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was comparatively but little known. Among | those who befriended the latter in his early career was William Backhouse, an importer of wines, and a prominent merchant of this city. In the New York "Packet" of October 2, 1787, when Mr. Astor was advertising musical instruments for sale at 81 Queen street, we find below his advertisement, and in the same column, the following:
"Wm. Backhouse & Co., No. 15 Duke street,* have For Sale
Red Port Wine, shipped by the Royal Port Company-the quality of whose wines experience has shown to be superior to any imported into America. Also, choice Fayal wines, four years old," etc., etc., etc., etc.
This gentleman did Mr. Astor many kindnesses, in remembrance of which he named his first son, William Backhouse, for him. William Backhouse married Margaret, daughter of General John Armstrong and Alida Livingston.
donation will augment the aggregate property of the library within the next three years to a sum exceeding $1,000,000, not to speak of the large excess of the present value of the books beyond their actual cost.
In 1839, John Jacob Astor added a codicil to his will, bequeathing $400,000 "for the establishment of a public library in New York." The building was erected in Lafay ette Place, and opened January 9, 1854, some six years after the testator's death. The late William B. Astor subsequently made a donation to the Trustees, of an adjacent piece of land, eighty feet wide by one hundred and twenty feet deep. Upon this a building similar to the first was erected in 1859, and formally opened to the public on the first of September of that year. The two edifices are capable of containing 200,000 volumes, the total number at present being 152,446. By the last annual report of the Board of Trustees of the Astor Library, dated January, 1876, we find that the property of the library has increased from the original bequest of $400,000 by the founder to $778,623.80. The report, after giving the terms of the bequest of $249,ooo, made by their late President, Mr. William B. Astor, by which the sum total of his individual benefactions is increased to $550,000, goes on to say that this liberal
* Duke street is now known as Vandewater street.
At a recent meeting of the Trustees, Mr. John Jacob Astor announced his intention of personally giving the sun of $10,000 for the purchase of new books. It is more than probable that the executors of the late William B. Astor will anticipate the payment of the $249,000 bequest.
There is a steady increase in the public demand for books of the character found in
the library. Of the 135,065 volumes read during 1875, only 5,028 were novels. The library forms an inexhaustible mine of literary wealth, and is much resorted to by authors, journalists, and writers generally. As long as this library stands, Mr. Astor's name will be gratefully remembered by the people of New York.
John Jacob Astor was not unmindful of the land of his birth. He bequeathed $50,000 for the benefit of the poor of his native village. The institution founded and supported by this bequest was opened January 9, 1854, in Walldorf, and has done great good. The anniversary of the founder's death is annually celebrated in the chapel, on the walls of which hangs what is said to be an admirable portrait of Mr. Astor. In personal appearance, John Jacob Astor, when in his prime, was about 5 feet 8 inches high, of square build, quick and active in his movements. Reserved in manner, except to his intimates, he dispatched a great deal of business with very few words; was seldom ruffled in temper, and always sober of speech. His grandsons, John Jacob and William Astor, at present administer the estate. The eldest, John Jacob, was Colonel and Volunteer A. D. C. on the staff of Major-General George B. McClellan, and, as a Colonel at the front, won an enviable reputation. He has one son, an only child, William Walldorf Astor, born in 1848.
The interests of the Astors are intimately blended with those of this city, and as New York grows and flourishes, their estates will prosper and increase.
TOPICS OF THE TIME.
Revivals and Evangelists.
REVIVALS seem to have become a part of the established policy of nearly the whole Christian Church. The Catholics have their "Missions," the Episcopalians have their regular special seasons of religious devotion and effort, while the other forms of Protestantism look to revivals, occasionally appearing, as the times of general awakening and general in-gathering. Regular church life, family culture, Sunday-schools and even regular Mission work seem quite insufficient for aggressive purposes upon the world. We do not propose to question this policy, though the time will doubtless come, in the progress of Christianity, when it will be forgotten. We have only to say a word in regard to the association of evangelists with revivals, and the two principal modes of their operation. With one we have very little sympathy, with the other a great deal.
