‘A Dundee Working Man on America—No. 10.’ (22 April, 1882)

The following is part of a series of articles on the condition of the United States of America for working class Scottish immigrants. One of the core tenants of The People’s Journal was to encourage self-improvement for the working classes. For these reason the paper would regularly promote emigration and provide news  and publish correspondence from the major destination of Scots in the period (the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). Here the discussion focuses on Mormonism. An extremely contentious issue at the time which inspired much suspicion (see Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1887 novel ‘A Study in Scarlet’.

The Mormon Question.

One of the greatest questions now agitating the people of this country is, Shall Mormonless be permitted to continue its baneful, pernicious, and unholy despotism in this country, or shall we blot out for ever this deep stain on America’s [illegible]? Utah, the land of the Mormons, lies to the far west, almost direct west from New York. It s for the most part in a deep basin, surrounded by high mountains—the Great Salt Lake basin—and the lakes and rivers have no outlet. The Great Salt Lake is 100 miles long and 50 broad. There are 84,000 square miles in the territory. The soil is fertile and the climate, though dry and cool, is very healthy. About three-fourths dry and cool, is very healthy. About three-fourths of the inhabitants are Mormons. At the present time there are about 125,000 Mormons in Utah, and in the neighbouring States or territories 35,000 more. Some of your readers may not know to what extent this brutalising system is allowed to go on here. A celebrated New York preacher, the Rev. Dr Newman, speaking of Mormonism recently, said:—“Mormonism is a political body in the disguise of a church. It s a nullification, disloyalty, treason. It is a despotism, and the head of the Church is the despot. His immediate kingdom is Utah, with 150,000 deluded people; his remote kingdom is the world, and all men are his subjects. He is styled ‘prophet,’ ‘seer,’ and ‘revelator,’ and assumes that he is the only mediator through whom Jehovah reveals His will to man. He assumes infallibility, and claims the right to direct everything, from the slightest matter to the most important. The Mormons are bound to consult him. He claims the exclusive right to marry and to divorce. Each Mormon is required to pay one-tenth of his possessions when he enters the Church, and thereafter to pay one-tenth of his annual increases. This amount is paid over in trust for the saints to the President of the Church, who is to-day the richest man in America. As a civil and an ecclesiastical ruler the head of Mormondom claims the right to sentence offenders to death, and the twelve apostles believe in slaying the Lord’s enemies, no matter whom they may be. Mormonism is anti-republican. It is a kingdom within our Republic. It is a despotism under our own flag. It dreams of the conquest of the world. Polygamy is an incidental evil of this monstrous political despotism in our midst. We are reaping the evils of procrastination. We have dallied with this iniquity till it now alarms us. We esteemed Mormonism a standing joke to be laughed out of existence, but to-day it commands out most serious attention. We said it would succumb to the march of civilisation. In 1850 we organised a Territorial Government composed of Mormons, and thus recognised the Government. We have allowed the national domain to be parcelled out by that Territorial Legislature, and most of it by fraud. We have suffered emigrants to enter Utah from all lands. We have consented that all such persons should be clothed with the rights of citizenship, and we have permitted the women of that Territory to be invested with the power of the ballot, which women are white slaves. We have waited till the enemy is organised into secret military forces in the possession of arms, and who are now drilling for their advance. Nay, more, for ten years Republicans and Democrats have sat in Congress with a Mormon and a polygamist, who has recently flaunted in the face of the nation his contempt for the law of 1862. These are out delinquencies.” Continue reading “‘A Dundee Working Man on America—No. 10.’ (22 April, 1882)”

‘A Dundee Working Man on America—No. 9.’ (15 April, 1882)

The following is part of a series of articles on the condition of the United States of America for working class Scottish immigrants. One of the core tenants of The People’s Journal was to encourage self-improvement for the working classes. For these reason the paper would regularly promote emigration and provide news  and publish correspondence from the major destination of Scots in the period (the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).

Advice To Emigrants.

