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dead, an unknown man." How trite the phrase!
And yet God knows what volumes may be said
Of bitter suffering or of crime's dark ways,
In that one
short epitome—"Found dead!"
When haggard poverty from famine flies
To seek for labor, or to beg for bread,
And in the streets from cold and hunger dies,
Its only epitaph is this—"Found dead!"
Grim murder gripes his victim in the night—
A quick, fierce struggle, desperate and dread—
A quivering soul shrieks out in sudden flight,
Yet all is summed up in two words—"Found dead!"
The wretched suicide, whose broken heart
Its final hope and vital blood has shed
Privation—maddened love—dishonor's smart—
'Tis briefly told—"An unknown man found dead."
"Found dead!" What hopes are blighted—what
What's lost or gained when human life has fled
Who knows or cares? The selfish world goes round:
'Tis but another "unknown man found dead."
O ye whose thoughtless ease brooks not to scan
Death save with loving friends around your bed,
Seek out and aid your unknown fellow-man,
Lest ye to God be "unknown" when "found dead!"
SATURDAY, JANUARY 23,
"Christmas is here!
Winds whistle shrill,
Icy and chill,
Little care we;
The Mahogany Tree.
"Evenings we knew
Happy as this;
Faces we miss
Pleasant to see.
Kind hearts and true,
Gentle and just,
Peace to your dust!
We sing round the tree."
WHILE those who knew and loved him were singing this Christmas carol of
Thackeray's, the kind heart and true that first sang the song was lying stilled
forever. He has taught us how to speak of him, not only by the simple, tender
appreciation with which he spoke of the dead, but by the many works in which his
shrewd insight, kind heart, nimble wit, and consuming satire, held the mirror up
to nature, and pleaded for humanity and truth. He was a man of heroic simplicity
and candor, with the profoundest hate of all kinds of hypocrisy—a hate which
became indignation from his consciousness that neither he nor any man could
entirely escape the influence of the social atmosphere he was compelled to
breathe. "It is in the air, gentlemen," he always seems to say; "we all have the
disease more or less. I have no doubt that I should be very glad to be seen
walking down Pall Mall with a duke on each arm. It was this impatience of
falsity which the more that it was gilded was the more repulsive to him, because
more dangerous, that made him often blunt, rough, stern in his manners, although
he lived in the most courtly circles. He ranged through British clubs and
drawing-rooms, a Bersekir in the
mask of Mephistopheles, refusing to accept amiability for fidelity, or
politeness for humanity. He was called a cynic by the snobs, and a snob by the
cynics. He was in reality a great moralist, preaching trenchant sermons from the
most familiar texts; honoring love and truth, full of pity and charity and
wisdom; finding the noblest men and women under all conditions, and not afraid
to describe the weaknesses and faults of either.
As a pure novelist, or delineator of manners, he is not surpassed. He constantly
reproduced certain types of character within the same range of society; but with
such incisive skill and completeness of portraiture that they take permanent
place among the creations of human genius. He chose deliberately the profession
of literature, worked steadily and faithfully in it; honored its illustrious
chiefs, and won and wore its laurels. But to him it was a noble profession; and
his task in it, at which he labored until the hand that held the pen fell
forever, was to make men better by
every kind of stern, sweet, witty, wise, sarcastic, or humorous
representation of the life and character he saw around him. When Miss Bronte
dedicated to him the second edition of "Jane Eyre," she did so in the strongest
and most unqualified words of praise; but they express the final and mature
verdict upon the character and power of his genius. Not the least of his charms
as an author is the sweet, sinewy English of his style, which is nervous,
transparent, picturesque, and exquisite.
The death of every great story-teller .is
like a personal loss to the world; but the American friends of Thackeray who
personally knew him
were not aware how
him until they saw that he was dead. It seems as
if there were less life in the world now he is gone.
