service, and which, at present, are not of the demagogue strikes most remorsepractically pursued from a professional lessly the poorest and most helpless of point of view.

employees, because they are in numeriWe have chiefly referred to those cal preponderance, and so they tell as great departments of Washington voters, though they are treated as if which need most the axe of the reform- they were unworthy to be men, er. It is hardly necessary to speak of No doubt, there will still be imperthe New York Custom-house. It is a fections and blemishes in our public most awful concern, with a dark history, service in ages hence, after our present and a perfect hotbed of sinecures. A system has been purged of some of its good and honest man appointed to it, most hideous and revolting features. after the withdrawal of Hiram Barney, We dare also say, that all which is bad was soon found in the East River, with in our system looks still worse than it stones round his neck---a fit emblem of is, because every thing in this country the burden that had fastened upon his comes to the surface in all its unsophistidistracted soul. It is a place full of cated nakedness, and is not glossed over, tragedy and full of farce. It is proba- as in older and more subtle and hypobly the only custom-house in the world critical civilizations, by all sort and which also serves the purpose of a po- manner of artifices. But nothing can litical penitentiary and partisan laza- explain away that which is intrinsically retto. No one man should be entrusted and irretrievably bad, and all good citiwith the control of such an unfathoma- zens should cry, “ Shame!" upon each ble abyss of corruption. Half a dozen and every politician who, for selfish custom-houses, the directors respective- purposes of his own, opposes and bafiles ly under the control of a minister of the reformatory measures now pending finance or commerce in Washington, before Congress. Heaven knows that would probably do infinitely less harm they are wide of the mark. They only than the present one-man-power con- touch a few springs of a vast and comcern, and that one man perpetually plex machinery of evil, but we are vibrating like a tormented spirit be- thankful that something is done in the tween the White House, the Treasury, right direction. To withhold assent Foreign Missions, and incidentally the from these bills because they do not Custom-house-a profitable customer, remedy all the evils, would be as wise at any rate, for railroads and hotels. as to decline medical assistance for one

Custom-houses, surveyorships, and disease, because there are other diseases naval port offices all over the country, in the body for which it does not also are all more or less “ rotten boroughs.” afford remedy. On certain occasions whole gangs of We have not yet spoken of the State men are ejected, and new recruits en- Department. It presents a sense of listed. Such are the contrivances by unity which is due to its peculiar funcwhich demagoguery saps morality and tions, and transacts its vast business drags politics into the mire of venali. with a smallness of forces which is ty. What is needed on certain occa- creditable to it, and shows how much sions, are a great number of votes, so more is to be achieved by a small force as to turn the scale upon the partisan harmoniously employed, than by large adversary; and lo! all of a sudden, forces scattered over unwieldy and hundreds of men, many of whom are chaotic organizations. hard-working, and have large families In respect to the consular service, howto support, are thrown destitute upon ever, the Department indulges in the the streets like so many leprous dogs, erroneous belief that it is self-supporting, to make place for new and more serv- The fact is, that the fee raised upon

the iceable recruits, who, on some future certificates of exporters is a tax upon occasion, are to be ejected in the same commerce which the consumer has to brutal manner.

