A Southern picture of life at the North.
The Charleston Courier
contains a very interesting letter, which has gotten through the blockade, giving a description of the present style of life in the Yankee States
, and vouches for the reliability of the writer.
The letter comes direct from Montreal
, dated the 25th ult. It is very interesting, and we take the following extracts from It:
The Change in Lincoln's Despotism in New York.
The conservative masses, I am satisfied now, were always opposed to the war. A reign of terror existed for above a year.
People were dragged from their beds at night and thrown into prison. --Newspapers were suppressed, and the Administration indulged in every enormity with impunity, until the election of Seymour
of New York broke the chains.
Since then the partisans of peace have unloosed their tongues.
Vallandigham. an avowed peace man, received the largest vote ever thrown for a Democrat in Ohio
He was beaten by the soldiers vote and series of outrageous frauds.
In November last, Gunther
, an open and decided peace man, swept the city of New York
The New York Day Book
a furious opponent of the war, has nearly a hundred thousand circulation.
The New York News
, Ben. Wood
's paper, is avowedly for peace.
A prominent Democrat whom I met, and who had just returned from stumping New Hampshire
, asserted to me that eight out of every ten Democrats in that State were opposed to the war, and the stronger he talked peace, the more he delighted his hearers.
It is well known that the Administration carries the States elections by permitting those soldiers, and only those, who agree to vote the Abolition ticket, to go home on furlough at election time.
Description of life in New York City.
At present New York holds high carnival.
The enormously inflated currency gives an apparent gilding to everything.
Every man has more money (greenbacks) in his pockets than ever he had before.
It comes so easily — therefore he spends it lavishly.
Oxtail trade is stimulated to an extravagant degree.
Never before was there such a glitter and show, and bustle, and pleasure seeking in New York.
Mansions outliving the magnificence of European
palaces are going up on Fifth Avenue.--Five thousand showy equipages stream through the broad pathways of Central Park
The great thoroughfare, Broadway
, is a jam of omnibuses, carriages, and wagons; the sidewalks are a confused crush of pedestrians; the shop windows dazzle with their splendor.
A dozen theatre, a score of lesser shows, and a host of underground "concert and pretty waiter girl" saloons, are crammed to suffocation.
Grand balls follow each other nightly, where, as well as at the Italian Opera House
, the ladies blaze with diamonds and precious stones, and are gorgeous in silks, and rule, and lace, and moire antique.
Domenico's three restaurants, and a new palatial acting house, with gilded windows and doors on 14th street, called the "Maison Dorco," are filled with people at all hours, gorging themselves with rich food and getting merry over expensive wines.
has a huge gambling den on the most public part of Broadway
, where greenbacks are shoveled around by the bushel.
The country people swarm into town to get rid of their money and join in the frenzied dance around the altar of pleasure.
The hotels turn away hundreds daily.
Sometimes travelers ride from hotel to hotel for hours in a despairing search for accommodation.
Houses are almost impossible to procure, and rents are enormous.
The Stock Exchange is the scene of the wildest excitement.
Six sessions of the Stock Board are held daily, and as those are not enough to satisfy the passion for gambling, two more have been commenced for evenings, at the Fifth Avenue Hotel.--Fifty millions of dollars worth of stocks are sold daily and nightly.
Half of these stocks are acknowledged bubbles.
Fortunes are made in an hour.
I have been told of a clerk who ventured into the exchange with $160, and cleared the week with one hundred thousand, every cent of which, however, he lost in one week more.
and George Law, the stock kings, are wealthier than the Astors.
It has become unfashionable to cavil at a charge.
Ask any price and it will be given.
A lady pays $2,000 for a piece of brocade to make a dress; a man gives $10,000 for a span of carriage horses, and thinks nothing of it; another spends $5,000 on a dinner party; another pays $50 for a choice seat at the opera; another pays $10,000 a year rent for a three story house on Fifth Avenue (I know these figures will hardly look large to the eyes of the Confederate
readers, but it must be remembered that gold is at a premium of only 64 per cent, in New York city at present.) And thus everybody is taking a part in the saturnalia.
Even the soldiers receive from $400 to $1,000 bounty for re-enlisting, and contribute to the general jollification.
This picture is not overdrawn.
I doubt if the world's history ever knew of a similar era of popular delirium.
Some of the newspapers are alarmed, and cry out loudly against the outrageous extravagance of the hour.
The Abolition organ, the N. Y. Times
, entreats the people to go back to entrenched expenses and private economy, or make up their minds for financial ruin.
The fact is, almost every one regards the Federal
currency as eventually worthless but "we have got into the scrape, and it's too late to help it now." "The country is bound to go to the devil anyhow," and "we might as well have a good time white the fun lasts."
New York is not alone the abode of madmen Boston
, and Washington
display the same features, though to a more moderate extent.
But the disease is a national one, and it will be discovered prevailing among the land speculators in the interior of Michigan
as well as among the merchants and stock gamblers of the "Empire City
. " Foremost of those who have thriven by the war are the Government
Thousands have risen from comparative poverty to great affluence through their dealings with the Washington
So many of this class, vulgar and illiterate, but shrewd and unscrupulous men, with their wives and families, have prospered that a new order has been created in society — the "Shoddy Aristocracy," so called.
They spend money with unbounded extravagance, and may readily be recognized by their impudent assumptions of "ton," and a ridiculous display of jewelry.
I met one of these people in Montreal
a few days ago, who assured me that he had made half a million of dollars since the war commenced, and, added be with a chuckle, "everything I sell to the Government
, I make one hundred per cent. on."
It would not require the wisdom of a prophet to foresee where this will had the Yankees
to. It is one of the most hopeful signs of our ultimate triumph that our enemies are wasting their strength and substance in riotous living.
