Page images
PDF
EPUB

parison anything that we are accustomed to see in cities of the Old World.

In the Park, as elsewhere, the extent is the most distinctive feature. The well-formed roads cover a distance of no less than thirty-two miles. From the Park we drove into the principal residential quarter, along the Michigan Avenue, and through miles of streets lined with houses which bore all the external marks of affluence. It was a noticeable circumstance that in point of size and costliness few houses conspicuously overtopped the general standard. It may perhaps be inferred that wealth is pretty evenly distributed among the richer classes. If an individual has attained a more than ordinary success, it is not the custom to indulge in personal luxury.

Chicago is not an attractive city. It has essentially the air of business. Everybody is in a hurry. The material development of the city and of the individual is the absorbing object. The vigour is splendid, but more of that leisure on which Aristotle insists as essential for the discharge of the duties of citizenship would be a priceless boon. Man's life was spacious in the early world. At Chicago, in the rush of interests and pursuits, it is too much cramped and confined. All this will be changed in another generation. In the present stage the foundation is being laid for the future advance to a still higher civilisation.

By the kind invitation of Mr. Pullman, we visited the noble establishment which he has created on the shores of the lake, about eight miles from Chicago. The Pullman carriage factory is an industrial palace. Four thousand workmen are employed, and the utmost pains and liberality have been displayed in making the works a model of organisation, both for the conduct of business and for the solicitude displayed for the well-being of those employed. Long rows of commodious dwellings have been erected. They are fitted with the most perfect sanitary appliances. A church, a spacious bazaar, an hotel, a well-supplied library, and a theatre, scarcely surpassed in elegance in London or Paris, have been built. While recognising the generosity and the care with which the wants of the workmen have been provided for, it is a question whether minuteness of regulation has not been carried too far, and whether sufficient scope has been given for individual liberty. As a means of binding the workmen to the establishment, it can scarcely be doubted that facilities for acquiring land and building for themselves would be far more effectual than a system under which they are practically under compulsion to become tenants of their employers, subject to a few days' notice on either side. The workmen at Pullman's are chiefly foreigners, the predominating nationality being the Swedish.

Marquette was the bourne of our long journey. We left Chicago at 10 P.M. on the 9th of September. We reached our destination at 2 P.M. on the following day. The distance is 480 miles. As day dawned we found ourselves in a region presenting a marked contrast to the

State of Pennsylvania. Instead of a hilly country we were travelling over a plain. Agriculture was in an earlier stage. Much of the country was still covered with wood, and it was only in exceptional instances that the decayed stumps had been removed from the enclosed fields. At Mirimichie we came upon one of the most active centres of the lumber trade. The saw mills are on an extensive scale, and the harbour was filled with craft taking in cargoes of sawn timber.

On his arrival at Marquette, even the casual traveller would observe with pleasure unmistakable evidences of general prosperity. Although of such recent origin, the town contains several places of worship. The Episcopal Church is a building of considerable architectural pretensions. The schools are located in a spacious edifice. The private residences are numerous, and present every indication of ease and comfort. The homes of the working classes are decidedly superior to those ordinarily seen in the old established towns in the Eastern States.

Marquette is one of the busiest of the ports of Lake Superior. From it are shipped large quantities of iron ore for Cleveland and Chicago. One company alone sent away last year 250,000 tons. The harbour is formed by two extensive piers, fitted with all the necessary appliances for shooting ore rapidly from railway waggons into the holds of steamers or sailing vessels. Marquette, in common with all the chief towns of the Northern States, is built wholly of wood. In its streets are several considerable stores, well supplied with dry goods. Our first visit was to the offices of the Michigan Land and Iron Company. Later we inspected the schools.

The following days were devoted to a journey to L'Anse and Baraga, a distance of sixty-three miles. The country is traversed from end to end by the Marquette and Houghton Railway. Several other lines are in progress or projected, and, when completed, will materially improve the communication between Marquette and Chicago and the North-West. The Sturgeon and Michigamme rivers, flowing through the most valuable portions of the forest lands, afford valuable facilities for transporting timber. The whole of this district is at present a forest.

Starting from L'Anse, we followed, for a distance of seven miles, a rough track, used for sending supplies to the lumber camps. On leaving this track, we soon found ourselves standing by the trunks of trees whose straight and almost branchless stems attained a height of not less than 160 feet. Such trees are only to be found on certain sections. Along the whole line of the railway scarcely any pine-wood can be seen, and no trees approach these noble dimensions.

We observed with interest that in sections where the pine-wood has been cut fifteen to twenty years ago, self-sown timber of the same description is springing up. Many years must elapse before these young saplings become valuable for the supply of timber. The tallest Vol. XX.-No. 118.

3 R

trees exceeded three feet in diameter. We counted 112 distinct circles of annular growth on a stump of similar dimensions, adjacent to the larger trees. The outer circles of growth were indistinctly marked, and we estimated the age of the tree at 160 years.

Looking to the future, it is melancholy to see the reckless waste of timber in former years. This waste has not yet been checked by timely apprehensions of future scarcity. The sections that have been the scene of operation of a party of lumber-men are strewn with timber. Trees have been cut down, which it has not been worth while to remove; and acres of charred timber testify to the carelessness with which fires are kindled in the midst of dead leaves and by the trunks of valuable trees. The hardwoods are reckoned as of little value. Timber of this description is too heavy to be poated down shallow rivers. It can only be brought to market by railway. Hence the greater cost of transportation. In the cost of sawing and manufacture there is also a considerable excess for hardwood as compared with pine. This disadvantage is compensated by greater durability. Where supplies of timber are abundant the quality of endurance is less esteemed.