As usual, the cruelty pay. If the fee were one hundred dol

lars for each certificate of an invoice of some rough-looking customer, who ingoods, the consular service might, upon , sists upon seeing the Boss, and claiming the same theory, be called highly lucra to have come all the way from Kankative. To talk of self-supporting depart- kee or Ashtabula to get“ them " papers. ments, is sheer nonsense. The fees ex The officials of the State Departmentacted by consuls from exporters are, like some of whom gravitate toward the all other fees, part of the revenue of the Virginia and Maryland old-fashioned country; and the salaries and contin- style of good breeding, while others gent expenses of consulates are parts of luxuriate in all the stolid placidity of the public expenditure. To represent it the countrymen of Rip Van Winkleunder any other light, is to claim a give to the new consul a rather chilling supernatural merit for the consular serv reception. Of course, he is not admitice. Since consuls are paid by the state, ted to the presence of the “ Boss,” who like all other public officers, there is reserves bimself for a few foreign minisnothing self-supporting in that service. ters, and for cabinet meetings. He has If taxes are imposed upon commerce in about half a second's interview with the shape of fees upon consular certifi- Fred. Seward, who, with a smile of imcates, for no other purpose than to make perturbable sweetness, hands him over credulous Congressmen swallow the self to one of the gentlemen of the office, supporting dodge, it is simply unfair to who hands to the consul a handsomelycommerce, and somewhat savoring of bound volume, which contains the conduplicity. The question then simply is sular regulations. Very soon after this as to a proper adjustment of salaries, episode, a flaming article appears in the without regard to fees, and to have the Liberty Bell or Bungtoron Bugler, anaccounts so adjusted as to have the fees nouncing the fact that "the Hon. Jerego to the credit of the revenue, and the miah Napoleon Ezekiel Jupiter Jones, salaries and contingent expenses to the so eminently popular in this district, credit of the consular officers.

and remarkable for his diplomatic talA great number of consulates might ents, has arrived at Washington; had a advantageously be abolished; and the lengthened interview with the Secretary system of appointing deputies, or vice of State, who gave him official instrucconsuls should be abrogated altogether. tions of the highest importance, and

The bill prepared by Mr. Patterson, then departed in hot haste for his post of New Hampshire, provides for the of destination, it being rumored that on manner of appointing consuls and min- his way to Saurkrautenthal he is to meet isters, and for the system of examination Count Boum, at Mr. Seward's special reand promotion to be adopted.

quest.” In the meanwhile, Jones passes At present, consuls are virtually ap a miserable evening at the Seaton pointed by Congressional delegations. House, in a most unsatisfactory tête-à-téte They urge them upon the Executive and with his “instructions." The book the State Department, and attend to which the gentleman of the State Detheir confirmation in the Senate. In partment handed him with such a bland most instances these delegations know smile, simply contains the general connothing of the man they recommend, sular regulations applying to all counexcept that he is recommended by tries of the world, and without any somebody they know, and that the po particular reference to the particular litical church requires his nomination. duties which he may have to fulfil in After the nomination and confirmation the particular place to which he is parhave duly taken place, the new-fangled ticularly appointed. He soon gives the consul is informed by the Secretary of book up in despair, but has the happy State of his good luck. The fellow inspiration to buy a “ Bradshaw." jumps in the cars, and all of a sudden After having discovered the latitude and an altercation takes place between the longitude to which he is assigned, he is doorkeeper of the State Department and next seen stalking about with a most

VOL. II.-16


consequential air on the deck of one of terprise in 1865 or 1866. If, at the time the cheap Inman steamers. He is never of the receipt of these reports, the comagain seen at the State Department. mercial world had been informed of the All they know is, that he regularly cultivation of certain roots, or the prodraws for his salary, and occa

onally he gress of certain crops, or the invention copies, from one of the local papers of of certain new models and patterns, in the place in which he resides, extracts of one or the other country, some advancommercial statistics, with great flourish tage might have been taken of it, and of trumpets, as if he had been their origi- the consular report might have achieved nal compiler. If any language except some practical result. But by the time ing the Ashtabula or Kankakee dialect they reach the parties whose interests is spoken at the post of his destination, are affected thereby, the reports have he holds himself rather " aloof” from become flat, stale, and unprofitable. society. He is generally taken for an The commercial and industrial facts Aboriginate American, and sticks to his to which the reports refer have then bepost through thick and thin, until, one come things of the past, and lost all day, Brown steps in, and says: “ Jones, practical value and interest. It is you are smashed !” Jones does a little overlooked that the consular, like all swearing, invites Brown to take a drink, other public departments, are only picks up his traps, and the next we hear agencies for the promotion of the public of him is through our old friend the interest, to be sure, invested with speciLiberty Bell or Bungtoun Bugler, in the fic functions, but yet utterly failing in following strain : “We are happy to their mission if they neglect to take announce the safe return to this district

