The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Bay State Monthly — Volume 1, No. 4, April, 1884

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Title: The Bay State Monthly — Volume 1, No. 4, April, 1884

Author: Various

Release date: October 10, 2004 [eBook #13680]
Most recently updated: December 18, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Cornell University, Joshua Hutchinson, Josephine Paolucci
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.


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APRIL, 1884.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1884, by John N. McClintock and Company, in the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

G.H. Perkins

G.H. Perkins



In passing up the Concord and Claremont Railroad from Concord, the observant traveler has doubtless noticed the substantial and comfortable-looking homestead with large and trim front yard, shaded by thickly planted and generous topped maples, on the right-hand side of the road after crossing the bridge that spans

"Contoocook's bright and brimming river,"

at the pleasant-looking village of Contoocookville in the northern part of Hopkinton.

There, under that inviting roof, the subject of this sketch, GEORGE HAMILTON PERKINS, the eldest son in a family of eight children, was born, October 20, 1836.

His father, the Honorable Hamilton Eliot Perkins, inherited all the land in that part of the town, and, in early life, in addition to professional work as a counsellor-at-law and member of the Merrimack County bar, built the mills at Contoocookville, and was, in fact, the founder of the thriving settlement at that point.

His paternal grandfather, Roger Eliot Perkins, came to Hopkinton from the vicinity of Salem, Massachusetts, when a young man, and by his energy, enterprise, and public spirit, soon impressed his individuality upon the community, and became one of the leading citizens of the town.

His mother was Miss Clara Bartlett George, daughter of the late John George, Esquire, of Concord, whose ancestors were among the early settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts. He is said to have been a man of active temperament, prompt in business, stout in heart, bluff of speech, honest in purpose, and never failing in any way those who had dealings with him.

As "the child is father of the man," so the boyhood and youth of Captain Perkins gave earnest of those qualities which in his young manhood the rude tests of the sea and the grim crises of war developed to the full. "No matter" was his first plainly spoken phrase, a hint of childish obstinacy that foreshadowed the persistence of maturer years. Among other feats of his boyish daring, it is told that when a mere child, hardly into his first trousers, he went one day to catch a colt in one of his father's fields bordering on the Contoocook. The colt declined to be caught and after a sharp scamper took to the river and swam across. Nothing daunted, the plucky little urchin threw off his jacket, plunged into the swift current, and safely breasting it, was soon in hot pursuit on the other side; and after a long chase and hard tussle made out to catch the spirited animal and bring him home in triumph. Always passionately fond of animals and prematurely expert in all out- door sports, he thus early began to master that noblest of beasts, the horse.

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When eight years old, his father removed with his family to Boston, and, investing his means in shipping, engaged for a time in trade with the west coast of Africa. The son was apt to run about the wharves with his father, and the sight of the ships and contact with "Jack" doubtless awoke the taste for the sea, that was to be gratified later on.

Returning to the old homestead on the Contoocook after the lapse of two years or more, the old, quiet, yet for young boyhood, frolicsome out-door life was resumed, and the lad grew apace amid the rural scenes and ample belongings of that generous home; not over studious, perhaps, and chafing, as boys will, at the restraint imposed by the study of daily lessons and their recital to his mother.

At twelve years of age, he was sent to the Hopkinton Academy, and afterwards to the academy at Gilmanton. While at Gilmanton, General Charles H. Peaslee, then member of Congress from the Concord congressional district, offered him the appointment of acting midshipman to fill a vacancy at the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, which, after some hesitation, his parents permitted him to accept, and he was withdrawn from Gilmanton and sent to Concord to prepare for entrance at Annapolis, under a private tutor. He remained under such pupilage until the age of fifteen, when the beginning of the academic year, October, 1851, saw him installed in "Middy's" uniform at that institution, and the business of life for him had begun in earnest.

To a young and restless lad, used to being afield at all times and hours with horse, dog, and gun, and fresh from a country home where the "pomp and circumstance" of military life had had no other illustration than occasional glimpses of the old "training and muster days" so dear to New Hampshire boys forty years ago, the change to the restraint and discipline; the inflexible routine and stern command; the bright uniforms and novel ways; the sight of the ships and the use of a vocabulary that ever smacks of the sea; the call by drum and trumpet to every act of the day, from bed-rising, prayers, and breakfast, through study, recitation, drill, and recreation hours, to tattoo and taps, when every student is expected to be in bed,--was a transformation wonderful indeed; but the flow of discipline and routine are so regular and imperative that their currents are imperceptibly impressed upon the youthful mind and soon become a part of his nature, as it were, unawares. So we may conclude that our young aspirant for naval honors proved no exception to the rule, and soon settled into these new grooves of life as quietly as his ardent temperament would permit.

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The discipline at the Academy, in those days, was harsher and more exacting, and the officers of the institution of a sterner and more experienced sea-school, than now; and the three months' practice cruises across the Atlantic, which the different classes made on alternate summers, when the "young gentlemen" were trained to do all the work of seamen, both alow and aloft, and lived on the old navy ration of salt junk, pork and beans, and hardtack, with no extras, were anything but a joke. The Academy, too, was in a transition state from the system in vogue, up to 1850 inclusive, prior to which period the midshipmen went to sea immediately after appointment, pretty much after the fashion of Peter Simple and Jack Easy, and after a lapse of five years came to the school for a year's cramming and coaching before graduating as passed midshipmen. The last of such appointees was graduated in 1856, and the sometime hinted contaminating influence of the "oldsters" upon the "youngsters" was a thing to be known no more forever, albeit the hint of contamination always seemed, to the writer, questionable, as, in his experience, the habit and propensity of the youngsters for mischief appeared to require neither promotion nor encouragement. Indeed, their methods and ingenuity in evading rules and regulations and defying discipline were as original as they were persevering, and could the third-story room of the building occupied by the subject of this sketch be given tongue, it would tell a tale of frolic and drollery that would only find parallel in the inimitable pages of Marryatt. Convenient apparatus for the stewing or roasting of oysters, poaching of eggs, or the mixing of refreshing drinks, could be readily stowed away from the inspecting officer, or a roast goose or turkey be smuggled by a trusty darkey from some restaurant outside; and it was but the work of a moment after taps to tack a blanket over the window, light the gas, and bring out a dilapidated pack of cards for a game of California Jack or draw-poker; or to convert the prim pine table into a billiard- table, with marbles for balls, with which the ownership of many a collar, neckerchief, shirt, and other articles of none too plentiful wardrobes, were decided in a twinkling, while the air of the crowded room grew thick and stifling from the smoke of the forbidden tobacco. One of the company would keep a sharp lookout for the possible advent of the sometimes rubber-shod passed midshipman doing police duty, and, if necessary, danger signals would be made from the basement story, by tapping on the steam-pipes, which signal would be repeated from room to room, and from floor to floor, generally in ample time for the young bacchanalians to disperse in safety. If, perchance, the revelers got caught, they would stand up at the next evening's parade and hear the offence and demerits accorded, read out in presence of the battalion, with an easy sang-froid that piqued the sea-worn experience of the oldsters while they marveled. Let no one judge these lads too harshly, for the day came, all too soon, when they were to stand up in face of the enemy, and, with equally nonchalant but sterner courage, go into battle in defence of the flag they were being trained to defend, many winning undying honor and fame, some meeting untimely but heroic graves, in "the war that kept the Union whole."

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Our midshipmite soon became a favorite with all, from the gruff old superintendent down to the littlest new-comer at the school. His bright, cheery, and genial disposition, and frank, hearty ways, were very winning, and if, in his studies, he did not take leading rank, nor become enraptured over analytics, calculus, and binomials, he was esteemed a spirited, heartsome lad of good stock and promise, bred to honorable purpose and aspiration, with seemingly marked aptitude for the noble profession, which, more than any other, calls for a heroism that never hesitates, a courage that never falters; for, aside from its special work of upholding and defending the flag, and all it symbolizes, on the high seas to the uttermost parts of the globe, "they that go down to sea in ships" come closer to the manifestations of the unspeakable might and majesty of Almighty Power than any other. The seaman, with but a plank separating him from eternity, never knows at what moment he may be called upon to put forth all the skill and resource, the unflinching effort and sacrifice, that his calling ever, in emergency, unstintedly requires.

"Where'er the surge may sweep, the tempest's breath prevail,
He searches all its stormy deep, its dangers all unveil."

Of medium height, slight and trim of figure, clear complexion and piercing gray eyes of peculiar brilliancy, softened by a merry twinkle betokening latent mischief, young Perkins was a youth fair and interesting to look upon. He walked with quick, elastic step, carried his head a little on one side, and had a habit, when anything struck his fancy pleasantly, of shrugging his shoulders and rubbing his hands together in a vigorous way, that seemed to declare in unmistakable terms that he was glad all over!

During one of the wonted summer cruises, he made himself somewhat famous at great-gun practice, the details of which are given in one of his home letters, as follows:--

"We had target practice one day, and it came my turn to shoot. There was quite a swell on, which made it very difficult to get any kind of a shot, but when I fired I hit the target, which was a barrel with a small flag on it, set up about three quarters of a mile distant. Such a thing as hitting a small target at sea, with the ship in motion, and a swell on, is considered almost out of the question, so they all said it was 'luck.' But another target was put out, and I fired again and stove it all to pieces. Then the crew all cheered, and made quite a hero of me. Still some said it must be luck, and another target was put out in exactly the same manner. This one I did not quite hit, but the shot fell so near, that all gave it up it was not luck, and that I was a first-rate shot with broadside guns."

After such demonstration, it is not strange that he was looked upon as having a very correct eye for distances, and was ever afterward called upon to fire whenever experiments were wanted. Naval gunnery, be it remarked in passing, is quite a different matter from army practice: in the former, with its platform never at rest, it is like shooting a bird on the wing, when distance and motion must be accurately gauged and allowed for; in the latter, from its gun on a fixed platform, it is but a question of measurement from the object, by means of instruments if need be, and of good pointing. The seaman stands immediately in rear of the gun, with eye along the sight directing its train, now right, now left, now well, and with taut lock-string in hand in readiness to pull the moment the object is on, and on the alert to jump clear of the recoil. The soldier handles his piece with greater deliberation, sights it leisurely on its immovable platform, and, if mounted en barbette, retires behind a traverse before firing.

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Graduating in June, 1856, the now full-fledged Midshipman Perkins could look back upon his five years' probationary experience with many pleasant recollections, though doubtless thanking his stars that his pupilage was over.

During his time there had been two superintendents at the academy. The first was Captain C.K. Stribling, a fine seaman of the old school, of rigid Presbyterian stock, stern, grim, and precise, with curt manners, sharp and incisive voice that seemed to know no softening, and whose methods of duty and conception of discipline smacked of the "true blue" ideal of the Covenanters of old in their enforcement of obedience and conservation of morals. The second was Captain L.M. Goldsborough, a man of stalwart height and proportions and a presence that ennobled command; learned and accomplished, yet gruff and overwhelming in speech and brusque and impatient in manner, but possessing, withal, a kindly nature, and a keen sense of humor that took in a joke enjoyably, however practical; and a sympathetic discrimination that often led him to condone moral offences at which some of the straight-laced professors stood aghast. His responses at church-service resounded like the growl of a bear, and when reprimanding the assembled midshipmen, drawn up in battalion, for some grave breach of discipline, he would stride up and down the line with the tread of an elephant, and expound the Articles of War in stentorian tones that equaled the roar of a bull! But if, perchance, in the awesome precincts of his office, he afterwards got hold of a piece of doggerel some witty midshipman had written descriptive of such a scene, none would enjoy it more than he!

After an enjoyment of a three months' leave of absence at home. Midshipman Perkins was ordered to join the sloop-of-war Cyane, Captain Robb. That ship was one of the home squadron, and in November, 1856, sailed for Aspinwall, to give protection to our citizens, mails, and freight, in the transit across the Isthmus of Panama to California, back and forth. At that period safe and rapid transit in that region of riots and revolution was much more important than now,--the Pacific Railroad existing only in the brains of a few sagacious men,--and the maintenance of the thoroughfare across the pestilential isthmus was a national necessity. For years our naval force on either side had had frequent occasion to land expeditions to protect the life and property of our citizens, and a frightful massacre of passengers had but lately occurred at the hands of a mongrel mob at Panama. The situation was critical, and for a time it looked as though the United States would be obliged to seize and hold that part of Colombian territory. But time wore on without outbreak on the part of the fiery freemen of that so- called republic, the continued presence of ships, both at Panama and Aspinwall, doubtless convincing them of the folly of further attempts to molest the hated Yankees.

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Meanwhile the notorious Walker had been making a filibustering raid in Central America, which ended in failure, and the Cyane went over to Greytown to bring the sick and wounded of his deluded followers to Aspinwall for passage to New York. Some hundred and twenty officers and men found in the hands of the Costa Ricans were taken on board, most of them in a deplorable condition. Some died before weighing anchor for Aspinwall, and as midshipmen have no definable duties except to obey orders, whatever they may be, Midshipman Perkins was sent in a boat one day to take a chaplain's part in the burial of one of the victims. "When we got out to sea," he wrote, "I read some prayers over him, and then he was thrown over the side, the sailors saying 'God bless you!' as the body sunk." This sad duty made him feel solemn and reflective, but more than likely as not he was called upon immediately on arrival on board, as "master's mate of the spirit-room," to attend the serving out of grog to the ship's company! Extremes meet on board a man-of-war, and the times for moralizing are short and scant.

So time sped, Midshipman Perkins performing his multifarious duties with alacrity and approval, and having some perilous adventures by flood and field in pursuit of wild game, until July, 1857, when the monotony of the cruise was broken by a trip to the banks of Newfoundland for the protection of our fishing interests, and including visits at Boston, St. John's, and Halifax.

The people of the Provinces were very hospitable, and the contrast between the dusky damsels of the isthmus and the ruddy-cheeked belles of St. John's and Halifax was brightening in the extreme; and young Perkins, ever gallant in his intercourse with the sex, and a good dancer, found much favor with the Provincial beauties, and doubtless made up for past deprivations, in the alluring contact with their charms.

Returning southward in the fall, the ship cruised among the West Indies, visiting, among other ports, Cape Haytien, the old capital of the island of Hayti, to inquire into the imprisonment of an American merchant captain. This place, before the French Revolution, had been a city of great magnificence and beauty--the Paris of the Isles; and the old French nobility, possessing enormous landed estates and large numbers of slaves, lived in a state of almost fabled grandeur and luxury; but negro rule, the removal of the seat of government to Port-au-Prince, and the great earthquake of 1842, have destroyed all but a semblance of its former glory and importance.

Among other sights visited by the officers was the old home of Count Cristoff, a castle of great size and strength, built on one of the highest hills, some twelve miles back of the town. It was told of the old Count that he used every year to bury large sums of money from his revenues, and then shoot the slave who did the work, that the secret of the spot might be known only to himself.

In January, 1858, Midshipman Perkins was detached from the Cyane, and he bade adieu forever to her dark, cramped-up, tallow-candle lighted steerage, baggy hammock, and hard fare, where the occasional dessert to a salt dinner had been dried apples, mixed with bread and flavored with whiskey! There were no eleven-o'clock breakfasts for midshipmen in those days, and canned meats, condensed milk, preserved fruits, and other luxuries now common on shipboard, were almost unknown.

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A few brief days at home and orders came to join the storeship Release, which vessel after a three months' cruise in the Mediterranean returned to New York to fill up with stores and provisions for the Paraguay expedition. That expedition had for its object the chastisement of the Dictator Lopez for certain dastardly acts committed against our flag on the River Parana.

Owing to the paucity of officers, so many being absent on other foreign service, Midshipman Perkins was appointed acting sailing-master, a very responsible position for so young an officer, which, with the added comforts of a stateroom and well-ordered table in the wardroom, was almost royal in its contrast with the duty, the darksome steerage, and hard fare on board the Cyane. It would be difficult to make a landsman take in the scope of the change implied, but let him in imagination start across the continent in an old-fashioned, cramped-up stage- coach, full of passengers, with such coarse fare as could be picked up from day to day, and return in a Pullman car with well-stocked larder and restaurant attached, and he will get a glimmering as to the difference between steerage and wardroom life on board a man-of-war.

The Release was somewhat of a tub, and what with light and contrary winds and calms took sixty-two days to reach the rendezvous, Montevideo, arriving there in January, 1858. She found the whole fleet at anchor there, and officers and men soon forgot the weariness of the long passage in the receipt of letters from home, and in the joyous meetings with old friends. All admired the fine climate, and, as that part of South America is the greatest country in the world for horses, the young sailing-master rejoiced in the opportunity offered to indulge in his favorite pastime of riding. He also showed his prowess as a devotee of the chase in the fine sport afforded on the pampas that enabled him to run down and shoot a South American tiger.

Meanwhile Commodore Shubrick, in command of the expedition, had completed his preparations for ascending the Parana, and the fleet soon moved up to a convenient point, the Commodore himself continuing on up the river in a small vessel to Corrientes to meet Lopez and convey to him the ultimatum of the United States. After some "backing and filling," as an old salt would characterize diplomacy, Lopez concluded "discretion to be the better part of valor," and making a satisfactory amende, the Paraguayan war came to a bloodless end, and the hopes of expectant heroes with visions of promotion dissolved like summer clouds.

Young Perkins was now, August, 1858, transferred to the frigate Sabine for passage home to his examination for the grade of passed midshipman. Passing that ordeal satisfactorily, aided by handsome commendatory letters from his commanding officers, he spent three happy months at home, and then received orders for duty on board the steamer Sumter, as acting master, the destination of that vessel being the west coast of Africa, where, in accordance with the provisions of Article 8 of the Webster-Ashburton treaty (1842), the United States maintained a squadron, carrying not less than eighty guns, in co-operation with the British government, for the suppression of the slave trade. That article continued in active observance nineteen years, when the United States, having a little question of slavery to settle at home, gave the stipulated preliminary notice and recalled the ships.

