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statements, and its greater breadth and simplicity, its spirituality and catholicity. And as the artificial landmarks that at home divide the various schools of theological thought sink out of sight when Christians of different family names stand together in the presence of the overshadowing forms of falsehood and unbelief, so in that position ecclesiastical lines of demarkation lose very much of their value and significance. It is scarcely to be hoped—perhaps it is not desirable—that all denominational differences should be ignored, and the several missions fused into a common mass; but surely it is not wise to reproduce in foreign lands all the petty feuds or historical divisions that have given rise to many of our denominations, most of which are represented in the mission fields. It would not be edifying to converts from heathenism to be confronted at their coming into the fellowship of the Church with the sixteen kinds of Presbyterians, or the half as many of Methodists. In this matter something of the fusing power of true religion, directed by a fair share of common sense, might be practically useful. When the Methodisms of our foreign mission fields shall become locally individualized, it may be hoped that they will also be consolidated into a common mass.
ART. VII.-POPULAR AND PERILOUS DRIFTINGS. Could some influence appear potent and persuasive enough to draw the half of all young people into thorough acquaintance, by actual labor, with different branches of agriculture, (whatever business or profession they might follow in after life,) and lead the other moiety of our sons and daughters to become, after full apprenticeship, skilled artisans, such influence would grandly restore to the land physical soundness, moral integrity, and prosperities richer and wider than can be well imagined. Nor would such lives of early discipline and every-day work at all prevent in my opinion) the noblest achievements by every generation in science, literature, and art.
Unhappily, the prevailing sentiment of society, and the average training in excellent families, tend in very different directions. Insomuch that the popular currents are drifting
Fourth Series, Vol. XXXV.-35
widely away from lives of frugal industry, from the labor of producers, from vigorous health,* and from the virtuous simplicity and solid home-content of other days. These downward driftings not only result in enormous material wastes and mischief, but are, as I judge, undermining public morality and the safety of the State.
Note 1. Driftings of Population from rural districts to crowded centers. It is stated, on what appears to be good authority, that in 1850 the population of cities and large towns throughout the Republic was but 23 per cent. of the whole; that is, 3,131,675. In 1870 these large centers contained 34 per cent., or 7,841,950; and in the national census, just completing, our three hundred cities will probably number 40 per cent. of the entire people of the Union. New York State census gives as the increase of rural population from 1865 to 1875, 28,082; increase in cities and villages during the same decade, 843,000—thirty times as many.
Not to overlook the fact that cities contain many noble, princely philanthropists, and very many devoted Christian men and women, still, the best thing we can say is, “ Cities contain much that we love, and all that we hate." They are vast mission fields. They are centers of expensive luxury; the restless and the dissatisfied naturally drift there. The daringly ambitious, those who live by excitements and would dwell in a crowd, seek such homes. Cities are always chief nurseries of sensualism, and hiding places of every crime.
A broader view of this drifting of populations is seen by taking census reports of cities in six States, as compared with the rural districts in those States, for the twenty years ending with 1870: In Massachusetts, City population increased 82 per cent. Country, 29 per cent.
Among the results of this drifting, through large portions of New England and New York are: Gradual disappearance of
* The last State census instructs us that births in native-born families, as compared with births in foreign-born, are as nine to eleven. That the death-rate yearly of native-born Americans is 1 in 88; while the death.rate of our people born in Canada, Scotland, Germany, is only 1 in 125.
108 120 108 540 579
15 10 11 58 166
moderate farmers, the best strength and surest reliance of a free State, the gathering of large masses of land into one holding,* and the multiplying all about us into controlling power a foreign-born tenantry, seldom friendly to Christian Sabbaths, free schools, temperance, and Protestant freedom.
It is but a few years since that great British commoner, John Bright, sought to awaken his countrymen to the mistake and danger of crowding into cities, instead of spreading among the rural districts, and to the neglect of agriculture. His advice was, “Go back to the land.” And the time has fully come when voices in high places of our country, giving the same earnest advice, should be heard. For if these driftings continue the twenty years to come, as during the twenty years past, (certainly, unless there shall be wide and thorough cure of drinking habits and suppression of liquor traffic,) the gathered masses of incurable poverty, lawlessness, and desperate crime in our cities will be beyond control of any civil power in the land.
Note 2. Driftings away from Productive Industries to genteel employments and well-paid sinecures. The great body of young people, including those of prudent families, even, grow up with utter aversion to the most ancient and honored employment of tilling the soil, or to making themselves proficient in the essential handicrafts. Very few children of American parents are apprenticed to become skilled mechanics, as they were fifty years ago.
