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The Americans and Englishmen exaggerated as regards enterprise and England will not always be able to maintain her position and you would hope the American public will both politically and come out of England having fulfilled her to glory as Mission shallow barbequed her supremacy and the scepter of Empire passed from her or what ever. They bend our ear travelers to America. From the 1820s to the eve of the Civil War. They travel through the United States irresistible curiosity. Later many of them wrote books about their travels. To tell Europe what they had seen in the world of Jacksonian democracy. Some were highly critical. All women.
In they bend our written by Perry Miller professor of law at Harvard University. You will meet some of the travelers to America here with their criticisms and their praise for their philosophy. You already know. Others are new acquaintances. At all times the travellers speak in their own words quoted directly from their writing. They then how IR is produced and recorded by the Lao Institute cooperative broadcasting Council under a grant from the educational television and radio center. Cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Today's encounter with Alexander author of the Western world or travels in the United States and forty six forty seven exhibiting them in their latest development social political and industrial.
Professor Parry Miller is your host and now a writer. I see David here I am in Boston. I want at last to see shouldn't I. The real true blue yanky. Let me explain Alexander. Americans generally call those Yankees who come from the north. But if you ask a New York Yankees he will refer to New England in many parts of New England. Again you will be referred to Boston. But surely my dear David surely the bus don't enjoy the Yankees the Bostonians and Alexander McCall I must learn this. The Bostonians declined the honor of harboring them and refer you to the rural districts of New Hampshire. So at the Boston railway station when Alexander Makai he was a true Scott and only spelling his name am a c k a y he pronounced it. When he and his Americanized fellow Scot were in training for New York in Feb
1846 he got his first sight of the authentic Yankee His face was so sunburnt and that it violated him but I don't with a long loose thread be approach which hung perpendicularly from his shoulders deep forest traversed his sallow cheek commencing in a point near the outer corner of the eye and as they dropped so as to attain a broad bases on the lower jaw any time was a large class knife with which he was whittling to a very fine point a piece of wood which he had sliced from the pores in this occupation and he appeared absorbed but on closely watching him you could see that from under his mouth he die but he was looking at everybody and observing everything Alexander about to be admitted a barrister at the Middle Temple came to the United States in 1846. The year of the Mexican War and the strained relations with England over the Oregon as correspondent for The London Morning Chronicle. So in the line of duty
he let himself be cornered on the platform of the car by his Yankee. If I may say that he had in that car with the storm but I had heart is stifling. Now that we are breathing freely and what's planned for May I ask you what is the general social position of these passengers later you see as to position much of a much now as I am. So I'm doing things I'm not so I'm not so much in the way as to have also been to that asset I have when to stop. Some do nothing at all but always manage to make a gentleman in it on it. And some want to speculate as I have been to the east to do struggle business particularly as there was when it was over. But give me proper codes they are speculate on a speculator myself. But none of us all. I have lots for sale in Milwaukee and Chicago. If you do it and they can have lied stranger I'm your man I have no intention of becoming a landed proprietor on Lake Michigan. But tell me did I hear you correctly. You
said these farmers have been selling shoes in Boston. I have had much of the possibility of them attic and soil but I was not aware that such is ranked among its products why people get to hand almost anything from within the universe to stuff a mosquito. These And we move on I just find it in the summer time and they have given them nothing to do and when they take do it even dogs and will it fall months at the last of these homemade shoes. Just in Boston a sale is using Boston Vaal home consumption and the same to Europe from China and South America. Alexander guy the most open minded of the foreign visitors we have yet recorded more even than Harriet Martineau because he had no philosophical propositions to defend more than her grown because he enjoyed the rough and tumble of the magnet. I was under the guy began immediately on the platform of the train to get his American education. President Polk could just issued a bellicose message about Oregon which had the British replied in kind would have started hostilities