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The Sumter arrived on the coast in October, 1859, making her first anchorage in the lovely harbor on the west side of Prince's Island. That island, in about 1° 30' north latitude, covered with all the luxuriance of tropical growth and verdure, and broken into every conceivable shape of pinnacle, castellated rock and chasm, and frowning precipice, streaked with silvery threads of leaping streams in their dash to the sea, is indeed one of the most enchanting spots the eye ever rested on. The chief inhabitant of the lovely isle was Madame Ferrara, a woman of French extraction, who lived alone in a big, rambling house, surrounded by slaves, who cultivated her plantations and prepared the cocoa, palm oil, yams, and cocoanuts, for the trade that sought her doors.

Filling up with water, the Sumter proceeded to the island of Fernando Po, a Spanish possession close in to the mainland, in the Bight of Biafra, where she met several English and French men-of-war, and received orders for her future movements.

The first thing to do, in accordance with the custom of the squadron, was the enlisting of fifteen or twenty negroes, known as Kroomen, whose home is in the Kroo country in upper Guinea, just south of Liberia. They did all the heavy boat-work of the ship, thus lightening the work of the crew, and saving them as much as possible from exposure to the effects of the deadly climate. Great, strapping, muscular fellows, many of them, with forms that an Apollo might envy, they were trained from infancy to be as much at home in the water as upon the land, and could swim a dozen leagues at sea or pull at the oar all day long without seeming fatigue. Wonderfully expert in their handling of boats, especially in the heavy surf that rolls in upon the coast with ceaseless volume and resistless power, its perilous line almost unbroken by a good harbor, from the Cape of Good Hope to the Straits of Gibraltar, their services in communicating with the shore were simply invaluable. The head Kroomen exercised despotic power over their respective gangs, and the men were given fanciful names, and so entered on the purser's books. Bottle-o'-Beer, Jack Frying-Pan, Tom Bobstay, Upside Down, and the like, were favorite names; and our fun-loving young sailing-master hints, in his letters of the time, that the archives of the fourth auditor's office at Washington may possibly embalm the names of certain Annapolis belles that had been borne by some of these sable folk!

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The cruising ground embraced the coasts of Upper and Lower Guinea, and the coast of Biafra, with occasional visits of recruit and recreation to Cape Town and St. Helena. The work was arduous, monotonous, and exhausting, especially during the rainy season, when the decks were continually deluged with water, and dry clothing was the exception, not the rule. The weather was always hot, often damp and sultry, and the atmosphere on shore so pestilential, that no one was permitted to remain there after sundown. But that rule was no deprivation, as the dangers of the passage through the relentless breakers, alive with sharks, were so great, that few cared to visit the shore except when absolutely necessary. The vessels cruised mostly in sight of the coast to watch the movements of the merchantmen, all more or less under suspicion as slavers, watching their chances to get off with a cargo. On one hand was the rounded horizon dipping into the broad Atlantic; on the other, the angry line of rollers with their thunderous roar, backed by white beach and dense forest, with occasional glimpses of blue hills in the distant interior. This and nothing more, from day to day, save when a small village of thatched huts came into view, adding a scant feature to the landscape; or a solitary canoe outside the line of breakers; or strange sail to seaward; or school of porpoises, leaping and blowing, windward bound; or hungry shark prowling round the ship, lent momentary interest to the watery solitude. It was a privilege to fall in with another cruiser, whether of our own or of the English flag. On such occasions, down would go the boats for the exchange of visits, the comparison of notes, and sometimes the discussion of a dinner. The English officers had numerous captures and handsome sums of prize- money to tell of, while our people, as a rule, could only talk of hopes and possibilities. Our laws regulating captures were as inflexible as the Westminster Catechism, and a captain could not detain a vessel without great risk of civil damages, unless slaves were actually on board. Suspected ships might have all the fittings and infamous equipage for the slave traffic on board, but if their masters produced correct papers the vessels could not be touched; and our officers not infrequently had the mortification of learning that ships they had overhauled, and believed to be slavers, but could not seize under their instructions, got off the coast eventually with large cargoes of ebon humanity on board.

Not so with the English commanders, whose instructions enabled them to take and send to their prize-courts all vessels, except those under the American flag, under the slightest showing of nefarious character; and their hauls of prize-money were rich and frequent.

The intercourse with the English officers, notes Master Perkins, at first cordial and agreeable, became, after a few months, cold and indifferent. Her Majesty's officers no longer cared to show politeness or friendly feeling. The first premonitions of the Rebellion in the John Brown raid, the break-up of the democracy at Charleston, and the violence of the Southern press concerning the probable results of the pending presidential election, convincing them that the long- predicted and wished-for day--the breaking up of the Republic--was nigh at hand, and their real feelings as Englishmen cropped out but too plainly; but of this, more anon.

Despite the perils of the surf, the dangers of the inhospitable climate, and the unfriendly character of some of the savage tribes to be met with, the adventurous spirit and dauntless courage of Master Perkins was not to be balked. Volunteering for every duty, no matter how dangerous, hardly a boat ever left the ship that he was not in it. The life of the mess through his unfailing good humor and exuberant flow of spirits, he was the soul of every expedition, whether of service or pleasure; and before the cruise of some twenty-two months was up, he came to know almost every prominent tribe, chief, and king on the coast. Now dining with a king off the strangest of viands; now holding "palaver" with another; now spending a day with a chief and his numerous wives; now visiting a French barracoon, where, under a fiction of law, the victims were collected to be shipped as unwilling apprentices, not slaves, to be returned to their native wilds, if they lived long enough; now ascending a river dangerous for boats, where, if the boat had capsized, himself and crew would but have served a morning's meal to the hungry sharks held as fetich by the natives along the stream, who yearly sacrifice young girls reared for the purpose to their propitiation; now scouring the bush in pursuit of the gorilla or shooting hippopotami by the half-dozen, and other adventures and exploits wherein duty, excitement, and gratified curiosity were intermingled with danger and hairbreadth escape that few would care to tempt.

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On one occasion, he volunteered to go with a boat's crew and find the mouth of the Settee River, not dreaming of landing through the unusually heavy surf. "But," said he, "in pulling along about half a mile from shore, a roller struck the boat and capsized it. Of course we were obliged to swim for shore; in fact, we had little to do with it, for the moment the boat was upset we were driven into the surf, and not one of us thought we should ever reach the shore, for if we were not lost in the surf, the sharks would eat us up. As I rose on the top of a wave I could look ahead and see the stretch of wild, tossing surf, which it seemed impossible for any one to live in; but when I looked back I could count all my men striking out, which was very encouraging, as I feared one or two might be under the boat. I thought for a moment of you all at home, and wondered if mother would not feel a little frightened if she knew how strong the chances were against her son's receiving any more letters from home. Just then a roller struck me and carried me down so deep I was caught by the undertow and carried toward the sea, instead of the land. When I came to the surface I tried to look out for the next roller, but it was no use; the first one half-drowned me, and the next kept me down so long that when I rose I was in the wildest of the surf, which tumbled and rolled me about in a way I did not like at all. My eyes, nose, and mouth were full of sand, and, in fact, I thought my time had come. Just then I looked on shore, and saw two of my men dragging some one from the water, and at that sight I struck out with one despairing kick, and managed to get near enough for two of the men to reach me; but that was all I knew of the affair until a little after sunset, when I became conscious of the fact that I was being well shaken, and I heard one of the men say, 'Cheer up, Mr. Perkins! Your boat and all the men are on shore.' This was such good news that I did not much mind the uncomfortable position in which I found myself. I was covered with sand and stretched across a log about two feet high, my head on one side and my feet on the other. The men had worked a long while to bring me to. Three of the men were half-drowned and one injured. We managed to get the boat in the river, but suffered awfully from thirst. The next morning we lost our way, and, after pulling around till mid-afternoon, we stumbled on some natives fishing. We followed them home, but found them such a miserable, bad-looking lot of negroes that we expected trouble. Knowing that the native villages in the daytime are left in charge of the old men and women, and not knowing what might happen when the men came back, we killed some chickens, and, with some sweet potatoes, made quite a meal. The strongest of us, myself and three others, got ready for a fight, while the rest manned the boat ready for our retreat. Shortly after this the chief came back, and about a hundred men with him. I told the chief I had come to pay him a visit, and we had a great palaver; but he would not give us anything to eat, and we made up our minds that it was a dangerous neighborhood; so we moved down on a sand-spit in sight of the ship, and there we stayed three days and nights. We built a tent and fortification, traded off most of our clothes for something to eat, and slept unpleasantly near several hundred yelling savages. All this while the ship could render no assistance; but on the third day the Kroomen came on shore with some oars, and, after trying all one day, we managed, just at night, to get through the surf and back to the ship. It was a happy time for us, and I may say for all on board, as they had been very anxious about us. Not far north of this, if you happen to get cast ashore, they kill and eat you at once, for cannibalism is by no means extinct among the negroes."

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The sequel of this perilous experience was that all of them were stricken down with the dread African fever which, if it does not at all times kill, but too often shatters the constitution beyond remedy; and the fact that five officers, including one commanding officer, and a proportionate number of men, had been invalided home, and another commanding officer had died, all due to climatic causes, attests the general unhealthfulness of the coast. Other interesting incidents and narrow escapes, in which Master Perkins had part, might be told, did not lack of space forbid; but enough has been shown to impress the fact that African cruising, even in a well-found man-of-war, is not altogether the work and pleasure of a holiday; yet, in looking over young Perkins's letters, we cannot forbear this description of the expertness of the Kroomen in landing through the surf.

"When the boat shoves off from the ship, the Kroomen, entirely naked with exception of breech-clout, strike up a song, and pulling grandly to its rhythmic time, soon reach the edge of the surf, and lie on their oars. All eyes are now cast seaward, looking for a big roller, on the top of which we shall be carried on shore, and there is a general feeling of excitement. In a short time, the looked-for roller comes; the Kroomen spring to their oars with a shout, the natives on shore yell with all their might, the boat shoots forward on top of the wave at incredible speed, the surf thunders like the roar of a battery, and altogether it seems as if the world had come to an end and all those fellows in the infernal regions were let loose. Now we must trust to luck wholly; there is no retreat and no help, for the boat is beyond the power of any human management, and go on shore you must, either in the boat or under it. The moment the boat strikes the beach, the Kroomen jump overboard, and you spring on the back of one of them, and he runs with you up on the beach out of the way of the next roller, which immediately follows, breaking over the boat, often upsetting it and always wetting everything inside. If you have escaped without a good soaking, you may consider yourself a lucky fellow."

[pg 212]

In the midst of this work came the startling news of the portentous events at home. The infrequent mails began to bring the angry mutterings, the fateful tidings, that preluded the Rebellion. Every fresh arrival but added to the excitement and increased the bewilderment that had so unexpectedly come upon the squadron; for, far removed from the scene, and not daily witnesses of the overt acts of the maddened South, they had mostly believed that the threatened conflict would be tided over, and the government be enabled to continue on in its wonted peaceful course. Now a wall, as of fire, rose up between the officers; every mess in every ship was divided against itself; brothers-in- arms of yesterday were enemies of to-day; and no one spoke of the outlook at home except in bated breath and measured speech, from fear that the bitter cup would overflow then and there, and water turn to blood. Many Southern officers sent in their resignations at once, and all, both from North and South, were anxious to get home to do their part on one side or the other.

"For some time past," wrote Master Perkins, "the foreigners here have shown us but little respect, and seem to regard us as a broken power; and this has been very provoking, for in my opinion it will be a long time before any power can afford to despise the United States." And he notes the fact that no more money could be had,--that the credit of the government was gone! Ah! how happy the day to loyal but wearied hearts on that inhospitable shore, when the news came of the President's call for seventy-five thousand men, giving assurance that we still had a government, and meant to preserve it through the valor, the blood, the treasure of the nation, if need be!

After unaccountable and vexatious delay, the Sumter received orders, July, 1861, to proceed to New York; meanwhile she had captured the slave brig Falmouth, a welcome finale to the cruise, and what with the officers transferred to her and the resignations that had taken place, Mr. Perkins now became executive officer, a fine position at that day for one of his years.

Making the homeward run in thirty-six days, the officers and men dispersed to their homes for a brief respite before entering upon the stern duties that awaited them, and Mr. Perkins had the satisfaction of receiving his commission as master.

Recruiting his shattered health for a short time at his welcoming home, he was ordered as executive officer of the Cayuga, one of the so- called ninety-day gunboats, carrying a battery of one eleven-inch Dahlgren gun, a twenty pounder Parrott rifle, and two twenty-four pounder howitzers, and commanded by Lieutenant-Commanding N.B. Harrison, a loyal Virginian, who had wavered never a moment as to his duty when his State threw down the gauntlet of rebellion.

The exigencies of the war had soon exhausted the lists of regular officers and the few thousand seamen that had been trained in the service, and large drafts of officers and men were made upon the merchant marine as well as big hauls of green landsmen who had never dreamt of salt water; and First Lieutenant Perkins, as the only regular officer on board except the captain, soon found himself an exceeding busy man in organizing, disciplining, drilling, and shaping into place and routine, some ninety officers and men, all equally new to man- of-war life and methods, and requiring the necessary time and instruction to fit them for their new duties. A fair soldier may be made in three months--a good seaman not in three years.

[pg 213]

The vessel was ordered to join Farragut's fleet in the Gulf, but, with the usual delays incident to new ships, did not get off from New York until the first week in March, arriving at Ship Island on the thirty-first, by way of Key West, and having made a prize on the way. As the young executive had been promoted to a lieutenancy on the eve of departure from New York his visions of prize-money were doubtless proportionately enhanced by the capture!

The Cayuga.

The Cayuga.

The next day she sailed for the mouth of the Mississippi, where, and at the head of the passes, the rest of the fleet was assembled, and Flag-Officer Farragut busily engaged in completing the preparations for the attack on New Orleans.

The fleet consisted of four heavy sloops-of-war of the Hartford class; three corvettes of the Iroquois class; nine gunboats of the Cayuga class, and the large side-wheel steamer Mississippi, carrying in the aggregate one hundred and fifty-four guns, principally of nine- inch and eleven-inch calibre; but as the large ships carried their batteries mostly in broadside, the actual number that could be brought to bear, under the most favorable conditions, on every given point, would be cut down to the neighborhood of ninety guns.

Supporting this force as auxiliary to it, for the bombardment of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, was Porter's mortar fleet of twenty schooners, each mounting a thirteen-inch mortar, and a flotilla of five side- wheel steamers, and the gunboat Owasco, carrying, in all, thirty guns.

[pg 214]
Map of the Mississippi River Showing Forts Jackson and St. Philip.

Map of the Mississippi River Showing Forts Jackson and St. Philip.
From the U.S. Coast Survey. Surveyed in 1870 by John N. McClintock.

The forts in question, forming the principal defences of New Orleans, were heavy casemated works with traverses on top for barbette guns, some ninety miles below the city at a point where the river makes a sharp bend to the southeast. Fort St. Philip, on the left bank, mounted forty-two guns, and Fort Jackson, including its water battery, had sixty-seven guns in position, all of calibre from the long twenty- four pounder to the heavy ten-inch Columbiad, and including several six- inch and seven-inch rifles.

[pg 215]

Stretching across the river from bank to bank to bar the channel, nearly opposite Fort Jackson and exposed to the perpendicular fire of St. Philip, were heavy ship's chains, supported and buoyed by hulks, rafts, and logs, and half a dozen large schooners. The rebels had also established some works on the banks of the river about four miles from town, known as the McGehee and Chalmette batteries, the latter being located at the point ever memorable in American history as the scene of General Jackson's overwhelming defeat of the British in 1815.

Their reliance afloat was in the Louisiana, an ironclad, carrying nine rifles and seven smooth bores of heavy calibre; the ram Manassas, one gun; the McRae, seven guns; the Moore and Quitman with two guns each; six river steamers with their stems shod with iron to act as rams, and several iron-protected tugs.

Assembling the fleet at the head of the passes, after much difficulty in getting the heavy ships over the bar, Farragut ordered the ships to strip like athletes for battle. Down came mast and spar till nothing was left standing but lower masts,--and even those were taken out of some of the gunboats,--and soon everything best out of reach of shot was landed, leaving clear decks, and no top hamper to be cut away by the enemy's projectiles, and come tumbling down about the heads of guns' crews.

About this time the English and French men-of-war that had lain before New Orleans, giving aid and comfort to the enemy and making merry in singing rebel songs on board, especially on board the English vessels, left the river, their officers declaring it an impossibility for the fleet to pass the forts and obstructions.

In this connection, it may be mentioned that the cruisers of John Bull prowled along the coast during the entire war, with sometimes permission to enter the blockaded ports, conveying information and lending encouragement to the enemy, and rejoicing at every disaster that befell the Union arms, which, together with the tacit connivance of the British government in letting out the Alabama, and other hostile acts, ought to be treasured against Great Britain so long as the Republic endures.

On the sixteenth of April, Farragut moved up to a point just below the forts, and on the eighteenth, having established the vessels of the mortar fleet at distances ranging from twenty-nine hundred and fifty yards to four thousand yards, from Jackson, and partially hidden by trees on one side the river, and disguised with bushes on the other, opened the bombardment, which was kept up with little interruption for six days and nights; the corvettes and gunboats taking part by turns in running up, delivering their fire, and dropping down with the current out of range again. The forts replied vigorously, and every night the enemy sent down fire-rafts, but to little purpose.

[pg 216]

Meanwhile, under cover of the night and the fire of the fleet, Fleet-Captain Bell, and Lieutenants-Commanding Crosby and Caldwell of the gunboats Pinola and Itasca, had succeeded in forcing a channel through the obstructions, a piece of duty that had required the most robust and dauntless courage, and in which Caldwell--a son of Massachusetts--shone pre-eminent by the coolness of his methods and thoroughness of his work. And now, on the night of the twenty- third, after a last examination by Caldwell in a twelve-oared boat, all was pronounced clear, and the fleet was to weigh at two o'clock in the morning.

The fleet was formed in three divisions, the first comprising the Hartford, flagship, the Brooklyn, and Richmond; the second composed of eight vessels with the divisional flag of Captain Bailey on board the Cayuga; and the third of six vessels, with Fleet-Captain Bell's flag flying from the Sciota; but was ordered to pass through the obstructions in one column or single line ahead, the Cayuga leading. Farragut had intended to lead himself, but at Bailey's urgent request yielded that honor to him.

