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some excellent newspapers and one or two creditable magazines, but the mass of its literary work had no lasting qualities.
It cannot be disputed, however, that a new literary era is dawning upon the South. If we were called upon to name the two writers who, more than any other, within the last five years have brought most of performance and promise to American letters, we should name Mrs. Burnett and George W. Cable. The former is not a native of the South, but nearly all the formative period of her life was spent in its atmosphere and under its influences, while the latter is a product of the South, pure and simple. Mr. Cable is the discoverer of an entirely new field of literary material, and both writers already stand among the best novelists of the country. Neither the North nor the West has produced anything like them during this brief period, and this magazine is proud to number them among the most notable writers it has had the privilege of presenting to the public.
But these writers are not the only ones who have achieved real and lasting distinction since the close of the war. Joel Chandler Harris has recorded, in a style so true to character and tradition, the folklore of the Ethiopian, that it is safe to say that no one will ever undertake to improve his work. It is as artistic in its execution as it is characteristic in its humor. Sidney Lanier is a rare genius. No finer nature than his has America produced. His work is not popular, nor is it likely to become so, for his mind is of an unusual cast and his work is of an exceptional character. He is a man of more varied culture, perhaps, than any one of those we have mentioned. The world of American letters will unite with us in the hope that the delicacy of his health will not interfere with the full unfolding and expression of his power.
It is quite legitimate in this connection to ask why this marked change in the character of Southern literary work has taken place. There has never been a lack of brightness in the Southern mind. All the tendencies of climate have been toward the production of a passionate and imaginative people. Something very fine and remarkable should be the result of such admixtures of blood as have been witnessed in the South, in such a climate as the South possesses. It must be remembered, however, that lasting literature can only be produced under conditions of broad sympathy and catholic culture. Up to the date of the civil war the South possessed an excessively provincial spirit. It assumed a social preeminence that was almost Chinese in its exclusiveness. It cherished a local institution that degraded labor and threw it out of sympathy with the great working world of humanity, and it regarded whole peoples, who were in advance of it in all the better elements of civilization, with contempt. This was not a good soil for a worthy literature, and a worthy literature was never born of it. The Southern ideas of life, of society, of human rights, of honor, of justice, of politics, could bear little literary fruit worth preserving, and never did bear much that will be preserved
even within Southern borders. And this, notwithstanding the fact that the South has always been noted for eloquent speech-popular and forensic. It was the war that changed, or is changing, everything. A great many idols fell when slavery was abolished, and when the national unity was confirmed in the destruction of sectionalism. It was found that the Southern people were no better or braver than others. The experiences of the war and the sad years of poverty and trial that followed them were great educators. It is to the everlasting credit of the Southern people that they so received this terrific discipline that they have emerged from it purified, exalted, catholic, and armed with noble purposes. It was in this discipline, and in the birth of new ideas and new sympathies consequent upon the issues of the war, that the new literary spirit was born. Its growth will depend upon the acceptance of the humility of hard work as the condition of all literary excellence, and discontent with any approval that is less than universal. We wel come the new writers to the great republic of letters with all heartiness. New England has many advantages, but New England is no longer king. Her great literary school is dying out. Those who have been our literary leaders and exemplars have passed their meridian, and, though we shall part with them sadly, we are sure that American literature will not suffer, but rather be improved, by the wider distribution of its productive forces. The South and the West are hereafter to be reckoned upon in making up the account of our literary wealth, and the North will welcome with no stinted praise and no niggardly hand the best that the South can do. We could not lose her work from this magazine without serious detriment to the interest of its recurring numbers and the value of its accumulating volumes.
The Scientific Poet.
THE perusal of Dr. Storrs's eloquent oration on "The Recognition of the Supernatural in Letters and in Life" recalls the various prophecies of this latter age concerning the poet of the future. We have been told, again and again, that the age of science is to have its poet, or its school of poets; that a new dispensation of literature is at hand, based upon the new knowledges; and that, following the laws of development or evolution, this literature will naturally and necessarily surpass all the literatures that have gone before it. We have no faith in these prophecies. We doubt whether what we call literature will ever be indebted to science, or what is recognized as "the scientific spirit," for anything good.
and it refuses to have to do with anything else. It refuses to recognize the existence of such a thing as imagination, except in a scientific way. Imagination is a product of molecular action in the brain. Science must necessarily deny to this faculty of the soul any legitimate functions, because it cannot follow a scientific method, and because it denies the existence of the realm in which it is most at home. Imagination must have an overworld in which to spread its wings, or it cannot fly. To bind itself to demonstrable facts, and to tie itself to a scientific method, would be to commit self-destruction. To circumscribe the horizon of the poetic faculty is to clip its wings, or, rather, to deny it space for action. It is a faculty that demands illimitable space, illimitable time, illimitable freedom of invention, release from bondage to the material and real, and liberty to explore the spiritual and the ideal. Any influence or power which interferes with this liberty, in any direction, is a foe to poetry and a curse to literature.
