« AnteriorContinuar »
tain limits this system has made good.vantages merely by legal intrenchments. Americans have been more than usually It depends quite as much upon disqualifyprosperous. They have been more than ing the “lower classes” from utilizing usually free. They have, on the whole, their opportunities by a species of social made their freedom and prosperity con- inhibition. The rail-splitter can be so tribute to a higher level of individual and easily encouraged to believe that railsocial excellence. Most assuredly the splitting is his vocation. The tragedy in average Americanized American is neither the life of Mr.J.M.Barrie's “The Admira more intelligent, a wiser, nor a better able Crichton" was not due to any legal man than the average European; but he is prohibition of his conversion in England, likely to be a more energetic and hopeful as on the tropic island, into a veritable one.
Out of a million well-established chief, but that on English soil he did not Americans, taken indiscriminately from in his own soul want any such elevation all occupations and conditions, compared and distinction. His very loyalty to the to a corresponding assortment of Euro- forms and fabric of English life kept him peans, a larger proportion of the former fatuously content with the mean truckwill be leading alert, active, and useful ling and meaner domineering of his posilives. Within a given social area there tion of butler. On the other hand, the will be a smaller amount of social wreck- | loyalty of an American to the American age and a larger amount of wholesome idea would tend to make him aggressive and profitable achievement. The mass of and self-confident. Our democratic prothe American people is, on the whole, hibition of any but occasional social dismore deeply stirred, more thoroughly | tinctions and our democratic dislike to awake, more assertive in their personal any suggestion of authentic social indemands, and more confident of satisfy-feriority have contributed as essentially to ing them. In a word, they are the fluid and elastic substance of Ameralive, and they must be credited with the ican life as have its abundant and accessimoral and social benefit attaching to a ble economic opportunities. larger amount of vitality.
The increased momentum of American Furthermore, this greater individual life, both in its particles and its mass, unvitality, although intimately connected questionably has a considerable moral and with the superior agricultural and indus- social value. It is the beginning, the only trial opportunities of a new country, has possible beginning, of a better life for the not been due exclusively to such advan- people as individuals and for society. tages. Undoubtedly the vast areas of So long as the great majority of the poor cheap and fertile land which have been in any country are inert and are laboring continuously available for settlement without any hope of substantial rewards have contributed, not only to the abun- in this world, the whole associated life of dance of American prosperity, but also to that community rests on an equivocal the formation of American character and foundation. Its moral and social order is institutions; and undoubtedly many of tied to an economic system which starves the economic and political evils which are and mutilates the great majority of the now becoming offensively obtrusive are population, and under such conditions its directly or indirectly derived from the religion necessarily becomes a spiritual gradual monopolization of certain im- drug, administered for the purpose of portant economic opportunities. Never- subduing the popular discontent and retheless, these opportunities could never lieving the popular misery. The only have been converted so quickly into sub- way the associated life of such a comstantial benefits had it not been for our munity can be radically improved is by more democratic political and social the leavening of the inert popular mass. forms. A privileged class does not se- Their wants must be satisfied and incure itself in the enjoyment of its ad- creased with the habit of satisfaction. During the past hundred years every is all so gently graded, and marked by tranEuropean state has made a great stride
sitions so easy and natural, that no gap was in the direction of arousing its poorer citi
anywhere to be discovered on which to found
an order of privilege or caste. Now an equalzens to be more wholesomely active, dis- ity like this, with the erectness, independence, contented, and expectant; but our own energy and initiative it brings with it, in men, country has succeeded in traveling far- sprung from the loins of an imperial race is ther in this direction than has any other,
a possession, not for a nation only, but for
civilization itself and for humanity. It is the and it may well be proud of its achieve
distinct raising of the entire body of a people ment. That the American political and to a higher level, and so brings civilization a economic system has accomplished so stage nearer its goal. It is the first successful much on behalf of the ordinary man does
attempt in recorded history to get a healthy,
natural equality which should reach down to constitute the fairer hope that men have
the foundations of the state and to the great been justified in entertaining of a better
masses of men; and in its results corresponds worldly order; and any higher social to what in other lands (excepting, perhaps, in achievement, which America may here
luxury alone) has been attained only by the after reach, must depend upon an im
few-the successful and the ruling spirits. To
lose it, therefore, to barter it or give it away, proved perpetuation of this process. The
would be in the language of Othello "such mass of mankind must be aroused to still deep damnation that nothing else could greater activity by a still more abundant match," and would be an irreparable loss to satisfaction of their needs, and by a conse
the world and to civilization. quent increase of their aggressive dis
Surely no nation can ask for a higher content. The most discriminating appreciation,
and more generous tribute than that
which Mr. Crozier renders to America which I have ever read, of the social value
in the foregoing quotation, and its value of American national achievement has
is increased by the source from which it been written by Mr. John B. Crozier;
It is written by a man who, as a and the importance of the matter is such
Canadian, has had the opportunity of that it will be well to quote it at length. knowing American life well without beSays Mr. Crozier in his chapter on "Re
ing biased in its favor, and who, as the construction in America," in the third
historian of the intellectual development volume of his "History of Intellectual
of our race, has made an exhaustive study Development":
of the civilizations both of the ancient
and the modern worlds. Nothing can There [in America) a natural equality of
be soberly added to it on behalf of sentiment, springing out of and resting on a broad equality of material and social condi
American national achievement, but neitions, has been the heritage of the people from
ther should it be diminished by any imthe earliest time.