There is a class of evangelists who go from church to church, of whom most clergymen are afraid; and their fears are thoroughly well grounded. There arises, we will say, a strong religious interest in a church. Everything seems favorable to what is called "a revival." Some well-meaning member thinks that if Mr. Bedlow could only come and help the fatigued pastor, wonderful results would follow. The pastor does not wish to stand in the way-is suspicious that he has unworthy prejudices against Mr. Bedlow-tries to overcome them, and
Mr. Bedlow appears. But Mr. Bedlow utterly
ignores the condition of the church, and, instead of sensitively apprehending it and adapting himself to the line of influences already in progress, arrests everything by an attempt to start anew, and carry on operations by his own patent method. The first movement is to get the pastor and the pastor's wife and all the prominent members upon their knees, in a confession that they have been all wrongmiserably unfaithful to their duties and their trust. This is the first step, and, of course, it establishes Mr. Bedlow in the supreme position, which is precisely what he deems essential. The methods and controlling influences of the church are uprooted, and, for the time, Mr. Bedlow has everything his own way. Some are disgusted, some are disheartened, a great many are excited, and the good results, whatever they may seem to be, are ephemeral. There inevitably follows a reaction, and in a year the church acknowledges to itself that it is left in a worse condition than that in which Mr. Bedlow found it. The minister has been shaken from his poise, the church is dead, and, whatever happens, Mr. Bedlow, still going through his process elsewhere, will not be invited there again.
We will deny nothing to the motives of these itinerants. They seem to thrive personally and financially. They undoubtedly do good under peculiar circumstances, but, that they are dangerous men we do not question. If neighboring clergy
men, in a brotherly way, were to come to the help of one seriously overworked, and enter into his spirit and his method of labor, it would be a great deal better than to bring in a foreign power that will work by its own methods or not work at all,— that will rule or do nothing. If this magazine, or the writer of this article, has seemed to be against revivals, it and he have only been against revivals of this sort, got up and carried on by these men. We question very sincerely whether they have not done more harm to the Church than they have done good. That they have injured many churches very seriously there can be no question. The mere idea that the coming of Mr. Bedlow into a church will bring a revival which would be denied to a conscientious, devoted pastor and people, is enough, of itself, to shake the popular faith in Christianity and its divine and gracious founder. Even if it fails to do this, it may well shake the popular faith in the character of the revival and its results.
There is another class of evangelists who work in a very different way. It is very small at present, but it is destined to grow larger. It works, not inside of churches, but outside of them. It has a mission, not to the churches, but to the people who are outside of them. It works in public halls with no sectarian ideas to push, no party to build up, no special church to benefit. It aims at a popular awakening, and, when it gains a man, it sends him to the church of his choice, to be educated in Christian living. To this class belong Messrs. Moody and Sankey, whose efforts we have approved from the first, because they have done their work in this way. That it is a better work than the other class of evangelists have ever done, we have the evidence on every hand. The churches are all quickened by it to go on with their own work in their own way. There is no usurpation of pastoral authority and influence. There is no interference with methods that have had a natural growth and development out of the individualities of the membership, and out of the individual circumstances of each church.
There is another good result which grows naturally out of the labors of this class of men. It brings all the churches together upon common ground. The Presbyterian, the Baptist, the Methodist, the Episcopalian, sit on the same platform, and, together, learn that, after all, the beginning and the essence of a Christian life and character are the same in every church. They learn toleration for one another. More than this: they learn friendliness and love for one another. They light their torches at a common fire, and kindle the flame upon their own separate altars in a common sympathy. They all feel that the evangelist has to do mainly with the beginnings of Christian life, and that it is their work to gather in and perfect those results which have only been initiated. Hence, all have an interest in that work and help it on with united heart and voice. The more of this kind of evangelism we have, the better.
Keeping at It.
EVERY man has his own definition of happiness; but when men have risen above the mere sensualities of life,-above eating and drinking, and sleeping, and hearing and seeing, they can come to something like an agreement upon a definition which, when formulated, would read something like this: "Happiness consists in the harmonious, healthy, successful action of a man's powers." The higher these powers may be, and the higher the sphere in which they move, the higher the happiness. The genuine "fool's paradise" is ease. There are millions of men, hard at work, who are looking for their reward to immunity from work. They would be quite content to purchase twenty-five years of leisure with twenty-five years of the most slavish drudgery. Toward these years of leisure they constantly look with hope and expectation. Not unfrequently the leisure is won and entered upon; but it is always a disappointment. It never brings the happiness which was expected, and it often brings such a change of habits as to prove fatal, either to health or to life.