The great poems of the world have always recognized the over-world, or the under-world, or the world outside the realm of those material things with which science concerns itself. Homer did not recognize the Christian's or the Hebrew's God, but the "Iliad" is full of the work of the supernal powers. The realm of spiritual life and spiritual potencies was as familiarly explored by his muse as that of human prowess and human passion. Dante and Milton built the fame of their great works upon the invincible faith of mankind in the existence of spiritual things. Their imaginations took their highest flights beyond the spheres of sense and of science, and it is easy to see that any sensuous or scientific inspiration (if such a thing be possible) must have been lower than those which moved them. Shakspere and Goethe had less to do with the spiritual world in the choice and use of material, but both recognized that world, made frequent incursions into it, and drew from it a multitude of inspirations and much valuable material.
But it is not so much, perhaps, that poetry is directly dependent upon the spiritual world for its inspirations and its materials, as it is indirectly. That which is best and most poetic in human life has uniformly grown out of the motives born of faith in spiritual things. The greatest heroisms that have illustrated the history of the human race, and have thus become inspirations in our literature,
Mr. Courtlandt Palmer's Hasty Inferences. GRACE CHURCH RECTORY, NEW YORK, July 12th, 1881. TO THE EDITOR OF SCRIBNER'S MONTHLY: SIR: Under the head of "Topics of the Time," and in connection with a discussion of the Comstock laws
have been born of faith in things unseen-things which science contemptuously ignores. How base our own late civil war becomes when we eliminate from the motives which prosecuted it, on both sides, the elements of spirituality! The earnest prayers that went up to God, the motives of duty, of selfsacrifice, of patriotism, born of a belief in the over-world of spiritual realities, these were what made that fratricidal war poetical, that endowed it with the only elements of which poetry that deserves the name can be made. Science could only clothe such a war as that was with a statement of the brute forces engaged. So many infuriated men met so many other infuriated men and fought with them, with implements of such and such destructive power. It had no greater dignity than a dog-fight. The scientific estimate of any great human struggle would have no more poetry in it than there is in the multiplication table. The loves that have made life divine, the self-devotion that has made life beautiful, the transformations of character which have illustrated the beneficent power of religion, the high moralities that have given safety and purity and dignity to society, the aspirations which have gone heavenward from a world of conscious imperfection,-all these are poetic material, and all these are as foreign to science, or the scientific spirit, as they are naturally the outcome of faith in the spiritual world.
Recently some poets or poetasters have undertaken to play the rôle of scientific poets. They have undertaken to inaugurate the new era, to be forerunners of the new dispensation. The attempt, by the use of modern scientific phrases, to do so great a deed, could only be conceived by minds incapable of poetry, for science can never give birth to poetry, of any sort whatsoever. Its only influence must be to neutralize whatever there may be of genuine poetic tendency in the time and the spirit of the time. How much of soundness there may be in opinions which militate against true poetry, and which subvert the conditions of its production, we leave to our readers to determine. The true poet is the true seer, and always has been. He arrives at his conclusions by a process unknown to science, and in a sense superior to science. Intuition is not the child of reason. Vision is not born of logic, and poetry never has been an outgrowth of science, and it is safe to say that it never will be.
for the suppression of vice and crime which I find in your issue for July, occur (page 457) these words:
"We are sorry that Rev. Dr. Potter should sneer at the Society for the Prevention of Crime, and furnish thus an argument against the Society for the Suppression of Vice. It is all very well to pass the
maintenance of the laws over to the officers of the
law, but suppose the officers of the law do not care, and will not, or do not, do their duty? How important an office did the Committee of Seventy perform in ridding this city of the Ring'! Why should such a committee have been formed? The laws against peculation and bribery were all in existence, and all the necessary machinery of justice was established. What an impertinence the Committee of Seventy must have been! There is, while we write, a committee of twenty-one in existence, who have undertaken to get the streets cleaned. But there are laws relating to this business, and there are men already whose duty it is to have the streets cleaned. Why not put the work where it belongs? We cannot, for the life of us, see why citizens may not associate themselves for special purposes in securing good laws and looking after their enforcement by the appointed officers."
