may desire the information, that, in organising the
University, the trustees aimed to arrange a system of manual labour which,
while it would be compulsory upon none, would furnish all the students of
the University with the opportunity to develop their physical strength and
vigour by labour, the fair compensation for which would pay the expenses of
their education. Students will be employed in cultivating and raising, on a



farm of
three hun
dred acres,
the various
best suited
to furnish
the college


tab 1 e s .
These will
include live
stock for
milk, butter,
and cheese,
and to be
killed for
meat ; grain
for bread,
and vege
tables and
fruits of all
kinds suited
to the cli
mate and
soil. Me
chanical em-
ploym e n t
will be given
to all in the
shop of the
This will be
equ ip p e d
with an en-
g i n e of
twenty -five
er, lathes,
pi an ing -ma
chines for
iron and


wood, and all the most improved implements and tools for working in iron
and wood. Here they will manufacture tools, machinery models, patterns, &c.
The erection of the addi
tional buildings required for
the University will furnish
employment for years to
students in need of it.
There will also be employ
ment in laying out, grad
ing, road-making, and im
proving and beautifying the
farm and grounds of the
University. The work done
by students will be paid for
at the current rates paid
elsewhere for like services.
The work will be done
under the supervision of the
professors, and competent

superintendents and fore- ANTHONY'S NOSE, AND THE SUGAR LOAF.

men. It will be the con
stant aim of the trustees and faculty of the University to render it as
attractive and instructive as possible, and especially to make it conducive to
the health, growth, and physical vigour of the students, besides affording

them the means of self-sup
port and independence while
receiving all the advantages
of the University. With such
combined facilities for in
struction and maintenance,
all the expenses of a first-
class faculty and of tuition
being paid by the endow
ment, I trust that no person
who earnestly desires to be
throughly educated will find
difficulty in becoming so by
his own exertions at the
Cornell University. We al-
readv have students who


entered three months in ad
vance of the opening of the University, to avail themselves of the opportunity
to earn two dollars per day through haying and harvest, and thus make a sure







thing of it. Such boys will get an education, and will make their mark in

the world in the use of it. In

conclusion, I will assure the boys

that if they will perform one-fourth

a much labour as I did at their

ages, or as I do now at sixty years

of age, they will find no difficulty

in paying their expenses."

The Hudson, from Pough-

keepsie to Albany and Troy,

though still beautiful, is less varied

and imposing than in its southern

section. Albany, the state capital,

is a fine city of nearly one hundred

thousand inhabitants. By its Dutch

founders it was called Beverwyk ;

but on the conquest of the province

by the British, when New Amster
dam became New York, it re
ceived the name of Albany, the

second title of the Duke of York

and Albany. An old geography,

by a droll collocation of clauses,

describes it as "a city consisting of four thousand houses, with twenty

thousand inhabitants, all standing with their gable-ends towards the streets."

Many of the old gable-
ended houses still remain,
but its sleepy Dutch charac
ter has disappeared, and it
is now one of the busiest
and most thriving cities in
the Union.

The Catskills, which
have stretched along the
western horizon in dim
and shadowy beauty, now
approach the river, and their
picturesque forms add a new
charm to the scene. The
scene of two of the most


popular tales which have
been written in America, is laid in this district. Sleepy Hollow, where the





village ne'er-
do-well, Rip
van Winkle,
slept so long
and so sound
ly, lies in a
deep glen,
running up
into the moun
tains ; and, if
F e n i m o r e
Cooper may
be believed,
the island
below Glen's
Falls in the
Hudson River
was the scene
of some of the
most thrilling
adventures of
Uncas, the Last of the Mohicans.

We now approach the Adiron-
dacks, and the headwaters of the
noble river whose course we have been
tracing. The highest of these wild
peaks is Mount Marcy, called by
the Indians Ta-ha-wus, or The Cloud
Splitter. It is five thousand five hundred feet high, and there are many
others which approach this altitude. Though within the limits of the Empire
State, yet a few years ago the region was almost unvisited, except by-
Indians or trappers, and was the haunt of moose, beaver, panthers, and
bears. Hotels are now rapidly springing up ; roads are being made in every
direction. The Au Sable chasm, though upon a much smaller scale than
the canons of Colorado and the Yellowstone, may be compared with them.
The river has cut its way through the rock to a depth of nearly two hundred
feet, and flows on between perpendicular walls which rise on either side,
leaving a narrow channel only ten feet wide.

