Square, with an eye on the door, lest the Prince should


Square, with an eye on the door, lest the Prince should

The two places of most general interest in the vicinity of Boston are Cambridge and Lowell. Cambridge is to Massachusetts, and, I may almost say, is to all the Northern States, what Cambridge and Oxford are to England. It is the seat of the university which gives the highest education to be attained by the highest classes in that country. Lowell also is in little to Massachusetts and to New England what Manchester is to us in so great a degree. It is the largest and most prosperous cotton-manufacturing town in the States. Cambridge is not above three or four miles from Boston. Indeed, the town of Cambridge properly so called begins where Boston ceases. The Harvard College--that is its name, taken from one of its original founders--is reached by horse-cars in twenty minutes from the city. An Englishman feels inclined to regard the place as a suburb of Boston; but if he so expresses himself, he will not find favor in the eyes of the men of Cambridge. The university is not so large as I had expected to find it. It consists of Harvard College, as the undergraduates' department, and of professional schools of law, medicine, divinity, and science. In the few words that I will say about it I will confine myself to Harvard College proper, conceiving that the professional schools connected with it have not in themselves any special interest. The average number of undergraduates does not exceed 450, and these are divided into four classes. The average number of degrees taken annually by bachelors of art is something under 100. Four years' residence is required for a degree, and at the end of that period a degree is given as a matter of course if the candidate's conduct has been satisfactory. When a young man has pursued his studies for that period, going through the required examinations and lectures, he is not subjected to any final examination as is the case with a candidate for a degree at Oxford and Cambridge. It is, perhaps, in this respect that the greatest difference exists between the English universities and Harvard College. With us a young man may, I take it, still go through his three or four years with a small amount of study. But his doing so does not insure him his degree. If he have utterly wasted his time he is plucked, and late but heavy punishment comes upon him. At Cambridge, in Massachusetts, the daily work of the men is made more obligatory; but if this be gone through with such diligence as to enable the student to hold his own during the four years, he has his degree as a matter of course. There are no degrees conferring special honor. A man cannot go out "in honors" as he does with us. There are no "firsts" or "double firsts;" no "wranglers;" no "senior opts" or "junior opts." Nor are there prizes of fellowships and livings to be obtained. It is, I think, evident from this that the greatest incentives to high excellence are wanting at Harvard College. There is neither the reward of honor nor of money. There is none of that great competition which exists at our Cambridge for the high place of Senior Wrangler; and, consequently, the degree of excellence attained is no doubt lower than with us. But I conceive that the general level of the university education is higher there than with us; that a young man is more sure of getting his education, and that a smaller percentage of men leaves Harvard College utterly uneducated than goes in that condition out of Oxford or Cambridge. The education at Harvard College is more diversified in its nature, and study is more absolutely the business of the place than it is at our universities. The expense of education at Harvard College is not much lower than at our colleges; with us there are, no doubt, more men who are absolutely extravagant than at Cambridge, Massachusetts. The actual authorized expenditure in accordance with the rules is only 50l. per annum, i.e. 249 dollars; but this does not, by any means, include everything. Some of the richer young men may spend as much as 300l. per annum, but the largest number vary their expenditure from 100l. to 180l. per annum; and I take it the same thing may be said of our universities. There are many young men at Harvard College of very small means. They will live on 70l. per annum, and will earn a great portion of that by teaching in the vacations. There are thirty-six scholarships attached to the university, varying in value from 20l. to 60l. per annum; and there is also a beneficiary fund for supplying poor scholars with assistance during their collegiate education. Many are thus brought up at Cambridge who have no means of their own; and I think I may say that the consideration in which they are held among their brother students is in no degree affected by their position. I doubt whether we can say so much of the Sizars and Bible clerks at our universities. At Harvard College there is, of course, none of that old-fashioned, time-honored, delicious, medieval life which lends so much grace and beauty to our colleges. There are no gates, no porter's lodges, no butteries, no halls, no battels, and no common rooms. There are no proctors, no bulldogs, no bursers, no deans, no morning and evening chapel, no quads, no surplices, no caps and gowns. I have already said that there are no examinations for degrees and no honors; and I can easily conceive that in the absence of all these essentials many an Englishman will ask what right Harvard College has to call itself a university. I have said that there are no honors, and in our sense there are none. But I should give offense to my American friends if I did not explain that there are prizes given--I think all in money, and that they vary from fifty to ten dollars. These are called deturs. The degrees are given on Commencement Day, at which occasion certain of the expectant graduates are selected to take parts in a public literary exhibition. To be so selected seems to be tantamount to taking a degree in honors. There is also a dinner on Commencement Day, at which, however, "no wine or other intoxicating drink shall be served." It is required that every student shall attend some place of Christian worship on Sundays; but he, or his parents for him, may elect what denomination of church he shall attend. There is a university chapel on the university grounds which belongs, if I remember aright, to the Episcopalian church. The young men, for the most part, live in college, having rooms in the college buildings; but they do not board in those rooms. There are establishments in the town, under the patronage of the university, at which dinner, breakfast, and supper are provided; and the young men frequent one of these houses or another as they, or their friends for them, may arrange. Every young man not belonging to a family resident within a hundred miles of Cambridge, and whose parents are desirous to obtain the protection thus provided, is placed, as regards his pecuniary management, under the care of a patron; and this patron acts by him as a father does in England by a boy at school. He pays out his money for him and keeps him out of debt. The arrangement will not recommend itself to young men at Oxford quite so powerfully as it may do to the fathers of some young men who have been there. The rules with regard to the lodging and boarding houses are very stringent. Any festive entertainment is to be reported to the president. No wine or spirituous liquors may be used, etc. It is not a picturesque system, this; but it has its advantages. There is a handsome library attached to the college which the young men can use, but it is not as extensive as I had expected. The university is not well off for funds by which to increase it. The new museum in the college is also a handsome building. The edifices used for the undergraduates' chambers and for the lecture- rooms are by no means handsome. They are very ugly, red brick houses, standing here and there without order. There are seven such; and they are called Brattle House, College House, Divinity Hall, Hollis Hall, Holsworthy Hall, Massachusetts Hall, and Stoughton Hall. It is almost astonishing that buildings so ugly should have been erected for such a purpose. These, together with the library, the museum, and the chapel, stand on a large green, which might be made pretty enough if it were kept well mown, like the gardens of our Cambridge colleges; but it is much neglected. Here, again, the want of funds--the auqusta res domi--must be pleaded as an excuse. On the same green, but at some little distance from any other building, stands the