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sure to obtain esteem and consideration, but he would sooner gain notoriety or influence as a preacher or a lawyer. In the West, the editor of a paper may be an ignorant speculator, and he will be appreciated according to his merits. Two-thirds of the American papers are weekly, or in that rudimentary condition we have described, where one man is editor, compositor, and printer. Sharing the labours, habits, and passions of the rude and turbulent people among whom they live, these improvised journalists become the faithful echo of the squatters or planters who live round them; their only task is to publish local scandal, which only too soon degenerates into results and personal conflicts. Hence those frequent challenges, duels, and even assassinations, too often described in the newspapers of America. The American press has been often depicted by representing the editor writing with loaded pistols on his desk, and going out armed to the teeth; this portrait, which may be correct on the banks of the Mississippi, and would only be a fancy sketch on the coast of the Atlantic, is merely a condemnation of the violent manners in the South and West. If journalists fight and are killed more frequently than their neighbours, it results from the fact that they are brought more frequently before the public, and that their profession creates them more enemies. On the subject of the liberty of the press in America, our author has some pertinent remarks:
It seems a paradoxical question to ask whether the press is free in America: still we are justified in doing so. In default of legislative fetters, the American papers are absolutely dependent on a capricious and despotic master-the manyheaded people. The grandeur and nobility of letters is in the mission which the author seems to have received, to enlighten and guide opinion, and bring it back to the truth when it goes astray. Unfortunately, the people are hasty in forming an opinion: they obey their instincts rather than reason, and require some time to be undeceived. This time the American press does not have. Not depending on subscribers, it has not, like the English and French papers, a captive clientèle who assures its existence during a crisis; it lives from haud to mouth by the sale of copies: when the dissatisfied readers desert a paper, and the newsvendors limit their purchases, famine knocks at the door, and the paper is forced to be silent, or change its opinion and howl with the wolves. The multitude is as absolute in its demands as is despotism, and has no need to have recourse to hypocrisy. More than once in the United States the populace has destroyed the office of a paper in order to put down a contradiction that displeased it. The Catholic papers have endured countless persecutions: twenty times the most popular writer of the democratic party, Bryant, has been obliged to uplift his voice and claim for his opponents the liberty of contradiction. When the Nicaragua question, suppressed rather than solved by the ClaytonBulwer treaty, was exciting public attention, and minds were turning to war, the National Intelligencer kept silent. This dumbness was the more noticed, for this paper, being then on intimate terms with the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, would have been best able to enlighten the public and give an opinion on the question in dispute. When questioned by its fellows, the National Intelligencer contented itself with replying, "There are certain subjects on which a journal cannot undertake to speak the truth without risking less than hanging." On quoting this remark, the New York Journal of Commerce added the following reflections:-"It has often been remarked, and it is perfectly true, that opinion is less free, and the press more fettered, in this country than in any other possessing liberal institutions. The press of the United States has licence without having liberty: it serves as the organ for numberless calumnies, but for very few truths. It has the courage to falsify and disfigure, and has not the energy to express opinions which might not be agreeable to certain cliques, or be contrary to the current of blind prejudices.' We will be satisfied with this appreciation, which cannot be suspected, for it emanates from an American pen.
One thing we must say in favour of the American press-the strict attention paid to morality. Anything that might attack religion or wound a delicate ear is carefully banished from their columns. They display on this point a scrupulousness which does them honour, and are supported in it by the public. Two or three attempts have been made at New York to establish papers like our Satirist, of disgraceful memory, but they were still-born. Experience has reassured the Americans on the pretended dangers public morals would incur from liberty of the press. Some twelve years ago several clergymen were greatly alarmed at the circulation gained by the "Juif Errant," and other equivocal romances translated from the French. This fashion was only transitory: at the end of a couple of years these publications only entailed a loss, and a notable increase was perceptible in the sale of magazines and respectable publications. The mind is like the stomach, in that it can only digest healthy and strengthening food. The American papers have created and kept up in the labouring classes the necessity of being able to read, and this want, which at first accepted every sort of pabulum, now powerfully subserves the cause of morality and truth. This naturally leads us to a consideration of one of the most praiseworthy elements of the American press : we allude to the religious journals, of which a large number is published with remarkable success. These papers are intended to supply instruction and moral Sunday reading for families, and are edited with considerable care. Nearly all of them contain a large quantity of political or literary news, in the shape of very compact notices. The greater portion of the paper is devoted to religious news, either affecting the Confederation or foreign countries. A space is also reserved for polemics. These papers absorb all the intellectual activity of the American clergy, and although created and sustained by that love of controversy so peculiar to the United States, they offer great interest to those who are fond of serious reading. The first religious paper, edited on the plan adopted by all the publications of the same character, was started in Boston in 1816, by the Rev. Sidney Morse, under the title of the Boston Recorder. It was speedily imitated in all quarters, for each sect desired its special organ. Thus, at New York alone are published: the Observer, the Evangelist, the Christian Advocate, the Presbyterian, the Independent, all of which enjoy a large circulation. There are in the United States 120 papers of this character, and their weekly circulation may be estimated at 500,000 copies.