He enjoyed so fully; his great, blithe nature came ringing out in song and jest
in genial festive hours so exuberantly, yet so tenderly still, that
feasts will always be less festal hereafter to
the guests who sat with him. His social sympathy, his love of children,
his univeral charity, and his
constant allusions to the delightful season, especially associated him with
Christmas, and he died, a month ago, on the day before it came. Farewell, great,
generous soul, kindly teacher, faithful friend, wise, humble, honest man! How
sadly and solemnly and fitly now sound your own Christmas words!
"My song save this has little worth;
I lay the weary pen aside,
And wish you health, and love, and mirth,
As fits the solemn Christmas tide.
As fits the holy Christmas birth,
Be this, good friends, our carol still:
Be peace on earth, be peace on earth
To men of gentle will."
THE GOVERNOR'S MESSAGE.
Message has been
thoroughly discussed; but, as its main purpose is to express in the most
plausible way all the bitter hostility of extreme partisans throughout the
country toward the Administration, it is worth considering. If it were possible
to forget that Mr. Seymour early declared against the war, and charged its
responsibility upon the loyal men of the Free States; that he expressed his
willingness to see the Union perish rather than slavery; that he insisted, while
the rebels had their hands at our throats, that we should offer them the olive
branch; if it could be forgotten that in every way, under pretext of saving the
rights and dignity of the State, he has endeavored to embarrass the National
Government, always in smooth phrases fiercely denouncing it, while treating the
rebellion as the work of honorable men goaded into violence; if it were possible
not to remember that he was
the warm advocate of Thomas Seymour for Governor
of Connecticut, and of Vallandigham for
Governor of Ohio, and that of all bitter partisans,
under the thinnest veil of candor, Horatio Seymour is the chief—it might also be
believe that his criticisms of national affairs are
friendly to the country and to the Union, and that he sincerely prefers
patriotism to party. But with his record it is simply impossible. His
official messages are as unscrupulous party manifestoes
as the speeches of Vallandigham or Wood. And there is probably no heartily loyal
Union man in the country who does not consider Mr. Seymour just as true a
patriot as Mr. Vallandigham, and just as fervent a Unionist as Mr. Wood.
The Governor undertakes to argue the cause
of the soldiers against the Government, declaring
safety of our country demands that the
sympathy between our citizens and our soldiers should be kept alive."
There is no doubt of it. But, as the soldiers
are our citizens, the Governor need not be alarmed. Does he think it a
promising way of maintaining that sympathy to sow entire distrust of the
Government in the minds of the soldiers?
"The army must not be
estranged from our people," he repeats. Very true. Does he think it
prevents estrangement to stand in the Academy of Music, while that army is
fighting and falling, and "twit" it with the victories it has not won? "We were
Vicksburg for the
4th of July," sneered the Governor to
the "citizens" on that day. The army gave it to us while he was sneering.
It gave us
Gettysburg also. And when, with the
tears of a whole people, that field of heroic death was consecrated as
holy national ground, one of the chief newspapers in the interest of Governor
Seymour calls the ceremony "a
grand national wake." Is this the way to prevent estrangement? So also
when it is proposed that the citizen fighting in the field as a soldier for
his country shall not be disfranchised, Governor Seymour says that he
shall, and interposes his veto. This is his method of keeping alive sympathy
between our citizens and our soldiers. If there is any man in the country who
has done his little all to estrange the citizen in the field and the citizen at
home, it is the author of this Message. We beg every soldier to watch the
Governor's action when a bill is again presented to him empowering the
soldiers to vote.
In the next place, the Governor also undertakes his own defense in the matter of
the July riots. He quotes his proclamation to the people
of New York, and celebrates his vigorous efforts to preserve the peace.
The whole question lies in a nutshell. Governor Seymour had done his full share
in inciting the riots by his speeches; by his vehement denunciation of the
Government and the draft; by his appeals to the bitter prejudice against colored
citizens; and by his open menace that the national authorities must
beware, for a mob could use pretenses as well as a Government. The riot
began. Its pretext was opposition to the draft. Mayor Opdyke
tells us that the vigorous policy agreed upon before the Governor came
was not superseded by him because of the unanimity of the civil and military
authorities of the city. But the Governor did all he could, short of refusing to
do any thing, to supersede that policy. He deliberately
told the rioters that he had asked the suspension of the law, which they made
the pretext of their bloody crimes. Of course he had. It was his plan of
treating the rebellion in the South: to excuse it, and do what it commands.