In the Southern Atlantic States there is a fine climate, and much good land offered at reasonable prices, but with the exception of Florida, the social, political, and educational conditions of these States are not such as to make emigration to them desirable. These States are ruled too much by the pistol, the rifle, and the shot-gun to make life agreeable there. Florida is obtaining a large number of northern settlers, and though some portions of the State are subject to malarious fevers, and its principal towns suffer from yellow fever, the climate in the interior is delightful, and the culture of the orange, lemon, fig, and other semi-tropical fruits is becoming large and profitable. Land in desirable portions of the State is in much demand, and is bringing higher prices than that I have named in other States. Tennessee (East Tennessee in particular), has much desirable land, having a delightful climate, great mineral wealth, and much valuable timber; and in many places a fertile soil. A number of large [illegible] from great Great Britain have already located themselves here, and most of them are doing well. Land can be obtained at low prices, especially if purchased for colonies in large tracts. In Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa there are no very desirable lands belonging to the Government. Some railroad Directors and others have land grants, and will sell alternate sections to settlers at from six to ten dollars per acre. These lands being on trunk railroad lines are in many cases desirable as investments. Minnesota has a fertile soil, great enterprise, and a magnificent future. The climate in winter is cold, but dry and uniform. In summer it is delightful. In the western portion of the State is the best land for spring wheat in the United States. This region is attracting great numbers of emigrants. Land in every way desirable can now be procured in this region under the Homestead Act or under the Timber Culture Act. Every citizen of the United States, or those who declare their intention to become such, over twenty-one years of age, whether male or female (except the married female), possesses three rights entitling him or her to 480 acres of Government land, a pre-emption homestead, and an entry under the Timber Culture Act. A pre-emption is a fourth of a section, or 160 acres of land obtained by occupancy and improvement and the payment of 1 dollar 25 cents per acre, or 200 dollars for 160 acres. Payment can be made at any time after 6 months, or within 33 months from date of entry, and a deed obtained allowing to dispose of or hold the purchase at will. A homestead is a similar tract obtained by the payment of 14 dollars Government fees, and the continued occupancy and improvement of the land for five successive years. Persons are not required to remain on it uninterruptedly, but an abandonment for six months works a forfeiture. Those who prefer, and are able, can secure a title after six months by paying the pre-emption price. A claim under the Timber Culture Act is secured by paying 14 dollars Government fees, and the planting of tree seeds or cuttings to the amount of ten acres. Three years time is allowed for this, making the cost merely nominal. Two years are allowed before any trees need be planted, and the entire expense, if done by employed labour, will not exceed 120 dollars for the entry. Persons entering a claim for timber culture are not require to occupy it, or even go upon it, if they do not desire to do so. The improvements can be made by employed help. Every individual may enter either pre-emption or homestead, and a claim under the Timber Culture Act at the same time, making 320 acres, and often fulfilling the requirements of the law regulating either of these former two, can exercise his remaining unoccupied right giving him 480 acres. Persons wishing to enter these lands must appear in person at a Territorial Untied States Land office, or before a Clerk of the Court for the country in which the land is located.

I have tried to make this rather complicated land getting system as easy of understanding as I could. It can scarcely be thoroughly understood at the first glance; but I have no doubt but those who intend coming here in the agricultural interest will give this or any other and better description of how land can be obtained in this country more than a passing glance. My information is not based on any claptrap advertisements or agencies. The most of it is taken from statistics published by the Statistical Bureau at Washington and from reliable parties who have been in and seen the workings of the most of our States. I could give you an account of more of our States and Territories, but as they are something of a repetition of the others, I conclude it would be too dry for the generality of your readers. Continue reading “‘A Dundee Working Man on America—No. 9.’ (15 April, 1882)”

‘A Dundee Working Man on America—No. 8.’ (8 April, 1882)

The following is part of a series of articles on the condition of the United States of America for working class Scottish immigrants. One of the core tenants of The People’s Journal was to encourage self-improvement for the working classes. For these reason the paper would regularly promote emigration and provide news  and publish correspondence from the major destination of Scots in the period (the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). Here the discussion focuses on employment.

