صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

of the trial? We have never heard any impartial, competent judge assert that he proved an efficient mayor. As chairman of the Committee of Seventy he, no doubt, did his best for reform; but, unfortunately, his best amounted to little. Such as it was, however, he seeks to be rewarded for it. Nobody supposes for a moment that he would have put himself forward as a candidate at this time had he not belonged to that committee. We do not reproach him for this; we merely remark, that to have been an indifferent mayor several years ago, and an indifferent chairman of a reform committee one year ago, or less, are not sufficient reasons to expect that he would prove anything more or better than an indifferent mayor, if elected now.

But he would be a Solon and a Lycurgus combined, if that were possible, compared to Andrew H. Green. No one who has given any intelligent attention to the course of Mr. Green as comptroller, can conscientiously say, either that he is an honest man, or that he means well.

The people of New York may justly be ranked among the most shortsighted and credulous of civilized communities if they cannot see, that all along, this man has been in collusion with his old friends, the worst members of the Ring. The opposition of Mayor Hall to his appointment by Connolly was merely designed to throw dust in the people's eyes. If Hall had not the perception himself to understand, from what he knew of Green, that nobody had anything to fear from him as a “reformer,” his friend Sweeny soon satisfied him on that point. “Why," says Sweeny, “Andy is just the man we want. True, he hasn't a particle of brains; but he will say, or, if necessary, swear, any. thing which the circumstances may require." This may seem unduly harsh on the part of Sweeny, but has not Green himself fully proved the justice of it? Who exerted himself niore zealously than “ Reformer” Green to defeat the Reform Charter? Who evinced a stronger disposition to bribe, as a lobbyist at Albany, all who would give him a hand to prolong his own power, and protect his old friends of the Ring?

Then, who has failed to observe his liberality to the Ring papers? His hostility to those that had attacked the Ring

man

has not been so apparent, though equally decided. Never, for example, have we heard any public man affect to despise and scorn the New York Times more than Green, even while that journal regarded and treated him as “an honest man.” For our own part, he could never forgive us for our attack on his friend Sweeny, as the head of the Ring. But we have never said that Green was an honest man, or that he was in any ner qualified for the position he holds. The city of New York owes us about $5,000, for advertisements inserted in our journal during a period of two years, on the authority of the heads of different departments. Those whose character remains unsullied have cheerfully given us this authority in writing. We have often been told that if we would only join in the chorus in regard to Green's “honesty," we should not be one week without the money, and that except we “do him justice,” we need never expect to get paid. Far be it from us to deny that a much smaller sum than the $5,000 we have honestly earned would be an object to us; but we should prefer to be without it forever rather than disgrace our pages by praising a man like Green. Accordingly, we place our claim in the hands of an eminent lawyer, and it remains to be seen whether the Ring is yet so powerful, with Green in collusion with Hall and Sweeny, as to prevent us from receiving what has remained due to us ever since the day upon which we—before all others—attacked the Ring, and were attacked by Mayor Hall in an extensive proclamation, at the expense of the cityhis Honor maintaining that his colleagues were all highminded, honorable men, and that, in attacking such, we could only have been actuated by the vilest motives! Until the day we attacked the ring-leader, no bills were paid more promptly than ours. It is true that all the hills we had furnished to the city government, during a period of twelve years, amounted to much less than our “reformer" has often paid to a Ring paper on the advertising bill of one week. Who has not seen in several papers such “notices” as the following: “The Hon. Andrew H. Green, our honest and able comptroller, delivered a neat speech yesterday,” etc.; “That little speech delivered by our excellent comptroller on Saturday was in the right vein," etc., etc? Then those who watched the proceedings of the Board of Audit for the next week were pretty sure to learn that the paper which spoke so handsomely had its claim of $20,000, $15,000, or at least $10,000, "allowed and ordered to be paid ” (!) This one is required to perpetrate a gross

falsehood before he can expect to be paid what is lawfully due to him; but if he will perpetrate the falsehood in a sufficiently barefaced manner, then, whether the money be lawfully, or morally, due or not, he has only to send his bill!

True, there is another means of making Green very gentle and very prompt. If an editor will not stultify himself by saying that a person who could not put three sentences of correct English together if his life were depending on the effort can deliver a “neat speech,” let him call on Green, with an indignant air, tell him plainly that he has lied to him on sundry occasions, and that he is no gentleman; let him finally hint, however darkly or vaguely, at pistols for two, then he may calculate pretty safely that his claim will not remain long unpaid !