The letters of Lieutenant Perkins, ever glowing with ardor for the good cause, were, at this time, full of patriotic fervor and aspiration, and when he said: "I hope the Cayuga will go down before she ever gives up, and 'I guess' she will," he certainly meant it! And the supreme moment had now come for him to inform this hope by valorous deeds, and all unfalteringly did he walk in the blazing light of heroism that none but the brave may dare to tread.

The signal to weigh was promptly made at two o'clock, A.M., but work at night is always behind, and it was half-past three o'clock before the little Cayuga, leading the line, pressed gallantly through the obstructions at full speed, eager for the fray, closely followed by the heavy Pensacola, and ship after ship in the order assigned; but lack of space forbids a general description of the battle, and we propose to do hardly more than to follow the fortunes of the Cayuga.

Lieutenant-Commanding Harrison had paid his executive the high compliment of allowing him to pilot the vessel, and Perkins took position in the eyes of her, on the topgallant forecastle, while Lieutenant-Commanding Harrison and Captain Bailey stood aft, near the wheel, and all the men except the helmsmen were made to lie flat on the deck until the time came for them to serve the battery. Prone on the deck at Perkins's feet, and with his head close down over the bow, was the captain of the forecastle, to watch the channel and give timely warning of anything barring the way that might escape the wider- ranging eye of the intrepid young pilot; and as the Cayuga pressed on, receiving the first shock of the outburst from the forts, what finer subject for the painter, than that lithe young figure standing up in bold and unflinching relief, at the extreme bow of the ship, peering ahead in the morning starlight to pilot her safely on her way, amid the blinding flame and screaming bolts, the hurtle of shot and crash of shell, the explosion and deafening roar of a hundred shotted guns, as the vessel steamed into the jaws of death, leading the fleet into one of the most momentous and memorable conflicts in naval annals. Nor should cool and phlegmatic Harrison nor grand old Bailey be overlooked, as the constant flashes of the thick exploding shells revealed them standing, calm and grim, at their posts, in readiness to direct the movements of vessel and column, and engage the foe, ashore and afloat; nor the impatient officers and crew, who eagerly waited the order to spring to their guns and make reply to the withering fire pouring in upon them as yet unavenged.

[pg 217]

"Noticing," said Perkins, "that the enemy's guns were all aimed for midstream, I steered right close under the walls of St. Philip, and although our masts and rigging were badly shot through, the hull was hardly damaged. After passing the last battery, I looked back for some of our vessels, and my heart jumped into my mouth, when I found I could not see a single one. I thought they must all have been sunk by the forts. Looking ahead, I saw eleven of the enemy's gunboats coming down, upon us, and I supposed we were gone. Three made a dash to board us, but a charge from our eleven-inch settled one, the Governor Moore. The ram Manassas just missed us astern, and we soon disposed of the other. Just then, some of our gunboats came to the assistance of the Cayuga, and all sorts of things happened; it was the wildest excitement all round. The Varuna fired a broadside into us instead of the enemy. Another attacked one of our prizes; three had struck to us before any of our ships came up, but when they did come up we all pitched in and sunk eleven vessels in about twenty minutes."

The brief encounter with the Moore had been very exciting. The vessels were alongside each other, and both were reloading,--the guns muzzle to muzzle, and but a few feet apart. The gun that could fire first would decide the fate of one or the other. Perkins sprang down, and, taking personal charge of the smoking eleven-inch, put fresh vigor into its loading, and firing the instant the rammer was withdrawn, swept the Moore's gun from its carriage, and killed or disabled thirteen of its crew.

The Cayuga still leading the way up the river came upon a regiment at daylight encamped close to the bank, and Perkins, as the mouthpiece of the captain, hailed them and ordered them to come on board and deliver up their arms or he would "blow them to pieces."

It proved to be the Chalmette regiment, and, surrendering, the officers and men were paroled and the former allowed to retain their side- arms, "except," said Perkins, "one captain, whom I discovered was from New Hampshire. I took his sword away from him and have kept it!"

Now Farragut came up in the Hartford and signalled the fleet to anchor. This was near Quarantine, some five miles above the forts. All the vessels had succeeded in running the gauntlet of their fire except three gunboats, and New Orleans was now practically at the mercy of the fleet; but the Varuna had been rammed and sunk in the hot fight with the enemy's flotilla just above St. Philip.

The Cayuga had received forty-two hits in mast and hull, and six men had been wounded.

The hurricane of projectiles had passed mostly too high to do mortal harm to her crew, due in part to the skilful manner in which Perkins had sheered in toward the bank from midstream so early in the fight.

[pg 218]

Resting until the next morning to care for the dead and wounded, and the repair of damages, the fleet again weighed, the Cayuga still in advance; and when the spires of the city hove in sight from her deck, "three rousing cheers and a tiger" went up from her gallant crew. But the plucky little gunboat was getting ahead too fast, for arriving close abreast the Chalmette battery, which seemed to be deserted, she suddenly received a fire that compelled a halt. Over-matched five to one, and having been struck fourteen times, with shot and shells dropping thick and fast about her, she slowed and dropped back a little with the current, until the Hartford and Brooklyn coming up quickly silenced the enemy with their heavy broadsides, while the Pensacola cared for the hostile works on the opposite bank in like manner. The fleet then kept on without further obstruction, and arrived and anchored off the city about noon; finding the levee along its entire length aflame with burning cotton, coal, ships, steamboats, and other property the infuriated enemy had devoted to destruction.

The loss to the fleet in this daring and brilliant feat had been thirty-seven killed and one hundred and thirty-seven wounded.

It is needless to say that Lieutenant Perkins not only received high commendation from Captain Bailey and Lieutenant-Commanding Harrison, but won the praise and admiration of all on board and in the fleet, by the coolness and intrepidity shown by him in every emergency of the fight and passage up the river.

The first tidings received in Washington foreshadowing the success of the attack was through rebel telegrams announcing, "one of the enemy's gunboats"--the Cayuga--"above the forts." Some question subsequently arose between Bailey and Farragut as to the Cayuga's position in the passage, which in the diagrams accompanying the official reports contradicted the text, putting the Cayuga third instead of first in the van. Farragut cheerfully made the correction.

Soon after anchoring, Bailey was ordered to go on shore and demand the unconditional surrender of the city, and he asked Lieutenant Perkins to accompany him. This duty was almost as dangerous and conspicuous as the passage of the forts had been, for an infuriated and insolent mob followed them from the landing to the mayor's office, and while there with the mayor and General Lovell, besieged the doors, demanding the "Yankee officers" to be given up to them to be hung. The demonstration at last became so threatening, that the mayor drew off the attention of the mob by a speech to them in front of the building, while the Union officers took a close carriage in its rear and driving rapidly down to their boat, reached the ship in safety.

Bailey had managed to hoist the flag over the mint, which a party of rebels tore down the next day, but the authorities refused to surrender the city or to haul down the insignia of rebellion. Then ensued a correspondence which, to read at this day, makes the blood boil at rebel insolence, and the wonder grow at Farragut's forbearance; but on the twenty-ninth of April, he sent Fleet-Captain Bell on shore with two howitzers manned by sailors and a battalion of two hundred and fifty marines and took possession of the city. Meanwhile the forts had surrendered to Porter of the mortar fleet, and General Butler, arriving on the first of May, relieved Farragut of further responsibility as to the city.

[pg 219]


The Cayuga had been so badly cut up by shot and shell that she was selected to take Captain Bailey north as bearer of dispatches, and landing him at Fortress Monroe, proceeded on to New York to be refitted. This enabled Lieutenant Perkins to make a short visit to Concord, where his father, now become judge of probate of Merrimack County, had removed, and both himself and the family received many congratulations, personal and written, at the brilliant record he had made in the recent memorable operations on the Mississippi.

Modest and unassuming, with a genial frankness of manner that told pleasantly alike on quarter-deck or street, in family-circle or drawing-room, he wore his honors in the quietest way possible, never speaking of his own part in the brave deeds of the time, except when pressed to do so, and then with a reticence all too provoking, from the well-grounded suspicion that he kept back the pith of the real story of personal participation he might tell without tinge of exaggeration or boastfulness.

Returning to the Cayuga he found a new commanding officer, Lieutenant-Commanding D. McN. Fairfax, another loyal Virginian, who not only stood faithful to the flag under all circumstances, but had, as the officer from the San Jacinto, boarded the Trent and taken from her the arch-conspirators, Mason and Slidell, suffering the contumely of rebel womanhood in the reception accorded him by Mr. Commissioner Slidell's daughter.

Fairfax and Perkins had known each other on the coast of Africa, and it was the meeting of old friends made doubly pleasant by the senior's hearty appreciation of the laurels so gallantly won by the junior, and self-congratulation in the promised comfort of retaining an executive of so much energy, ability, and reputation.

Rejoining Farragut's squadron, Perkins saw other gallant and varied service in the Cayuga until November, 1862, when he was transferred to the Pensacola, and the following month commissioned lieutenant-commander, a new grade created by Congress to correspond with that of major in the army.

In June, 1863, General Banks, then besieging Port Hudson, sent word to the now Rear-Admiral Farragut, that he must have more powder or give up the siege, wherefore the Admiral ordered the gunboat New London on the important service of powder transportation and convoy, and assigning Perkins to the command until the officer ordered from the North by the department should arrive. The enemy had possession at that time of some three hundred miles of the river below Port Hudson, with batteries established at various points and sharpshooters distributed along the banks.

Five times Perkins ran the fiery gauntlet successfully, but on the sixth his vessel was disabled in a sharp fight at Whitehall's Point. One shot from the enemy exploded the New London's boiler, and another disabled her steam chest. In that critical condition, directly under the guns of the hostile battery, and exposed to the fire of sharpshooters on the bank, and deserted by his consort, the Winona, his position seemed desperate almost beyond remedy; but fertile in expedients and daring to rashness in their execution, he finally succeeded, after almost incredible exertion and perilous personal adventure, in communicating with the fleet below, and the vessel was saved.

[pg 220]

Now the commanding officer from the North having arrived, Perkins was transferred to the command of the ninety-day gunboat Sciota, the best command at that time, in the squadron, for an officer of his years, and assigned to duty on the blockade off the coast of Texas. To one of his social disposition and active temperament, the blockade, ever harassing and monotonous, was, as he wrote, a "living death," adding that "we are all talked out, and sometimes a week passes and I hardly speak more than a necessary word." Venturing ashore several times on hunting excursions, he at last came near being captured by the enemy, and held after that, that "cabin'd confinement was preferable to a rebel prison," and so kept on board. Once during that weary nine months, the tedium was broken by the capture of a fat prize--a schooner loaded with cotton. Let us hope that the prize-court and its attendant officials did not absorb too big a share of the proceeds!



Relieved from that command late in May, 1864, with leave to proceed home, he arrived at New Orleans in June, to find active preparations for the Mobile fight going on, and though he had not been at home for two years, he could not stand it to let slip so glorious an opportunity for stirring service, and so volunteered to remain. Farragut, delighted at such determination, quite different from the experience he had had with some officers, assigned to Perkins a command above his rank--the Chickasaw,--a double-turretted monitor, carrying four eleven-inch guns and a crew of one hundred and forty-five men and twenty-five officers. She had been built, together with the Winnebago, a sister vessel, at St. Louis, by Mr. Joseph B. Eads, the eminent engineer, on plans of his own. Of light draught and frame, and peculiar construction, some officers distrusted her strength and sea-going qualities. The Chickasaw, too, was not yet completed, the mechanics being still at work on her machinery and fittings, and her crew, with exception of a half- dozen men-of-war's-men, were river-men and landsmen, knowing nothing of salt-water sailing or of naval discipline. But time pressed: every moment was of priceless value; and Perkins, declining all social invitations, set about with characteristic energy to prepare his ship for the coming conflict. Nor did his work of preparation and drill cease, either in the river or outside, until well into the night preceding the eventful day in Mobile Bay that was to add another brilliant page to the annals of the navy.

[pg 221]

On the twenty-eighth of July, he left New Orleans to join the fleet off Mobile, and on the way down the river an episode occurred that came nigh settling the fate of the Chickasaw without risk or chance of battle; for on nearing the bar, Perkins left the pilot-house a moment to look after some matters requiring attention outside. He had hardly reached the spot he sought, when, turning round, he saw that the pilot had changed the ship's course and was heading directly for a wreck close aboard, which to strike would end the career of the Chickasaw then and there. Springing back into the pilot-house, he seized the wheel and brought the ship back on her course, then snatching a pistol from his belt, said to the traitorous fellow: "You are here to take this ship over the bar, and if she touches ground or anything else, I'll blow your d----d brains out!" Pale with suppressed rage, and trembling with fear, the pilot expostulated that "the bottom was lumpy, and the best pilot in the river could not help touching at times."

"No matter," rejoined Perkins, "if you love the Confederacy better than your life, take your choice; but if you touch a single lump, I'll shoot you!" Needless to say, no lumps were found, nor that the pilot made haste to get out of such company the moment he was permitted to do so; neither may we doubt that the recording angel traced, with lightest hand, the strong language used by the nearly betrayed captain!

The Chickasaw arrived off Mobile bar August 1, where all was expectancy and preparation for the coming fight, a fight which perhaps had more in it of dramatic interest than any other naval battle of the war. The wooden ships pushing into the bay through the torpedo-strewn channel and under the fierce storm of shot and shell from Fort Morgan, lashed together in pairs for mutual support in case of disaster; the sudden and tragic sinking of the Tecumseh by torpedo stroke, with the loss of the heroic Craven and most of his brave officers and men; the halt of the Brooklyn in mid-channel in face of that dire disaster, which, with the threatened huddling of the ships together by the inward sweep of the tide, portended swift discomfiture and possible defeat; the intuitive perception and quick decision that literally enabled Farragut to take the flood that led to fortune, in the instant ordering of the Hartford to push ahead with his flag and assume the lead he had relinquished only at the urgent request of the Brooklyn's commander; the restored order and prompt following of the fleet, regardless of torpedoes, on the new course blazed out by the eagle eye and emphatic tongue of the fearless old admiral as he grappled with the emergency from the futtock- shrouds of the flagship; the little boat putting off from the Metacomet, suddenly lighted up by its saucy ensign, in the midst of the fiery chaos and thunderous roar of battle, to save the few souls struggling in the water from the ill-fated Tecumseh, calling forth admiration, alike from friend and foe, at the intrepidity of its mission; the dash of the enemy's powerful ram Tennessee, clad in heaviest armor, down the Union line, endeavoring to strike each vessel in turn; the separation of the coupled ships when beyond the reach of Morgan's guns, and the dash of the gunboats led by Jouett, of the Metacomet, like hounds released from the leash, at the enemy's flotilla; the reappearance of leviathan Tennessee and the fierce tournament that ensued, with turtle- backed Chickasaw following close under her stern with bulldog grip that knew no release; the intrepid skill and desperate valor never surpassed, with which the ram manoeuvred and withstood the hammering and ramming of the wooden ships, the pounding and shattering of the ironclads, before she yielded to the inevitable fate that awaited her,--all conspired to form a scene of grand and dramatic circumstance almost without parallel in naval warfare.

[pg 222]

The youngest officer in command on that day,--the fifth of August,--so fateful to the fading fortunes of the Confederacy, so glorious to the reascendant star of Union, no one contributed more to its glories and success than Perkins of the Chickasaw; and in any other service under the sun he would have received immediate promotion for what he did on that day. Had he been an Englishman, the honors of knighthood would have been conferred on him, as well as promotion, but as an American he still waits adequate recognition for deeds as brave as they were conspicuous and telling.

Said Mr. Eads, the builder, when he heard the results of the battle and the surpassing part of the Chickasaw in it: "I would walk fifty miles to shake hands with the young man who commanded her!" And remembering the disparagement that had been put on the vessel and her sister ship, the Winnebago, his enthusiasm knew no bounds, and he took pains to gather all the details of the Chickasaw's brilliant work.

With the loss of the Tecumseh, the ironclad portion of the fleet was reduced to the Manhattan, armed with two fifteen-inch guns, and the Chickasaw and Winnebago of two eleven-inch guns each; but one of the Manhattan's guns became disabled early in the action, by a bit of iron lodging in the vent, and the Winnebago's turrets would not turn, so that her guns could be pointed only by manoeuvring the vessel. But the Chickasaw, owing to Perkins's foresight and hard work, was in perfect condition, as illustrated in all her service on that eventful day, as well as on all subsequent occasions, until the capitulation of Mobile ended the drama of rebellion on the Southern seaboard.

The wooden ships, stripped as at New Orleans for the stern work in hand, numbered fourteen, and the number of guns carried by the fleet was one hundred and fifty-five, throwing, by added facility of pivot and turret, ninety-two hundred and eight pounds of metal in broadside, from which thirteen hundred and twenty must be deducted through the early loss of the Tecumseh and the disabled gun of the Manhattan.

[pg 223]

The enemy's defences consisted of Fort Morgan, commanding the channel at Mobile Point, mounting seventy guns; Fort Gaines, on the eastern point of Dauphin Island, some three miles northwest of Fort Morgan, armed with thirty guns, and Fort Powell, about four miles from Gaines northwest, at Grant's Pass, with four guns.

Across the channel, which runs close to Morgan, several lines of torpedoes were planted, and just beyond them to the northward of the fort, in line abreast waiting their opportunity, was the rebel squadron, comprising the Tennessee, flagship of Admiral Buchanan, and the gunboats Morgan, Gaines, and Selma, carrying in the aggregate twenty-two guns--eight rifles and fourteen smooth-bores. The Tennessee, the most powerful ship that ever flew the Confederate flag, was two hundred and nine feet in length, and forty-eight feet in width, with a heavy iron spur projecting from the bow some two feet under water. Her sides "tumbled home" at an angle of forty-five degrees and were clad in armor of five and six inches thickness, over a structure of oak and pine of twenty-five inches. Her guns, six heavy Brooke's rifles, were arranged, by port and pivot, for an effective all-round fire, and her speed was six knots.



