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House Problem,' which present a graphic for the most part the city must remain description of existing conditions in New as it is. It is an extreme evidence of York, a concise and reasonably thorough the fathers' sins visited upon the chilrecord of the seventy-five years' agitation dren. In Manhattan Island to-day we which finally resulted in the law of 1901, see the results of a century's neglect. and a large amount of cognate material Had the repeated warnings of publicon tenement conditions both in this coun- spirited citizens, philanthropic organizatry and in Europe.
tions, and state and municipal commisIt is evident at once that Chicago, sions been heeded, the poor people of Boston, and other leading American cit- New York, instead of being among the ies, herding a large impoverished popula- worst housed in the world, would have tion, have everything to learn from the been among the best. The present volexperience of New York. The prepon umes review the repeated attempts made derant space allotted to the metropolis to secure better ventilated and more sanidoes not detract from the general inter- tary tenements. As far back as 1842 est of the book. It is true that Man Dr. John H. Griscom, the City Inspechattan Island's tenement situation is tor of the Board of Health, attempted to unique ; but the same tendencies are at rouse public interest in the subject, the work elsewhere. The city is useful es evils he described being substantially pecially as a warning. It is a horrible those that exist to-day. The report of example of what a metropolis can be- the first Tenement Commission, that of come, once vested interests, with abun 1853, devoted much space to one of the dant opportunity for employment, are city's most notorious tenements, given free scope. In spite of the excel- tain Gotham Court on Cherry Street. lent results accomplished under the De This structure was not destroyed until Forest law, the tenement problem in 1896. Some gain resulted, of course, New York is, to a considerable degree, from the numerous agitations extending insolvable. The mischief, in great sec from 1842 to 1900 ; but real tenement tions of the city, has already been done. reform begins at the latter date. That The East Side, the abiding place of not is, it was not until then that the buildfar from 600,000 Jews, 200,000 Italians, ers were forced to abandon the old teneand scattering representations of other ment type, and to begin the construction races, is almost entirely built up with the of large, well-ventilated, fire-protected, worst type of tenement. The same is many-family dwellings. true of other congested areas. These A distinction should be made between buildings are far more profitable than tenement evils and bad housing. Lonany that could replace them, because don, for example, which has comparathey hold at least one third more people. tively few tenements, is famous for its They will not be demolished except by slums. The working people live for the municipal action, - a contingency not most part in small two and three story immediately possible, — and they must dwellings. The chief problems are overtherefore continue to house the bulk of crowding in single rooms and lack of the city's poor. Such parcels of unim- adequate sanitation. In New York, on proved land as remain will, under the the other hand, the poorer classes live alnew law, be built up with sanitary tene most exclusively in four, five, and six story ments; and the future of the now vacant tenements, usually built upon a 25-foot outlying sections is also assured. But lot, each floor divided into four two and
1 The Tenement Ilouse Problem. Including ers. Edited by ROBERT W. DE Forest and the Report of the New York State Tenement LAWRENCE VEILLER. Two volumes. New House Commission of 1900. By Various Writ York: The Macmillan Co. 1903.
