The Writings of Carl Schurz/To Mrs. R. W. Gilder, February 15th, 1898


16 East 64th St., Feb. 15, 1898.

I am very sorry I cannot attend your meeting in behalf of the establishment of a permanent orchestra in this city. But let me assure you that your efforts in that direction have my earnest sympathy.

The city of New York is becoming more and more the recognized center of civilization in America—not only as to the habits, tastes, endeavors and demands of its own society, but in the sense that people from all parts of the continent congregate here to find of the enjoyments of civilized life the best to be had on this side of the Atlantic.

That such a city should not have a permanent orchestra, which by constant practice and study together can train itself for the most perfect interpretation of the creations of musical genius, must certainly be regarded as an anomaly. That New York ought to have such an orchestra—indeed, that in order to perform its function as the greatest center of civilization in America, it must have such an orchestra—seems to be self-evident. And why should it not? It has the musicians and it has the money. The only thing needed is that the public spirit of some of its wealthy citizens should be turned into that channel. And I confidently hope that the persuasive enthusiasm of the ladies who have taken this task in hand will soon succeed in accomplishing it.