« AnteriorContinuar »
acter shall be incarnated in a man, we may rely that awe and love and insatiable curiosity will follow his steps. Character is the habit of action from the permanent vision of truth. It carries a superiority to all the accidents of life. It compels right relation to every other man, — domesticates itself with strangers and enemies. “But I, father,” says the wise Prahlada, in the Vishnu Purana, “know neither friends nor foes, for I behold Kesava in all beings as in my own soul.” It confers perpetual insight. It sees that a man's friends and his foes are of his own household, of his own person ; that he himself strikes the stroke which he imputes to fortune. Man is always throwing his praise or blame on events, and fails to see that he only is real, and the world is his mirror and echo. What would it avail me, if I could destroy my enemies? There would be as many to-morrow. That which I hate and fear is really in myself, and no knife is long enough to reach to its heart. Confucius said one day to Ke Kang : “Sir, in carrying on your government, why should you use killing at all? Let your evinced desires bę for what is good, and the people will be good. The grass must bend, when the wind blows across it." Ke Kang, distressed about the number of thieves in the state, inquired of Confucius how to do away with them. Confucius said, “If you, sir, were not covetous, although you should reward them to do it, they would not steal.”
Its methods are subtle, it works without means. It indulges no enmity against any, knowing, with Prahlada, that “the suppression of malignant feeling is itself a reward." The more reason, the less government. ( In a sensible family, nobody ever hears the words "shall” and “sha'n't"; nobody commands, and nobody obeys, but all conspire and joyfully cooperate. Take off the roofs of hundreds of happy houses, and you shall see this order without ruler, and the like in every intelligent and moral society. Command is exceptional, and marks some break in the link of reason; as the electricity goes round the world without a spark or a sound, until there is a break in the wire or the water chain. Swedenborg said, that, “ in the spiritual world, when one wishes to rule, or despises others, he is thrust out of doors.” Goethe, in discussing the characters in “ Wilhelm Meister,” maintained his belief, “ that pure loveliness and right good-will are the highest manly prerogatives, before which all energetic heroism, with its lustre and renown, must recede.” In perfect accord with this, Henry James affirms, that “to give the feminine element in life its hard-earned but eternal supremacy over the masculine has been the secret inspiration of all past history."
There is no end to the sufficiency of character. It can afford to wait; it can do without what is called success; it cannot but succeed. To a well-principled man existence is victory. He defends himself against failure in his main design by making every inch of the road to it pleasant. There is no trifle, and no obscurity to him: he feels the immensity of the chain whose last link he holds in his hand, and is led by it. Having nothing, this spirit hath all. It asks, with Marcus Aurelius, “What matter by whom the good is done?” It extols humility, — by every self-abasement lifted higher in the scale of being. It makes no stipulations for earthly felicity, — does not ask, in the absoluteness of its trust, even for the assurance of continued life.
ART. IV.-1. The New York Herald, from 1835 to 1866. 2. The New York Tribune, from 1841 to 1866. 3. The New York Daily Times, from 1852 to 1866. 4. Memoirs of James Gordon Bennett and his Times. By a
Journalist. New York: Stringer and Townsend. 1855. 5. The Fourth Estate: Contributions toward a History of News
papers and of the Liberty of the Press. By B. KNIGHT HUNT. London. 1850. 2 vols. 12mo.
A FEW years ago it seemed probable that the people of the United States would be supplied with news chiefly through the agency of newspapers published in the city of New York. We were threatened with a paper despotism similar to that formerly exercised in Great Britain by the London Times; since, wh one city furnishes a country with newspapers, one newspaper is sure, at length, to gain such a predominance over others that its proprietor, if he is equal to his position, wields a power greater than ought to be intrusted to an individual. There have been periods when the director of the London Times appeared to be as truly the monarch of Great Britain as Henry VIII. once was, or as William Pitt during the Seven Years' War. It was, we believe, the opinion of the late Mr. Cobden, which Mr. Kinglake confirms, that the editor of the London Times could have prevented the Crimean War. Certainly he conducted it. Demosthenes did not more truly direct the resources of Athens against Philip, than did this invisible and anonymous being those of the British empire against Russia. The first John Walter, who was to journalism what James Watt was to the steam-engine, had given this man daily access to the ear of England; and to that ear he addressed, not the effusions of his own mind, but the whole purchasable elo quence of his country. He had relays of Demosthenes. The man controlling such a press, and fit to control it, can bring the available and practised intellect of his country to bear upon the passions of his countrymen; for it is a fact, that nearly the whole literary talent of a nation is at the command of any honorable man who has money enough, with tact enoughThe editor who expends fifty guineas a day in the purchase of three short essays can have them written by the men who can do them best. What a power is this, to say these things every morning to a whole nation, — to say them with all the force which genius, knowledge, and practice united can give, — and to say them without audible contradiction ! Fortunate for England is it that this power is no longer concentrated in a single man, and that the mighty influence once wielded by an individual will henceforth be exerted by a profession.
