Project Gutenberg's Continental Monthly, Volume 5, Issue 4, by Various

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Title: Continental Monthly, Volume 5, Issue 4

Author: Various

Release Date: July 13, 2006 [EBook #18820]

Language: English

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[Pg 369]




Literature and National Policy.

VOL. V.—APRIL, 1864.—No. IV.




When Thomas Chalmers, sixty years ago, lecturing at St. Andrews, ventured to announce his conviction that 'the writings of Moses do not fix the antiquity of the globe,' he startled and alarmed, to no small degree, the orthodoxy of the day. It was a statement far in advance of the religious thinking of the time. That massive breadth and comprehensiveness of intellect which soon placed him, facile princeps, at the head of the clergy of Scotland, joined with a candor, and ingenuous honesty, which made him admired and beloved by all, could not fail to perceive, and would not hesitate to acknowledge, the force of the evidence then for some time slowly but steadily and surely accumulating from the investigations and discoveries of geological science, which has forced back the origin of the earth to a vast and undated antiquity. But nothing could have been farther from the imagination of the great majority of evangelical, unscientific clergymen of his day. They held that the writings of Moses fixed the antiquity of the globe as surely as they fixed anything else. And it required no little boldness in the lecturer to announce a doctrine which was likely to raise about his ears the hue and cry of heresy. But fortunately for the rising Boanerges of the Scottish pulpit, whatever questions might arise in philology and criticism as to the meaning of the writings of Moses, the evidence adduced in behalf of the fact of the earth's antiquity was of such a nature that it could not be resisted, and he not only escaped a prosecution for heresy, but lived to see the doctrine he had broached almost universally accepted by the religious world.

If now some divine of acknowledged power and position in any branch of the Christian Church were to put forth the statement that 'the writings of Moses do not fix the antiquity of man,' he would startle the ear of orthodoxy quite as much, but no more than did Chalmers in the early years of the present century. And if he would fare more hardly than the Scottish divine, and fall under the ban of church censure, which is not unlikely, it would be because the evidence for the fact is still [Pg 370]inchoate and resistible by the force of established opinion. But it is quite within the range of possible things that before the close of the present century two things may happen: first, that the evidence for a high antiquity of the human race may accumulate to such an extent as to carry with it involuntarily the consent of mankind; and second, that the sacred writings may be found to adjust themselves as easily to this new finding in the sphere of induction, as they have already done, in the general mind of the Church, to the doctrine of the great age of the earth. The two statements are indeed very much akin in several respects. They both traverse the accepted meaning of the sacred writings at the time of their announcement. Both are considered, when first promulged, as irreconcilable with the plain teaching and consequent inspiration of the Scriptures. Both rest solely, as to their evidence, in the sphere of inductive science, and are determinable wholly by the finding of facts accumulated and compared by the processes of inductive reasoning. And both, if thus established, are destined to be accepted by the general mind of the age, without actual harm to the real interests of civilization and religion. No fact, which is a fact and not an illusion, can do harm to any of the vital interests of mankind. No truth can stand in hopeless antagonism to any other truth. To suppose otherwise would be to resolve the moral government of God into a hopeless enigma, or enthrone a perpetual and hostile dualism, resigning the universe to the rival and contending sway of Ormuzd and Ahriman.

Before proceeding to the merits of Sir Charles Lyell's discussion, we wish to glance at some preliminary matters touching the great debate now pending between science and theology. We wish to review the posture and temper of the parties; and particularly to refer to the tone and spirit of the religious press and the pulpit, respecting the alleged discoveries and claims of science, and their bearing upon the religious opinion of the time.

Moreover, in passing, the present writer begs permission to say that he speaks from the orthodox side of this question; he hails from the orthodox camp; he wears the clerical vesture of the Scottish worthies; and is affiliated theologically with Knox and Chalmers, with Edwards and Alexander, with the New York Observer and the Princeton Review. This much we beg to say, that what follows in these pages may be fully understood.

No one who has been attending to the subject with any degree of interest can have failed to observe that science, in her investigations upon the grand and momentous themes which have absorbed her attention in these latter years, has exhibited, and does still exhibit, a steady and well-defined purpose, and has pursued it with a singularly calm, sober, unimpassioned, yet resolute temper. Its posture is firm, steady, self-poised, conscious of rectitude, and anticipative of veritable and valuable results. Its spirit, though eager, is quiet; though enthusiastic, is cautious; though ardent, is sceptical; though flushed with success, is trained to the discipline of disappointment. Its object is to interrogate nature. It stands at the shrine and awaits the response of the oracle. It would fain interpret and make intelligible the wondrous hieroglyphics of this universe, and specially the mystic characters traced by the long-revolving ages upon the stony tablets of this planet Earth. It has in the first instance no creed to support, no dogmas to verify, no meaning to foist upon nature; its sole and single query is, What does nature teach? What is fact? What is truth? What has occurred in the past annals of this planet? What is the actual and true history of its bygone ages, and of the dwellers therein? These are its questions, addressed to nature by such methods as experience has taught will reach her ear, and it does not hesitate[Pg 371] to take nature's answer. It does not shrink, and quake, and grow pale lest the response should overturn some ancient notion. It does not dread to hear the response, lest morals or religion should be thereby imperilled. It boldly and resolutely takes the teaching of nature, whatever it may be. Its conviction is that truth never can be anything else than truth; that fact can never be anything else than fact; and that no two truths or two facts in God's universe can be in hopeless and irreconcilable contradiction.

In this spirit the genuine sons of science have exhibited, what has seemed to some, a heartless indifference whether their discoveries or theories harmonized with the Scriptures or not, or affected the received opinions of Christendom on subjects pertaining to religion or morals. They have been sublimely unconcerned as to results in any such direction. They have investigated, examined, compared, collated, with long-continued and patient toil, to gather from the buried past the actual story of its departed cycles; they have not been troubled lest they should impinge on the creeds of the religious world, or compel important modifications in the lectures of learned Professors. This was no care of theirs. They discovered facts, they did not make them.

Now with all due respect for the opinions and feelings of religious people, we hesitate not to affirm that this spirit is the only true one in scientific men. Conceding, as we must, the supremacy of facts in their own sphere, and granting that, as mundane and human affairs now stand, the evidence of the senses, purged from fraud and illusion, must be held to be conclusive, we cheerfully award to scientific men the largest liberty to pursue their inquiries in matters of fact, utterly regardless of the havoc which may be thereby wrought among the traditional, beliefs of men. In no other way can science be true to herself. She is the child of induction. She can acknowledge no authority but what has been enthroned by inductive reasoning; and were she to adjust her conclusions, and garble her facts, to suit the faiths, beliefs, prejudices, or traditions of men, she would thereby falsify her inmost life, and stultify herself before the world. And in this connection we may premise that we regard as worthy of all commendation the straightforward and unembarrassed manner in which Sir Charles Lyell pursues his inquiries into the geological evidences of the antiquity of man. He could not have been unaware that he was striking a ponderous blow at one of the main traditions of Christendom; nay, that if successful in establishing his conclusions, he must revolutionize, to a large extent, the religious thinking of the civilization amid which he moves; and yet he moves steadily and quietly forward, calm as Marius amid the ruins of Carthage, not stopping to consider what Biblical men will do with his facts; never more than touching upon their religious bearings; intent only on ascertaining what the facts are, and what they teach. This, we say, is the spirit and temper of the true philosopher—this betokens the genuine son of science. As well might we demand of Watt, or Fulton, or Davy, or Brewster, or Faraday, in pursuing their inquiries into the nature and laws of steam, electricity, galvanism, or light, to be careful that their discoveries impinge not on the teachings of religion or the creed of orthodoxy, as to demand of Lyell to investigate the antiquity of man in humble deference to the well-established belief of the whole Christian world that he has no such antiquity. Not a bitter thing is said in the whole book against any traditional belief; the Scriptures are scarcely more than alluded to; he seems scarcely conscious that he is attempting to establish conclusions at variance with the cherished creeds of vast multitudes of men. To some this may seem the callousness of infidelity; to us it seems[Pg 372] the sublime composure of science. To him, the fact in the case is everything; and he is content to leave it to work its own results.

What now, on the other hand, have been the spirit and temper of the religious press and the pulpit touching the progress of science, and especially its encroachments upon the ancient landmarks of traditional belief? We are sorry to be compelled to say that, with some honorable exceptions, the spirit manifested by religious journals and clergymen generally, has not been worthy of unqualified admiration. In many instances they have shown a dogged determination to hear nothing on the subject. Assuming, with absolute confidence, not only that the Scriptures are what the Church claims them to be, but that their interpretation of them is infallible, they have affected to ignore all the findings of science, and to treat them, in their bearing on Biblical interpretation, as profane intermeddling with divine things. They seem to imagine that their safety consists in not seeing danger, like the ostrich hiding its head in the sand, and supposing that thereby its whole body is protected. In other instances, while professing a willingness to hear—to seek truth—to not be afraid of the light—to boast of science even as the handmaid of religion—they have shown a disposition to decry the alleged discoveries of science, to ridicule its supposed facts, to make light of a whole concatenation of evidence, to prate of the uncertainties and vacillations of science, to sneer at 'sciolists,' or 'mere men of science,' to warn against the 'babblings of science' and 'philosophy falsely so called,' and meantime they have betrayed a nervous sensitiveness with regard to certain alleged discoveries and facts coming to the popular ear. They affect to sneer at the 'wise week' of the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and to turn the proceedings of that body into ridicule, by caricaturing the importance attached to some minor organ of the human or animal frame, in the determination of specific identity or difference. While absolutely ignorant of the true state of the case as it stands in the scientific world, they thunder from the pulpit in the ears of their people—a position where they are safe from reply—crudities and monstrosities of science at which the humblest member of the aforesaid Association would smile. In other instances, with a most unfortunate or misguided zeal, they would fain compel Christian faith to override and traverse all those great laws of evidence which regulate human belief in other matters. They do not dispute the facts of science when clearly established—they will concede to them an existence as facts in their own sphere—but they hold the Scriptures, as being inspired and infallible, to be transcendent and paramount, and not to be affected by any possible combination of facts. That is to say, if the Scriptures teach the unity of the race, or the universality of the deluge, or the modern origin of man—and if they understand them to teach these things, they do teach them for them—they hold that no amount of evidence which science may adduce can be of any avail, even though it might amount to absolute certainty, did not the Scriptures stand in the way. You may believe the facts of science, if you choose, but the Scriptures must be believed to the contrary notwithstanding. If science does not agree with the Scriptures, so much the worse for science—that is its own affair. This is the sentiment, distinctly uttered not long since by a learned American Professor. Consistently with this view, they maintain that the Scriptures are to be held as an authority in scientific matters; that science must order its conclusions in accordance with them; and that any facts are to be distrusted which conflict with the declarations of the Bible. They would thus place the Scriptures and nature in a posture of antagonism; and require Christian faith[Pg 373] to trample upon and triumph over the evidence of the senses, as it is required to triumph over the world, the flesh, and the devil. What must be thought of an otherwise educated body of men who would willingly reduce the faith of the Christian world to such a posture as that?

Furthermore, in the general spirit and temper of the religious press with reference to science and scientific men, there is much to criticize and condemn. It is often snappish, petulant, ill-humored, unfair, and sometimes malicious in the extreme. Such opprobrious terms as infidelity, irreligion, rationalizing tendencies, naturalism, contempt for the Scriptures, etc., are freely used. Scientific men are called infidel pretenders, and are charged with a secret conspiracy to overthrow the faith of the Christian world. A respectable religious weekly paper in this country, in noticing Sir Charles Lyell's work, while carefully withholding from its readers the slightest notion of the array of evidence adduced in the book, is prompt to inform them that the learned author shows his want of respect for the Word of God. Another, in noticing the account of the last hours of Mr. Buckle, is almost ready to exult in the fact that in the wreck and prostration of his great powers he whined out piteously: 'I am going mad!' and intimates that his mental sufferings are to be attributed to the judicial visitation of God, inflicted as a punishment for the employment of those powers in the service of infidelity. An able, though generally absurd quarterly journal, in reviewing Hugh Miller's 'Testimony of the Rocks,' finds in some of his gorgeous speculations premonitions of that mental aberration which ended his life, and does not hesitate to attribute the final catastrophe to the overworking of his powers in the service of pretentious and unsanctified science. Noble and true-hearted son of the Church though he was, and though laboring with herculean strength to set the Bible and science in harmony, he has not escaped the envenomed shafts of a portion of the religious press. By some he has been openly branded as a traitor in the camp.

Now this unseemly heat and this unbecoming spirit and temper may be cloaked under a zeal for religion. It may be said that we are to 'contend earnestly for the faith.' We answer, verily, but never with the weapons of malice and wickedness. This mode of treating science, if persisted in, must end only in chagrin and defeat to the parties employing it, for the simple reason that it does violence to reason, nature, and all the laws of man's being. Science cannot be turned aside in her strenuous and ever-successful progress by any such impediments thrown in her way. The clear, calm, cogent facts and inferences of the philosopher cannot be met successfully by the half-suppressed shriek of the mere Biblicist. And it must be at once perceived that any such treatment of science, any such half-concealed fear of the progress of science, any such unfair and spiteful bearing toward scientific men, argues a secret distrust of the system or doctrine which is assumed to be held and professedly defended. These petulant and much disturbed editors and divines must be really afraid that the ground is being undermined beneath their feet. If a man really believes the inspiration and infallibility of the Scriptures, he may feel perfectly at ease as to any facts present or past in the wide universe. But if he is not so sure of them, and wishes, for some personal or interested motive, to believe them, he will be easily disturbed by anything which seems to militate against them. If the Scriptures are true, they can never be shown to be false—if they are not true, we ought not to wish to believe them.

The spirit and temper above indicated are wholly out of harmony with the general spirit of Protestant Christianity. It has ever been the boast of Protestantism that it seeks the light, that[Pg 374] it seeks discussion, that it asserts the right of private judgment, that it courts investigation, and is willing to expose all its claims to the broad light of day. It claims to be an everlasting protest against priestly tyranny, and monkish authority, and abject spiritual servitude in the laity. Strange, if in this new phase of its history it should fail to be true to itself!

After the Christian world came generally to accept the statement of Chalmers that the writings of Moses do not fix the antiquity of the world, and before science had begun to moot seriously the questions of the unity of the race, the universality of the Noahian deluge, and the antiquity of man, it was the custom of clergymen generally to reëcho the true Protestant strain. They claimed science. They expected much of her. They wished full and free discussion in order that still stronger ramparts might be erected around the citadel of their faith. Why should the tone be changed now? In the year 1840, the Rev. Albert Barnes, of Philadelphia, who has long occupied a highly respectable and influential position among the clerical body in this country, in an address on the 'Progress and Tendencies of Science,' delivered before the literary societies of one of the colleges of Pennsylvania, gave utterance to the following noble sentiments:

'It has cost much to overcome this'—that is, the panic fears of Christian people at the amazing progress and discoveries of science—'and to restore confidence to the Christian world that the researches of science will never permanently clash with the doctrines of revelation. But the Christian world has come to that; and science is to receive no more obstruction henceforth from any alarm that its discoveries will contravene the revealed truth of God. No future Galileo is to be imprisoned because he can look farther into the works of nature than other men; and the point which we have gained now, is that no obstruction is to be thrown in the way of science by any dread that any scientific truth will infringe on any theological system. The great truth has gone forth at last, not to be recalled, that the astronomer may point his glass to the heavens as long and as patiently as he pleases, without apprehending opposition from the Christian world; the chemist may subject all objects to the action of the crucible and the blowpipe, 'with none to molest him or make him afraid;' the geologist may penetrate to any part of the earth—may dig as deep as he pleases, and no one may be alarmed.'

This exhibits true Christian courage and confidence, and has the genuine Protestant ring. It is based, however, on the supposition that no possible conflict can arise between science and his understanding of the Scriptures, and it is doubtful whether the same equanimity could be maintained even in the author's mind if the 'progress and tendencies of science' should take an unexpected direction. Thus, in the same address, he says:

'One fact is remarkable. The geologist proves that the world has stood many thousands of years, and we cannot deny it. He points to fossil remains, and tells us of orders of animals that lived many years before the Mosaic period of the creation of man. The Bible tells us that MAN was created about six thousand years ago. Now, the material fact is, that amid all the fossil remains of the geologist, and all the records of past times, there is no proof that man has lived longer than that period; but there is abundant proof to the contrary. Amid all on which the geologist relies to demonstrate the existence of animals prior to the Mosaic account of the creation, he has not presented us with one human bone, or with one indication of the existence of man.'

This is one of the facts, among others, upon which 'the friends of science and revelation have equal cause to congratulate themselves and each other.' But what if the fact should change? What if not only one, but many fossil human bones should be found? How is a divine, who has already said that the Bible teaches the modern origin of man,[Pg 375] to avoid panic fears? Science is cumulative in its evidences, and it is somewhat hazardous to undertake to say, at any point, that the ultima thule of discovery has been reached.

We reiterate now, in the conclusion of these preliminary matters, the sentiment of Mr. Barnes that science must be free and untrammelled. No matter what discoveries may be made, what traditions overturned, what faiths unsettled, science must have a free rein and an open course. It must be so; unless we return to mediæval darkness and despotism. Science, to be science at all, must establish its conclusions by its own methods, and its methods must be intact and supreme, no matter what facts they force upon the belief of mankind. It cannot accept any extraneous authority. It cannot admit any foregone conclusions. It cannot accept the statements, for instance, of the first chapter of Genesis as astronomical, meteorological, geological, or ethnological facts, as the able but absurd Review before referred to would insist. It must verify its own facts. It cannot heed the caveat of any number or body of clergymen, or orthodox weekly newspapers, who might come forward and say, respecting the unity of the race, or the antiquity of man: 'Gentlemen, that question is settled. It is put beyond the purview of your science. An absolute and infallible authority has determined it. To moot it is profane.' Any such attempt would be both preposterous and useless. The age will defend the freedom of science; and let all reasonable and right-thinking men take comfort in the conviction that in the long run the conclusions reached will be right, in accordance with fact, in accordance with truth, and that no permanent interest of religion or morals can suffer.

But we beg pardon for holding the reader so long by the button, while Sir Charles Lyell and his book have been kept in the background. These thoughts have been upon our mind for many months, and we have felt impelled to give utterance to them here.

The publication of this work we regard as an eventful matter in the history of modern thought. The time could not have been far distant when what we may call the geological history of man on this planet, must have come before the popular mind; and it is certainly a matter of congratulation that one of the most venerable, indefatigable, cautious, and successful investigators of modern times has undertaken the task of giving to the public a full and labored résumé of the evidence which has accumulated on the subject. Not unfrequently are the bigotry and prejudice of well-meaning religious people intensified by the imprudent zeal of the Hotspurs of science. True science can always afford to bide its time, and make haste slowly.

Respecting the work itself, we begin by saying that the theme proposed is a perfectly legitimate one for science. It is entirely pertinent to science to undertake to search for the hidden traces of man's former history, if there be any. It is no dreamland or cloudland which it proposes to explore. It is no Quixotic adventure which it has gotten up to astonish and alarm the vulgar. If our human ancestors have lived fifty or one hundred thousand years longer on this planet than was generally supposed, it is quite likely they have left some traces behind them. And if so, it is perfectly legitimate for science to gather, collate, and interpret those traces. And from what we know of her past achievements, we may assure ourselves that if man has had such a pre-historic existence, science will most undoubtedly prove it. She has proved beyond all sane contradiction the great age of the earth. She has proved in like manner the vast extent of the universe in space. She has proved the existence of manifold forms of animal life on this planet for countless ages before the incoming of man, according to the popular chronology. She has proved, approximately,[Pg 376] the order and succession of animal life as it arose, and the forms it assumed as the long cycles of ages rolled on. All these were legitimate themes for science; and all of them were opposed to the popular belief at the time—as much so as is the antiquity of man now. And further, we say that the mere suspicion that any such thing may be—the mere surmise of any such fact—the merest inkling which scientific men may get of a secret yet hidden beneath the veil, and waiting to be revealed—is a sufficient justification of those tentative efforts of science which often result in the attainment of some grand discovery. Let no timid religionist charge upon scientific men that they are conspiring with malice prepense to undermine the popular creeds and overthrow the Bible. This is sheer nonsense. They follow where nature beckons them. If man has had a high antiquity on this earth, science will find it out and prove it beyond a doubt. If he has not had such antiquity, science will discover that too, and prove it. All we have to do is to let science have her way.

Another remark which we make here, is respecting the power which a single fact may have in this investigation. It is not often that great questions in history, or social polity, or jurisprudence are determined by a single fact. The great results of history, economics, and law are effected by the converging power of many facts. So also in science. Its great results are determined by the accumulated power of multitudinous facts. Its final categories are fixed by abundant certainties and manifold inductions. And yet it may sometimes occur that a single fact may be of such a nature that there is no escaping the conclusion which it forces upon the mind. It may concentrate in itself all the elements of certainty usually obtained from many sources. It may be determinative in its very nature, and admit of scepticism only at the expense of rationality. A single human grave, with its entombed skeleton, discovered in some uninhabited waste, where it was never known the foot of man had trod, would prove conclusively that human footsteps had once trod there. The discovery of a single weapon of the quality and temper of the Damascus blade amid the ruins of a buried city, would prove as fully as would the discovery of a thousand that the people of that age of the world understood the methods of working steel. One canoe found moored to the bank of the Delaware, the Schuylkill, or the Susquehanna, when the white man began to penetrate this continent, would have been sufficient to prove that the aborigines understood, to that extent, the art of navigation. So in science, one fossil of a different species from any found heretofore in a certain deposit is sufficient to add another to the forms of life represented by that deposit. One fossil found lower in the geological scale than life was supposed to have begun on this planet, is sufficient to prove that it had a still earlier beginning. So with regard to contemporary forms of life, one fact may be sufficient to warrant or compel a conclusion. Hugh Miller cites the instance of fossil dung being found as proving to the anti-geologists that these fossils were once real living creatures, and not mere freaks of nature. The instance might not be thought conclusive, for if the Author of nature saw fit to amuse himself by making the semblances of huge iguanodons, elephants, and hippopotami, in the solid rocks, it might readily be supposed that He would extend His amusement to the making of fossil dung.[2] But now, if in the fossil entrails of the cave hyena the bones of a hare should be found, it would prove conclusively to any but[Pg 377] an anti-geologist, that the hare lived contemporaneously with the hyena.

These remarks are not thrown in by way of apology for the paucity of facts adduced by Sir Charles Lyell to prove the antiquity of man, but merely to illustrate the force which it is possible, in certain circumstances, for a single fact to have. Thus, for instance, the Scotch fir is not now, nor ever has been in historic times, a native of the Danish isles, yet it has been indigenous there in the human period, for Steenstrup has taken out with his own hands a flint implement from beneath one the buried trunks of that species in the Danish peat bogs. Again, if an implement of human workmanship is found in close proximity to the leg of a bear, or the horn of a reindeer, of extinct species, in an ancient cavern, and all covered by a floor of stalagmite, we see not how the conclusion is to be avoided that they were introduced into the cave before the stalagmite was formed; and in that case the inference that they were contemporaneous, or nearly so, may well be left to take care of itself. The attempt has been made to treat with levity the whole subject of the antiquity of man because of the numerical meagreness of the facts adduced in support of it. But as to this, it need only be observed that as a new theme for investigation, its facts must necessarily be meagre, as must be the facts of any science in its inchoate condition, and that they are steadily growing in volume, so that it is not safe to venture a final verdict against it on that score. The facts in support of the globular form of the earth, or the Copernican theory of the heavens, or the great age of the earth, were at one time meagre—they are not so now. Sir Charles Lyell is a pioneer explorer in a new and mysterious realm: the time may come when, amid the abundance of the treasure gathered from it, the scanty hoard which he opens to his reader may seem meagre enough.

Nevertheless, Sir Charles Lyell is fully a believer in the doctrine of the high antiquity of man. His book is not merely a debating-club discussion of the pros and cons, the probabilities for and against the doctrine, but rather the earnest pleading of the advocate fully persuaded that the truth is on his side. Not that it displays any forensic heat;—it is calm, cautious, dispassionate; but it has the air of one governed by conviction, and he often assumes the entire truth of his conclusions with the quiet nonchalance of a man seemingly unconscious that what he regards as matters of established certainty will be viewed by the great majority of his fellow beings as startling novelties.

The main stream of the geological evidence of the antiquity of man tends to one point, viz., that man coexisted with the extinct animals. There are collateral branches of proof, but this is the main channel. The remains of man and of man's works and the remains of extinct races of animals lie side by side, and claim from the geologist the same meed of antiquity. This is the burden of the book before us. We offer the reader a brief outline of this evidence. In doing so, we will follow the order of Sir Charles Lyell's work, and merely state the leading facts which geological investigations have brought to light.

