Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

strength in fighting their political battles. The civil war necessitated the establishment at Washington of large offices or “bureaus,” in which the reports received from various correspondents in the field could be received, made up, and transmitted ; these bureaus are still in operation. During the war most of them were located on Fourteenth Street, opposite Willard's Hotel, which was called from the circumstance Newspaper Row; but the present tendency is to scatter more widely. The bureau of a great newspaper has its suite of apartments, comprising ante-room, reading-room, and reporters' room ; and beyond these the private room of the chief correspondent, which is guarded as jealously as the office of the managing editor of a metropolitan daily At the head of the bureau is the chief correspondent, who is answerable only to the home authority. This gentleman occupies a responsible position, and must possess special gifts to discharge its duties acceptably. He must be a man of comprehensive mind, as well as a master of detail ; be not only industrious and ubiquitous himself, but see that his subordinates are His duties are varied and onerous. He is expected to master the important matters of business before both Houses of Congress, keep the run of the committees, be on the watch for executive communications and nominations, and fill his seat in the press gallery whenever a debate of public interest takes place. He is also expected to visit the White House daily, call in at the Departments, haunt the hotels, dine with diplomats, call upon friendly Congressmen at their rooms, chat with

[ocr errors]

promenaders on the avenue, and keep his ears open for chance conversations in car or herdic. Ask a chief correspondent how he gains his daily budget of news, and he would be troubled to tell you. A good deal comes by intuition, putting this and that together; some of it is bought. News naturally gravitates to a long-established bureau. Then there are always in the Capitol two parties, and the members of one are usually ready to give to the press items which will damage the other. Much is gained-to use the argot of Newspaper Row—by “pumping “leaky” Congressmen. For instance, the correspondent engages a senator in conversation on a certain topic; he forgets it, the correspondent remembers it. In a week he talks with him again, and remembering that two negatives make an affirmative, examines his diary and finds that he has an important fact. The faces of Congressmen as they emerge from the committee room have also their story to tell. Having gathered his material during the day, at nine o'clock the correspondent's busy hours begin. His daily budget of news is rapidly put into shape and flashed over the wires to the home office, where the night editors seize it, perhaps “cutting ” paragraphs that have cost hours of labor, hurry it off to the composing room, where it is put into cold type, and sent to the proof-readers and to the stereotypers; then it rattles away on the “turtles of the rotary press and appears in the great daily next morning as Washington news, without having had the least revision from the author.

As a rule the correspondent's day ends at mid

[ocr errors]

night, although the wire is open until 3 A.M. The New York Tribune and Herald have each their special wire and operator. So have the Chicago Tribune and Inter-Ocean, the St. Louis Republican, and Cincinnati Enquirer. The Cincinnati Commercial's New York line runs through Washington, thus giving it equal facilities. The New York Tribune was the first journal to establish a special wire, and the Cincinnati Gazette the first Western journal to take this step. The cost of maintaining a large wellequipped Washington office amounts to about $20,000 annually, which, however, is often shared among several papers. The present dean of the press corps is General H. V. Boynton, who succeeded to the position on the death of Ben Perley Poore, in 1887. Mr. Poore, at the time of his death, had been nearly fifty years a Washington correspondent. General Boynton has now been twenty-three years in the service.

[graphic][merged small][merged small]

WITH the possible exception of Boston, no American city has more charming suburbs, or more interesting, historically, than Washington. There is Mount Vernon, a world's shrine; quaint Alexandria, which, of late, has received so much attention from the magazines; historic Arlington; Georgetown, the original seat of Catholic power in this country; Kalorama, a poet's haunt; Rock Creek, which, within the city limits, presents many scenes of sylvan loveliness; the numerous parks and government reservations; Bladensburg, with its warlike and artistic memories; the Great Falls, fifteen miles up the Potomac; and many other places of quiet beauty and retirement. Of Mount Vernon and Alexandria so much has been written that further description seems superfluous.

The former lies sixteen miles down the river on its western shore, in Fairfax County, Virginia, and is reached daily by the Association steamer W. W. Corcoran. It is the property of the Mount Vernon Association, which was incorporated in 1866 for the purpose of purchasing and holding the estate in perpetuity. The association is composed of the ladies of the United States, and is ably managed by a Board of Lady Regents. By 1860 it had collected sufficient funds, by popular contributions from all the States, to meet the sum asked for the estate, $200,000, which thereupon became its property. Mount Vernon descended to General Washington when he was about twenty-one years of age from his half-brother, Lawrence Washington, and from that time until his death, on the 14th of December, 1799, was his home. It is a beautiful spot, high up on the bank of the river, and the resort of throngs of visitors both in summer and winter.

Alexandria is six miles below Washington, and is reached hourly by steam-ferry. It was founded in 1748 under the name of Bellhaven, and soon came to prominence and wealth as the shipping-port of Virginia planters. It is to-day a quaint city of some fifteen thousand inhabitants, in which the buildings and manners of the colonial era may still be studied. Christ Church, which was dedicated in 1765, and of which Washington was a vestryman, is an object of interest to visitors. Georgetown, on the Maryland shore, six miles above Alexandria, was similarly the shipping port of the Maryland planters. It forms now a part of the capital city, being known officially as West Washington. It is still practically a suburb, however, its shaded drives and fine old country-seats set in the midst of spacious lawns, being very attractive to visitors. On a rugged height overlooking the Potomac stands Georgetown College, the earliest educational institution of the Catholic Church in America. It was founded by Bishop John Carroll,

« ZurückWeiter »