A picture of the street life.
It was the custom of our people, before they became a separate Confederation, to spend their summers at the North
, and I presume that to nine out of ten of your readers Broadway
has been almost as familiar as any street in Charleston
Perhaps it will interest them to know whether it has changed in its appearance these last three years. Many new and magnificent stores have arisen.
has a marble palace at the corner of 10th street. It is finer than any store I have seen in London
's theatre is in a new building on the block next to 14th street. There is a splendid hotel, with a marble front, on the corner of 26th street, called the "St.
," and another of equal magnificence lower down called the "Albemarle
." Nearly all of Broadway
, below Broome street, is occupied with wholesale stores.
The fashionable part of the street now extends as high up as 34th street. A horse railway runs through the upper part of Broadway
Madison Square is becoming the centre of the city.
It is faced by several fashionable hotels.
A new theatre is projected there, and the local authorities talk of building a new City Hall in the Park
The lower part of Broadway
preserves its olden features.
There is the same apparently inextricable jam of omnibuses opposite Barbum's Museum, and the Battery
clings to its latter day characteristics of dirt and unsavoriness.
The City Hall Park
is covered with unsightly wooden barracks for soldiers.
You remember the story of the countryman who got up on the steps of the Astor House
to wait "until the procession passed by." There is the same eternal procession passing up and down the sidewalks.
A fair proportion are soldiers, but the uniform appears much less frequent than in our cities.
To a Southern eye there is something very odd looking in the crowds of smartly dressed men, in broadcloth coats and "stove pipe" hats, who pass by. Up town the ladies trip along, arrayed in all the bues of the rainbow, and rejoicing in carefully displayed Balmoral
skirts and coal skittle bonnets, trimmed profusely with artificial flowers.
On the street corners newsboys yell in your ears the latest editions of the daily papers, with appetizing morsels of war news.
During the first two years of the war these industrious gamin
had a fresh Yankee victory for every hour of the day, but they have got over that sort of thing now. Even the most verdant pedestrian cannot now be taken in with a vociferous announcement of the "Capture of Richmond
," or the "Fall of Fort Sumter
." When night falls upon the city, Broadway
above the St. Nicholas
is illuminated far and wide with the gas light
from the shop windows.
The principal theatre and minstrel halls announce their presence in letters of fire.
Crowds throng about these places of amusement waiting for the doors to open.
The gilded and brilliantly lighted rum shops and oyster saloons, and ice cream
gardens, bustle with sager customers and breathless waiters.
And the gay multitude, scarcely thinned from its day time proportions, continue to crowd the pavements.
Later in the evening after the theatres have dismissed their patrons and sent them homeward bound, the street is given up to the orgies of sin, Drunken soldiers, spearing on their bounty, real along, with vocal accompaniment; female frailty displays its painted cheek and bedizened charms, and the underground concert halls, which line every step of the sidewalk, sound with revelry and music and oftentimes with the tumult of personal conflict.
, in all its phases, is a fair daguerreotype of that curious, and that versatile species of the "genus home," the universal Yankee nation,
The Press — its Divisions.
A prominent feature of New York has always been its newspaper press.
Before the war our people used to be familiar with the peculiarities of all the leading journals.
They preserve still the same characteristics.
is quite as ridiculous and bombastic as of old. A while ago it was urging Lincoln
Suddenly it dropped Abraham and took up General Grant
Now the only man to save the Yankees
from ruin is this same Grant
, while "Old Abe" is nothing but a "smutty joker," to use the Herald's
goes in for whipping England
off hand, but is willing to pardon the "rebels" if they will embrace the amnesty, and would not object to the escape of Jeff Davis
, provided he craw is off quietly through Texas
has distinguished itself lately by coming out as an advocate of amalgamation.
That reminds me that Rev. Dr. Tying
has declared lately in the pulpit that the negro is the superior
of the white man. Greeley
belongs to the anti-Lincoln faction of the Republican party, and inclines towards Chase
— The Times
is the official Lincoln
It is violent, vindictive and mendacious in its abolitionism.
belongs to the pie-bald Democracy; that is a small clique of weak headed and weak kneed politicians, who believe "slavery is dead" and the war ought to be prosecuted, though it is all wrong.
It is the vehicle of considerable high sounding rhetoric.
and Day Book
are peace papers, even to the extent of recognizing the independence of the South
The Journal of Commerce
gives the war a weak support and would advocate peace it. It had the courage.
is a malignant enemy of the South
It is rabid on the war question.
has a mixed creed — It supports the war and goes for peace, and praises Jeff Davis
and wants to see him hanged, and denounces slavery and opposes abolitionism, and is in a muddle generally.
The old Commercial Advertiser
is now conducted by Hurlbut
, formerly of Charleston
, and still later of the Richmond prisons
When our authorities arrested him, he was indignant that his devotion to the South
should be questioned, but he goes for a "vigorous prosecution of the war" now. The Courier
Its proprietor, Col. James Watson Webb
, who wanted to head the Seventh regiment and drive the rebels into the Gull of Mexico
, has gone off to Brazil
as Old Abe's Ambassador.
Confederate refugees in Canada.
The British Possessions are crowded with refugees from the South
, most of them the victims of expatiation from Kentucky
and the banks of the Mississippi river
There are a few families from the Atlantic coast
I have met two from Charleston
Donegan's Hotel is the Confederate
The alliance between England
and the Confederacy
, was cemented informal style a few weeks ago. Lord Abinger, who is an officer of the Guards, one of the "crack" British regiments now in garrison here, was married to Miss Magruder
, the beautiful and accomplished niece of the Confederate
commander in Texas
.--All that was lovely and chivalrous of the two empires, sojourning in Montreal
, appeared at the nuptials.