The July riots should never be mentioned by the Governor or his friends.
The rest of the Message is an assertion that the policy of the war, which the
Governor concedes that the people
have approved, is national ruin. The only hope for the country, in his
estimation, is returning to the original policy of the war. The reply to this is
very simple; and it is that there has been but one policy in the war from the
beginning, namely, to restore the authority of the Government, and consequently
to overcome every obstacle to that restoration. He quotes the resolution of
July, 1861, that the war is not waged to subjugate people or to overthrow
institutions. No, and it never has been. Neither has it been waged to take a
single life, or destroy a single dollar's worth of property.
Yet thousands of lives, millions of dollars' worth of property, and at
last Slavery, have fallen and are falling in the process of maintaining the
Constitution and restoring the Union. Slavery is destroyed, precisely as
supplies, and cities, and lives are,
in obedience to military necessity. That a partisan politician chooses to
misrepresent the fact does not alter the truth. That he chooses to say that the
Union is lost, civil liberty destroyed, and the nation ruined, because the
American people, in saving their nationality,
overthrow by the way the system of human slavery
which has always threatened their existence, and now seeks to destroy it,
is but another of the melancholy
proofs with which History teems, that the extremest public peril will not
extinguish party malignity.
THE POLICE REPORT.
the messages and reports with which
the year opens the most simple, direct, and lucid
is that of the Metropolitan Police Commission. It should be carefully read and
pondered by every
citizen as the record of the most diligent and
faithful public service, and, in itself, the ample justification of a system
which gives a peace and security to the great city hitherto unknown.
It appears that the population of the whole
district subject to the care of the Commission is about 1,000,000 in the
city of New York and 350,000 in Brooklyn. The authorized number of patrolmen in
the former city is 1800; in the latter, 200. This gives to New York one
patrolman to every 527 inhabitants; to Brooklyn, one for every 1620. This
proportion the report justly
represents as injurious, because Brooklyn covers nearly as large a
territory as New York, which has nine times as many patrolmen. It recommends
that the number in Brooklyn be increased to 500.
In the regular course of their duty the patrolmen
pass over every portion of the graded streets of the city every hour of
the day and night, and without
serious increase of labor they could perform the duties of health
wardens, sanitary inspectors, and inspectors of weights and measures. All the
work of the City Inspector's Department the police force could do without
increase of numbers or pay. In view of Mayor Gunther's statement that the
present expenses of the city are larger in proportion than those
of any city in the world, this is a very significant suggestion.
The report wisely recommends the establishment of a Morgue, or dead-house, for
the identification of bodies found drowned. It also suggests
that as auctioneers are public officers, and as the plan of making
mock-auctioneers refund their robberies has proved to be futile, the conviction
of fraud should operate per se as a revocation of license. The law of 1862
having failed to abate the nuisance of concert saloons—dens of drunkenness and
prostitution—the report declares
them likely to increase in numbers until the Legislature shall authorize
a thorough prosecution in every case. It also recommends that, as thieves and
burglars are generally but the
servants of receivers of stolen goods, the system of rewards by which the
banks have so successfully suppressed counterfeiting shall be adopted, and the
Board be authorized to allow rewards not more than $200 for the conviction of
receivers of stolen goods. The ease of truant children, growing up in the
practice of every crime, should be met, as far as possible, by a truant school.
The report sums up the operations of the Sanitary Company of the Police, under
Captain Lord, the object of which is to keep the city clean, and so to prevent
disease. 20,942 cases of nuisance have been abated during the year, of which 584
were dangerous. The law should be amended so as to provide collecting the
expense of cleaning his premises from the owner when he refuses or neglects to
The successful use of steam fire-engines requires a new organization of the Fire
Department. The members should be paid for their
services or released from duty, for the voluntary system is unjust,
oppressive, and not always trust-worthy. The members are brave and daring, and
were formerly exempted from militia service, but as that has ceased the public
has no right to demand or enjoy their service without
reward. Only a small skilled force is now required, and it is but just that the
Insurance Companies should help bear the burden of supporting a department which
is mainly useful to them.
