28 JANUARY 1882, Page 21


"THERE are certainly a deuced number of Englishmen still left in London," is the paradoxical remark which opens an interest- ing pamphlet on the condition of what may be called the "German Colony" in London. The pamphlet consists chiefly of reprints of letters written during the past year to German, Austrian, and Swiss newspapers, with a view of interesting their readers in this said colony. It ought to be a matter of interest to all of as to follow the movement of German immigration, which has set in steadily since the Queen's marriage with a German prince, but which has inereased much more rapidly of late years, for the accounts are somewhat astounding, not only as regards figures, but also in the effect it has had on English commercial life, to say nothing of the influence of German ideas and literature on English thought. The yearly emigration out of England (over 300,000) is more than made up by the im- mense influx of all nationalities, and the proportion of Germans in this immigration is overwhelming. The resident population in London is computed at about 150,000, of which 100,000 are adults. In the City the proportion of Germans may be con- sidered really alarming, for a fifth of the great City firms, and a half of the members of the Stock Exchange, are said to be Germans ; these represent the moneyed men, the men of influ- ence ; but in the lower strata the Englishman is being, it is as- serted, fast driven out of the field by the superior education, the greater industry, and more modest pretentious of the German clerk. In trade, the number of Germans is truly astonishing; there are more German bakers in London than in all Berlin, and the number of German hairdressers, tailors, and bootmakers in our capital would be sufficient to supply the wants of the most important of provincial towns. Besides these special branches, Germans seem to permeate all ranks of society. To begin with, they are found in the governing classes, whether directly, as in the person of Mr. Goschen, or in the scarcely less influential Professor world, of whom one of the most brilliant members is Mr. Max Muller ; or, again, as helping to form public opinion in England, for they are to be found on the staff of the Times, Standard, and many other of the daily

papers. The Germans, of course, help to educate and develop

youth, for German masters, not by any means devoted exclu- sively to the teaching of their own language, are to be found in

all the best educational institutions ; and every one knows that,

as for the German governess, her name is legion. The German element pervades the region of art, and in music it is scarcely

necessary to mention the names of Richter, Halle, Joachim, Schumann, &c., to remind one that there is no English name that can come near these. It is not, perhaps, surprising that the appre- ciation and love of German ideas, literature, and thought should increase among the educated classes more rapidly than the love of Germans themselves among the people. In the lower classes, indeed, the feeling against these interlopers, as they are con-

'Die Deutsche Colonic in London. By Heinrich Dorgeel. Inndon : Single.

sidered, who come to take the bread out of their mouths, has grown into a deep hatred, mingled with a certain element of contempt, which some of the very merits of the Germans have engendered. The German workman is more industrious, moderate, saving, and skilled ; this is a bitter grievance to the English workman, who has not yet learned to fight the intruder with his own weapons, by practising greater economy, industry, and self-denial, and especially by striving after a better educa- tion. Besides these selfish grounds for dislike, there are other legitimate ones, in the numbers of very dubious German char- acters who land on English ground, and naturally inspire mis- trust. It is so easy to escape to England and begin a new life, though probably not a better one, under a new name. If only all the Germans. in London could be collected together into one place, what a grand haul their own police might make among them ! It would probably fill the prisons in the Fatherland to over- flowing, and give their Courts of Justice years and years of work. It is natural that the presence of these dregs of society should be prejudicial to the general reputation of the German colony in London ; it must not be imagined, however, that these shady characters form the bulk of the yearly immigration. The far more numerous part consists of clerks, teachers, governesses, servants, &c., who come over on the chance of finding employ- ment, full of hope and spirit, and confident of conquering fortune, but who, in the mad struggle for existence, may be con- sidered happy if they finally gain some quiet haven, safe from the moral shipwreck and destruction which many well.educated young men and maidens, the pride of their homes and families, too surely and sadly suffer, in this overstocked capital of ours.