All was ready for the attack on the evening of the fourth of August, and at half-past five the next morning the signal was thrown out to weigh, and fall into the order prescribed; the wooden ships in couples, and the ironclads in line by themselves; the Tecumseh in the van and the Chickasaw in rear, according to the rank of their commanding officers.

[pg 224]

At half-past six the fleet was across the bar and in order of battle. No starlight or favoring clouds now, to partially mask its movements as at the passage of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, but the joyous sunshine, flooding land and sea with its brightness, and mirroring its revealing gleams upon fort and ship and pennon, serving friend and foe alike impartially. Alas! for the brave souls to whom that gracious morning light was the last of earth, but we may hope they awoke in a light of still more radiance and glory, and amid paeans of a joyous host, choiring "Well done, thou good and faithful servants, that didst give thy lives to God and country!"

The soft south wind of that fair morn came like a benediction to the fleet now sweeping on with the flood tide, and stillness like a sentient presence, only disturbed by the sound of screw or paddle-wheel as they turned ahead, hung over the ships till broken by the belching roar of the Tecumseh's monster guns, as she threw two fifteen-inch shells into Morgan--her first and last! And now, at seven, "by the chime," the action became general, and the Tecumseh, having loaded with heaviest charge and solid steel shot, steamed on ahead of the Brooklyn to attack the Tennessee; but Craven, thinking he saw a movement on the part of the ram to get out of the way, together with the seemingly too narrow space between the fatal buoy and the shore for manoeuvre in case of need, gave the order to starboard the helm, and head directly for the watchful Tennessee, waiting with lock-strings in hand to salute the monitor as she closed--gallant foeman worthy of her steel! So near and yet so far, for hardly had the Tecumseh gone a length to the westward of the sentinel buoy, than the fate, already outlined, overwhelmed her, and her iron walls became coffin, shroud, and winding-sheet to Craven and most of the brave souls with him, and all so suddenly that those who had seen the disaster could hardly realize what had taken place.

Ours is not the purpose to follow further the details of the fight, but to go with Perkins in the Chickasaw and see things as he saw them on that stirring day, as gathered from his letters and as fortified from other sources. Of tireless energy and restless activity, and sternly intent upon making the Chickasaw second to none in the grand work demanded of the fleet, he imparted nerve and enthusiasm throughout the vessel; now in the pilot-house, looking after the helmsman; then in the forward turret, personally sighting the guns; anon on top of the turret, taking in the surroundings.

His fine spirit and high moral courage had characteristic illustration when, the night before the fight, calling his officers into the cabin, he thus addressed them: "Gentlemen, by this time to-morrow, the fate of this fleet and of Mobile will be sealed. We have all a duty to perform and a victory to win. I have sent for you to say, that not a drop of wine, liquor, or beer, is to be drunk on board of this vessel from this hour until the battle is over, and the victory won, or death has come to us. It is my wish that every officer and man shall go into battle with a clear head and strong nerves. I rely upon you to comply with this requirement, confident that the Chickasaw and her crew can thus best perform their whole duty."

[pg 225]

An officer, who held high position on board the flagship, writes: "Perkins went into the fight in his shirt-sleeves and a straw hat, and as he passed the Hartford, he was on top of the turret waving his hat and dancing around with delight and excitement."--"The ironclads," said Perkins, "were ordered to follow inside the fleet, between fleet and fort. I had orders to be reserve force and remain with wooden vessels after passing obstructions. Our course was between a certain buoy and the shore. This passage was known to be free from torpedoes, and was left for the blockade runners. All the vessels had orders to keep between that buoy and the shore, but in other respects the ironclads had separate orders from the wooden vessels. In the confusion resulting from the destruction of the Tecumseh and the movements of the Brooklyn, the monitors received no orders and followed in the line of the other vessels." Be it said in passing, that Perkins had no pilot, and at sight of the Tecumseh's doom, one of the men in the pilot-house fainted, leaving only Perkins and one man to steer the vessel until the vigorous methods applied brought the man to, and freshened his pluck! The pilot-house was abaft the forward turret, not on top, as in the case of the Tecumseh class, and was entered through a trap-door which was kept open during the fight, for the vessel being unfinished, there was no way of opening it from inside when closed.

"I pushed forward as rapidly as possible, but my ship anyway was stationed last of the ironclads, as I was youngest in command. We fired at the fort to keep down its fire till the wooden ships had passed. When the Tennessee passed, it was on my port side; she then steamed toward Fort Morgan. Some of our vessels anchored, others kept under weigh, and when the Tennessee approached the fleet again, she was at once attacked by the wooden vessels, but they made no impression upon her. An order was now brought to the ironclads by Fleet-Surgeon Palmer for them to attack the ram, but as they stood for her, she seemed again to move as if retiring toward the fort, but the Chickasaw overtook her, and after a short engagement, succeeded in forcing her to surrender, having shot away her smoke-stack, destroyed her steering gear, and jammed her afterparts so that her stern guns were rendered useless. As she could not steer she drifted down the bay, head on, and I followed her close, firing as fast as I could, my guns and turrets, in spite of the strain upon them, continuing in perfect order. When Johnston came on the roof of the Tennessee and showed the white flag as signal of surrender, no vessel of the fleet was as near as a quarter of a mile, but the Ossipee was approaching, and her captain was much older than myself. I was wet with perspiration, begrimed with powder, and exhausted by long- continued exertion. I drew back and allowed Captain Le Roy to receive the surrender, though my first lieutenant, Hamilton, said to me at the time: 'Captain, you are making a mistake.'"

Knowing full well that the Chickasaw's eleven-inch shot would not penetrate the stout side-armor of the Tennessee, Perkins made for the weakest part of the vessel--her stern, and hung there close aboard, pouring solid shot of iron and steel into that vital part with the accuracy of pistol-shooting, until the ram surrendered; then taking her in tow, carried her near the flagship. He had fired fifty-two shots, and, says the officer of the Hartford already quoted: "The guns of the Chickasaw jammed the steering gear of the ram, also the port stopper of the after port disabling the after gun, and a shot from the Chickasaw broke Admiral Buchanan's leg."

[pg 226]

But said Commander Nicholson of the Manhattan, in his official report: "Of the six fifteen-inch projectiles fired from this vessel at the rebel ironclad Tennessee, I claim four as having struck, doing most of the real injuries that she has sustained"; then enumerating the injuries inflicted, which included most of those claimed for the Chickasaw. Upon which claim put forth by the Manhattan, the writer ventures the opinion: First, that four hits out of six shots was poor shooting for a monitor at a target like the Tennessee, and suggestive of considerable distance between the vessels; second, that eye-witnesses have affirmed that only one of the Manhattan's shot took effect, a solid shot that struck the ram on the port beam, crushing her armor and splintering the backing, but not entering the casemate, though leaving a clean hole through; third, that the effect of that one shot showed what the Manhattan might have accomplished had she taken as favorable a position as that chosen by the Chickasaw; fourth, that it is believed the report of a board of survey confirmed the opinion as to that one shot; fifth, that, as between the great difference of sound in the firing of the fifteen- inch gun and an eleven-inch, and the greater destructive effect of the larger projectiles which could not but be felt by those receiving it, the enemy would best be likely to know from what source they sustained the most vital damage; sixth, that the concurrent opinions of the day, as given by press correspondents, eye-witnesses to the conflict, magazine summaries, official reports, the praise of Perkins on every lip, the talk of his promotion by distinguished officers, and the testimony of the enemy themselves, including Admiral Buchanan and Captain Johnston, all go to show that the surrender of the Tennessee was due more to the dogged and unrelenting effort and skilful management of Perkins of the Chickasaw than from any other cause.

Asked the Tennessee's pilot of "Metacomet" Jouett: "Who commanded the monitor that got under our stern?" adding, "D----n him! he stuck to us like a leech; we could not get away from him. It was he who cut away the steering gear, jammed the stern port shutters, and wounded Admiral Buchanan."

Said Captain Johnston, in the same vein: "If it had not been for that d----d black hulk hanging on our stern we would have got along well enough; she did us more damage than all the rest of the Federal fleet."

"The praise of Commander Perkins," wrote a son of Concord, himself an active participant in the fight, "on the superb management of his command, and the most admirable and efficient working of his ship, was upon the lips of all."

Pages of similar commendation might be quoted, but what need multiply testimony so direct and conclusive as to Perkins's gallantry and achievement, questioned only in quarters where the discretion of silence and suggestion of modesty had best been observed!

It only remains to add, in this connection, that so long as the Tennessee continued to flaunt her flag in face of the fleet, so long the work of that glorious day was of naught; that her capture, due in greatest part to the efforts of the Chickasaw, completed the work and ensured, without embarrassment, the continued operations against Fort Morgan and other defences in the bay.

[pg 227]

Perkins, not content with laurels already won, got under weigh after dinner, and steamed up to Fort Powell, taking that work in rear. The shots from the Chickasaw destroyed the water-tanks, and Captain Anderson reported that, believing it to be impossible to drive the ironclad from its position, and fearing that a shell from the Chickasaw would explode the magazine, he decided to save his command and blow up the fort, which was done that night at 10.30. In the afternoon, the Chickasaw had seized a barge loaded with stores, from under the guns of Fort Powell, and towed it to the fleet.

The next afternoon, the ever-ready and alert Chickasaw, under her indefatigable commander, went down to Fort Gaines and shelled that work until dusk with such telling effect, that, coupled with the fact that the landforce under General Granger, investing its rear, was now ready to open fire in conjunction with the fleet, the rebel commander capitulated the next morning.

Morgan was now the only remaining work of the outer line of Mobile's defences to be "possessed and occupied," and General Granger, after throwing a sufficient garrison into Gaines, transferred his army and siege-train to the other side of the bay, and landing at Navy Cove, some four miles from Morgan, began its investment.

While this was going on, the Chickasaw was not idle, but continually using her guns at one point and another, with occasional exchanges of shotted compliments with the rams and batteries across the obstructions in Dog River, forming the inner line of defence of the city, some four miles distant.

On the twenty-second of August, the approaches having been completed, the land and naval forces opened a terrific fire on devoted Morgan, and continued it throughout the day with such effect that General Page, commanding the garrison, struck his colors and surrendered the next day.

The Chickasaw was as conspicuous in the bombardment as she had been in all her work since entering the bay. It was not in Perkins's temperament to be otherwise, and said an eye-witness at the time: "It was a glorious sight to see the gallant Perkins in the Chickasaw, nearly all the morning almost touching the wharf, and pouring in his terrible missiles, two at a time, making bricks and mortar fly in all directions, then moving ahead or astern a little to get a fresh place. He stayed there till nearly noon, when he hauled off to cool his guns and give his men some refreshment. In the afternoon, he took his ship in again, and turret after turret was emptied at the poor fort."

Perkins sent home the flag that had flown over the fort during the bombardment he obtained it in this wise: "The sailors from this ship," said he, "hauled down the flag, and one of them seized it and hid it in his bosom; there was not much left of it; it was riddled and torn. He brought it to me, declaring that no one had a right to it but the captain of the Chickasaw. I hardly knew what to do about it, but the man seemed so earnest I could not refuse to take it from him."

[pg 228]

The bay was now sealed to blockade runners, and Mobile, measured as to its commercial importance to the Confederacy, might as well have been located among the mountains of northern Alabama as on the Gulf; and owing to strategic reasons, operations for its immediate reduction came to a halt. But on the twenty-seventh of March, 1865, the land and naval forces began a joint movement against the defences surrounding the city, and on the twelfth of April the Union forces were in full possession. In these last operations, which cost the loss of two light draught ironclads, a gunboat, and several other smaller vessels by torpedoes, we may know that the Chickasaw was never in the background.

In July, Perkins was relieved from the command and ordered home. He had volunteered for the Mobile fight but had been detained on board the Chickasaw nearly thirteen months.

On his arrival home, he was overwhelmed with congratulations upon his gallantry and achievements in Mobile Bay; but his friends felt indignant that no promotion had followed them, believing that at least the thirty numbers authorized by statute, "for eminent and conspicuous conduct in battle," could not be reasonably denied him. But he would not work personally toward that end, nor pull political wires to attain it. With him, the promotion must come unasked or not at all. It never came, and others disputed, with unblushing effrontery, the laurels he had won. Not only that, but he has seen, as well as others, those who did the least service during the war, given recognition and place over those who "bore the heat and burden of the day," during those four years so momentous in the annals of the Republic.

The following winter he was stationed at New Orleans, in charge of ironclads, and in May, 1866, was ordered as executive officer of the Lackawanna, for a cruise of three years in the North Pacific. The "piping times of peace" had come, and officers who had had important commands, now had to take a step back to the regular duties of their grade. Returning from the Pacific in the early spring of 1869, he was ordered to the Boston Navy Yard on ordnance duty, and in March, 1871, received his commission as commander. Two months later, he was selected to command the storeship Relief, to carry provisions to the suffering French of the Franco-German war. On his return, after a lapse of six months, he resumed his duties at the Boston yard, until appointed lighthouse inspector of the Boston district, which position he held until January, 1876.

Meanwhile he had taken to himself a wife, having, in 1870, married Miss Anna Minot Weld, daughter of Mr. William F. Weld, of Boston. The issue of the marriage has been one child, a daughter, born in 1877.

From March, 1877, until May, 1879, he was in command of the United States steamer Ashuelot on the Asiatic station, making a most interesting cruise, and having, for a time, the pleasure of General Grant's company on board, as a guest.

Since his return from that cruise he has been on "waiting orders," varied by occasional duty as member of courts-martial, boards of examination, and the like.

In March, 1882, he was promoted to a post-captaincy, as the grade of captain in the navy was styled in the olden time, which grade corresponds with that of colonel in the army.

[pg 229]

Captain Perkins has a house in Boston, where he makes his home in winter, but nothing has ever weakened his affection for the old Granite State, and nothing delights him more, when possible to do so, than to put behind him the whirl and distraction of the city for the quiet enjoyment of the fresh, exhilarating air, unpretentious, wholesome life, and substantial ways that await him among his dear native hills.

In glancing over the "Portraits for Posterity," the writer notes the conspicuous absence of naval representation among the "counterfeit presentments" that adorn the walls of the Capitol at Concord and the halls of Dartmouth, and ventures to suggest to Governor Prescott, the distinguished and indefatigable collector of most of the pictures, that portraits of Thornton of the Kearsarge, and Perkins of the Cayuga and Chickasaw, might fittingly be given place among those who, in the varied walks of life, have lent distinction and added lustre to the Province and State of New Hampshire from Colonial times to this. Let not the men of the sea be forgotten!



Were other means lacking, the progress of the human race might be pretty accurately gauged by its modes of locomotion. On such a basis of classification there might be a pedestrian period, a pilgrim period, a saddle period, a road-wain period, a stage-coach period, and a railway period.

Relatively considered, each mode of travel thus indicated would be an index of the necessities and activity of the times. The nomadic peoples dwelt in a leisurely world, and were content to go a-foot; their wants were simple, their aspirations temperate; subsistence for themselves and their flocks was their great care, and only when the grass withered and the stream dried up did they set forth in quest of fresh pasturage. At length, however, the dull-thoughted tribular chieftain became curious to know what lay beyond the narrow horizon of his wilderness, and men bound on the sandal, girded up their loins, grasped staff, and beat paths up and down the valleys, trudging behind an ass or a pack-horse that carried their impedimenta. Another advance, and the man who drove his beast before him found that the creature was able to carry both his pack and himself; and training soon enabled the animal to mend his pace and transport his master rapidly across long stretches of waste country. Another period elapsed, and ambitious man discovered that, by clearing a passage for wheels, the load could be shifted from the back of the beast to a wagon drawn behind him; thus carriages came into use, and the race went bowling along the great highway of progress at a wonderful rate. Then vehicles began to be improved, and the restless brain of the inventor contrived a stage-coach for the convenience of those who had no private carriages or did not care to use them; though rude at first, it soon came to be luxurious, with thorough braces, upholstery, and glass windows. But even this noisy vehicle, that abridged distance and brought far cities near together, outgrew its usefulness and gave way to its rival, the steam-car, which could hurry men through the land as on the wings of a tornado. And now the same race, which in the morning of the world was content to wander four or five miles between sun and sun, and had no wish to go faster, can scarcely abide the slowness of a palace-car sliding over a mile of steel rail each minute, and General Meigs is importuning the Legislature for leave to construct a railway on which trains shall run at three times that speed.

[pg 230]

It would be too much to ask this hurrying, restless, nineteenth- century world to retrace its way by rail and turnpike, saddle and sandal, back to the slow patriarch, who kept his youth a hundred years, and in all that time might not have traveled as far as a suburban gentleman of to-day does in going once from his home to his place of business in Boston. It might halt long enough, however, to enjoy a view of the stage-coach in which its grandfathers got on so rapidly, rumbling before a cloud of dust over the straight pike that used to connect the metropolis with some lesser city.

Such a highway was the Norfolk and Bristol Turnpike, the grand avenue of public travel between Boston and Providence, and one link of the continuous thoroughfare connecting New England with New York and Washington. It was opened during the years of intense activity that marked the infancy of the nation, and it had a distinct corporate existence and history, like the railroad that ruined it, and was owned and operated by a stock company. Though the entire road was not fifty miles in length, the original enterprise contemplated only a section thereof, which, in accordance with an act of incorporation passed by the State Legislature in 1802, was built from the court-house in Dedham, the shire town of Norfolk County, to the north precinct meeting-house in Attleborough, then a small border town of Bristol County.

The members of the original corporation that held the franchise of the road were Fisher Ames, James Richardson, and Timothy Gay, Jr., of Dedham; Timothy Whitney and John Whiting, of Roxbury; Eliphalet Slack, Samuel S. Blackinton, William Blackinton, Israel Hatch, Elijah Daggett, and Joseph Holmes, of Attleborough; Ephraim Starkweather, Oliver Wilkinson, and Ozias Wilkinson, of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. They were all enterprising business men in their day, well known throughout Eastern Massachusetts, and the undertaking for which they combined seemed as vast to the rural denizens of the towns through which it passed as did the Pacific Railroad enterprise to capitalists twenty years ago. To the surprise of the honest farmers, who considered the crooked county roads good enough for them, it made almost a straight line from one terminus to the other, and was laid out four rods in width--a reckless waste of land--as a preventive against snow blockades in winter Instead of following the windings of valley and stream as other roads did, this pike mounted directly over all interposing hills, in accordance with the most approved theories of civil engineers of that day; and where sections of those old thoroughfares still remain intact, it is amusing to observe at what steep, straight grades they were made to climb the most abrupt ascent, curving neither to the right nor to the left in merciful consideration for the horses.