because it was one of many big issues anxious at all costs to avoid a war. In fact to educate the English public about America in order to show how foolish such a conflict would be He came as a correspondent for The Chronicle. So his Yankee friends promptly taught him how to conduct himself. Didn't da president's message put the old man's back up. Kern should have expected it right I'm a veteran he did it and it frightened him as an Englishman I would fain be spared the humiliating confession. Particular is the hole will be published in the paper so we'd like to know what took place. Oh don't be frightened stranger you're among friends. That's right we Americans and people. Gentleman if you can sympathize with the problem and I mean I have no objection to speak plainly with you. Oh my gosh even with all the publication of the message was all that was necessary to its foundation the European settlement of 1815 notified Abdelkader that the Triple Alliance was not a name. Whilst England
in alarm threw herself into the hands of Russia as I got into your good faith giving up the temple every possession of your body port to the autocrat whose troops know God is in the key of the tame. Is that the way the British lie and took the last young Hickory away I have been scared in such a hurry. The lion must have been considerably scared of us to seek protection from the bailout I declare. But we are a great up people and I thought you know that we have a universal nature. The Europeans can't hold a candle to the Pali M. Goulden though we have introduced foreign troops into that me away the president's time has garrisoned greatest fault with Cossacks and that is great as we have been with your predecessors were such dialogues. Still I cannot help feeling that they usually try to make the Native Americans ridiculous is that your intention quite the contrary. And getting up there. I have been here throughout the work to distinguish between me
your individual peculiarities and national credit but I state so then we must take your Yankees as Dick did to us at least getting some of the national light to be taking a simpler cut in GS and passional sketchy. Having no necessary bearing upon anything beyond I'm saying a live must say Alexander this is a relief. Here I am about to become a naturalized American you and I can show yourself to the idea of time spent in your allegiance because you are becoming a Benedict. I am indeed engaged to an American girl in New York in fact. I advise you my dear problem to take no step that you are not Shepton is necessary if you are tired of being sort of Monarch of yourself mighty foreigners and then wait the tide of events we might let Mr David decide this matter for all I see is the proces are not generalize and sure one went out upon the necessity put it in David's case has not yet become obvious. David's case may nevertheless be helpful to us because we can call in his New York
fiance to help our discussion. But you will must we speak of your work. May we ask what this is. My letters to the Chronicle which I collected in a book published in Philadelphia in 1849 and two volumes on the London and 1850 N3 and entitled The Western world or travels in the United States and 1840 647 exhibiting them and their latest development social political and industrial that has a big order. I take it from your remarks on the dialogue that you are not in full sympathy with your predecessors I mean especially your British police as it is impossible to settle if you study the Americans during a six month tour in America. I couldn't agree more. Many of us complain that erroneous delineations have been palmed off upon the English public to comprehend the social life of a manic. There working over its political institutions and the beginning of its polity up on its model development. IT IS I'M SO LITTLE essential that a man should step
aside from the hot towel the railway amd the steam out and lead with the people instead of living as the media problem beside them. It is fortunate for us says Alexander Makhaya said it was for him that he could lose it in the company of Mr David as Scottish as he was and so could see how a naturalized Scotsman would greet his adopted land. As the slaves brought them from the boat to the Astor House Makai was dumbfounded to hear David exclaim There goes the old city. I go to almost jump out and go on post. They ask how Alexander Makhaya appreciate his friend's enthusiasm no more weight in the world is the hotel system crowded to such an extent because it is an amount I can not be asked on a broad flight of granite steps leads to an enormous recession the wall flanked by huge pillars and sort of mounted by a pediment at the bottom of which is the main entrance approach by a little flight of steps. Once within days a double flight of steps leads to an