This broad natural
portant idea and phrase. The American equality of sentiment, rooted in equal material
economic, political, and social organizaopportunities, equal education, equal laws, equal opportunities, and equal access to all
tion has given to its citizens the benefits positions of honor and trust, has just sufficient of material prosperity, political liberty, inequality mixed with it-in the shape of and a wholesome natural equality; and greater or less mental endowments, higher or
this achievement is a gain, not only to lower degrees of culture, larger or smaller material possessions, and so on-to keep it
Americans, but to the world and to sweet and human; while at the same time it
John GalsWORTHY John Galsworthy (1867- ) is famous among English writers for plays and novels subtly analyzing the upper and middle classes of English society and revealing the conditions which largely determine them. Of his novels The Patrician, dealing with class distinctions and conventions, and The Man of Property, studying the passion for possession in the Forsyte family, are best known. Strife, a powerful account of the evil and futility of a strike and Justice, an indictment of the English legal system, are two of his finest plays. "Evolution" (1910) is a characteristic essay in its treatment of a changing phase of society and is typical of the exposition which combines the informality of the essay with the narrative interest of fiction.
COMING out of the theater, we found it herent flesh, among which the eyes were utterly impossible to get a taxicab; and, sunk back so far that they had lost their though it was raining slightly, walked lustre. He sat quite motionless, gazing through Leicester Square in the hope of at the tail of his horse. And, almost picking one up as it returned down Pic- unconsciously, one added the rest of one's cadilly. Numbers of hansoms and four- silver to that half-crown. He took the wheelers passed, or stood by the curb, coins without speaking; but, as we were hailing us feebly, or not even attempting turning into the garden gate, we heard to attract our attention, but every taxi seemed to have its load. At Piccadilly "Thank you; you've saved my life.” Circus, losing patience, we beckoned to a Not knowing, either of us, what to four-wheeler and resigned ourselves to a reply to such a curious speech, we closed long, slow journey. A sou'-westerly air the gate again and came back to the cab. blew through the open windows, and "Are things so very bad ?” there was in it the scent of change, that "They are," replied the cabman. “It's wet scent which visits even the hearts of done with—is this job. We're not towns and inspires the watcher of their wanted now.” And, taking up his whip, myriad activities with thought of the rest- he prepared to drive away. less Force that forever cries: “On, on!” “How long have they been as bad as But gradually the steady patter of the this?” horse's hoofs, the rattling of the windows, The cabman dropped his hand again, as the slow thudding of the wheels, pressed though glad to rest it, and answered inon us so drowsily that when, at last, we coherently: reached home we were more than half “Thirty-five year I've been drivin' a asleep. The fare was two shillings, and, cab.” standing in the lamplight to make sure the And, sunk again in the contemplation coin was a half-crown before handing it to of his horse's tail, he could only be roused the driver, we happened to look up. This by many questions to express himself, cabman appeared to be a man of about having, as it seemed, no knowledge of the sixty, with a long thin face, whose chin habit. and drooping gray mustaches seemed in "I don't blame the taxis, I don't blame permanent repose on the up-turned col- nobody. It's come on us, that's what it lar of his old blue overcoat. But the re- has. I left the wife this morning with markable features of his face were the nothing in the house. She was saying to two furrows down his cheeks, so deep and me only yesterday: 'What have you hollow that it seemed as though that face brought home the last four months ?' were a collection of bones without co- 'Put it at six shillings a week, I said. "You are really going short of food ?" fest sympathy with this extinction, we ap
'No,' she said, 'seven. Well, that's i From The Inn of Tranquility, copyright, 1912, by Charles Scribner's Sons."By permisa right-she enters it all down in her sion of the publishers.
The cabman smiled; and that smile be- proached the horse. It was a horse that tween those two deep hollows was surely "stood over" a good deal at the knee, and as strange as ever shone on a human in the darkness seemed to have innumerface.
able ribs. And suddenly one of us said: "You may say that,” he said. "Well, “Many people want to see nothing but what does it amount to? Before I picked taxis on the streets, if only for the sake you up, I had one eighteenpenny fare to- of the horses.” day; and yesterday I took five shillings. The cabman nodded. And I've got seven bob a day to pay for "This old fellow," he said, "never carthe cab, and that's low, too. There's ried a deal of flesh. His grub don't put many and many a proprietor that's broke spirit into him nowadays; it's not up to and gone-every bit as bad as us. They let much in quality, but he gets enough of us down as easy as ever they can; you can't it.” get blood from a stone, can you ?” Once "And you don't?" again he smiled. “I'm sorry for them, The cabman again took up his whip. too, and I'm sorry for the horses, though “I don't suppose,” he said without they come out the best of the three of us, emotion, "any one could ever find anI do believe.”