three room apartments. The only rooms appear. Had Chicago followed the exin these structures receiving direct light ample of New York, the portent would and air are those facing the street and have been officially ignored ; and, in a the yard. Those in the interior are al few
years, a tenement system would have most entirely without ventilation. Their been deep-seated. The City Homes Asoccupants are thus deprived of the two sociation, however, made a thorough ingifts of nature which, perhaps above all, vestigation, and secured the passage of make for health and happiness, — fresh a tenement act closely following that of air and sunshine. Life in these build New York. As a result, Chicago can ings is practically one long Arctic twi never become a city of insanitary tenelight. The development of an entire ments. Other places, even those where city along these lines, and the consequent the “ tenementization”
process has not dwarfing of the physical and moral na begun, have thus forever forestalled it. ture of at least one half its population, Mr. Veiller finds fairly satisfactory houswould seem a fearful reflection upon ing conditions in Cleveland. About five American twentieth-century civilization. per cent of the houses are occupied by This, however, is the tenement problem more than one family. Yet the citizens of New York. It is evident at once that of Cleveland are now framing a law it is difficult of solution. Insanitary two based upon that of New York. Thus and three story dwellings can be de Cleveland again can never become a stroyed, and replaced with model cot- city of insanitary tenements. Here and tages. This is the favorite method of elsewhere the same tendencies, unless correcting bad housing in England. But checked in time, threaten to duplicate the razing of whole tenement blocks, each the New York conditions. All our large populated by 2000 or 3000 people, is too cities have poor and ignorant populations drastic and expensive a process for this which must be housed. They all have generation. The proper treatment evi- rich and not over-scrupulous property dently is not correction, but prevention. owners and builders, eager to invest their
Thus the experience of New York is money at profitable rates. The danger of the utmost importance to other cities. increases every day, with the growth of It is true that tenement evils, as described an especially benighted class of immiabove, have not developed elsewhere to grants. These immigrants not only furthe same alarming degree. Compared nish the tenants, but the real estate specwith Europe, housing in American cities ulators, the builders, and the landlords. is almost ideal. Mr. Veiller has inves Thus thousands of the tenements of New tigated twenty-seven municipalities, and York are owned by Jews, Germans, and finds even the beginnings of a tenement Italians, who fight hard whenever the house problem in only six. These, be- system is attacked. Such antagonisms sides New York, are Boston, Pittsburg, will not be aroused in cities in which the Cincinnati, Jersey City, and Hartford. tenement has not developed. Land prices Bad housing conditions are found occa are not predicated upon the possible sionally elsewhere; but the wholesale construction of many-storied dwellings ; erection of tenements, except in the cities and, in other ways, property interests are mentioned, is unknown. This general not greatly involved. The present is immunity, however, is not likely to last. thus a favorable time for those cities that The poor of Chicago are housed mostly have no tenement laws to pass them. in one and two story dwellings. A few Reform in this particular case should of the orthodox New York double-decker properly begin before there is anything tenements, however, began recently to to reform.
Burton J. Hendrick.
THE series of essays which Mr. Wood- New England, - the mental sphere of America in berry here assembles à consti
the community ; and in them are to be Literature. tutes a fairly complete though found all the elements of literature except extremely compact summary of Ameri- the qualities that secure permanence.” can literary activity and achievement. The paper on the Knickerbocker Era The activity has been considerable, he is the most finished and adequate of the decides, the achievement in pure litera- four chapters which deal with special ture small. American readers who have periods. The power of Mr. Woodberry's been brought up to a theory of patriot- style is in general cumulative rather than ism which holds that one can hardly be episodical; yet there are pithy phrases loyal to the flag without exaggerating, of his which stick in the memory : “ It among other things, the feats of Ameri- is hard in any case to localize Bryant. can authorship, will not be pleased with ... That something Druidical which these papers. The writer does not scru- there is in his aspect sets him apart.” ple to assert that our production of work
“ Drake and Halleck stand for our which possesses some absolute literary boyish precocity ; death nipped the one, value begins with Irving. He professes trade sterilized the other; there is a no reverence for “ the received tradition mortuary suggestion in the memory of of our colonial literature which has so both.” ..“Every metropolis, howswelled in bulk by the labors of our liter- ever, breeds its own race of local writers, ary historians.” He has no mercy even