Those who do not know Green may well regard this as incredible, but we can bear ocular testimony to at least one illustration of it. We shall never forget a scene we witnessed at the comptroller's office one day we went to speak about our claim. In a certain corner we saw a group of bright, intelligent faces. Seeming to us a little ominous—for there was a general feeling of indignation, but ill concealed by several—we inquired of one of the clerks who the parties were, and were informed that they were a deputation of editors waiting to see Comptroller Green. After some time, that worthy functionary made his appearance, and his worst enemy could hardly wish to see him in a more pitiable, or more ridiculous plight. One after another, about a dozen addressed him, while his countenance and whole bearing were like those of an old lady whose premises had been suddenly invaded by an ox reputed in the neighborhood to belong to “the dangerous class.” Poor Green really shook like an aspen leaf, but his fright did not reach its climax until he was addressed by a little man with a wooden leg, but a fiery eye, and voluble, epigrammatic tongue. Without being at all excited, the editor on one leg told Mr. Green, in the plainest terms, but without using any ungentlemanly language-if such can be said to be possible in such a casethat while he squandered the city money on certain editors who praised him, honest, independent editors who would not pander to his vanity had nothing to expect from him but false promises! He mentioned one editor-a veteran, who was absent—as an illustration, adding that no gentleman would have treated him as Green did.

The “speech” made by our comptroller in reply to all this, reminded us of no orators more forcibly than of the negro minstrels in their burlesques; especially that part of it in which the worthy “reformer” humbly begged pardon for the alleged insult he had given, and promised that the claims of the editorial deputation should receive early attention. For once in his life Green kept his word, for at the very next meeting of the Board of Audit the claim of the little man with the wooden leg, amounting to some $9,000, was “allowed and ordered to be paid !"

Our poet, who is as familiar with the character of Green as we are ourselves, happening to have witnessed with us the above scene, penned some lines on reading the righteous decision of the Board of Audit. As some of our readers may be curious to know whether those lines contain more truth than poetry, we transcribe an extract at the bottom of the page, only premising that it seems to us the element of truth largely predominates. *

* MONODY:
Inscribed to ANDREW H. GREEN, Reformer, Truth-teller, etc., etc.

By the Poet of the National Quarterly Revier.
Nor thief, nor Thug is Andy Green, Our Andy Green can make a speech
But a

reformer" true I ween! As fine as any owl can screech; One of that lib'ral, gen'rous stuff And with as much contempt of gramThat pays ten thousand for a puff ! And, what is still more strange and As parrot, goose, or yellowhammer! funny,

He's an accomplish'd lobbyman, Without a puff he'll pay no money! Oakey's best chum at cat in panUnless invited out to shoot,

As ready as any of his tribe Or threaten'd with an angry boot. To give or take a little bribe ; Though threat'ner, then, have but Or with our legislators barter one leg,

'Gainst any honest bill or charter! His pardon he will humbly beg!

mar

Be this as it may, several of the Ring papers praised the comptroller's “speech," and bestowed particular admiration on its “ dignity and manliness”(!) True, other papers, including the Herald as well as the Times, thought the performance alluded to was rather destitute of those qualities. But the best thing we have seen in relation to the editorial deputation and its result is from a Teutonic source. Happening to take up one of our German papers a few mornings after the great “ reformer" had behaved in so handsome a manner, we found an account of the affair, the spirit of which may be sufficiently inferred from the fact that it closed with an extract from a well-known German poem, entitled Des Esels Trost (The Ass’s Consolation). We subjoin here the same passage, and, for the benefit of those unacquainted with the German, we give an almost literal translation at the bottom of the

page:

“Hab' Nichts, mich dran zu freuen,

Bin dumm und ungestalt,
Ohne Muth und ohne Gewalt;
Mein spotten und mich scheuen
Die Menschen jung und alt;
Bin weder warm noch kalt!

Ach die Natur schuf mich im Grimme,
Sie gab mir nichts—als eine schöne Stimme !” *

We feel it all the more incumbent on us to do this, because Mr. Green boasts that the admiration of our German fellowcitizens for his incorruptible honesty, his statesmanlike abilities, his profound knowledge of political economy, etc., is boundless. Leaving our readers to judge how well, or how ill, these qualities are represented in the above lines, and how appropriate or inappropriate is the illustration used by our Ger

[blocks in formation]
« السابقةمتابعة »