president's pleasant house. The immediate direction of the college is of course mainly in the hands of the president, who is supreme. But for the general management of the institution there is a corporation, of which he is one. It is stated in the laws of the university that the Corporation of the University and its Overseers constitute the Government of the University. The Corporation consists of the President, five Fellows so called, and a Treasurer. These Fellows are chosen, as vacancies occur, by themselves, subject to the concurrence of the Overseers. But these Fellows are in nowise like to the Fellows of our colleges, having no salaries attached to their offices. The Board of Overseers consists of the State Governor, other State officers, the President and Treasurer of Harvard College, and thirty other persons, men of note, chosen by vote. The Faculty of the College, in which is vested the immediate care and government of the undergraduates, is composed of the President and the Professors. The Professors answer to the tutors of our colleges, and upon them the education of the place depends. I cannot complete this short notice of Harvard College without saying that it is happy in the possession of that distinguished natural philosopher Professor Agassiz. M. Agassiz has collected at Cambridge a museum of such things as natural philosophers delight to show, which I am told is all but invaluable. As my ignorance on all such matters is of a depth which the professor can hardly imagine, and which it would have shocked him to behold, I did not visit the museum. Taking the University of Harvard College as a whole, I should say that it is most remarkable in this--that it does really give to its pupils that education which it professes to give. Of our own universities other good things may be said, but that one special good thing cannot always be said. Cambridge boasts itself as the residence of four or five men well known to fame on the American and also on the European side of the ocean. President Felton's* name is very familiar to us; and wherever Greek scholarship is held in repute, that is known. So also is the name of Professor Agassiz, of whom I have spoken. Russell Lowell is one of the professors of the college--that Russell Lowell who sang of Birdofredum Sawin, and whose Biglow Papers were edited with such an ardor of love by our Tom Brown, Birdofredum is worthy of all the ardor. Mr. Dana is also a Cambridge man--he who was "two years before the mast," and who since that has written to us of Cuba. But Mr. Dana, though residing at Cambridge, is not of Cambridge; and, though a literary man, he does not belong to literature. He is--could he help it?--a "special attorney." I must not, however, degrade him; for in the States barristers and attorneys are all one. I cannot but think that he could help it, and that he should not give up to law what was meant for mankind. I fear, however, that successful Law has caught him in her intolerant clutches, and that Literature, who surely would be the nobler mistress, must wear the willow. Last and greatest is the poet-laureate of the West, for Mr. Longfellow also lives at Cambridge.

Square, with an eye on the door, lest the Prince should

* Since these words were written President Felton has died--I, as I returned on my way homeward, had the melancholy privilege of being present at his funeral. I feel bound to record here the great kindness with which Mr. Felton assisted me in obtaining such information as I needed respecting the institution over which he presided.

Square, with an eye on the door, lest the Prince should

I am not at all aware whether the nature of the manufacturing corporation of Lowell is generally understood by Englishmen. I confess that until I made personal acquaintance with the plan, I was absolutely ignorant on the subject. I knew that Lowell was a manufacturing town at which cotton is made into calico, and at which calico is printed--as is the case at Manchester; but I conceived this was done at Lowell, as it is done at Manchester, by individual enterprise--that I or any one else could open a mill at Lowell, and that the manufacturers there were ordinary traders, as they are at other manufacturing towns. But this is by no means the case. That which most surprises an English visitor on going through the mills at Lowell is the personal appearance of the men and women who work at them. As there are twice as many women as there are men, it is to them that the attention is chiefly called. They are not only better dressed, cleaner, and better mounted in every respect than the girls employed at manufactories in England, but they are so infinitely superior as to make a stranger immediately perceive that some very strong cause must have created the difference. We all know the class of young women whom we generally see serving behind counters in the shops of our larger cities. They are neat, well dressed, careful, especially about their hair, composed in their manner, and sometimes a little supercilious in the propriety of their demeanor. It is exactly the same class of young women that one sees in the factories at Lowell. They are not sallow, nor dirty, nor ragged, nor rough. They have about them no signs of want, or of low culture. Many of us also know the appearance of those girls who work in the factories in England; and I think it will be allowed that a second glance at them is not wanting to show that they are in every respect inferior to the young women who attend our shops. The matter, indeed, requires no argument. Any young woman at a shop would be insulted by being asked whether she had worked at a factory. The difference with regard to the men at Lowell is quite as strong, though not so striking. Working men do not show their status in the world by their outward appearance as readily as women; and, as I have said before, the number of the women greatly exceeded that of the men. One would of course be disposed to say that the superior condition of the workers must have been occasioned by superior wages; and this, to a certain extent, has been the cause. But the higher payment is not the chief cause. Women's wages, including all that they receive at the Lowell factories, average about 14s. a week, which is, I take it, fully a third more than women can earn in Manchester, or did earn before the loss of the American cotton began to tell upon them. But if wages at Manchester were raised to the Lowell standard, the Manchester women would not be clothed, fed, cared for, and educated like the Lowell women. The fact is, that the workmen and the workwomen at Lowell are not exposed to the chances of an open labor market. They are taken in, as it were, to a philanthropical manufacturing college, and then looked after and regulated more as girls and lads at a great seminary, than as hands by whose industry profit is to be made out of capital. This is all very nice and pretty at Lowell, but I am afraid it could not be done at Manchester. There are at present twelve different manufactories at Lowell, each of which has what is called a separate corporation. The Merrimack Manufacturing Company was incorporated in 1822, and thus Lowell was commenced. The Lowell Machine-shop was incorporated in 1845, and since that no new establishment has been added. In 1821, a certain Boston manufacturing company, which had mills at Waltham, near Boston, was attracted by the water-power of the River Merrimack, on which the present town of Lowell is situated. A canal called the Pawtucket Canal had been made for purposes of navigation from one reach of the river to another, with the object of avoiding the Pawtucket Falls; and this canal, with the adjacent water-power of the river, was purchased for the Boston company. The place was then called Lowell, after one of the partners in that company. It must be understood that water-power alone is used for preparing the cotton and working the spindles and looms of the cotton mills. Steam is applied in the two establishments in which the cottons are printed, for the purposes of printing, but I think nowhere else. When the mills are at full work, about two and a half million yards of cotton goods are made every week, and nearly a million pounds of cotton are consumed per week, (i e. 842,000 lbs.,) but the consumption of coal is only 30,000 tons in the year. This will give some idea of the value of the water-power. The Pawtucket Canal was, as I say, bought, and Lowell was commenced. The town was incorporated in 1826, and the railway between it and Boston was opened in 1835, under the superintendence of Mr. Jackson, the gentleman by whom the purchase of the