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And then as to the debt; it seems to me very singular that we in England should suppose that a great commercial people would be ruined by a national debt. As regards ourselves, I have always looked on our national debt as the ballast in our ship. We have a great deal of ballast, but then the ship is very big. The States also are taking in ballast at a rather rapid rate ;—and we too took it in quickly when we were about it. But I cannot understand why their ship should not carry, without shipwreck, that which our ship has carried without damage, and, as I believe, with positive advantage to its sailing. The ballast, if carried honestly, will not, I think, bring the vessel to grief. The fear is lest the ballast should be thrown overboard.
So much I have said, wishing to plead the cause of the northern States before the bar of English opinion, and thinking that there is ground for a plea in their favour. But yet I cannot say that their bitterness against Englishmen has been justified, or that their tone towards England has been dignified. Their complaint is that they have received no sympathy from England; but it seems to me that a great nation should not require an expression of sympathy during its struggle. Sympathy is for the weak rather than for the strong. When I hear two powerful men contending together in argument, I do not sympathize with bim who has the best of it; but I watch the precision of his logic, and acknowledge the effects of his rhetoric. There has been a whining weakness in the complaints made by Americans against England, which has done more to lower them as a people in my judgment than any other part of their conduct during the present crisis. When we were at war with Russia, the feeling of the States was strongly against us. All their wishes were with our enemies. When the Indian mutiny was at its worst, the feeling of France was equally adverse to us. The joy expressed by the French newspapers was almost ecstatic. But I do not think that on either occasion we bemoaned ourselves sadly on the want of sympathy shown by our friends. On each occasion we took the opinion expressed for what it was worth, and managed to live it down. We listened to what was said, and let it pass by. When in each case we had been successful, there was an end of our friends' croakings.
But in the northern States of America the bitterness against England has amounted almost to a passion. The players, those chroniclers of the time, have had no hits so sure as those which have been aimed at Englishmen as cowards, fools, and liars. No paper has dared to say that England has been true in her Amerilow to escape from us some expression of that satisfaction which one rival tradesman has in the downfall of another. “Here you are with all your boasting,” is what we say.
6. You were going to whip all creation the other day; and it has come to this! Brag is a good dog, but Holdfast is a better. Pray remember that, if ever you find yourselves on your legs again.” That little advice about the two dogs is very well, and was not altogether inapplicable. But this is not the time in which it should be given. Putting aside slight asperities, we will all own that the people of the States have been and are our friends, and that as friends we cannot spare them. For one Englishman who brings home to his own heart a feeling of cordiality for France
a belief in the affection of our French alliance there are ten who do so with reference to the States. Now, in these days of their trouble, I think that we might have borne with them more tenderly.
And how was it possible that they should have avoided this war? I will not now go into the cause of it, or discuss the course which it has taken, but will simply take up the fact of the rebellion. The South rebelled against the North, and such being the case, was it possible that the North should yield without a war? It may very likely be well that Hungary should be severed from Austria, or Poland from Russia, or Venice from Austria. Taking Englishmen in a lump they think that such separation would be well. The subject people do not speak the language of those that govern them, or enjoy kindred interests. But yet when military efforts are made by those who govern Hungary, Poland, and Venice, to prevent such separation, we do not say that Russia and Austria are fools. We are not surprised that they should take up arms against the rebels, but would be very much surprised indeed if they did not do so. We know that nothing but weakness would prevent their doing so. But if Austria and Russia insist on tying to themselves a people who do not speak their language or live in accordance with their habits, and are not considered unreasonable in so insisting, how much more thoroughly would they carry, with them the sympathy of their neighbours in preventing any secession by integral parts of their own nationalities? Would England let Ireland walk off by herself if she wished it? In 1843 she did wish it. Three-fourths of the Irish population would have voted for such a separation ; but England would have prevented such secession vi et armis had Ireland driven her to the necessity of such prevention.
I will put it to any reader of history whether, since government commenced, it has not been regarded as the first duty of governIt may
ment to prevent a separation of the territories governed, and whether also it has not been regarded as a point of honour with all nationalities to preserve uninjured each its own greatness and its own power? I trust that I may not be thought to argue that all governments or even all nationalities should succeed in such endeavours. Few kings have fallen in my day in whose fate I have not rejoiced; none, I take it, except that poor citizen King of the French. And I can rejoice that England lost her American colonies, and shall rejoice when Spain has been deprived of Cuba. But I hold that citizen King of the French in small esteem, seeing that he made no fight, and I know that England was bound to struggle when the Boston people threw her tea into the water. Spain keeps a tighter hand on Cuba than we thought she would some ten years since, and therefore she stands higher in the world's respect.
be well that the South should be divided from the North. I am inclined to think that it would be well—at any rate for the North ; but the South must have been aware that such division could only be effected in two ways; either by agreement,-in which case the proposition must have been brought forward by the South and discussed by the North-or by violence. They chose the latter way, as being the readier and the surer, as most seceding nations have done. O'Connell, when struggling for the secession of Ireland, chose the other, and nothing came of it. The South chose violence, and prepared for it secretly and with great adroitness. If that be not rebellion there never has been rebellion since history began; and if civil war was ever justified in one portion of a nation by turbulence in another, it has now been justified in the Northern States of America.