In the Danish islands there are deposits of peat from ten to thirty feet thick, formed in the hollows or depressions of the northern drift or bowlder formation. These beds of peat have been examined to the bottom, and they reveal the history of vegetation in those localities, and the contemporaneous history of human progress. Beginning at the top, the explorer finds the first layers to contain principally the trunks of the beech tree, along with implements and tools of wood and iron. Below these is a deposit of oak trunks, with implements mainly of bronze. Farther down still he finds the trunks of the Pinus sylvestris, or Scotch fir, together with implements of stone.[Pg 378] This clearly indicates that in the lapse of centuries the pine was supplanted by the oak, and the oak by the beech, and that man advanced contemporaneously from the knowledge and use of stone implements to those of bronze and iron. Now the known fact is that in the time of the Romans, as now, the Danish isles were covered by magnificent beech forests, and that eighteen centuries have done little or nothing toward changing the character of the vegetation. How many centuries must have elapsed to enable the oak to supplant the pine, and the beech to supplant the oak, can only be vaguely conjectured. Yet the evidence is clear that man lived in those old pine forests—leaving his implements of stone behind him, as he did his tools of bronze and iron in the succeeding periods. Along the coast of Denmark, also, are found shell mounds mixed with flint knives, hatchets, etc., but never any tools of bronze or iron, showing that the rude hunters and fishers who fed on the oyster, cockle, and other mollusks, lived in the period of the Scotch fir, or, as it has been called, the 'age of stone.'

In many of the Swiss lakes are found ancient piles driven into the bottom, on which were once erected huts or villages, the lacustrine abodes of man. This use of them is proved by the abundance of flint implements and fragments of rude pottery, together with bones of animals, which have been dredged up from among the piles. The implements found belong to the 'age of stone,' or the period of the Scotch fir in Denmark, and the bones of animals are all, with one exception, those of living species.

Passing over the fossil human remains and works of art of the 'recent' period, as found in the delta and alluvial plain of the Nile, in the ancient mounds of the valley of the Ohio, in the mounds of Santos in Brazil, in the delta of the Mississippi, in which, at the depth of sixteen feet from the surface, under four buried forests, superimposed one upon the other, was found, a few years ago, a human skeleton, estimated by Dr. B. Dowler to have been buried at least fifty thousand years—in the coral reefs of Florida, in which fossil human remains were found, estimated by Professor Agassiz to have an antiquity of ten thousand years—in the recent deposits of seas and lakes, in the central district of Scotland, which bears clear traces of an upheaval since the human period, and in the raised beaches of Norway and Sweden—passing over these for want of space for minute detail, we go back to the post-pliocene period, and find the bones of man and works of art in juxtaposition with the fossil remains of extinct mammalia.

In the cavern of Bize, in the south of France, and in the caves of Engis, Engihoul, Chokier, and Goffontaine, near Liége, human bones and teeth, together with fragments of rude pottery, have been found enveloped in the same mud and breccia, and cemented by stalagmite, in which are found also the land shells of living species and the bones of mammalia, some of extinct, and others of recent species. The chemical condition of all the bones was found to be the same. Quite a full account is given of the researches of MM. Journal and Christol in the Bize cavern, and of Dr. Schmerling in the Liége caverns, and every effort made, apparently, by the author, to weigh candidly and honestly the evidence for and against the contemporaneous existence and deposition of the human and mammalian remains. And while he admits that at one time he was strongly inclined to suspect that they were not coeval[3], yet he has been compelled by subsequent evidence, especially in view of the fact that he has had convincing proofs in later years that the remains of the mammoth and many other extinct species, very common in caves, occur also in undisturbed alluvium, imbedded in such a manner with works of art as to[Pg 379] leave no room for doubt that man and the extinct animals coexisted, to reconsider his former opinion, and to assign to the proofs derived from caves of the high antiquity of man a much more positive and emphatic character.

In chapter fifth we have a minute and interesting account of such fossil human skulls and skeletons as have been found in caves and ancient tumuli, and a careful endeavor made to estimate their approximate age. In 1857, in a cave situated in that part of the valley of the Düssel, near Düsseldorf, which is called the Neanderthal, a skull and skeleton were found, buried beneath five feet of loam, which were pronounced by Professor Huxley and others to be clearly human, though indicating small cerebral development and uncommon strength of corporeal frame. In the Engis caves, near Liége, portions of six or seven human skeletons were found, imbedded in the same matrix with the remains of the elephant, rhinoceros, bear, hyena, and other extinct quadrupeds. In an ancient tumulus near Borrely, in Denmark, a human skull was discovered which was adjudged by its surroundings to belong to the 'stone period' of Denmark, or the era of the Scotch fir. The careful anatomical examination and comparison to which these skulls have been subjected, have led to important discussions, not only as to their age, but also as to their relation to existing races.

Next comes an extended account of the flint implements and other works of art, found so abundantly in juxtaposition with the bones of extinct mammalia, in various localities—in a cave at Brixham, near Torquay, in Devonshire; in the alluvium of the Thames valley; in the gravel of the valley of the Ouse, near Bedford; in a fresh-water deposit at Hoxne in Suffolk; in the valley of the Lach at Icklingham; in a cavern in Somersetshire; in the caves of Gomer in Glamorganshire, in South Wales; and especially in the gravel beds of Abbeville and Amiens, in France, and various localities of the valley of the Somme. As to these flint implements, they are chiefly knives, hatchets, and instruments of that sort, and they have been found in such large numbers, and such diverse localities, and so uniformly in close proximity with the remains of the same species of extinct mammalia, that the evidence derived from them is, to say the least, of a very weighty character, and in the opinion of Sir Charles Lyell clearly establishes the fact that Elephas primigenius, Elephas antiquus, Rhinoceros tichorrhinus, Ursus spelœus, and other extinct species of the post-pliocene alluvium, coexisted with man.

Attempts have been made to throw doubt upon these implements, first upon their nature, and next upon their genuineness; but we think no one who weighs the evidence candidly and carefully, can award to these doubts the merit of respectability. That they are works of art and not native forms, is, we think, as fully established as human observation can establish anything; and though frauds have been recently detected, it would be no more absurd to attribute the whole phenomena of fossil remains to fraudulent manufacture, than to refer to the same source the whole series of flint implements. In many cases the flint tools were taken out of their position by the hands of scientific men themselves, and in others the excavations were made under their immediate supervision. M. Gandry, in giving an account of his researches at St. Acheul, in 1859, to the Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris, says: 'The great point was not to leave the workmen for a single instant.'

But the most remarkable, not to say startling revelations of the whole book, are those pertaining to the discovery of an ancient place of sepulture at Auvignac, in the south of France. Here we seem to be brought, as it were, face to face with the denizens of the departed ages, and to have them start up from their ancient tombs to tell the[Pg 380] story of their death and sepulture. We enter this old burial place with feelings of more strange and solemn awe than we could have in threading the catacombs of Rome. An obscure village at the foot of the Pyrenees reveals in its precincts a more astounding history than all the monuments and mausoleums of the 'eternal' city.

In the year 1852, a laborer named Bonnemaison, employed in repairing roads, observed that rabbits, when hotly pursued by the sportsman, ran into a hole which they had burrowed in a talus of small fragments of limestone and earthy matter lodged in a depression on the face of a steep escarpment of nummulitic limestone which forms the bank of a small brook near the town of Auvignac. On reaching as far into the opening as the length of his arm, he drew out to his surprise one of the long bones of the human skeleton; and his curiosity being excited, and having a suspicion that the hole communicated with a subterranean cavity, he commenced digging a trench through the middle of the talus, and in a few hours found himself opposite a heavy slab of rock, placed vertically against the entrance. Having removed this, he discovered on the other side of it an arched cavity, seven or eight feet in its greatest height, ten in width, and seven in horizontal depth. It was almost filled with bones, among which were two entire skulls, which he recognized at once as human. The people of Auvignac flocked in astonishment to the spot, and Dr. Amiel, the mayor, having first ascertained as a medical man and anatomist that the relics contained the bones of seventeen human skeletons of both sexes and all ages, ordered them all to be reinterred in the parish cemetery.

In 1860, M. Lartet, a distinguished French savan, examined thoroughly the remaining contents of the cavern and its surroundings and approaches. He found, on removing the talus which filled up the depression on the face of the rock, a level terrace leading to the mouth of the cave. On this terrace was a layer of charcoal and ashes, eight inches thick, containing fragments of broken, burnt, and gnawed bones of extinct and recent mammalia, in all some nineteen species, and some seventy or eighty individuals. Also in the same deposit were hearthstones, and works of art, flint knives, projectiles, sling-stones, and chips. Many of the bones of the extinct herbivora were streaked, as if the flesh had been scraped off them by a flint instrument, and others were split open, as if for the purpose of extracting the marrow. Inside the grotto were two or three feet of made earth mixed with human and a few animal bones of extinct and recent species. None of them, however, burnt or gnawed; and numerous small flat plates of a white shelly substance made of some species of cockle, perforated in the middle as if for the purpose of being strung into a bracelet; also some mementos and memorials of the chase and the sepulture. Did no opposing traditions stand in the way, we are quite sure the evidence elicited from this examination would at once fix its character as a burial place, of an antiquity coeval with the existence of the great extinct mammalia of the post-pliocene period. It, however, contains some features of special interest. In the words of Sir Charles Lyell:

'The Auvignac cave adds no new species to the list of extinct quadrupeds, which we have elsewhere, and by independent evidence, ascertained to have once flourished contemporaneously with man. But if the fossil memorials have been correctly interpreted—if we have here before us at the northern base of the Pyrenees a sepulchral vault with skeletons of human beings, consigned by friends and relatives to their last resting place—if we have also at the portal of the tomb the relics of funeral feasts, and within it indications of viands destined for the use of the departed on their way to the land of spirits; while among the funeral gifts are weapons wherewith in other fields to chase the gigantic deer, the cave lion, the cave bear, and woolly rhino[Pg 381]ceros—we have at last succeeded in tracing back the sacred rites of burial, and, more interesting still, a belief in a future state, to times long anterior to those of history and tradition. Rude and superstitious as may have been the savage of that remote era, he still deserved, by cherishing the hopes of a hereafter, the epithet of 'noble,' which Dryden gave to what he seems to have pictured to himself as the primitive condition of our race:

'As Nature first made man,
When wild in woods the noble savage ran.'

The remainder of the book, so far as it relates to the evidences of man's antiquity, is mainly occupied with the consideration of the glacial period, in its relation to the indications of man's first appearance in Europe. It bears evidence throughout of the hand of a master. The gigantic phenomena and wonderful agencies of that marvellous period in geological history—its vast icefields and glaciers, with their movements, drifts, and denudations—its coast ice and glacial lakes and rivers—the risings and sinkings of level of islands and continents, are all considered and discussed in a thoroughly intelligent and scholarly manner. And here, also, amid the debris of this far-distant and inhospitable era, has man left the traces of his existence, as indubitably, according to Sir Charles Lyell, as the great icebergs themselves. Not only is it proven that man coexisted with the extinct animals, but also that he coexisted with the extinct glaciers. We have not space, however, to follow out in detail this evidence.

The last five chapters of the book are devoted to the discussion of certain subjects of vital interest and great moment just now in the scientific world—the theories of progression, development, transmutation, and variation of species. It seems, however, to be the intention of the author to give us, not so much his own views as a general résumé or outline of the tendencies and conclusions of the scientific world upon these subjects. This he does with his usual fulness, candor, and impartiality; and the reader at the same time gathers from him that he is strongly inclined to accept the doctrine of the origin of species by 'variation and natural selection,' and to accord vast periods of time for the workings of that law of development and transmutation which he believes to pervade all mundane affairs. Considerable space is devoted to the consideration of man's place in nature, and especially to the discussions arising out of the comparison of the human and simian brain; and while the author fully admits the vast gulf placed between man and the animal creation below him—a gulf which science cannot bridge—by virtue of the moral and religious nature of man, yet he pointedly protests against confounding distinct orders of ideas, and insists that man as a physical being is clearly of the same order as the gorilla and ape; and he does not shrink from accepting the possibility that they all may have sprung by successive stages or 'leaps' from the same primordial form. His concluding words are, that 'so far from having a materialistic tendency, the supposed introduction into the earth at successive periods of life—sensation, instinct, the intelligence of the higher mammalia, bordering on reason—and lastly the improvable reason of man himself, presents us with a picture of the ever-increasing dominion of mind over matter.'

To our mind one thing is certain. The whole scientific world is drifting slowly, but steadily and surely, to the verification and acceptance—with certain and in some cases important modifications—of the development hypothesis of Maillet, Lamarck, La Place, Owen, and the author of the 'Vestiges[4][Pg 382] of Creation.' The movement reminds one of the motion of one of the great Greenland glaciers, so slow, quiet, almost imperceptible, yet inexorable as fate—heedless of all obstacles. As in the case of all great, genuine revolutionary or formative ideas, it is curious to watch the incidents of its career—to note the alarm, indignation, scorn, and holy horror occasioned by its first announcement—to observe these subsiding gradually into patient endurance and permissive sufferance, and these again giving place to a certain curiosity and wakeful interest, culminating at last in downright advocacy and championship.

We are inclined to think that great injustice has been done the development theory in the name of morals and religion. There has been no end to the railing against it on the part of clergymen, Biblical interpreters, theological Professors, and orthodox editors. It was held to put infinite dishonor upon the Creator, not only to suppose that He should take many millions of years to make a world, but that He should employ the same lengthened period to make man, instead of speaking him into existence by a word. It was held to put infinite dishonor upon the Scriptures to suppose that they should be understood in any but the most literal sense. And it was held to put infinite dishonor upon man to suppose that he was kith and kin with the monkey—bone of the bone and flesh of the flesh of the unreasoning quadrupeds, over which in his god-like royalty he was to sway his imperial sceptre—and this, too, by a class of teachers who could never have enough of thundering in the ears of men their degradation, their lost, debased, insensate, and damnable condition, worse than that of beasts or devils.

Now, with all deference, we beg to say that this development theory does not strike us as so fraught with dishonor, either to the powers in heaven or the beings upon earth. It has for many years impressed us with its grandeur as an intellectual conception. We doubt whether anything so grand has dawned upon the mind of modern civilization since the days of Sir Isaac Newton. And we cannot see what dishonor it can work to either God or man—especially if it be proved to be true. We regard it, so far as there is truth in it, as one of those great germinant seed-thoughts, which at long intervals are[Pg 383] dropped into the soil of the human mind; and though the mind of the age, in its first impulses of joy, may play wild gambols with it, it is destined in the end to mould and control the thinking of the civilized world. But apart from its truth or falsity, in whole or in part, regarded simply as an intellection, it strikes us as one of the grandest of modern times. Spreading itself over almost illimitable space, grasping back through almost illimitable time, claiming for itself the boundless multiplicity of type, and form, and life, and law of the organic world, and unfolding to the wondering gaze the vast prophetic possibilities of the future, it possesses all the attributes of grandeur, magnificence, sublimity, and mystery. If it is a phantasm, it is more gorgeous than the most splendid creations of poetry. If it is a mirage, it is more beautiful than any that ever bewildered the vision of enchanted traveller. If it is an ignis fatuus, it is more potent than any ever raised by the spell of the sorcerer. But whether phantasm, mirage, ignis fatuus, or sober but grand reality, will assuredly be found out by science before another half century. And the ultimate finding of science, whatever it may be, must and will be believed.

It is, of course, not to be expected that the evidence thus adduced by Sir Charles Lyell in behalf of the antiquity of man, will be accepted as conclusive by the religious and thinking world in general without a thorough sifting and an earnest struggle. It is too novel and revolutionary in its tendencies. And indeed it ought to be subjected to the severest ordeal of fact and reason. It is in this way alone that the golden grains of truth are separated from the dross of crude conjecture and hasty generalization. We are not prepared ourselves to say that the evidence itself is final and conclusive. We have sketched it for the purpose of giving the distinguished author a full hearing, and affording the reader an opportunity to judge for himself. We await the logical sequences of time, knowing full well that the laws which regulate the progress of science are as stable and infallible as the laws which control the motions of the solar and planetary systems. One thing, however, we may be excused for saying: All the attempts we have seen to parry the force of this evidence, and to account for the acknowledged phenomena and facts within the schedule of the received chronology, strike us as singularly and painfully feeble. One suggestion is that the bodies of the extinct mammalia may have been preserved in ice until the recent period, and their bones deposited contemporaneously with those of modern species and man. Another is that the geologists may be vastly mistaken as to the date of the extinction of species, and that in fact the mastodon, mammoth, and other species found in juxtaposition with human remains and works of art, have probably survived until a very recent period. Without entering into detail on these points, we would venture the prediction that when weighed in the balance they will be found utterly wanting. One type of discussion will survive, if it survive at all, as a most curious fossil of the layers of modern thought. It is that represented by the book referred to in a note on a former page, by Mr. Davies. Believing that all mineral fossils were never living animals at all, but the types simply of animals that were to be, stamped instantaneously upon the rocks as prophetic symbols of a work of creation to be afterward accomplished, he is prepared to hear without surprise that man should some day be found as a fossil. We refer to it as a most curious mental product. If it is not unanswerable, we presume it will at least remain unanswered.

What now, in conclusion, is to be the effect of this new development of science on the received and traditionary thinking of the time? What readjustments will be necessary in case the doctrine of the antiquity of man comes[Pg 384] by and by to take its place, in the creed of science, alongside of the doctrine of the great age of the earth? Can it be made to harmonize with what is now known as orthodox and evangelical Christianity?

That it cannot be made to harmonize with that sort of orthodoxy which asserts that 'the Bible teaches' that man began to exist upon the earth about six thousand years ago, we need hardly aver. Eminent theologians may say, 'if science does not agree with the Scriptures, so much the worse for science,' but we opine that the minds which will be able to stand upon this platform in the face of overwhelming evidence will be few and far between. But it must be remembered that the Scriptures have adjusted themselves, in the popular and orthodox mind, to several things which were once considered opposed to their teachings. The Copernican theory of the solar system was once regarded and treated as a palpable and dangerous heresy; yet now-a-days the boldest literalist would not venture to insist that the Bible teaches a system opposed to that. Within living memory, it is well known that the doctrine of the recent creation of the earth was regarded as indubitably a part of the teaching of the first chapter of Genesis, yet it is now fully conceded in high orthodox quarters that the opposite doctrine does no violence to the letter or spirit of the Mosaic writings. Here the adjustment has been of the interpretation to the fact. It is up to this time largely believed that the Bible teaches the doctrine of a general deluge, yet Hugh Miller could advocate, with all the elegance of his superb intellect, and all the power of his unanswerable science, the opposite doctrine of a partial or limited deluge, without being outlawed for heresy in the Free Church of Scotland. It is now held almost universally that the doctrine of the unity of the race is essential to Christianity; and we, for ourselves, cannot see that it is otherwise than essential to a properly organic Christianity, and yet we begin to see a blinking in certain quarters toward the opposite view;—and we may mention that the curious book of Mr. Davies before mentioned, which is written in the special interest of the most literal orthodoxy, advocating the doctrine of immediate creation in six literal days, and other equally indigestible matters, insists on the doctrine of diversity of origin in the human race, because it is taught in the Scriptures! And he does not fail to find proof texts. He rightly avers that several important assumptions are needed in order to extract the doctrine of unity from the Mosaic record.

We have not adduced these instances of the variations of orthodoxy for the purpose of intimating that the Bible is a nose of wax, which can be twisted into any shape without injury—that it is a book which can be made to mean anything or nothing, as the circumstances of the case may require—but that it has a vital elasticity and power of adjustment to all veritable findings of the human mind in every sphere; as indeed it must have, if it is in any important respect such a communication to mankind as it is claimed to be. Whatever may be said of the infallibility of the Scriptures, it is certain that interpretation is not infallible—a distinction that is not always kept in mind by those zealous defenders of the faith who are ready to make the inspiration of the Scriptures stand or fall with a given interpretation of a particular passage.

But can the doctrine of man's antiquity be made to harmonize with the essentials of Christianity and the inspiration of the Scriptures? If Christianity be a religion for man, as the present writer believes, we answer emphatically in the affirmative. Not the smallest feature that is essential to make Christianity a religion for man, if it be such, will be imperilled by this or any other well-established doctrine[Pg 385] of science. But precisely how much modification of existing opinion, how much sepulture of traditionary relics, how much clearing away of rubbish will be indispensable, it is now not easy to say. It is certain that it must be conceded that we have as yet attained to no infallible chronology. And it is equally certain that a larger amount of allegory must be infused into the first chapters of Genesis than would have been digestible by the theologians of the last generation, if we would ever have theology and science stand upon the same plane. The question in the child's catechism, 'Who was the first man?' will by and by be easier asked than answered. If, moreover, the narrative in Genesis refers to some imaginary being supposed to have existed upon the earth about six thousand years ago, it seems clear that this being cannot be regarded as the 'federal head' of the human race, from whom 'all mankind have descended by ordinary generation.' And we strongly suspect that a very large amount of theological machinery will need to be readjusted; and amid many pangs and with much tribulation will not a few canons of orthodoxy pass away to the region of fossil forms.

In conclusion, we take leave of this work of Sir Charles Lyell with the conviction that however obnoxious it may be to orthodox editors and superannuated doctors of divinity, it is destined to stimulate greatly scientific inquiry and active thought. It is impossible that when such a mine has been sprung, and promises to yield such tangible results, it should suddenly cease to work, because the note of alarm is raised by affrighted theologians. We predict for science in this department a rich and rapid progress of discovery. And we are profoundly gratified that the subject has been broken to the popular mind in such a cautious and unexceptionable manner as to the tone and spirit of the work—the author holding with philosophic steadfastness to the subject matter in hand, and, in the true scientific spirit, eschewing all side issues, and exhibiting throughout a candor, impartiality, and honesty, worthy the well-earned fame of this Nestor of geologists.




The thoughts of Ænone followed her into sleep, and colored her dreams with pleasant memories of the past; and when the morning sun, pouring its beams through the window, awakened her, there was a momentary struggle before she could throw off the fancies of the night and realize that she was no longer in her cottage home. But distinct perception soon returned as she glanced around her and recognized the paintings which adorned her chamber, and the marble goddess still holding forth a welcoming hand, as though in greeting for the return of another day.

Throwing open the window, she sat down for a moment to enjoy the soft breeze, which, laden with perfume, came gambolling fresh from the Alban Hills. The window at which she placed herself looked out upon a central courtyard, formed by the intersection of the main body of the palace at right angles with the two wings. This court was paved from one side to the other with[Pg 386] marble flags of different shades, excepting in the middle, where played the fountain—a circular basin of water, upon a rock, in the centre of which two bronze satyrs struggled for a tortoise, from whose mouth the supplying stream poured forth. From the end of each wing of the palace the line of the sides was continued by a straight stone wall of considerable height, leading across the whole breadth of the Cælian Hill to the slope of its farther side, and enclosing an area thickly planted with such flowers, shrubbery, and trees as the taste of the period considered most essential to a well-appointed garden.

For the moment the central court was almost deserted, the only appearance of life being a little Nubian slave, who sat upon the edge of the fountain, and lazily played with a tame stork. But all at once Ænone heard mingled voices, and distinguished among them the tones of her husband—deeper than the others, and marked with that quicker and more decided accent acquired by a long course of undisputed authority. At first the sounds seemed stationary, as though the speakers were tarrying in one place for discussion; but in a moment they approached nearer, and the disputants stood in full sight upon a balcony which ran around the interior wall of the palace and overhung the sides of the court.

Foremost and tallest of the group stood Sergius Vanno, recognizable at once by his athletic and graceful figure, reflective face, commanding eye, bright with intelligence, and his agreeable, refined, and attractive presence, as the leading spirit of the group. At his side leaned the poet Emilius, whose weak and slender figure and mild, girlish expression would hardly appear to sustain the reputation he enjoyed of devoting half his time to the invention and elaboration of new forms of profligacy, and thereby carrying his exploits into realms of vice hitherto undiscovered even in that age of unbridled indulgence. Behind these stood three others—a captain of the prætorian guard, a tribune of the law, and a comedian of the school of Plautus—each probably carrying the palm of excellence in his especial calling, and all of them doubtless endowed with superior capacities as boon companions in a night-long revel. They had evidently but just left the banqueting hall, and bore indications of having passed a somewhat unquiet night, though in different degrees; for while the captain and comedian still staggered confusedly and displayed haggard faces and disordered dresses, the superior tact, constitutional strength, or recuperative powers of the others enabled them to maintain such a demeanor of proper sobriety, that but for a slight flush and the companionship in which they were placed, their late excesses might have passed unnoticed.

'It was the choice of all the slaves, both male and female, I tell you,' said the comedian, evidently resuming an unfinished dispute. 'The choice of all the slaves, Sergius.'

'Hear you now this man!' exclaimed Sergius, turning toward his friend Emilius with a quiet smile. 'Thrice already have I told him the truth of the matter, and still he persists; well knowing that, if now he can scarcely sustain himself from falling over into the area below, he certainly could not, three hours ago, have been able to tell what play he made, or whether he made any play at all. Nay, Bassus, it was only of the male slaves that I spoke.'

'Yet listen to me,' insisted the comedian, placing his hand upon the other's shoulder and leaning heavily upon him, 'You do not deny that we gamed?'

'Of a surety I do not.'

'Nor that I won money of you?'

'Ten sestertia. I acknowledge it.'

'Nay, twenty sestertia, was it not?'

'Twenty sestertia be it, then. What matters the amount, when I paid you upon the moment, and you now have[Pg 387] the sum, whatever it may be, in your own purse?'