like mites in a cheese, numerous and acupon those few colonial relics in which, tive, the literary coteries of the moment. many of us think, a true spark is to be To name one of them, there was Willis ; discerned. “What of the Day of Doom, he was gigantic in his contemporaneousThe New England Primer, and Poor ness.” Richard's Almanack, and the other Mr. Woodberry's treatment of the wooden worthies of our Noah's Ark, sur- New England period, or, as he has it, the vivors from the Flood, archaic idols ? Literary Age of Boston, is far slighter; it These are relics of a literary fetichism, reminds us that the present book is a together with Franklin's Autobiography collection of separately published essays, and Edwards's On the Freedom of the and not a composition of chapters. For Will, except that the great character of the book, it is unfortunate that the scale Franklin still pleads for one, and the of the Knickerbocker paper should not great intellect of Edwards for the other, have been maintained. The material at with a few. They do not belong with the critic's disposal here (he includes the books that become the classics of a the Cambridge and Concord writers and nation.” Here Mr. Woodberry is speak- Whittier) would seem to be quite equal ing of literature in the polite sense ; else- in importance to all the rest of his subwhere he more commonly uses the word ject matter. His discussion of Emerson, to mean any utterance in print of any Hawthorne, and Longfellow, the three human activity. So in speaking of New in whom “ the genius of the people, York he says: " In no other city is the working out in the place and among the power of the printed word more im- things of its New England nativity, pressive. The true literature of the city reached its height,” is full and satisfyis, in reality, and long has been, its great ing. But we are not quite prepared dailies ; they are for the later time what to find Thoreau disposed of with a bare the sermons of the old clergy were in mention, and Holmes, Whittier, and 1 America in Literature. By GEORGE E.
Lowell each hit off in a brief paragraph. WOODBERRY. New York: Harper & Brothers.
We should have liked some qualification, 1903.
or expansion of some of his judgments, VOL. XCIII. -NO. 557.
as this of Holmes: “Such a writer is sel takes the race and shapes it to itself after dom understood except by the generation its own image, and especially with power with which he is in social touch; magnet- in those who live the soul's life. . . . But ism leaves him ; he amuses his own time now in our own time, and in this halt of with a brilliant mental vivacity, but there our literary genius, it is plain that our it ends." There should end, by this nobler literature, with its little Western same token, one reflects, your Horace, afterglow, belonged to an heredity and your Pepys, your Lamb, all your blessed environment, and a spirit of local culture provincials, whether rural or town-made, whose place, in the East, was before the who have made shift to keep their audi- great passion of the Civil War, and, in ences thus far.
the West, has also passed away. It all He has much to say of Southern writ lies a generation, and more, behind us. ers, and little to say for them. Simms The field is open, and calls loudly for composed “facile and feeble poems; new champions."
H. W. B. Timrod had," like the whippoorwill, a thin, pathetic, twilight note ; ” Hayne, URBANITY of manner, breadth of “one would rather liken to the mocking- Mr. Mable's view, tolerance of temper, and bird, except that it does no kind of justice
a kindly, easy, genial attitude to the bird;" Lanier, with his “emotion- toward life, these are, the qualities al phases . . . seems like Ixion, embra ascribed to Irving in the latest book by cing the cloud.” Poe, finally, is “ the one Mr. Mabie. Fortunate is the man of letgenius of the highest American rank who ters who possesses them; they account in belongs to the South.”
part for the charm of Backgrounds of LitThe tone of these judgments would erature, but they also serve to explain the seem less severe if it did not chance that ungracious and perhaps illogical irritation in the ensuing essay on the West, the au with which some of Mr. Mabie's readers thor places much stress upon the agree will close the pages of his attractive volable wild notes of Joaquin Miller, and upon the “pietistic” romancer, Lew There is no question of Mr. Mabie's Wallace. The moods of the two essays competency for commenting upon the seem to be somewhat different. The natural and social surroundings which Southern writers are attacked upon the have affected the work of these seven stern ground of literary merit; the West well-known, although quite unrelated auern writers are forgiven much because thors. He is a man of wide reading, of they seem to embody the Western spirit. swift and sympathetic observation. A 'The volume is, we may repeat, a collec- long row of popular books already bears tion of essays, not a treatise. The final witness to his facility of expression. In chapter, in which the discussion of gener. the present volume, the easiest task was al “ results and conditions” is no longer to describe the Lorna Doone country, and hampered by the necessity for personal the most difficult was to analyze the estimates, conveys an impression of en American spirit in the poetry of Walt tire consistency. In it the author's mys Whitman. Both papers are extraorditicisin, his profound faith, are seen to narily well done. The constructive critimellow and ennoble the sobriety of his cism of Whitman is quite as skillful in its attitude toward what has been and what complex workmanship as is the essentialis : “Special cultures arise . . . and min ly slight but pleasing record of the obvigle with currents from above and under, ous emotions of a sentimental tourist in and with crossing circles in the present;
1 Backgrounds of Literature. By HAMILTON and the best that man has found in any WRIGHT MABIE. New York: The Outlook Co. quarter, nationalized in many peoples, 1903.