What was the North to do; this foolish North, which has been so liberally told by us that she has taken up arms for nothing, that she is fighting for nothing, and will ruin herself for nothing ? When was she to take the first step towards peace? Surely every Englishman will remember that when the earliest tidings of the coming quarrel reached us on the election of Mr. Lincoln, we all declared that any division was impossible ;-it was a mere madness to speak of it. The States, which were so great in their unity, would never consent to break up all their prestige and all their power by a separation! Would it have been well for the North then to say, “If the South wish it we will certainly separate ?" After that, when Mr. Lincoln assumed the power to which he had been elected, and declared with sufficient manliness, and sufficient dignity also, that he would make no war upon the South, but can policy. The name of an Englishman has been made a byword for reproach. In private intercourse private amenities have remained. 1, at any rate, may boast that such has been the case as regards myself. But even in private life I have been unable to keep down the feeling that I have always been walking over smothered ashes.
It may be that, when the civil war in America is over, all this will pass by, and there will be nothing left of international bitterness but its memory. It is sincerely to be hoped that this may be so ;-—that even the memory of the existing feeling may fade away and become unreal. I for one cannot think that two nations, situated as are the States and England, should permanently quarrel and avoid each other. But words have been spoken which will, I fear, long sound in men's ears, and thoughts have sprung up which will not easily allow themselves to be extinguished.
SPEAKING of New York as a traveller. I have two faults to find with it. In the first place there is nothing to see; and in the second place there is no mode of getting about to see anything. Nevertheless New York is a most interesting city. It is the third biggest city in the known world ;—for those Chinese congregations of unwinged ants are not cities in the known world. In no other city is there a population so mixed and cosmopolitan in their modes of life. And yet in no other city that I have seen are there such strong and ever-visible characteristics of the social and political bearings of the nation to which it belongs. New York appears to me as infinitely more American than Boston, Chicago, or Washington. It has no peculiar attribute of its own, as have those three cities; Boston in its literature and accomplished intelligence, Chicago in its internal trade, and Washington in its congressional and State politics. New York has its literary aspirations, its commercial grandeur, and,-heaven knows,—it has its politics also. But these do not strike the visitor as being specially characteristic of the city. That it is pre-eminently American is its glory or its disgrace, -as men of different ways of thinking may decide upon it. Free institutions, general education, and the ascendancy of dollars are the words written on every pavingstone along Fifth Avenue, down Broadway, and up Wall Street. Every man can vote, and values the privilege. Every man can read, and uses the privilege. Every man worships the dollar, and is down before his shrine from morning to night.
As regards voting and reading no American will be angry with me for saying so much of him; and no Englishman, whatever may be bis ideas as to the franchise in his own country, will conceive that I have said aught to the dishonour of an American. But as to that dollar-worshipping, it will of course seem that I am abusing the New Yorkers. We all know what a wretchedly wicked thing money is! How it stands between us and heaven! How it hardens our hearts, and makes vulgar our thoughts! Dives has ever gone to the devil, while Lazarus has been laid up in heavenly lavender. The land that employs itself in compelling gold to enter the service of man has always been stigmatized as the ravisher of things sacred. The world is agreed about that, and therefore the New Yorker is in a bad way. There are very few citizens in any town known to me which under this dispensation are in a good way, but the New Yorker is in about the worst way of all. Other men, the world over, worship regularly at the shrine with matins and vespers, nones and complines, and whatever other daily services may be known to the religious houses; but the New Yorker is always on his knees.
That is the amount of the charge which I bring against New York; and now having laid on my paint thickly, I shall proceed, like an unskilful artist, to scrape a great deal of it off again. New York has been a leading commercial city in the world for not more than fifty or sixty years. As far as I can learn, its population at the close of the last century did not exceed 60,000, and ten years later it had not reached 100,000. In 1860 it had reached nearly 800,000 in the city of New York itself. To this number must be added the numbers of Brooklyn, Williamsburgh, and Jersey City, in order that a true conception may be had of the population of this American metropolis, seeing that those places are as much a part of New York as Southwark is of London. By this the total will be swelled to considerably above a million. It will no doubt be admitted that this growth has been very fast, and that New York may well be proud of it. Increase of population is, I take it, the only trustworthy sign of a nation's success or of a city's success. We boast that London has beaten the other cities of the world, and think that that boast is enough to cover all the social sins for which London has to confess her guilt. New York beginning with 60,000 sixty years since has now a million souls ;-a million mouths, all of which eat a sufficiency