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tertaining and agreeable, as we have, will thank us for having called their attention to such works, at a time when good books are so much like angels' visits.
The Origin and Development of the Art of Pianoforte Manufacturing in
the United States. Pamphlet. New York: Wynkoop & Hallenbeck. We find many facts in this slender brochure that are well calculated to encourage young men and to interest all ages, and both sexes. Brief sketches are given of all who have taken a more or less active part, either as manufacturers or inventors, in the improvement of the piano in this country-including Alpheus Babcock, Conrad Meyer, Jonas Chickering, and the Steinways. In this, as well as in many other instances, the last in time is the first in rank! Every intelligent reader is familiar with the course pursued by Peter the Great of Russia when he resolved on making important reforms; it is well known that before he was recognised anywhere as “great,” he not only had visited the principal manufactories of France, England and Germany, but had worked as a mechanic at several of them. We learn from the pamphlet before us that the same judicious and shrewd plan was adopted by the Steinways.
"Henry Steinway, the father, and his four sons, Charles, Henry, William and Albert, on their arrival in the new world, most properly resolved first of all to study its habits and customs, and also to obtain a thorough knowledge of the American system of piano manufac. turing and doing business, and the points of difference with that of Europe. They justly realized the fact that the first requirements necessary for the carrying on of a successful manufacturing business in a new country, were a thorough knowledge of the language, the habits, tastes and requirements of the people. To effect this desideratum, although Mr. Henry Steinway had brought some capital with him from Germany, he, with his sons, worked in different New Yorie piano factories, and it was only after the lapse of nearly three years, that, in the spring of 1853, the father and his four sons commenced business for themselves."
Young men who study the subsequent history—up to the present time--of this family, may learn a useful lesson from it. Be it remembered that it is those who work with their own hands, or cause others to work, especially those who bring educated skill, art, or science to bear upon their labor, who add to the wealth of a country, or what is better, who improve its taste or contribute to its refinement.
The success of men of this class is creditable to the community that has enabled them to attain it; whereas in proportion as speculators succeed, they bring discredit on the community which is credulous enough to permit itself to be imposed upon by them. If we are wrong in this let us send our speculators to some of the great industrial exhibitions of the world and see whetber they will get gold medals, or even brass medals ! But, except under very peculiar circumstances, it will be found that i
this class want gold medals, bronze statues, &c., &c., they must have them manufactured at their own expense,
Many of our readers will be interested to know what is the peculiar character of the improvements which have obtained for the Steinways so many gold medals in all the principal capitals of Europe, and at the same time rendered American pianos so justly famous throughout the world. The chief secret of the melody which seems to charm every connoisseur in musical instruments, is referred to as follows in the pamphlet before us:
“* The introduction of a complete double iron framo-the front plate and back brace-frame connected with each other, and cast in one solid piece. One side of this double iron frame is left open, and into it the sounding-board is inserted, being received and sustained in its position by an apparatus consisting of a number of screws which press the outer edges of the sounding-board towards its centre. A clear, powerful, as well as unusually long and singing tone, of pure and sympathetic quality, combined with unexampled durability and capacity of standing in tune, are the important results obtained by this new invention."
There are few, if any, of our inusic-loving readers who cannot bear testimony to the wonderful effect of the tone thus produced by skillful hands, and we think there are none who know the Steinways, who would not heartily congratulate them on the eminent success they have attained, and the distinguished honors conferred on them.
1. Teddy's Dream; or, A Little Sucep's Mission. By Emma LESLIE. 2. The Little Peat Cutters; or, The Song of Lore. By Emma MARSHALL.
New York: Gen. Prot. Epis. S. S., Union, 1870. Probably none of our religious societies have done more good than this. It has had the advantage, so rare at the present day, of being managed for many years by really pious men, whose only ambition has been to fulfil their duties faithfully. This is true alike of the Rev. Mr. Harriman, and his successor, Mr. E. M. Duncan; and each has enjoyed the cordial sympathy and co-operation of the Rev. Dr. Carter, the enlightened and liberal editor of the Society's publications. The books published under the auspices of these gentlemen elicited the respect of all denominations.
But it seems that piety, morality and honesty are not the qualities that pay in the Episcopal Church to-ılay, for its chief society has got into a condition, somewhat similar to that of the Erie railroad, when it was taken charge of by James Fisk, Jr., and his worthy associates. We should wish that the similarity of circumstances had ended here;
but as Boston has sent us a disciple of Plutus for one purpose, so has she for the other. As the Erie has fallen into the hands of James Fisk, Jr., & Co., so has the Protestant Episcopal Sunday School Union fallen into the hands of Edward P. Dutton & Co.
It is true that Mr. Dutton used to dabble somewhat in pious books, in
Boston, years ago ; several books and pamphlets purporting to be of that character, and as the English-speaking French say—"vary mooch so ”—bear his imprint. But very few, if any, of them will bear examination. If we are not fully justified in this statement, let our readers judge when we remark that some years ago a married man with a grown family seduced and eloped with his neighbor's wife. The scandal created thereby was great, and not confined to one hemisphere; and nowhere did it create more excitement than in Boston, where the Lothario spent some time in jail.
But one of his first performances, after obtaining his liberty, was to write a book for Mr. Dutton on the Ceremonies of the Church, &c., purporting on the title-page, as well as in the advertisements, to be the work of " A Churchman." Every intelligent person is aware, that except it be otherwise expressly stated, the term churchman means clergyman, or ecclesiastic, which the manufacturer of Mr. Dutton's pious book never was; and no one knew the fact better than the publisher. It is not our intention to say one word in this notice against the compiler of the work alluded to, for he has suffered enough, and has always regretted his transgression, but if Dutton has ever repented of his transgressions, we are not aware of the fact. We could add some other facts illustrative of “free love” piety, but we bave no wish to do anything more than to show that it is not without reason, we think, that the Protestant Episcopal Sunday School Union has more to do just now with Plutus than with Christ.
