Imágenes de páginas


30 cities representing the finest parks of this country, the average annual tax rate per $1,000 for park improvement and maintenance has been, for the last five years, 40 cents. The rate for each of these cities varies from 13 cents in Cincinnati, with 422 acres of parks, to $1.33 in Peoria, with but 330 acres of parks. Choosing 10 cities that have especially fine park systems, and whose park commissions have been indepen. dent of corrupting influences, we find that their tax rate on $1,000 has been but 30 cents. these 30 cities the average annual cost per capita for improving and maintaining parks during the last five years has been 34 cents. It should be remembered that park commissioners, usually busy men of affairs, have given years of gratuitous service in this work, but have often received harsh and unjust criticism. While the position of park commissioner is everywhere considered an honorable one, and the organizers and members of park boards are generally men of broad and philanthropic aim, their official lives have been filled with many vexations.

The work of laying out and improving parks is being done in nearly all cities under the direction of efficient landscape gardeners. Commissioners accept the plans made by these men and endeavor to acquire lands and improve them as directed by their retained advisers. These plans require large expenditures of public money, and as years are necessary for plans to materialize, partly because of lack of funds and because trees and shrubs and good roads will not spring into existence in a year or two, some citizens are unreasonable and demand results that only time and fair appropriations of money can accomplish.



Because of the constantly increasing expenses of modern municipalities, and through an imperfect and crude understanding of legitimate park needs, it is difficult in many cities to secure annual appropriations large enough for anything beyond the bare maintenance of the parks. This condition of things in so many cities should lead to the making of parks where the strong features are quiet landscapes with great stretches of meadow, and where the naturalistic planting is rest. ful to all the senses. The cost of developing and maintaining great urban pleasure grounds where the pastoral idea is uppermost is very much less than for the making of those that are more pretentious and artificial. Park roads and walks must be made and a few buildings erected; but the true artist limits their number to the bare necessities of the case, and conceals them as far as possible by skillful planting. Rare trees,

shrubs, and plants in profusion are costly and too frequently are out of harmony with their surroundings. Large plantings of a limited variety of hardy trees and shrubs, naturalistic in their broad effects, cost very much less to grow and properly care for than the rare and striking ones. In some of our most attractive parks effective plantings have been made of great masses of dogwoods, viburnums, sumacs, and other native shrubs; these are easily, quickly, and cheaply grown, and are always pleasing. The parks that the American public enjoy best are those that have cost the least to improve and sustain.


These are the great public pleasure grounds created by men who have worked lovingly and wisely on Nature's canvas, having clearly in their minds pictures of one harmonious whole that could only be realized after many years. In some cities it has been difficult to prevent the placing of many things in public parks that were not considered in the original designs, and the question is continually arising as to whether there shall be a strict adherence to the carefully prepared plans of those who have for years studied the essentials of great parks. There should be no difference of opinion in this matter. When plans drawn by professional landscape gardeners of acknowledged ability are accepted, they should be closely followed. From a business point of view, nothing less can be done.


In many large park systems the police forces are small. On Sundays, holidays, and special occasions immense throngs gather in the parks, yet the order generally maintained is good and the harm done to everything that beautifies is slight. The development of a strong public sentiment which frowns upon depredations and hoodlumism in public parks has apparently kept pace with the growth and embellishment of the parks. When park property has been injured, the of fenders have not always been found among the socalled lower classes." Women riding through parks in their luxurious carriages have been known to order their coachmen to gather flowers, and have calmly directed the despoiling of shrubs and trees.

A little more than one-half of the parks of this country are policed by men under the control of and paid by the park departments. In the other cities regular policemen are detailed for park duty. In four good-sized park systems there are no regularly detailed police, but from the employees of each park are chosen a sufficient number who are commissioned as special peace officers.

[ocr errors]



AT the last meeting of the American Histori

cal that body was invited to meet in Nashville next time, whereupon the question was at once raised, "What interest is there in history in the South?" The question was put in all sincerity, and some members of the association manifested a desire to go South for one of the annual meetings, if only assured that the interest there would justify it. However, it was felt that the rule of rotation laid down for the locality of the meetings, East, West, Washington," could not be departed from to the disadvantage of the East, and that Nashville would have to take her chances with the West in future. In the meantime the writer would like to put forward a few facts in answer to the above inquiry. ·