Employment Agencies—How to Purchase Land—Best States to Settle In.

Before referring to the principal States which are most recommended to those who follow agricultural industry, allow me to warn all intending emigrants, of what ever class or sex, not to be led away be advertisements, whether in newspapers or otherwise, inviting there to patronise what are called “intelligence offices” or “employment agencies.” The advertisement generally reads something like this—“All unemployed help gladly assisted in obtaining employment. Call from 10 to 2. Merchants Mutual, 42 Fourth Avenue.” There are a great many such offices in large cities here. I have no doubt some of them are honest enough, but the difficulty is in knowing which is which.

Again there is another form of getting employment when emigrants (or greenhorns as they are called) land here; it is termed “The Castle Garden Labour Bureau.” I believe this Bureau is an honest affair. But I think it is far better for the emigrants, both male and female, to bring, if they can, a little money with them, so that they can go to any place where they may have relations or acquaintances, or where they have some knowledge that some particular State or place has more inducements than others for them. The following is a summary of the number of emigrants who were provided with work by the Labour Bureau last year, with the wages paid to farm hands and female servants:—

Males. Females.
Irish, 11,131 8,863
German, 23,812 1,125
Scandinavians, 812 273
Russians and Poles, 912 21
Swiss, 1,070 166
Hungarians and Bohemians, 585 147
English, Scotch, and Welsh, 522 302
French, 106 28
Hollanders, 58 9
Italians, 32 5
Arabs, 3
Turks, 3 1
Canadians, 10
Armenians, 2

The average monthly wages paid to farm labourers and female servants for whom work was procured, according to the statistics of the Labour Bureau, was as follows:— Continue reading “‘A Dundee Working Man on America—No. 8.’ (8 April, 1882)”

‘A Dundee Working Man on America—No. 7’ (1 April, 1882)

The following is part of a series of articles on the condition of the United States of America for working class Scottish immigrants. One of the core tenants of The People’s Journal was to encourage self-improvement for the working classes. For these reason the paper would regularly promote emigration and provide news  and publish correspondence from the major destination of Scots in the period (the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). Here the discussion focuses on literature and a visit to Niagara falls.

Literature—Extravagance—Amusements—

Barnum’s Show—Visit to Niagara

                If there is one thing above another in which you far excel the Yankees it is in literature. We have two or three good magazines and a few good newspapers, but, generally speaking, the American press is very frivolous. The one half is taken up with politics, and the other half with anything that is horrible, sensational, or laughable. But what must I say in speaking of periodicals? All I have seen are of the Jack Sheppard and Claude Duval kind. But such stuff pleases the readers, and, I suppose, pays the publishers. But the literature of America wants the backbone of the literature of Great Britain. But we must not lay all this to the blame of Brother Jonathan himself. We must remember the heterogeneous mass of people there are in this country. The cosmopolitan character of nationalities which are represented in America may be gathered from the fact that over fifty different kinds, embracing every land and clime in Europe—Asia, Africa, and Australasia—landed in New York last year. So that in printing matter there are lots of different tastes to be considered.

There is one class besides the Chinese who are held in low estimation in America—viz., the poor darkie. As far as I have ever seen there is nothing but his colour (a thing he cannot help) to mark him out as not being in most respects the equal of his brother of the North. Not long ago ta conductor of a street car was fined for turning one out of his car merely because his skin was black, and there is a manager of a theatre going to appear as defendant in a case where he turned one out of his place of amusement. There was a Yankee who was going a-fishing and took a young ebony along with him. On crossing a very dangerous ferry the young darkie fell overboard. The Yank instantly sprang after him. Both were nearly drowned before they were got on board the boat again, and the rest of the white passengers began to remonstrate with the white man for being so foolish as to risk his life for a negro. He replied—“I didn’t care a cuss for the darned black whelp, but he had all the bait in his pocket.