'True, true,' rejoined the other, nodding his head with an air of sage gravity; 'whatever it was, of a certainty I now have it. And then, Sergius, you offered against the ten—no, the twenty sestertia—to play the choice of all your new slaves.'

'Of my new male slaves, certainly.'

'No, of the slaves both male and female. I will tell you how it is that I so especially recollect. It was because I had heard from our lawgiver here about the beautiful Samian girl you have borne home among your share of the spoils. You did not think, perhaps, that I knew of her; but when I offered to throw the dice, I held her in my mind. And then, when I had won, and told you that I would select her, you said—'

'Exactly what I had said to you before, that you could take your choice from the male slaves,' interrupted the other impatiently. 'And I have brought you directly hither to make your selection, for fear that when you became sober you would forget the matter altogether, and thereby cheat yourself out of a fairly won prize. Am I not right, comrades? Was not the play as I have stated it?'

'Neither more nor less,' the poet answered; and the tribune and the prætorian captain spoke to the same effect. The comedian still looked unconvinced, and, for the moment, gazed inquiringly from one to the other, in the hope that some newer recollection would come to the mind of either of them and lead to a recantation. But in that desire he was disappointed, and at last he reluctantly gave up the contest, not daring to protract it longer for fear of provoking a quarrel, and thereby being thrust out of the society to which he was aware his social talents, counteracting his low birth and calling, were his sole passport. And after all, though he had too carelessly made his wager, he had won twenty sestertia and a male slave, and that was something.

'Well, be it so,' he assented, with a sigh. 'A male slave, since you say it. I had supposed I had spoken more particularly, but it seems that my poor brain was careless and at fault. Only bring the slaves hither quickly, that I may choose and go home, for I must play Castorex this morning, and this head of mine seems likely to split.'

'Let it split, then,' retorted Sergius with a laugh. 'It may save our cracking it some day with a goblet. Ho, there, Drumo!'

He was not obliged to call a second time, for, at the first ring of his voice, the obedient armor bearer emerged from one of the lower entrances into the court. He also, as well as his master, had been convivially celebrating his return, and now bore the evidences of his frolic in a sad combination of inflamed features, tangled hair, and disordered clothing.

'What ho, master?' he cried, stretching his huge limbs in a yawn and looking up. 'Am I wanted?'

'You have been drinking,' said Sergius; 'go to the fountain basin there and cleanse yourself. If there were fish in it, I would feel half inclined to cast you in to feed them. After that, come back to me.'

The giant grinned, knowing that his master placed too high a value upon him ever to make a dinner of him for the carp, though he might now and then inflict a stripe or two in anger upon his broad shoulders. Then kneeling down at the fountain, he quickly splashed the water into his face and eyes, ran one finger from his forehead to the crown of his head in order to part his disordered locks, pulled away a loose straw from behind his neck, gave his tumbled tunic one jerk to straighten it, and, with the air of a person who had made an elaborate toilet, and could afford to be well satisfied with the result, presented himself for inspection.[Pg 388]

'So! Were my new slaves sent in last night?'

The armor bearer nodded.

'The whole allotment?'

'I suppose so, master. Fifty there should have been, the lictor said, when he brought them, but one had died, and they had thrown him into the Tiber to the fishes. Ho, ho, master, we shall all go one day to feed the fishes or the dogs or the worms, both you and I alike.'

'Silence, you hound!' said Sergius, more by way of habit than because he really minded a familiarity to which he had gradually grown accustomed.

'The others came a little before midnight, and I locked them up below,' the Gaul added, pointing to a low range of buildings at the foot of the garden. 'They are a well-looking lot, master, but among them all you will not find one to take my place; so, for this time, I am safe, and can yet say and do what I please. Ho, ho! And here is the list of them which the messenger brought.'

'Never mind the list. It is doubtless all correct,' said Sergius, waving the papyrus aside. 'Go, now, and bring the slaves hither.'

The man nodded, and taking a large key from a nail over his head, disappeared down the garden walk, and in a few moments returned, driving before him the whole body of captives which had fallen to the share of his master. As he had reported, they were of good quality, the best of the prisoners of war having naturally been reserved for the commander of the expedition. The men were mostly stout and athletic, while the women were of healthy and properly agreeable appearance. Of the whole number there were none who seemed to be at all sickly or ill favored; while the only one who exhibited any signs of deformity was a dwarf, whose withered and twisted figure imparted to him that peculiar grotesque and ape-like appearance which, at that period, was certain to commend him to the taste of wealthy purchasers, and render him of more value than a man of correct proportions. Moreover, as a general thing, the captives seemed more cheerful than they had been the day before, having had the advantage of several hours' rest and of better food than had fallen to their lot at any time during the journey. There were a few who manifested sorrow at having been separated from relatives or friends with whom they had succeeded in travelling to the very gates of the city; and some others, as yet unbroken to misfortune, maintained a rebellious and intractable demeanor. But the majority had already made up their minds that slavery was henceforth their inevitable fate, and that their highest future happiness must be looked for in its alleviation rather than in its abolition; and they now appeared to take pleasure in the thought that their fortune had led them to a wealthy household, where they would probably experience kind treatment and have easy tasks allotted to them.

Now, having reached the paved court, the captives rested and awaited the inspection of their owner—some sitting upon the marble border of the fountain, some standing by in groups, and through a sort of sympathy holding each others' hands, as though that would give protection. A few gazed moodily upon the ground; and one or two, oppressed with sorrow or nervous apprehension, quietly wept. But the greater portion, impressed with a dim consciousness that their future lot might depend upon their present conduct and appearance, endeavored to assume an air of pleased satisfaction, and thereby possibly win the favorable notice of the group which stood surveying them from the balcony, or at the least the friendly compassion of the older slaves of the household, who began to pour forth from the different doors upon the ground floor of the palace, and join unbidden in the inspection. Most of these, in the early days of their captivi[Pg 389]ty, had stood up in the centre of similar gaping and curious crowds, and now in their turn they sated their curiosity upon the new comers. A few, remembering their own sorrows of those former times, seemed compassionate; others manifested careless indifference; some wondered whether enough of the present reinforcement would be retained to materially lighten their own labors; and others, who had been known to fail in attention to their peculiar departments of industry, trembled lest their places might now be supplied by the new comers, and themselves be again driven off to market. Whatever their thoughts and feelings, however, no one ventured to approach too near or speak aloud, excepting the armor bearer, who, as the privileged slave of the household as well as the marshal of the occasion, moved hither and thither among the captives, encouraging some with rude jokes, shoving others back or forward into suitable positions, and generally endeavoring to set forth the merits of the whole mass in as favorable a light as possible.

'Now stand forward where the noble imperator and his friends can see you,' was his command to a well-featured, strong-limbed Rhodian. 'Do you think to better your lot by slinking out of sight among the women, and so perhaps be sent off unnoticed to the market, and there be purchased for hard labor in the quarry pits? Who knows but that if my master sees you, he may make a gladiator of you; and then you can fight before emperors and consuls.'

'What care I for your master?' retorted the man. 'Let him give me back my wife and my child, whom I yesterday had, and who now are gone.'

The armor bearer shrugged his shoulders.

'Is that all?' he said. 'Wives are plenty in this city of Rome. When I first came from Gaul, I too had a wife, and, like you, lost her. What then? I suppose that she is happy, wherever she may be; and I—I have not allowed myself to be lonely since. But neither did I let myself slink behind, when I stood in the market; but I pressed forward and struck upon my chest, and called to the highborn and the rich to look upon me, and see how a man could be made, and what he could be good for. And here am I now, a slave, indeed—that cannot be helped—but for all that, a ruler over the other slaves, and my master's favorite and companion. By the immortal gods! there is more manliness in yonder dwarf, with his open face, than in you, with your whimpering and your tears. I will call him forward to teach you a lesson how to act.'

At the first beck the dwarf pressed forward with a smile, alternately stretching up to make the most of his diminutive proportions, and then bowing low to crave the good will of the spectators. His appearance brought him instant commendation; and more particularly did the prætorian captain break forth into expressions of appreciation.

'A proper dwarf! a most excellent dwarf! Smaller and more ugly by a quarter than one which I have known to be sold for forty sestertia! And see, Bassus, how he bows and rubs his hands and shows his teeth at yourself. He has perhaps been the buffoon in a Grecian theatre, and in you now recognizes a brother in the art. Take him, therefore, for your choice. At the very least, he will be of value to carry your bag of plays before you, and he may even help you act.'

The comedian forced a sickly smile upon his features, not daring to quarrel with his companion, yet not insensible to the sneering tone with which he was addressed. He had, at the first, been struck with the dwarf, and half inclined to choose him. But now the mocking speech deterred him.

'You are disposed to be merry,' he said; 'nor do you reason well. It is not an ape that an actor wants to carry his plays. There are enough such to listen to them. I will leave the dwarf, therefore, for you to purchase. Per[Pg 390]haps, after all, there may be a place found for him somewhere in your own household. I will make another selection for myself.'

And descending from the piazza, he moved in among the captives for the purpose of entering upon a more careful inspection. Eager as he was at all times to make the best of a bargain, he was the more especially anxious now; for the contemptuous tones of his companions rankled in his heart, and he felt that the more he evinced a capacity to benefit himself, the more he would be likely to disappoint them. Passing deliberately about the slaves, therefore, he scrutinized each face and form before him with the most exact attention; carefully lifting the eyelid of one, and examining the teeth of another—now pressing his knuckles into an expanded chest, then twisting a muscular arm—causing some to stoop, and others to bend back—and generally practising all those arts and expedients which a professional slave dealer would employ to guard himself against imposition. Nor was it until the lapse of many minutes that he settled upon his prize.

'I will take this man,' he said, dragging the Rhodian forth by the shoulder. 'He shall be my slave.'

'It is well; take him,' responded Sergius, in his most courtly tone. And for the moment or two, during which his companions yet tarried, he maintained a demeanor so studied and controlled that it would have required a keen glance to detect in his face his bitter sense of disappointment at the selection which the comedian had made.


As Sergius turned and entered the house, those who had seen him saluted as the favorite of the emperor and the idol of the crowd, and thence had believed unbounded happiness must be his never-varying lot, would have been astonished to know how many things there were which rankled painfully in his heart, and, for the moment, made him discontented and fretful.

Thoroughly jealous in respect to his military fame, he was suspicious that the cheers of the crowd upon his ovation had been elicited more by the perfection of the pageantry than by a proper appreciation of his own merits; while it was certain that the Senate, though meeting him with the customary congratulations, had delivered them with more form than enthusiasm. And though the emperor had given audience, he had bestowed no new honors upon him. To these disappointments was added the unhappy, self-accusing consciousness of having failed in duty to his own dignity, by having passed the night in wild revelry and among companions, many of whom were beneath him in every quality except their talent for ribald jesting and buffoonery. Moreover, though reputed wealthy, he was at present pressed for money, and had added to his embarrassments by losing at the gaming table during the past night more than he could well afford to part with; while, to add to all other vexations, the comedian Bassus had not only increased the loss by selecting the most valuable slave, but had performed the action in a cool and calculating manner, which was particularly exasperating.

'The low buffoon!' Sergius muttered to himself. 'Who would have thought that, half drunken as he was, he would have had the wit to select a slave worth double the sum which had been staked against him, and one whom I had obtained with such trouble, and for my own purposes? Can it be that he pretended his intoxication the more easily to outwit me? I had no fear, but believed that he would be sure to select some slim youth who could be taught to play the flute before him or act as cupbearer. What demon put it into his head so suddenly to look for bone and muscle rather than for girlish graces?'

This last suspicion of having been made the victim of artful dissimulation[Pg 391] added fuel to his vexation, more especially as, turning his head and glancing into the courtyard, he saw the comedian slipping through a side passage, and the Rhodian obediently following at his heels. This filled up the measure of Sergius's wrath. To his excited fancy the actor bore upon his face an insultingly satisfied smirk of triumph, while the Rhodian appeared larger and stronger than ever. With an exclamation of unavailing anger, Sergius pushed open the door, and stood in the presence of his wife.

It was into the dining hall that he had plunged. Upon a small table was placed the wine and bread and fruits which formed the customary morning meal among the richer Romans; and beside the table stood Ænone, in an attitude in which hope and fear and surprise and disappointment were equally blended.

Clad in the manner which she knew had always best pleased his fancy, wearing the adornments which, as his gifts, he would most naturally prefer to see upon her, with her curling locks parted as in former days he had liked her to dress them, even striving to impart to her features the peculiar radiant expression which, in other times, had most won his heart—she had impatiently awaited his approach, with a vague fear whispering poisonous surmises to her soul, but yet with a joyful and hopeful assurance of good predominating over all. As soon as these friends of his had departed—she had said to herself—he would no longer delay coming to her. He would meet her with extended arms and the same joyous welcome as of old. He would utter kind and pleasant words expressive of his happiness, and would fold her to his heart. There would she nestle and forget her foolish fears and suspicions of the past night, and would only remember that she was loved. As, however, she now saw the frown upon his face, her heart and courage failed her; and in proportion as she had previously fortified her mind with hopeful confidence, a terrible reaction of apprehension overcame her. Could it be that the angry look was for her, and that it could be justified by any word that she had ever spoken or any duty that she had neglected? With one hand lightly resting upon the table, her right foot thrown forward in impulsive readiness to spring into his extended arms, but her whole form drooping and shrinking with dismay, her face pale, and the smile which she had called upon it now faintly and painfully flickering in a deathlike manner about her whitened lips, as it glided from her control and began to give place to an utter and undisguised fear, she stood awaiting his first word or action.

'Ha, Ænone!'

'My lord—'

Then remembering what was due to her upon their first meeting, he smoothed the frown from off his face, held out his arms, and tenderly embraced her, uttering kind and loving words. It was the same gesture with which he had parted from her when, six months before, the state had called upon him to arouse from the ease and tranquility of his wedded life and do new service upon the field. Those were the same gentle and affectionate words which he had been wont to utter. And yet to her quickened apprehension, urged on by some secret instinct, it seemed as though the soul of the tender greeting was gone, leaving but the mere form behind. Could it be that during those few months of absence he had learned to think less dearly of her? At the thought, the last faint gleams of the flickering smile died away from her face; while he, unobservant of her distress, and still goaded by the remembrance of his losses, released her from his embrace and threw himself heavily down upon the nearest lounge.

'I am thirsty,' he said. 'Give me some drink.'

She poured some wine into a goblet,[Pg 392] and timidly presented it to his lips. The liquid, cooled with snow from the mountains, was refreshing to his palate, and he drank it to the last drop. As he parted with the goblet—rather tossing it away than setting it down—he noticed how she stood before him with whitened face and frightened features, and with the attitude of a shrinking slave rather than of a wife joyous to be of service. His heart smote him for his negligent greeting, and he rose up from the lounge and placed his arm about her.

'Not with you, Ænone, am I vexed,' he said, partly comprehending the cause of her emotion. And drawing her nearer, he commenced toying with her waving locks, telling her how for months he had been longing to meet her, and how her looks more than ever delighted him, and otherwise uttering such pleasant and reassuring words as soonest came into his mind. As she began to perceive that it was not for any fault of hers that he had displayed anger, her face gradually lost its expression of dread. But still she could not fail to notice that the words which he spoke were not such as are commonly prompted by a true and unpremeditated affection; but were rather the labored and soulless result of a mere good-natured desire to make atonement for a neglect, and were uttered in all the careless spirit with which one tries to soothe an improperly aggrieved child; and the old smile but feebly played upon her features, struggle with it as earnestly as she would.

'Nay, not at your sweet face is my anger excited, Ænone,' he said; 'but at that scurvy dog, Bassus. He should himself be a slave and the companion of slaves, were his true station meted out to him.'

'He with whom you passed the night?' suggested Ænone.

'Ay, he was one of us,' Sergius answered, taking a position nearer the table, and commencing to pick off a crumb of bread as the incentive to a more extended repast. 'He was with us, as there always will be some rude and unmannerly intruder in every company; but there were also others, the associates of Emilius. There was Sotus, the Egyptian, a learned astronomer, and Cyope, the renowned Greek dramatist, and Spoletius, who is now writing a history of the empire, and, if what he says is true, has already brought his work down to the time of the Emperor Nero—'

'And will carry it on until he reaches the present day! And will then, in their proper place, tell about your achievements, my lord!' exclaimed Ænone, a flush of expectation glowing upon her face, as she thought that here were her conjectures of the preceding evening about to be realized.

'Ay!' responded Sergius; 'I presume that he will speak of me and of what you dignify as my achievements, foolishly fond child; and therefore it was meet that I should not neglect the opportunity of being in his presence, in order that he might speak well of me rather than the reverse. Otherwise, you well know that I would have preferred to let revelling have the go-by, and to have come at once to gather you to my heart. But we men, whom the world calls celebrated, must be watchful, and learn to resign pleasure to duty, and guard our fame, or else it may go out like a wasted lamp, and leave it in the darkness of oblivion. We cannot spare our time to give free scope to our love, as though we were poor and unknown.'

Ænone reproached herself for her suspicions. Surely she had done wrong in distrusting him for the coldness of his greeting. He may have meant nothing but love and kindness, and have been weighed down by cares and anxieties which she could not comprehend. Had he not said that something had made him angry? He, the great imperator, to have been ruffled by the conduct of a low comedian, whose company his interest obliged him to toler[Pg 393]ate! She would yet be patient and wait.

'And not only Spoletius, the historian, but also others, poets and philosophers, whose good will it is proper to secure, and whose conversation would be improving to the gods themselves,' continued Sergius, almost blushing as he remembered how little philosophy had been spoken during the past night, excepting that shallow doctrine which inculcates full enjoyment of the passing pleasure of the world, lest death might come and too suddenly end them; and how little poetry had been recited, except as roared forth in the form of bacchanalian choruses. 'And even this Bassus it were worth my while to condescend to, lest the notion might seize him to satirize me upon the public stage. And it was to conciliate him that I lost to him twenty sestertia and a well-favored slave. May it not be that I paid too high a price for his friendship, and hence have a right to be angry?'

'But let my lord reflect that he has many slaves—more than he well can find use for; and that, therefore, one less may not be of great consequence to him.'

'Nay, but such a slave!' responded Sergius; 'tall, almost, as my armor bearer, and strong as an elephant! A man who was worth to me all those others, thrice over, for the use to which I could have put him. The rest will doubtless be of good account in their way. Some of them will go and dig in my quarries, and a few will be exposed in the market, and will bring their proper price. But this Rhodian—listen! You know that in a few weeks the new amphitheatre of our emperor will be opened with grand spectacles lasting many days. At my audience with him last evening he spoke thereupon, and of the wild beasts he had sent for to give dignity to the occasion; but of this anon. You know that for months all Rome has been preparing for that time?'

Ænone nodded assent. Even had she desired, she could not have remained ignorant that the great colossus of all amphitheatres was approaching completion, since, from her window, she could look down the Appian Way and watch every stone being laid, while, in all societies, the magnitude and magnificence of the approaching games were the theme of universal conversation.

'Well,' continued Sergius, 'months ago—I hardly remember how many—I wagered with the proconsul Sardesus that I would furnish for the games the superior gladiator of the two. Fifteen purses of a hundred sestertia each; a large sum, but the larger the better, since I had my armor bearer in my mind, and felt certain to win. But since then I have become attached to this Drumo. The dog has twice saved my life, and hence has become too precious to be risked; for though he would most likely win the day, yet a chance thrust might destroy him at the end. I therefore looked around for a substitute, and found him—this Rhodian slave. Day after day I marked him in the opposite ranks, fighting against us, and I gave orders to capture him alive. Twice we thought we had secured him, and as often did he break away, killing many of our men. But at last the commander of one of my cohorts obtained possession of his wife and five children, and sent him word that each day, until he delivered himself up, one of them should be put to death.'

'Surely that thing was not done?' exclaimed Ænone, horror struck.

'As I live, it was not ordered by me, nor did I learn of the scheme until it was too late to arrest it,' responded Sergius; 'else would I have forbidden it. But what would you expect? War has its practices, and mercy is not exactly one of them. And cruelties will happen, do what we may. Whatever transpired, therefore, was the work of the commander of my first cohort, to[Pg 394] whom I had given directions to take the man alive, and who knew that it must be done, and without troubling me about the process. Perhaps you do not care to hear the rest?'

'Go on,' said Ænone, shuddering with a sickening apprehension of what was to come.

'Well, the first day his oldest child was slain, and the body sent to him; and the next day the second one slain, and in like manner sent to him; and so on until but his wife and one child were left. Then he came in and gave himself up.'

'And this brave man—fighting for his country—you have made a slave of!' exclaimed Ænone, impetuously. 'He has been stripped of his family one by one, and now you would place him in the arena, to be the victim of wild beasts, or at the best, of other slaves!'

'What else would you wish? The man is of a warlike nature; and it were better for him to bravely contend for his life in the presence of the emperor himself, than ignominiously to wear it out in the base labor of the quarries. And I will tell you what I meant to have done. I know where are his wife and remaining child, with whom he yesterday entered Rome; and if in the amphitheatre he had won the victory for me, I would have restored them to him and given him his freedom besides. But all that is past now. In the heat of the moment I forgot him, and suffered this drunken dog, Bassus, to take his choice; and he has had too good an eye for what is valuable not to select the Rhodian. Strange, indeed, that I should have been so careless. But throughout all, I never dreamed that his taste would lead him to do more than choose some slight-built boy, who could assist him in his trade. Once, indeed, I feared for the moment that he would select amiss, and take a rarely precious dwarf, whom, both for his appearance and for his knowledge of armor, I had reserved as a gift for your father; and when that danger was past, I breathed freer, not calculating upon any further mischance.'

Ænone remained silent. Ready as she was at all times to give her utmost sympathy to her husband for the slightest annoyance which he might experience, it seemed to her now that his complaining was puerile and unjust, so utterly had the sense of his disappointment been swallowed up, in her thoughts, by the real and tragic woe of the Rhodian captive. Finding day after day his dead children laid at his very door—then separated rudely from all who were left—and in the end brought chained into the arena, and obliged to fight to the death for the pleasure of his conquerors, and perhaps against his own countrymen: why should such things be? Ænone was no nerveless creature to faint at the sight of blood. The education of all Romans of that day was adapted to a far different result, and she could look with enjoyment upon the contests of wild beasts, or even view without disapprobation the struggles of gladiators trained to their work as to a profession, and, of their own free will and with full knowledge, taking its risks upon themselves. And yet, for all that, she could not but feel that every hour there were being enacted around her, and as a part of the daily workings of the social system, abuses of power, which, like the present, nothing could justify; and she wondered whether it would last forever, or whether, on the contrary, the outraged gods would not some day arise and pour down upon this imperial Rome the vengeance due to the oppressed.

Sergius partially read her thoughts, and set himself to work to reverse their current and turn it into a more cheerful channel. Drawing his seat closer to her, he began to speak to her of more pleasant topics, telling of the enlivening incidents of his campaign, rehearsing the exploits of those about him, and dwelling upon the few occasions in which, by some unusual departure[Pg 395] from martial customs, mercy had been shown to the weak and helpless, and captives who were not fit for slaves had not been crucified. The gift of fascination was one of his distinguishing traits; and when he chose, he could charm, with his winning speech, the most obdurate and unloving. Therefore, as he now softly whispered these narrations into Ænone's ears, mingling gentle words of endearment with them, it was not long before she began to yield to the pleasant influence, and was almost ready to believe that she had judged rashly, and that everything upon earth was not so very wrong. Why, after all, should she presume to criticize matters which did not arouse the discontent of the wisest of men? And if the gods felt really outraged, why did they let their thunders sleep so long? At the least, it was not the duty of herself, a weak girl, to strive to right the world. Her only domain must be her lord's heart—her only rule of life, his will.

Leaning upon his shoulder, and looking up into his face as she listened, she thought upon the old times, when she had first met him, and how he had then, as now, so successfully exerted his powers of charming, that it had seemed as though no mere earthly love could be good enough reward for him. Could it be that in her distrust she had been the victim of a momentary delusion, and that he would always exert himself hereafter, as now, to please her? Might it not be, after all, that this great happiness, with its tender whisperings and caresses, would ever continue unbroken, as in past times?

'But, aha!' he suddenly exclaimed, in the tone of one newly awakened to the existence of a fact whose comparative unimportance had led to its forgetfulness by him. 'Let not my own losses make me indifferent to your pleasure, love, for I have not been so. For you, and you alone, I have reserved a gift fit for the palace of the Cæsars.'

'A gift, my lord? And for me?'

'Yes; but ask me no questions now. You shall see it to-morrow. A few hours only of mystery and waiting must yet elapse before I will bring it to you. Until then you can enjoy a woman's pleasure and nurse your greedy curiosity—hopeless of solving the enigma until I myself choose to give the clew.'


'One more Unfortunate.'