every possible opportunity to further of the Hon. Jeremiah Napoleon Ezekiel the commerce and industry of the counJupiter Jones, from his mission to Saur- try. While this should be the principal krautenthal. After having spent sever aim, and the routine-work with sailors al years abroad, he speaks, of course, certificates, passports, and the estates of the different languages of Europe, and deceased Americans, only an accessory, has had access to the most exclusive nothing is generally done with any decircles of the nobility and gentry, and gree of ability or system, excepting the is versed in all the arts of the statesman indispensable routine labor of the office, and the diplomat. Our best citizens which must be done. Probably this paid their respects, last evening, to the will continue to be the case as long as honorable gentleman, at his quarters at the consular service is controlled by the Tomahawk House, where, with his the State Department, instead of being wonted urbanity, he treated his friends placed under the auspices of a ministry to a handsome supper.

of commerce, as is the case in many add, that the honorable gentleman is European countries. proposed as the member in the seventy Under the present circumstances, confifth Congressional district, the inten- suls do little or nothing for the promotion being, in the event of his election, tion of commerce. At a stated annual to make him chairman of the Committee period they are called upon to make a on Foreign Relations, for which post he report to the State Department, and in is so pre-eminently fitted by his famil- most cases their mental activity finds iarity with the history and laws and its climax in this annual report, and systems of foreign nations."

which, moreover, is generally copied -The so-called Consular Commercial from other reports, and but rarely the Reports are printed, in extracts, in vol result of painstaking, original, and exumes annually presented to Congress. haustive investigation, In 1868, the merchants, manufacturers, By raising the character and qualifiand industries of the United States are cations of consuls, as proposed in the faithfully informed in these reports what Patterson bill, it is probable that a bettheir chances were in the sphere of en ter class of men will devote themselves

We may

to this branch of the public service, sidered inaccessible to everybody else. and make it, as it ought to be, an Their American excellencies are accord-, auxiliary to the commerce and industry ingly shunned by all really well-bred of the country.

people. Enamored while at home, with As regards diplomatic posts, the

the all the excesses of the wildest social country has been rather fortunate, since levelling, they are enamored as soon as the accession of Mr. Lincoln, in 1861, they are abroad, with all the excesses of when Mr. Motley was sent to Vienna, the most silly social pretensions. They Mr, Marsh to Italy, Mr. Adams to Lon- actually belittle, by their sneakish mandon, Mr. Dayton to Paris, and Mr. Joyners, the great country whose strength Morris to Constantinople. For other is the only bulwark of their position. places the selections were less felicitous, Instead of making European people feel and Mr. Motley has been ousted from how much grandeur there is in freedom, Vienna. Mr. Dayton is dead, and Mr. they cringe before persons of title and Dix is at present at his place; and, to rank, as if they were thankful even for make up for the temporary withdrawal being snubbed by a duke. of Motley, at Vienna, we have Mr. Ban Those who have a genuine regard for croft at Berlin, Dresden, and Munich, the genuine gentlemen and gentlewoWithin the last year Admiral Farragut men of America, cannot but feel sickhas, in reality, been the principal ened at the sight of these sycophants ; American representative at the Euro- and to think that some of these miserpean courts. It is surprising that naval able creatures are ministers, is positively commanders are not permanently in revolting. Fortunately, their number is vested, in times of peace, with foreign very limited; but if there is only one missions. They generally make an of them in the whole list of the United admirable impression abroad, and, as States ministers, he should be removed, has been shown by Commodore Perry, as if he were a felon. He really brings in Japan, succeed in the most delicate more discredit upon the American name missions when civilians generally fail. than a downright rascal. With the There is something upright and straight- exception of London, Paris, Berlin, forward in a sailor's bearing and address, Madrid, Florence, St. Petersburg, and which inspires confidence, and the very Constantinople, Brazil, China, Japan, magnetism of his simplicity acts as a Mexico, Chili, Peru, foreign missions are tacit rebuke toward those American altogether superfluous, and most of diplomatists who make themselves ri- them are more or less sinecures. diculous by attempting to mimic the The Minister to Holland might be worn-out style of diplomatic craft and also accredited to Belgium; the Minister mummery.