The question is one which had already presented itself to the writer, himself a Southerner, nor had he found the most satisfactory answer. He had often heard the complaint that the South had been misrepresented and misunderstood by some historians; that the part she played in the formation and building of the nation had been minified, while that of the North had been magnified; and that the representation of her course in the events leading up to the Civil War had been grossly unjust. Of late a protest has been heard from a State so far north as New York against the partiality of writers from a section still farther east. If the charge is true, where lies the fault? Why has no one come forward with a scientific array of cold and convincing facts? Not all historians are lineal descendants of the unjust judge; they seek the truth and endeavor to confine themselves to it. Unfortunately, however, a few men who, mainly for purposes of revenue, have essayed to write histories, the smaller histories concerning which the charge referred to is most frequently heard, will need to clear themselves of the suspicion that they are related to the person just mentioned. When men, North or South, for that matter, in any age or clime, start out with preconceived notions and pet theories, and ruthlessly reject everything which tends to subvert them, or with a determination to please a particular constituency, they will never become historians, no matter how many so-called "histories" they may write. The muse of history is the companion of Truth, whatever the cost of

keeping her company. But the truth with regard to history is not always an open book, seen and read of all men; it must be sought in the byways and hedges. Dropping the metaphor, history is a matter of record, made up of facts, not opinions and theories alone. If the historian cannot find the record, his account must be mythical; if he finds only a part, his account is likely to be distorted, be his intentions ever so honest. If the South should be bidden by the oracle, as was Phaon, the Sophist, to consult the dead, whither could she turn for the record of their wisdom? What has she done to put that record before the world?

In explanation, but not justification, of the paucity of historical works in the South, Mr. Thomas Nelson Page has said, in substance, that she has been too busy making history to stop to write it. Then, if the schoolboy is perfectly familiar with the Mayflower, but never heard of the Discovery or the Good-Speed, who is to blame for it? For many years the South studied the problems of government with a passion, and con. sequently has left a lasting impress on the constitutional law of the nation, but her work in writing the story of those studies and their application, and of her struggle with nature and the savages, is yet to be done. Unfortunately, the materials necessary for this work have not always been carefully preserved, and many of those still in existence have not been made easily accessible to the student. What is more natural, then, than that occasional mistakes should be made by those attempting the story? But a brighter day is dawning.

In a few instances sufficient interest has been aroused to induce the State governments to lend a helping hand. As far back as 1882, the Legislature of Maryland began to make biennial appropriations of $4,000 for the publication of her Colonial and Revolutionary Archives. The appropriations have amounted to $36,000, and have resulted in the publication of nineteen volumes. In 1896, $15,000 was given for the work of preparing a roster of her volunteers in the Civil War. Virginia has published a calendar of her "State Papers." One might reasonably have expected their publication in full from a State which played so important a rôle. She also has copies of the documents in the Public Record Office,


London, relating to her history in the seventeenth century. Besides this, copies of the records of some of her early and more important counties have been made and deposited in the State Library at Richmond. North Carolina has published seventeen volumes of her Colonial Records; also, a Complete Legislative Manual and Po litical Register" of the State, and a pretty full military roster down to, and including, 1898. In 1892, South Carolina appropriated $6,500 to secure copies of her Colonial Records in England, of which there are now thirty-six folio volumes in the office of the Secretary of State. It is to be hoped that they will be printed soon. Her military history has been brought down to the Mexican War, and a roster of her Confederate soldiers is now being prepared. A "Roster and Itinerary" of her soldiers in the Spanish-American War has already appeared. An Historical Commission, to serve without pay, has been appointed to collect material from any available source. Georgia has spent about $10,000 for collection, but nothing for printing. Unfortunately, the copy of her Colonial Records was burned in 1893. An appeal will be made to the Legislature to have them copied again.

Some of the newer States also are waking up to the importance of their records. Alabama was the first to begin the preservation of the history of the Civil War. A Superintendent of Army Records was appointed in 1863; but the end of the war, and the consequent change of government, left matters in great confusion. A part of the work already done was lost, but some of it has been recovered. A few years since a commission was appointed to report upon historical material. February 27, 1901, a Department of Archives and History was created by the Legisla ture, and a director appointed, with a salary of $1,800, and $700 for contingent expenses. Mississippi has appropriated $2,000 to be used for publication under the direction of the Historical Commission appointed by the president of the Historical Society. Texas has sent a commission to the city of Mexico to look after documents there.

It is doubtful if the Solons who have been so busy making history would have found time to do even this much, had not the members of the historical societies proved their relationship to a certain widow by their importunities. Just what credit is due to them in each particular case cannot easily be determined, but several societies have been untiring in their efforts. The Maryland society edits and looks after the publication of the archives mentioned above. In addition to this, it has done good work in the publication of documents and of carefully prepared papers based

on sources. TheCalvert Papers" are the most important published so far. The society now has more than thirty volumes to its credit. The Society for the History of Germans in Maryland has issued two volumes. The Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science" are too well known to need comment.