[pg 231]

But it must not be supposed that public stage-coach travel on the route here indicated began with the opening of the Norfolk and Bristol Turnpike. The first conveyance of the kind started on its devious way over the poor county roads from Boston to Providence in 1767; and the quaint Jedediah Morse records that twelve years later the "intercourse of the country barely required two stages and twelve horses on this line"; but the same authority states that in 1797 twenty stages and one hundred horses were employed, and that the number of different stages leaving Boston during the week was twenty.

The first stage-coach that passed over this new turnpike was driven by William Hodges, familiarly called "Bill," a famous Jehu, whose exploits with rein and whip, being really of a high order of merit, were graphically set forth to any passenger who shared the box with him, after Bill's spirits had been raised and his tongue limbered with the requisite number of "nippers"; and the increased comfort and rapidity of the journey were so clearly apparent, that the line was soon after extended to connect the capitals of the Bay State and Little Rhody.

In those days there was but one way to drive out of Boston, and that a narrow one known as the "Neck," beyond which was Roxbury. Across this isthmus all northward, westward, and southward-bound vehicles must pass, in leaving or entering the city. The narrowest place was at the present intersection of Dover Street with Washington, or, as it was then called, Orange, Street. In ante-bellum times this was the southern limit of the city, and here a gate stood, which opened on to a causeway that crossed the "salt marish," which at high tide was covered by the water. To this gateway, then, the turnpike was extended from Dedham court-house; and when the work was finished a coach, starting from the White Horse Tavern in Boston, which stood near the site of the Adams House, just opened by Messrs. Hall and Whipple, bowled along "a smooth and easy highway" to the bank of the Providence River, making the long journey within the incredibly short space of six consecutive hours, when the wheeling was good.

This great work, which was talked about years before it was undertaken, and then required years to finish, was a triumph of road-building, in which both owners and contractors took a pardonable pride; and to those familiar with the region through which it passed, the course will be sufficiently indicated by noting here and there a way-mark. On leaving Boston Neck it followed the already well-graded road through the Highlands, to a point near the present station of the Boston and Providence Railroad corporation in Roxbury, thence through West Roxbury to Dedham, and on through Norwood to East Walpole; it left the central village of Walpole a mile or so to the west, keeping near the Sharon line, struck into the westerly edge of Foxborough to a point called the Four Corners, then through Shepardville in Wrentham to North Attleborough, Attleborough "City," Pawtucket, and Providence. A large portion of the road is still kept in repair, so that one might take a carriage and trace the route through its entire length.

To support such an expensive turnpike it was necessary to levy a tax on those who made use of it, and to that end several toll-gates were established, at which passengers were compelled to halt and pay their lawful reckoning. These gates were located at Roxbury, Dedham, East Walpole, Foxborough Four Corners, North Attleborough, and Pawtucket; and so great was the patronage of the road, that the annual income derived from these sources afforded the stockholders a handsome net dividend.

[pg 232]

With the disuse of stage-coaches has perished that public convenience, the country tavern, an institution with which the modern hotel has little in common. It was suited to the needs and tastes of a former generation, and to a time, it may be,

"When men lived in a grander way,
With ampler hospitality."

But no hotel of the present day, with its showy furnishings and glitter, its gongs and bell-calls, its multitude of obsequious waiters, gauging their attention by your clothes, will bear comparison with the old- time tavern for homelike comfort and hearty good service. The guest, on his arrival, tired and hungry, was not put off with the cold recognition of a clerk who simply wrote after his name the number of his room, and then with averted face said: "Waiter, show this gentleman to number ninety-seven." On climbing out of the stage-coach, he was sure to see mine host, a fat, jolly man, who greeted him, whether friend or stranger, with a bow of genuine welcome, relieved him of his hand-luggage, ushered him in before the open fire of the bar-room, and actually asked what he would have for supper. Nor did this personal interest cease as soon as the guest had been comfortably bestowed; for the landlord was sure to have some pleasant words with him in the course of the evening, and to make him feel, ere he went to rest, that, by coming at that particular time, he had conferred on the host or some other guest a special favor, so that he retired in the best of humor with himself.

Such inns of entertainment were to be found in every considerable New England town a hundred years ago, and each bore some special reputation for general hospitality, the cordiality of its landlord, or the excellence of its table or liquors. Each one of these ancient hostelries might also be aptly described as

"A kind of old Hobgoblin Hall,
  Now somewhat fallen to decay,
With weather-stains upon the wall,
  And creaking and uneven floors,
  And chimneys huge, and tiled and tall."

Wherever a stage line was established, a good country tavern, every few miles along the route, became a necessity. It nourished on the patronage that the coach brought to its door; its kitchen and barns afforded a ready market for the produce of the farmers, and it was a grand centre for news and the idlers of the village.

The Norfolk and Bristol Turnpike was fortunate in its taverns, which were accounted among the best in the State, from the White Horse, whence every stage-coach took its departure, to the last one met with on the very borders of the land of Roger Williams. There was the Billings Tavern in Roxbury, where it was considered quite the proper thing for outward-bound passengers to alight and get something to fortify them against the fatigues of the journey, especially if the weather were extremely cold or extremely warm.

[pg 233]

The next tavern on the line was widely known as Bride's, and later as Gay's, in Dedham, a place where all who took the early coach out of the city delighted to stop and breakfast. Here was to be found one of the best tables on the line, and tradition has it that Bill Hodges, who, by the way, must have been a competent judge, pronounced Bride's old Medford rum the finest he had ever tasted. In the palmy days of stage-coach travel, it was no uncommon thing for a hundred persons to breakfast at this inn before resuming their journey to Providence. It was here that President John Adams usually took the coach when he set out for Washington, being first driven to that point from Quincy in his own private carriage.

There was a small public house at South Dedham, now Norwood, which was but little patronized, and the next tavern of note was Polley's, at East Walpole, which had the name of furnishing the best board to be found between Boston and New York, and there all the travel on the road stopped to dinner. It was also a convenient point for taking up passengers from many adjacent towns, whence mail-carriages converged toward the common centre, and scores of private teams were driven with small parcels or other commissions for the stage; for it must be borne in mind that the driver exercised the functions of an expressman, or common carrier, and was entrusted with a variety of messages and valuables to deliver along the route, the fees for such service being usually regarded as his rightful perquisites.

Shepard's Tavern in Foxborough was a customary stopping-place; but the next grand halt, after leaving Polley's, was made at Hatch's, in North Attleborough. Here the approach of each stage was announced by the winding of a horn, and the driver was wont to swing his long lash with a flourish around the sweaty flanks of his leaders in a way to assure them that he meant business, then give his wheel horses an encouraging cut, and dash up before the famous hostelry at a breakneck speed that said to the small boys, Get out of the way! and caused the stock loafers, who always assembled on the piazza at the first blast of the horn, to envy the skill that could thus handle a whip, and guide, with apparent ease, the most mettlesome four-in-hand.

Historically considered, no other tavern on the line possessed so much of antiquarian interest as Hatch's. It occupied the site of an old garrison built and occupied by John Woodcock, the famous Indian fighter, as a stronghold against the attacks of his red foes. He went thither from the Providence Plantation about the middle of the seventeenth century, when the town was an unbroken wilderness in the northern part of the Rehoboth North Purchase, so called, took up his abode and reared his family in lonely solitude within the close stockades he planted around his home. The first house that went by the name of Hatch's Tavern was built upon this old garrison, which, indeed, formed a part of its very walls, and not until the proprietor found it necessary to erect a new and larger house, when the turnpike was opened, did the last vestiges of the Woodcock stronghold disappear.

[pg 234]

The landlord of this inn, Colonel Israel Hatch, was also a man of importance in his time, who enjoyed an enviable reputation for military achievements, and was very prominent in public affairs. At no point on the line was the traveler surer of a larger hospitality or a heartier welcome than was extended by Colonel Hatch, though its best room, which was reserved for visitors of note, might not have contained the veritable inscription ascribed to Major Molineaux:--

"What do you think?
Here is good drink.
Perhaps you may not know it;
If not in haste, do stop and taste;
You merry folks will show it."

On leaving North Attlebourogh, the remaining twelve miles to Providence were conveniently relieved by short halts at Bishop's and at Barrow's Taverns in Attleborough "City" and West Attleborough, and at one or two places in Pawtucket, so that no passenger was compelled to go hungry or dry for many miles.

By far the most noted passenger ever conveyed over the Norfolk and Bristol road, and there were many worthy of mention, is reputed to have been President James Monroe, who shortly after his inauguration in March, 1817, made a tour through the New England States, similar to that made by President Hayes in 1877. The occasion was a great one, for Monroe and his party left Providence in the morning, halted at Hatch's for lunch, dined at Polley's, and were met on their arrival at Dedham by a delegation from Boston who escorted them to the "Hub of the Universe." Great was the curiosity of the country-folk to behold a president, and the streets through which his barouche was to pass were thronged with an eager, expectant multitude, who greeted him with cheers, and were rewarded with a gracious bow. And one little boy, now a venerable and honored member of the Bristol County bar, was standing with his father in an open farm wagon, when the President alighted at North Attleborough, and exclaimed with evident disappointment: "Why, father, he's no bigger than any other man!"



All over the land there are localities to which, in some way or other, have become attached names that indicate something of the supernatural, or such as are intended to excite apprehension. What stout heart does not stand dismayed before a real dungeon? A prison under ground is something awful to contemplate. Whose hair does not stand on end at the thought of possible confinement in a dark, damp, cold stone prison-house, with rusty-hinged or even sealed doors, where no window opens to the light of day; where no friendly voice is ever heard; where liberation is impossible, and where, cursed with the remainder of life, one is doomed to a miserable existence till the mortal and the immortal separate? Deliver us from such terrors as these!

In visiting Dungeon Rock, however, like most places of a similar character, we find there is no especial reason for fear, notwithstanding the indicative name, and the many blood-curdling traditions connected therewith.

It was a fine autumn day, when, together with some friends, we mustered courage to pay our respects to this now famous spot. We found our way thither from the city of Lynn by horse-cars, a part of the way by a barge and on foot. The driver of the barge, like most drivers of such vehicles, displayed no small amount of scientific driving. Why it is that almost all scientific driving generally results in some mishap, we are unable to determine. But we conclude that the particular science to which we refer is usually engendered by the driver having his elbow crooked at some bar before the journey commences. On all such occasions stops are quite common; branches of trees are not avoided, and they threaten to destroy our best suits, or brush us altogether from our seats; the brakes do not work; the traces get unhitched; an immense whip is flourished and cracked; the horses become unmanageable; frightened women in a high key scream "Mercy!" and the ride becomes not only dangerous but unendurable.

[pg 235]

After a ride up hill and down over a winding road skirted by forest trees on either hand, we were left in the woods at the foot of a steep hill. The remainder of our way was by a path of the most primitive nature, something, we should judge, like that of the native Pawtuckets, with the exception of the rapid ascent, for the natives were wiser than we in laying out their highways, for they avoided both hills and swamps. Shortly we found ourselves in the immediate vicinity of Dungeon Rock, which is situated on the summit of a granite-capped eminence overlooking the surrounding country. Quite a concourse of people had assembled on this occasion, apparently to spend the day and have a "good time" generally. We should have said before that this is considered a kind of Mecca for those who hold to the Spiritual faith. There are several buildings which seem to have been dropped down without much order, and a large platform furnished with plank seats. An entertainment had been furnished, though for what purpose or by whom we knew not. There was some fine singing, in solos, duets, and quartettes, and a slender little girl showed a good lip, large lungs, and nimble fingers on a silver cornet, out of which she fired repeated volleys of sputtering jigs at the overelated spectators.

Lynn's first historian, who dealt somewhat in tradition, among other things, says, in substance, "early in 1658, on a pleasant evening, a little after sunset, a small vessel was seen to anchor near the mouth of the Saugus River. A boat was presently lowered from her side, into which four men descended and moved up the river a considerable distance, when they landed and proceeded directly into the woods. They had been noticed by only a few individuals; but in those early times, when the people were surrounded by danger and easily susceptible of alarm, such an incident was well calculated to awaken suspicion, and in the course of the evening the intelligence was conveyed to many houses. In the morning the vessel was gone, and no trace of her or her crew could be found." He further states that on going into the foundry connected with the then existing iron-works, a quantity of shackles, handcuffs, hatchets, and other articles of iron, were ordered to be made and left at a certain place, for which a return in silver would be found. "This was done" (so says the historian), and the mysterious contractors fulfilled their part of the obligation, but were undiscovered. Some months afterward the four men returned and made their abode in what has, to this day, been called Pirates' Glen, where they built a hut and dug a well. It is supposed that they buried money in this vicinity, but our opinion is that most of the money then, as now, was kept above ground. Their retreat being discovered, one of the king's cruisers appeared on the coast, and three of them were arrested and carried to England and probably executed. The other, whose name was Thomas Veal, escaped to a rock in the woods, in which was a spacious cavern, where the pirates had previously deposited some of their plunder. There the fugitive practised the trade of shoemaking. He continued his residence here till the great earthquake of 1658, when the top of the rock was unloosed and crashed down into the mouth of the cavern, enclosing the unfortunate man in what has been called to this day Pirates' Dungeon or Dungeon Rock. We cannot vouch for the complete truthfulness of this historian's statements.

[pg 236]

In 1852, one Hiram Marble purchased from the city of Lynn a lot of woodland in which Dungeon Rock is situated. He came, as was claimed, influenced by Spiritualistic revelations.

Directed by the spirit of the departed pirate Tom Veal, Mr. Marble commenced to excavate from this very hard porphyry rock in search of a subterranean vault, into which had been poured, as was supposed, the ill-gotten gain of all the pirates, from Captain Kidd down to the last outlaw of the ocean. Twenty-seven years the sound of the hammer and the drill and the thud of blasting-powder echoed through the leafy forests, and then all was hushed.

Hiram Marble died in his lonely residence at Dungeon Rock, November 10, 1868, aged sixty-five. He was widely known for his perseverence in the work in which he was engaged. Sixteen years he labored without a realization of his ardent hopes. He remained a Spiritualist to the last, and those of a like faith were invited to the funeral services which took place on the day following his death.

"His faith has not been without works, nor his courage barren of results, and centuries hence, if his name and identity should be lost, the strange labor may be referred to some recluse Cyclops who had strayed hither from mystic lands."

"Edwin Marble, who succeeded his father in the strange search for treasure, died January 16, 1880, aged forty-eight years. He was buried near the foot of the rock on the southwestern slope, it having been his express desire to be interred near the scene of his hopeful, though fruitless, labors."

The broken rock, which they removed solely with their own hands, makes quite a mountain of itself.

We decided to enter the place where so many years of fruitless toil had been spent. A wooden gate on rusty hinges opened and we passed in, and the gate closed behind us.

The excavation is high enough and broad enough for two tall men to walk abreast, and on its winding way, screw fashion, doubling upon itself, it leads down one hundred and fifty feet into the bowels of the earth, all the way through solid rock that had remained undisturbed for centuries on centuries, until the work of this ill-directed Marble commenced. Down, down we went, out of the warm sunlight into this cold, damp subterranean passage, winding hither and thither, till we reached an ice-cold pool of water which is constantly being supplied from some hidden fountain, and, were it not removed by pumps, would fill the place to the brim.

[pg 237]

This rock-hewn passage is lighted with lanterns hung at the various turns, so that the descent and ascent, notwithstanding the way is rough, can be made with safety. Though the day was warm outside, we were in a very short time chilled through and glad to make our escape. How these men could have endured many long years of labor in this vast refrigerator, and retain any degree of health, is a problem. Faith and zeal doubtless kept the blood moving through their veins. It is said that a knife, or dirk, and a pair of scissors of very ancient origin, which we were shown, were found by Mr. Marble in a fissure of this solid rock. That they were left there by pirates, years on years ago, no sane man can for a moment believe. The probabilities are that some one deceived Mr. Marble.

When this misguided adventurer commenced this work, he was possessed of about fifteen hundred dollars, which he expended long before his death, after which, he depended upon the charities of those who sympathized with him in his undertaking.

In one of the buildings named above, there are several portraits of pirates and their wives, drawn, it is said, by some one under the influence of the spirits, in a marvelously short space of time. Several wives of Captain Kidd are among them.

Captain Kidd must have been a remarkable man, to want more than one such character for a companion, provided the likenesses are true to nature; at any rate we are not at all surprised that he was a pirate, under the circumstances.

To illustrate how Mr. Marble professed to have been directed, we give the following correspondence with the spirits:--

Mr. Marble wrote: "I wish Veal or Harris would tell what move to make next."

This query was covered by fifteen thicknesses of paper and then the medium was called in, and, merely feeling of the exterior of the paper, wrote what the spirit of Veal revealed through him. Captain Harris, named in the communication, is supposed to have been the leader of the piratical band.

Response of Veal: "My Dear Charge,--You solicit me or Captain Harris to advise you as to what to next do. Well, as Harris says he has always had the heft of the load on his shoulders, I will try and respond myself and let Harris rest. Ha! ha! Well, Marble, we must joke a bit; did we not, we should have the blues, as do you some of those rainy days when you see no living person at the rock, save your own dear ones. Not a sound do you hear, save the woodpecker and that little gray bird [Mr. Marble's pet canary], that sings all day long, more especially wet days, tittry, tittry, tittry. But, Marble, as Long [a deceased friend of Marble] says, 'Don't be discouraged.' We are doing as fast as we can. As to the course, you are in the right direction at present. You have one more curve to make before you take the course that leads to the cave. We have a reason for keeping you from entering the cave at once. Moses was by the Lord kept forty years in his circuitous route, ere he had sight of that land that flowed with milk and honey. God had his purpose in so doing, notwithstanding he might have led Moses into the promise, in a very few days from the start. But no; God wanted to develop a truth, and no faster than the minds of the people were prepared to receive it. Cheer up, Marble, we are with you and doing all we can.