The charming lake scenery of the Empire State might well claim a
chapter to itself. Lack of space, however, compels us to leave it and many
other points of interest unnoticed.




HPHE site of Philadelphia well deserves

the praise which its founder be
stowed upon it. " Of all the places I have seen in the world," wrote
William Penn, " I remember not one better seated, so that it seems to me
to have been appointed for a town, because of its coves, docks, springs, and
lofty land." Lying between two navigable rivers the Schuylkill and the
Delaware, and at no great distance from the point at which the latter empties
itself into the ocean it possesses every facility for both foreign and internal


commerce. And of these natural advantages its citizens have not been slow
to avail themselves. The City of Brotherly Love is second in population only
to New York, containing, according to the last census (April, 1876), 817,448
inhabitants, an increase, since 1870, of H3.4^, a rate of progress which even
Chicago can hardly surpass.

The original plan of the city was a parallelogram, about a mile wide, and

two miles long from
the Schuylkilltothe
Delaware, contain
ing nine streets in
one direction, cross
ed at right angles
by twenty-three in
the other. It has
now " a hundred
and thirty thousand
dwellings, a thou
sand milesof streets
and roads, over six
hundred miles of
gas mains, and
nearly as many of
water-pipes. It has
two hundred and
twenty miles of
street railways, run
ning two thousand
passenger cars ;
and four hundred
public schools, with
over sixteen hun
dred teachers, and
more than eighty
thousand pupils."'
Though the
Quaker influence
no longer prepon
derates in the city, it yet preserves much of the primness and symmetry in
which its founders delighted. The unvarying straightness of the streets, forming
rectangular blocks, like the squares on a chess board, soon wearies a European
visitor. But one forgets the prosaic monotony of the plan in the air of
cheerful comfort which everywhere meets the eye. The houses are built of

* Philadelphia and its Environs. Lippincott and Co.




brick, stone, or marble, according to the locality, with bright green outside
shutters, and doorsteps of white marble. The footwalks are commonly
lined with rows of finely-grown trees. After the atrociously ill-paved streets
of New York, it is a relief to drive over roadways not immensely inferior to
those of our English towns. The Philadelphians are justly proud of the
homes of the artisan population of the city. The huge barrack-like tenement
houses of New York have no existence here. As a rule, each family has its


own dwelling. With a smaller population than New York, it has sixty
thousand more houses.

Notwithstanding the rapid progress of Philadelphia, it retains more old
and historical buildings than Boston, or any other city in the Union. A little
two-storied brick house, now occupied as a tavern, is part of the cottage
built for William Penn, before his arrival. The Old Swedes Church stands
upon the site on which the first church was built in 1677. The present
edifice goes back to 1700. The Old London Coffee House was built in
1702. In the steeple of Christ Church, completed in 1754, hangs the oldest



peal of bells on the American Continent. Some of the most interesting
passages in Franklin's Autobiography refer to his residence in Philadelphia,
and we may yet follow his graphic descriptions as we walk through the city
to visit his unadorned grave.

In the room to the left, on enttring the /tall, the Dcclaraiion of Independence was signed.

But it is the Old Court House, which, at least to the Americans, is the
most noteworthy relic of the past. In it the Declaration of Independence
was discussed and adopted by the Congress. This memorable document,
which every American school-boy can repeat by rote, declares :

"We hold these truths to be self-evident : that all men are created equal ;


that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights ; that
among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure
these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just
powers from the consent of the governed ; that, whenever any form of
government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people
to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a government, laying its foundation
on such principles, and organising its powers in such form, as to them shall
seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed,
will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for
light and transient causes ; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown that
mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to
right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But,
when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same
object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their
right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new
guards for their future security."

It proceeds to charge upon George in. a series of crimes, the malignity
and atrocity of which could hardly be surpassed by Nero and Macchiavelli
combined. We, who think of him as a well-meaning and kindly, though
obstinate ruler, read these allegations with a sense of bewilderment. It is
easy to understand how, in the passionate fury of a civil war, such charges
should have been made and credited. But it is to be regretted that when
a hundred years have passed away they should continue to be taught as
historical truth. The Declaration concludes with these stately words :

"We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America,
in General Congress assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the
World for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name and by the
authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare :
That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, Free and Inde
pendent States ; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British
Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11

Online LibrarySamuel ManningAmerican pictures drawn with pen and pencil → online text (page 11 of 12)