Mining enterprise in the district is as yet in an early stage. We visited the Titan and Wetmore mines. Upon descending into the galleries, we found ourselves among a small assemblage of workmen, singularly illustrative of the recent course of emigration into the North-West Provinces of the United States. The two men attending to the pneumatic drill were Irish, the man who held the lamp came from Devonshire, the manager in charge was an American, the bystanders were Finns and Swedes.

The prime motor necessary for the opening out of the mineral region of Northern Michigan is capital. The first explorers are men of intelligence, courage, energy, and perseverance. But they would not engage in the weary, and often ill-rewarded, task of making search for ore if they were in possession of ample resources. Necessity prompts their efforts, and makes them anxious to secure as large a share as possible from the profits arising from success. Being, however, without capital themselves, and being unwilling to pay liberally for the use of the capital of others, long delays often arise in the opening up of mines. In the case of the Michigan Land and Iron Company, it is one of the principal results of our visits that steps will be taken to bring together the miner in Michigan and the capital which can be so readily supplied from the Eastern cities. The theorists who freely denounce the class of capitalists would find a practical and conclusive answer to their denunciations if they were to visit Michigan. They would find the most skilled labour absolutely paralysed and useless until the capital, glibly denounced as robbery, has been supplied for the assistance of the workmen.

The northern peninsula of Michigan was formerly the country of the Chippewaw Indians. A considerable tract has been reserved for their use near L'Anse, and a large number of families are still to be found in that district. They gain a precarious livelihood by hunting and selling the skins.

In the first ages of the European settlements, these regions, then so difficult of access, were the scene of the zealous labours of the Jesuit fathers. Marquette and Baraga are both named after priests who were settled here as missionaries. A map of Lake Superior by the Jesuit fathers shows the sites of numerous missions established on the shores of Lake Superior. Devotion and self-denial in the cause of religion have in all ages been conspicuous in the missionaries of the Roman Catholic faith, and especially in the Jesuit order.

On the 17th of September I returned to New York, and on the 18th I sailed for Liverpool.

In the notes of a flying visit it is not necessary to give statistics as to the population, the wealth, the exports, and the manufactures of the United States, but I cannot conclude without a few words on the social and political condition. It would be unfair to measure the United States by the standard which would be applied in an old country. The charm of England is largely derived from those rich and mellow tones which age can alone impart alike to the land and its people. Our society and our institutions are derived from a feudal system, which, though corrected by a continual process of reform, had its origin in the idea that men were naturally unequal. In America, the social and political order is rooted in the idea that all men are naturally equal. For America no other theory could by possibility have been accepted, and we must admit the success with which the idea has been worked out in practice. If the government of the United States has been corrupt in the past, the election of President Cleveland expresses the resolve of the nation to purge its political system of a great evil. In our own country public life is happily free from corruption, but we have to deplore the exaggeration of party feeling to a degree which is detrimental to the State.

Turning from politics to business, an impression prevails that there is more sharp practice in the United States than in other countries. In England there are not wanting those who would take advantage of the unwary. Dishonest men only succeed in America so long as they are not found out. In the sphere of literature in every branch, in history and poetry, in fiction, science, and the fine arts, the Americans have taken a high place. Of the charm of American society it is quite superfluous to speak: it has been brilliantly represented in our own country. Life in America differs, where it differs at all from the best we see at home, only in being more vivacious and less ceremonious. It would be well if we could import into the social world in which we live more of the graceful and pleasing animation which we see in American life. That the mass of the people of the United States are in a condition superior to that attained in the most fortunate countries of the Old World, is beyond dispute. Their advantages are drawn from the abundant resources of a territory in which there are still wide tracts not yet brought under cultivation. The political institutions of the United States have more than the mere negative merit of not having presented any obstacles to the material progress of the people: they have facilitated the progress of the country in civilisation and in wealth. Education has been placed within the reach of all. In the most newly settled part of the country the reservation of land for the maintenance of schools has rendered it possible to provide instruction for the children of the hardy pioneers of agriculture and mining enterprises. As rude assemblages of huts grow into villages, and villages into towns, the school buildings, the teachers, and the appliances for teaching keep pace with the general improvement. We saw an admirable example of this wise liberality in the schools of Marquette.

Measured by its political results, the Constitution of the United States has been eminently successful. Since it was first promulgated it has undergone no change. It has borne the strain of a terrible war; it has maintained the Union, and it has won the insurgents to the national cause by lenity and by justice. It has been sufficiently elastic and comprehensive to satisfy the aspirations of a self-governed people composed of many races, and living in different parts of the country under widely different economic conditions. Looking forward to the near future, only one possible subject of dispute is seen topping the horizon-I refer to the fiscal system. Protection is now maintained for the benefit of the manufacturers, who are the few, and at the expense of the agricultural classes and the great mass of consumers. Thus far the cultivation of a virgin soil, unburdened by rent, has been sufficiently profitable to carry the load which has been laid upon it. Hereafter the agriculturists may be less able and less willing to submit to protection. Sooner or later, gradually, or possibly by some sudden change of policy, the free exchange of commodities may be accepted. When that day comes, it will not be England, but the United States, which will reap the greater advantage.

On the happy change which has passed in recent years in the relations between Great Britain and the United States, I need not dwell at length. British diplomacy never achieved a greater or more enduring success than when it won by a generous act of conciliation the forgiveness of America for the depredations of the Alabama.' The concessions we made have not weakened us, they have brought us strength-the strength which comes from the friendship and goodwill of the great American Republic.

BRASSEY.

The Editor of The NINETEENTH CENTURY cannot undertake

to return unaccepted USS.

« PreviousContinue »