the Doone valley. Goethe, Scott, Words- spirit which keeps him so frequently in worth, Irving, and Emerson are the sub- Macedonia when he ought to be preachjects of the other papers. That they are ing to the Athenians on Mars' hill. No graceful and well-informed
without man reasons more persuasively concernsaying. The better one knows Weimar ing righteousness and temperance in letand Edinburgh and Concord the better ters, yet he might, we think, say more one realizes how admirable these essays than he does about the judgment sure are up to a certain point; but the great to come upon faulty theory and slovenly er also is one's regret that Mr. Mabie so practice. Mr. Mabie uses every word in rarely chooses to go beyond the bounds a critic's vocabulary except that one inwhich he has set for himself.
dispensable word "damn." His public An author's choice of company is of does not like this expression, and all pubcourse his own affair; as far as conscious lishers unite in thinking it very bad form. election plays a part in it he may.write Mr. Mabie courteously refrains from its for posterity or for "antiquity” as he This is a pity, for we have few men prefers. Mr. Mabie early chose the mod who care more sincerely for excellence, est and useful part of preaching the gos- and who might say with greater authority pel of culture to the half-cultivated. He to our generation has talked long and well to the Christian
Thou ailest here, and here !” Endeavorers of literature. He has earned the right of addressing himself more di- If any proof of this were needed, it may rectly to the saints. No American writ be found in the essay on America in er of our day has done more “good,” Whitman's Poetry in the present volin the simple sense of that word; but he Here is discriminating criticism, has been gradually educating the more expressed with vigor and precision. For thoughtful portion of his large audience penetration, steady grasp of a complicated away from those mellifluous common matter, and luminous statement, it is the places in which he seems to think that best critique of Whitman thus far writthe greatest good for the greatest number ten in England or America. B. P. is still to be found. Many excellent missionaries have, through long and fluent UNIFORM with their excellent reprint preaching in a foreign tongue, forgotten Father Hen- of the Expedition of Lewis how to use English. Danger lurks in Mr.
nopin. and Clark, issued a year or Mabie’s hierophantic manner of chanting more ago, Messrs. A. C. McClurg & the eternal truths of literature. Those Company have now published, under the rich cadences may please the ear without editorship of Reuben Gold Thwaites, leaving any trace upon the memory. His Father Hennepin's famous New Disis not, in its characteristic features, a style covery. The text is that of the second that “ bites,” but rather one of smooth- London issue of 1698, and there are facly woven periods, produced by words similes of original title-pages, maps, and thrown deftly back and forth upon a well- illustrations, together with a breezy inoiled shuttle, reversing automatically at troduction by Mr. Thwaites, and a bibevery “but” or “yet," and then, as the liography of Hennepin's works by Mr. arithmetics used to say, "proceeding as Victor Paltsits of the Lenox Library. before.”
Father Hennepin was one of the most enOur quarrel, it will be perceived, is tertaining liars who ever journeyed into not with one of the most genial and gifted a far country. His account of Niagara, of our writers, but with that missionary of "the incomparable River Mescha
1 A New Discovery of a Vast Country in ited by REUBEN Gold THWAITES. Chicago; America. By Father Louis HENNEPIN. Ed. A. C. McClurg & Co. 1903.