canal had in the first instance been made. Lowell now contains about 40,000 inhabitants. The following extract is taken from the hand-book to Lowell: "Mr. F. C. Lowell had, in his travels abroad, observed the effect of large manufacturing establishments on the character of the people, and in the establishment at Waltham the founders looked for a remedy for these defects. They thought that education and good morals would even enhance the profit, and that they could compete with Great Britain by introducing a more cultivated class of operatives. For this purpose they built boarding-houses, which, under the direct supervision of the agent, were kept by discreet matrons"--I can answer for the discreet matrons at Lowell--"mostly widows, no boarders being allowed except operatives. Agents and overseers of high moral character were selected; regulations were adopted at the mills and boarding-houses, by which only respectable girls were employed. The mills were nicely painted and swept"--I can also answer for the painting and sweeping at Lowell--"trees set out in the yards and along the streets, habits of neatness and cleanliness encouraged; and the result justified the expenditure. At Lowell the same policy has been adopted and extended; more spacious mills and elegant boarding-houses have been erected;" as to the elegance, it may be a matter of taste, but as to the comfort, there is no question--"the same care as to the classes employed; more capital has been expended for cleanliness and decoration; a hospital has been established for the sick, where, for a small price, they have an experienced physician and skillful nurses. An institute, with an extensive library, for the use of the mechanics, has been endowed. The agents have stood forward in the support of schools, churches, lectures, and lyceums, and their influence contributed highly to the elevation of the moral and intellectual character of the operatives. Talent has been encouraged, brought forward, and recommended." For some considerable time the young women wrote, edited, and published a newspaper among themselves, called the Lowell Offering. "And Lowell has supplied agents and mechanics for the later manufacturing places who have given tone to society, and extended the beneficial influence of Lowell through the United States. Girls from the country, with a true Yankee spirit of independence, and confident in their own powers, pass a few years here, and then return to get married with a dower secured by their exertions, with more enlarged ideas and extended means of information, and their places are supplied by younger relatives. A large proportion of the female population of New England has been employed at some time in manufacturing establishments, and they are not on this account less good wives, mothers, or educators of families." Then the account goes on to tell how the health of the girls has been improved by their attendance at the mills; how they put money into the savings banks, and buy railway shares and farms; how there are thirty churches in Lowell, a library, banks, and insurance office,; how there is a cemetery, and a park; and how everything is beautiful, philanthropic, profitable, and magnificent. Thus Lowell is the realization of a commercial Utopia. Of all the statements made in the little book which I have quoted, I cannot point out one which is exaggerated, much less false. I should not call the place elegant; in other respects I am disposed to stand by the book. Before I had made any inquiry into the cause of the apparent comfort, it struck me at once that some great effort at excellence was being made. I went into one of the discreet matrons' residences; and, perhaps, may give but an indifferent idea of her discretion, when I say that she allowed me to go into the bed-rooms. If you want to ascertain the inner ways or habits of life of any man, woman, or child, see, if it be practicable to do so, his or her bed-room. You will learn more by a minute's glance round that holy of holies, than by any conversation. Looking- glasses and such like, suspended dresses, and toilet-belongings, if taken without notice, cannot lie or even exaggerate. The discreet matron at first showed me rooms only prepared for use, for at the period of my visit Lowell was by no means full; but she soon became more intimate with me, and I went through the upper part of the house. My report must be altogether in her favor and in that of Lowell. Everything was cleanly, well ordered, and feminine. There was not a bed on which any woman need have hesitated to lay herself if occasion required it. I fear that this cannot be said of the lodgings of the manufacturing classes at Manchester. The boarders all take their meals together. As a rule, they have meat twice a day. Hot meat for dinner is with them as much a matter of course, or probably more so, than with any Englishman or woman who may read this book. For in the States of America regulations on this matter are much more rigid than with us. Cold meat is rarely seen, and to live a day without meat would be as great a privation as to pass a night without bed. The rules for the guidance of these boarding-houses are very rigid. The houses themselves belong to the corporations, or different manufacturing establishments, and the tenants are altogether in the power of the managers. None but operatives are to be taken in. The tenants are answerable for improper conduct. The doors are to be closed at ten o'clock. Any boarders who do not attend divine worship are to be reported to the managers. The yards and walks are to be kept clean, and snow removed at once; and the inmates must be vaccinated, etc. etc. etc. It is expressly stated by the Hamilton Company--and I believe by all the companies--that no one shall be employed who is habitually absent from public worship on Sunday, or who is known to be guilty of immorality, it is stated that the average wages of the women are two dollars, or eight shillings, a week, besides their board. I found when I was there that from three dollars to three and a half a week were paid to the women, of which they paid one dollar and twenty-five cents for their board. As this would not fully cover the expense of their keep, twenty-five cents a week for each was also paid to the boarding-house keepers by the mill agents. This substantially came to the same thing, as it left the two dollars a week, or eight shillings, with the girls over and above their cost of living. The board included washing, lights, food, bed, and attendance--leaving a surplus of eight shillings a week for clothes and saving. Now let me ask any one acquainted with Manchester and its operatives, whether that is not Utopia realized. Factory girls, for whom every comfort of life is secured, with 21l. a year over for saving and dress! One sees the failing, however, at a moment. It is Utopia. Any Lady Bountiful can tutor three or four peasants and make them luxuriously comfortable. But no Lady Bountiful can give luxurious comfort to half a dozen parishes. Lowell is now nearly forty years old, and contains but 40,000 inhabitants. From the very nature of its corporations it cannot spread itself. Chicago, which has grown out of nothing in a much shorter period, and which has no factories, has now 120,000 inhabitants. Lowell is a very wonderful place and shows what philanthropy can do; but I fear it also shows what philanthropy cannot do. There are, however, other establishments, conducted on the same principle as those at Lowell, which have had the same amount, or rather the same sort of success. Lawrence is now a town of about 15,000 inhabitants, and Manchester of about 24,000, if I remember rightly; and at those places the mills are also owned by corporations and conducted as are those at Lowell. But it seems to me that as New England takes her place in the world as a great mannfacturing country--which place she undoubtedly will take sooner or later--she must abandon the hot-house method of providing for her operatives with which she has commenced her work. In the first place, Lowell is not open as a manufacturing town to the capitalists even of New England at large. Stock may, I presume, be bought in the corporations, but no interloper can establish a mill there. It is a close manufacturing community, bolstered up on all sides, and has none of that capacity for providing employment for a thickly growing population which belongs to such places as Manchester and Leeds. That it should under its present system have been made in any degree profitable reflects great credit on the managers; but the profit does reach an amount which in America can be