A man who inherits wealth may begin and worry through three-score years and ten without any very definite object. In driving, in foreign travel, in hunting and fishing, in club-houses and society, he may manage to pass away his time; but he will hardly be happy. It seems to be necessary to health that the powers of a man be trained upon some object, and steadily held there day after day, year after year, while vitality lasts. There may come a time in old age when the fund of vitality will have sunk so low that he can follow no consecutive labor without such a draft upon his forces that sleep cannot restore them. Then, and not before, he should stop work. But, so long as a man has vitality to spare upon work, it must be used, or it will become a source of grievous, harassing discontent. The man will not know what to do with himself; and when he has reached such a point as that, he is unconsciously digging a grave for himself, and fashioning his own coffin. Life needs a steady channel to run in-regular habits of work and of sleep. It needs a steady, stimulating aima trend toward something. An aimless life can never be happy, or, for a long period, healthy. Said a rich widow to a gentleman, still laboring beyond his needs: "Don't stop; keep at it." The words that were in her heart were: "If my husband had not stopped, he would be alive to-day." And what she thought was doubtless true. A greater shock can hardly befall a man who has been active than that which he experiences when, having relinquished his pursuits, he finds unused time and unused vitality hanging upon his idle hands and mind. The current of his life is thus thrown into eddies, or settled into a sluggish pool, and he begins to die.
We have, and have had, in our own city some notable examples of business continued through a long life with unbroken health and capacities to the last. Mr. Astor, who has just passed away, undoubtedly prolonged his life by his steady adherence
to business. There is no doubt that he lived longer and was happier for his continued work. If he had settled back upon the consciousness of assured wealth, and taken the ease that was so thoroughly warranted by his large possessions, he would undoubtedly have died years ago. Commodore Vanderbilt, now more than eighty years old, is a notable instance of healthy powers, continued by use. How long does any one suppose he would live if his work were taken from his hands, and his care from his mind? His life goes on in a steady drift, and he is as able now to manage vast business enterprises as when he was younger. There was never a time apparently when his power was greater than it is to-day. Our Nestor among American editors and poets, though an octogenarian, not only mingles freely in society, makes public speeches, and looks after his newspaper, but writes verses, and is carrying on grand literary enterprises. Many people wonder why such men continue to work when they might retire upon their money and their laurels; but they are working, not only for happiness, but for life. Mr. Stewart is treading in the same path, and wisely.
The great difficulty with us all is that we do not play enough. The play toward which men in business look for their reward should never be taken in a lump, but should be scattered all along their career. It should be enjoyed every day, every week. The man who looks forward to it wants it Play, like wit in literature, should never be a grand dish, but a spice; and a man who does not take his play with his work never has it. Play ceases to be play to a man when it ceases to be relaxation from daily work. As the grand business of life, play is the hardest work a man can do.
Besides the motives of continued life and happiness to which we have called attention in this article, there is another of peculiar force in America, which binds us to labor while we live. If we look across the water, we shall find that nearly all the notable men die in the harness. The old men are the great men in Parliament and Cabinet. Yet it is true that a man does not so wholly take himself out of life in Europe as in America when he relinquishes business. A rich man in Europe can quit active affairs, and still have the consideration due to his talents, his wealth, and his social position. Here, a man has only to "count himself out" of active pursuits, to count himself out of the world. A man out of work is a dead man, even if he is the possessor of millions. The world walks straight over him and his memory. One reason why a rich and idle man is happier in Europe than at home is that he has the countenance of a class of respectable men and women living upon their vested incomes. A man may be respectable in Europe without work. After a certain fashion, he can be so here; but, after all, the fact that he has ceased to be active in affairs of business and politics makes him of no account. He loses his influence, and goes for nothing, except a relic with a hat on, to be bowed to. So there is no way for us but to "keep at it;" get all the play we need as we go on; drive at something, so long as
The Reconstruction of National Morality.