Alone in a garret where cobwebs hang thick
Over walls that display the bare mortar and brick,
Whose windows look down on the roofs of back sheds,
From a height that would dizzy the coolest of heads,
A young author sits by a rickety stand,
In a broken-backed chair, with a pen in his hand,
And patiently toils ere the sunlight shall fade
To black the last quire of a ream of 'white laid.'
The shadows have deepened that hang on the wall;
But the Finis is written, the pen is let fall;
And, glad of a respite from labors complete,
[Pg 396]His hands and his head press the last written sheet.
Sleep comes not alone; for the goddess of dreams
Is accustomed to visit this blacker of reams.
Like the man that sits under a monster balloon,
And soars o'er the earth halfway up to the moon,
Now stepping at once into Fancy's fair car,
He sails from the dusky old garret afar;
And, leaving the world with its practical crowds,
Such visions as these meet his gaze in the clouds:


Forty large editions
Of the 'thrilling tale;'
Forty thousand dollars,
Net proceeds of sale.
Forty smiling critics
Lavishing their praise;
Forty famous florists
Bidding for the bays.

Forty thousand maidens
Sitting up at night,
Poring o'er the volume
With intense delight.

Forty thousand letters
From the country sent,
Blurred by frequent teardrops,
Filled with sentiment.

Forty scheming mothers
Anxious for a match;
Forty blushing daughters,
Each a glorious catch.

Forty generations
Reverence his name;
Forty future ages
Fortify his fame.


Forty dunning letters
Coming every day;
Forty cents for washing,
Which he cannot pay.

Forty jokes malicious
Cracked by forty wags;
Forty pert young misses
Sneering at his rags.

Forty old companions
Wondering at his mood;
Forty friends officious
Preaching fortitude.

Forty days of sadness;
Forty nights of sorrow;
Forty dark forebodings
Hanging o'er the morrow.

Forty hempen inches
Borrowed from a friend;
Rafter at the upper,
Neck at lower, end.

Forty earthy spadefuls
On the green hillside;
Forty lines of 'local,'
Telling now he died.
[Pg 397]


Toward the close of July, 1860, our party gathered at Canaudaigua, that beautiful piece of Swiss overland scenery, transported to Western New York. Its Indian name, signifying 'the chosen place,' was not inapt for our meeting ground.

By the 31st of July we were at Cleveland, Ohio, over the Buffalo and Lake Shore Railway and New York Central. It was a beautiful day's ride, the most of the way skirting the lake, whose broad expanse gleamed in the sunshine, and bore many a sail and propeller to the great havens of its commerce. The railway borders fine towns and farms, formed by the dense settlement of the oak openings and groves of the Western Reserve of Ohio, which was purchased from the Holland Land Company, by a company from Connecticut, of whom General Cleveland, who names the present city, was the agent.

Cleveland city, with about forty thousand population, lies on Lake Erie, at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, which forms its harbor. It is well built, chiefly of the light graystone of the vicinity, upon a declivity shaded with trees, among which the buckeye hickory abounds, has many fine dwellings, and presents a fair front to the lake view.

On the evening of the 31st July we embarked on the North Star for Superior City. She is of first class, eleven hundred and six tons, and bore an immense freight from the East to the remote peninsula, in exchange for its precious minerals. The entire sail from Cleveland to Superior is nine hundred and sixty-four miles.

As these boats are the only means of commerce and intercourse for the dwellers on the upper lakes above Detroit, very frequent are their stops and calls, taking and leaving much freight, consuming much time on their way. However, our voyage was speedy: we arrived at our distant terminus, Superior City, very early on the morning of the 5th of August, making the running time about seventy-five hours.

Leaving Ohio, one of the earliest settled States of the Western Valley, and organized sixty years since, our course from Cleveland stretched northwesterly across the wide lake, passing the island scene of Perry's splendid triumph, and thence northerly, by its river, to Detroit, a sail of one hundred and twenty miles, arriving early on the 1st of August.

The city lies extended along its beautiful river, at one extremity guarded by its old fort, and at the other are the extensive copper-smelting furnaces, where the ore from the Superior mines, brought by the steamers, flows in liquid copper. It is comparatively an ancient town, settled as early as 1701 as a French frontier post; and some of its land titles, always protected at each national change, with some of its old families, derive their origin from these early French pioneers.

Our afternoon sail was up Detroit River and the St. Clair, threading our way among its many verdant islands and rich shores graced with numerous pretty villages. At 9 p.m. we reached Port Huron and its Canadian opposite neighbor, Sarnia. At this point is the southern outlet of Lake Huron, distant seventy-three miles from Detroit. Sarnia is also the western depot of the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada, while Windsor, facing Detroit, terminates the Canadian Great Western. From Sarnia, passing old Fort Gratiot, over to Port Huron, the railway ferry boat, propelled by the current only, transfers its passengers to the cars of the Grand Trunk line, on Michigan soil, and by a short[Pg 398] branch intersects the Michigan Central Railroad, a few miles west of Detroit. For over twelve hundred miles this iron road, fitly named the Grand Trunk, transports our Western products. Entering Lake Huron, with its innumerable islands and almost wilderness shores, our sail through it, of two hundred and seventy-five miles in all, brought us early, on the 2d of August, off Saginaw and Thunder Bays, its western arms, with Presque Isle, the Great Manitoulin Island, bearing north by east; and by noon, we reached Point de Tour, at the outlet of St. Mary's River, three hundred miles from Detroit, lying opposite to Drummond's Island.

Point de Tour has but a solitary dwelling, from whose roof rises the light tower. Its inmates are said to have preferred this solitude to the crowded refinement of a New England city. Shortly after, and still coasting the western side, we stopped at Church's Landing, where an enterprising New Englander has built his log houses in the forest, amid the Indians, and drives an active commerce in raspberry jam. His trade has prospered, and he had just completed a new and handsome dwelling. Fourteen miles farther brought us to Saut Sainte Marie, or the rapids of the eastern outlet of Lake Superior.

Lake Huron is at an average height of five hundred and seventy-five feet above the sea level, and one hundred feet in depth below Lake Superior, with a length in direct line of two hundred and seventy-five miles, from Port Huron to Saut Sainte Marie. Georgian Bay, to the east of the Great Manitoulin Island, is its broad eastern expansion; while, on the west, the Straits of Mackinaw open into the vast expanse of Lake Michigan, extending a length of four hundred and forty-six miles to Chicago. The borders of Lake Huron are sparsely peopled. The primitive forest bends over the lake's clear waters, and surrounds the log cabin or infant settlement with the wigwam and canoe of the Indian half breeds, who are still fishing and hunting round the graves of their ancestors-once the fiercest of all the warrior races that scarce forty years ago as sovereigns roamed its wilds.

The majestic solitudes of these lakes first received the white man in 1679, when the discoverers La Salle and Hennepin, in the vessel of sixty tons, which they had built with their Indians at Cayuga Creek, sailed up Niagara River, Lakes Erie, St. Clair, and Huron, to Mackinaw, and thence through Lake Michigan to the mouth of Green Bay. Entering Lake Erie on the 7th of August, 1691, they arrived at Green Bay on the 2d of September following, encountering many storms and cautiously seeking their untried way. After gathering a rich cargo of furs, the vessel, in charge of the pilot and five men, started to return, and was heard of no more. She doubtless perished with her crew in a gale on Lake Huron. She carried seven cannon, was well manned and armed, adorned with carved griffin and eagle heads, and bore the banner and religion of France amid all the border tribes.

Surely the voyage of Columbus, discovering Hispaniola, while sailing before and obeying the trade winds, did not surpass in real adventure this simple expedition of those half-warrior pioneer voyageurs, Fathers Hennepin and La Salle. The memory of their visit is yet immortal in the local names given by them and still cherished; while the influence of France still lingers at Detroit and many other prominent points in this wide region, once the empire of Louis XIV.

We reached the Saut Sainte Marie about 4 P. M. of the 2d of August. Here the River St. Mary, or the eastern outlet of Lake Superior, after a wide course of fifty miles, gathers the multitude of its waters into a narrow channel of less than a mile in width and length, of swift and impassable rapids.[Pg 399]

The grand Ship Canal, with its stone banks of about eighty feet width and three locks, transports the largest tonnage around these rapids. This great work was completed in 1857 by the contractors, Erastus Corning, of New York, Fairbanks, and others, for a contract price of seven hundred and fifty thousand acres of land, chiefly mineral, in the State of Michigan. During our steamer's canal passage of about two hours, we were interested by the picturesque scenery, untenanted save by the wigwam and the bark canoe. As usual, upon the arrival of the steamer, the long canoe, steadily held by a single boy and paddle, in a current swift as the Niagara, shoots out into the Saut, while the Indian, standing erect in the canoe, poising his harpoon and scrap net, strikes or swoops in the large and delicious white fish, assured of a capacious basketful and more, before the steamer leaves the canal.

And thus we floated onward to the bosom of great Superior.

Our course was along the St. Mary outlet, northwesterly toward White Fish Point, on the main south shore, projecting far out into the lake. We were hence carried miles away from sight of the famed-pictured rocks or of any land. Tending southerly and still westward, we steamed on over the dark waters, during a serene night, until daylight showed us the beautiful town of Marquette. Scarce seven years old, the fruit of the iron mining in its vicinity, it spreads its neat white cottages around the crescent of its bay and river on an amphitheatre of hills. The rail train destined to Bai de Noc, on Green Bay, and finished to Marquette Mines, in all some eighteen miles, was starting upon our arrival. Marquette, though so young, a mere group of cottages, fronting a wilderness, from its rich mines of the best iron, has become at once a scene of industry and large outlay of capital; while the beauty of its position and its unrivalled climate, surpassing all others on Lake Superior, have already made it the most attractive summer resort, as well for the pleasure traveller as the pulmonary invalid. Its climate, without the sea air, has a cool, silken softness, reminding one of Newport, Rhode Island. It is more equable and certain; the summer average is 66°, and the winter 41°; while the lake wind and evaporation secure it from the rapid changes of the sea shores.

Marquette is the lake port and entrepot of the short range of iron mountains which adjoin their sisters, known as the Porcupine Mountains, in whose depths lies the famous copper ore, not unmixed with silver and other precious deposits. This great mountain fortress extends from Marquette to Montreal River, beyond Ontonagon, the western boundary of the State of Michigan, in a line of about twelve to eighteen miles south of the lake, and often approaches two thousand feet in height, lifting its forest sides in constant view for more than two hundred miles. Leaving Marquette and the iron range at 7 A.M., on the 3d of August, we sailed for Portage, the first harbor in the copper mountains, arriving about noon.

Portage is a shallow bay or mouth of the river of the same name, on the east shore of Keewaiwonah Promontory, or, as it is commonly called, Keweenaw Point. The mines and town of Portage lie at the mountains, about sixteen miles inland. A few huts were the only signs of settlement at the bay. Tugs landed the freight and passengers, and we soon left the wooded bank for the broad expanse of the lake, turning the head of the promontory, and at 5 P.M. reaching Copper Harbor on its northwest shore. Here we lay till morning. The village is small, at the base of a lower range of mineral mountains, spurs of the main chain.

The Clarke Copper Mine is within two miles of the wharf. This mine, like many others, has had many owners. It had just gone through the experiments[Pg 400] of a French company, which expended its capital, as alleged, in building fine roads, bridges, and residences for its agents, while the mining had scarcely reached one hundred and twenty feet deep, and then employed only six Frenchmen as its miners, whose ore product was little over three per cent. of copper. In other hands, perhaps, it may now yield a better reward.

We were much amused with the description given by these Frenchmen of the mishaps of their ill-directed enterprise. Persistent as Chinese, resembling many others of the French nation in their ignorance of our country, language, or customs, they had passed through many droll blunders, which rendered their narrative highly entertaining.

Copper Harbor, although so small, only then claiming about seventy legal voters in the entire township, including the mines, was promised the unusual treat of a political address that evening, as duly placarded, from a gentleman, who was then candidate for Governor of Michigan, and came in our boat. The apathy and indifference of the free and enlightened electors of Copper Harbor were remarkable. A small, dingy room, adjoining the only store, was the destined arena; and therein, dimly lighted by some tallow candles, long sat the candidate—alone: a rejected Timon, whose reflections were never published. The only interest taken in the meeting (that came under my notice) was an anxious inquiry by the owner of the building for his rent and expense of candles, etc., payment of which was alleged to have been refused by the candidate.

Singularly happy Copper Harbor! your contented equanimity is unruffled by all the stormy strife of politicians.

Its lake front is graced by a fort, now and long since a water-cure establishment. All these Western forts, erected many years ago, seem not intended for offence, but rather as stockades or blockhouses of shelter from the Indians. They are arranged as extensive tenements within, pierced for musketry, and only in some cases with terraces for cannon. These frontier forts, long the dwelling of the hunter or his family in the wilderness, were guarded by the company of troops who protected the settlers and maintained the sovereignty of our flag and nation over these remote wilds. They are always placed in the most eligible and commanding positions, and seem as if by design to have secured the settlement of these points, which in all cases have become the thronged cities or favorite towns of the ever-growing West. Thus, in Europe, the ancient Roman fortified camps on their frontiers founded Cologne, Chester, Vienna, Milan, Verona, and other cities, once their military outposts against barbarism.

About 7 A. M. of the 4th August, we left Copper Harbor on our course, and soon reached Eagle River. This is another copper-mining settlement, straggling along its poor harbor, somewhat larger than Copper Harbor, and more picturesque. Landing a few of our company, we sailed to Ontonagon, the largest of these copper-mine towns (perhaps two thousand in population), and situated upon a sand reach at the mouth of its river, which leads to the Great Minnesota Mine, eighteen miles distant.

Early in the clear morning of the 5th of August, we were moving up Allouez Bay. Sounding slowly over its bar, and passing Minnesota Point and Island, between the mouths of the Rivers St. Louis and Nemadji, we arrived at Superior City, our destined haven.

Superior City, by its pretentious name, great distance, and our expectations, had risen to much importance in our imagination, but the actual scene presented a wide contrast. A large town—or metropolis—on a poor harbor, without interior resources or communications, had been hastily projected. It is called the head of ocean navigation, and the terminus of many pro[Pg 401]posed but as yet imaginary railroads. While the titles to all the land are still in litigation, the wilderness shades its streets, and, saving the rare arrival of the Indian mail carrier on snow shoes, during six months of intense cold, they are isolated from all humanity. Its grand prospectus, some five years before, had drawn there about three thousand people; and soon afterward, starved and disappointed, nearly all, save perhaps five hundred, had deserted. About two miles of streets, planked from the mud, with frame dwellings, had been constructed, and they had already attained the first municipal blessing—taxes--to the total of $45,000, payable by this feeble remnant of a settlement, mainly of abandoned dwellings. Should the railroads so frequently surveyed and designed to terminate here be really built, Superior City may see, to some extent, in future years, somewhat of that prosperity which its projectors, blinded by their hopes, had thought already realized.

Few positions are more picturesque. In front, the shores of Portland and Minnesota rise in beautiful grandeur, and the bay and harbor, although imperfect, are richly wooded and very graceful; while, all the way thither, from La Pointe, the lake's waters, lying among the mountains, shadowed by their heavy foliage, remind one much of the scenery of the Lower Danube. This ghost of a city had not much left of interest, and we passed our day in arranging for the journey across the country southward to St. Paul.

And here we found ourselves really pioneers. No road or transport was alleged to exist. We persevered. Indians and trappers beset us with their projects of tracking and portage by the St. Croix and other rivers, requiring a camp life with strange companions of nearly a month to accomplish the distance of only one hundred and sixty-three miles, equivalent to that of Albany from New York. A military road direct through the wilderness had been often surveyed, and once cut through, of about eighty feet width, to near Sunrise City, fifty miles from St. Paul; at which point the dense forest spreads into oak openings and beautiful prairies. This single cutting, long overgrown in lofty pines, with the frequent surveys and contracts, from the year 1852 to 1857, had cost the United States Government, for this distance of about one hundred and twelve miles, $150,000; and no actual road had ever yet been made. Fortunately for our enterprise, we met a gentleman who had just groped through safely on horseback. We were reassured, and engaged the only available wagon and team—a small, frail affair, devoid of cover, seats, or springs; and, with ample provisions, perched upon our luggage, we rolled out of Superior City that evening, and, passing its significantly large cemetery, we at once entered the forest. These woods are chiefly of pine, cedar, tamarack, or hemlock, gigantic in size, a dreary solitude, unvisited by any bird or game, save an occasional hawk or owl. They are but the southern outposts of that forest army which begirds Hudson's Bay, and spreads its gloomy barrier of the same trees around the dominions of the Ice King, while it is the only forest to be met with in all the Mississippi Valley.

The width of about eighty feet—that theoretical road for which the United States had paid so often and so well—was seen between the mightiest sentinel trees; but in the midst had sprung up a fresh growth, often nearly one hundred feet high, surrounded by huge stumps, and heavy undergrowth of the renewing forest, varied with hopeless mudholes and swamps, and only at intervals of about twenty miles was there any habitation.

Such was the great military road. Perhaps its progress equalled the actual wants of this region; for population had not yet crowded any of the forest borders. It was then by the adjoining townships, under State laws, feebly[Pg 402] commencing to be really made as a road; and frequently we halted at the camps of these hardy sons of toil. Our first twenty-one miles to Twin Lakes, at the best speed, with good horses, occupied eight hours, three of which, in the middle of the night, were passed under deluging rain accompanied by thunder and lightning of the most appalling grandeur, thumping in the shelterless wagon over stumps and bogholes through the dreary woods.

Twin Lakes—or the isthmus between two small lakes, in the depths of the forest—is a solitary log house and stable. Its proprietor and our landlord for the night's shelter was, I believe, named John Smith. With his family he had lived there, keeping this hotel for some years, owning several lots in the paper City of Twin Lakes, rich in the anticipated tide of gain to flow from the crowded thoroughfare of the great military road.

Happy man! we were the first party on wheels that had yet essayed the road. Perhaps his posterity, by patience, may win their reward.

Our rain deluge, with sheeted lightning and pealing thunder, was ceaseless throughout the night. Its echoes amid the forest solitudes were awful; and our fitful sleep was varied by the rain dripping between the logs of our shelter.

However, morning came at last, bright, clear, and calm; and early we resumed our wagon and way-picking among the familiar logs and stumps, contesting as for life with legions of mosquitoes, sandflies, etc. And thus we made thirty miles farther (halting at a camp for dinner) to the City of Chengwatana, which is so named on the large and beautiful map thereof, prepared in New York. It is laid out in Broadways, Fifth Avenues, Lydig Avenue, and, I believe, Daly Square, so named from J. Daly, of New York, with parks, colleges, etc., etc., adequate for a million of inhabitants. This fine imaginary picture proved unavailing to sell the land. It still remains a swamp bordering Snake River, in the bosom of the wilderness; and its entire population was only one German and his family—really indefinite in number of children—and two log houses, between which he vibrated at pleasure.

Our arrival was in another violent rain, lasting far into the night; but we considered ourselves, by this time, road and water proof. On the river shore, by the red glare of the fire light a wigwam and some Indians were visible; and frequently we heard their rifle shots. To our surprise, in the morning, instead of deer, they brought in a large basket of lake trout, each pierced through the head with a bullet when approaching the fire light.

Morning found us early on our hard way to the famed City of Fortuna, whose picture displayed a similar origin and imagination, and its reality was even more doleful.

Fortuna City, on Kettle River, in the woods, contained three log cabins, and no inhabitants. A boy came hither, perhaps from Superior, the day before, to meet our party. After repelling some furious charges of the mosquito cavalry, who displayed their vigor after long starving, we gave up the contest, and attempted sleep.

To our log cabin had come that day several engineers, who formed a surveying party for another railroad project, passing through this forest from St. Paul, whence they had started a month before with an ample wagon train. The Indians had murdered the drivers and captured the wagons with their entire property; and in their destitution they sought this only shelter. We took them forward with us into St. Paul, and were greatly indebted for their intelligent society and kind attentions.

Fortuna City had one peculiar interest to us; it was the last halt and lodging in the forest. Our next day's ride—if such it may be called—brought us to the oak openings at Folsom's, a[Pg 403] clearing on the southern skirt of this wilderness, and shortly after to Sunrise City.

Our forest journey to-day was varied by the utter collapse of the wagon in a vain charge upon an obstinate stump; and perforce we walked for miles, till reaching a camp of the road workers on the farther bank of Grindstone River, we joyfully forded and found shelter from the noontide heat and mosquitoes; while the German sutler, who alone remained, busied himself in his primitive al fresco cookery, which we enjoyed, and then, exchanging to another wagon, hastened on to our destination.

The oak openings—those grand parklike expanses and rolls of land, with stately groups of giant oaks—far surpassing all culture of man, set out by the Creator on such a noble forest background, never looked more majestic and beautiful. They were vocal with singing birds, and filled with life; at their foot thronged the grouse or prairie chicken, darting through the high flowering grasses (richer than all garden flowers) in such numbers that but a few feet from our wheels we shot them in great abundance.

Sunrise City—a village but of yesterday (public lands, for sale by proclamation, adjoining)—is beautifully placed on Sunrise River, and might have then contained about five hundred inhabitants, whose neat white cottages and pleasant streets, bordering a romantic river and bridge, made a picture not unlike the scenery of Warwickshire, England.

We reached here—fifty miles still north of St. Paul—to pass the first night of our ride in a comfortable dwelling.

Many a fine farm, just cleared and broken, attracted us here, and hence along the prairie road into St. Paul, where we arrived at the close of the following day, which proved to be, as we kept no calendar, Thursday, the 9th of August.

Our drive this last day led past numerous linked lakes, with their borders of the tall Minnesota rice grass in flower, the home of the canvas back, pelican, and swan. Passing through the village of Little Canada, we rode on to Minnehaha Prairie along its gentle, verdant slope, and lapse of shining waters of Twelve Lakes, graced with the names of Como, Garda, etc., and adorned with many a pretty boat and sail. A few miles further brought us to the upper terrace of beautiful St. Paul.

As pioneers of this wilderness route, we met with marked attention from all, and passed some agreeable days at St. Paul, Fort Snelling, Minneapolis, St. Anthony, and their numerous points of interest. Our homeward route was by the Mississippi River to Prairie du Chien, where old Fort Crawford, then a mere tenement, commands the confluence of the Wisconsin River with the Father of Waters. This sail of three hundred miles consumed forty-eight hours.

The river banks recede and advance in lake-like expanses along its winding course, and their richly wooded heights, crowned with red sandstone, resemble the ruined Rhine castles. The sail through Lake Pepin, and between the States of Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, was varied by frequent and thriving towns and villages.

From Prairie du Chien—a picture of straggling despair—by the Milwaukie and Prairie du Chien Railroad, and the Northwestern Railroad, two hundred and twenty-two miles, we reached Chicago, and passed through a crowd of beautiful towns, in a State scarce a generation since reclaimed from the Indians. Familiar railroads transported us from Chicago to Detroit, Niagara, Albany, and New York.

Our whole distance of travel in three weeks was thirty-four hundred and forty-one miles. It was brief, but spiced with adventure, and over a field of vast interest, present and future.

Our beautiful country, made one and indivisible by the great and good Author of its existence, through its mighty[Pg 404] natural features, has, among its chief grandeurs, this water system of the great northern lakes, the frontier of the ever-progressive and patriotic West and North. In dimensions, sublimity, and beauty, by the consent of all, it is without parallel on earth.

A volume of the purest fresh water is gathered in Lake Superior, without visible, adequate supply, to a depth of one thousand feet, with a length of near five hundred miles, and average breadth of one hundred and sixty miles, on a bottom lifted six hundred feet above sea level.

This incalculable mass of water moves its limpid wave through the Saut Sainte Marie into its twin seas, Lakes Michigan and Huron, then by St. Clair and Detroit Rivers is poured through Lake Erie, ever gradually descending, till, at great Niagara, 'The Thunder of the Waters,' it tosses in fury along its rapids, leaps the cataract in glory, at a rate of one hundred millions of tons of water the hour, and then sweeps away into Lake Ontario, to form that northern Mississippi, the River St. Lawrence, which, for over one thousand miles, holds on its ever increasing and widening current, in majesty to the broad Atlantic. By the canals at the Falls and Saut Sainte Marie, direct and continuous ship and steam navigation for sea-going vessels from the Atlantic to Superior City, the extreme Northwest, or Chicago on the Southwest, over three thousand miles through the heart of the continent, is open, while the American coast line along these great waters, exceeds thirty-two hundred miles. Complete in itself, the source of life, health, fine climate, fertility, wealth, and countless blessings to all its shores and valleys, it is divided by lofty barriers from all the other chief water systems of the United States. The Mississippi rises in the highlands of Minnesota at Lake Itasca, more than one hundred miles west of Lake Superior, and gathers in its course all the rivers of its valley. Still loftier mountains separate the sources of the Hudson and Connecticut, and the other rivers of the Atlantic slope.

Blessed with soil and climate unsurpassed, and a Government the nearest to perfection, this region, watered by a mighty inland ocean, is already the chief granary of the world, as well as its great mineral store, although its railway system is not yet extended to its utmost limits; and beyond Michigan it is scarce thirty years since the Americans gained a settlement in its borders.

The greatness of ancient Europe, Asia, and Africa gathered along the shores and harbors of the Mediterranean; all beyond was barbarism, bound to the sovereigns of the Midland Sea only by terror of arms. Even to this day, the laws and literature of those master nations are yet dominant in all the learning and social polity of Europe. This great northern water system is geographically the Mediterranean of the North American continent, and Minnesota, the actual centre, is its omphalos.

The geographical centre of North America in the heart of Minnesota is also the pinnacle of its watershed—the central source of the majestic rivers whose vast basins determine the physical contour, climates, products, commerce, industry, and political destiny of two-fifths of the whole continent.

