صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

attempting to cast any obstacles in the way of those who evince any aptitude for the vocation they have chosen, together with a proper sense of the moral duties which it involves, it is our wish to give them all the encouragement in our power, let their religious or political creed be what it may. The only condition we require from a journal exbibiting culture and ability, is that it treat with due deference the social fabric as constructed and approved by the enlightened common sepse of modern civilization.

In the present instance there is no risk in this respect. Although that before us is the first number of “ Brittan's Journal," its editor is a veteran journalist. There are few, if any, abler writers in America than Dr. Brittan; in the peculiar field to which he has devoted himself he has no equal. Our readers know that none have less faith in what is called “Spiritualism " than we. We believe in no miracles but those of science-the results of irrevocable laws. Nevertheless we have read several of Dr. Brittan's essays on Spiritualism with interest and pleasure; if he has not succeeded in making a convert of us, however, it is because no one could.

We believe that most of our readers are equally fortified, at least against the modern class of ghosts, and, therefore, we do not hesitate to recommend Brittan's Journal. We acknowledge its decided merits all the more readily, because if the editor occasionally introduces a ghost or two in his essays, they are not of the vulgar tribethey are, in fact, philosophical, interesting instructive ghosts. Moreover, we are satisfied that he will not allow his contributors-of whom he has quite a galaxy already—to introduce any of the common herd of spirits.” And need we care much whether the spirit is genuine or spurious, if he entertains, amuses, or instructs us? There are but few who regard the ghost in Hamlet as a real representative of the nether world; and still fewer think the less of that noble drama on account of its ghost, even when the latter stalks about in its clumsiest fashion. By all means, then, let“ Brittan's Journal” be read. We wish we could extract a large part of the Editor's “Salutatory," ad. dressed to "the Friends of Progress," replete as it is with striking thoughts; but we can only make room for the opening paragraph :

“Revolutions are the thoughts endowed with life and locomotion. Some revolutions proceed in a noiseless manner, so as really to endanger no human interest; and these, especially, are most potent. Like the gravitation that moves worlds, these silent forces are greater in their development, and far more lasting in their effects, than the shock that rends a continent, and rocks the globe to its centre. The boom of thunders and the hoarse voices of the sea shake the audience-chamber

of the soul, but a silent thought has power to move the soul itself. The waves rise and beat the unyielding shore; the impassable walls of the ocean remain, but the angry billows fall, recede, and disappear. In like manner do great facts and principles resist the elements of passion and prejudice through all ages. Like bold promontories, from which we look out above life's troubled sea, they are left unmoved when the elemental strife is over."

An Essay on Musical Instruments. By JAMES H. Noël. Brochure.

8vo, pp. 87. London, 1872.

IF legitimate fame had a tendency to render those who attain it haughty and overbearing, none should be more so than the Stein. ways, since it is impossible to take up the smallest pamphlet, or the largest volume, whose subject is partly or wholly musical instru ments, and whose author or compiler is qualified for his task and free from bias, without finding that it awards the palm of superior excellence to the pianos of those gentlemen. But it is only spurious fame that has any such effect. The contrast is forcibly illustrated in the case of the Steinways. If any change has been produced in their bearing towards those who have intercourse with them, whether in business or social life, by the fact that their instruments are the favorites of princesses, queens, and empresses, as well as of the most eminent composers and artists, it is a change for the better-instead of making them stiff or rude it rerders them more and more affable, polite, and conciliatory.

Among all our manufacturers, those who rank next to the Steinways in well-earned fame are, undoubtedly, the Chickerings of Boston. This fact, also, is acknowledged in the pamphlet before us. But the latter manufacturers find competitors in Knabe & Co., of Baltimore, who, by the unquestionable excellence of their instruments, claim the second rank. There are many others who make high pretensions. Curiously enough, some do so on the ground of their nationality--because they belong to the same country that produced Schroeder, generally regarded as the inventor of the piano; while others rely mainly on calling themselves by the name of a great composer who ilourished nearly a century ago. But so true is it that the Steinways need no name but their own to give their instruments the fiat of superior excellence, that it would almost seem as if Schiller had intended to apply to them those lines in his “ Song of the bell "* in which he sings of the combined effects of tenderness, strength, gentleness, barmony and sweetness :

“Denn, wo das Strenge mit dem Zarten,
Wo Starkes sich und Mildes paarten,
Da gibt es einen guten Klang.”

APPENDIX-INSURANCE TRACTS;

BIBLE TRACTS; CLOAKS;

RESULTS.

Winston's March and Counter-March, Various Insurance Documents,

Newspaper Articles, etc., etc,

THERE has been but little change in Life Insurance since our last, but that little has been for the better. Before Mr. Winston com. menced his recent performance, the business had undoubtedly begun to recover its prestige of former years. At the outset the course of that functionary had the effect of renewing former suspicions and fears; but this feeling did not continue many days. He found that his boasted control of the daily press, if it ever existed, had failed him at the critical moment. It seems he was quite astonished to learn that there are at least one or two journals, which, with all his wealth—his enormous percentages, bonuses, etc., he could not buy when he was in most need of their aid. These, instead of advocating his new plan, have denounced it pretty much as we had ourselves denounced several of his old plans. They have told a part of the truth, but although only a parta small part—it is likely to prove sufficient to convince the intelligent portion of the policy-holders of the Mutual Life, as well as the outside public, that the financial morals of Mr. Winston have improved but little, if any, since he was accused by certain of his creditors of having failed in business only for a particular purpose.