We in America have escaped all danger of ever falling under the dominion of a paper despot. There will never be a Times Jupiter in America. Twenty years ago the New York news and the New York newspaper reached distant cities at the same moment; but since the introduction of the telegraph, the news outstrips the newspaper, and is given to the public by the local press. It is this fact which forever limits the circulation and national importance of the New York press. The New York
papers reach a village in Vermont late in the afternoon,- six, eight, ten hours after a carrier has distributed the Springfield Republican; and nine people in ten will be content with the brief telegrams of the local centre. At Chicago, the New York paper is forty hours behind the news; and at San Francisco, thirty days. Before California had been reached by the telegraph, the New York newspapers, on the arrival of a steamer, were sought with an avidity of which the most ludicrous accounts have been given. If the news was important and the supply of papers inadequate, nothing was more common than for a lucky newsboy to dispose of his last sheets at five times their usual price. All this is changed. A spirited local press has anticipated the substance of the news, and most people wait tranquilly for the same local press to spread before them the particulars when the tardy mail arrives. Even the weekly and semi-weekly editions issued by the New York daily press have probably reached their maximum of importance; since the local daily press also publishes weekly and semi-weekly papers, many of which are of high excellence and are always improving, and have the additional attraction of full local intelligence. If some bold Yankee should invent a method by which a bundle of newspapers could be shot from New York to Chicago in half an hour, it would certainly enhance the importance of the New York papers, and diminish that of the rapidly expanding and able press of Chicago. Such an invention is possible; nay, we think it a probability. But even in that case, the local news, and, above all, the local advertising, would still remain as the basis of a great, lucrative, honorable, and very attractive business.
We believe, however, that if the local press were annihilated, and this whole nation lived dependent upon the press of a single city, still we should be safe from a paper despotism; because the power of the editorial lessens as the intelligence of the people increases. The prestige of the editorial is gone. Just as there is a party in England who propose the omission of the sermon from the church service as something no longer needed by the people, so there are journalists who think the time is at hand for the abolition of editorials, and the concentration of the whole force of journalism upon presenting to the public
the history and picture of the day.) The time for this has not
come, and may never come; but our journalists already know that editorials neither make nor mar a daily paper, that they do not much influence the public mind, nor change many votes, and that the power and success of a newspaper depend wholly and absolutely upon its success in getting and its skill in exhibiting the news. The word newspaper is the exact and complete description of the thing which the true journalist aims to produce. The news is his work; editorials are his play. The news is the point of rivalry; it is that for which nineteen twentieths of the people buy newspapers ; it is that which constitutes the power and value of the daily press; it is that which determines the rank of every newspaper in every free country.
No editor, therefore, will ever reign over the United States, and the newspapers of no one city will attain universal currency. Hence the importance of journalism in the United States. By the time a town has ten thousand inhabitants, it usually has a daily paper, and in most large cities there is a daily paper for every twenty thousand people. In many of the Western cities there are daily newspapers conducted with great energy, and on a scale of expenditure which enables them to approximate real excellence. Many of our readers will live to see the day when there will be in Chicago, St. Louis, New Orleans, Cincinnati, and San Francisco daily newspapers more complete, better executed, and produced at greater expense than any newspaper now existing in the United States. This is a great deal to say, in view of the fact, that, during the late war, one of the New York papers expended in war correspondence alone two thousand dollars a week. Nevertheless, we believe it. There will never be two newspapers in any one city that can sustain such an expenditure; but in fifteen years from to-day there will be one, we think, in each of our great cities, and besides that one there will be four or five struggling to supplant it, as well as one or two having humbler aims and content with a lowlier position.
It is plain that journalism will henceforth and forever be an important and crowded profession in the United States. (The daily newspaper is one of those things which are rooted in the necessities of modern civilization. The steam-engine is