[pg 238]

"Your guide,


Another communication, from C.B. Long, contains the following: "The names of Hiram and Edwin Marble will live when millions of years shall, from this time, have passed, and when even kings and statesmen shall have been forgotten."

And so the man and, after him, his son worked on till, so far as they were concerned, death closed the scene. Whether any person in the years to come will follow these misguided laborers, and take up the work where they left it, is a question.

The legendary lore of Dungeon Rock is eclipsed by the dominant impulse of lives absorbed in an idea, based upon supernatural agency. While it is an evidence of a misguided zeal, unequaled by anything the whole world has heretofore probably known, in and of itself it is no mystery.

The mystery is that there ever lived human beings to undertake such an unpromising work, where such hardship and perseverance were required, and where the folly of any hope of success must have been apparent to an intelligent person every day, from the commencement to the close of the twenty-seven years of servile toil.



It is almost one hundred and thirty years

" ... since the burning of Grand-Pre,
When on the falling tide the freighted vessels departed,
Bearing a nation, with all its household gods, into exile;
Exile without an end, and without an example in story."

Of the numerous readers of Evangeline in Lancaster, few now suspect how nearly the sad tale of wantonly-ravaged Acadie touched their own town history. From the archives of Nova Scotia all details of that deed of merciless treachery were left out, for very shame; but upon the crown officials then in authority over the Province, history and poetry have indelibly branded the stigma of an unnecessary edict of expulsion, which devastated one of the fairest regions of America, and tore seven thousand guileless and peaceful people from a scene of rural felicity rarely equaled on earth, to scatter them in the misery of abject poverty, among strangers speaking a strange tongue and hating their religion. The agents who faithfully executed the cruel decree were Massachusetts men, reluctantly obedient to "his Majesty's orders," given them specifically in writing by Charles Lawrence, Governor of Nova Scotia.

On the twentieth of May, 1755, Lieutenant-Colonel John Winslow embarked at Boston with a force of about two thousand men, organized in two battalions. They were enlisted for the term of one year, unless sooner discharged, for the special service of dislodging the French from their newly fortified positions along the north side of the Bay of Fundy, and on the isthmus connecting New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Among the vessels of the fleet was the sloop Victory, and to this was assigned a company belonging to the second, or Lieutenant-Colonel Scott's, battalion, largely composed of, and officered by, Lancaster men, a list of whose names is subjoined:--

[pg 239]
  Captain Abijah Willard.
  First Lieutenant "Haskal." [Henry Haskell ?]
  Second Lieutenant Willard. [Levi ?]
  Ensign Willard. [Aaron ?]
  Thomas Beman, husbandman,      aged 25
  James Houghton,  "                " 25
  Jacob Willard, husbandman      aged 31
  Thomas Willard,  "                " 23
  Joseph Farnsworth, husbandman  aged 20
  Joseph Phelps,           "        " 21
  Benjamin Atherton, laborer     aged 20
  Phineas Atherton,    "           "  16
  Daniel Atherton,     "           "  21
  Jonathan Brown,      "           "  17
  Joseph Bailey,       "           "  30
  Phineas Divoll,      "           "  22
  Abel Farnsworth, husbandman      "  22
  John Farnsworth, laborer         "  30
  Jeremiah Field,      "           "  18
  Ephraim Goss,        "           "  22
  Thomas Henderson,    "           "  40
  Daniel Harper,       "           "  21
  Elias Haskell, cooper            "  19
  William Hutson, cordwainer       "  22
  John Johnson, laborer            "  22
  Samuel Kilham   "                "  20
  Matthias Larkin,"                "  30
  Joseph Metcalf, cooper           "  21
  Joseph Pratt, laborer            "  30
  Joseph Priest,   "               "  45
  Daniel Sanders,  "               "  19
  Isaac Sollendine, laborer        "  21
  Jacob Stiles, housewright        "  19
  Lemuel Turner, laborer           "  18
  Nathaniel Turner, "              "  18
  William Turner,   "              "  18
  Aaron Wilder,     "              "  30
  William Warner,   "              "  20
  David Wilson,     "              "  18
  Levi Woods, laborer            aged 20
  Silas Willard,  "                "  19
  Uziah Wyman, apothecary          "  21
  John Warner, laborer             "  20
  James Willard,  "                "  18
  John Wilson,    "                "  20

Besides the above forty-five, there were, in other companies, three natives of Lancaster:--

  Nathaniel Johnson, yeoman         aged 25
  Jonas Moor,           "             "  32
  John Rugg, husbandman               "  31

What special part these men took in the investment and capture of the formidable fort of Beau Sejour, or in the assaults upon the minor forts, neither record nor tradition tell, and we are equally uninformed respecting their participation in the pitiable scenes enacted along the shores of Minas and Chignecto Bays. The Massachusetts Archives contain no pay-rolls of this expedition, and no papers of Captain Abijah Willard are known to exist throwing any light upon its history. That the service was not only inglorious in part, and ungrateful to the truly brave, but attended with much hardship, is attested by the following documents copied from Massachusetts Archives, lv, 62 and 63. They are there in the handwriting of Secretary Josiah Willard:--

"Sir: I have received your Letter giving me an acct. of the Hardships your poor Soldiers are exposed to. I sincerely Compassionate their unhappy case & I pray God to find out some Way for their Relief. The Governor is not expected here till the month of December. When he arrives I shall endeavour to mention the affair to him. In the mean time, I have written a Letter to Major General Winslow which I have left open, Leaving it with you to deliver it or not as you shall judge best, First sealing it before you deliver it The Council being informed that I had a Letter from you upon the subject of these Hardships of the Soldiers desired me to communicate it to them, which I did. What they will do upon it I know not.

"Octob'r 31, 1755.


[pg 240]

"BOSTON, Oct. 31, 1755

"Sir: I have lately received a Letter from my Kinsman Cpt. Abijah Willard expressing his tender concern for his soldiers who are exposed to ly in Tents in this cold season now coming on and their cloath now worn out. I would fain use any Interest I could make that may contribute to the Relief of these and other the Provincial soldiers in Nova Scotia in the like circumstances, but I am a perfect stranger both to Governor Lawrence & Coll. Monkton. But the acquaintance I have of you & my knowledge of your compassionate spirit, especially towards the soldiers under your command in like circumstances, urges me to write to you on this occasion (not from any Distrust I have of your care in these matters, but possibly as your Distance from the Place where this Company is quartered may keep you in some Ignorance of the Difficulties these poor men labour under) to desire you would interpose your best offices for their Relief. It seems that these men can be of little service in act of Duty required of them while they are so destitute of the necessary. Comforts & Refreshments of Life. You will excuse this Freedom. With my earnest desires of the gracious Presence of God with you & particularly to prosper your enterprises for the Good of your nation & Countrey I am, Sir, Your very humble serv't,


This was not Captain Willard's first experience of Nova Scotia, nor was it to be his last. Ten years before he enlisted in the expedition against Louisburg, being first lieutenant of Captain Joshua Pierce's company, in the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment, of which his father, Samuel Willard, was colonel. He was there promoted to a captaincy, July 31, 1745, three days after his twenty-first birthday. Little more than twenty years had passed from the time when he had assisted in forcing the broken-hearted Acadien farmers into exile, and again he sailed for Nova Scotia, himself a fugitive, proscribed as a Tory, his ample estate confiscated, and his name a reproach among his life-long neighbors. As thousands of French Neutrals from Georgia to Massachusetts Bay sighed away their lives with grieving for their lost Acadie, so we know Abijah Willard, so long as he lived, looked westward with yearning heart toward that elm-shaded home so familiar to all Lancastrians. On the coast of the Bay of Fundy, not far west of St. John, is a locality yet called Lancaster. Colonel Abijah Willard gave it the name. It was his retreat in exile, and there he died in 1789.

Of the thousand Acadiens apportioned to the Province of Massachusetts, the committee appointed by General Court for the duty of distributing them among the several towns, sent three families, consisting of twenty persons, to Lancaster. These were Benoni Melanson, his wife Mary, and children, Mary, Joseph, Simeon, John, Bezaleel, "Carre," and another daughter not named; Geoffroy Benway, Abigail, his wife, and children, John, Peter, Joseph, and Mary; Theal Forre, his wife Abigail, and children, Mary, Abigail, Margaret. The Forre family were soon transferred to Harvard. They arrived in February, 1756, and the accounts of the town's selectmen for their support were regularly rendered until February, 1761. They were destitute, sickly, and apparently utterly unable to support themselves, and were billeted now here, now there, among the farmers, at a fixed price of two shillings and eight-pence each per week for their board. Sometimes a house was hired for them, and, in addition to rent paid, we find in the selectmen's charges such items as these:--

[pg 241]
                                              £  s   d  gr
  To cash pd for an Interpreter and
  paper,                                         3   4
  To what Nessecareys we found them,          1  0   8  0
  To 472 weight of Befe cost,                 3  3   2  1
  To Corn  that they have had  &
  yoused, with Sauss,                               10  8
  To one Bushel of Salt & Salting the
  Befe,                                              5  6
  to one washing tub, 2 earthen pots
  & pail,                                            4  0
  to wood for the winter season for the
  year 1757,                                     1   6  8

Direct evidence to the helpless condition of the two families of French Neutrals in Lancaster is given in a letter from the selectmen, dated January 24, 1757, found in Massachusetts Archives, xxiii, 330:--

"and here Foloweth an account of the curcumstances, age and sexes of those people, thare Is two famles Consisting of fifteen In Number, the whole to witt. Benoni Melanso with his wife of about fourty four or five years of age, and they have seven children thre Boyes and four Girlls, the Eldest Girl about 17 years old, the boye Next about 15 years old, Sickly. Can Do Nothing. ye Next Boy 12 years old. ye Next boy 10 years old, and ye four Girles all under them Down to two years old, and the woman almost a Criple....

The Name of the others Is Jefray--& his wife, he almost an Idot and aboute 46 years old, ... they have four children 3 Boyes & one Girll. ye Eldest Boye 10 yeares old & ye Rest Down to two years old.

"JOHN CARTER } Selectmen of Lancaster."

Shortly after the date of the above, these unhappy people suddenly disappeared from their habitation. Reckless with homesickness, they had stolen away, and made a bold push for the sea, in the vain hope that on it they might float back to the Basin of Minas. This was in the depth of winter, February, 1757. They came to the coast at Weymouth. There they soon encountered the questioning of local authority, and to excuse their intrusion Melanson made complaint against his Lancaster guardians, the history of which is in Massachusetts Archives, xxiii, 356.

"The Committee to whom was referred the Petition of Benoni Melanzan in behalf of himself and sundrie other French People, Having met and heard the Petition and one of the Selectmen of Lancaster, relating to the several matters therein Complained of and also have heard the Representative of Weymouth where the French People mentioned in s d Petition at present reside: Beg leave to report as follows. Viz: That it doth not appear that ye Petitioner had any Grounds to complain of the selectmen of Lancaster or either of them relating the matter complained of, and therefore Beg leave further Report that the Committee are of oppinion that the said French People be ordered forthwith to Return to Lancaster from whence they in a disorderly manner withdrew themselves, all which is Humbly submited.

[pg 242]

"pr order of the Comitte


"In Council, February 24, 1757.

"Read and ordered that this Report be so far accepted as relates to the Petitioners Complaint of his Treatment at Lancaster being without Grounds, but inasmuch as the Petitioner offers to undertake for the support of himself and the other French removed from Lancaster except in the article of Firing and House Room, and is likewise willing that two of his sons be placed out in Families and inasmuch as the Petitioner is by employment a Fisherman, which cannot be exercised at Lancaster, therefore, Ordered that he have liberty to reside in the Town of Weymouth until this Court shall otherwise order, and the Selectmen of said Town are impowered to place two of his sons in English families for a reasonable term and to provide House Room for the Rest, & the liberty of cutting as much Firewood as is necessary in as convenient a Lot as can be procured. The account of the Charge of House Rent and Firewood to be allowed out of the Province Treasury.

"Sent down for concurrence.

"THOS. CLARKE, Dpty. Secy.

"Feb. 25, 1757."

"In the House of Representatives.

"Read and unanimously non concurred, and ordered that Report of the Com'tee be accepted & ye the said French Neutrals so called be directed to return forthwith to ye Town of Lancaster accordingly.

"Sent up for Concurrence.

"T. HUBBARD, Spk'r."

"In Council, Feb. 25, 1757.

"Read & Concurred. A. OLIVER, Secy.

"Consented to S. PHIPS."

They were soon again in the quarters whence they fled. In June, 1760, the Melanson family were divided between Lunenburg, Leominister, and Hardwick, while the Benways remained. Among the petitioners for leave to go to "Old France," a little later, appear "Benoni Melanson and Marie, with family of seven," and from that date the waifs from Acadie appear no more in the annals of Lancaster.



The generosity of the American people, in the making of gifts to their institutions of learning, is munificent. The generosity is keeping pace with the increase of wealth. In 1847, Abbott Lawrence gave fifty thousand dollars to Harvard University, to found the school of science which now bears his name. This gift is declared to be "the largest amount ever given at one time, during the lifetime of the donor, to any public institution in this country." But since the year 1847, it is probable that not less than fifty millions of dollars have been donated by individuals to educational institutions. In several instances, gifts, each approaching, or even exceeding, a million of dollars, have been bestowed. The Baltimore merchant, Johns Hopkins, gave not less than three millions of dollars to a great university, which, like Harvard, bears the name of its founder. Henry W. Sage and Ezra Cornell contributed more than a million to the endowment of Cornell University. The gifts of Amasa Stone to the Adelbert University at Cleveland aggregate more than half a million. Since 1864, Ario Pardee has given to Lafayette College more than five hundred thousand dollars; and the donations of John C. Green to Princeton aggregate toward a million of dollars. Alexander Agassiz, worthy son of a worthy father, has donated more than a quarter of a million of dollars to the equipment of the Museum of Comparative Zoology and Anatomy which his father founded. Joseph E. Sheffield endowed the scientific school at New Haven which bears his name. The late Nathaniel Thayer, of Boston, contributed about two hundred and fifty thousand dollars to Harvard. Among various institutions in the West, South, and North, Mrs. Valeria G. Stone, of Maiden, Massachusetts, has, within the last five years, distributed more than a million of dollars. George Peabody's benevolences amount to eight millions of dollars, about one fourth of which forms the Southern Educational Fund, and about one eighth endowed the Peabody Institute at Baltimore. John F. Slater gave a million of dollars to the cause of Southern education. The amounts contributed to college and university education in the last ten years may be thus summarized:1

[pg 243]
  1872    $6,282,461
  1873     8,238,141
  1874     1,845,354
  1875     2,703,650
  1876     2,743,348
  1877     1,273,991
  1878     1,389,633
  1879     3,878,648
  1880     2,666,571
  1881     4,601,069

In the nineteen years since the close of the war, many institutions have been founded with munificent endowments, as Johns Hopkins, Smith at Northampton, Wellesley; and many more institutions have vastly increased their resources. Harvard's property has perhaps tripled in amount; Princeton's income, under the presidency of Dr. McCosh, has greatly enlarged; Yale's revenue has also received large additions. Colleges in every State have been the recipients of munificent gifts. Notwithstanding, however, these benevolences, most colleges are in a constant state of poverty. Indeed, it may be said that every college ought to be poor; that is, it ought to have needs far outrunning its immediate means of supplying them. Harvard is frequently making applications for funds, which appear to be needed quite as much in Cambridge, as in the new college of a new town of a new State. At the present time, colleges stand in peculiar need of gifts for general purposes of administration. Funds are frequently given for a special object, as the foundation of a professorship. But the amount may be inadequate. It is not expedient to decline the gift. Properly to endow the new chair, therefore, revenue must be drawn from the general funds, which thus suffer diminution. Donations are of the greatest advantage to a college, which are free from conditions relative to their use.

[pg 244]

The demand of institutions of learning for endowment receives special emphasis at the present by the decreasing rate of interest. It is difficult, every college treasurer knows well, so to invest funds with safety as to cause them to return more than five per cent, interest. Ten years ago in the East it was as easy to secure seven, as it is now to secure five, per cent. In one year one college saw its income decrease many thousand dollars by reason of this decrease in the rate of interest. Bowdoin College is distinguished for the success with which its funds are administered. At the present these funds are said to pay about six per cent, interest, but it is a rate higher than many colleges are able to gain. By this decrease the salaries of professors, the income of scholarships, and the entire revenue, suffer.

Many reasons might be urged in behalf of benevolence to institutions of learning. Funds thus given are as a rule administered with extraordinary financial skill. Their permanence is greater than the permanence of funds in trust companies and savings banks. Harvard, the oldest college, Yale, the next to the oldest (with the exception of William and Mary), have funds still unimpaired, still applied to the designs of those who gave them in the first years of their incorporation.

Gifts to a college are, moreover, an application of the right principle of benevolence of helping those who help themselves. The trustees, the professors, are, in proportion to their income, the most generous. Not seldom do they pledge a year's salary for the benefit of the institutions which they officially serve. The first nineteen donors to Tabor College, Iowa, several of whom were its officers, gave no less than sixty per cent. of the assessed value of their property. The efficient president of Colorado College has been engaged in making money for his college in legitimate business, in preference to making his own fortune. The students, as well as the officers, of colleges endeavor to help themselves to an education in all fitting ways. The keeping of school, the doing of chores, the running of errands, the tutoring of fellow-students, suggest the various ways in which they endeavor to work their way through college.