The Virginia Historical Society was founded in 1831, and was chartered three years later, but in 1882 it had published only thirteen volumes. Since then it has taken on new life. In the decade 1882-92 eleven volumes appeared. In 1894 the society began the publication of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, a quarterly of one hundred and twelve pages. It is largely devoted to documents, but considerable space is given to genealogies of only local interest. A catalogue of the manuscripts in the possession of the society has lately been published. The William and Mary (College) Quarterly, edited by President Lyon G. Tyler, is doing much to supplement the work of the Virginia Magazine of History. The Lower Norfolk, Virginia, Antiquarian, and the John P. Branch Historical Society Papers of Randolph-Macon College, are publications worthy of


From 1857 to 1883 the South Carolina Historical Society published four volumes. In 1891 new life was infused into the society, and it is now pushing its work before the Legislature. January, 1900, witnessed the birth of its official organ, The South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine. The most commendable feature about this quarterly is that it is largely devoted to documents. One might prefer to have such papers in volumes devoted to nothing else, but when they cannot be had that way, it is better to have them in a magazine than not at all.

The Georgia Historical Society was founded in 1839, "for the purpose of preserving and dif. fusing information relating to the history of the State of Georgia in particular, and of American history in general." It has done something in the way of collecting, but very little in the way of diffusing this information. Only five volumes can be set down to its credit. These, however, contain pages of considerable importance. The last, issued under the auspices of the Savannah Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, contains the Proceedings of the first Provincial Congress, and of the Georgia Council of Safety, 1775-77. The society is fortunate in having for its librarian Mr. Hardin, a member of the Legislature, who will press upon that body the imperative need of funds.

The Alabama Historical Society was organized in 1850, but up to 1876 had published only a few pamphlets. The Alabama Historical Regis

ter was published under its auspices, 1879-84, with a total of twenty-nine numbers. In 1898 the society took on new life, and now issues Publications, the third volume of which is out. .These consist, for the most part, of prepared papers, but some documents are included.

The Mississippi Society was organized in 1890, but did nothing much except in the way of col· lecting until reorganized in 1897. It now enrolls a large and enthusiastic membership. Annual publications will be issued, three volumes of which have already appeared. It is the policy of the society to foster local affiliated organizations to facilitate the work of collecting material, and to arouse a more general interest in historical study. The contemplated work of the commission already alluded to is, judging by the tentative outline of its report, the most extensive of any that has come to the notice of the writer. Manuscripts, papers, and documents pertaining in any way to the history of Mississippi, such as archives and political papers, whether foreign, federal, of other States, or domestic, records of counties, municipalities, churches, colleges, benevolent institutions, industrial organizations, and literary remains of distinguished men, will receive attention. Prehis toric works, Indian remains, and places of historic interest, such as forts, battlefields, and historic houses, also will fall within its scope. In collect. ing manuscripts, pamphlets, etc., an effort will be made to index and bind them in such a way that they will be "available for almost immediate consultation by all interested parties." It is hardly necessary to add that the commission does not expect to finish its work in a day, nor in a year.

Apparently the youngest society is that of Texas, which dates only from 1897. Several gentlemen, long prominent in the political and educational life of the State, were instrumental in effecting its organization, and under their inspiration the society has developed rapidly. Its official organ, the Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Society, is of about the same scope as the magazines already mentioned. The regents of the State University have provided a fireproof vault in the university library for the use of the society.

Several other States have organizations, in name at least. That of Louisiana published two volumes about fifty years ago. Since then it ap pears to have remained inactive most of the time, but is now said to be "in a state of hopeful vigor." It has recently undertaken to interest Congress in the publication of the documents now in Paris relating to Louisiana and the Mississippi Valley, a work which should elicit the sympathetic help of all interested in history.. Since its birth, in 1858, the Tennessee Historical

Society has published only a few pamphlets of minor importance, but it has done a valuable work in the way of collecting. A catalogue of the manuscripts in its possession reveals the whereabouts of some important ones which, it is to be hoped, will soon be laid before the public. The American Historical Magazine, published at Nashville under the auspices of the Department of History in the Peabody Normal College, will devote one number annually to the interests of the society. The Kentucky society does not ap pear to have published anything since 1882. The Filson Club, of Louisville, has done an invaluable service to Kentucky history, mainly in the way of collecting material. Its last publication, No. 16, relates to Boonesboro. The Missouri society has recently secured the valuable collection of Mr. F. H. Sampson, of Sedalia, who for, nearly thirty years has been engaged gathering historical material relating to Missouri, chiefly since Louisiana was purchased. The collection numbers over seven thousand, and will be made the nucleus of a great historical library which the society hopes to build up.

Two other societies deserve special mention. The Southern Historical Society, with headquar ters at Richmond, began the publication of its Papers in January, 1876, and has issued twentyeight volumes, all of which are concerned with the Civil War. Some of the later ones are of special value, being made up largely of reprints from Southern daily and weekly papers. The Southern Historical Association was organized at Washington City, April 24, 1896, by a number of distinguished gentlemen, statesmen and edu cators in particular being prominent. Its Publi cations are issued bi-monthly, and make a very interesting volume.

