« EelmineJätka »
hastening away of a morning, and remaining abset all day attending to his pursuits, leaving his wif perhaps not twenty years of age, to amuse hersel amongst the company of the house, picking up al sorts of acquaintance, exhibiting her finery, paradin and moving about in those beautiful entertainin rooms, and mixing at the table d'hote with ever variety of strangers who might happen to be pre sent. From such a beginning it cannot be won dered at that young people should imbibe the desin
course of life which is extravagant an beyond their means to sustain. With a beautiful city, and every arrangement that can be required for the promotion of cleanliness and order, it is greatly to be lamented that anything should be observed in the streets that is calculated to shock the feelings or interrupt the comfort of the visitor. The municipal authorities are inexcusable for neglect of duty in this respect, and if one-half of what was reported of their corrupt practices is true, they are deserving of punishment.
THE MONEY PANIC. You will doubtless be desirous to hear something concerning the recent money panic, and the troubles which have overtaken the tradespeople there; and, if possible, some sort of conclusion in relation to its origin. The solution of this may not be within my power or province to deal with; but it would be impossible for any English merchant to visit New York, and not perceive that there are commercial practices, and extravagant habits, which are sufficient of themselves to account for a great deal of the calamity to them, and which in its rebound has so seriously affected us. It would be wrong to lead you to sappose that the conducting of business in the United States was alto gether on a bad principle. This is not the case. There are many wealthy capitalists whose businesses
are conducted in a most unexceptionable manner: and notwithstanding all this appearance of unsoundness, the solid wealth of New York is rapidly increasing. The great bulk, however, of the trading and mercantile classes, are represented as being always ou the stretch, doing large business upon small capital, and year by year spending every shilling of their profits
, and perhaps something more. They enjoy a singular facility for doing large business out of small Theans, by making sale of their trading risks. They are in the practice of selling bills of exchange without endorsement for whatever amount the credit of the drawer may be worth.
In this manner, persons of small capital may sell goods upon six or eight months' credit; the bill of exchange received in payment they may again convert into cash, and thus go on trading to an extent almost incredible
, until the house of cards is overthrown. Credit was said to be easily obtained, and that there was great facility for opening a business, or for making a change from one pursuit to another. The attainment of a business position, based upon experience, which in this country is so much valued, appeared of little concern to many persons in the United States ; and they willingly abandon one trade and run into another, expressing themselves quite confident that they fully understood all that belonged to the trade they were entering upon.
Extravagance and fast living appeared to prevail to an incredible extent, and the ladies were said to understand this as well as the gentlemen. An instance was remarked upon, and a lady pointed out who was moving about with her carriage and attendants, and living in great style upon the faith of an invention which her husband had recently patented. We saw This invention, and considered it to be utterly worthless. It found no favour with the public, and a month ortwo afterwards we heard that the building containing the patent, and the patent itself, had been destroyed
by fire! Passing away from New York, it did not surprise us to hear, in other parts of the country, severe remarks upon that city and the citizens. À gentleman who had left New York, after having resided, there upwards of twenty-eight years, considered it the most money-making city in the world, and perhaps the inost reckless in extravagance and expense. Another gentleman, one who resided in another part of the country, in expressing his dread of the harrassing effects of extravagance, most gravely declared that he would allow himself to be sent up in a balloon, not knowing where he might drop, rather than consent to marry a wife from
New York. There is a generous sympathy in the citizens which is highly becoming. Their public institutions of a charitable nature do them great credit. Upon the adjacent island of Blackwell
, they have an orphan asylum for about 1,000 children, besides their infirmary, lunatic asylum, penitentiary, and other similar establishments. The public schools of the city are their best institutions; as indeed they are the best institutions of America.
RAILWAYS. Our first excursion by railway was from New York to Philadelphia. The carriages, or cars, as they are called, are of great length, and accommodate from forty to fifty persons in each.' Down the centre there is a passage with a door at each end, and on both sides of the passage there are seats placed crosswise, holding two persons. All the passengers (coloured persons excepted), are looked upon as of one grade, as in travelling by an omnibus with us. The whole of the company sit exposed to each other, and whatever conversation may be going on is within the hearing of the passengers immediately surrounding. Most of the railways have only one line of rails. In their engineering they generally
select level ground, have very few tunnels, and seldom or never have any bridges passing over the lines of railway. The engineer rings a bell when he approaches a crossing, and a notice board is erected to warn the road passengers, with an inscription in large letters—“Railway crossing; when the bell rings, look out for the engine!" The sides of the railways are unfenced, and by way of provision against any unforeseen interruption or accident, an iron grating is attached to the fore part of the engine, which they call a cow-catcher, for securing or removing any animal or other obstacle which
be lying in the way. The railway companies do not provide porters, as in this country, to attend upon the passengers and aid them with their luggage: and those who are the guards or other servants of the companies, do not usually carry upon them any livery or other insignia of authority. This idea of independence, no doubt, furnishes the opportunity for many of the paid servants to skulk from the performance of their duty; and to a stranger who may be travelling, it is a matter of considerable inconvenience. There is an appointment of baggage clerk, who, at a small rate of charge, undertakes the care and delivery of luggage, and this department is well managed.
MAGNITUDE OF THE COUNTRY, As we are now beginning to explore the country, let us cast our eyes upon the map, and take a little thought about the geography of that portion of the Western Hemisphere, which now constitutes one of the great powers of the earth. The surface area is computed at three millions square miles, and is divided for purposes of local and judicial administration into forty states, as England is divided into forty counties; but in order to form some sort of estimate of the difference of magnitude, we must put down the state of New York, which is by no
means the largest, as of the same extent as the whole of England; or in other words, the surface of England and Wales being 49,000 square miles, that of the state of New York is 47,000 square miles. The population of the whole of the States in 1850 was, of whites, 19,553,068; free coloured, 434,495; slaves, 3,214,313: total, 23,191,876. It is evident, therefore, that the country must be very thinly peopled, and that there existing a vast extent of natural resources, and as they will require a long period before they are opened out, a wide field is thus afforded for the enterprise and capital of generations yet unborti
. Perhaps there is no other country to be found when the inhabitants have already accomplished so much within so short a period. River navigation is nowhere so extensively carried on, nor understood; and their railways extend to 26,000 miles, being more than half of all the railroads in the world These manifestations of progress are unmistakeable as denoting the prosperity of the country, and the prevailing energy of character in the people, as well as their confidence and feeling of security in those institutions under which they live, Passing along, by railway, through the agricultural portion of the country, the grassy surface of the fields did not appear lively and green, but of a dark brown colour, as though every blade had been deadened by frost. The fences surrounding the fields are formed of splits of timber trees, which have been cut down in clearing the land. They are in layers, the points resting one upon another, in a zig-zag form, held down by their own weight, don't require to be fastened together with nails
. The whitethorn fence, such as we have in this country, appears to be unknown in the United States
, or if it grows at all, it is not planted for field fences
. The stumps of the trees cut down encumber the ground, interrupt the straight current of the plougli,