As these are views which I have firmly held and frequently advocated, your intimation that I have "sneered at the Society for the Prevention of Crime" has considerably perplexed me. I suppose, however, that its explanation is to be found in a quotation from a recent sermon of mine which I find on page 462 of the same number of the monthly, in a communication from Mr. Courtlandt Palmer, and which, as there given, is as follows:
"A voluntary society for the suppression of crime, whose very existence is a startling commentary on our sham civilization, since it has been forced into existence to do the work which the law and its executors are both sworn and paid to do,-a voluntary association like this, created for the suppression of crime, endeavors,' etc. And a sentence or two further on he remarks: A quixotic divine [Dr. Crosby] strives in vain to rouse the public conscience against licensed thieving, and the friends of the thieves laugh in their sleeves at his folly, while the rest of the community think that he had better go back to his preaching. I think so, too, for surely the people, to awaken whom this John the Baptist cries so vainly in the wilderness of New York,' etc."
This quotation is from a newspaper report of the sermon to which your correspondent, Mr. Palmer, refers, and in making it he has naturally enough used only so much of the report as suited his purpose. May I give the passage as it stands in my manuscript ?
"A voluntary society for the suppression of crime, whose very existence is one of the most startling commentaries upon our sham civilization, since it has been forced into being, to do the work which the law and its executors are sworn and paid to do. Such a society endeavors to shield the unwary and to break up those robber bands and shut up those robber caves into which the unwary are lured. But the police, being, it is charged by some, in the pay of these robber bands, can never happen to find them, and we, whose guardians the police are, are apparently no more concerned about this municipal disgrace than if it had happened in Dahomey. An earnest and energetic divine (quixotic, some are pleased to call him) strives in vain to rouse the public conscience against licensed thievery, and the friends of the thieves laugh in their sleeves at his folly, while the rest of the community think that 'he had better go back to his preaching.' I think so, too, for surely, the people to awaken whom this
John the Baptist cries so bravely but so vainly to the wilderness of our New York, are even more closely wedded to their own dishonor than the publicans and sinners of the olden time!"
Unless I sadly failed to express my meaning in these words, it must be plain enough that, if there is in them any sneer at all, it was not for Dr. Crosby or the society which he has organized, but for those who were so strangely indifferent to its brave and timely work. As a matter of fact, so far from sneering at either the Society for the Prevention of Crime, or that for the Suppression of Vice, I have repeatedly both spoken and begged for them in public and in private, and have, I need hardly add, the heartiest sympathy with the work which each of them is striving to do. For Dr. Crosby himself, I was early trained to cherish the sincerest veneration and respect, and his courageous ministry in New York has endeared him to me as to thousands of others, all over the land, who will never have a chance to tell him so. It is indeed impossible that I should sneer at one to whom it habitually becomes me to look up, and I cannot but express my regret that any words of mine should be so radically misunderstood. As they were originally spoken I think it must be owned that they do not bear any such meaning as your reproach would seem to imply; and, if I may venture to say so, that reproach furnishes another illustration of the truth that the first wisdom of the critic, as of the scholar, is to "verify his quotations."
Concerning Mr. Palmer's argument, which the imperfect quotation of words of mine, erroneously interpreted, is made to buttress, I am not called to speak. But it is at least curious and suggestive that its position is substantially that of the Church of Rome, and that here, as so often, extremes meet. It is the principle of the Roman Catholic Church that the ecclesiastical government is sufficient for all things. There must be no voluntary society, no extra ecclesiastical machinery anywhere within the circumference of its authority-in other words, there is no room for individualism, under whatever pretext. On the Roman basis, this seems plain enough, but, from the "Liberal" stand-point, an argument which antagonizes special legislation and voluntary associations for the expression of individ ual opinion and the promotion of special reforms, has at least the claim of eccentricity.
HENRY C. POTTER.
The Organ of the National Liberal League. June 24th, 1881. TO THE EDITOR OF SCRIBNER'S MONTHLY. SIR: In regard to your rejoinder to my article, I merely wish to state that, for the sake of your own love of truth, you will undoubtedly desire to correct a serious error. You say, "Their prominent organ announced 'Our platform' to be 'Immediate, unconditional,'" etc.