other job for me now. I've been at this One of us muttered something about too long. It'll be the workhouse, if it's the Public.
not the other thing." The cabman turned his face and stared And hearing us mutter that it seemed down through the darkness.
cruel, he smiled for the third time. “The Public?” he said, and his voice "Yes," he said slowly, "it's a bit 'ard had in it a faint surprise. "Well, they on us, because we've done nothing to deall want the taxis. It's natural. They serve it. But things are like that, so far get about faster in them, and time's as I can see. One thing comes pushin' money. I was seven hours before I out another, and so you go on. I've picked you up. And then you was look- | thought about it-you get to thinkin' and in' for a taxi. Them as take us because worryin' about the rights o' things, sitthey can't get better, they're not in a tin' up here all day. No, I don't see good temper, as a rule. And there's anything for it. It'll soon be the end of few old ladies that's frightened of the us now-can't last much longer. And I motors, but old ladies aren't never very don't know that I'll be sorry to have done free with their money-can't afford to be, with it. It's pretty well broke my the most of them, I expect.”
spirit.” “Everybody's sorry for you; one would "There was a fund got up." have thought that
"Yes, it helped a few of us to learn the He interrupted quietly: "Sorrow don't motor-drivin'; but what's the good of that buy bread.
I never had nobody to me, at my time of life? Sixty, that's ask about things before.” And, my age; I'm not the only one-there's slowly moving his long face from side to hundreds like me. We're not fit for it, side, he added: “Besides, what could that's the fact; we haven't got the nerve people do? They can't be expected to
It'd want a mint of money to help support you; and if they started askin' us. And what you say's the truth peoyou questions they'd feel it very awkward.ple want to see the end of us. They They know that, I suspect. Of course, want the taxis—our day's over.
I'm not there's such a lot of us: the hansoms are complaining; you asked me about it yourpretty nigh as bad off as we are. Well, self.” we're gettin' fewer every day, that's one And for the third time he raised his thing.'
whip. Not knowing whether or no to mani- "Tell me what you would have done
if you had been given your fare and just And this time, with a “Thank you, sixpence over?”
kindly!” he touched his horse's flank with The cabman stared downward, as the whip. Like a thing aroused from though puzzled by that question.
sleep the forgotten creature started and “Done? Why, nothing. What could began to draw the cabman away from us. I have done?”
Very slowly they traveled down the road “But you said that it had saved your among the shadows of the trees broken by life.”
lamplight. Above us, white ships of "Yes, I said that," he answered cloud were sailing rapidly across the slowly; "I was feelin' a bit low. You dark river of sky on the wind which can't help it sometimes; it's the thing smelled of change. And, after the comin' on you, and no way out of it- cab was lost to sight, that wind still that's what gets over you.
We try not to brought to us the dying sound of the slow think about it, as a rule.”
Wu Tingfang (1842-1922), a former Chinese ambassador to the United States, is the author of America through the Spectacles of an Oriental Diplomat (1914), from which "American Manners" is taken. He was one of the leaders in the progressive movement in China, and up to the time of his death had been connected with the South China Government. Doctor Wu was a man of most likable personality and was very popular with his associates. Because of his acquaintance with America he has been able to do more than describe American manners; he has made a real effort to explain them,
Much has been written and more said heard that any diplomats have, on this acabout American manners, or rather the count, objected to being sent to China. American lack of manners. Americans We Chinese are therefore in the same have frequently been criticized for their boat as the Americans. In regard to bad breeding, and many sarcastic refer- manners neither of us find much favor ences to American deportment have been with foreigners, though for diametrically made in my presence. I have even been opposite reasons: the Americans are actold, I do not know how true it is, that cused of observing too few formalities, European diplomats dislike being sta- and we of being too formal. tioned in America, because of their aver- The Americans are direct and straightsion to the American way of doing forward. They will tell you to your things.
face that they like you, and occasionally Much, too, has been written and said they also have very little hesitation in tellabout Chinese manners, not only by for- | ing you that they do not like you. They eigners, but also by Chinese. One of the say frankly just what they think. It is classics, which our youth have to know immaterial to them that their remarks are by heart, is practically devoted entirely personal, complimentary or otherwise. I to manners. There has also been much have had members of my own family adverse criticism of our manners or our complimented on their good looks as if excess of manners, though I have never they were children. In this respect
Americans differ greatly from the Eng1Chap. 8 of America through the Specta- lish. The English adhere with meticucles of an Oriental Diplomat by Wu Ting- lous care to the rule of avoiding everyfang. Reprinted by permission of the pub- thing personal. They are very much lishers, Frederick A. Stokes Co., and Mr. Paul R. Reynolds, Dr. Wu Tingfang's Amer
afraid of rudeness on the one hand, and ican agent.
of insincerity or flattery on the other.