enormous hall with a totally didn't pavement. The number of bedrooms is immense. I'm so complete is this mammoth establishment and all its problems that it has its own printing press to strike off daily bills fan. Oh you are only beginning to see New York. Let me take you to the East River docks. The broad keys are covered with the produce of every clime and bottles sacks bucks hampers Belgian hogs heads and piled in continuous Reggie's along the street and here is Trinity Church at the head of walls and I see it stands pointing locked with you have been on a spot visible from almost every point of that street where Mammon is most eagerly and the fact that they worship in America but it is in vain that you look for any indication of a serious mood now. Yes indeed amid the throng having passed us in all directions not one of whom seems to not is or care for us Lou. You couldn't have been the match for loop the calculating but I will the money changer the quick keen glance of the upturn
in the now best time demands of the speculator and a quiet businesslike expression of the operational whilst from among the streamer pitches gliding by you you can pick out some flushed with hope clouded with apprehension some radiant with satisfaction and others should revel with disappointment. Trinity Church still looks down upon them. But how few of that anxious quick moving crowd seem conscious of its solemn rebuke cake and Wall Street together on what I model on top issues they represent. But you must fully understand the Americans have it in their power to become all they dream of a self subsisting independent people feeding and clothing themselves and able to feed and clothe the world besides on such a theme it would be idle to speculate money but this much at least may be safely predicted about people with ingenuity equal to m with resources ten times as great as ours and with an enterprise which drives them with every channel of trade from Rheims socking the South Sea port of Wales
to trafficking around the world with IV's. As I understand it Mr. McCarty you travel across the South largely by state go travel. Surely he gave you a chance to compare the back country southerner with the Yankees. I found them singularly alight. Now there was one chap my little whiny looking man dressed in a PR course great I was I was a yellow waistcoat and a super fine blue swallow tail coat profusely spangled with lodging well but a nice brass buttons. Who of course had a quid of tobacco stepping out he followed me into the compound from between Colombo and McKown. I should explain that I was counting a small ship out of town and played for the night travelling. Good day stranger good day. How do you do as well as a stranger could expect to be under such a sudden and chewing lot to do with. You. No thank you. Perhaps your snuff no smoke. Oh occasionally. Odd it's odd
that it is in no way can the use of tobacco be I got it as I've got a cleanly habit. Maybe he knows Scotchman I'm thinkin maybe you're mistaking if you think so. Pint as much for me. It has something of a Scottish look about it that I was right in my opposition. I did not say you got it wrong. Stranger had I been wrong you would have said so. I'm a Scotsman Maass out exactly a Scotchman before I was born in this country and so father and grandfather of all men. Then you have a longer line of American ancestors than most. A fellow countryman can boast stuff you don't value these things and this country. It's what's above ground that we think on the ng long in this country is strange. Some months I think you'll stay in this country until I'm tired of it. When will advantage but not it's not till I'm homesick.
I'll be there soon. Owes you a PM to get homesick my due soon after coming here you give Pruitt a counter your country steak and strange Yeah I don't mean home. You were sent home so. I mean safe home. Well they can't be alone in the midst of our free institutions without I get sick of the anti radical act. Fortunately Mr Makhaya warned us. Now to some of your countrymen did not how to interpret these little dramas but you did see more of the South than your tobacco chewing acquaintance. In this I was above all a stranger who wanted to quench publicly she's lives in the wartime conform but a very empathic estimate of society in that section. You found a difference than between north and south in the wrong society and its external aspect is much more pleasing them in the South but in its internal aspect it is less so but almost all carry with them into the