Those who thus donate their money, in amounts either large or small, foster the highest interests of the nation. From institutions of learning flow the best forces of the national life. Literature, the fine arts, patriotism, philanthrophy, and religion, thus receive their strongest motives. The higher education in the United States is most intimately related to the master-minds of American literature. Longfellow, Hawthorne, Lowell, Holmes, were in part created by Bowdoin and Harvard. Among the most efficient officers of the late war were the graduates of the colleges. Without the college the ministry would become a "sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal" indeed, and without a learned ministry the church would languish. In the early years of the century, Mr. John Norris, of Salem, proposed to give a large sum of money to the cause of foreign missions. He was persuaded, however, to transfer the gift to the foundation of the Andover Theological Seminary, assured that thus he was really giving it to the missionary cause. So the event proved. For the first American missionaries were trained at Andover. Thus, he who gives his money to the college, gives it to the fostering of the highest and best forces in American thought and character.

[pg 245]


Thin as the viewless air,
  Swifter than dreams can be,
Above, around, and everywhere,
  We speed with pinions free.
No barrier bounds our path,
  But, ever, to and fro,
Angels of mercy and of wrath.
  Onward, in haste we go.
Our birth, mid Chaos rude,
  Ere Earth had formed its shell;
And nursed we were, in solitude,
  Where hoary night did dwell.
We tossed her raven hair,
  Ere sun began to glow,
And whirled the atoms through the air,
  To form the moon, I trow.
We heard the Eternal Voice
  Pronounce, "Let there be Light!"
And, shrieking, fled, beneath the wings
  Of the escaping Night.
We saw the earth arise,
  Childlike, from Nature's womb,
And flew to it, with joyous cries,--
  We knew it was our home.
How brilliant, then, its dyes,
  O'er past we could not grieve;--
We rocked the trees of Paradise,
  And whisked the locks of Eve.
Mid things so gay and calm,
  With wings, as those of doves,
We floated o'er those fields of balm,
  As lightest zephyr roves.
[pg 246]
All changed from peace to wrath
  When stern Archangel came
And drove that pair from garden path,
  With sword of lambent flame.
Our wings grew strong and broad,
  Our anger burst on high,
We tore huge trees,--we dashed along,
  Our shadows gloomed the sky.
Our home, the boundless air
  Or Ocean's surging breast,--
We meet the lightnings' lurid glare,
  Or hang on rainbow's crest;
At touch, the forests bow,
  The lake uplifts its voice,
The long grass hums its anthem low,
  And ocean waves rejoice.
Our flocks, the drifting clouds
  That sweep across the plain,
Like vessels seen, with netted shrouds,
  At rest upon the main.
We laugh to see them spread
  With darkened fleece, afar,--
While thunders mutter, overhead,
  Like trumpet notes of war.
We scorn the pride of man,
  With us he dare not cope,
Build vessel strong as e'er he can,
  We shiver mast and rope.
Too long we tarry now--
  Away,--with speed, away,
More than a thousand miles we go,
  To sink a ship to-day.

[pg 247]


[The following account of the losses of the British in the Revolution, for the first thirty months of the war, is taken from The London Magazine of February, 1778, and is interesting in that it differs from all the statements that appear in our United States Histories of that portion of the war.--ED.]

In March, 1776, the Parliament of Great Britain Voted 42,390 Men for the Service of America; These troops Landed Accordingly, And have Lost agreeable to their Returns as Followeth:--

Places Where Killed. Wounded. Prisoners.
At Lexington and Concord 43 70
Bunker Hill 746 1,150
Ticonderoga and Quebec 81 110 350
On the Lake, by General Arnold 93 64
Sullivan's Island 191 264
Ceder 40 70
Norfolk, in Virginia 129 175 40
Different Actions on Long Island 840 660 60
Harlem and Hell's Gate 236 773 43
New York, in time of landing 57 100
White Plains, General McDougal 450 490 270
Fort Washington 900 1,500
Fort Lee 20 30
Trenton Hessians 35 60 948
Princetown 74 100 210
Boston Road, by Admiral Hardy 52 90 750
Transports taken 390
Danbury 260 350 40
Iron Hill, near Elk 59 80 20
Brandy Wine 800 1,170
Reden Road, by General Maxwell 40 60
Staten Island, by General Sullivan 94 150 278
Bennington 200 1,100 1,100
Fort Montgomery 580 700
Fort Mifflin and Red Bank 328 53 84
General Burgoyne's Army 2,100 1,126 5,572
Deserted 1,100
8,448 10,495 10,155

[pg 248]



In the year of our Lord 1844, a young clerk, named George Williams, consulted with a few others and determined that something should be done to save the young men, who came by thousands to London, from the terrible temptations and snares to which they were exposed. The old times had passed when the young man came to the city recommended to some friend who would feel a personal interest in him, either take him into his own house or find some good home for him; who felt responsible for him and bound to know where he went and with whom he associated; who often had him at his own board, if not regularly there, and who expected to see him in his family pew on Sunday.

Old Building.

Old Building.2

Perhaps this state of things had, from necessity, ceased to be; perhaps the introduction of machinery and the employment of large numbers of young men in the cities made this personal relation no longer possible. Whether possible or no, the fact remains that this close relation between employer and employed ceased. There are, even now, some noble exceptions to this, as in the case of Mr. Williams himself, and the firm of Samuel Morlay and Company.

The young man to-day comes fresh from the pure air and clear lavish sunshine of his country home, where summer's flower-decked green is a continuous feast, and winter's glories a delight no less. Whether upon the snow in sleigh, or hillside coasting, or the swift skate on the frozen river, or at evening's cozy fireside before the blazing logs, all rejoice in simple pleasures, and prayer closes the day. Dear country home, where every sound is ministry; the morning cock and cackling hen, the birds' hopeful morning song, the twittering swallow, noon's rest and healthy appetite, the lowing cattle, the birds' thankful evening note, the village bell--old curfew's echo, the pattering on the pane, the wind in the treetops, the watchdog's distant bark for lullaby, and quiet restful sleep; his greatest sports--those of the evening village-green--the apple bee, the husking, and the weekly singing-school.

He stands at evening gazing at the splendors of the blacksmith's glowing forge, and in the morning says "good-by" to all, and starts upon his journey to the city.

[pg 249]

Arrived, and having found employment, he works from a fixed hour in the morning till evening, then he goes home--where? 'T is all the home he has--all he can afford: a room, or perhaps a part of a room, on the upper floor of a tall house, in a narrow street--houses all about- -the view all brick and slate,--the sunshine never penetrates to him-- the air is close and heavy; not one attraction is there for him here. But on his way from work he must perforce pass many a front, where the electric light casts its brilliant beams quite across the street. Yes, this proprietor can well afford the costly allurement--it pays--a very wrecker's light to lure to destruction. Its baneful brightness makes day of that dark narrow street. Within is warmth, companionship, music, wine, play,--all that appeals to a young man's nature. What wonder that he turns in here rather than go on to his cold, dreary room.

Once in, he is welcomed; hearty good fellows they seem. True, they are very different from his old friends in appearance, manner, and language, and he at first shrinks from them, but the wine-cup soon obliterates distinctions, and he feels that he has never met such choice spirits before. Laughing at their jokes and coarse stories, he forgets all in the wild excitement of the moment. His voice is now the loudest. He sings, shouts, and, at length, losing consciousness, only wakes sick and utterly miserable. He determines it shall be the last. Never will he be seen there again. But he has entered upon a path of easy descent, and lower and lower he falls. He is hurrying to death.

His employer cares only that he is at his place in the morning and remains there at work till the evening. He cannot follow him, and should the young man's habits become such that it "no longer pays" to employ him, he is dismissed and another is quickly found to take his place. Vast numbers of young men were going down to death in the cities, when George Williams and his friend determined to do something to keep them from destruction, and thus they formed the first Young Men's Christian Association in the world, on the sixth day of June, 1844.

In the autumn of 1851, a correspondent of the Watchman and Reflector, a religious paper published in Boston, wrote an account of his visit to the London rooms. Captain Sullivan saw the article, and having himself visited the London Association, he spoke to others, and the result was a meeting in the vestry of the Central Church, on December 15, 1851, of thirty-two men, representing twenty congregations of the different denominations.

This meeting was adjourned to December 22, at the Old South Chapel, in Spring Lane. A constitution was adopted on December 29. Officers were chosen January 5 and 10, and the work began in earnest.

Mr. Francis O. Watts, of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, was the first president of this, the first Young Men's Christian Association of the United States. It is a strange coincidence, easily understood by the Christian, that on the twenty-fifth of November, one month previous, without any knowledge on the part of Boston, the first Young Men's Christian Association of America had been organized at Montreal, in Canada.

[pg 250]

The constitution adopted was based upon that of the parent Association, and provided that, while any young man could be a member and enjoy all other privileges of the Association, only members of evangelical churches could hold office or vote. The reason for this was clear and right. Those who originated the parent Association, and those who formed this, believed in the doctrines of the Universal Church of Christ--in the loss of the soul and its redemption only by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ; nor could they be satisfied with any work for young men which did not at least aim at conversion.

The chairman of the international committee thus speaks, in February last: "When any Association sinks the religious element and the religious object which it professes to hold high beneath secular agencies and powers, it ceases to deserve the name of Young Men's Christian Association. It belongs then to a class of societies of which we have many, and in which, as Christian young men looking to the conversion of our fellows as the supreme object, we have no special or peculiar interest." The tenth annual report thus speaks upon this point: "The tie which binds us together is a common faith. We hold this faith most dearly, and believe it to be essential, and therefore worthy to be protected by every means. We cannot be expected, surely, to do so suicidal a thing as to admit to the right of equal voice in the government of our society those who are directly opposed to the very essence of our being."



The benefits of the Association are for all--its management alone is restricted.

[pg 251]

There are now nearly twenty-five hundred Associations in the world, all upon what is called the evangelical basis, and in the United States and British Provinces only Associations upon this basis have membership or representation in the International Organization, formulated in Paris, in 1855, thus:--

"The Young Men's Christian Associations seek to unite those young men who, regarding Jesus Christ as their God and Saviour according to the Holy Scriptures, desire to be his disciples in their doctrine and in their life, and to associate their efforts for the extension of his kingdom among young men."

It is a fact that whenever the attempt has been made, and it often has, in any Association, to give an equal right in the management to those who are not of our faith, that Association has either soon adopted our basis or ceased to exist.

The spiritual benefit of its members having thus always been its ultimate end, the London Association, during its early years, did no other work; and no sooner was the Boston Association formed than it, too, took it up. For a while, it carried on a Bible-class and a weekly prayer-meeting; but in May, 1857, a daily prayer-meeting was established, and has been continued almost without intermission to the present time. The visitation of sick members, the distribution of tracts, and the conduct of general religious meetings, have been the regular work of special committees. These last have been held when and where they seemed to be called for: on the Common, at the wharves, on board the ships in the harbor, and, especially during our Civil War, on board the receiving-ship Ohio; in the theatres, at Tremont Temple, and at the Meionaon, where, at various times, for weeks, a noon meeting has been held for business men.

The Association has also been the rallying-point and chief instrumentality in great revival movements, under the direction of the churches, and especially in that under Mr. Moody in the great Tabernacle. The Boston Association has never forgotten the chief object of its existence, nor, though not without some fluctuation, has it intermitted its religious work.

We have said that in London the work was at first wholly religious. In this country, however, the social and intellectual element in young men was immediately recognized and measures taken to satisfy them. Therefore pleasant rooms were at once secured, carpeted, furnished, hung with pictures, and supplied with papers, magazines, and books; and, as the work enlarged and additional and more commodious rooms were obtained, the literary class and the occasional lecture in the room at the Tremont Temple building, expanded, in its first own building at the corner of Tremont and Elliot Streets, into evening classes, social gatherings, readings, and concerts; and here first we were able to give to our members who wished them the advantages of the gymnasium and bathrooms. And when, through the munificence of the business men, the Association was enabled to take possession of its present building, certainly excelled by no other in the world, either in beauty of exterior or accommodation, every appliance for physical, social, intellectual and spiritual work has been made possible.

[pg 252]

Visit the building with us. There it stands, at the corner of two broad streets, and in the midst of the finest public and private buildings in the city. Unique in architecture, simple in design, warm in color, and beautiful in its proportions, it is a building of which Boston may well be proud, while every Christian man must rejoice in the thought that it is built for His glory whose blessed emblem crowns its top-most gable. By its broad stone staircase, under the motto of Associations, "Teneo et teneor," and through its vestibule, we enter the great reception- room. Immediately on the left, a white marble fountain supplies ice-cold water to all who wish it; beyond, richly carpeted and well furnished, the walls hung with good paintings, are the two parlors. Here the members have withdrawing-rooms equal to those even in this favored neighborhood. The few whom we find here certainly appreciate their comfort. The pleasant room adjoining is that of the general secretary, where he is usually to be found, and where each member is cordially welcomed for converse or advice. Beyond, again, is the office, where three men find it no sinecure to attend to the continuous stream of comers for welcome, membership, or information. The library is a large, handsome, sunnyroom, well furnished with shelves, but not these so well with books; and yet, from twenty to fifty men are here quietly reading. The next room is for general reading. Around the walls on every side are papers from almost everywhere, and on the tables all the periodicals of this country, and many from abroad. All about the room sit or stand the readers, many, for the time, at home again as they gather the local news of their own town or village. The room beyond is called the "game- room." At each little table sit the chess or draught-players, while many interested are looking on.

[pg 253]

Here is the lavatory, complete in all its appointments, except, perhaps, that the long towel on the roller has been already this evening used by too many hands. The smell of blacking, too, indicates the wearer's pleasure in his cleaned and polished boots. In that little hall, which seats about three hundred, a lecture is being given to young men, on the care of the body, by Dr.----. This is one of six which are given gratuitously by Boston physicians.

We mount the stairs to the next story. These two rooms are rented to a commercial college. This door opposite admits you to the hall, which has seats for nine hundred persons. It is extremely simple, but the tints of the walls and ceiling are delightful, and you have only to listen to those members of the ---- Club, who have leased it for their concerts, to realize that its acoustic properties are perfect.

Still higher, we find the room of the board, where, once at least in each month, the directors sup at their own expense, and manage the affairs of the Association. Here, too, its various committees meet. In the room adjoining, a French lesson is going on; in that, German; in this, penmanship. Still higher up we find the "Tech" Glee Club practising, and this large room adjoining is filled with those who are learning vocal music. The building seems a very hive--something going on everywhere.

Let us now descend to the basement. The gymnasium is here in full blast. Men in every kind of costume and in every possible and, to many persons, impossible position, while the superintendent is intently watching each to see that he is properly developing; every kind of bath and many of them are right at hand, and dressing-rooms with boxes for eight hundred persons.

And this great building and all these appliances are the gift of the citizens of Boston to the young men from the country. Many of the donors remember the time when they came lonely to the city, and determined, if they could prevent it, that no young man, to-day, in the same position, should be without a place where all of which they so greatly felt the need is supplied.

These needs are thus supplied. Early in the history of the Association, a circular was sent to every evangelical pastor in New England, asking him to give information of each young man coming to the city, that he might be met at the station or received at the rooms.

[pg 254]

Let us sketch a case: We have received word that John ---- is to arrive from G---- by such a train. During the journey, thoughts of the dear ones he has left crowd upon him. He is already sick for home, as he looks about him and sees no familiar face. He has left harbor for the first time. All before him is uncertain: all about him strange. He reaches the city; friends are there at the station to welcome this and that one of his fellow-travelers. He knows no one. No one cares for his coming. No one? Yes, there is a young man scanning closely the faces which pass. Suddenly his eye encounters our traveler, and at once the question: "Are you John ----? 'Tis well. I am from the Association. We are expecting you." Together they go to the building, and, even before reaching it, our stranger is not quite a stranger. One man at least is interested in him. "This is the building." "What, this fine place ready to welcome me? Why, this is grand!" Here, too, is the electric light, but not baneful this, no wrecker's false gleam, but like the light upon the pier, showing safe entrance and anchorage. "This is our secretary. Mr. D., this is John ----." "Glad to see you. Had you a pleasant journey? What can we do for you? You want a boarding-place! Well, here is the book. What can you pay? Very well, Mrs. B. has a vacancy and it is just the place you want. I will send some one with you there. Your recommendation was such that we have found a situation for you, and they will be ready to see you to-morrow. We have an entertainment this evening, and I shall be glad to introduce you to several young men." Imagine, if you can, what such an introduction to city life is to a young man, and what is his coming to the city without it. He is no stranger now. He has found comfort, companionship, sympathy, occupation. His heart goes home indeed, but it is in thankfulness that he writes and describes his surroundings, and glad is he at the close of the evening to join with others in, prayer and thanksgiving to his mother's God, for the blessings of the Association; and later, in the quiet of his own room, he renews his thanks, sleeps peacefully, and, full of hope, takes hold of work in the morning. He is directed to the church of his choice and is introduced to the pastor. Thus, at the very first, he is surrounded by good influences in a city where thousands are on the watch with every allurement to tempt just such strangers to destruction of both soul and body. Should John ---- be ready, in his turn, to help others, work enough can be found for him in one of the several departments of social or spiritual life.

[pg 255]

Should he fall sick, a committee of the Association visit and care for him, and, if necessary, watch with him. There have been many cases where young men have been carefully tended during a long illness, and a few where even the funeral expenses have been borne by the Association, and even burial given to the body in the Association lot at Forest Hills Cemetery. This is no fancy sketch. Many, many actual Johns are here pictured, and many souls will, by-and-by, be found thanking God that he put it into the hearts of his servants to establish the Young Men's Christian Association.

But whence this well-appointed building? Within the first year of its life, a building fund was projected, and, as far as we know, this was absolutely the first step in this direction taken by any Association, either in this country or elsewhere. A library fund was also started at the same time.

  A few subscriptions towards
  a building were obtained,
  which, in 1858, amounted to           $1,200
  In 1859-60 were added                  1,644
  In 1873 (for altering and
  furnishing),                           5,700
  In 1873-74,                            4,400
  In 1874-75,                            7,800
  In 1882, the estate of Daniel
  P. Stone gave                         25,000
  Inspired by this, a meeting
  of citizens was held at the
  Brunswick, where committees
  on finance were appointed,
  and the result was a subscription
  of                                    175,000    $220,744
  By will have been bequeathed:
  By Charles H. Cook,                      300
  "  Miss Nabby Joy,                     5,000
  " J. Sullivan Warren,                 13,059
  " Dr. George E. Hatton,                5,000       23,359
  And by subscriptions in connection with, Fairs:
  1859--Chinese Fair,                    4,787
  1873--Bazaar of Nations,              12,246       17,033

We have mentioned "Fairs." These have been three in number; each being held in the Music Hall, and owed their success, not only to the energy of the young men, but to the hearty sympathy and untiring exertions of the ladies of the Boston churches.