A TIME of war is always a time of corruption. The earnest public is absorbed by public questions and public movements. Values are shifting and unsettled. Contracts are made in haste, and their execution escapes, in the distractions of the time, that scrutiny and criticism which they secure in calmer periods. There are ten thousand chances for undetected frauds at such a time which do not exist in the reign of peace. All the selfish elements of human nature spring into unwonted activity, and the opportunities for large profits and sudden wealth are made the most of. This is the case in all climes and countries. America does not monopolize the greed and mendacity of the world. Even in despotic Russia, with Siberia in the near distance and harsher punishments closer at hand, the contractor cannot keep his fingers from his country's gold. Rank growths of extravagance spring into life; artificial wants are nourished; the old economies go out, and the necessities of a new style of living force men into schemes of profit from which they would shrink under other circumstances. The public conscience becomes debauched, and the public tone of morality debased.
interest, baleful in every aspect, pits itself against the demands of the Government for revenue. Men who have held good positions in business circles stand confessed as cheats, tricksters, scoundrels. The whisky rings that have defrauded the Government in untold millions are falling to pieces under the steady pressure of exposure, and stand revealed in all their shameful shamelessness. They appear before the bar of law and public opinion and plead guilty in squads-almost in battalions. And still the work goes on. Still, in the nature and tendency of things, it must go on, till all these festering centers of corruption are cauterized and healed. So with the Canal Ring, and so with corporation rings of all sorts all over the country. The tendencies of the time are toward reform. The attention of the country is crowded back from illegitimate sources of profit upon personal economy and healthy industry. It is seen, at least, that corruption does not pay, and that, in the end, it is sure of exposure.
There is another set of evils that have grown naturally out of the influences of the war. Petty peculations have abounded. Wages have been reduced, and those employers in responsible positions, whose style of living has been menaced or rendered impossible by the reduction of their means, have been over-tempted to steal, or to attempt speculation with moneys held and handled in trust. Thief after thief is exposed, many of them men whose honesty has been undoubted, until all who are obliged to trust their interests in the hands of others tremble with apprehension. But this is one of those things which will naturally pass away. Every exposure is a terrible lesson-not only to employers, but to the employed. The former will be careful to spread fewer temptations in the way of their trusted helpers, by holding them to a closer accountability, and the latter will learn that every step outside the bounds of integrity is sure of detection in the end; that the path of faithfulness is the only possible path of safety and of peace. This is not the highest motive to correct action, it is true, but it will answer for those who are tempted to steal, and who are not actuated by a better.
Upon results like these the uncorrupted men look with dismay or despair. Where is it all to end? The nation is sick from heart to hand; how can it be cured? The answer is now, happily, not far to seek. A ring of rogues gets the metropolis into its hands. They rule it in their own interests. Their creatures are in every office. They reach their power out upon the State. With uncounted money, every dollar of which they have stolen, they control elections, bribe legislators, and buy laws that shall protect them and their plunder. They build clubhouses, summer resorts, steamboats-all that can minister to their sensual delights, and find multitudes to fawn upon their power and pick up the crumbs of patronage that fall from their tables. But the day of reckoning comes to them, and the boast-places and low, which greet our eyes in almost ful leader who defiantly asks, “What are you going to do about it?" runs away. All these men are wanderers, self-exiled. Nay, they are prisoners to all intents and purposes-shut out from the only world which has any interest for them. There is not a man in Sing Sing who is not nearer home, who is any more shut away from home, than Tweed and his fellow-conspirators. Corruption, once the courted goddess of New York city, is not to-day in the fashion. So much, at least, has been done.
It will be evident that we are not alarmed or discouraged by the exposures of rascality in high
the hand is strong and steady, and not to think of rest this side of the narrow bed, where the sleep will be too deep for dreams, and the waking will open into infinite leisure.
If we look out upon the country, we shall find the process of reformation going on. A gigantic
every morning's newspaper. These exposures are the natural product of healthy reaction, the preliminary steps toward the national cure. So long as fraud, peculation, and defection exist, the faster these exposures come the better. Every exposure is a preacher of righteousness, an evangel of reform. The more dangerous all rascality and infidelity to trust can be made to appear, the better for society. In any cutaneous disease, the more we see of it the better. It is before it appears, or when it is sunk from the surface, that it is most dangerous to the sources of life and the springs of cure.