We need scarcely say that in America, as in England, there is a great number of special journals. Every unknown doctrine, every rising opinion, has recourse to the press in order to gain public favour, and every innovator begins by starting a paper. Temperance, abolition of slavery, freemasonry, agriculture, the sciences, pedagogy, have given birth to an infinity of papers, and continue to do so. Even the Indians have papers in their own language; the Choctaws possessing one, the Cherokees two. The European immigration has also been followed by the establishment of French, Italian, and German papers. The German journals are more than one hundred in number, some of them seeming to have no other object but to continue in America a war of words which has become impossible in Europe: these are exclusively devoted to the explanation of doctrines utterly contrary to all religious feeling and social Dec.-VOL. CXIV. NO. CCCCXLIV.
order. They meet, however, with the success they deserve. What hatred the German emigrant may have felt against society at large, once that he has a field to cultivate and a family to support, he forgets his prejudices; he quits politics for the axe or the wain, and if he opens a paper, it is not to read in it a tirade against tyrants or superstition, but to seek in it the price-current of wheat and cereals.
In conclusion, we heartily agree with our author when he says that the American press is still in a state of transition, but that it contains the germ of a great intellectual movement. In proportion as an unexampled prosperity strengthens those classes in the United States who can raise their ideas above the worship of material interests, new wants will be revealed, which will only find their satisfaction in mental pleasures. Then letters will gain in the life of the Americans that place which belongs to them in all civilised nations, and the press, which has prepared and rendered possible this triumph of mind over matter, will gain its good share of the profit.
SUGGESTIONS FOR THE RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF POSTING. BY AN OLD TRAVELLER.
There's a good time coming, boys,
A good time coming.
WHEN DR. JOHNSON spoke of the potentiality of wealth, it was with a meaning somewhat different from that which I now attach to it. Indeed, I am rather about to show its want of potentiality. To prove that it has no longer the power of procuring those travelling comforts which the affluent formerly enjoyed.
Many of us may still remember the days of "First and second turn, out!" and the evenings spent at a comfortable posting-house. It was sometimes a quaint Elizabethan building at the end of a village, with a majestic elm or two between the house and the road, from which a gentle sweep beneath their branches brought you up to the door; and beyond the road was a village green, skirted by extensive woodlands; or sometimes it was a goodly mansion, famed for its cleanliness and cookery (though with ceilings rather of the lowest), in the centre of a small, old-fashioned town. I myself preferred the village. Rarely was there any question as to accommodation; and, passing by the well-stored larder as you entered, there was no difficulty in ordering a comfortable dinner. And what beds! the snow-white sheets slightly scented by the dried lavender that was scattered in the presses; and, at early morn, the fresh, pure air "doing salutation" through the open casement. And the breakfast; spirit of Apicius, what a breakfast! Spread upon unspotted damask were grilled ham and spiced beef; broiled trout, game-pie, mar
*Potentiality. Johnson, possibility; not actuality. In his first example from Jeremy Taylor, it is the having a power (of giving, or imparting).
malade, and honeycombs; eggs that did not date even from yesterday; bread that was unadulterated; cream the real produce of real milk; and butter that tempted one to "lay it on with a heavy hand." Where, except on the fading page of memory, have we such things now?
Since the genius of George Stephenson established railways, ours is an age of iron. The material element has produced a nearer approach to democracy than could have been effected by the wildest revolution. On a railway platform all men are equal. Punch's sketch of the bishop carrying his carpet-bag has ceased to be a joke. It is a mere every-day occurrence. Elbowed and surrounded by drovers, reapers, navvies, and every shape of unwashed industry, well-dressed men and women, each with some special encumbrance (from a portmanteau to a bunch of flowers), run breathless to and fro in fearful excitement; andunless wealth resumes its lost empire for a moment, in the shape of a giving look-they are left unaided in their helplessness. A shrill cry, "Is this the right train? Is it? Oh, answer me!" from a trembling female voice, brings no reply, and the appellant may consider herself fortunate if her toes are not amputated by a luggage-truck as she stands gasping out her useless inquiries. Shrieking whistles, and hissing steam, and ringing hand-bells, and carriages banging in petty collision as they are brought into their places, add to the chaos and confusion; while to aggravate the horrid tumult, and supply the place of torment with an imp, the bookstall boy, with harsh, cracked voice, is dinning in one's ears, Times!Times, Morning Chronicle, Morning Post!-Times!!-Daily News, Times!!!" each cry striking upon the startled tympanum with more painful sharpness than the former. I once swore in my irritation that I would never read one of them again, but the Indian mutiny recalled me to human sympathies.