The experience of the July riots has shown
the value of a large and trusty police force armed and drilled as a
military command, to be used, as an armed force only, under the same
circumstances that now authorize the calling out of the militia. A fourth of the
police could be so organized at small cost, and often save the expensive measure
of summoning the militia.
Finally, in a few calm, moderate, and perfectly truthful words the report
depicts the circumstances of the July riots. They had a political motive and
direction. They received sympathy and encouragement from influential partisans
and papers. The militia were absent. The Police Board had been threatened with
summary removal. Many of the force desired
the removal, and there were some instances of insubordination. A large
part of the force were of the same nationality and of the same political and
religious faith as the rioters. There was therefore fear of failure in united
action, or of embarrassment from sympathy with the mob. But the apprehension
proved to be entirely groundless. The force acted as a unit, with the utmost
heroism and success. Neither political, religious, nor national feeling injured
their efficiency. Eighty were wounded in the terrible conflict, but three only
Could any statement be simpler, truer, or more manly? Could faithful officers
make any other report of facts which are historical and known to all men? Could
any thing be juster or more complimentary to the members of the
police force? The Commissioners may well say of a system which has
produced these results: "The marked fidelity, vigilance, and efficiency of the
Police in ordinary occasions is the legitimate fruit of the system. Instead of
fearing or despising the Policeman,
the public have learned to trust him as the defender and protector of
social order. The Policeman's labors, risks, and deprivations are great—he earns
and deserves not only public respect but just compensation; and the only reason
that, with the enhanced rates of living, increased pay is not recommended, is
the hope that there may soon be a return to the former scale of prices, and that
the injustice of small pay to the Policeman may not be of long duration."
It is hard to believe that the report of which we have given a faithful abstract
was made the excuse for the removal of the Police Commissioners. If every
officer in the State were as faithful to their duty, as loyal to the nation, as
firm, unhesitating, and heroic as the Metropolitan Police, from the
Commissioners to every patrolman engaged during the terrible July days proved
themselves to be, it would be well for the State and an imperishable honor to
RESOLUTIONS OF RESPECT.
Archbishop Hughes was a man of irreproachable character and of
acknowledged ability, who had justly earned the highest honors of his
profession, and was greatly beloved by the people of his Church. But he was in
no other sense a public man than every bishop of every Church and every able and
worthy clergyman is. By its resolutions of respect to his memory, passed under
the pressure of the previous question, the New York Legislature has
established the agreeable precedent of observing with respectful mention
the death of all good and eminent citizens. We do not remember that the late
Bishop Wainwright's decease was so observed; but unquestionably that of all
other distinguished clergymen and men of other professions will be. And if they
are passed as these were, by force of the previous question,
they will have exactly the same weight as these. The object of the
introduction of such resolutions would seem to be to allow opportunity for the
expression of respect and admiration from various minds. But the previous
question summarily ends debate, and also, as it seems to us, the intended
Mr. Lyon said that he supported the resolutions because of the distinguished
services rendered the country by the Prelate. But as he did not mention what
they were, and as Archbishop Hughes conspicuously confined himself to his
ecclesiastical duties, the public services must be left to conjecture. If Mr.
Lyon referred to the Archbishop's visit to Europe, it is for Mr. Lyon to show
what public service he did there.
Certainly we do not cavil at any respect shown
to the memory of good men. But of the seventy-six members who carried the
resolutions, under the previous question, against fourteen, we should like to
ask whether they voted for them because of the Archbishop's virtues as a
man or eminence as a citizen, or because he was
an Irishman and the head of the Romish Church in this State; and whether they
mean to honor all virtuous New Yorkers in the same way? for the ecclesiastical
Mr. Douglas truly said, has nothing to do with the State.
Good men, distinguished clergymen, able lawyers, skillful physicians, and men
noted in every sphere, are constantly departing from us; but we submit that only
citizens who have conspicuously (Next