considered as remunerative. The total capital invested by the twelve corporations is thirteen million and a half of dollars, or about two million seven hundred thousand pounds. In only one of the corporations, that of the Merrimack Company, does the profit amount to twelve per cent. In one, that of the Booth Company, it falls below seven per cent. The average profit of the various establishments is something below nine per cent. I am of course speaking of Lowell as it was previous to the war. American capitalists are not, as a rule, contented with so low a rate of interest as this. The States in these matters have had a great advantage over England. They have been able to begin at the beginning. Manufactories have grown up among us as our cities grew--from the necessities and chances of the times. When labor was wanted it was obtained in the ordinary way; and so when houses were built they were built in the ordinary way. We had not the experience, and the results either for good or bad, of other nations to guide us. The Americans, in seeing and resolving to adopt our commercial successes, have resolved also, if possible, to avoid the evils which have attended those successes. It would be very desirable that all our factory girls should read and write, wear clean clothes, have decent beds, and eat hot meat every day. But that is now impossible. Gradually, with very up-hill work, but still I trust with sure work, much will be done to improve their position and render their life respectable; but in England we can have no Lowells. In our thickly populated island any commercial Utopia is out of the question. Nor can, as I think, Lowell be taken as a type of the future manufacturing towns of New England. When New England employs millions in her factories instead of thousands--the hands employed at Lowell, when the mills are at full work, are about 11,000--she must cease to provide for them their beds and meals, their church-going proprieties and orderly modes of life. In such an attempt she has all the experience of the world against her. But nevertheless I think she will have done much good. The tone which she will have given will not altogether lose its influence. Employment in a factory is now considered reputable by a farmer and his children, and this idea will remain. Factory work is regarded as more respectable than domestic service, and this prestige will not wear itself altogether out. Those now employed have a strong conception of the dignity of their own social position, and their successors will inherit much of this, even though they may find themselves excluded from the advantages of the present Utopia. The thing has begun well, but it can only be regarded as a beginning. Steam, it may be presumed, will become the motive power of cotton mills in New England as it is with us; and when it is so, the amount of work to be done at any one place will not be checked by any such limit as that which now prevails at Lowell. Water-power is very cheap, but it cannot be extended; and it would seem that no place can become large as a manufacturing town which has to depend chiefly upon water. It is not improbable that steam may be brought into general use at Lowell, and that Lowell may spread itself. If it should spread itself widely, it will lose its Utopian characteristics. One cannot but be greatly struck by the spirit of philanthropy in which the system of Lowell was at first instituted. It may be presumed that men who put their money into such an undertaking did so with the object of commercial profit to themselves; but in this case that was not their first object. I think it may be taken for granted that when Messrs. Jackson and Lowell went about their task, their grand idea was to place factory work upon a respectable footing--to give employment in mills which should not be unhealthy, degrading, demoralizing, or hard in its circumstances. Throughout the Northern States of America the same feeling is to be seen. Good and thoughtful men have been active to spread education, to maintain health, to make work compatible with comfort and personal dignity, and to divest the ordinary lot of man of the sting of that curse which was supposed to be uttered when our first father was ordered to eat his bread in the sweat of his brow. One is driven to contrast this feeling, of which on all sides one sees such ample testimony, with that sharp desire for profit, that anxiety to do a stroke of trade at every turn, that acknowledged necessity of being smart, which we must own is quite as general as the nobler propensity. I believe that both phases of commercial activity may be attributed to the same characteristic. Men in trade in America are not more covetous than tradesmen in England, nor probably are they more generous or philanthropical. But that which they do, they are more anxious to do thoroughly and quickly. They desire that every turn taken shall be a great turn--or at any rate that it shall be as great as possible. They go ahead either for bad or good with all the energy they have. In the institutions at Lowell I think we may allow that the good has very much prevailed. I went over two of the mills, those of the Merrimack corporation and of the Massachusetts. At the former the printing establishment only was at work; the cotton mills were closed. I hardly know whether it will interest any one to learn that something under half a million yards of calico are here printed annually. At the Lowell Bleachery fifteen million yards are dyed annually. The Merrimack Cotton Mills were stopped, and so had the other mills at Lowell been stopped, till some short time before my visit. Trade had been bad, and there had of course been a lack of cotton. I was assured that no severe suffering had been created by this stoppage. The greater number of hands had returned into the country--to the farms from whence they had come; and though a discontinuance of work and wages had of course produced hardship, there had been no actual privation--no hunger and want. Those of the work-people who had no homes out of Lowell to which to betake themselves, and no means at Lowell of living, had received relief before real suffering had begun. I was assured, with something of a smile of contempt at the question, that there had been nothing like hunger. But, as I said before, visitors always see a great deal of rose color, and should endeavor to allay the brilliancy of the tint with the proper amount of human shading. But do not let any visitor mix in the browns with too heavy a hand! At the Massachusetts Cotton Mills they were working with about two- thirds of their full number of hands, and this, I was told, was about the average of the number now employed throughout Lowell. Working at this rate they had now on hand a supply of cotton to last them for six months. Their stocks had been increased lately, and on asking from whence, I was informed that that last received had come to them from Liverpool. There is, I believe, no doubt but that a considerable quantity of cotton has been shipped back from England to the States since the civil war began. I asked the gentleman, to whose care at Lowell I was consigned, whether he expected to get cotton from the South--for at that time Beaufort, in South Carolina, had just been taken by the naval expedition. He had, he said, a political expectation of a supply of cotton, but not a commercial expectation. That at least was the gist of his reply, and I found it to be both intelligent and intelligible. The Massachusetts Mills, when at full work, employ 1300 females and 400 males, and turn out 540,000 yards of calico per week. On my return from Lowell in the smoking car, an old man came and squeezed in next to me. The place was terribly crowded, and as the old man was thin and clean and quiet, I willingly made room for him, so as to avoid the contiguity of a neighbor who might be neither thin, nor clean, nor quiet. He began talking to me in whispers about the war, and I was suspicious that he was a Southerner and a secessionist. Under such circumstances his company might not be agreeable, unless he could be induced to hold his tongue. At last he said, "I come from Canada, you know, and you--you're an Englishman, and therefore I can speak to you openly;" and he gave me an affectionate grip on the knee with his old skinny hand. I suppose I do look more like an Englishman than an American, but I was surprised at his knowing me with such certainty. "There is no mistaking you," he said, "with your round face and your red cheeks. They don't look like that here," and he gave me another grip. I felt quite fond of the old man, and offered him a cigar.