With such a theatre for development, the future of this great area, in near grasp, surpasses conception. Egypt, with it endless renown, dwindles into insignificance in comparison. The paramount supremacy of any nation depends wholly on its utility to the rest of mankind.

The warrior nation yields in turn to a stronger foe, while all alike are willing tributaries to the natural arbiter of commerce and source of food supply. Wars, by the laws of Providence, attend the convulsions of national change and growth; but all alike ever welcome the white-winged doves of commerce as the ministers and messengers of national glory and prosperity.[Pg 405]


There have been few more striking circumstances connected with the transcendent changes which have taken place in this country during the past three years than the steady verification, amid every change, of those great principles of political economy which, during the past half century, have been the practical guides of European legislation. In fact, under the pressure of war we are slowly coming to realize our fellowship with the communities of the Old World in the laws of social change. Step by step the nation is now passing through all the changes in its internal and domestic condition that took place in Great Britain in the wars with Napoleon. Struck with the novelty and apparent anomalies of our condition, we have been inclined to feel that it was without parallels in history. But in that period of English history which beheld a suspension of specie payment protracted twenty years, an enormous expansion of the currency—the appreciation of gold—a rise in prices unparalleled in any country—a wild spirit of speculation—and, with all, an appearance of astonishing prosperity in the midst of a most exhausting war, we see the reflection of our own condition, and find the lessons by which we should be governed. We have now, for the first time, become a people conscious of taxation. It is clear that the burdens of the future must be still greater than anything we have yet borne in the past. The questions as to the best modes of taxation have already begun to call forth the anxious deliberation of the nation. The question is asked by some if we have not already reached that limit where taxation ceases to be a contribution from the surplus of society, and beyond which it will become a draught on the vital, productive energies of the country. It cannot be unprofitable, at such a time, to examine the history of English taxation in the great periods of similar trial through which that nation has passed.

The great rebellion marks the era of the adoption of a regular system of taxation in Great Britain. 'From a period of immemorial antiquity,' says Macaulay, 'it had been the practice of every English Government to contract debts; what the Revolution introduced was the practice of honestly paying them.'

The change is significant of the triumph of the people. It was found, on the breaking out of the rebellion, that not even an army of Puritans could be sustained without money. The plan of weekly assessments was at first adopted. It was unequal and frequently oppressive. In 1643 it was proposed, in the republican Parliament, to place a tax on the manufacture of beer and cider. The proposition was not at first favorably received. That solemn body had no objection to checking the abominations of beer drinking, but it hesitated to inaugurate a species of taxation which seemed to infringe upon some of the most cherished rights of Englishmen. After much discussion the bill was carried, though with the express declaration that it was compelled by the necessities of the state, and should not be renewed. The tax was soon found too convenient to be dispensed with. In spite of the good resolutions of Parliament, the act was again and again renewed. As the necessities of the state increased, the list of articles was enlarged, and the rate of duty gradually augmented. Thus the excise was introduced to the English people, and thus, almost before they had ceased to look upon it as an intruder, it had acquired a foothold in the budget, from which it has never[Pg 406] since been possible to shake it. The burden of the excise at this period, however, was not oppressive. During the Commonwealth and the reign of Charles II. a tax, which has since produced to the state an annual income of $90,000,000, did not probably average more than £500,000. It gives us a singular picture of the simplicity of that period that even this small sum made up one third of the whole royal revenue for the year. The other two thirds were drawn in about equal proportions from the customs and crown lands.

We now approach one of the most important eras in the financial history of England. The nation was yet unaccustomed to taxation, and was weighed down by no national debt. In the Revolution of 1688, and the events that grew immediately out of it, we find, however, the origin of nearly every species of tax now in use in Great Britain. In the same agitated period we find also the beginning of the national debt. Louis XIV. espoused the cause of James, and England entered upon a war with France. In a conflict with the greatest monarchy of Europe, the Government soon found itself forced to adopt a scale of national expenditure which the preceding generation would not have conceived possible. At once, as in a night, a harvest of strange taxes sprang up on every hand. The list of excisable articles was increased. The tax on houses and windows, that had been so unpopular in the preceding reign, was again introduced, and a new appraisement was made of all the real estate in the kingdom. A degenerate age might take exceptions to some of the other taxes now instituted. An act was passed placing a tax upon bachelors and widowers, fixing, at the same time, 'certain rules and duties on marriages, births, and burials, for the term of five years, for the carrying on the war against France with vigor.' Men were not even permitted to enjoy the subtile luxury derived from having a title attached to the name without taxation. Persons of the present day, wishing to know the relative value of the titles, will be interested in the following law, passed at this time:

Every person bearing the title of 
esquire, or reputed, or owning, or 
writing himself such, shall pay£5
Every gentleman, or reputed gentleman, 
or owning himself such, 
shall pay£1

These, however, were by no means the most burdensome forms of taxation. A man would willingly pay for the distinction of writing himself an esquire, who would grumble with dissatisfaction at the duty on his salt. But to meet the increasing expense of the state, and 'carrying on the war with vigor in France and Ireland' (the propitiating clause with which nearly all the acts of taxation of the period close), the most minute articles, both of necessity and luxury, were required to bear a portion of the common burden. The nation bore its unaccustomed load with singular patience. A license duty on hackney coaches, imposed in 1693, called forth, however, opposition from an unexpected quarter. The outraged wives of the hackmen assembled, and, to express their indignation at the tax, mobbed the offending members of Parliament on their way from the House. It should be mentioned, as showing the intrepidity of that body, or, more probably, the great necessities of the state, that the tax remained unchanged. In spite of all these taxes, the greatest difficulty was experienced in procuring funds to carry on the war. A general lack of confidence in the stability of the Government prevented men from taking up readily the loans which the Government was forced to call for. Various expedients were adopted to attract the cupidity of capitalists. Among these the most successful was the custom of receiving loans upon tontines. This was a species of annuity. Twenty or thirty persons united in the purchase from Govern[Pg 407]ment of an annuity upon the joint lives of their whole number. At the death of each his share went to those who remained, and was distributed equally among them. The final survivor took the whole annuity. No inducements, however, were sufficient to overcome the popular distrust. The national debt had already begun to accumulate. Exchequer bills sold on the street at forty per cent. discount; while, at the same time, a wild spirit of speculation and adventure, such as is too apt to be produced by the unnatural excitements of a state of war, had seized upon the popular mind, and threatened, in its reaction, to bring the whole nation to ruin.

It was at this time of excitement and danger that the National Bank was established. It was not at first favorably received. But the effect of its steadying influence soon began to be felt in the whole financial condition of the state. It even checked for a time the frenzied spirit of stock jobbing, which was absorbing the strength of the nation, and with which a few years later, when the whole country ran wild with the South Sea Bubble, it was so nearly involved in a mortal struggle. Under the influence of the Bank, the business of the nation gradually acquired an evenness and stability which was unknown to any former age.

But while the establishment of this National Bank supplied the Government with a ready and economical method of procuring funds, it did not do away with the necessity of taxes. A new form of taxation was now furnished by the Dutch. This small and ingenious people, in the defence of their liberty, had been early forced into extraordinary expenditures, and were in advance of every other nation in the perfection of their system of taxation. The English Parliament had, in the preceding age, borrowed from them the excise. They now took from the same source the idea of stamp duties. This species of tax had been invented in a competition for a prize offered by the Dutch Government for the discovery of a new form of tax, which should press lightly on the people, and, at the same time, produce a large revenue to the state. Stamps were introduced in England in the year 1693. The nation was now in possession of the four most important methods of taxation: customs, excise, licenses, and stamps. The first had existed in the island from a period of immemorial antiquity. The second was introduced by the Great Rebellion. The third and fourth came in with the wars attendant upon the accession of William and Mary.

Of these different forms it may be said, that the second is most obnoxious to the people, and the third most unequal. We should add, perhaps, to this list the land tax, which, founded on the new assessment made by William, became from this time a regular source of revenue. In this period, we see, was laid the foundation of the whole system of taxation now in use in this country and in Great Britain. The hundred years that followed produced no new species of tax. The five forms which we have mentioned, however, were diligently cultivated. In the nine years which immediately followed the accession of William and Mary, about forty distinct acts of taxation were passed by Parliament. Still it was impossible for a nation counting less than six million inhabitants to pay the expenses of a vast and protracted war by immediate taxation. In 1697 a debt existed of about one hundred million dollars. This is the foundation of that national debt which, with trifling exceptions, has been constantly increasing for more than two centuries, and which now occupies a position of influence not second to that of the throne itself. The importance of the Bank increased with the growth of the debt, and the effects of their combined influence appeared on every hand. They were the national pledges for the stability of the Government.[Pg 408]

Every fresh rumor of preparation on the part of the exiled Stuarts to enter England, filled the people with alarm for the safety of the Bank. And when, in 1745, Charles Edward landed in Scotland, and made his romantic advance into the kingdom, an enormous run was begun on the Bank. It was prevented from doing harm only by the patriotism of the London merchants. In this brief rebellion the people realized the important financial interest which each citizen had acquired in the permanency of the existing Government and the stability of the reigning house.

At first Parliament had proceeded in the imposition of its taxes on the principle that a tax, to be equitable and easy, should be distributed over a great variety of articles. It was argued that a man would pay a small duty on a large number of things with less inconvenience and consciousness of burden than if the same tax was levied upon a few prominent articles. The pettiness of the tax would keep him in a kind of deception as to the total amount he was paying, which not even the frequency with which he was called upon to pay it would entirely remove. This theory, together with a condition of state in which the wants of Government were constantly increasing, produced, in the time of William and Mary, a constant multiplication of petty taxes. In the early part of the following reign many of these were consolidated in separate funds, which were designated to pay specific parts of the national debt.

But the number of articles subject to taxation was not reduced. The restlessness of the people under the numerous exactions of the excise soon, however, suggested the necessity of a change. Government now passed to one of those extremes which were only too common in an age when political economy had not yet risen into a science, and legislation was only an art of shifts and expedients. In 1736 a tax of five dollars upon the gallon was imposed on all English-made spirits, with a corresponding protective tariff on those of foreign manufacture. The result of this extraordinary tax proved the folly of its originators. It failed as a source of revenue, and, so far from removing these articles beyond the reach of the poor, which had been one of the designs of the bill, it was estimated that the business of smuggling was so stimulated by the enormous bounty offered upon its labors, that the amount of spirits consumed in the kingdom during the existence of this tax was not sensibly diminished. After a short trial the tax was removed.

The work of reducing the list of excisable articles was nevertheless begun, and from this time it went slowly, and, except as interrupted by extraordinary demands upon the state, steadily forward. Stamps, however, were governed by a different law. Its inoffensiveness, the economy of its mode of collection, together with its ready availability, caused this species of tax to be brought into more and more extensive use. In fact, a constant increase of taxation in some form had become necessary in order to meet the increasing expenses of the state. After the close of the war in 1697, strong efforts were made to pay off the national debt, the rising greatness of which filled all classes with alarm. No corresponding efforts since have been rewarded with similar results. In the brief period of peace that followed, the national debt was reduced one fifth. Four expensive wars, following each other in rapid succession, overwhelmed the petty labors of the sinking fund, put an end to the work of diminution, and left the nation, at the beginning of the war with her colonies in this country, oppressed with a debt of $600,000,000. It came out from this struggle with $500,000,000 added to the burden of the state. This point of time may be fixed as the close of the second epoch. A new class of[Pg 409] changes now begin, which have had, if possible, a greater influence on the financial condition of England, as it exists at the present, than those we have already described.

In 1793, notwithstanding its enormous debt, the country boldly entered upon its great conflict with France. It is impossible to look without admiration upon the obstinate energy displayed by the English nation during this conflict, which lasted, with slight intermissions, for more than twenty years, and by which the annual tax was quadrupled, and the national debt increased beyond a chance of final extinction. In the astonishing revolution which it wrought in the financial condition of the state, as well as in much of the social phenomena with which it was accompanied, this conflict strongly resembles that in which the States of the North are engaged against the South. The first effects of the war appeared in the tax system.

Great changes had taken place in Great Britain since the time of the introduction of a regular system of taxation in 1688. Land was no longer the most important source of income to the citizen. Profits from other sources had sprung up. Commerce had discovered the riches of the Eastern trade, and manufactures, stimulated by new inventions, had begun to assume an importance and exert an influence which already threatened to revolutionize the whole condition of society. Unconsciously to itself, the nation had reached a point where any large increase in the demands of the state must produce a new species of taxation. The war with France supplied the impulse required. In 1797, Government attempted to meet the extraordinary expenses of the year by tripling the tax on houses and windows, etc. The experiment failed. It was found that these taxes, which had been the 'towers of strength' of a preceding generation, could no longer be relied on in the changed circumstances that had been brought about by time.

It was in many respects one of the darkest periods in English history. The Austrian armies, exhausted by repeated defeats, hoped only to be able to defend themselves if attacked. Spain and the Netherlands had joined themselves to France. Against the power of Napoleon England stood up alone. At this critical juncture, a mutiny broke out in the English navy. The whole fleet in the channel refused to do duty. The fleet at the Nore, catching the spirit of revolt, also raised the red flag. The doctrines of the French Revolution were sedulously scattered throughout the kingdom, and in several counties of Ireland actual uprisings had taken place. Added to these were financial difficulties. The enormous outlays demanded for the prosecution of the war were very naturally weakening the public confidence in the final ability of the Government to pay the extravagant sums it was obliged to borrow. Under the influence of the distrust thus engendered stocks fell. Three per cents., which had sold at 98, went down to 53. Many of the loans effected by the Government at this time and during the war were made with a discount of forty per cent. on the nominal value of the stock. Gold was scarce, and rapidly rising. The pressure on the Bank for redemption was greater than it had been since the rebellion of 1745, and threatened, unless corrective measures were at once adopted, to bring that institution to actual bankruptcy.

The undaunted courage and resolution of the Government, in the midst of this accumulation of difficulties, saved the country. The writ of habeas corpus was suspended. By an admirable mingling of firmness and conciliation the mutiny was quelled in the navy without serious consequences resulting to the state. To meet the financial difficulties, an act was passed by Parliament permitting the Bank to suspend specie payment—thus delivering the country, for a period of more[Pg 410] than twenty years, over to a wholly inconvertible paper currency. From these strong measures the enemies of the country anticipated the most disastrous results. They were, however, doomed to disappointment. Even Napoleon at length grew weary of prophesying the bankruptcy of a nation which every year, from this time, gave more and more effective proofs of the stability of its finances. It was the singular fortune of Great Britain to have at the head of its finances, at this juncture, a man, who in a different sphere, exhibited a spirit scarcely less bold, indomitable, and comprehensive than that of the First Consul himself. This man was Mr. Pitt. The finances of Great Britain, even at the present day, bear witness to the extraordinary changes instituted by this statesman. The tax on houses, windows, etc., had failed. In 1798, Mr. Pitt, with a characteristic fertility of invention, brought forward a bill laying a tax on incomes. By this bill, which is the foundation of all those that have since followed, no tax was imposed on incomes that were less than $300; on incomes above this sum a small tax was laid, which gradually increased until it became one tenth of all incomes over $1,000. The income tax was designed by Mr. Pitt to be simply a war tax. According to his plan the interest upon the national debt, which he kept funded as far as possible, was to be provided for solely from the indirect taxes, leaving the direct tax to meet the extraordinary expenses of the war. The most original feature of the financial system instituted by this statesman, however, was the sinking fund. To prevent the rapid accumulation of the national debt, Mr. Pitt, even before the breaking out of the war with France, had obtained from Parliament permission to set aside six million dollars, with an addition, afterward made, of one per cent. of all the loans made by Government, as a fund to be expended in the purchase of Government stock. The rapid growth of this fund from the constant compounding of interest would, he declared, be sufficient, ultimately, to consume the entire debt of the state. The result seemed to justify his prediction. Constantly in the market, the sinking fund saved the state, by its timely purchases many times during the war, from the disastrous depreciation to which the public stock was liable at every unfavorable turn of the conflict. In 1815, so enormous had been the financial transactions of the state that this fund amounted to about $75,000,000.

In 1802 the income tax was discontinued; and, in the following year, was renewed under the name of the property tax. The expenses of the state continued to rise, and it became necessary that this tax should be largely increased. During the last ten years of the war the property tax required ten per cent. of all the incomes of the kingdom—with a few exceptions—to be paid into the national treasury every year. Never before had such a burden been laid on Englishmen. All classes groaned under the exactions of a tax every penny of which they were made conscious of by direct collection. In comparison with the property tax all other burdens seemed easy. It is now clear, however, that the nation could never have passed successfully through the great struggle in which it was engaged without the assistance of the tax upon incomes. It stood next in order of productiveness to the excise. In the year 1815 the property tax produced seventy-five millions of dollars. Still the people remembered with pleasure that the word of Parliament had been given that it should not continue longer than the return of peace. The time was eagerly looked forward to when that promise should be redeemed. Early in 1816 the question of the continuance of the tax came up before Parliament. A strong party, impressed with the importance of diminishing the national debt, advocated its continuance. Every night, for two months,[Pg 411] the subject was anxiously discussed. The motion for its abolition was at last carried. The vast crowd which had assembled without the Parliament House to await the result, caught the sound of cheering in the chamber, and, receiving it as a signal of success, rent the air with shouts of joy. The enthusiasm spread with the news. Bells were rung as for a great victory, and bonfires in all parts of the kingdom proclaimed the joy of the nation at its release from what was regarded the moat oppressive burden of the war. Twenty-five years later the income tax was again revived.

The national debt at the close of the war with France amounted to a little more than $424,000,000,000. Of this, $300,000,000,000 had been added by the war. During the last years of the contest the annual expenditures of the state were $585,000,000. The population of the island was at this time 13,400,000, from which $360,000,000 was annually collected in taxes. It is important to notice the condition of the people during this epoch. For nearly twenty years the country had been under the uncontrolled influence of a paper currency. It had been a period of remarkable prosperity, coupled with unparalleled changes. And here we find many points of resemblance with the present condition of our own country. The rapidly expanding currency, the enormous demands of the war, and the spirit of speculation engendered by the sharp alternations of hope and fear, and the extraordinary fluctuations of the markets had stimulated in every branch of business a preternatural activity. Manufactures, which the beginning of the war had found just rising into prominence, rapidly developed in an age of financial profusion. No such progress had ever been made in a corresponding period. Exports were doubled. The shipping rose from one to two and a half million tons. The whole nation exhibited the singular spectacle of a country constantly advancing in wealth and prosperity in the midst of one of the most exhaustive wars that the world has ever seen.

To this, however, there was apparently, at least, one exception. Prices rose steadily from the beginning of the war. This was true not merely of unimportant articles, or those which, by the exercise of a more severe economy, could be in part dispensed with. The cost of the necessaries of life doubled. Wheat rose from forty-nine shillings per quarter in 1797 to one hundred and forty shillings in 1813; while the beef which was sold in Smithfield market, at the beginning of the war, at three shillings per stone, constantly advanced in price, until the same quantity in 1814 could only be bought for six shillings. Malt, coal, wages—everything rose proportionately. Few questions have been the subject of more discussion than the cause of this remarkable rise of prices. Two diverse explanations have been given, each put forth by men whose habits of thought and opportunities for observation qualify them to speak on the subject with authority. One large party attribute the rise of prices that took place at this period, entirely to the influence of the suspension of specie payment by the Bank, which, as they say, flooded the country with an inflated and depreciated paper currency, and thus necessitated a corresponding rise in the price of the articles given in exchange for it. So strongly does this reasoning commend itself to the minds of those familiar with the first principles of political economy, that it has been very generally accepted. And it is worthy of notice that these are almost the only arguments which can be heard in explanation of the similar rise of prices now going on in this country. A more subtile but very important class of influences were brought to notice by another party, under the able leadership of Mr. Tooke. By these the rise of prices is, to a large degree, attributed to the excited spirit of speculation pro[Pg 412]duced by the war, which, as they show, twice during this period brought the country to the brink of ruin. In favor of this explanation it may be further said that the fall of prices began immediately on the close of the war, and at no time was greater than in 1817, two years before the resumption of specie payment by the Bank. In 1819 the Bank of England resumed the payment of specie. Gold, which had been at one time at a premium of twenty-five per cent., now fell rapidly, and in 1821 was again at par.

It is difficult to say which has exerted the largest influence on the finances of Great Britain—the Revolution of 1688, or the wars with France in the beginning of this century. The first gave to England its system of taxation, but the last developed the capabilities of that system, and adapted it to the wants of a growing and commercial people.

The nation came out of its long conflict with taxes pressing upon nearly every important branch of industry. In the sixteen years that followed the war with France, taxes to the amount of nearly $200,000,000, were taken off from the country. These changes gave opportunities for many important reforms. While the national debt was slowly reduced, the tax system underwent great changes. Many taxes which had checked the growth of important branches of business were entirely removed. Efforts were made to reduce the excise, which was always an unpopular form of taxation. In carrying forward these changes, it was found that one really productive tax might be made to take the place of a large number of small duties which pressed with peculiar severity upon the people. Government now turned longingly to that 'splendid source of revenue,' as it was aptly called, which it had so reluctantly relinquished in 1816. In 1842, Sir Robert Peel suddenly brought forward a plan for a new tax upon incomes. It was at once adopted. This income tax differed, however, in many important particulars, from the one which the Government had been compelled to make use of in the wars with France. By it incomes under $750 were exempt. A discrimination of very great importance was also made, which has been the occasion since for much refined discussion, and is founded in sound reason, but which has hitherto been wholly overlooked in the legislation in this country. A discrimination was made between salaries and the incomes divided from realized capital. Taxable incomes, partaking of the nature of a salary, and upon which a tax would have the character of a duty on capital, were required by the provisions of this new act to pay only one half as much as those incomes which arose from, and would be therefore added to, wealth already acquired.

The income, or property tax, as it is now called, completes the system of taxation which is now relied upon to supply the varying but always enormous wants of Great Britain. Through these various sources during the past year the English Government has collected an income of three hundred and fifty million dollars—about the same it obtained through the same channels from a population of thirteen million inhabitants in the closing years of the war with Napoleon. With the same system of taxation, our own Government has, during the past year, obtained an income of one hundred and eleven million dollars. If we examine particularly the sources of the English revenue at these two epochs, and compare them with the corresponding branches of taxation with us, we find that in the year closing in 1815, the receipts from customs amounted to about fifty-six million dollars—a sum, it will be noticed, considerably less than that drawn from the same source in this country for the past year, but only about half the amount derived from customs in Great Britain in the year ending September, 1863. From the property tax was obtained[Pg 413] about seventy-five million dollars—the modified form of this tax now in use in Great Britain produces about fifty million dollars per annum. Either of these sums is probably much larger than it would be advisable to attempt to produce by a direct tax in this country. Stamps, in 1815, yielded an income of thirty million dollars. During the past year this simple and productive source of revenue produced in Great Britain forty-five million dollars. It seems probable that this species of tax might be extended in this country much farther than it now is, without oppression to the people, and with a handsome increase of the revenue.

But the excise has ever been the most productive fountain of revenue in Great Britain. The income from this tax in that country, during the year ending September, 1863, was eighty-four million dollars. In the year 1815, when, on account of the smaller population, the other sources of revenue were less productive than at the present day, the excise yielded an income of not less than a hundred and thirty-five million dollars. It is worthy of notice that, of this income, the tax upon the various forms of spirituous liquors supplied a large element. English spirits, which, in the experiment of 1736, it had been found could not carry a tax of five dollars per gallon, it was now found easily bore the more moderate but still large tax of ten shillings sixpence sterling. Aside from this tax was the duty on beer, cider, and malt, the last of which alone yielded an income of thirteen million dollars annually.

We have lingered on these details, which to many will be dry and uninteresting, because they supply a kind of guide to the changes which must ultimately take place in the tax laws of this country, and because, further, they furnish an answer to all those objections which periodically disturb the minds of the timid and doubtfully patriotic in our midst. But these lessons we must leave the reader to extract for himself. We close simply with saying that, while excessive and undiscriminating taxation is always a curse, yet taxation, properly imposed, although severe and long continued, may be far from disadvantageous. We have seen the English people slowly arising, through two centuries, from a nation comparatively free from taxation and without a national debt, to one bearing an annual tax of three hundred and fifty million dollars, and holding absorbed in its midst a national debt of nearly four thousand million dollars. We have seen it during this period constantly advancing in prosperity and greatness—the national debt adding stability to the Government, and taxation giving caution and stability to the transactions of private life.


NO. I.

