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three or four years ago, General Almonte, the then minister from Mexico, was considered the Lkadrb of the corps diplomatique in Washington! When the United States claimed twenty-five millions of francs, as an indemnity due from France to our citizens, the best British periodicals, being fully convinced of the awkwardness and inexperience of our ministers abroad, made use of this laconic remark: "Jonathan has claimed the money, and Jonathan will have it;" and the prophecy became true.

And now let us see what men the United States has had to represent her interests, successively, in England, France, Russia, and Germany, and compare them with the comparatively obscure men whom Europe has sent to America. We were represented by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Jefferson, Monroe, Clay, John Quincy Adams, Livingston, Rush, Gallatin, Dallas, Buchanan, Cass, Everett, Wheaton, and Bancroft,—a galaxy of statesmen, jurists, historians, and philosophers, of which any country in its palmiest days might well be proud, and embracing a greater number of men of historical renown, than fill the annals of all European diplomacy in the same space of time. In comparison to these men, all the names Europe has sent us, might well befit the inmates of a charity hospital, and the best European writers would hardly assign them a better place among the notabilities of their own country. In short, our ill-paid diplomatic agents, the objects of so much private and official pity, have managed to maintain their rank and position; while the whole business of the corps diplomatique in the United States seems to consist in gracing the social circles of the boundless metropolis. It is they who set the fashions in Washington; bat it does not appear that their influence extends over more than a dozen families. The people of Washington are essentially poor, and their imitation of outlandish manners seldom goes beyond a late hour for breakfast or dinner. The foreign ministers themselves have, within the last ten or twelve years, gradually reduced their expenses, and it is no exaggeration to ssy that the greater part of them do not nearly live surrounded by the comfort and elegance of our wealthy merchants in the Atlantic cities.

Great stress is laid in Washington on having the entrfe to a foreign minister, and great are die social privileges granted to some of these gentlemen for this sort of favour. In Europo, >n ambassador's house is scarcely looked upon M more private than a public hotel, and an invitation to the ball of a foreign minister is not valued higher than in New York the permission ){ joining "a hop" at the Astor. Everybody goes, and no man of a certain

respectability can well be excluded. The case is different with the invitations to parties en petit comiti, which are the only ones that entitle you to a call on the family of the minister ;—all others give you only the privilege of carding. The fact is, the corps diplomatique, from its very position, cannot lead society in any country. The elements of which it is composed are too heterogeneous to admit of assimilation; and if such an assimilation were possible, every oivilized country would have a right to expect that its own standard of manners should be adopted by foreigners.

Passing from the corps diplomatique to the other privileged classes of Washington, we come to the secretaries and heads of bureaux. The former live in Washington pretty much as they like—sometimes in accordance with their future hopes and aspirations. Those who expect to rise higher, entertain pretty liberally; those who expect to return to private life, or to try their fortunes once more in an inferior capacity, generally manage to live within their income, which is modest enough even for the sternest republicans. Once a year only they are obliged, by the custom of the place, to keep open house, and entertain whoever chooses to visit them, viz., on New Year's day; but a glass of wine and a piece of cake is all that is expected of their hospitality. The heads of bureaux, for some time past, seem to have given up the practice of entertaining members and senators. Life is too short, and living too expensive, to waste money and politeness on men who, as the experience of former times has shown, are seldom propitiated by such a course. Instances have occurred, in whioh the invited guests of such parties have actually intrigued against their hospitable entertainers in favour of absent friends, so that mine host not only lost his wine and his trouble, but his place to boot.

The President of the United States is, socially speaking, a being sui generis, that is, altogether beyond the reach of ordinary capacities. He is bound by no rule of etiquette except such as he establishes himself; and it is precisely for this reason that even the chief magistrate cannot contribute to the refinement and agreeable entertainment of Washington society. The President is a stranger in Washington; residing there only for a few years, and incapable, during that short period, either to shako off the burdensome dignity of office, or the predilections and prejudices of party. Presidential usage requires him to receive friends and foes with apparent cordiality, and jrhat is more, to dine them alphabetically. Such entertainments must, from their very nature, be stiff and ceremonial, and can only serve to render the hospitality of the White House an onerous duty to the American President. The presidential mansion, on this account, always has the appearance of the most cheerless building in the whole city: although its windows look into Virginia, the most hospitable state of the old confederacy. It is neither a castle, nor the humble dwelling of a private citizen; everybody has a right to go there, and yet none may say that he is sure of a hearty weleome. To the occupants pro ttm, it may be something between a boardinghouse and a family mansion, without the independence or comfort of either; but to the people of Washington, it is very little more than one of the departments of the government. It is a place for official receptions and bows; but the civilities there interchanged seldom warm into the agreeable liking of an acquaintance, and rarely into lasting friendship. There is no greater stranger in Washington than the President himself; and strangers cannot be supposed to set the fashions or to exercise much influence on the standard of conventional manners. The early Virginia Presidents were, in this respect, a little better circumstanced. Their homes being near, they maintained an agreeable intercourse with their personal friends, which served as an introduction to a larger sphere of interesting acquaintances.