Our readers may remember how often we have remarked, these twelve years past, that to fail in the dry goods business, or any other, without satisfying one's creditors, is not the right way to graduate or qualify for the profession of a life underwriter. Many a time we have asked whether such graduation or qualification is a satisfactory guarantee for the widow and the orphan. At the same time we did not allow that circumstance to exercise any undue influence on our estimate of Mr. Winston's character as an underwriter. To this day we do not know whether he took much or little from his dry goods creditors, for we have never made it our business to inquire into the private affairs of any one.

* Das Lied von der Clocke,

Further than that we could not have much confi. dence in the philanthropy or integrity of one having the reputation of not possessing either, we have judged Mr. Winston only by his dust-throwing schemes. It is true that we have found most of these strictly consistent with the alleged financial and moral obliquity of that gentleman, as a dry-goods man, or dealer in “soft wares.”

Had all our underwriters commenced their insurance career with a taint on their escutcheon such as that on Mr. Winston's, then there would have been no reason why we should not regard that gentleman's claim to public confidence as equal, if not superior, to that of any of his rivals. But, although there are underwriters whom we place far below Mr. Winston in the moral scale-underwriters whom we have always regarded as no better than common sharpers - we have never denied that among the underwriting fraternity in this country are to be found men who would do honor by their integrity and straightforwardness to any profession, however exalted. We should be slanderers and falsifiers, rather than faithful critics, did we deny that there are men who bave entered the insurance profession with an unsullied reputation, and who have maintained that reputation without spot or blemish to this day. Nay, indeed, none have been more glad than we to bear testimony to the fact that we have sufficient companies managed by officers of this character to insure every citizen and adopted citizen of the whole United States. And in accordance with this feeling, we have sought to impress on our readers that the failure of so many English life companies is no reason wby any of our prin. cipal American companies should also fail. We have tried to show that only those American companies that are similar to the defunct English companies should be regarded as likely to become defunct in turn. Moreover, we have not only indicated a considerable number of such, but predicted their fall. Several have fallen accordingly; and the rest of the spurious brood are but toitering to their fall.

We have still remaining more solid, enduring, faithful American companies than there are English companies of the same character; not because integrity and love of fair dealing, as well as money, do not abound in England quite as much as they do in this country. Only the most short-sighted and narrow-minded regard the relative standing of the American and English life companies as a national question. Intelligent Englishmen, as well as Americans, who have given any careful attention to the subject, understand that the reason of the difference is, that very different classses of men have, from the beginning, devoted themselves to Life Insurance in the two countries. English writers of the first class, far from concealing or denying that England has been unfortunate in this respect, have made the fact evident to the world. Douglas Jerrold, Thackeray and Hood, have in turn hurled their most powerful shafts of ridicule and scorn, through Punch and other similar journals, at the class of their countrymen who pretended to insure the lives of their fellow-subjects. And some of the fiercest and most indignant efforts of the London Times have been directed against the same tribe of organized sharpers.

That Dickens bas not overlooked them, all acquainted with his Martin Chuzzlewit are aware. The picture which the great novelist has drawn of "The Anglo-Bengalee Disinterested Loan and Life Insurance Company,” has been justly regarded as the type of a large class. True, not one of the assailants of those widow and orphan protectors escaped the charge of being actuated by spite and malice; there is scarcely one of the numerous brood which have since become extinct, that did not accuse even Dickens of being actuated solely by base, selfish motives, in making " attacks" on such worthy, high-minded people !

But it may be asked: If those who introduced life insurance into the United States were a higher class, socially and morally, than those who introduced it in England, does not the fact seem to exculpate Mr. Winston from those imputations on his character, since the Mutual Life is one of the oldest of our life companies ? It may, indeed, seem to do so, but it requires little reflection to see that in reality it does nothing of the kind. However, with the dishonesty or honesty of Mr. Winston before he became an underwriter, we have nothing to do. Nor have we ever denied that he possesses a certain sort of clever

As we have regarded Mr. Barnum, the great showman, a “smart” man, so have we regarded Mr. Winston as smart. But if Barnum was successful in inducing larger numbers to visit his show than any other showman, we never thought for a moment that it was because he was more hunest than others of the show fraternity. In fact, we have been ill-natured enough to think that it was, on the contrary, because he was more dishonest; at least because he had less regard for truth-because he could call a lobster an alligator, or a porpoise a mermaid, with less scruple than the most unscrupulous of his rivals. We may have reasoned very illogically, but we confess we have always regarded whatever success Mr.

ness.

as

« السابقةمتابعة »