  The first was held in 1858, and netted        $9,650
  The second was called the Chinese
  Fair, all the decorations being Chinese,--a
  pagoda reaching fifty-six
  feet to the very height of the hall,
  which netted                                  33,000
  The third was the most elaborate--the
  Bazaar of the Nations; the Music
  Hall being made to represent a street
  of foreign houses, where, by persons
  in costume, the goods of the different
  nations were sold. It came in
  the spring and immediately after the
  fire, but netted                              28,673
[pg 256]

It is certainly to the credit of the Association that up to 1882, when the large subscription of $200,000 was secured, the amount raised through the exertions of the young men and the ladies exceeded by more than $10,000 all moneys subscribed.


The influence of the Boston Association has not been merely local. Through Mr. L.P. Rowland, long its general secretary, and now the veteran secretary of the United States, in his capacity of corresponding secretary of the international committee, the first State work was done and Associations formed in all parts of Massachusetts. The present Boston building is now the headquarters of the Massachusetts committee, where the State secretary may always be reached. The secretary of the Association is a member of the State committee, a present member of the board, and an ex-president is now chairman of the same. In national matters, also, the Boston Association has responded to every call. In the early days of the war a drill-club was organized by one of its board, and he, as well as a large number of his men, went into service. And at the call of Mr. Stuart, of Philadelphia, the committee of the Christian Commission was represented by an ex-president and an army committee formed in the Association, which sent the large sum in money of $333,237.49, and immense stores of all kinds to the field.

The same committee acted as almoners at the time of Chicago's great fire, and also when the Western woods fires caused such suffering.

[pg 257]

Without boasting, for much more might have been done, the Boston Association has no cause to be ashamed of its history. Beginning with all ready to criticize, and many disapproving, the Association has worked itself into the confidence of the community; and the Reverend Joseph Cook, who was introduced as a lecturer to Boston under its auspices, thus speaks of the Association at the close of its quarter-century. He says:--

"First, That there is a vast amount of work which should be done for young men in cities, and that, as the proportion of the American population living in cities had increased since the opening of this century from one twenty-fifth to one fifth, the importance is great and growing.

"Second, That neither individual churches taken separately, nor individual denominations taken separately, can do this work easily or adequately.

"Third, That all the evangelical denominations united in a city can do this work easily by the organization of a Young Men's Christian Association as their representative."

A short time ago a committee of conference, made up of eight leading city clergymen and as many laymen, two of each denomination, unanimously passed the following resolutions:--

"Resolved, That the great and peculiar dangers to which young men are exposed in this, as in other cities, clearly calls, for the work of the Young Men's Christian Association.

"Resolved, That the Association represents the Church working through its young men for the redemption of young men, and, therefore, it is entitled to the continued confidence, support, and co-operation of the churches."

After long years of patient and steady work, the Boston Young Men's Christian Association has secured the confidence of the Christian community to the extent of more than $300,000, in the palpable form of stone and brick, which beautifies one of the finest sites in our city. It stands also as a monument of the liberality of Christian Boston and her appreciation of this great work for young men in the Master's name.



Several causes are assigned for the excessive rise of water in the Ohio valley. This water-shed is accredited with an area of two hundred thousand square miles, and it lies upon the border-line of hot and cold temperatures. It is subject to heavy storms, and sometimes, in winter, to large accumulations of snow. It is presumable also, the rainfall is greater than the average of the country. When, following great deposits of snow, warm, heavy, and prolonged rains occur, excessive floods must be the result. Add to these coincidents the fact that forests, once existing, are now so nearly annihilated that little protection is offered against a rapid dissolution of the snow, and the sudden freezing of the earth in an interval of the late storm preventing absorption of rain falling thereafter. The waters thus produced fall into the main streams without hindrance, like rain from roofs of buildings. An aggregation of waters in this valley, rising from fifty to seventy- one feet, is of annual occurrence, intensified according to excesses and completeness of coincidents.

[pg 258]

The damage arising from the Ohio flood of 1882 has been estimated at twelve millions of dollars; that of 1883 at thirty-five to forty millions of dollars. If these estimates are approximately correct, what must have been the damage from the flood of 1884!

There are other causes for the floods in the Ohio valley, and in all Southern streams, that have been but little considered, which exercise undoubted and immense influence in solving the peculiarities of the question under consideration, and afford striking contrasts in different sections of this country.

There are two water systems presented in North America. North of about the forty-first degree of latitude probably the southern limit of the once glacial region--a reservoir system prevails toward the headwaters of all the streams. It includes New England, New York, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Dakota, and to the Rocky Mountains divide, and all of the British Provinces to the Arctic Circle. It also somewhat occurs on the western slope of the Rockies. This region is notable for the great lake system, and the immense number of smaller lakes and ponds--natural inland reservoirs, supposed to be largely of glacial formation to hold back considerable portions of the cumulative waters upon any given water-shed, and serving to restrain the outflow, even after they are filled. These basins exercise a happy and protective influence in many ways.

South of the forty-first parallel, the rivers have no reservoirs to hold any part of the flow from their water-shed. Within this vast area few lakes or ponds exist. The superabundance of water has no restraint, but at once takes to the bottom lands. To this southern system the Ohio River notably belongs, with all its tributaries. Within its two hundred thousand square miles of area, scarcely a natural reservoir is to be found. No other part of the country is so devoid of basins. Its feeders drain the western slopes of the Alleghany and Cumberland Mountains--Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, representing sixty thousand square miles, the southern portions of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and most of Kentucky and Tennessee. These States are without lakes or ponds. Nothing intervenes to hold back any portion of the vast flow from these coincidents of nature before spoken of, and therefore the excessive floods of last year and this. Such results must continue to follow.

During the summer droughts the other extreme prevails. For lack of a reservoir system to withhold and control the flow of water, the river falls from flood-tide--seventy-one feet--to points so low as to seriously impede or prevent navigation. Sometimes even the smallest steamers and barges fail to pass between Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, and coal famines have not been unfrequent, resulting from difficult navigation. An equable flow of this stream is impossible. It will always be subject to these extremes. Nothing but an extensive method of filling or diking is likely to prevent the inundation of cities and villages that are not seventy feet above low-water mark, with attending suffering and destruction of life and property. All Southern rivers are liable to like extremes.

[pg 259]

In contrast, it may be noted that the St. Lawrence River but slightly varies its flow, above Montreal, because of the restraining power of the Great Lakes, its feeders. The upper Mississippi rises not to excess because of the thousands of lakes and lakelets in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Dakota, its sources. The floods occur in its southern portion, chiefly below St. Louis. But for this reservoir system its navigation in the upper portion would be seriously impeded in summer seasons.

Disastrous floods can scarcely occur on the St. John's, St. Croix, Penobscot, Kennebec, Androscoggin, Saco, Piscataqua, Merrimack, Connecticut, or Hudson Rivers, except from damming of the ice in winter or springtime (and that cause is of rare occurrence), such is the elaborate system of reservoirs about the headwaters of these streams. This northern country is greatly benefited by these excavations occurring from geological causes.

The Merrimack River has a water-shed of about four thousand square miles miles--one fiftieth part of that of the Ohio. It has the Winnipiseogee, Squam, and Newfound Lakes, and hundreds of ponds to fill, that store a large amount of water, before any considerable rise can take place in the river, and then they restrain the flow. No excess of water comes through the Winnipiseogee River, though it is the outlet of a water-shed nearly as great as of the Pemigewasset. The freshets of the Merrimack come chiefly from the last-named stream and minor tributaries. Without these reservoirs, the manufacturing establishments at Lawrence, Lowell, and Manchester, would cease to be operated by water-power during the summer droughts. The highest flow of water in the Merrimack known in forty-six years, as measured at the Lowell dam, was thirteen and seven-twelfths feet. This occurred in 1852. Only a few times have freshets exceeded ten feet rise over that dam.

The greatest fall of water and rise of the freshet, in this valley, known at Concord, New Hampshire, occurred in August, 1826. This storm notably caused the land-slide in the Saco valley, which buried the Willey family. The next was in early October, 1869, which caused the slide of seventy-five acres of land on the western side of Tri- Pyramid Mountain into Mad River, in Waterville.

Messrs. Rand, McNally, and Company, of Chicago, in their Atlas of the World, give data to illustrate the two river systems of the country spoken of. Names of sixty-seven lakes are given in Maine, and beside these are ponds almost innumerable. By census statistics given, her reservoir and land areas are as 1 to 13. New Hampshire is accredited with three hundred and sixty-two lakes and ponds, being as 1 acre to 41 of land. Vermont has forty-one lakes and ponds, including Lake Champlain, being as 1 acre to 24 of land. Massachusetts, forty- seven lakes and ponds; Rhode Island, forty-seven; Connecticut, eighteen; New York, two hundred and sixty, beside her great lakes; New Jersey, ten; Pennsylvania (chiefly northeastern portion), fifty-eight; Michigan, ninety-eight lakes, and ponds in great number; Wisconsin, seventy- two lakes, and a large number of ponds; Minnesota, one hundred and forty-two lakes, and ponds innumerable; Dakota, fifteen lakes, and a great number of ponds; and Iowa, forty-eight lakes.

[pg 260]

In contrast, Virginia has only Lake Drummond--really a part of the Dismal Swamp; West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, none; Indiana, eleven lakes, and Illinois, eight,--all on northern water- shed. The Carolinas, Georgia, and Alabama have no reservoirs. Lagoons exist in the States bordering the Mississippi River and the Gulf, which are filled by the overflow of the rivers.

A consultation of any good atlas of our country will confirm these statements.

The two sections are thus contrasted. The Northern States have reason to be very thankful for their more equable system, for the motive power its reservoirs furnish, and for exemption from disastrous floods, as well as from cyclones and tornadoes.

[pg 261]


[This account of the Boston Tea-Party is taken, verbatim, from "The Boston Evening Post, Monday, December 20, 1773. Thomas and John Fleet, at the Heart and Crown, in Cornhill, Messi'rs Printers." It adds another link in the chain of evidence to prove that the patriots were disguised as Indians.--ED.]

Having accidentally arrived at Boston upon a visit to a Friend the evening before the meeting of the Body of the People on the 29th of November, curiosity, and the pressing invitations of my most kind host, induced me to attend the Meeting. I must confess that I was most agreeably, and I hope that I shall be forgiven by the People if I say so unexpectedly, entertained and instructed by the regular, reasonable and sensible conduct and expression of the People there collected, that I should rather have entertained an idea of being transported to the British senate than to an adventurous and promiscuous assembly of People of a remote Colony, were I not convinced by the genuine and uncorrupted integrity and manly hardihood of the Rhetoricians of that assembly that they were not yet corrupted by venality or debauched by luxury.

The conduct of that wise and considerate body, in their several transactions, evidently tended to preserve the property of the East India Company. I must confess I was very disagreeably affected with the conduct of Mr. Hutchinson, their pensioned Governor, on the succeeding day, who very unseasonably, and, as I am informed, very arbitrarily (not having the sanction of law), framed and executed a mandate to disperse the People, which, in my oppinion, with a people less prudent and temperate would have cost him his head. The Force of that body was directed to effect the return of the Teas to Great Briton; much argument was expended. Much entreaty was made use of to effect this desirable purpose. Mr. Rotch behaved, in my estimation, very unexceptionably; his disposition was seemingly to comport with the desires of the People to convey the Teas to the original proprietors. The Consignees have behaved like Scoundrels in refusing to take the consignment, or indemnify the owner of the ship which conveyed this detestable commodity to this port. Every possible step was taken to preserve this property. The People being exasperated with the conduct of the administration in this affair, great pains were taken and much policy exerted to procure a stated watch for this purpose.3

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The body of the People determined the Tea should not be landed; the determination was deliberate, was judicious; the sacrifice of their Rights, of the Union of all the Colonies, would have been the effect had they conducted with less resolution: On the Committee of Correspondence they devolved the care of seeing their resolutions seasonably executed; that body, as I have been informed by one of their members, had taken every step prudence and patriotism could suggest, to effect the desirable purpose, but were defeated. The Body once more assembled, I was again present; such a collection of the people was to me a novelty; near seven thousand persons from several towns, Gentlemen, Merchants, Yeomen, and others, respectable for their rank and abilities, and venerable for their age and character, constituted the assembly; they decently, unanimously and firmly adhered to their former resolution, that the baleful commodity which was to rivet and establish the duty should never be landed; to prevent the mischief they repeated the desires of the Committee of the Towns, that the owner of the ship should apply for a clearance; it appeared that Mr. Rotch had been managed and was still under the influence of the opposite party; he resisted the request of the people to apply for a clearance for his ship with an obstinacy which, in my opinion, bordered on stubbornness--subdued at length by the peremptory demand of the Body, he consented to apply, a committee of ten respectable gentlemen were appointed to attend him to the collector; the Body meeting the same morning by adjournment, Mr. Rotch was directed to protest in form, and then apply to the Governor for a Pass by the Castle; Mr. Rotch executed his commission with fidelity, but a pass could not be obtained, his Excellency excusing himself in his refusal that he should not make the precedent of granting a pass till a clearance was obtained, which was indeed a fallacy, as it had been usual with him in ordinary cases,--Mr. Rotch returning in the evening reported as above; the Body then voted his conduct to be satisfactory, and recommending order and regularity to the People, dissolved. Previous to the dissolution, a number of Persons, supposed to be the Aboriginal Natives from their complection, approaching near the door of the assembly, gave the War Whoop, which was answered by a few in the galleries of the house where the assembly was convened; silence was commanded, and prudent and peaceable deportment again enjoined. The Savages repaired to the ships which entertained the pestilential Teas, and had began their ravage previous to the dissolution of the meeting--they apply themselves to the destruction of the commodity in earnest, and in the space of about two hours broke up 342 chests and discharged their contents into the sea. A watch, as I am informed, was stationed to prevent embezzlement and not a single ounce of Teas was suffered to be purloined by the populace. One or two persons being detected in endeavouring to pocket a small quantity were stripped of their acquisitions and very roughly handled. It is worthy remark that, although a considerable quantity of goods of different kinds were still remaining on board the vessels, no injury was sustained; such attention to private property was observed that a small padlock belonging to the Captain of one of the ships being broke another was procured and sent to [pg 263] him. I cannot but express my admiration of the conduct of this People. Uninfluenced by party or any other attachment, I presume I shall not be suspected of misrepresentation. The East India Company must console themselves with this reflection, that if they have suffered, the prejudice they sustaine does not arise from enmity to them. A fatal necessity has rendered this catstrophe inevitable--the landing the tea would have been fatal, as it would have saddled the colonies with a duty imposed without their consent, and which no power on earth can effect. Their strength and numbers, spirit and illumination, render the experiment dangerous, the defeat certain: The Consignees must attribute to themselves the loss of the property of the East India Company: had they seasonably quieted the minds of the people by a resignation, all had been well; the customhouse, and the man who disgraces Majesty by representing him, acting in confederacy with the inveterate enemies of America, stupidly opposed every measure concerted to return the Teas.--That Americans may defeat every attempt to enslave them, is the warmest wish of my heart. I shall return home doubly fortified in my resolution to prevent that deprecrated calamity, the landing the teas in Rhode Island, and console myself with the happiest assurance that my brethren have not less virtue, less resolution, than their neighbours.



We give with this number of the Bay State a fac-simile reproduction, from a rare copy in our possession, of "An Oration, pronounced at Hanover, New Hampshire, the Fourth Day of July, 1800," by Daniel Webster. This oration was delivered when the future statesman was in his eighteenth year. It cannot fail to interest every reader of the Magazine, and will be a treat to every collector of Americana.

Our Lowell article in the March number of The Bay State Monthly has been severely criticized--especially the cuts. To the older residents of that city each picture was of interest from association. We should have given credit to the excellent History of Lowell, written by Charles Cowley, LL.D., and to the Year Book, published by the Mail.

A System of Rhetoric is the title of a book by C.W. Bardeen, published in 1884 by A.S. Barnes and Company, of New York.

The subject is divided into sentence-making, conversation, letter-writing, the essay, oratory, and poetry. The book under consideration is an able and exhaustive treatise and must become highly prized as a textbook.

A Brief History of Ancient, Mediaeval, and Modern Peoples, with some account of their monuments, institutions, arts; manners, and customs, is the title of a book of six hundred pages, with two hundred and forty illustrations, issued by the same publishers.

There is a large amount of information crowded within its covers, made available by a thorough index.

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ORNAMENTAL FIREPLACE. (Magee Fine-Art Castings.)

ORNAMENTAL FIREPLACE. (Magee Fine-Art Castings.)4

The unique designs, massive beauty, and artistic grace of Magee's fine-art castings place them in competition with the finest work in brass and bronze. From the antique suit of armor, platinum plated, to the light and graceful leaf, for holding the quill and pencil, their designs include a great variety of ornamental articles: tiles, shields, panels, sconces, brackets, plaques, arms, trays, fireplaces, and jewelry-boxes.

Their reproduction of the strange and fantastic hand-made studies of Chinese and Japanese artists would puzzle the Celestials, especially in the coloring and finish. Professional critics are often deceived as to the materials employed, so fine a finish will iron receive.

This class of work is in its infancy--its possibilities are very numerous.

Footnote 1: (return)

Compiled from various Reports of the United States Commissioner of Education.

Footnote 2: (return)

NOTE.--The illustrations are furnished by the architects of the new building, Messrs. Sturgis and Brigham.

Footnote 3: (return)

This watch consisted of 24 to 34 Men, who served as volunteers 19 Days and 23 Hours.

Footnote 4: (return)

Note.--By the delay of the artist, this page, designed for the Chelsea article in the February number of The Bay State Monthly, was not ready in season.--Ed.