I think it was Geordie the Third that said, “Sailors earned their money like horses and spent it like asses.” I think this may apply very well to Americans generally, for they win good wages by working hard, and they are not slow in spending them. It is quite a common thing for a young man to take his sweetheart or a married man to take his wife out on Sunday in a vehicle and drive her all round the town, and in winter the wife or sweetheart thinks herself slighted if she is not taken out sleigh riding. Why, this very day (second day of the year) I saw dozens and dozens of working men with their wives and sweethearts sleigh riding, and very expensive riding it is too. It is a very poor working man’s house that has not either an organ or piano in it, and almost every one has got a sewing machine. Then as to theatres, circuses, wild beast shows, and such like, they must be patronised. Some of these shows are of great magnitude, and can only pay in large places, but this does not hinder the people who live in smaller places from seeing them, for they will lose a day’s wages, pay railway fare, and all incidental expenses to see them. The great showman Barnum consolidated with another large show last year, and went round the country. Among other large places he visited Syracuse. At that time I was working 27 miles off, but the workmen where I was resolved to take a day and go to see the show, and I was as stupid as to follow suit. This cost each of us two and a half dollars for wages, one half dollar for railway fare (special train for the occasion), one half dollar for admission to the show, one half dollar for dinner and tea—total, four dollars or sixteen shillings and eightpence to see a circus and wild beast show. I have said that the shows are of great size here. On that occasion there were fifteen thousand people under one canvas roof. They performed in three rings at the same time. To show the extent of their menagerie they had twenty-one elephants, one of them a baby a few months old. Everything belonging to this exhibition was on the same scale. This beats your Wombwell of your Newsome, doesn’t it? Continue reading “‘A Dundee Working Man on America—No. 7’ (1 April, 1882)”

‘A Dundee Working Man on America—No. 6.’ by a Correspondent in New York (11 March, 1882)

The following is part of a series of articles on the condition of the United States of America for working class Scottish immigrants. One of the core tenants of The People’s Journal was to encourage self-improvement for the working classes. For these reason the paper would regularly promote emigration and provide news  and publish correspondence from the major destination of Scots in the period (the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). Here the discussion focuses on murders, executions, and funerals.

Murders, Executions, and Funerals.

                On Friday of last week there were no fewer than seven executions in different States—three of them coloured men and four whites. One of the latter has been eighteen months in jail, and received sentence of death three times for the same crime. These seven were all murderers—two of them were executed at St Louis, State of Missouri, and in that State two men are under sentence of death. Another was hung a week ago, and twenty-seven are awaiting trial for murder. The newspapers here give graphic, but disgusting, accounts of executions. Here are a few extracts given us of one that took place in New Jersey last week. We are told on the morning of the execution the culprit several times walked to the window of the jail, and looked out upon the crowd which began to gather in the muddy streets. It was a gaping, idle crowd of slatternly women, beer-soaked men, and a large number of children. In one obscure corner of the street was an old woman kneeling and praying with spirit—swaying her body back and forth, mumbling over prayers for the murderer. She remained in her praying attitude for upwards of an hour regardless of the cold rain which was falling. Then we are told of how, when the condemned man was brought out to the gallows, one of the jailers who had hold of his arms had over-stimulated himself for the ordeal, and began to show signs of toppling over, and had to let go his hold of the prisoner. Next, of how, when this poor wretch was hurled into eternity, of the bending of the knees, twitching of the fingers, contortions of the limbs and body; of how the doctors immediately seized his wrists,, and kept correct record of the dying man’s pulse until his heart cease to beat; of how when cut down the noose of the rope had to be cut, as it was so deeply imbedded in his muscular neck, and of the face turning black and livid, and other disgusting details. One would think we ought to have had our morbid curiosity fully gratified by this account of the last moments of this felon; but not so, for in two days after we read of how the body was taken to an undertaker’s shop, where a motley throng was assembled. It rained incessantly, but the crowd was not to be deterred from seeing the last act of this disgraceful spectacle played out. The pavement in front of the shop was blocked, and the crowd filled the roadway in a solid phalanx extending twenty or thirty yards up and down the street. The crowd was not made up of loafers, but of well-dressed, respectable-looking people, and there were quite as many women to be seen around as men. Two policemen stood guard at the door. They had orders not to admit any boy or girl under eighteen years of age. It is only charitable to suppose that those guardians of the peace were but poor judges of age, as droves of young girls of not more than fifteen or sixteen gained admission, and gazed curiously, though quite unconcernedly, on the ashen face of the dead man. Fathers and mothers, to their shame be it said, brought children of tender years to see the dead felon, with his unhappy wife and worse than fatherless children weeping and wailing around the head of the coffin. The face and chest of the dead were exposed to view, a section of the lid of the coffin being removed for that purpose. The body was attired in a black suit, and a white collar and necktie concealed the ugly mark left by the rope upon the neck. The widow, with her boy and girl children, sat at the head of the coffin moaning and sobbing piteously while the curious throng filed around the dead man, peering curiously at the ghastly face as they paused a moment or so in passing by.