to Spain to Portugal; Sweden and NorSome of our foreign ministers are ex way to Denmark; and in South Amercessively sweet upon Congressional men ica, five missions might do all the work and women at Washington, and get up for which there are at present twenty for them sumptuous dinners, and try to missions. Mr. Patterson's report will make themselves all things to all men no doubt make appropriate suggestions and to all women. But, lo! no sooner for the greater retrenchment and effihave they caused to be inserted in the ciency of the diplomatic service. official gazette of the capital to which While we sent some of our best men they are accredited, that his excellency, abroad, as Everett, Motley, Bancroft, Mr. S-, or Mr. H-, has returned, from etc., foreign governments are still treathis leave of absence, to his post of duty, ing this country de haut en bas, by acat his palace in the Avenue des Snobs, crediting to Washington second and than a complete change takes place in third-rate diplomatists. While we send their attitude and deportment. They a first-class mission to England, Engcut everybody excepting the Duchess land sends only a second-class mission of Superfine, whose salons are to the United States, such as she would


not send to France or Russia, or even making ministers give more comprehenAustria. Napoleon sent the consul of sive reports of and take a more lively New York as minister to Washington, part in the resources of foreign counand then he sends a gentleman who had tries, and of their own country, the never been in any foreign mission, ex sinecures, and dining out, and gala elecepting, for a short time, in China, and ment which now pervade, more or less, whom he would not send to London or all foreign missions, might at last find to Berlin.

an invigorating, counteracting influence. No greater compliment can be paid The reforms to which we have pointby one nation to another, than by select- ed, all-important as they were at all ing a representative from the most illus- stages of our history, are particularly so trious citizens; and in this respect at the present time, when the Southern America is still treated gingerly by for- members return to Congress, and clamor eign powers, as if she still were a small for their share in offices, and when the English colony, instead of being the new cyclus of States clustering round most powerful nation of Christendom. the slope of the Pacific assert more and

We have no doubt there will be more more their supremacy in the control of discrimination in future in regard to the patronage upon what they call the deconfirmation of foreign ministers. By cayed old Atlantic States; just as some reserving foreign missions for the best of our Atlantic publicists speak of the cultured men of the country, and by effete old European countries.


All by the sides of the wide wild river

Surging sad through the sodden land,
There be the black reeds washing together-

Washing together in rain and sand;
Going, blowing, flowing together-

Rough are the winds, and the tide runs high-
Hush little babe in thy silken cradle-

Lull lull, lull lull, lull lullaby!
Father is riding home, little baby,

Riding home through the wind and rain ;
Flinty hoofs on the flag stems beating

Thrum like a flail on the golden grain.
All in the wild, wet reeds of the lowlands,

Dashed and plashed with the freezing foam-
There be the blood-red wings of the starlings

Shining to light him and lead him home.
Spurring hard o'er the grass-gray ridges-

Slacking rein in the low, wet land,
Where be the black reeds washing together-

Washing together in rain and sand.
Down of the yellow-throated creeper

Plumes of the wood-cock, green and black-
Boughs of salix, and combs of honey-

These be the gifts he is bearing back.
Yester morning four sweet ground-doves

Sung so gay to their nest in the wall-
Oh, by the moaning, and oh, by the droning,

The wild, wild water is over them all!
Come, oh, morning, come with thy roses,

Flame like a burning bush in the sky-
Husb, little babe, in thy silken cradle-

Lull lull, lull lull, lull lullaby!

« VorigeDoorgaan »