One of the misfortunes of Washington consists undoubtedly in the asperity of political feelings, and the strong partisan character of many of its most conspicuous inhabitants. The people of the District have no vote in regard to the presidency, and yet nowhere are political distinctions more rigidly preserved and cherished. The town being small, every person of note is soon known; and as there seem to be few other pursuits in Washington than politics, differences in relation to them are constantly brought in view and commented upon. The best breeding cannot entirely suppress all feeling on the subject, and the periodical changes of members and officers are admirably caleulated to sharpen the stings of disappointment and revenge. There are, of course, men above the vexations of party; but their number is small, from the fact that there are but few private fortunes in Washington of sufficient magnitude to render their possessors independent, and scarcely any road to wealth, or even competence, except through official patronage. Everybody in Washington lives on the government or its functionaries, and every new administration necessarily unsettles every species of real and personal property.

The strong partisan feeling in Washington is undoubtedly the cause why Congress' has heretofore shown so little disposition to make the necessary appropriations for its improve

ment. Washington is beautifully situated, and laid out in a manner infinitely superior to that of any other city in the Union. It might be made the abode of science and the arts, and become the resort of fortune, retired from the more arduous pursuits of life. It has admirable drives in the neighbourhood, and the Capitol grounds themselves arc unsurpassed in the whole country for the beauty of the prospect enjoyed from them. The avenues are all as wide, or nearly so, as the Champs Elytfa in Paris, and might, with proper care, be rendered shady and delightful. Congress ought to appropriate annually not less than the sum of one hundred thousand dollars towards making Washington worthy of its name, and of being the metropolis of the giant republic of the nineteenth century; and this appropriation would probably be agreed to in Congress, but for the party hostilities exhibited by some of its inhabitants. Washington, with suitable improvements, might be made the most delightful city in the United States. It might not, indeed, rival New York or Philadelphia in some respects; but it would possess advantages possessed byno other city—such as close contact with the epitome of the national mind, constant freshness of society, moving sketches of metropolitan and provincial life, and the indispensable prerequisites of refined society—a constant number of families of independent fortune and position, who would be able to fix on some national, purely American standard of manners. Such a society, no doubt, Washington will, in the end, command in a superior degree to any other city in the Union; but it is not to be found there now, and may not be called into existence for the next ten years.

To sum up, Washington is the most singular place in the world. Its most distinguished inhabitants, the gentlemen highest in office, have little or no influence on society, indeed they may hardly be said to belong to it; while those who constitute its chief ornaments are, after all, but officials; the few fortunes in Washington being hardly sufficient to take the lead. Washington is, and will yet remain for many years, a huge caravansary for politicians from all parts of the globe; but few of the faithful will ever think of erecting mosques and harems in its neighbourhood. You may there meet with many agreeable and entertaining people; but they are birds of passage like yourself, and so completely interspersed with persons of accidental position, whom nobody cares to know, that they only excite the desire of meeting them elsewhere, where one could enjoy their society without intrusion.

The President's social intercourse with the people of Washington is usually confined to j receptions and levees, to which the public are invited through the newspapers. My experience about these receptions and levees is that they are the most tiresome things one can well conceive of, though exceedingly proper, nay, praiseworthy in themselves. The recep-' tions are stiff from their very nature; being as it were obligatory on the part of the President, and have yet this inconvenience, that they present you constantly with new faces, and that the company is seldom numerous enough to admit of an agreeable chat without being observed or noted by a reporter. The case is different with the levees, which are always jammed after the fashion of the crushroom at the London Opera House. One cannot, of course, call this society; as well might you consider the people in the streets your company: but the custom is laudable, and the idea which introduced it in perfect unison with the simplicity of our government. Once every month, if not oftener, the President opens his house, (which is in fact the people's house,) to all who wish to pay their respects to him. He receives them, not as their chief magistrate, but as a gentleman receives his invited guests, who, on that occasion, are his equals and must be treated with cordial civility. Considering that everybody goes, and that there is no master of ceremonies appointed to preserve order and decorum among the visiters, the scene at the levee of an American President is a source of just pride to every citizen. I have never noticed any glaring impropriety such as one doea notice occasionally at European courts, where none arc invited who have not been regularly presented; and as to the eagerness with which, according to foreign criticism, "the universal mob at a President's levee" attack the refreshments, it has been vastly exceeded by the telect mob of Frenchmen and Englishmen in their rush to the supper-room at the Tuileries. I doubt whether any European sovereign would be personally safe in throwing his palace open to a mixed multitude, and there is certainly no city in Europe the entire population of which would, under such circumstances, conduct themselves with such distinguished propriety as the people of Washington.