While the numbers who devote themselves for a living to speculations, wandering agencies, and scurvy politics, are legion. As a consequence, society is every-where pressed beyond measure with a host of
* The greed for land is like the greed for gold; and schemes of the rich to monopolize all desirable localities, choicest sections of the soil every-where, (which Congress ought long ago to have forbidden as to public lands, and measurably prevented,) have already become a serious evil, even with our vast and thinly-settled territories; more so in the new States, of course, than in the older. Huudreds and thousands of immense farms are being caught up, of 500, 1,000, 10,000, 20,000, and even 50,000 acres, notwithstanding legislators can be hardly supposed ignorant of the truth, that mischief to the Republic, and grave injuries to the people, come soon or later through the ownership of large masses of land in the hands of a few families. The Roman historian, Pliny, does not hesitate to declare that great estates had ruined his country: “Latifundia perdidere Italiam."
superfluons and expensive members.* The professions of law, medicine, insurance, merchandising, are twice filled.
Every position of clerk, salesman, book-keeper, common-school teacher, commercial traveler, or other opening to light and welldressed employment is watched and waited for by scores of hopeless applicants.
The following extract from the “Scientific American ” is a specimen fact of hundreds that might be gathered :
A large shoe manufacturer of this State, not long since, advertised widely for twenty-five shoe-fitters to work in his factory, offering full current rates and steady work. The advertisements brought one application. About the same time a Boston firm advertised for a book-keeper, and the next day's mails brought two hundred and thirty answers. During the same month an advertisement for a clerk in a Detroit paper brought one hundred and twenty applications, and more afterward. An advertisement for a week in the same city for a good carpenter brought only four replies.
What the country wants now is workmen-sober, intelligent, thrifty workmen, who can do skillfully the work that waits for the doing Men who can invent new means and better processes for developing the resources of the land, and for converting crude matter into life-sustaining and life-enriching wealth. Clerks and record-keepers are at a discount; there are too many. The professions, so called, are almost equally crowded with men who have nothing to do. There never was a time when ability to do something real and practical was worth so much as now.t
This extract following, addressed some years since to the inen of New England, is severe, but contains weighty and wholesome truth :
* There is an admonition in Holy Scripture ending thus: “Behold this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her, and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hands of the poor and needy." That is, the cities of the plain lived in luxurious and sensual ease, leaving many to want and suffer by the side of the very rich; neither did their rulers protect or redress the wrongs of the weak and poor.
One who loves his country can but shrink from declaring how far all this is a picture of the favored and large classes in American life.
+ It is stated in the public prints that A. Oakey Hall, of New York City, (forinerly a leading politician,) when rich, and there was no apparent need for his family, did the creditable thing of training his three daughters to three differ. ent mechanical trades. He is reported to have said: “If German and French princes are taught trades in case of chauge or misfortune, why not my children ?”. Mr. Hall is now understood to be poor, but his children are comfortably provided for, independent.
Young men, on entering active life, find the way to lucrative employments blocked by abuses. The conduct of trade is grown selfish to the borders of theft, and supple to the borders, if not beyond the borders, of fraud. The trail of the serpent reaches into all the lucrative professions and business practices of men. ... Considerations of this kind have turned the attention of many philanthropists and thoughtful parents to the claims of manual labor as part of the education of every young person. If accumulated wealth is thus tainted, no matter how much of it is offered to us, we must consider if it were not the nobler part to renounce it, and put ourselves into primary relations with the soil and nature; and, abstaining from whatever is dishonest and unclean in each, take up bravely his part, with his own hands, in the manual labor of the world.
Note 3. Driftings into Debt. We all know that there is immense wealth, not only in New York, but throughout New England and the Middle States. No doubt there are ten men in our metropolis who could easily pay the municipal and corporate indebtedness of the whole State, should this amount to three hundred millions of dollars. And there are also ten men in each of our large cities who could, in thirty days, discharge what may be called the public debts of city and county, (running into millions,) and remain possessed of ample wealth. This opulence of the few may be substantially affirmed of very many cities and towns. Still, the great middle class—the farmers, manufacturers, mechanics, the working men and womenare resting under mountain loads of debt. Nor has the inimense losses by shrinkage of values, waste through bankruptcies, and moral injuries, that came upon the land from 1870 to 1877, cured its extravagance, wild speculations, or mania for going in debt.
The truth is, our country's financial affairs are fast drifting into Old-World .conditions. A few persons of unlimited wealth monopolize the great industries of the State; are sure to gain possession of every new enterprise of profit, thus subjecting the masses to a deepening dependence on their will, (excepting, indeed, those who work their own farms;) they hold public men in such bondage as often to control the government; and have already brought affairs to a pass that half a dozen men in Wall Street and Chicago combine and go far in compelling millions to pay their prices for bread to eat and fuel to warm.
The State debt, proper, of New York is but a few millions