When the funeral rites had been concluded, the clergyman called upon all those present to with draw save the widow and her children, that, free from observation, they might take a last look at the dead husband and father. The scene that ensued was very painful. The poor women broke down utterly, and had to be led away by her friends, while the little lad, as he kissed the cold cheek of his dead father, wailed piteously, “Oh, my father; oh, my father.” On the arrival of the funeral cortege at the burying-ground, notwithstanding the heavy rain and the fact that the ways were ankle deep in mud, the road was lined five or six deep with men, women, and children, who had been waiting for hours to see the body of the murderer carried to its last resting-place. When the coffin was removed from the hearse a disgraceful scene ensued. A crowd of some hundreds of men and women, many of the latter carrying babes in their arms, rushed helter-skelter over newly-made graves, kicking aside, as they strode recklessly over, planted flowers placed by loving hands over the graves of their beloved ones, and even when the coffin was lowered into the grave they hooted and yelled, and the boys raced around the grave as though the occasion was the visit of a circus, instead of the burial of a fellow creature. The grave was speedily filled up, the crowd rapidly dispersed, and within five minutes only two or three morbidly curious people, who had arrived late upon the scene, stood around the spot beneath which lay the dead murderer in his gaudy coffin with its inscription—“Martin Kankowsky, died January 6, 1882, aged 35 years.” Continue reading “‘A Dundee Working Man on America—No. 6.’ by a Correspondent in New York (11 March, 1882)”

‘A Dundee Working Man on America—No. 5.’ by a Correspondent in New York (4 March, 1882)

The following is part of a series of articles on the condition of the United States of America for working class Scottish immigrants. One of the core tenants of The People’s Journal was to encourage self-improvement for the working classes. For these reason the paper would regularly promote emigration and provide news  and publish correspondence from the major destination of Scots in the period (the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). Here the discussion focuses on women in America and the culture of marriage and divorce.

“There is no want of public speakers amongst them. In what is called the Free Methodist Church there are any amount of orators. The minister of the congregation will speak for about half-an-hour. Then he leaves it to his flock to gay the rest. He no sooner sits down than one of the sisters gets up and rattles on until from the sheer want of breath (not of words) she sinks exhausted into her seat. She no sooner faints than up pops another sister and repeats the dose, and so on. A few Sundays ago I, along with some friends, went to a Temperance meeting to hear a celebrated sister, and I can assure you she was “boss” of that meeting.”

American “Ladies” and Divorces.

To the Editor of the People’s Journal.

