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OVER THE STRAIT.
All States that are liberal of naturalisation towards strangers, are fit for empire.
N the Atlantic sea-board the cities and people are
essentially English in character. In Carolina, in Virginia, in Maryland, in Pennsylvania, in Massachusetts, in Maine, the first settlers were men and women of British birth..
It is related that when the “ May Flower” was ready to sail from Delft-haven for Southampton, en route for the New World, some wealthy Dutch burghers came forward and wished to join the pilgrims in their enterprise. “Nay, nay,” said the English Puritans with one voice,
we go to found a New England in the far west, and none but men of English blood, and who speak the English language shall help in that great work.” So it came to pass, and hence it is, that among this section of the American people you find greener and kindlier memories of the old country than elsewhere. Westward it is not so. As in olden time there arose a king in Egypt who "knew not Joseph," so in the Great West there has risen a people who cherish no traditions of England, like those retained by the dwellers in the Eastern States.
Many English who have emigrated to the West, have done so when commercial distress prevailed at home; with recollections of “ hard times" in their minds, they have naturally retained somewhat bitter thoughts of the land in which their lot was poverty. One of these said to me, “I will never return to live in a country in which I saw men and women begging bread from day to day.”
Worse still are the Irish. More ignorant even than the English peasant, poorer than the German emigrant, more under priestly influence than either, what wonder that they should dwell upon their real wrongs until the memory of them has eaten into their very soul, and become the parent of fancied wrongs. These men are no doubt uncivil to English strangers, but we must recognise in this a punishment visited upon us for the misdeeds of our Government in times past. The policy of English rulers in Ireland, of doing “those things which they ought not to have done,” and leaving “undone those things which they ought to have done,” is now gielding its fruit in bitter thoughts and cruel actions even across the wide Atlantic. With the children of these emigrants will come & change. In their New World homes, education will emancipate their minds from ignorance, though probably not from prejudice; industry will raise them above poverty, and they will become order-loving citizens. To these we would say, “think kindly of old England, for they who dwell there are of the same stock as yourselves, and in their hearts they cherish the same earnest love of freedom."
On my way to the Mississippi I halted at the city of Detroit. In the old French times, it was a frontier post on the “strait”; now it is a thriving commercial city, as large as Quebec and Toronto rolled into one. Up to its wharfs comes the plash of Erie's tideless waters, and northward through the lake and river St. Clair you enter the lordly Huron. Sailing up this inland sea to Mackinaw is an experience closely akin to ocean voyaging. In fact, during spring and late autumn, the navigation of these lakes is more dangerous than the open sea. The winds
lash the saltless and less dense waters into fury, and paddle-wheel steamers are then useless; hence it comes, that all steamers going west from Buffalo into the great lakes are
screw-propellers," and they are without the third tier of state-rooms, universal on the Hudson-river and Sound boats. The owner of the steamer on which I embarked, told me that he had been on her when the water swept over her decks in waves several feet in height. It is not often one finds a French skipper, and yet this man was both owner and skipper in one. Twelve years ago he left the Empire, and now seems supremely happy under the Republic.
I was surprised to find fully one-third of the shops open on Sunday in Detroit, -very little attention is paid to the day in spirit, though there is some in form ;scarcely any trains run on Sundays, and yet smoking, drinking, and newspaper reading go on as usual among many sections of the people. Yet even here the good work does not slnmber, it is silently leavening the whole
The young men have banded themselves together in a Christian Association, and the city has been famed for its array of churches.
A few miles from Detroit is Ann Arbor, the most democratic University in the world, as it will some day be one of the richest, for its modest foundation dowry is 1,000,000 acres of Michigan land. Here are gathered 1,300 students ; amongst them one lady. A fee of ten dollars on admission and five dollars annually, are the only charges made to each individual. Competitive rivalry is discouraged in lecture-room and study. Canada sends 90 young men to the University, and there are students from every State of the Union. After graduating here, many of them go to Germany, to pursue a wider range of studies at Leipsic, Bonn, or Berlin. All the English
magazines of any note are found in the reading-room of the University. Large numbers of German works in the original, and translations of them, find readers in America. It is well-known that there are many streets in Chicago, Buffalo, and Cincinnati in which German is almost exclusively spoken. Tbis vast University of Michigan is only in keeping with other evidences of intellectual life among the people. In the farm-houses there are good libraries. It is calculated that English works have a circulation in America ten times greater than in England. The publishing firm of Harper Bros. of New York print one book a minute, or half a million yearly. One of the Professors at Ann Arbor is an Englishman by birth, but of 15 years American standing. He spoke with feeling of the students who came under his eye, as being brave, pure-minded young men, full of noble impulses-and in every way worthy of the nation. A gentleman of my acquaintance was one of a deputation from the Canadian Board of Trade who visited the University, and he told me that the young ladies of Ann Arbor placed their carriages at the disposal of the gentlemen of the deputation, and showed them every kindness and hospitality in their power. In “Greater Britain” my readers will find a full and minute account of the University from Sir C. Dilke's able
pen. The good steamer “Dean Richmond” on her voyage ap lake Erie stopped for a breathing space at Cleveland, the most beautiful city of Ohio. Its streets are so profusely planted with shade trees, that Cleveland has won the name of the “Forest City.”
The night when I left Detroit was bitterly cold, and very thankful was I to share the warm home-spun blanket of an English settler bound for Iowa. At daybreak we found ourselves passing through a series of open glades
in the forest. Away to the northward, magnificent timber trees of first growth are still repaying the lumberer for his toil. I had seen the spoils of this region in the shape of huge logs of walnut on barges floating down lake Erie. The train rushed on, bearing us through the "oak-openings” of Southern Michigan; by the edge of reedy swamps which are still the haunts of the wild-duck and heron ; past settlers' clearings and fields of sugar
The energy of Saxon and Teuton life has invaded a region whose solitudes were once roamed by Canadian coureurs de bois ; emphé and sorghum grow on the spot where prairie-grass flourished, and maize springs up amid the charr'd stumps of hemlocks and cedars. The blooms of these open glades were once the chosen gathering-grounds of wild bees. Man, the spoiler, broke into their treasure-cells and the insect colony has taken wing, but its tribes have not forsaken bloom and flower, without in their retreat, teaching
The act of order to a peopled kingdom. The hollow forest-trees which they garrisoned as citadels, and in which they stored the honey, have given place to villages, in which Saxon law is kept, and Saxon words are spoken. In glades where the bee-hunter practised his craft, we now hear the cow-bells, and where his log-storehouse stood on the banks of the Kalimazoo, a steamer is to-day loading the cargo of peaches which Chicago calls for every twenty-four hours. We have wound our way through sand-hills, shapeless mounds which are the drift-winds' monuments, we have glided for two or three miles over the lake on a tressel-bridge, and are now safe and sound in one of the fourteen railway termini of Chicago.
There is in the British army a regiment which claims to carry on its banners the proud motto of “Primus in.