One of the most sublime of all facts beneath that of the Divine Being, appears in the existence of an immortal soul. There it stands—once for all, once forever. The earth might be wasted away, at the rate of a single grain in a century, without passing the very infancy of our spirit's life. How insignificant, in the comparison, a world like our own, in all its temporal aspects. What the future duration of the earth may be, we have no means of knowing; but if less than endless, it is of little moment in the presence of the least capacious human soul.[Pg 414]



I find myself writing upon matters connected, at least, with, religion, with the thought of saying something useful—of presenting a valuable experience, if not a valuable congeries of new ideas. Most readers deeply interested in religion are, by this time, demanding that I show my colors—present my creed; otherwise they will shut themselves up from my influence. As I write, church bells are ringing. I know that many of those who now assemble to hang with a deathly solemnity upon the lips of preachers—while death, hell, heaven, eternity, atonement are the themes—will say: 'He treats lightly the most serious matters: he treads with dancing pumps on holy ground.' Now I claim to be, above all things, an earnest, solemn person. Yet do I verily believe that there is a humorous side to all subjects, that is not ignored by even the loftiest beings; and that, in a restricted sense, it may be said of all well-balanced persons, as a philosopher has said of children: 'Because they are in innocence, therefore they are in peace; and because they are in peace, therefore all things are with them full of mirth.' It must be admitted, however, that if the 'orthodox' creed is wholly correct, we find in the Puritans and their existing imitators the only consistent Christians. In view of the inevitable damnation of a majority of the race, they set their faces against all mirth; would eat no pleasant bread, and wear no beautiful raiment. I followed them to the letter, till, the 'naked eye' not being wholly blinded, nor the ear deafened by theologic din, I saw that nature, in all her guises and voices, was firmly opposed to all such gloomy dogmas.

In a word, then, as to creed, I find no satisfactory platform save that of the broadest eclecticism. The motto of the old Greek, 'Know that good is in all,' is mine. I am aware that the danger accruing from this style of creed is, that one often gets, in the effort at impartiality, into the meshes of pantheism; and then your list of gods many and lords many comprises all the chief divinities, from Brahm and Buddh to Thor; you priding yourself the while upon the consideration shown for 'local prejudices' by your not putting Christ at the end of the list. But, after life-long investigation, I am not ashamed to say, in the words, though not in the spirit of Emperor Julian, 'Galilean, thou hast conquered;' with Augustine, 'Let my soul calm itself in Thee; I say, let the great sea of my soul, that swelleth with waves, calm itself in Thee;' with De Staël, 'Inconcevable énigme de la vie; que la passion, ni la douleur, ni le génie ne peuvent découvrir, vous revelerez-vous à la prière;' with practical Napoleon, 'I know men, and Jesus Christ was not a man;' with a Chevalier Bunsen and a Beecher, 'Jesus Christ is my God, without any ifs or buts.' I can assent more decidedly than does Teuflesdröck, in the 'Everlasting Nay,' to the doctrine of regeneration. I narrow the whole matter down to these plain facts: Of all religions, Christianity is best calculated to elevate man's nature; and of all Christians, they reach the highest spiritual condition who regard Christ as utterly divine.

On this other matter that enters so largely into my narrative—the conjugality of disembodied spirits—I cannot forbear some further discourse before proceeding historically. The absurd idea is still prevalent that there is no sex in heaven. Those who retain this notion, despite the revelations of science concerning the universality of sex[Pg 415] throughout creation, cannot reason very candidly. When we find in the earth positives but no negatives, light but no heat, strength but no beauty, action but no passivity, wisdom but no love, intellection but no intuition, reflection but no perception, science but no religion, then, at last, may we expect to see in the heavens men but no women.

Take the conjugal element from human creatures, and you have Hamlet without the ghost. Excepting, perhaps, the religious, it is the most powerful, prominent, exacting part of our nature. In 'man's unregenerate state,' at least, the love story is the most interesting book, marriage the most interesting ceremony, true lovers' dalliance the most interesting sight. For the beloved, one relinquishes all else—performs the greatest prodigies. Marriage is the subject most thought of, most talked about. Around it cluster all the other events of life. Rejoice, then, O 'romantic' youth and maiden, now in the days of thy youth; for this flitting romance—so soon interrupted by care and grief, by shop and kitchen and nursery, by butcher, baker, tailor, milliner, and cordwainer—is about the most genuine experience you will have in this world. Therefore, say I, cultivate romance. Devour a goodly number of the healthier novels. Weep and laugh over them—believing every word. Amadis de Gaul, even, is a better model than Gradgrind. Adore each the other sex—positively worship! Both are worshipful (in the 'abstract').

What healthy-minded person loves not to behold the eye-sparkle of pure admiration between young man and maid? 'They worship, truly, they know not what.' In bowing down to their ideal, they bow to the real human—the purified man or woman of the better land. The recluse is ever the true prophet and seer, in this as in still higher matters. Your modest-eyed student, stealing glances of unfeigned admiration at ordinary maidens, is not such a simpleton as some suppose. His seclusion has cleared his vision. He sees on through the eons—sees things as they will or may be—regards the objects of his adoration as he will in the angelhood. Why will so many decry this admiration?—when they see that, not till the youth passes the purely romantic age—fourteen to sixteen or eighteen—and begins to have commonplace thoughts of the other sex, does mischief arise.

The idea of eternal conjugality should lighten all faces with hope, and should have a most conservative influence in society. Those who are not very well matched, and yet are conscious that the very highest earthly bliss comes of a right mating, are not content to pass through this life without enjoying this bliss, if they suppose that it appertains solely to earth. So, many of them break bounds and bonds. Let these but accept the idea that conjugality is one of the chief features of the heavenly life, and they can settle down steadily to the apparent duties of this sphere, content with 'peace on earth,' since now they feel sure of rapture in heaven—a rapture, too, mind you, of a kind with which they are somewhat acquainted. It is all very well to anticipate the fact which 'eye hath not seen,' etc. But men need the prospect of an eternal joy they know of, as much as they needed that awe-inspiring Jehovah should outwork in love-inspiring Christ. In view of this, among other joys set before him, the extra-earnest worker, in public or private, can more easily deprive himself of that amount of social intercourse with the other sex which he craves. Such can suffice themselves with occasional glances of the complementary portion of mankind; and as they hurriedly pass seraphic faces in the street, they wave the hand of the spirit after them, saying: 'I prithee, O thou wonder, art human or no?' 'O you sweet beautiful! 'the king's business requires haste. Providence has set our lives so far apart we cannot[Pg 416] hear each other speak.' But you will be a woman, and I will be a man, forever. In paradise, I will read wonderful things in those and other such eyes, and wonder at you forever. Vale! vale!'

There is a poet claiming to be of the supernal life—especially of the supernal conjugal—who has written 'epics' and 'lyrics,' of which I must honestly say, as Emerson, I believe, once honestly said of some of the writings of Swedenborg: 'I read them with an unction and an afflatus quite indescribable.' They lift one to the empyrean like nothing else I know of outside the Bible. There is such a saintly purity; such a wondrous, rich, mellow joyousness; such bounding elasticity of spirit; such an evidently irresistible gush of song in the heart; such broad catholicity of religion, that, to some, it seems impossible that they could have been written anywhere but under the perpetual midsummer skies of paradise. It may show poor taste, but to me, in those regions of the upper ether wherein Tennyson, Mrs. Browning, and Shelley grow wing-weary, he soars on strong, free pinion. His 'imaginings,' if such they are, of immortal life, as much surpass in plausibility and naturalness those of Milton, Dante, and Virgil, as the acting of a first-class theatre surpasses that seen in the old monkish 'mysteries.' This writer, T. L. Harris, has won much recognition in both hemispheres; would win much more if he appeared simply as a poet, and did not claim a seer faculty, making many positive statements that cannot be verified. He certainly comes up to Aristotle's standard, where he says: 'The object of the poet is not to treat the True as it really happened, but as it should have happened.'

And now the story. I left myself indulging in reveries concerning the expected sight of my invisible charmer. The appointed hour came. I was quite excited. I knew that the land was already full of people who claimed to see the sights of the other world as spirits see them, and fully expected to have my clairvoyant faculty opened. But I saw no 'sudden Ianthe;' and to this day have never seen even a kobold, a wraith, or a döppelganger! This was doubtless fortunate; for I was nearly driven into lunacy by the things I heard before I reached the end of this 'youthful adventure.' I should have gone 'clean daft' if the bugaboo had been permitted to show me the sights they presently promised.

Soon came again my collocutor with explanations.

'You were in such a state of excitement that the united efforts of more than forty of your spirit friends were utterly unavailing for the opening of your sight. We, too, became so excited that we lost all control of ourselves, and could only weep to hear your mournful appeals followed by your surrender of all claims upon me.' ... 'Do not think that I could ever hope to bask beneath the sunshine of your smile after having intentionally deceived you.'

Then followed much similar feminine beguilement; the faculty for which seems to be rather increased by the Jordan bath.

It began to be a noticeable fact that their magnetic power over me was such that they could cast me down to the borders of despair, and raise me thence to rapture at will. Thus a few moments of such ordinary blandishments as the following were the only apparent means of raising my usually slow-moving spirits from a very low to a very high pitch. I was complaining of the waste of paper, in writing words of letters three or four inches high; did not think any law, even a law of nature, justified the imposition of such an expenditure upon a spouse in a separate sphere. 'She' promised to tone down the expressions of attachment until she could talk as largely as she pleased; and to some further suggestions, replied:

'Really, you are quite impertinent,[Pg 417] considering the short time we have been married.' ...

Slightly singular as it may seem to those who think that this narration is 'all gammon,' I had gone through the usual course of acquaintanceship with this airy nothing; was first distant and reserved; then slightly thawed, though still horrified at the thought of having all my thoughts read; and finally, after I felt that the invisible eyes had read, in my memory, every page of my history, was perfectly familiar and at ease in the presence this finite searcher of hearts.

I find, next in order, the following:

'So you wish me to prove that we were married, do you? Well, when you become a denizen of this higher, but none the less practical sphere, you may read, if you please, where, with wonder and strange emotion, I read, in the heavenly records of marriages.' ... [It was dated about the time of my birth.] 'Your banter is not so agreeable as your tenderness.' ... 'You are incorrigible. It will take me many a long age to bring you to a due sense of my importance,' etc. 'Some of my friends are beside themselves with mirth, at my vain attempts at taming a spirit so rude.' Then came another promise of opened vision. 'A truly solemn scene is at hand. Spend the interval in prayer.'

But again there was something wrong about the spiritual zinc or acid, and the electrical machinery would not work. The fair or foul deceiver (who knows?) came up very solemn after this failure.

''Though all men forsake thee,' said Peter, 'yet will not I forsake thee.' So now, when the highest spirits of heaven have fled in terror and dismay, your poor darling will not forsake you. Well might I sit, like Job's friends, seven days, ay, seventy times seven, in silent contemplation of him who—woe is me!—fears that I am but another Delilah, commissioned by his enemies to betray him into their hands. What can I say? what do? Oh that I had never seen the glorious light of the sun or the pure myriads of my happy home, rather than I should have beheld that sight last night. How can I explain the fact that he, whom I, at least, believe to be heaven's most supreme (string of adjectives) favorite, is sitting here with his unutterable but unrepining sorrow looking forth from his ... eyes.'

Just here I caught a glimpse of my divinity, and turning in wrath and scorn to my Titania, said, mockingly:

"While I thine amiable cheeks do coy!"

To this she replies: 'Do not heap additional reproaches upon me, by any such awfully ludicrous quotations.' ... 'So you think that your Delilah is striving to gain time by all these pious and otherwise interesting remarks?' ... 'Nay, do not with loathing cast me from you as an an unholy and hateful thing! for then, oh, what I should then do or be, I cannot, dare not even think.' ... 'Again you see my woman's heart cannot suppress its emotions toward one who still hopes that he has been talking with ——; and who says that, for him to be convinced of this, is to be convinced that she who has been talking with him has not intentionally deceived him.'

She then wrought upon my feelings by portraying her sufferings, until, in my maudlin condition, I was casting about to find how I should help her; just as you sometimes see a drunken tramp striving to pull his drunken pal out of a ditch.

'So, most self-forgetful, you begin to think that you ought to help me bear my burden; as you have planned sitting there, with your little friend encircling you in her so warm embrace. But why should I inform you of such fact, as this last, until you are convinced that all you have heard is not the wily utterance of seducing and[Pg 418] hellish spirits? Try not to entertain such awful suspicions. As to the cause of these lamentable failures, I can only suppose that the Lord wishes to make us, who wrongly prophesied, sensible of our inability to foretell future events.'

Then came some bungled Scriptures about my 'mission,' which roused my ire. My taunts drew forth this response:

'Why do you love to ridicule my tenderness, and speak so awfully to one who has no other human source of perfect happiness?'

The day following, the solemn dodge was again resorted to. I began to feel a sort of awe creeping over me. My affectionate friend thereupon wrote:

'What a change a few minutes have wrought in you. Yes! yes! the morning light is breaking. The fiery trial is complete. As I write there rests upon your now placid brow a glorious and marvellously beautiful crown. The cup is drained. 'To him that sat in the valley and shadow of death light has sprung up.' And now awe seizeth me: for there standeth, as yet a long way off, one whose form is like to that of the Son of Man. In a very little while, now, the great event must inevitably occur. He who stands upon the holy mount prepares to open your sight, and give you your commission. How can we see him face to face and live! Let not a passing suspicion of further delay disturb you. Already you begin to feel the influence of his approach. Well may you heave a sigh—as one who experiences a sudden and unlooked-for relief. In less than ten minutes the Lord will appear to you. So make ready, in solemn meditation and prayer, for the most solemn event of your or any other man's life is at hand.'

'If the vision tarry, wait for it,' is the only scripture that seems applicable to my visions: for still they came not. Yet some very serious and substantial experiences now fell to my lot, which shall be the theme of another chapter.


As manager of this exhibition, I would request the orchestra to play something gloomy and grand, during the remainder of the performance; something weird, mysterious; something in which you can hear the soughing of the wind through the pines of the Hartz Mountains or the Black Forest. A passage from a Faust opera or Der Freischutz might meet the case; for it began to be intimated to me, now that I was sufficiently clairaudient to be able to dispense almost entirely with the pencil, that his Satanic Majesty was no indifferent spectator of the preparation of the man who was about to interfere so signally with his plans and pursuits. Thereupon there began to steal over me for the first time,

'A sense of something dreadful, something near.

However it was managed, from this moment till the end of this phase of life I am narrating, I had an almost constant sense of the presence of 'genii of the pit,' of vast intelligence, cruel as ever Satan was imagined, relentless as fate, cold as Dante's ice hells could make them. At first, some influence led me to review the traditional history and prospects of my supposed distinguished visitor, at some length. I discussed the state of his case with no little unction, though shaking in my boots, and in momentary expectation of being gobbled up, body and soul, and whisked off in sulphurous smoke, with only a sulphur-burnt hole in the carpet to mark the spot where I saw the last of earth.

Presently my inseparable companion broke in with:

'He hears you! he hears you! and never may it be my lot again to look upon—' ... 'There he is again, glaring with inexpressible rage upon the comparatively insignificant man who just now so plainly revealed to him 'the true state of the case.' I am almost afraid to look upon that awful[Pg 419] visage. 'The state of the case is it?' he exclaims. 'We will see what is the state.''—

There is a break here in the manuscript, which is resumed thus: 'You have conquered! frantic with rage he has fled, never, I trust, to return.'

How will I remember what happened during that awful pause? It was spent, I suppose, in a hand-to-hand conflict with the Prince of Darkness; the agreeableness of which was not enhanced by my vivid recollection of the 'bit of a discooshin' between Christian and Apollyon depicted in the old family Pilgrim's Progress. We are truly 'the stuff that dreams are made of.' What mattered it to me, on that bland summer afternoon, since I was of this opinion, whether it was Beelzebub himself or some departed 'blazing tinman,' with a suit of his majesty's old clothes on, while himself, all snug at home,

'Sat in his easy chair,
Drinking his sulphur tea.'

That was certainly one of the most awful moments of my life, in which I felt the first dreadful rush of this invisible tiger. It seemed as if he swooped toward me to annihilate me in a moment; but was restrained by a higher power. His coming was like the rush of a fifteen-inch shell past one's head.

As soon as I saw that the first onset did not destroy me, I gathered strength to face the monster; for a tongue combat seemed all that was permitted him. He put me through my theological paces at an awful rate—using the Socratic dialectic—growling out questions in the tones of a cathedral organ, that made me shiver. Oh that I could remember that fearful catechism! It would make a tract for which the Tom Paine Association would pay a high price. He drove me—partly, I suppose, by magnetic force—step by step, from my cherished religious opinions. My reasons for believing in the cardinal doctrines of Christianity seemed to burn like straw before his fiery rhetoric, and to turn to dust beneath the ponderous blows of his iron logic. He pushed me away from all I had esteemed reliable in the universe, till I seemed to stand on the verge of creation. There I hung with the strength of terror. Then I found poet Campbell true to nature, where he speaks of hope standing intact ''mid Nature's funeral pyre.' I insisted upon 'hoping,' in spite of all his fiery hail.

After he had beaten down all my defences, he began to jeer at me with fierce sneers and goblin laughter that froze my blood. 'So I was the contemptible manikin who dared to entertain the idea of equality with him—the Star of the Morning—one breath of whose nostrils would wither me into nonentity. So I presumed to stand up and face him, who had, in his time, scattered the hosts of heaven! If it were not for those cursed, white-livered things (angels) that stood in the way, he would swoop down and destroy me in an instant.'

Having found and maintained foothold for several minutes on the rock of hope, I began to consider how weak things had of erst confounded the things that were mighty, and soon the wirepullers behind the scenes (whoever they were) had me smiting him hip and thigh. I 'began in weakness, but ended in power.' At first a few muttered remonstrances, but finally whole Ironsides broadsides, with the result above named. The words of my antagonist, during this encounter, rang through my brain with awful distinctness. For a day or two I had been communicating partly with the pencil, and partly by clairaudience, eked out by writing in the air with my forefinger. But this demon, or demon pro tem., needed not to write his words: his 'trumpet gave no uncertain sound.'

The thoughtful reader will perceive what a strong point my magnetizers gained by this scene. After disappointing me so many times, they could not, with all their power over me, have kept[Pg 420] me from throwing the whole thing overboard, without resorting to some such coup d'état. Being, doubtless, on better terms with the infernal than with the supernal regions, these denizens of the Intermediate Limbo (we will suppose that my strange guests were mostly of this sort of nondescripts) had perhaps induced some bona fide demon to act the part of the king of them all, 'for this night only.' It certainly was an immense success. I, to be sure, had not received the expected commission: but had I not fought the great red dragon, and, like another St. George, pinned him to the earth, through supernatural aid? Here was a substantial success. I write this merrily enough now; but was not often merry then—was indeed acting great, real tragedy.

I was not long to enjoy this triumph. The word came: 'Again he comes!' Then I had another long, hard fight; but this time was not pushed so near the wall. I was then told by my spiritual adviser and Circe of the unbounded admiration expressed for me by those who had listened to this 'ever-memorable' disputation.

The attempt to craze me, or—putting the best face on it—to show me how spiritists are generally crazed, now began in downright earnest. All that night, despite my entreaties to be permitted to sleep, I was kept awake, and busied with a variety of 'extremely important' business. I am naturally a solid, regular sleeper, and do not prosper upon Napoleon or Humboldt portions of repose; but now could only suit my persecutors by rising on one elbow in bed, and 'wrestling' for the salvation of my next neighbor. They sedulously poured into my mind all manner of apocrypha concerning this gentleman's shortcomings—about the necessity of praying for and at him, and about the effects of my efforts, i. e., bringing a streak of celestial light upon him—until I was almost ready to wish that he might be ——, rather than that I should have any such unseasonable work to perform in his behalf. But they kept me at it, straight through the night and a large portion of the next day; and finally induced me to go, much against my will, to reveal to him some of my experiences, and to endeavor to force from him an acknowledgment that what I had heard about him was true.

The attempt to cause at least a temporary aberration of my intellect now becomes very plain in the manuscript. Every idea is uttered in the most exciting manner. All statements and prognostications about my neighbor having proved false (he was amazed at my procedure), the invisible busybodies boiled over thus:

'He has lied! he has lied to you! and if you would preserve your reason, go and read the papers to him. He had schooled himself to show no emotion, and you showed enough to excite his worst, most hideous fears. So go, for Heaven's sake! He quailed once, and only once, before your not sufficiently steady gaze. Woe! woe! woe! Now what shall be done?' ... [Evidently trying to get up a teapot tempest.] 'Do not strive to unravel this mystery in that fiercely keen way, or this evil spirit will have to give place to a more expert deceiver. God will certainly do something soon to set these matters straight, or I shall cease to be!' [She had said annihilation was possible!] 'Your father wishes to speak to you.'

A fatherly spirit it was truly—was for driving me mad off hand, but overshot the mark.

'Son, this is awful! I can only say to you, be calm and cool, for you will need to be both to get free from this snare of Satan, so well conceived. Better go to supper now (for appearance sake): after that, pray for help. When you took away those books [after reading extracts to the neighbor], the whole crew of devils,' etc., etc.

This exciting language 'brought me up with a round turn.' I saw at once[Pg 421] the object of the person who was talking with me. So I brought the affair to a full stop, as far as the use of my hand was concerned. I simply added, on that leaf—speaking now for myself:

'I will hear no further. This part of my discipline is finished.'

But I was forced to hear, whether I wrote or not. I had come to this wisdom too late. I fully believe that, as far as my ability to prevent the catastrophe was concerned, I was then and there a possessed person—a slave of spirits—as utterly bound to do the will of my magnetizers as ever a 'subject' was. Though I cannot be persuaded that all these beings, from whom unseen I had heard so much, were 'only evil continually,' no 'harmonialist' can persuade me that those who now began to play with me, as a cat plays with a mouse, were other than evil. In all imaginable ways, they strove to show me how utterly I had lost self-command and self-control. (I am esteemed obstinate by nature.)

What is very singular, I now lost sight of my 'prima donna.' It would seem natural that a Delilah would, at least, have come with a jeering 'The Philistines be upon thee, Samson.' But no, not till this great tribulation was over did I hear from 'her.'

That evening and night were spent, mostly, in showing me that I was no longer my own master. There was not, however, that continuous hell-blast upon me that so scorched my soul on the following afternoon. The cats were tossing me in their velvet paws—only occasionally protruding a sharp claw as a reminder, until they could feel surer of their victim. They would say to me: 'Now we will exalt you to heaven;' and up I went, higher, higher, higher into the empyrean, until I heard the music of the spheres, and all things were ablaze with light and glory. Again they would say: 'Now go down into hell;' and the scene changed as suddenly as do those of a ten-cent panorama, when a midnight storm at sea or a volcanic eruption is about to be rolled in view: I went down ad imis—'down to the bottom of the sea—the earth with her bars was around me forever.' Blank horror and anguish seized me. Hope fled to its impregnable corner of my heart, till the calamity was overpast. A hushed agony was upon me, as before I had known its boundless bliss. And thus variously I fared through all that second night of sleeplessness. They probably sent me up and down this scale of sensation twenty times during eight hours. This night I was not at all sleepy. A few more such would have finished the business; and there would have been 'another awful effect of the spiritual delusion' to chronicle. The honest verdict of the first century would have been: 'Another possessed of devils or devil-crazed.' The wretches well knew that insomnia is an excellent preparation for insanity.

Toward morning a new scheme was invented. Some ostensible good friend informed me, in a business-like way, that the work of the morrow for me—the new Saul of Tarsus—was to set out for a certain town in Vermont, where I should find my Ananias; who 'would show me what things I should do.' So the faithful slave of the genii prepared to obey. I packed a carpet bag, and went early to the residence of a medical friend, who had been dabbling in the same arcana. I gave him a sketch of what I had experienced; yet, for some reason, did not start for Vermont, but remained with him all the morning. My invisible monitors sent me out into the street several times, to find people who could not be found. (Anything to keep up their influence.)

Toward noon the fact came plainly to me that an effort was being made to disturb, if not destroy, my reason. I began to find my ideas becoming incoherent in spite of hugest effort. I called my friend, and said to him, through set teeth, but as coolly as possible:[Pg 422]

'I find myself to be thoroughly and utterly a magnetic subject, an abject subject of mischievous spirits. They are striving to derange my faculties. I am exceedingly alarmed to find that they are trying, with much success, to render my ideas incoherent. It is only by a very great effort of will that I am enabled to speak these words distinctly to you. As far as my private power of resistance is concerned, I am gone. Do exert your powerful magnetism; perhaps you can drive them off.'

He was much distressed, and exerted himself mightily (he was a professed electrician), combining will power with that ancient agent, prayer, to exorcise the evil influence. But his efforts were useless, as the vagabonds well knew, before they brought me there on exhibition. They had not spent the week in vain. I had sold myself to them as squarely as fools ever did in German legend.

When dinner was announced, the doctor wished me to accompany him. I refused, and he left me, to take a hasty meal. Finding, when he was gone, that I was growing worse, I went into the street, determined that if I was to be crazed, I would not sit there and let him watch the operation. I walked on, vowing that I would not turn toward home until my faculties were restored; and execrating my folly in permitting the enslavement! On, on I rushed, my head all ablaze with 'od' that had no business there, and praying as I never had prayed before. I took the Gowanus road toward Greenwood. Perhaps it was some defunct rogue there interred, who was leading me on to 'rave among the tombs.'

Arrived at a spot where a little tree-capped promontory overhangs the beach, I turned aside, beneath the projection, and sat down on a log—like Jonah under the gourd—and, gazing out on the rippling waves of the bay, desired that death or relief might come. I was determined to sit there until God or Satan made good his claim upon me. Suddenly relief came. The fierce onset upon my intellect ceased. I was made whole. I 'leaped and walked.' The means of my relief I never knew.