                Sir,—I want to tell you now what I think of the women folk of this country. From the time the feminine gender of America can lisp the name of “pa” or “ma” they begin to learn to be pert, forward, impudent, and cute, with plenty of gab. It is said that the animals we get the hams from grow ugly as they grow old, and, so far as salt tongue is concerned, the same can be said about the American ladies, By-the-by, there are no women here; they are all ladies. In their homes they are, generally speaking, slovenly-looking, going about their household work dressed like a broom-handle with a mutch and nicht gown on. Out shopping, they are dressed from top to toe with Gainsborough hats, fur-trimmed dolmans, Berlin cloaks, neal [?] sacques, ulsterettes, buttoned-up kid boots, white gauntlets, lace veils, and a large display of candlestick-gold jewellery. There is no want of public speakers amongst them. In what is called the Free Methodist Church there are any amount of orators. The minister of the congregation will speak for about half-an-hour. Then he leaves it to his flock to gay the rest. He no sooner sits down than one of the sisters gets up and rattles on until from the sheer want of breath (not of words) she sinks exhausted into her seat. She no sooner faints than up pops another sister and repeats the dose, and so on. A few Sundays ago I, along with some friends, went to a Temperance meeting to hear a celebrated sister, and I can assure you she was “boss” of that meeting. She both started and ended the meeting herself. Some brothers tried to get in a few words, but it was no use. They would have required a sharp knife to “whyte” their words, and then watched for a chance to get them in edgeways. Here is an anecdote which illustrates their cuteness. A certain gentleman went home one night rather late and rather unsteady. His wife was in bed, and he, not wanting to let her know that he had been looking on the wine when it was red, quietly slipped off his clothes and as quietly slipped into bed and on purpose not to let her find any perfume he might have, he turned his back to her. She lay very quiet for a few minutes, but she could stand it no longer. So she bawls aloud—“John, you need not try to fool me, for you are drunk through and through.

I am sorry to say that I do not think the moral status of the people here is so high as that of the old country, more especially among married people. It is quite a common thing to hear of a married man eloping with another man’s wife or vice versa, or some deviation from rectitude regarding the marriage vows. The divorce courts are well patronised institutions here, so much so that lawyers advertise through the press where and when people will get divorces consummated on the shortest notice and the least expense. The New York Herald, one of the most respectable newspapers in America, is lying before me, and in it are no less than six advertisements from lawyers on this matter. Here is a copy of one which is a facsimile of the others. “Absolute divorces, quietly and speedily, without publicity—desertion, drunkenness, incompatibility, every known cause. Pay when divorced. Detectives furnished, always successful,—F.K., lawyer, 317 Broadway, New York.” AS I have said, there are six such advertisements in one newspaper, and I don’t think it says much for the honour of these lawyers to hold out such inducements for people to pluck themselves apart—those whom a higher Power hath united together. I hope your readers will not think that I have the least idea that this opinion applies to the ladies of America as a rule. God forbid. I believe there are plenty of decent, moral women in this country as well as in ever other; but what I do say is, that a great many irregularities go on here both by males and females. We have little need for this sin amongst us, for there is plenty of crime here without it. Continue reading “‘A Dundee Working Man on America—No. 5.’ by a Correspondent in New York (4 March, 1882)”

‘A Dundee Working Man on America—No. 4.’ by a Correspondent in New York (18 February, 1882)

The following is part of a series of articles on the condition of the United States of America for working class Scottish immigrants. One of the core tenants of The People’s Journal was to encourage self-improvement for the working classes. For these reason the paper would regularly promote emigration and provide news  and publish correspondence from the major destination of Scots in the period (the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). Here the discussion focuses on transportation and church fundraising.

Canal Boats, Bazaars, and Tram Cars.

To the Editor of the People’s Journal.