Very few of these societies have libraries of any consequence, though two or three number as many as five thousand volumes to their credit. In this respect Georgia leads. The society occupies Hodgson Hall, a brick stuccoed building fronting Forsyth Place in Savannah. The ground floor is used for the meetings of the society; the second is given up to the library, and contains twenty-three thousand volumes, besides many pictures, curios, old newspapers, and several valuable manuscripts. The society also has an endowment of $2,100, the income from which is not to be expended until the endowment reaches $50,000. Unfortunately, however, there has never been any income. It is due to two noble women, Mrs. Hodgson and her sister, Miss Telfair, to say that Hodgson Hall was erected by them and presented to the society as a memorial to the former's husband.

A few comparisons may be of interest, t

not very much to our credit, and may prove an incentive to better things. A bibliography of the historical societies in the Southern States in 1890-92 covered only 38 pages in the Report of the American Historical Association. That of Rhode Island alone covered 13; Pennsylvania, 44; New York, 55; and Massachusetts, 155. Whether the relative amount would be changed now the writer cannot say, but the Southern societies certainly could make a more creditable showing than they did ten years ago. However, this is not intended to encourage them to judge of the value of their material by its mass.

One of the most potent forces which have brought about this increased interest is the position taken by our colleges and universities in regard to historical study. Ten years ago the instruction given in this subject was shamefully deficient. The writer could name colleges of acknowledged respectability, with enrollments of from two to three hundred, and with property worth several hundred thousand dollars, which gave little or no attention whatever to it. Where it was noticed at all, the work generally was made a side issue to other departments. But happily those very colleges now have full departments of history and political economy, and others are following their lead as rapidly as their limited means will allow. The interest in several has become so great that the students maintain historical societies and issue publications. Those published by the Southern History Society of the Vanderbilt University have taken high rank as historical papers. A similar work is being done by several colleges in North Carolina. Thirty years ago, in an address before the Georgia Historical Society, Dr. Richard M. Arnold said: "While it was and is our duty to collect material for the history of the late great contest between the North and South, this is not the time for publication. . . Those who come after us have a high and holy task to perform. May they worthily fulfill it." If, as Professor Burgess says, the history of the United States from 1817 to 1858 can be written only by a Northerner, because the victor can and will be more liberal, generous, and sympathetic than the vanquished, and because the Northern view is, in the main, correct, it follows, for those very reasons, that the history of reconstruction must be written by Southerners, who were the ultimate victors in that life-and-death struggle. It is for that work, now one of the richest fields for investigation in American history, that the younger generation is being trained. The scientific spirit of the universities has largely di

vested them of inherited passions and prejudices, and they are going at the task of writing history with a simple desire to discover and tell the truth. At least one such book, The Reconstruction of Mississippi," by James Wilford Garner, 1901, has already appeared. That it is fair and adequate in its treatment is attested by both Northern and Southern reviewers. A similar work is waiting to be done in several other States. Doctors' theses dealing with such subjects are appearing every year.

The writer does not mean to convey the impres sion that no historical works of importance were produced by the old South. A few books of this kind, which deserve to rank with the best of their class, may be set down to her credit. But of late there has been a greater awakening to the importance of historical study, and within the last few years several notable books have appeared dealing with some period of Southern history. Dr. Alexander Brown's services in bringing to light the records relating to the settlement of Virginia have already met with deserved recog nition at the hands of scholars. Of the regular State histories, perhaps the most important is that by Mr. Edward McCrady, of Charleston, whose third volume brings the story of South Carolina down to 1780. A history of the Southern Confederacy on the diplomatic side, first given by Dr. J. M. Callahan as the Albert Shaw lectures on Diplomatic History at the Johns Hopkins University, was published last year. Another, dealing with the same subject on the financial and industrial side, by Prof. J. C. Schwab, was issued as one of the Yale Bi-centennial Publications. From which it appears that the interest in Southern history is not altogether local.

[ocr errors]

For another proof that the South is interested in history the writer would call attention to the fact that for several years Southern men, as fellows and scholars, have been prominent as historical students at some of the best Northern universities. The Justin Winsor prize, given by the American Historical Association for the encouragement of historical research, was awarded last year to a Southerner at Columbia Uni. versity, Mr. U. B. Phillips, for his study on "Georgia and State Rights." And when the daily papers in the South devote columns, and even whole pages, to matters purely historical, do the Nashville American, the Chattanooga Times, and the Charleston News and Courier, we must believe that the interest is not confined to a few students, but that it is more or less general.


« AnteriorContinuar »