We all know that the subject which appears above as the title of this chapter is a very favorite subject in America. It is, I hope, a very favorite subject here also, and I am inclined to think has been so for many years past. The rights of women, as contradistinguished from the wrongs of women, has perhaps been the most precious of the legacies left to us by the feudal ages. How, amid the rough darkness of old Teuton rule, women began to receive that respect which is now their dearest right, is one of the most interesting studies of history. It came, I take it, chiefly from their own conduct. The women of the old classic races seem to have enjoyed but a small amount of respect or of rights, and to have deserved as little. It may have been very well for one Caesar to have said that his wife should be above suspicion; but his wife was put away, and therefore either did not have her rights, or else had justly forfeited them. The daughter of the next Caesar lived in Rome the life of a Messalina, and did not on that account seem to have lost her "position in society," till she absolutely declined to throw any vail whatever over her propensities. But as the Roman empire fell, chivalry began. For a time even chivalry afforded but a dull time to the women. During the musical period of the Troubadours, ladies, I fancy, had but little to amuse them save the music. But that was the beginning, and from that time downward the rights of women have progressed very favorably. It may be that they have not yet all that should belong to them. If that be the case, let the men lose no time in making up the difference. But it seems to me that the women who are now making their claims may perhaps hardly know when they are well off. It will be an ill movement if they insist on throwing away any of the advantages they have won. As for the women in America especially, I must confess that I think they have a "good time." I make them my compliments on their sagacity, intelligence, and attractions, but I utterly refuse to them any sympathy for supposed wrongs. O fortunatas, sua si bona norint! Whether or no, were I an American married man and father of a family, I should not go in for the rights of man--that is altogether another question. This question of the rights of women divides itself into two heads-- one of which is very important, worthy of much consideration, capable perhaps of much philanthropic action, and at any rate affording matter for grave discussion. This is the question of women's work: How far the work of the world, which is now borne chiefly by men, should be thrown open to women further than is now done? The other seems to me to be worthy of no consideration, to be capable of no action, to admit of no grave discussion. This refers to the political rights of women: How far the political working of the world, which is now entirely in the hands of men, should be divided between them and women? The first question is being debated on our side of the Atlantic as keenly perhaps as on the American side. As to that other question, I do not know that much has ever been said about it in Europe. "You are doing nothing in England toward the employment of females," a lady said to me in one of the States soon after my arrival in America. "Pardon me," I answered, "I think we are doing much, perhaps too much. At any rate we are doing something." I then explained to her how Miss Faithful had instituted a printing establishment in London; how all the work in that concern was done by females, except such heavy tasks as those for which women could not be fitted, and I handed to her one of Miss Faithful's cards. "Ah," said my American friend, "poor creatures! I have no doubt their very flesh will be worked off their bones." I thought this a little unjust on her part; but nevertheless it occurred to me as an answer not unfit to be made by some other lady--by some woman who had not already advocated the increased employment of women. Let Miss Faithful look to that. Not that she will work the flesh off her young women's bones, or allow such terrible consequences to take place in Coram Street; not that she or that those connected with her in that enterprise will do aught but good to those employed therein. It will not even be said of her individually, or of her partners, that they have worked the flesh off women's bones; but may it not come to this, that when the tasks now done by men have been shifted to the shoulders of women, women themselves will so complain? May it not go further, and come even to this, that women will have cause for such complaint? I do not think that such a result will come, because I do not think that the object desired by those who are active in the matter will be attained. Men, as a general rule among civilized nations, have elected to earn their own bread and the bread of the women also, and from this resolve on their part I do not think that they will be beaten off. We know that Mrs. Dall, an American lady, has taken up this subject, and has written a book on it, in which great good sense and honesty of purpose is shown. Mrs. Dall is a strong advocate for the increased employment of women, and I, with great deference, disagree with her. I allude to her book now because she has pointed out, I think very strongly, the great reason why women do not engage themselves advantageously in trade pursuits. She by no means overpraises her own sex, and openly declares that young women will not consent to place themselves in fair competition with men. They will not undergo the labor and servitude of long study at their trades. They will not give themselves up to an apprenticeship. They will not enter upon their tasks as though they were to be the tasks of their lives. They may have the same physical and mental aptitudes for learning a trade as men, but they have not the same devotion to the pursuit, and will not bind themselves to it thoroughly as men do. In all which I quite agree with Mrs. Dall; and the English of it is--that the young women want to get married. God forbid that they should not so want. Indeed, God has forbidden in a very express way that there should be any lack of such a desire on the part of women. There has of late years arisen a feeling among masses of the best of our English ladies that this feminine propensity should be checked. We are told that unmarried women may be respectable, which we always knew; that they may be useful, which we also acknowledge--thinking still that, if married, they would be more useful; and that they may be happy, which we trust--feeling confident, however, that they might in another position be more happy. But the question is not only as to the respectability, usefulness, and happiness of womankind, but as to that of men also. If women can do without marriage, can men do so? And if not, how are the men to get wives, if the women elect to remain single? It will be thought that I am treating the subject as though it were simply jocose, but I beg to assure my reader that such is not my intention. It certainly is the fact that that disinclination to an apprenticeship and unwillingness to bear the long training for a trade, of which Mrs. Dall complains on the part of young women, arise from the fact that they have other hopes with which such apprenticeships would jar; and it is also certain that if such disinclination be overcome on the part of any great number, it must be overcome by the destruction or banishment of such hopes. The question is whether good or evil would result from such a change. It is often said that whatever difficulty a woman may have in getting a husband, no man need encounter difficulty in finding a wife. But, in spite of this seeming fact, I think it must be allowed that if women are withdrawn from the marriage market, men must be withdrawn from it also to the same extent. In any broad view of this matter, we are bound to look not on any individual case, and the possible remedies for such cases, but on the position in the world occupied by women in general--on the general happiness and welfare of the aggregate feminine world, and perhaps also a little on the general happiness and welfare of the aggregate male world. When ladies and gentlemen advocate the right of women to employment, they are taking very different ground from that on