You refer, I presume, to Heywood's "Word." That is the only paper I know of that has that utter
It is no more an organ of the National Liberal League than the "New York Observer" is. A paper called "Man," published once a month, is the only official journal, though the publications of the League at times appear in the Boston "Investigator" and "Truth-Seeker." Yours truly, COURTLANDT Palmer.
Westminster Boys in Politics.
84 WESTBOURNE Park Villas, LONDON. TO THE EDITOR OF SCRIBNER'S MONTHLY. SIR: In a very interesting article on "The Westminster Play," in your issue for June, the writer refers to the old tradition by which a certain number of Westminster scholars have the privilege of occupying seats in the House of Commons during the debates; and, having quoted some of the celebrated poets and men of letters who were brought up at the school (from which list John Dryden, per. haps the greatest name of all, is, curiously enough, omitted), he goes on to say: "One would expect, therefore, that Westminster would have produced debaters. But this has not been the case. The garden prepared for the production of politicians has turned out a nursery of poets."
There are many other names I could quote of former " Westminsters," but the above will, no doubt, more than suffice as a supplement to the information contained in the otherwise very accurate article in question.
As an old Westminster boy, may I put in a plea
The Boys of the Family.-VI.
THE PROGRESS OF A CLERK,
on behalf of the statesmen the school has reared? If you have space enough, the following list of them perhaps may interest your readers, and may show that the right of attending the deliberations of the House of Commons has not been entirely without fruit:
A BANKER of large and varied experience once said to the writer that the clerks in his establishment who gave the greatest satisfaction, and in whom the greatest confidence could be placed, were usually the sons of poor gentlemen,-boys who, not having been brought up in affluence, still possessed a puissant sense of honor and a refinement of taste which preserved them from debasing amusements. He considered them more trustworthy than others with larger means at their disposal, who would presumably be outside the reach of pecuniary temptation. Aside from the perception of subtle heredity which it embodies, the opinion indicates what is true of nearly all first-class business houses-that a banker requires some personal knowledge of the antecedents of those applying for admission to places in his office, even if the places sought are remote from any great trust or responsibility. The accuracy with which our informant selected his clerks is attested by the fact that he at one time had eleven young men in his employ, ten of whom are now successful merchants or bankers themselves, having proved invariably faithful, persevering, industrious, and thrifty; while one of them, the son of a stone-cutter, and who entered the bank as an office-boy, is a millionaire knight in Australia.
John, Lord Carteret, Earl Granville, diplomatist statesman,
Heneage Finch, Lord Chancellor, 1675 (afterward Earl of
Lord Halifax, Prime Minister, 1697.
William Pulteney (First Earl of Bath), a prominent member of the House of Commons, 1743.
Beyond a satisfactory character and a good education, the novice requires nothing that his own con
Henry Pelham, Prime Minister, 1744.
HOME AND SOCIETY.
Sir Robert Henley, Lord Chancellor, 1764 (Earl of Northington).
Marquis of Rockingham, Prime Minister, 1765.
Charles Abbot, Speaker of the House of Commons, 1802.
Sir James Graham, First Lord of the Admiralty, etc.
THOMAS S. OLDHAM.
duct and abilities may not supply, and supposing that he is poor, it is upon these two things that his advancement will depend. A classical education is obviously unessential, though it is not superfluous, and the more desirable qualifications are a fluent knowledge of modern languages, especially French and German, facility in arithmetic, and self-possession, which is as indispensable in a bank, under some circumstances, as it is to a mariner or a soldier. But no matter what his attainments are, nor how brilliant his college record is, the youth who enters a bank is usually set to work upon tedious and unprofitable details for many months before an opportunity is given him in a higher direction. He is sent to the post-office for the mail or with it; he is required to copy letters and bear messages; and, while he may pose at home and speak as though he were a vital factor of the bank's existence,-which is the fatuous way of many employés, he is actually of no particular importance. The course is humiliating to the sensitive and self-loving, especially those who have left school with a feeling of personal completeness; but it is an inevitable preliminary. The pay is nominal,-usually about three hundred dollars a year,— with a small annual increase; and, as a beginner is over eighteen when he is admitted, he does not earn enough to support himself until he is twentytwo or three years old. While he is occupied with details tedious and apparently unprofitable, he is almost unconsciously acquiring a familiarity with the more abstruse elements of the business, and the
employers are finding out what special aptitude he has, with a view to his promotion. If, when a vacancy occurs, he has shown the ability of a clever arithmetician, he is put in the book-keeper's depart ment; if he has developed an acquaintance with the stock market, and has shown caution in handling coupons, money, etc., he is put with the cashier; if he is a linguist, capable of writing a perspicuous letter, the chances are that he will be put in the correspondence department; and, with his advancement, he ceases to be a probationer and passes into a highway, which, if all its pitfalls are avoided, leads on to fairly lucrative and honorable positions, though a fortune may not be at the end. It should be understood that we are writing of a bank which, though it is representative, may not have identical methods with all others, and that a boy might find in practical experience many exceptions to these statements.