domestic relations more or less of the US but it is of life and the world whereas in the soundness of the better elements of social life mingle less frequently in the cart and for the same reason Southern society is far more refined them out of the norm there being much less of the British grittier outward life infused into it. I wish we could talk more with you about that now than a squirrel. But let me ask Am I correct that Mr David joined you in New Orleans and that with him you made the trip by steamboat to St. Louis Cincinnati Pittsburgh the Mississippi. It was with describable emotions that I first felt myself applauded when it's one of the lofty mountains the illimitable plain on the seemingly shore Lee's lake are all objects which try to combine with all but second to none of them and the sublime emotions which it inspires is the mighty arrival but the grandeur of the Mississippi consists less in the majestic proportions of its physical aspect than in the part it is yet destined to play in the great drama of
civilized life. I grant yet be far grander when several distracted from its most sorceries when busy populations lined its shores and people along the banks of all its tributaries. What Englishman can look with indifference upon that which is yet destined to be the principal medium of communication between the great world and the region which is rapidly becoming the chief out of Anglo-Saxon enterprise. It is a common thing in Europe to speculate upon the probabilities of a speedy dissolution between the Northern and Southern divisions of the Union. But I can preach that for myself. I am sometime by you know the opinion that should take place. The danger of it is that it will be between the east and the way you have discerned the danger but have made no account of the remedy. I she know what I many short of a final and satisfactory adjustment of great conflicting interests had no direct hold upon the west and had the West not communication with the rest of the world but through the Mississippi one might well despair of permanent reconciliation. But by rendering each necessary to the other the
foundation had been laid for the mutual concession which alone can ensure a future harmony and give permanence to the union. Somehow we have to help the West the way Pennsylvania has tapped the West by means of a double line of railway and can now and New York has done the same by directing the waters of Lake Erie through her great can now. New York is now as much a sea port of Indiana Illinois Missouri and Ohio as is New Orleans. In short we have removed the Alleghenies in this series we are happy to welcome an English visitor capable of thinking in terms of fundamental economic realities instead of those that are merely surface manners and David's revelations were no doubt interesting. My thoughts were busy with the singular yet undeveloped destinies of this extraordinary country. Do you have the conflicting interests of two halves of our continent reconciled and harmonized by a few ditches filled with water and a few belts seemed to stop paying for cretins.
How different the relations between the Mississippi and the Hudson from the words of the Danube and the Rhine but I trust you are satisfied with the correctness of my conclusions I am and by the same token American that to do the opinion that slavery alone could give a shot to the union on that score you are distressed. There is something poor ticklish suggestive of the territorial brashness of the Confederacy in the mode in which the president of the Senate recognises different members it is not Mr. Cahoon or Mr Bandt preventions But the senator from South Carolina or the senator from Missouri and New York Louisiana Florida and Texas. What are we but the accumulated spoils of England Prime's Spain and Mexico. And your question how long they will remain within the same political system will they have delegates still be sitting together as they do now when the Senate terms from OT again in California are ready to come in because Alexander the
car I was able to address himself to the real issues of American society and because he was so full of goodwill toward this republic his Western world inaugurated a new era in the British appreciation of America. He was as perceptive as talk we'll but more humane and shrewd. It is indeed a tragedy. Considering how important it would be for America during the Civil War we should have been England Frenzel new America. But I've examined him a guy sent by his government to India in 1852 was there for the police stricken and died on the return voyage. We could have banked on him in 1862 if the union gets well through it. It may be to God it is indestructible but leaving that regret aside let us go back to 1846. We haven't let you do much Mr. McCarthy about what your predecessors were most concerned with the general nature of American society.