which stand those less extensive philanthropists who exert themselves for the benefit of distressed needlewomen, for instance, or for the alleviation of the more bitter misery of governesses. The two questions are in fact absolutely antagonistic to each other. The rights-of-women advocate is doing his best to create that position for women from the possible misfortunes of which the friend of the needlewomen is struggling to relieve them. The one is endeavoring to throw work from off the shoulders of men on to the shoulders of women, and the other is striving to lessen the burden which women are already bearing. Of course it is good to relieve distress in individual cases. That Song of the Shirt, which I regard as poetry of the immortal kind, has done an amount of good infinitely wider than poor Hood ever ventured to hope. Of all such efforts I would speak not only with respect, but with loving admiration. But of those whose efforts are made to spread work more widely among women--to call upon them to make for us our watches, to print our books, to sit at our desks as clerks and to add up our accounts--much as I may respect the individual operators in such a movement, I can express no admiration for their judgment. I have seen women with ropes round their necks drawing a harrow over plowed ground. No one will, I suppose, say that they approve of that. But it would not have shocked me to see men drawing a harrow. I should have thought it slow, unprofitable work; but my feelings would not have been hurt. There must, therefore, be some limit; but if we men teach ourselves to believe that work is good for women, where is the limit to be drawn, and who shall draw it? It is true that there is now no actually defined limit. There is much work that is commonly open to both sexes. Personal domestic attendance is so, and the attendance in shops. The use of the needle is shared between men and women; and few, I take it, know where the seamstress ends and where the tailor begins. In many trades a woman can be, and very often is, the owner and manager of the business. Painting is as much open to women as to men, as also is literature. There can be no defined limit; but nevertheless there is at present a quasi limit, which the rights-of-women advocates wish to move, and so to move that women shall do more work and not less. A woman now could not well be a cab-driver in London; but are these advocates sure that no woman will be a cab- driver when success has attended their efforts? And would they like to see a woman driving a cab? For my part, I confess I do not like to see a woman acting as road-keeper on a French railway. I have seen a woman acting as hostler at a public stage in Ireland. I knew the circumstances--how her husband had become ill and incapable, and how she had been allowed to earn the wages; but nevertheless the sight was to me disagreeable, and seemed, as far as it went, to degrade the sex. Chivalry has been very active in raising women from the hard and hardening tasks of the world; and through this action they have become soft, tender, and virtuous. It seems to me that they of whom I am now speaking are desirous of undoing what chivalry has done. The argument used is of course plain enough. It is said that women are left destitute in the world--destitute unless they can be self- dependent, and that to women should be given the same open access to wages that men possess, in order that they may be as self- dependent as men. Why should a young woman, for whom no father is able to provide, not enjoy those means of provision which are open to a young man so circumstanced? But I think the answer is very simple. The young man, under the happiest circumstances which may befall him, is bound to earn his bread. The young woman is only so bound when happy circumstances do not befall her. Should we endeavor to make the recurrence of unhappy circumstances more general or less so? What does any tradesman, any professional man, any mechanic wish for his children? Is it not this, that his sons shall go forth and earn their bread, and that his daughters shall remain with him till they are married? Is not that the mother's wish? Is it not notorious that such is the wish of us all as to our daughters? In advocating the rights of women it is of other men's girls that we think, never of our own. But, nevertheless, what shall we do for those women who must earn their bread by their own work? Whatever we do, do not let us willfully increase their number. By opening trades to women, by making them printers, watchmakers, accountants, or what not, we shall not simply relieve those who must now earn their bread by some such work or else starve. It will not be within our power to stop ourselves exactly at a certain point; to arrange that those women who under existing circumstances may now be in want shall be thus placed beyond want, but that no others shall be affected. Men, I fear, will be too willing to relieve themselves of some portion of their present burden, should the world's altered ways enable them to do so. At present a lawyer's clerk may earn perhaps his two guineas a week, and he with his wife live on that in fair comfort. But if his wife, as well as he, has been brought up as a lawyer's clerk, he will look to her also for some amount of wages. I doubt whether the two guineas would be much increased, but I do not doubt at all that the woman's position would be injured. It seems to me that in discussing this subject philanthropists fail to take hold of the right end of the argument. Money returns from work are very good, and work itself is good, as bringing such returns and occupying both body and mind; but the world's work is very hard, and workmen are too often overdriven. The question seems to me to be this--of all this work have the men got on their own backs too heavy a share for them to bear, and should they seek relief by throwing more of it upon women? It is the rights of man that we are in fact debating. These watches are weary to make, and this type is troublesome to set, We have battles to fight and speeches to make, and our hands altogether are too full. The women are idle--many of them. They shall make the watches for us and set the type; and when they have done that, why should they not make nails as they do sometimes in Worcestershire, or clean horses, or drive the cabs? They have had an easy time of it for these years past, but we'll change that. And then it would come to pass that with ropes round their necks the women would be drawing harrows across the fields. I don't think this will come to pass. The women generally do know when they are well off, and are not particularly anxious to accept the philanthropy proffered to them--as Mrs. Dall says, they do not wish to bind themselves as apprentices to independent money-making. This cry has been louder in America than with us, but even in America it has not been efficacious for much. There is in the States, no doubt, a sort of hankering after increased influence, a desire for that prominence of position which men attain by loud voices and brazen foreheads, a desire in the female heart to be up and doing something, if the female heart only knew what; but even in the States it has hardly advanced beyond a few feminine lectures. In many branches of work women are less employed than in England. They are not so frequent behind counters in the shops, and are rarely seen as servants in hotels. The fires in such houses are lighted and the rooms swept by men. But the American girls may say they do not desire to light fires and sweep rooms. They are ambitious of the higher classes of work. But those higher branches of work require study, apprenticeship, a devotion of youth; and that they will not give. It is very well for a young man to bind himself for four years, and to think of marrying four years after that apprenticeship be over. But such a prospectus will not do for a girl. While the sun shines the hay must be made, and her sun shines earlier in the day than that of him who is to be her husband. Let him go through the apprenticeship and the work, and she will have sufficient on her hands if she looks well after his household. Under nature's teaching she is aware of this, and will not bind herself to any other apprenticeship, let Mrs. Dall preach