But my lesson was not complete. I had but just informed my medical friend of my deliverance (he had scoured the neighborhood, and informed several of the cause of his fears), when there were mutterings and growlings of another approaching storm. The messengers of Satan sent to baffle me gave me to understand that they had not abandoned their prey, but were sure of it yet. They poured the wrath of hell upon my defenceless head that afternoon. I have not, hitherto, attempted to offer much direct proof to the uninitiated that my experiences, in this connection, were other than hallucination. That which now occurred is, as it seems to me, in the nature of such proof. Here was I thoroughly alarmed for my safety, and extremely anxious to get rid of my tormentors. Yet, not for a single moment now, could I close my mental ears to their horrid clangor of threats and imprecations; for, throwing off all restraint, they flooded me with Billingsgate. They cursed and damned me, and all persons, things, and ideas esteemed by me, in the most approved style. Indeed, the swearing exceeded anything I ever heard on the Mississippi and Alabama river boats, when forced, for lack of room, to sleep on the floor of the saloon, almost under the feet of the chivalry, during their midnight gambling carousals.

The mode of speech is not easily described. Sometimes the words came slowly and distinctly. Again there would be merely thought-panorama presented. A complete statement or view of things can be flashed into the mind in an instant. Therefore the language of spirits is of vastly greater compass than that of men. These immortal blackguards could vomit more oaths and other blasphemy in five minutes, than a mortal one could in an hour. If it is difficult to translate from[Pg 423] one earth-language into another, how much harder must it be to bring the ideas of an inner sphere into outward forms of expression!

They told me that it was their intention to open my clairvoyant faculty now with a vengeance. For, having fairly accomplished it, they would worry me to death or madness by the continual sight and hearing of all that hell could show or conjure up. I only wish that a few of those Sadducees who philosophize all this sort of thing into moonshine, could be, for a while, as sore beset as I was on that eventful day! It would need but a few minutes' parley with these 'fierce Ephesian beasts' to induce them to repeat the language of an older sceptic, who returned from the dead to the friend who had discussed immortality with him, and who exclaimed, as he passed from sight:

'Michael! Michael! vera sunt illa!'

The scheme of the diabolians seemed so feasible that I was greatly perplexed. They had shown themselves able to keep me awake the two preceding nights; and I knew that, if permitted, they could accomplish their purpose in that way alone. How much, then, would the perpetual sight of fiery flying dragons, horned satyrs, and other hideous half-human creatures, tearing around, with mouths agape to take me in—while other lost souls flitted about as flying serpents, bats, and owls—hasten the evil work. I thought over all the horrible forms portrayed in the Catholic purgatory pictures, and described by delirium tremens subjects, until I was a thousand times more anxious to have the eyes of my spirit kept shut, than I ever had been to have them opened.

I tried to exorcise the foe by reading the Bible; but this only increased their jeering at the '—— fool,' whom they had worked hard to get, had got, and meant to keep, in spite of 'hell, book, and candle.' Truly 'their mouths were full of cursing and bitterness.'

Did space permit, and were it not that the printing of oaths, which has become so fashionable even in respectable periodicals, is hurtful to morals, I could fill pages with their jeers, taunts, blasphemies, threats, and execrations.

I left my private room, and went among the household, in hopes that, amid busy outer scenes, the hold of the invisible tigers would be loosed. But then, while conversing on commonplace subjects, I realized more fully than ever upon what a fearful precipice the heedless spiritist is ever sporting. For, clearer, more distinct, came threats, curses, goblin laughter; and 'Fool! dolt!' was the cry.

'Simpleton, etc., think you that the company of women and children will save you, when the mightiest spirits (angels they call themselves) cannot now rend you from our grasp? As soon as we choose, we will tear your silly soul out of your carcase; and then we will make a veritable Lucifer of you. 'Lucifer! Lucifer! star of the morning! how art thou fallen, and become as one of us!' Ha! ha! ha! yes! yes! you must go with us. We fancy you. For a callow priest, you have a deal of music in you. Would-be Samson, you must grind in our prison house and sport in our temple; the pillars whereof you can never cause to tremble.'

They said that I was a 'coward—dared not face a set of shadows, figments of the brain, empty nothings.' I saw that 'vain was the help of man;' and, retiring to my room, had an awful season of worse than 'temptation combats.'

Then came the last scene in the tragic part of my unromantic experience. One of the artful dodgers, having transformed himself into an angel of light (in my hearing, not in my sight), informed me, at about eight o'clock in the evening, that, though my destruction appeared imminent, there was one way of escape left. My own prayers were useless: but if I would get down[Pg 424] on my knees, and repeat a confession and supplication at his dictation, it might avail. Enslaved as I was, I of course complied; and then underwent a humiliation that, even in my horrified state, was very bitter. I had always, in my most puritanical days, kicked at the doctrine that we are all such abominable, hell-deserving, self-degraded creatures, responsible for our own ruin, that it is the wonder of creation that God would give our souls any least chance of heaven. I had always felt with Tennyson:

'Thou wilt not leave us in the dust;
Thou madest man, and Thou art just.'

But now I was forced to change all this; and for once I uttered a perfectly orthodox prayer. Slow and distinct came the words, which I must perforce repeat as slowly, though every one was a bitter pill. I was made to say that I was entirely mistaken in supposing myself a Christian (in the 'evangelical' sense); that I had been a fool, a braggart, a sort of impostor; that my life had been one series of shams and follies; that I had disgraced my religious profession, etc., etc., ad nauseam, winding up with the abject declaration that I deserved to go straight to 'the city of Dis, and the three-headed dog;' and that if I was spared, it would be 'a miracle of mercy.'

The higher powers must have thought that I had swallowed enough of this hell-broth; for, at this juncture, the dictation and compulsion suddenly ceased. I stood upon my feet, no longer a slave. It seemed as if some grand, calm Ithuriel had touched with his spear-point the venomous toad that sat by my ear, or the wily serpent that 'held me (enchanted) with his glittering eye.' From that moment to this, I have not been, for an instant, seriously annoyed by invisible disturbers of the peace.

A sweet quiet came over me; I went to bed and slept soundly. The next day I determined to complete the exorcism by walking a dozen miles into the country, to visit a relation. The only trace of the fearful scenes through which I had passed, consisted in the fact that my head was still all ablaze with the foul, gross magnetic fluids of my ex-tormentors; and was so hot that I found it agreeable to walk with my hat off. I was two days getting rid of the heat.

Though I had no more sulphur tea to drink, I was not yet weaned from the invisible milk and water. I was at once informed, by 'respectable appearing' spirits, that my trials had appeared necessary, because I had thrown myself open to promiscuous communication with the other world—a thing peculiarly dangerous in my case; and that I could now see the propriety of never again surrendering my manhood, my individuality, and my common sense to any brigand in or out of the body. I was also told that it never had been intended to use me for any important mediumistic purpose, except so far as my experience might be useful. So I gradually let the thing drop. Regarding the new light as scientific rather than religious, I long since pigeon-holed it among my sciences. I sardonically tell total Sadducees that I have placed it among the exact sciences.

I am sorry that I am unable to enlighten the novel-reading reader further concerning the 'prima donna;' but that is a delicate subject under existing circumstances. So presenting, herewith, the bright and sulphurous end of the Lucifer Match under the nose of a discerning public, I will watch the upcurling and dilating of nostrils. As I pen these last lines, the live body looking over my shoulder smiles scornfully.[Pg 425]



'Lucy D——,' said Aunt Sarah Grundy, 'I really cannot conceive what you and Elsie find to entertain you in the desolate, out-of-the-way places where you are in the habit of wasting your summers. Why can you not be content with the ordinary highways, where people travel comfortably in good boats and rail cars? Why must you leave tolerably convenient hotels, regular meals, and agreeable, proper people, to bury yourself in some mountain fastness, where the inns are poor, the food plain, and the people—well! such as are totally unfit associates for two well-bred young women?'

'O auntie! auntie! we thought you called yourself a democrat!' said Elsie.

'Politically, my dear, but not socially,' was the reply.

'And a Christian!' added Lucy D——.

'I see,' continued Mrs. Grundy, 'that, by raising other issues, you hope to escape an explanation of the mystery to which I have referred.'

'A mystery indeed!' replied Lucy D——. 'The mystery of nature, of creation, of the communion of the creature with the infinitely bountiful Creator. Have you never wandered away from the beaten track, from tiresome dinners, with mercenary waiters and elaborate courses, from yawning, blasé men, and over-dressed, artificial, weakly women, and, resting upon some quiet hillside, suffered the glories of external nature to fill your soul as you drained the cup of beauty, until sunrises and sunsets, storm clouds and morning mists, broad bands of light and darksome shadows, steep mountains and curving valleys, hurrying brooks and tidal oceans, dusky pine forests and tremulous bluebells, dreamily floated before the vision, soothing care and the petty wounds inflicted by the human denizens of this nether world? I love my kind, I share their faults and follies, I pity their sorrows, and would do my utmost to succor or to soothe; but I do not understand them as I do the woods: their faces I readily forget, but never the forms of mountain crag, of noble tree, or of first spring wild flower. Among men I may be misunderstood, disliked perhaps, or, more generally, simply ignored and overlooked; but among the hills I fear no harsh, no indifferent word: each treasure of beauty breathes to me of One who knows my every heart-beat, One whom I can love without fear of wound or disenchantment. The mountain clefts have no unkind words, no fault-finding, no ridicule, no rash judgments for the sons of men. They offer clear springs, fresh fruits, and festal flowers, peace and rest and pure joy!'

'Really, Lucy,' said Aunt Sarah, 'I am not sure your rhapsody has made the mystery any plainer than before. May I not, in my turn, ask if your feelings are quite Christian? Are you not afraid you entertain a species of repulsion toward your fellow men?'

'Aunt Sarah, I nearly always feel more for them than they for me. Perhaps they hurt my vanity by overwhelming me with the sense of my own insignificance. Be that as it may, their everlasting wrangling among themselves is more than I can endure. When people begin to quarrel, even to disagree warmly, the blood rushes to my brain, and I long for a cool breeze from some piny height, a mossy seat by some calm lake, that mirrors only the blue of heaven, the measured flow of falling waters, the rustle of leaves, the hum of bees, or the song of birds.'[Pg 426]

'You are not strong, and have grown nervous, I fear,' said Aunt Sarah. 'I can remember when you greatly enjoyed a good discussion, and never shrank from an encounter of opinions.'

'I was young then,' replied Lucy; 'I am older now, and have less confidence in my argumentative powers. I love truth as well, but doubt my capacity to lift her veil, the willingness of mortals to seek her humbly, or the certainty of their yielding to conviction, even were she bodily, in unclouded radiance, to stand before them. I hope I may always have courage sufficient to support my honest convictions, but I must confess the effort has become a painful one, and I instinctively fly all wrangling as I would the plague.'

'Do you then desire to lead an isolated life?' asked Mrs. Grundy.

'By no means,' replied Lucy. 'Duty and affection both bind me to active service in the ranks of the world, and, to return to the subject of a retired country sojourn, the freedom from gêne, the absence of hurry, the confidentiality of nature, lead us in a week to a better comprehension and appreciation of the few persons surrounding us than could be obtained in years of ordinary city acquaintance. Bricks and mortar and cut stones tend to the revelation of but few secrets, but the evening twilight, the crescent moon, the morning dawn, the forest shade, and the noonday repose are persuasive openers of hearts and weavers of sympathy. A walk with Elsie is far more to me than a solitary ramble. Then, too, the country population frequently exhibit an originality and individuality of development more often missed than found in the assimilating atmosphere of cities.'

'I should weary in a week of such a dull, sentimentalizing mode of existence,' said Aunt Sarah, with a significant shrug of her prettily drooping shoulders.

'Sentimentalizing!' cried Lucy; 'nothing can be more healthfully real, more conducive to strength and will to work, when the last red leaf has fallen, and the gray November clouds remind one that Paradise is not yet gained, and that a world of toil and strife and passion has a claim upon each mortal's earnest labor. Also, the comic side of life is by no means wanting among the hills, and many an innocent laugh is to be enjoyed with, not at, one's fellow creatures. Humor I love dearly; satire is simply hateful—filled with pain. I can always see the victim (if he only knew!) writhing and blenching beneath the bitter glances and blasting words of fiendish tormentors.'

'Yes, indeed,' said Elsie, 'many a merry evening have we spent laughing over the day's adventures. The singular coincidences and strange incongruities of American life are nowhere more strikingly exhibited than among the hills and lakes bordering the great thoroughfares of travel. Do you remember, Lucy, the transit of our friends, the foreign professor and the artist, from the Catskill Mountain House to the head of the Kauterskill Falls?'

'Can I ever forget it?'

'What transit was that, Lucy?' asked Mrs. Grundy.

'You know, Aunt Sarah, that midway up the Clove, nestled against the side of the South Mountain, is Brockett's, and two miles up the ravine, at the head of the Kauterskill Falls, stands the Laurel House, where we passed a portion of last summer. Two miles farther east is the steep brink of the Pine Orchard, crowned by the White colonnade of the Mountain House. Early one morning, a much-esteemed friend, one of our best artists, left Brockett's, and, climbing the ravine, passed our house on his way to the North Mountain, whence a sketch was desired. We had had nearly four weeks of continued rain, the brooks were full, the falls magnificent, the roads in some parts under water, and every pathway a running stream. We were daily expecting the arrival from abroad of a gentleman whom I had[Pg 427] never seen, but who was well known to, and highly regarded by, sundry members of our family. He had written to announce his coming, but we had failed to receive his letter, and, consequently, when he, on the afternoon of the day already mentioned, arrived at the Mountain House, he found no one waiting to receive him, and no carriage to convey him to his final destination. No vehicle was to be obtained at the great caravansary, and he was vainly endeavoring to have at least a note despatched to our address, when the artist, who had meantime finished his sketch and descended the North Mountain on his way home, entered the office. He was weary from a toilsome walk under heavy trappings, but hearing a fellow mortal in distress, and partially learning the cause, his habitual kindness of heart induced him to say to the stranger that he was about to walk over to the Laurel House, and would lead the way, if he chose to follow. The professor, despairing of his ability to make any more comfortable arrangement, accepted the offer, and prepared to follow his guide.

'Our foreign visitor was a tall, athletic man, with a noble forehead and piercing black eyes. His attire was irreproachably neat, his patent-leather boots rather thin for so rough a walk, especially as he was just then much out of health, and he carried a heavy basket of fruit, which he had kindly brought from a tropical clime to give pleasure to his friends. He added to a generous and affectionate disposition profound learning in languages, science, and philosophy, and was a devoted patriot and lover of liberty. He had, however, landed in New York during the terrible riots of last summer, and had hence imbibed no very exalted idea of the orderliness of our population. He was of course totally unaware of the frank confidence placed by man in his brother man among our Northern mountains.

'When the outside door was reached, the artist paused to gather together his pointed staff, sketching box, and other traps. These implements were evidently not familiar objects in the professor's experience, as he supposed they might be part of the gear of a peddler, and hence conceived a certain distrust of his guide. The artist was tall and handsome, with a vigorous frame, a long, waving beard, a slouched hat, and garments rather the worse for much exposure to the suns, winds, and rains of a summer spent in the open air. One who did not examine the clear eyes raying the essence of truth, and the high-cut features bearing the unmistakable impress of manly honor, might perhaps have erred with the stranger, and have supposed it possible that 'the man' (as the professor invariably called his guide when he related the adventure) might be a brigand intent upon luring travellers into byways for sinister purposes. This idea was strengthened by the character of the pathway chosen by the artist as the shortest route between the two hotels. It passed through a dense forest, and was ankle deep in water. Fallen trunks lay across its sinuous track, and no sound save a twittering bird or crackling branch broke the silence of the rugged, lonely way. The active guide strode on from stone to stone, returning short answers to his companion, whose doubts began to take the form of questions as to 'the man's' knowledge of the road, and the certainty of finding the Laurel House at the end of this will-o'-the-wisp journey. Weariness from a long day's walk and work, and the dawning perception of the stranger's suspicions, were not calculated to induce a very bland frame of mind or tone of manner, and the replies received confirmed the professor's determination to keep a watchful eye upon his leader. He fell behind a few paces, and prepared his only weapon, a strong penknife, in case the enemy should suddenly turn upon him, meantime consoling himself that, should matters culmi[Pg 428]nate in a hand-to-hand fight, he was rather the stouter and heavier man of the two. The thin boots had soon been saturated with water, the basket of fruit grew heavier and heavier, and the way seemed interminable. The guide, now fully awake to the absurdity of the situation, and perhaps as much provoked as amused, strode rapidly on, and, at a fork in the pathway, momentarily struck into a wrong route. He was forced to retrace a few paces, and the stranger's dismay was now complete—the way was surely lost, and a night in the damp wood the least evil to be anticipated.

'A wide meadow was soon after reached, but no sign of human habitation greeted the longing eyes of the expectant traveller. Another band of woodland was entered, and a deserted charcoal hut for a moment cheered the heart and then dashed the hopes of our weary friend. The woodland crossed, an open field and a cheery farmhouse broke upon his view. Suffering the artist to hasten on, he eagerly bent his steps to the farmhouse door, and there inquired concerning the way to the Laurel House. He was in fact rather surprised to learn that he was on the direct route, and now not far away. Narrowly escaping the fangs of a cross dog, he hurried on, and overtook the now thoroughly amused artist before the latter reached the long-expected Laurel House. That goal won, the two gentlemen entered the office, and, as the rest of the family were out walking, the professor sent to me the note already prepared at the Mountain House. Not knowing that he had himself brought it, I went into the bar room, where the first person I saw was the artist. I gave him as usual a cordial greeting, noticing his travel-stained appearance as bearing honorable evidence to a good day's work, and said I had come to order a carriage for a foreign friend just arrived at the other hotel. The artist asked a question or two, then said he presumed he had brought over the very gentleman, and, with a quizzical expression, offered to introduce me. The professor meantime had been watching the interview with some surprise. He recognized me from my resemblance to other members of my family known to him, and wondered to see 'the man' so high in my esteem. He afterward remarked that he had thought it strange that when he invited 'the man' to a joint punch at the bar counter, the stranger should have drawn forth a two shilling note, and insisted upon paying the whole scot. Night was rapidly approaching, and the artist hastened down the glen while the summer twilight might serve to illuminate the somewhat intricate way.

'Bursts of laughter greeted the comical recital of the adventure as good-naturedly given by the professor. The only drawback upon our mirth was the fear lest wet feet and over fatigue might perhaps have increased his malady.'

'You see now,' said Aunt Sarah, with an ominous shake of the head, 'if you will go to such forlorn, wild places, what may be expected to happen. Had I been in your friend's place, I should never have forgiven you for causing me such an uncomfortable, and, in one sense, dangerous walk.'

'Oh yes, you would,' cried Elsie; 'the remembrance would have added a zest to the monotony of your every-day life, you would never willingly have resigned.'

'I presume, then, Elsie, you also have had adventures?'

'Have I not?' replied Elsie; 'from the young Southerner who informed me he would like the mountains very much if the roads were not so terribly up and down, to the infuriated bull that took especial offence at my white umbrella, and came charging toward me, with flashing eyeballs, horns tearing up the sod, and hoofs threatening a leap over a low stone wall, the only barrier dividing us.'

'I suppose you call that pleasure,[Pg 429] too!' said Aunt Sarah. 'Well, I must confess I am more mystified than ever.'

'I presume, Aunt Sarah, you could as little appreciate the attractions to be found in a walk of over twenty miles in ten hours?'

'Very well for men, my dear Elsie, but I think such excursions scarcely fitting for ladies, especially for young and pretty ones. One of Lucy's wild-goose chases, I doubt not! However, I am quite ready to listen to your experience.'

'One morning, at nine o'clock, Lucy and I left the Laurel House, intending to visit the valley of the East Kill, a fine trout stream that rises near the North Mountain, and flows into the Schoharie. The first three miles being well-known ground, we preferred to drive, but left the little carriage on the stony road to East Jewett, soon after that road branches from the main Clove stage route. The day was magnificent, and the view from the fir-garlanded sides of the Parker Mountain novel and bewitching. The North and South Mountains, Round Top, the jagged peaks bounding the Plattekill Clove, the narrow cleft of the Stony Clove, and the terraced slope of Clum's Hill swept across the horizon bathed in a soft September shimmer. A few birds were still piping, golden rods and purple asters lighted up the wayside, and luscious blackberries, large as Lawtons, hung in great clusters, from which no mortal hand had as yet plucked a single berry. There they grew all for us and the birds, and you may be sure we enjoyed this feast so lavishly spread in the wilderness. The crown of the hill passed, we left the lovely view behind, and began the descent into the valley of the East Kill. The forest growth was here dense and of various species, and the road, although solitary, apparently well worn. An ominous rustling among the trees was the only sound we heard until we again reached the open country, where a market cart, driven by a woman, assured us of some near habitation. A long, broken valley lies between the hills bordering the Schoharie, and the river range, and contains the settlements of East Jewett, Big Hollow, and Windham Centre. Near the first-named place (a scattered collection of farmhouses), we struck the East Kill, and began to follow it up toward its source. It is a clear, rapid stream, and we did not wonder the trout still loved to linger in its cool waters. On a rustic bridge we sat down and ate our simple lunch of gingerbread, crackers, plums, and almonds. The sun was in the meridian, and counselled return, but curiosity led us on to further explorations.

'The winding road crossed and re-crossed the stream. It was bordered by lofty summits, and led through many a clearing and past many a farmhouse. At one of these we met a man hiving swarms of bees. He lived below, and told us we were eight miles from Cairo, a town near the eastern foot of the Catskills. The friendly mistress of the cottage informed us that the pass at the summit was only three miles distant, and we hence concluded to return home by descending the eastern slope of the mountains, crossing the lower portion of the intervening spur, and reascending by the Mountain House road. Mountain miles are proverbial for their length, and so we found them, as we wandered on until civilization and the last good piece of road was left behind at a large steam sawmill. Our way now skirted the near hills, and passed through an upland bog of apparently interminable width. Fortunately, the last few weeks had been comparatively dry, and hence it was possible to make one's way by springing from clump to clump of rank grass, or more frequently from hurdle to hurdle, as long stretches of half-decayed branches covered the partially hidden quagmire. The air had become close, the sun hot; a dense, low growth of wood shut in the devious way; desolation and neglect marked the[Pg 430] environs, and we were by no means sure we were on the right road. Even Lucy began to doubt the prudence and final success of the expedition. A very suspicious circumstance was the fact that this road, by which we expected to cross the mountain top, had lately made very little of an ascent.

'At length a fresh, cool breeze began to fan our cheeks, such a breeze as is never felt except upon mountain heights, and steep piles of rock rose upon our left. The road had shortly before become hard and dry, and, as it now commenced to descend, we could not doubt the summit of the pass was reached. Fine trees, however, so closely hemmed us in that we could see nothing beyond, and not until we were some distance down, did we come to an opening whence the lower country was visible, with the Berkshire hills, the river, the city of Hudson directly opposite, and Kiskatom Round Top lying to our right. We exchanged glances, for we knew something of the distance signified by this situation of landmarks. However, there was nothing to be done except to press on, which we did, down a road at first enchanting, but finally detestable, where it had been neglected, and had become the rocky bed of a stream then dry. We could fancy it in the spring, at the melting of the snows, with the wild water dashing down the steep pathway, and the white foam gleaming and glittering, as a newly risen Undine, in the sight of the astonished, far-off beholders.

'Lovely vistas over the rolling lands beneath, and up to the mountains we were leaving behind, charmed away fatigue, and made the way like fairyland. Near the first cottage we again sat down to rest and consider our route. We hoped to find some near wood road leading over the wide base of the North Mountain into the Mountain House road; but never a wood road was to be seen. On and on we walked, descending lower and lower into the valley, and coming nearer and nearer to Kiskatom Round Top. At a turn in the way we asked a party of carpenters working on a house, if this was the right route to the Mountain House tollgate. Some laughed, all stared, and one answered, 'Yes.' On and on we plodded along a dusty highway, till we reached a house by a brook, with ducks and geese, a garden filled with autumn flowers, and a pleasant old lady sitting near the door. She also opened her eyes at our question, and said the distance to the tollgate was eight miles. Eight miles to the gate, three thence up the steep mountain, and then again two to the Laurel House! This, added to the many miles we had already walked, and the lateness of the hour, was indeed alarming. She added, we might obtain fuller information at a red farmhouse to be found some distance on. Again we walked and walked, passing through a wild region, Kiskatom Round Top continually most provokingly near, the road evidently leading due east, and sinking lower and lower toward the river. At the end of two or three miles we reached the red farmhouse, and were glad to rest in a neat sitting room, with a cheerful woman and two bright, handsome children. The harvest work being nearly done, the husband was absent on a day's hunt, but the aged father was soon called in to give us the desired information. The distance to the tollgate was only two miles, and while the boy made ready the team to take us over, the honest, intelligent farmer gave us a few sketches from his life history. His daughter wished him to don his better coat, but he replied that he had never been able to think that clothes could make or unmake a gentleman. He also observed that early adversity had been the greatest boon he had ever received, as, had he never failed in his city trading projects, he never would have come to the country, or have enjoyed his present health and happiness. He was a good patriot, and[Pg 431] eagerly asked the latest news of the war. He had also pleasant reminiscences to relate of a Carolina Senator, who, with his family, had one summer beneath his roof sought health and strength under the shadow of the Catskills.