And here I think it is proper that I should notice some of the agreeable things in and ibout the federal city, which atone really in a great measure for its foibles. One of them is the unpretending, generous hospitality which the people extend, without scarcely an exception, to respectable strangers from all parts of the Union. There are no "vulgar upstarts" about Washington, there is no "codfish aristocracy," as Mr. Bennett has baptized it, no irritating and offensive exclusiveness on the part of self-constituted " upper classes." The

very poverty of the people of Washington protects them from the vulgar pride of wealth and the vices of n society merely based on fortune. There is none of the crudeness and arrogance of a fast-growing place, though of course none of the vigour and energy which accompany the movements of such communities.

Washington, moreover, is delightful from the absence of all inquisitive neighbours, no matter in what part of the town you happen to reside. Neighbours, in a city, arc always troublesome; they are a sort of forced acquaintance which every one tries to get rid of as best he can, without giving offence or rendering himself obnoxious to their censure; their very sympathy is distressing, and even in prosperity little better than an annoyance. The people of Washington are not much troubled with such affectionate incumbrances, and a sudden transition from Boston, for instance, to the federal city, must really produce a very lively sensation of individual and social independence.

Again, Washington has no mob, though in lieu thereof a mixed population of free blacks and slaves, constituting by far the worst body of servants in the United States. I do not remember having conversed with a Washingtonian who did not complain of his " domestics." As the evil is generally felt, I wonder they do not propose some adequate means of effecting a cure. At all events, the absence of a mob is a pretty good offset against the absence of good servants, and adds certainly much to the security of property in the District, the whole of which is guarded by about sixteen watchmen and an auxiliary guard, of which I never saw but the captain.—Perhaps the rest are militia!

Among the other good things in Washington, I must not forget to mention a very important one in all cities and all times; I would here allude to the absence of all provincial feeling, and the presence of a high-toned comprehensive patriotism which embraces the whole Union. This is the more gratifying when contrasted with the state pride of the inhabitants of other cities, which but too often degenerates into a sentiment almost antagonistical to Americanism. To whatever extent partisan feelings in politics may be carried in Washington, a genuine imperishable love of the Union, of the whole country, is a characteristic quality of its inhabitants. One cannot but be convinced that here, after all, beats the national heart! With all the vexations of mind and body to which strangers are exposed in the federal city, few will leave it without grateful remembrances, and an attachment to its very soil, which will make a return to it an object of gratification and delight

"GIVE ME BACK MY LETTERS.

BY HISS E. BOOART.

Give back thy letters?—Take them—there,
I've done with them, and thee!

They're hollow as the empty air,
And worthless, now, to me.

I prixed them only while I deemed

Thy heart was in etwih line;
I worshipped truth, and never dreamed

I bowed at falsehood's shrine.

Ah, life's illusions are so sweet,

An '■"/-■ in them is told t
Years are outstript by visions fleet,

Which pass, and leave us, oUL

Like rose leaves scattered on the wine,

The poisoned draught to hide. So did each written page of thine

Conceal deception's tide.

Then take thy letters back again,

And read them if thou wilt, And let them shame the treacherous pen,

Which love's false fabric built.

Take back the memory of the past!

I have abolished all—
'Tis sealed within thy packet, fast.

That thou may'st it recall.

I cast it from me, and am free,

For now, I know thee not I Unmasked, I find thou art not ho,

Whom I had ne'er forgot.

The semblance only thou dost wear,

The intellectual face,
From Nature stolrn, or elsewhere

It must hare found it s place.

And thou dost ask thy letters, now,

The missives of thy art!
A scornful smile is on my brow,

And lightness in my heart.

Take back—take back thy written words!

They have no power for me!
Truth only has the strength that girds

A lasting memory.

THE RIVAL SONGSTERS.

BY HISS E. A. STARR.

(See Engraving.)

Ah I plume thy crest, my pretty bird,

And shake thy happy wings, In glad defiance of the cage

That o'er thee empty swings; And tune the song that thrilled the groves

Of thine own tropic clime, As swelled each note to the magic touch,

Of the bright year's flowery prime.

Perchance thy mate, in yonder vine,

Awaits thy charmed note,
To spread the wing, and on the air.

In wooing dalliance float.
I hear his call, his clear, low call,

And from my hand you flutter,
To pour a strain which seems to trill

To a thought too sweet to utter.

Yet which of all thy rapturous strains

Can ever tell for me,
The bliss which gathers at my heart,

In a gush of melody?

The strong delight, the human joy,
Thy tones can ne'er express;

For thy tiny breast, with such a
Would break with happiness.

The summer leavos will bring to thee,

Dear wish, a happy nest,
But not so dear as the tender hope

Which triumphs in my breast;
Which springs with instant blushes forth,

To a charm I cannot speak,
Though I feel it warming at my heart,

And mantling'on my cheek.

Other vines may bud and thickets bloom,

By the spring dews gently wet,
My heart is still the happiest thing

Of all the season yet;
And birds may sing their vernal joys,

With love's entrancing art,
But the happy voice outvies them all,

Which is warbling at my heart.

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