Putnam's Monthly Magazine of American Literature, Science and Art
New York: February 1854


  Music and Art are now suffering "a syncope and awful pause," very natural to the excitement of the past season, for after such storms there must always come a calm. The Crystal Palace has fulfilled its mission and ceased to exhibit its wealth of artistic merchandise; the Opera artists have all deserted us to sing to the Cubans, the Mexicans, and the Peruvians, making discoveries and achieving victories that their great predecessors, Columbus and Cortez, never aspired to; Metropolitan Hall, the beautiful, the gilded cage that has held so many singing birds, has been burned down, and Jullien's grand bar pareacute; has ended in smoke. Jullien himself has given his farewell concert, for the present, and gone South; Sontag is concertizing in the backwoods somewhere amond the mocking-birds; even Powell's "great national painting" has been taken to New Orleans; our "resident artists" are quietly preparing for the next exhibition, and there is nothing left for our public but Uncle Tom's Cabin, which has a fascination beyond the reach of philosophy to account for. The genius of Meyerbeer and the united talent of the best opera troupe that has been heard in New-York, failed to fill one place of amusement with paying audiences, while Uncle Tom fills three of our theatres nightly and gives fortunes to their proprietors, thus reversing the old proverb, for "the Prophet" was without honor in a strange country, while Uncle Tom is not without profit at home. We have not the shadow of a misgiving as to future of Art in this progressing country of ours; but, at present, there seems to be a determination by our enterprising countrymen not to put too fine a point upon it, for all our art tends to a rather coarse development, and, instead of producing Sèvres vases and Gobelin tapestries, or operas and oratorios, we are rather ambitious to develope ourselves in the form of Pacific railroads and monster steamships. But these things call for artistic embellishments, and the fine arts will flourish all the more vigorously by the growth of the arts which are not so called. The future uses of the Crystal Palace are not yet exactly determined upon; but agents are now in Europe to secure articles for another Exhibition, and it will, doubtless, become a permanent institution; that is as permanent as a bubble of glass ribbed with iron can be expected to be.