as she may. I remember seeing, either at New York or Boston, a wooden figure of a neat young woman, as large as life, standing at a desk with a ledger before her, and looking as though the beau ideal of human bliss were realized in her employment. Under the figure there was some notice respecting female accountants. Nothing could be nicer than the lady's figure, more flowing than the broad lines of her drapery, or more attractive than her auburn ringlets. There she stood at work, earning her bread without any impediment to the natural operation of her female charms, and adjusting the accounts of some great firm with as much facility as grace. I wonder whether he who designed that figure had ever sat or stood at a desk for six hours; whether he knew the dull hum of the brain which comes from long attention to another man's figures; whether he had ever soiled his own fingers with the everlasting work of office hours, or worn his sleeves threadbare as he leaned, weary in body and mind, upon his desk? Work is a grand thing--the grandest thing we have; but work is not picturesque, graceful, and in itself alluring. It sucks the sap out of men's bones, and bends their backs, and sometimes breaks their hearts; but though it be so, I for one would not wish to throw any heavier share of it on to a woman's shoulders. It was pretty to see those young women with spectacles at the Boston library; but when I heard that they were there from eight in the morning till nine at night, I pitied them their loss of all the softness of home, and felt that they would not willingly be there, if necessity were less stern. Say that by advocating the rights of women, philanthropists succeed in apportioning more work to their share, will they eat more, wear better clothes, lie softer, and have altogether more of the fruits of work than they do now? That some would do so there can be no doubt; but as little that some would have less. If on the whole they would not have more, for what good result is the movement made? The first question is, whether at the present time they have less than their proper share. There are, unquestionably, terrible cases of female want; and so there are also of want among men. Alas! do we not all feel that it must be so, let the philanthropists be ever so energetic? And if a woman be left destitute, without the assistance of father, brother, or husband, it would be hard if no means of earning subsistence were open to her. But the object now sought is not that of relieving such distress. It has a much wider tendency, or at any rate a wider desire. The idea is that women will ennoble themselves by making themselves independent, by working for their own bread instead of eating bread earned by men. It is in that that these new philosophers seem to me to err so greatly. Humanity and chivalry have succeeded, after a long struggle, in teaching the man to work for the woman; and now the woman rebels against such teaching--not because she likes the work, but because she desires the influence which attends it. But in this I wrong the woman--even the American woman. It is not she who desires it, but her philanthropical philosophical friends who desire it for her. If work were more equally divided between the sexes, some women would, of course, receive more of the good things of the world. But women generally would not do so. The tendency, then, would be to force young women out upon their own exertions. Fathers would soon learn to think that their daughters should be no more dependent on them than their sons; men would expect their wives to work at their own trades; brothers would be taught to think it hard that their sisters should lean on them, and thus women, driven upon their own resources, would hardly fare better than they do at present. After all it is a question of money, and a contest for that power and influence which money gives. At present, men have the position of the Lower House of Parliament--they have to do the harder work, but they hold the purse. Even in England there has grown up a feeling that the old law of the land gives a married man too much power over the joint pecuniary resources of him and his wife, and in America this feeling is much stronger, and the old law has been modified. Why should a married woman be able to possess nothing? And if such be the law of the land, is it worth a woman's while to marry and put herself in such a position? Those are the questions asked by the friends of the rights of women. But the young women do marry, and the men pour their earnings into their wives' laps. If little has as yet been done in extending the rights of women by giving them a greater share of the work of the world, still less has been done toward giving them their portion of political influence. In the States there are many men of mark, and women of mark also, who think that women should have votes for public elections. Mr. Wendell Phillips, the Boston lecturer who advocates abolition, is an apostle in this cause also; and while I was at Boston I read the provisions of a will lately left by a millionaire, in which he bequeathed some very large sums of money to be expended in agitation on this subject. A woman is subject to the law; why then should she not help to make the law? A child is subject to the law, and does not help to make it; but the child lacks that discretion which the woman enjoys equally with the man. That I take it is the amount of the argument in favor of the political rights of women. The logic of this is so conclusive that I am prepared to acknowledge that it admits of no answer. I will only say that the mutual good relations between men and women, which are so indispensable to our happiness, require that men and women should not take to voting at the same time and on the same result. If it be decided that women shall have political power, let them have it all to themselves for a season. If that be so resolved, I think we may safely leave it to them to name the time at which they will begin. I confess that in the States I have sometimes been driven to think that chivalry has been carried too far--that there is an attempt to make women think more of the rights of their womanhood than is needful. There are ladies' doors at hotels, and ladies' drawing- rooms, ladies' sides on the ferry-boats, ladies' windows at the post-office for the delivery of letters--which, by-the-by, is an atrocious institution, as anybody may learn who will look at the advertisements called personal in some of the New York papers. Why should not young ladies have their letters sent to their houses, instead of getting them at a private window? The post-office clerks can tell stories about those ladies' windows. But at every turn it is necessary to make separate provision for ladies. From all this it comes to pass that the baker's daughter looks down from a great height on her papa, and by no means thinks her brother good enough for her associate. Nature, the great restorer, comes in and teaches her to fall in love with the butcher's son. Thus the evil is mitigated; but I cannot but wish that the young woman should not see herself denominated a lady so often, and should receive fewer lessons as to the extent of her privileges. I would save her, if I could, from working at the oven; I would give to her bread and meat earned by her father's care and her brother's sweat; but when she has received these good things, I would have her proud of the one and by no means ashamed of the other. Let women say what they will of their rights, or men who think themselves generous say what they will for them, the question has all been settled both for them and for us men by a higher power. They are the nursing mothers of mankind, and in that law their fate is written with all its joys and all its privileges. It is for men to make those joys as lasting and those privileges as perfect as may be. That women should have their rights no man will deny. To my thinking, neither increase of work nor increase of political influence are among them. The best right a woman has is the right to a husband, and that is the right to which I would recommend every young woman here and in the States to turn her best attention. On the whole, I think that my doctrine will be more acceptable than that of Mrs. Dall or Mr. Wendell Phillips.