For it must not be supposed, from the account given of the German resident who deservedly enjoys the reputation of being thoroughly honest, industrious, intelligent, and successful, that even all the well educated and capable immigrants can and do succeed here ; their numbers are so immense, that even if they were to oust all English labour of the kind with which they com- pete, there would not be employment sufficient for them. It fares, of course, hardest with those who have learnt no regular trade, who have only come armed with a good education, or who possess besides merely special commercial training. Immense numbers of these are driven by dire necessity to all sorts of ways of trying to make a precarious living, and with them it is almost always the same tale ; they arrive with a little money, without introduction, without any knowledge of existing circumstances, often even ignorant of the English language. During the first days of their sojourn in London, most of their money is swallowed up in hotel bills, cabs, &c. ; they probably then find a decent lodging, and begin their inquiries after employment, which they have every expectation of finding easily, for in the Daily Telegraph alone they see often 600 advertisements of situations of every description. They find, however, soon, to their sore disappointment, that there are sometimes as many as 500 applicants for each of them. Then, although their money is getting low, they put in advertisements for themselves as a forlorn hope ; and when there is no result, they then seek for a cheaper lodging in the East End, where for 2s. a week a dirty bed can be had in many houses. Hope fades more and more, but they still wander aimlessly from office to office where work is to be had. Then comes the time when food is stinted, and still worse, when clothes are pawned ; self- confidence disappears and courage fails, and it seems as if nothing but some lucky chance can save them from ruin. Some, who are strong enough, find work in the docks, very many take to begging, which seems to have reached such a pass, that in many of the City houses it has been deemed neces- sary to have the notices which forbid begging put up in the German language. Necessity causes the most curious changes to take place in the professions of these poor fellows ; it is of daily occurrence that book-keepers have to put up with being bakers, waiters, barbers ; people who ought to occupy a good

social position, by right of their high education, are to be found blacking boots at street-corners, or take to selling newspapers, oranges, matches, and other small wares which require little or no capital to start with.

This notice of the German colony in London would be incom- plete without some mention of their institutions (as the Americans would say) ; they are founded with the intention of keeping up the national life as far as possible. The colony is divided into nine so-called parishes, which contain twelve Protestant churches and chapels, one Catholic church, and one synagogue. It supports very liberally two benevolent societies, which date

from the beginning of the century, and whose charity seems very well managed and active. The hospital at Balaton is not kept strictly for Germans alone ; other nationalities are received ; but Germans are admitted without any other recommendation than that they are Germans, and are ill. An orphanage was founded at the instigation of Baron Schroder, in honour of the Emperor William's golden wedding. There is a house for German gover- nesses, one for maid-servants out of place, another for young men. The colony possesses four large national schools, in which the education is excellent. The middle-class education is not so well attended to ; there is only one school—the Anglo-German School at Brixton—and this apparently does not come up to the standard of a German gymnasium ; and one School is so insufficient for the numbers of middle-class boys requiring good education, that they have either to be sent to English schools, or else to Germany. There is an institute for the education of middle-class girls at Denmark Hill, which owes its origin to .Mrs. Gilligan, which leaves nothing to be desired in the way of a good, sound, education ; and. another high-class girls' school, kept by Herr Carl Mengel, in the northern district; but these are all. The German colony has its press, but it has never been very flourishing. Many papers of different opinions have been founded, but have run at most a few years. At present, there are only two which have any circulation.

But by far the most interesting and national of the German institutions is the Verein, or club. The most important is the German Athenmum, or club of literature and art. Among its members are most of the important and celebrated Germans in London ; it is more like one of the English clubs in its arrange- ment and constitution, but in other ways it differs, as scientific lectures, concerts, exhibitions of works of art, and lastly, even dramatic representations, are given in its hall ; its entrance fee and annual subscription are high. The next club in importance is the Turnverein, or Gymnastic Club. This was founded at the time of the Schiller anniversary festival, and contains a large proportion of English members, according to the original idea of the founder, who thought by this means to increase the cordiality between the two peoples ; its character and organisation remain, however, distinctively German. Besides teaching and encour- aging gymnastics, in which its members are very proficient, it gives dramatic readings and representations both of German and English plays, and a music club is attached to it. There are, besides, three or four other clubs, which meet together chiefly to cultivate music, and which all seem very flourishing. The most distinctive and interesting feature of this German club life in London is not so much to be found among those of the higher classes just mentioned, as among the twenty or thirty clubs (consisting altogether of over 4,040 mem- bers), which have sprung into existence to meet the wants. of the lower classes. Germans may principally claim the merit of having made clubs practicable and popular with the people, by comprehending all the advantages they afford. A

club is not taxed like a public-house ; it can, in consequence, afford to give better and cheaper beer, wine, and spirits ; it is not subject to police regulations; it is not obliged to close at stated times on Sundays, or at fixed hours in the evenings.

These popular clubs have a most beneficial and valuable in- fluence on their members ; besides keeping them from public- houses, by providing them with a comfortable house to meet in.

For the moderate charge of is. a month, they supply them with many of the Gernian papers, and often even with a piano ; they cultivate the taste for music, acting, and general literary in- terests, by giving concerts and dramatic readings; and encourage and stimulate the members to literary efforts of their own. These clubs are not only an outward sign of German life in

London, but must be considered still more as one of the most valuable means for keeping up and developing among the people that true national cultivation of the mind which is one of the characteristics that Germans'are rightly most proud of.