Utopian society is constituted as it were cities of different layouts which the way to close contact only partially peers into each other. Within each the social graces are more or less cultivated and not a problem much of life more or less displayed. The constraint is visible at their lines of contact as mutual dislike is often part of a the Bardos are do several I's and amicable States. Oh and how are we Americans so very different Mr McCarthy. Mr Mikhail Let me present Mr. David's New York fiance. We have at last found a topic in which she is interested. Mr Makai Haven't you already remarked that I must confess I haven't been listening very carefully. But most of what you were saying applies to American society in its outdoor since I suppose I did. Tell me when we leave the national survey for the comparatively insignificant Arina of fashionable life. Do we find much that will appear exceptional you indoor life in America is fenced around by as many lines as social life in Europe. There is not a community here any more than
there but has its fashionable quarter and its fashionable circle. This may be very natural but it is not in conformity with the general aspect of your national social life. But you cannot enter these court to the exclusion of feeling which poured in so much in the social fabric so the old world. I may tell you Mr. McCann that we young ladies will turn up our delicate but saucy noses at the bare idea of acquaintanceship with those with whose fathers or brothers our fathers or brothers may be on terms of the most perfect familiarity. Now that you mention it I may say that is normal common to all departments of American society which will soar soon impression upon the stranger as the prominent position occupied in it by the young ladies. Is it so different in Europe in Europe. If they are not kept there they at least remain somewhat in the background I assure you my dear fellow. In America they are in the foremost rank and in fact constitute All in all I have seen grave senators who want to stand this well cut the most ludicrous figures in
attempting to render themselves agreeable to giggling misses who make very little ceremony with them. I have had many women are superior to crime which deplore the state of things. When they contrasted the dreary monotony of society and they don't come to me with that happy combination of features which distinguishes many of the social circles of Europe and you think they could improve the situation before anything can be affected in this desirable direction. American women must put some check upon the absolute social sway of young ladies in their teens left him a guy you saw and study this nation in 1846 and 1847 with the Scottish throne as Great Britain has less reason to dread the combined moments of the world than the silent and ostentatious operations of meat here and the progression of achievements on the continent of America. But Mr. McCullough I know we are still so uncivilized. Look at America's farmers fair titled ballets and botched a Lluvia
plains. Look at the vote idea about productions and look at how the mines teeming with coal iron lead cop out and it has been just discovered with Cilla but I'm go. Look again at how to not much talk to today and the advantages she possesses for telling all how to resources into account. Yes but such resources and advantages are only valuable when properly into account. We have only to look to those possessing them to decide whether they are likely to be time to our coming to knock them out of Englishmen exaggerated if anything as regards enterprise at the end the stray from 22000 up to millions of people with limited means has raised England to our present pinnacle of greatness and glory what role the industry all bought hundred thirteen hundred and fifty millions. You know we shall never be that many rot. Well and a story of a hundred and fifty millions yet effect an amount of time when brought to bay out upon British source is almost an illimitable.
I wish you could have lived longer to be home. But may I notice that not until the very last page of your remarkable book. We were the premises upon which you wrote the entire study. With pleasure. Will not always be able to maintain her position in US now I see it. You were consoled with the thought that the power is destined to overshadow England were of her own planning. Is that it the American public. All republics as the case may be will both politically I'm come out chalet take the lead when England having fulfilled a hundred years mission have abdicated her promise a AND THE STEP-DAUGHTER empire shall have passed from her part of our. Travel to America. You have been listening to Alexander Mkhize account of his travels in the United States in
46 and 47 and the Western world as adopted by Perry Miller professor of American literature or Harvard University. The cast included John McLaughlin and Edward Finnegan with James Alexander Mikhail professor the narrator originals. This has been the 10th broadcast in the stories told by the host of travelers to America. The period from the 20s to the. Subsequent broadcasts or more such travel at all times they speak in their own words. Lady from there writing next week we meet a British geologist who made two trips to the United States in the 1840s. Sir Charles Lyell.
They bend our ear is produced and directed by Allison Ridley for the Lowell Institute cooperative broadcasting Council production supervisor Lawrence Cross coffee. This series has been recorded in the studios of station WGBH FM. And produced under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the end I ybe network.
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They bent our ear
Alexander Mackay
Producing Organization
WGBH Educational Foundation
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on the writings of Alexander Mackay and his experiences in the United States.
Series Description
Dramatic readings of 14 travelers who came to the United States in 1820-1850 and wrote of what they saw.
Broadcast Date
United States--History--19th century.
Media type
Host: Van Dusen, Henry P. (Henry Pitney), 1897-1975
Producer: Lowell Institute
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
Writer: Miller, Perry, 1905-1963
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 56-6-10 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:14
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Chicago: “They bent our ear; Alexander Mackay,” 1964-02-14, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 16, 2024,
MLA: “They bent our ear; Alexander Mackay.” 1964-02-14. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 16, 2024. <>.
APA: They bent our ear; Alexander Mackay. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from