The one matter in which, as far as my judgment goes, the people of the United States have excelled us Englishmen, so as to justify them in taking to themselves praise which we cannot take to ourselves or refuse to them, is the matter of Education. In saying this, I do not think that I am proclaiming anything disgraceful to England, though I am proclaiming much that is creditable to America. To the Americans of the States was given the good fortune of beginning at the beginning. The French at the time of their revolution endeavored to reorganize everything, and to begin the world again with new habits and grand theories; but the French as a people were too old for such a change, and the theories fell to the ground. But in the States, after their revolution, an Anglo-Saxon people had an opportunity of making a new State, with all the experience of the world before them; and to this matter of education they were from the first aware that they must look for their success. They did so; and unrivaled population, wealth, and intelligence has been the result; and with these, looking at the whole masses of the people--I think I am justified in saying-- unrivaled comfort and happiness. It is not that you, my reader, to whom in this matter of education fortune and your parents have probably been bountiful, would have been more happy in New York than in London. It is not that I, who, at any rate, can read and write, have cause to wish that I had been an American. But it is this: if you and I can count up in a day all those on whom our eyes may rest and learn the circumstances of their lives, we shall be driven to conclude that nine-tenths of that number would have had a better life as Americans than they can have in their spheres as Englishmen. The States are at a discount with us now, in the beginning of this year of grace 1862; and Englishmen were not very willing to admit the above statement, even when the States were not at a discount. But I do not think that a man can travel through the States with his eyes open and not admit the fact. Many things will conspire to induce him to shut his eyes and admit no conclusion favorable to the Americans. Men and women will sometimes be impudent to him; the better his coat, the greater the impudence. He will be pelted with the braggadocio of equality. The corns of his Old World conservatism will be trampled on hourly by the purposely vicious herd of uncouth democracy. The fact that he is paymaster will go for nothing, and will fail to insure civility. I shall never forget my agony as I saw and heard my desk fall from a porter's hand on a railway station, as he tossed it from him seven yards off on to the hard pavement. I heard its poor, weak intestines rattle in their death struggle, and knowing that it was smashed, I forgot my position on American soil and remonstrated. "It's my desk, and you have utterly destroyed it," I said. "Ha! ha! ha!" laughed the porter. "You've destroyed my property," I rejoined, "and it's no laughing matter." And then all the crowd laughed. "Guess you'd better get it glued," said one. So I gathered up the broken article and retired mournfully and crestfallen into a coach. This was very sad, and for the moment I deplored the ill luck which had brought me to so savage a country. Such and such like are the incidents which make an Englishman in the States unhappy, and rouse his gall against the institutions of the country; these things and the continued appliance of the irritating ointment of American braggadocio with which his sores are kept open. But though I was badly off on that railway platform, worse off than I should have been in England, all that crowd of porters round me were better off than our English porters. They had a "good time" of it. And this, O my English brother who has traveled through the States and returned disgusted, is the fact throughout. Those men whose familiarity was so disgusting to you are having a good time of it. "They might be a little more civil," you say, "and yet read and write just as well." True; but they are arguing in their minds that civility to you will be taken by you for subservience, or for an acknowledgment of superiority; and looking at your habits of life--yours and mine together--I am not quite sure that they are altogether wrong. Have you ever realized to yourself as a fact that the porter who carries your box has not made himself inferior to you by the very act of carrying that box? If not, that is the very lesson which the man wishes to teach you. If a man can forget his own miseries in his journeyings, and think of the people he comes to see rather than of himself, I think he will find himself driven to admit that education has made life for the million in the Northern States better than life for the million is with us. They have begun at the beginning, and have so managed that every one may learn to read and write--have so managed that almost every one does learn to read and write. With us this cannot now be done. Population had come upon us in masses too thick for management, before we had as yet acknowledged that it would be a good thing that these masses should be educated. Prejudices, too, had sprung up, and habits, and strong sectional feelings, all antagonistic to a great national system of education. We are, I suppose, now doing all that we can do; but comparatively it is little. I think I saw some time since that the cost for gratuitous education, or education in part gratuitous, which had fallen upon the nation had already amounted to the sum of 800,000l.; and I think also that I read in the document which revealed to me this fact a very strong opinion that government could not at present go much further. But if this matter were regarded in England as it is regarded in Massachusetts, or rather, had it from some prosperous beginning been put upon a similar footing, 800,000l. would not have been esteemed a great expenditure for free education simply in the City of London. In 1857 the public schools of Boston cost 70,000l., and these schools were devoted to a population of about 180,000 souls. Taking the population of London at two and a half millions, the whole sum now devoted to England would, if expended in the metropolis, make education there even cheaper than it is in Boston. In Boston, during 1857, there were above 24,000 pupils at these public schools, giving more than one-eighth of the whole population. But I fear it would not be practicable for us to spend 800,000l. on the gratuitous education of London. Rich as we are, we should not know where to raise the money. In Boston it is raised by a separate tax. It is a thing understood, acknowledged, and made easy by being habitual--as is our national debt. I do not know that Boston is peculiarly blessed, but I quote the instance, as I have a record of its schools before me. At the three high schools in Boston, at which the average of pupils is 526, about 13l. per head is paid for free education. The average price per annum of a child's schooling throughout these schools in Boston is about 3l. for each. To the higher schools any boy or girl may attain without any expense, and the education is probably as good as can be given, and as far advanced. The only question is, whether it is not advanced further than may be necessary. Here, as at New York, I was almost startled by the amount of knowledge around me, and listened, as I might have done to an examination in theology among young Brahmins. When a young lad explained in my hearing all the properties of the different levers as exemplified by the bones of the human body, I bowed my head before him in unaffected humility. We, at our English schools, never got beyond the use of those bones which he described with such accurate scientific knowledge. In one of the girls' schools they were reading Milton, and when we entered were discussing the nature of the pool in which the devil is described as wallowing. The question had been raised by one of the girls. A pool, so called, was supposed to contain but a small amount of water, and how could the devil, being so large, get into it? Then came the origin of the word pool--from "palus," a marsh, as we were told, some dictionary attesting to the fact, and such a marsh might cover a large expanse. The "Palus Maeotis" was then quoted. And so we went on till Satan's theory of political liberty,

"Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven,"

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