The beginner in a business house is environed by much the same circumstances as those that we have described. In England, Germany, and other continental countries, the large mercantile firms engage a certain number of young men as apprentices for five, six, or seven years, paying them about five hundred dollars for the term, in the form of a progressive salary. The apprentices are indentured, and are saved from drudgery by the subordinate office-boys; but here there are no apprentices, and the duties of a beginner are limited to a variety of little things, against which the lordly soul of an English apprentice, who is usually an intolerably affected young person, would revolt. Apprenticeship in mercantile life abroad has, in fact, a basis of social distinction, and practically operates to the profit of the employer without having a commensurate advantage to the clerk, who is bound to wait several years before his earnings are sufficient to support him. An officeboy in America has a much better chance, and his advancement from clerkship to clerkship quickly follows the mastery he obtains over the different branches of the business. If he have a taste for business, there is no reason why he should not, and no probability that he will not, rise to the best position in the office which he enters. The writer is personally acquainted with several young men who, beginning thus at the bottom round of the ladder, have since acquired important clerkships by simple diligence and integrity, and are being promoted to higher grades every year. Not every opening is worth having, however. An old-established house with extensive connections should be selected, if selection is possible; such a house is heard of oftener through one's business acquaintances than through newspaper advertisements.
The best preparation for a commercial life is a common-school education, and the most serviceable parts of it, as in a bank, are the modern languages. French, German, Spanish, and Italian are sure to be of value, and the ability to write short-hand often hastens the advancement of a beginner. Nothing of greater use than the subjects included in the curriculum of the public schools can be learned in the socalled business or commercial colleges, which, in so far as they undertake to teach the practical details of
business life, are misleading, to say the least, in the opinion of all the merchants with whom we are acquainted. Every firm has its own methods of book. keeping and its own formulas in other departments, one differing from another in all the essential particulars of its system. The elements of book-keeping may and should be learned at school, but the knowl. edge thus gained is modified in development and operation by the individual usages of the house to which it is taken; and, similarly, there is as much disparity between clearing-house or custom-house work as it is taught in a business college and as it is actually done in a business house as between the journalism of a boy printing his own paper on his own press and the journalism of a New York daily.
Perhaps a good mother, who has seen the impish, vulgar, and strangely mature boys in some Wall. street broker's office, may shudder at the prospect of having one of her own put under the influences that have produced such precocity; but, though they are exposed to great temptations, it is not often that these boys are vicious, and from their ranks some of the most successful business men are recruited. Finally, while we would urge a boy to avail himself of the completest education he can get, it may not be altogether a misfortune if, when he is about seventeen, and is proficient in the English branches, he is compelled to seek a place in an office. Seventeen is a good age, and though the salary to begin with may not be more than two dollars a week, it will probably be increased to twelve or fifteen dollars before he is twenty, provided, of course, that he is observant and industrious.
We are inclined to believe that the most brilliant possibilities are in the wholesale dry goods houses, which have some positions within the reach of com. paratively young men and commanding salaries of from four to eight thousand a year. Beginners are usually admitted at the age of from sixteen to twenty, and are paid about one hundred dollars for the first year, two hundred for the second, and three hundred for the third. Vacancies are filled in most instances by protegés of the older employés or relatives of custom. ers, but occasionally they are announced through a newspaper advertisement, one insertion of which often evokes more than a thousand answers in twen ty-four hours, many of the applicants offering their services gratuitously for the sake of the opportunity. After the third year, or earlier, the beginner is promoted to the position of assistant book-keeper, entry clerk, or shipping clerk, with a salary of about fifteen dollars a week; but his best opportunities are in the salesmen's department. It is the salesmen who command the salaries we have mentioned, and whose abilities are akin to genius. A good one is indispensable to the firm with which he is connected; he has a large acquaintance with “the trade,” and so personal an influence over the customers that they would follow him with their business to any house to which he might transfer himself. The source of this rare influence is not easily defined. It is, in part, a sort of magnetism or winsomeness of disposition, coupled with a shrewd and ever-watchful intimacy with the market. When a customer comes into