                Sir,—In your Journal of December 17 I read a letter signed “Christian Democrat,” in which he draws a deplorable picture from a deplorable book entitled “Canal Adventures by Moonlight,” written by a Fellow of the Society of Arts with deplorable boots on, in which it appears that canal life in England is one of the most brutalising, immoral, and debasing occupations that can be imagined. If the state of canalers in England is one-tenth as bad as Mr Smith and “Christian Democrat” have painted it I wish them Godspeed in trying to remedy it. I have never been among canalers in England, but I have been among them here, both by moonlight and sunlight, and there must be a marked difference betwixt them here and in England. The canal trade in the State of New York is one of great importance in the summer time. The Superintendent of Canals issues orders every year when the canals are to be opened and when shut for traffic. This is on account of the frost. Last year they opened on the 10th of May and closed on the 15th of December. The year before, the frost came on before closing time, and all the boats that ply between New York and Buffalo—500 miles—were all frozen in in one night, and had to remain wherever they were until the spring of the year came to relieve them. The boats are of large dimensions, carrying large freights of coal, timber, wheat, iron, &c. They have got stables for their horses or mules (of which there are a great many in canal trade) on board at the forward part of the boat. There are always two on board and two on the bank towing the boat. They are relieved along with the drivers (of whom there are two) every six hours. Night and day, Sabbath and Saturday, there are generally two men on board, besides the captain, his wife, and family. There is a sleeping cabin about the middle of the boat for these men along with the drivers. The after-cabin is for the captain and family. The captain’s wife is cook, and all hands mess together in this cabin, which, as a rule, is kept scrupulously neat and clean, the children neat and tidy, and, although the life is necessarily a rough one, yet they seem to be well pleased with the lot assigned them.

“But how it comes, I never kenn’d yet,

They’re maistly wonderfu’ contented;

And [illegible] and clever hizzies

Are bred in sic a way as this is”

They are very hospitable, and will seldom refuse you a ride in their boat, as they term it, or a share in the good things in the cabin at dinner or supper time. In winter they try to get to where they belong to, and then they use their teams in drawing ice from the rivers to the ice houses, or drawing wood, or any other jobs they can get. I got acquainted with lots of them last winter, and found them good decent citizens. All the canals around large cities are used for skating rinks and ponds during winter.

The mode of conducting church fairs or bazaars, is as follows:—Some one having an interest in the bazaar makes a presentation of a whip, a pair of boots, a sewing machine, an easy chair, or any such article, then the Committee choose two prominent members of the church who have a great deal of influence with people both outside of and belonging to the church. These two are candidates to win the article, and whoever gets most votes gets the article. But the votes are sold at 5 cents each. Each candidate of course has his friends, and each party to show their respect for their friends rally round their partisans by buying votes. Any one can buy as many as he chooses. When I was working in the town of Owego, there was a church fair held there. An easy chair, probably costing 10 or 15 dollars, was the article voted for. The Committee chose two foremen of large moulding shops, and prominent members of the church, as candidates. The voting was most keen, as all the men belonging to the two different foundries went into the contest with great gusto. The result was that the net proceeds amounted to nearly 600 dollars. If the church or any other bazaar partisans in Dundee have not tried this plan yet, I would advise them the next out [?] have anything to do with to go and do likewise. [?] There is another way practised here in getting church funds augmented, viz., by disposing of church seats by public auction. In Plymouth Church (Henry Ward Beecher’s) the seats were sold recently. We are told that Mr Beecher took no part in the proceedings after introducing the auctioneer. The terms of the sale were:—“That the choice of all seats in the house was offered without reservation to previous occupants to the highest bidder. No bids accepted from those in arrears. The pews and seats to be rented with the understanding that if not occupied at least ten minutes before the commencement of services, they might be assigned to strangers. All regular attendants at the church are expected to rent sittings in order that the large current expenses may be shared by the whole congregation.” Last year the first choice for a pew was sold for 700 dollars, the next for 675 dollars, and so on. These two first bidders actually paid £2 16s and £2 14s respectively for every Sabbath in the year for a pew in the church. O Christianity! Christianity! what fanaticism is carried on in they name! This year they are cheaper, and I think your readers will agree with me in thinking that there was room for a reduction. The great Dr Talmage has commenced the same plan this year. The largest Presbyterian Church in Rochester and many others through the country are started on the same footing. It is a pity that church-going emigrants cannot bring their church pews along with them. Continue reading “‘A Dundee Working Man on America—No. 4.’ by a Correspondent in New York (18 February, 1882)”