Then, too, there is the tyranny of the time-table. In the days of posting we could set out at eight, nine, or ten o'clock, as we liked best. The only difference was, whether we should sleep at Bunbury or Biddlethorpe; and there were excellent houses at both. In these days, on the contrary, we must be called at six, to be in time for the "7.30;" and when we reach the crowded platform, and have waited till we are cold and tired, we find that the London train, which is to take us up, is half an hour late to which it adds as it proceeds (acquirit eundo, as Lord Kenyon would have said)-and on finally arriving at Birmingham, we are very coolly informed that the train that was to have taken us north has left more than twenty minutes since, and-O miserabile dictu!— that there will not be another for three hours; a delay that invests the remainder of our journey with the additional dangers of darkness.*
What can wealth do for us in such a case as this? Or where was its potentiality when four hundred Irish reapers took possession of the express steam-packet at Holyhead, and maintained their position in spite of the feeble authorities, giving to the high-paying passengers by the express all the discomforts of a cattle-boat. The cattle would, probably, have been preferable companions.
* The gentleman who refuses to be called Earl Berkeley, and who very lately travelled on a railway for the first time, is said to have declared that "they would never catch him upon one again." He must be a sensible man. I only wish that I could make the same declaration myself.
If, clinging to former enjoyments, and wishing to make short excursions upon our own wheels, we take a carriage or horse upon the rail, the chances are especially if we go by Normanton-that it will be left behind. It has twice occurred to myself; and, in another instance, a poor horse, being shunted off (what a detestable jargon!), was left so long in the box that, when discovered, he was unable to walk out of it. Few things, except the penny postage, have given such an impetus as railways to social progress and to trade; few things have so favoured the people; but as regards the affluent, they have deprived travelling of half its pleasures by depriving it of all its amenities. And with what a class they bring us in contact! Men who are acquiring wealth before they have learnt the tone that should grace it: whose pockets are being filled while their manners are as coarse as dowlas. Men whom a single generation is unable to refine. On whom the apostle's exhortation to Be courteous has hitherto been lost.
When Admiral Dommett (who himself sprang honourably from the people) was anxious to bring forward one of his nephews, he obtained his appointment as midshipman in a frigate which was commanded by an officer as distinguished for his courtly manners as for his bravery. "Dear S." (wrote the admiral), "I send you my nephew, and shall be glad if you will give him a polish." On returning from a long cruise, "Dear Dommett" (wrote the captain), "I send back your nephew. I have done all I could, but I am sorry to say that he will not take a polish." Thanks to the facilities afforded by railways, which scatter them in every direction, much of the company who frequent our watering-places are now of this description; and while it is a gratifying sight to the political economist, it does not add to the attractions of the places where they "most do congregate.'
But, after all, it is not the quality of our migratory population; it is their number that is the great evil. When it was necessary to travel two or three hundred miles, posting or by coach, the affluent and the idle had it all their own way; and though the hard-headed man who is making his own fortune, and employing thousands, is a much more valuable member of society, those whom he is displacing were at least congruous; they were suited to each other, and the surface was pleasant, though there might be little beneath it.
The new aristocracy" now "push them from their stools." During the present summer it has been impossible, at the best hotels, to obtain accommodation. Except rooms were written for beforehand, and almost asked as a favour, one was crowded out. I will take North Wales as a single instance, and will begin at Bangor Ferry. If any place be habitable in such weather as we had in August, it is the George Hotel, near the Suspension Bridge. It is an old rookery of a house, converted by its landlady, Miss Roberts, into an elegantly-furnished little villa. The descent from the house to the water-side is through a pretty garden, where fuschias take the place of privet hedges, and the shrubs of southern climes survive the rigours of a northern winter. The scenery is lovely; the Tubular Bridge is within an easy field-walk; the air is constantly freshened by the flowing waters of the Menai; and, to complete the romance, whitebait, supplied from the strait itself, was daily served as a part of our dinner. But will it be thought that wealth had power