As for the two little books whose titles are given at the head of this notice, they are, of course, vot only pious, but “very much so" (!)
Insurance Reports, (including sundry False Reports) and othor Documents.
Published in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, London, &c., during
the quarter ending December 20, 1869. The failure of some English insurance companies since our last issue bas caused an extraordinary excitement in this country. Nothing could be more illogical. It ill becomes us to boast of our superior enlightenment as a people, if we get frightened like children because few insurance failures take place in England ! Do failures of any kind taking place in this country frighten the Englislı, or even the most timid nation of Europe ?
Our readers will do us the justice to admit that we are not in the habit of boasting of our foresight. We have never made any pretension to the prophetic gift; but many a time, these ten years past, have we predicted just such catastrophes as those of the Albert Life. But when most earnest
in our warnings and most searching in our criticisms, have we never denied that insurance-life insurance especially—is one of the greatest blessings which modern civilization has developed. Nor would we alter this opinion if every English company failed to-morrow, whereas there is not the least danger that any well-managed, honest English company, having sufficient funds to carry on its business, will fail.
But assuming that insurance companies cannot succeed in England, does it follow from this that they cannot succeed in this country? Be it remembered that it is not alone in their laws the two countries differ in relation to insurance, although this difference, by itself, would be quite suffi. cient to account for the most striking contrast. Far be it from us to deny that the laws of England are, in general, wise and salutary. In no other country are life and property more efficiently protected. But it is notorious that the insurance laws of England form an exception : ro other English laws are so defective. There has been but little legislation on the subject at all in England, and this little is almost exclusively in favor of the companies. That is, extensive privileges are allowed to the companies, and scarcely any protection to the public against the abuse of those privileges. Long before the recent failures, it was well known that the companies as well as the public were injured by those partial and defective laws.
Now, why should all this excite, intimidate, or discourage us? We should have no more gloomy forebodings on account of it than if the society of licensed victualers, the guild of master tailors, or any of the various trades' unions of the United Kingdom, bad to dissolve because the members thereof neglected to pay their weekly or monthly subscriptions. Just as freely as we admit the general excellence of the laws of England, we admit that many of our own laws are exceedingly defective. Our divorce laws, for example, are more defective than those of any civilized country ; but no country has more excellent insurance laws than those of our principal States, especially New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Had the laws of England afforded the public such protection as those of the four States mentioned afford, it would have been impossible for the Albert and other companies like it to bave so long preyed vulturelike upon the public, and finally fallen a victim to its own voracity, for its very greediness betrayed it at last !
But there is another difference between the two countries whieh exercises a more powerful influence on insurance than even that of the laws. It will be admitted that business of any kind will flourish or decay in proportion to the demand or lack of demand for the advantages it offers. Now, there are many reasons why the benefits of life insurance should be more generally appreciated in this country than in England. In England there is a large privileged class—an hereditary aristocracy. It is this class who possess three-fourths of the wealth of the nation, and they possess it from generation to generation. In general this class need no in. surance ; many of them regard it as derogatory to them to take a policy.
Then, upon the other hand, it is only the intelligent portion, the unprivileged classes, who are capable of appreciating the benefits of insurance. This is universally admitted ; and is not the admission that the masses of our people are more intelligent than the English masses equally universal ? No Englishman whose opinion on the subject is of any value denies the fact. It is notorious that there are at least twenty Englishmen who can neither read nor write for every one American who is equally ignorant; and because insurance is undeniably lounded on scientific principles, even those whom it is calculated to serve most can appreciate it only in proportion to their intelligence.
If any deny this, let them turn to the continent of Europe for a fuller illustration, and they will find that precisely in proportion as the people are intelligent do they avail themselves of life insurance, and render insurance companies wealthy, solid, and reliable, and vice versa. Thus, for example, in no country are there more or better free schools than in Prussia ; in no country are the people more intelligent, and accordingly insurance flourishes more in Prussia than in any other country from the Straits of Gibralter to the White Sea. Again, if we inquire which are the least enli ghtened nations of Europe-in which does ignorance spread most widely its dark pall—we shall find that it is they that give least encouragement to insurance-that policies of insurance find as bad a market in them as books periodicals, or scientific instruments. If we confine ourselves to the news-1 papers, as a criterion—and those who dislike them most must admit tha they disseminate an immense amount of useful information-we shall find that for every one Turk or Russian who reads the papers, at least fifty Prussians or Frenchmen read them; and is it not equally true that for every one Turk or Russian who insures either his life or his property, at least fifty Prussians or Frenchmen take the precaution of having both life and property insured.
Why, then, should we get frightened because certain English companies fail? Those very failures should bave been expected. Our readers may remember that we had several times predicted them ; nor do we claim any particular credit for having done so. The occurrences alluded to, have, therefore, not altered our views in the slightest. Altogether independ ently of the differences we have pointed out, the English companies that have failed had the closest resemblance, in all essential points, to the American companies whose modus operandi we have so often denounced. The English companies which are like the American companies whose good works we bave pointed out from time to time as illustrative of the sterling benefits of insurance, have not failed, nor is there the least danger that they will fail. We have now before us a list of thirty-three English com panies that have failed; but there are at least twice the number of Amer can companies which may fuil any day; and far from their passing out the world being an injury to legitimate insurance, it would be a positive benefit. So many untimely deaths would doubtless cause a panic among