'A lively lad and fleet team soon placed us at the gate, which the stage from the boat was just passing. The little rest and drive had greatly invigorated us, and we bravely pushed on to the summit, outstripping the heavy coach, and reaching the top of the mountain just as the red rays of the setting sun were flushing the hills with crimson. The hour was too late to risk the dark path through the wood, and we continued upon the main highway, making but one deviation down a stony road, and over Spruce Creek, until we reached the Laurel House, where the twilight was still lingering, and where we found our friends a little anxious.'

'I do not wonder,' said Aunt Sarah. 'Such vagaries are enough to keep a whole household in a chronic state of anxiety. And I really cannot see what you had gained!'

'I have only given you a simple statement of the facts,' replied Elsie; 'to know our feelings by the way, the delight we experienced, all we learned, including geography and topography, and the life and health we drank in at every step, you must take that very same walk.'

'More inscrutable mysteries!' returned Aunt Sarah.

'Yes,' said Lucy D——, 'inscrutable, and yet subtilely vivifying as the breath of their Author, the Great Architect of this glorious universe.'


All thoughtful minds are profoundly conscious that the problems of war are not the last and most important to be solved in our national affairs. It is clear enough that this great convulsion must end; and end, too, in the total extinction of that stupendous system of iniquity in the interests of which it was projected. President Lincoln's Proclamation of emancipation throughout rebeldom, and the recent order to enlist the slaves throughout the Border States in military service to the Government, emancipating all thus enlisted, whether slaves of loyal or disloyal masters, with the certainty that there is to be no cessation to the grand achievements of our arms short of the completest success, all conspire to assure us that the dreadful disorder hitherto consuming our national vitals is to pass finally away in the convulsive disease of its last throes, so distressing to us all. It being thus certain that this consecrated crime is to be dismantled, dishonored, and abandoned forever, the question is forced upon us: 'What is to be done with the negroes?' Some four millions of human beings, doomed to remorseless servitude, denied the static force of social law, forbidden by positive law the rights of education, through which alone are attained the culture and refinement of real manhood—these are the 'freedmen' just emerging from the most insignificant nonage to the sublime personality of citizenship in a Government of the people. Such being practically their attitude, what are the real demands and needs in the case?

Reputed statesmen, journalists, public speakers, and politicians are all ready enough to determine the matter. 'Let them alone,' say they. 'They are needed where they are; and the respective wants of capital and labor will regu[Pg 432]late the intercourse between these simple and uncultured people and the powerful and shrewd men who henceforth are to buy their service.' Such, in our humble opinion, is not the wisdom of sound, healthy statesmanship. Let us see.

We cannot get a complete handling of this matter without first determining the purpose and character of government as a principle; and we cannot determine this without a clear understanding of the laws of the human mind in its historic evolution. We must understand, then, that government is legitimately only an institution in the service of universal man. It is subjective, ministerial, instrumental always ways; aiming only at the interests of the governed; else it contains an element hostile to the Divine order that peacefully directs all movement, and must therefore be disturbed with a commotion that will either restore or destroy it.

We may not hereupon assume that government must necessarily assume only one form; for, being thus subservient to human use, to manly culture, to complete social state, it must infallibly assume forms precisely proportioned to the human conditions to which applied; hence, we must understand the laws of the human mind, which display its varied conditions in the course of its evolution from infancy to manhood, before we can have a clear, scientific conception of the principles, operations, and organic forms of human government. Let us, then, inquire briefly as to these laws.

Hereupon we find the mental conditions of the Grand Man—the human race at large—precisely analogous to those of the small man—the individual person. And by exhibiting the mental conditions with principles of government properly related, which rule in one sphere, we infallibly present the corresponding conditions and forms in the other sphere.

The human mind, then, is a three-fold form, each fold having its own distinct character, in consequence of which it is broadly and very definitely individualized. Childhood, youthhood, and manhood, constitute this triple form. The slightest consideration will readily confirm one as to the propriety of this analysis; for, one cannot fail to see that the distinct characteristics of each are broad and marked, and therefore necessarily discriminate to any completeness of thought upon this subject. Childhood is a form of total inexperience and unlimited dependence. Youthhood is a form of growth from the helplessness of the child to the strength and completeness of the man; involving the trials of experimental endeavor, attended with the numerous buffs and rebuffs so surely the witness of vital efforts toward fulness. Manhood is the form of fulness, completeness, maturity. It is the form of luscious juices ultimated in the perfectly rounded and glowing fruitage; juices that pressed the tender bud into the thousand charms of floral beauty, and thence moulded and urged the growing form to its crowning excellence.

Childhood, therefore, is a form in which activities are commanded from without; as the parent commands the child, knowing that the child's best interests—the ultimate realization of true, manly freedom—are only to be realized through such arbitrary tutelage. Youthhood is a form of rational freedom, wherein the subject's moral freedom is stimulated under various forms of appeal in behalf of right doing. Here the careful parent keeps the reins firmly in hand, but still slackens them to allow the plunging steed to determine his own career; overjoyed if he choose rightly and make his course with vigor and safety; sad and anxious if forced to draw rein and urge anew the proper direction. It is evident that the subject's activities here are partly self-determined or free, and partly coerced or outwardly imposed.[Pg 433]

Manhood is a form that repudiates all methods of external appliances, scales the bounds of parental dictation, and finds only life's fulness in a freedom all aglow with the soul's adoration. It knows no law but that of attraction; feels no impulse but that of love. Its activities are perfectly free or spontaneous. The human mind thus falling under this triple order of development, inevitably projects governmental forms strictly proportioned or related thereto. And this is true regarding any of its organized forms, from the individual to the human race at large: hence the infantile condition of a people or a nation demands a perfectly absolute, arbitrary, or commanding form of government; while the youthful condition demands a mixed form; wherein the ruled are partly free or self-determined, and partly subject or directed by the reigning authority; and the manly condition demands a system of pure self-government, wherein the law is written on the heart.

It must be borne in mind that government is solely instrumental or ministerial to human use; being designed to mould and fashion unfolding human powers to higher and still higher social conditions, tending all to that perfect ultimate wherein life and law are both spontaneous and exactly balanced, and nothing detrimental to the dearest interests of manhood can by possibility exist.

Government, then, of whatever kind, must always be administered with strict regard for the interests of the governed; and it is the endeavor to subvert and overcome this legitimate principle of government, through the mistaken selfishness of ruling powers, which attempt to administer in behalf of their own lusts and in violation of universal ends, which has kept and is keeping up now the convulsions that shake and try civil institutions to their utmost.

The theory or declaratory form of our Government stands out, boldly and distinctly, as that of the highest order. In theory it is the form proportionate to full manhood; planting and fostering institutions tending to promote the free play of all that is great and glorious in human character. It does not thus far practically realize its theory, because, without regard to this incongruous system of inhumanity, which, by its very nature, can find no harmony nor peace in connection, nations themselves wear the human form, and must, therefore, realize the various states of infancy, youthfulness, and manhood—of germ, growth, and fruitage. This is true of whatever national form. Nationalities founded upon the principles of absolutism, embody and express the same laws and conditions. Their principle of supreme external authority is first a condition of germination, then of growth or labored effort toward maturity, and lastly of fruitage, in which the whole form is matured in perfectly organic completeness, manifesting despotism in government, in orderly or scientific proportions.

Our nation, then, has not realized its highest conditions, because it is as yet only germinal, or the national child-man; or, at best, is but the vigorous blade, or national youth-man; while the corn, fully ripe in the ear—the national man-man—is reserved unto the glory of the approaching future, whose rays already dawn upon us and illustrate the clouds, that have hitherto hung over us and darkened our way, with the power and great glory of the coming of the Son of Man.

Let us now try to draw nearer to the mark at which we principally aimed in projecting this article. We said that the 'let-them-alone' system, concerning the nation's 'freedmen,' is not the system of sound statesmanship. Why not? Because they are a people in a state of infantile weakness and inexperience; whom, from the irrepressible laws and conditions of the human mind, we must govern and control, either wisely and beneficently or otherwise. To unloose the chains that have bound them, and[Pg 434] set them adrift to contend and compete under our methods of individualism or isolated interests, is to doom them to conditions hardly to be preferred to those from which they are about to escape. This is certainly true with respect to a large majority. Witness the state of our weakest white laborers, particularly in all our large cities, and some few years back. See them by thousands and tens of thousands imploring for employment, and only too happy if they may find it at the most repulsive and unwholesome labor, sufficient to stay their famished frames and adjourn for a time the pangs of hunger and frosts. Driven in despairing hordes to beggary, prostitution, and crimes of every kind, how fearfully threatening are the neglected duties and obligations that confront us in their behalf! What, then, shall we say to those who propose to swell the frightful tide by turning loose millions more, weaker and more incompetent, it may be, besides being subject to the evils of the reigning prejudices against color? No, no; it must not be done. The Government must become the visible providence of these weak children. It must organize and direct their efforts and interests. It must, at least, organize them into industrial legions, and carefully direct all their educational interests. This work, too, must assume paternal form. Government is rightfully the foster parent of all its tender, weak, or by any means incompetent children; and unless it acknowledge and fulfil its functions as such, it is not Divinely administered, and stands accountable before Supreme Wisdom for all remissness. To meet all the demands, an especial commission must be established, and organized with a completeness that will meet all the educational and industrial needs of these dependent children. This commission must have a wise head and tender heart. It must be fully alive to the great issues involved, and must be healthy and vigorous in its extremities, where will come the immediate points of contact with, the great power it is to operate—the organized freedmen. The expense of this commission must not be a tax upon the Government, nor must Government derive any profit therefrom. Such an organized directory, with extremities all complete, may be amply paid from the freedmen's labors; at the same time, those labors being doubly remunerative to themselves, in consequence of the wise adjustment of the organized machinery of such a commission. For the weak and uneducated to be in complete subjection to the stronger and more cultivated is in strict accordance with the divinest order; only this relation must be that of dependence and providence, without a taint of selfishness. It must be humanitary or beneficent in its aims, and not inhuman and malevolent, as is always the case when the weak are subjected to distinguish, aggrandize, and enrich those who subject them. That the freedmen may be organized and directed upon such humane and economical principles and according to the strictest method and order—an order amounting to definite science—will be practically demonstrated when the Government, in the full consciousness of its mission, calls to its aid competent men for this commission, and moves vigorously in the work. The principles of government which we have briefly suggested as the basis of movement in this matter, based upon the laws and consequently applying to the needs of the human mind, enable us infallibly to estimate the whole relations of Government and people. Our Government being in its theory the highest form—the form proportioned to manhood, or the human mind so matured as to have the intelligence to perceive and the virtue to execute the right—proceeds, of course, upon the declaration that 'all men are created free and equal;' but in the only practical sense of free or self-government, which, in its very nature, can only rest upon the virtue and intelligence of its subjects, men[Pg 435] cannot be regarded as 'created' until they are made whole or complete in the crowning intelligence and virtue of the loftiest human attributes. But as government, of whatever kind, follows the laws of the human mind, is first a germ, then a growth, and then a fruitage—shoot, blade, and ear—our Government can only realize this greatness and perfection (unlimited intelligence and virtue) in its matured or organic state; when the declared principles of its form shall have become livingly combined or organized in institutions of unlimited excellence and power—institutions that will perpetually embody and express the exalted human force that inspired them. That our Government has thus far failed to exhibit such completeness, only argues that it has heretofore been in a formative condition—a condition of laborious trial, tuition, and growth, fitting it to realize ultimately its fullness, wherein it will stand related to previous conditions as the grand, symmetric beauty of the ear of grain stands related to its various formative states.

If now our Government is, as we fondly hope, approaching its third degree, its matured condition, with a race of dependent children emerging from the lowest condition, that of chattel slavery, it is plain enough what the relation of these people and the Government should be. They are simply minors, subjects of the Government, but not a part of the Government. The right of suffrage is not to be extended to them, because, from the nature and spirit of the Government, they are necessarily excluded from the highest prerogatives of citizenship. Their education and whole training are to proceed with a view to their becoming ultimately a function in the government.

If the principles thus stated amount to a science of government—and we unhesitatingly aver that they do—then it is clear enough that self-government—the highest form—does by no means necessitate, under all conditions, universal suffrage. In truth, its orderly development strictly forbids it. A government, founded and only healthily operated on virtue and intelligence, must apply itself studiously to develop these conditions in its subjects; thus, and only thus, may these subjects become a part of the governmental power in its full, harmonious development. Self-government must recognize the principle of universal suffrage, because it proceeds upon, and, in its ripest form, must come to that; but, as it is an operation or analytic before it is an ordered form or synthetic in its character, it will, while forming or growing, both restrict the rights of suffrage, and permit its subjects to a part in government when they are not fully qualified therefor. Our freedmen, then, are neither to be subjected contrary to the demands of their own highest good, nor are they to become an element in government in detriment to the public good. Hence they must not be controlled in any form of servitude to interested and selfish superiors, nor must they, by partaking of the elective franchise, become, at present, active participants in the government.

Our current national history must be regarded as singularly marked by beneficent Providential design. At the same time that a people hitherto despised and oppressed are emancipated from a dreadful thraldom, the conditions attending such emancipation are forcing upon the nation a system of industrial organization which we trust will not only prove effective in all that pertains to their future welfare, but will, at the same time, become the example of an organization that shall emancipate and enthrone labor everywhere and in all conditions. Seeing thus the light of day streaming in with unmarred radiance, dispelling every trace of darkness and gloom, we cannot but thank God for His wise dispensations, and with renewed hope and energy press onward toward the glowing east to greet the rising sun.[Pg 436]


From crowds that scorn the mounting wings,
The happy heights of souls serene,
I wander where the blackbird sings,
And over bubbling, shadowy springs,
The beech-leaves cluster, young and green.

I know the forest's changeful tongue
That talketh all the day with me:
I trill in every bobolink's song,
And every brooklet bears along
My greeting to the chainless sea!

The loud wind laughs, the low wind broods;
There is no sorrow in the strain!
Of all the voices of the woods,
That haunt these houseless solitudes,
Not one has any tone of pain.

In merry round my days run free,
With slender thought for worldly things:
A little toil sufficeth me;
I live the life of bird and bee,
Nor fret for what the morrow brings.

Nor care, nor age, nor grief have I,
Only a measureless content!
So time may creep, or time may fly;
I reck not how the years go by,
With Nature's youth forever blent.

They beckon me by day, by night,
The bodiless elves that round me play!
I soar and sail from height to height;
No mortal, but a thing of light
As free from earthly clog as they.

But when my feet, unwilling, tread
The crowded walks of busy men,
Their walls that close above my head
Beat down my buoyant wings outspread,
And I am but a man again.

My pulses spurn the narrow bound!
The cold, hard glances give me pain!
I long for wild, unmeasured ground,
Free winds that wake the leaves to sound,
[Pg 437]Low rustles of the summer rain!

My senses loathe their living death—
The coffined garb the city wears!
I draw through sighs my heavy breath,
And pine till lengths of wood and heath
Blow over me their endless airs!


'I said, in my haste, all men are liars.'—King David.

'Ye said it in your haste, did ye, David? Hech, mon, were ye leevin now, ye might say it at your leisure.'—Dominie McPhail.

The Dominie was right. It's a lying world. It does not improve with age either. The habit has become chronic, and the worst of all is, that the world has told some lies so often, that it actually now believes them itself. The wretched family propagates, too, at a terrible rate. Lies breed, like other vermin, rapidly, and they are not at all modest about intruding in any company.

I meet them in the gossiping circle, and I meet them in the courts of justice. I find lies in politics and lies in religion, lies in the pulpit, 'nail't wi' Scripture,' lies in the counting room railed with false entries, religious lies, told by Deacon Longface, for the advancement of what the Deacon calls 'the gospel,' and irreligious lies told by Bill Snooks, and clenched with an oath, lies in good books, and lies in bad ones, lies written, and printed in the newspapers, and lies whispered in the ear, and any number of lies sent by telegraph! And then, there's the walking lies, going about on two legs, saying what they do not believe, professing what they do not feel, the most scandalous sort of lies extant.

I meet them often, too, in 'the best society.' They are very impudent, you know. I suppose they force their presence on people. At all events, I know I find them in respectable company, and they seem quite at home there.

My friend Jones has just built what the newspapers call 'an elegant mansion.' I was invited to the house-warming. Mrs. Jones's set is very exclusive, and I was greatly complimented, of course. I went. Jones has taste. I noticed the plaster walls. Jones had them colored to marble. The wainscoting of the library was pine, but the pine lied itself into a passable walnut. The folding doors of the parlor were pine, too, when I came near. They pretended to be solid oak while I stood at the other end of the room. Jones had succumbed to the demands of his time, and had made his dwelling among lies. His 'elegant mansion' was a big, staring lie from top to bottom. From the plated door-knob to the grained railing round the garret stairs, he had 'made lies his refuge.' I was bewildered that evening. It was impossible to say what was real. Miss Seraphina Jones had a lovely color. Was it done like the folding doors? Mrs. Smythe had the whitest of teeth when she smiled. Were they only a pretence at teeth? Mrs. Robinson had beautiful masses of that chestnut hair around her handsome neck. The bewildering 'mansion' of my friend made me half doubt even that splendid hair. Tom Harris's magnificent whiskers, I knew, were not colored by fancy to that depth of darkness. At last I actually began to doubt the sincerity of every[Pg 438]body present. Their warm expressions of delight with Jones's new house, their pleasure in each other's society, their earnest inquiries after each other's welfare, all began to affect me with a sense of unreality, owing to that masquerading 'mansion.' I began to think, in such a house, there might be more shams than the marbled plaster or the grained pine.

Jones's church is not better. I occupied a seat in his 'eligible pew' last Sunday. The lath and plaster walls pretended to be Caen stone. The cheap deal was all 'make-believe' oak. The brick pillars were 'blocked off,' and unblushingly claimed to be granite. As I entered, I observed that the pulpit stood under the arch of a recess, roofed with carved stone, with clustered columns rising on the sides and spreading into graceful arches overhead. As I walked up the broad aisle, the recess shifted strangely, and the clustered columns of 'carven stone' ran in and out, at hide and seek. At last the truth flashed on me. The chancel was only painted on the flat rear wall of the building! I don't know what the sermon was about. It doesn't matter. How could a man preach truth, framed in such a staring lie? I have no doubt he tried to, for, I believe, he is an excellent man; but what a place to put him, Sunday after Sunday, with that painted cheat behind him, mocking all he says!

But lies are venerable as well as respectable. There are old, gray lies that men half worship. The more toothless and drivelling, often the more venerable. They have imposed their solemn emptiness on men for generations. They have awed the souls of the fathers. They make the children tremble. Men chant their praises, call them great names, and tell each other the old scarecrows are better than any truths—they are so ancient, so venerable, you see; and all the old women, male and female, believe them.

Then, there are powerful lies. Think on the wars men have fought for lies, on the millions of followers lies have had—how from their lofty seats they govern empires, convulse continents, and drive patient nations mad. Think on the money they have made, the mouths they have filled, the backs they have warmed, the houses they have built, the reputations they have created, the systems they have propped, the books they have sent out, the presses they have kept busy. Think of the Donation of Constantine, the Forged Decretals, the South Sea Scheme, the Mississippi Bubble, of Wild Cat Banks, and Joyce Heth! He is certainly a bold man who will rashly measure his strength with this mighty family.

As the world goes, the Father of Lies crowns himself and claims the sovereignty. 'All these things will I give thee'—riches, honor, power. It is the old Temptation of the Desert forever repeated. He lies when he makes the offer. They were never his to give. But it's a lying world. There are millions of us cheated. They take the old scoundrel at his word.

You and I, reader, do not, let us hope. We agree in believing that, under any circumstances, lies are not good; that, at all times, they are unsafe, unwholesome, and in every way bad, very bad; that, on the whole, it is not safe to trust them, or go with them. That is a good creed. It appears to me the only creed, on this subject, that will stand.

For this is, after all, a very solemn sort of life. It has a very serious ending. A great universe whirls away with its ebon-faced mysteries piled from central caves to highest heavens—a universe, with all its mysteries, of hardest reality and baldest truth. A man, looking up to the cold, clear, unswerving stars, out yonder in the wintry night, or down at the grave that lies, somewhere, for the digging across his path, must feel that a lie for him, knowing his place, knowing himself, that a lie for him is accursed.[Pg 439]

We want the truth always—clear-eyed, sharp-cut, marble-faced truth. We want to know the facts and realities of our position, just as they are. The mariner sails away into the lonely sea. The mystery of the unfathomed deep sways miles down beneath his passing keel. The mystery of the overarching heavens swims far above with mazy constellation and revolving sphere. Between the mystery of the sky and the mystery of the sea he steers right on, in calm and tempest confident, in night and noonday secure. For he there, on the trackless wastes that girdle in the great wide world, alone with the silence of Nature and God, knows the facts of his position, the realities of his place. The charts lie spread before him. Island, continent, lone sea-rock, hidden shoal, they are all mapped to his eye. The faithful needle points due north. The true sun rises where he always has. The faithful, changeless stars look down at midnight. The truth saves him, rocked in the arms of the wild sea. The reality holds him secure. Ask him, looking out, in the night watch, over the black sea and up to the inky deeps, and down to the dim-lighted compass before him, ask him his opinion of a lie! What his honest notion may be about a false light on yonder headland, a false latitude on his chart for this island or that shoal, a mistaken measurement of depth across this bay or through yonder straits! Ask him the nature and effects of a lie in the chart he sails by!

And we are all sailors. We want true charts. The false chart is our ruin. The false beacon on the headland is kindled by the fiends. It leads to death—a wreck-strewn sea, dashing white up the black cliffs, and bubbling cries, rising above the tempest's roar and the surges' boom, as, one by one, the swimmers sink to darkness through the foam!

Nay, for us, sailors over life's seas, sailors into eternity's dimness, the lie wears its Father's likeness. And the liar, the man who makes a lie, or helps a lie to success, a lie of word or deed, a lying boast merely, or a bad, vile, lying system, is my enemy, your enemy, humanity's enemy. He has deserted God's army, has denied his human brotherhood so far, has gone over, soul and body, to Satan. He is God's enemy and man's thenceforward.

That, I say, is, I trust, our creed about lies and liars too. We know where the lie comes from. We know whither it tends. We have made up our minds that it, and all its belonging, were best swept clean away and pitched into the Big Fire. Blessed be the man, we say, who successfully kills lies! He is a man to be honored and loved, no matter how rough he is in the process. It is never very smooth business. It is not a thing that can be well done in gloves. Let us not quarrel with how the champion does it. The main end is to get the lies well choked somehow.

But the one great difficulty in the way of such a man is, that so many people believe in lies. My eager young friend, Philalethes, supposes that, if he can only expose this falsehood, show up this sham, or sound the emptiness of this piece of cant or pretence, he will do the state some service, that men will thank him and call him benefactor. He does the work, and lo! to his amazement, many excellent men count him their deadly enemy.

These good souls see what he sees, that lies, and shams, and cheats in business, in science, in politics, in religion, in social life, are often very successful and very powerful, and they come to their conclusion, which is not his by a great deal. He thinks the lie ought to be hated, with a hatred the more intense because of its success. They conclude that lies, in this world at least, are necessary. They have seen, with their own eyes, how powerful, venerable, or respectable lies are, and they act on their knowledge. They[Pg 440] take the lie into sleeping partnership—Quirk and Co.

There are men who do not believe plain truth can walk alone in this world. She needs a pair of lies for crutches! Men will actually write and print lies for the truth's sake. Men have piously written down and copyrighted lies (I have their books on my shelves) for the sake of religion! They have so little faith in God, they think they must wheedle Satan over on His side, or the truth and the right will fail. It is very easy to believe in God for the other world, but very hard to believe in Him for this. He will be omnipotent lord and master there, but here, now, in this bewildering world, in this confused and wretched time, where wrong seems so prosperous and lies so strong, is He omnipotent here? Hereaway, is not the Devil mightier? Can we get along without a little of his help?

Now lies can never end till this ends. While men think them necessary to truth, in business, in politics, in social order, even in religion, they will stand. People must be got to see that they are evil, that under no circumstances can they be anything else, that there can be no alliance between truth and falsehood, that the false thing must, in the end, be the corrupting thing, Satanic and vile utterly. They must know that, just so far as anything is incorporate with a lie, so far is it foul to the nostrils of all angels, and ought to be to the nostrils of all men.

Weave a lie into your social polity. It may prosper for a while, but soon or late your social polity runs mad. Take a lie into your business, as sleeping partner, try to live and prosper in that connection, and, some time, you and your business will go to the dogs together. Adopt a lie in your religion, make up your mind, piously as you think, to believe what you do not believe and cannot believe, attempt to sanctify falsehood and lie yourself into a faith, and your sham creed and your lying religion will do you no good in this world or in the other.

Because a lie is a respectable lie, believed and patronized by respectable people, shall you respect it? Because some venerable sham has imposed its emptiness on a score of generations, shall we go on reverencing it, and pass the scarecrow and its trumpery trappings on for the reverence of our children? Shall we, for any cause, that is, turn liars ourselves, and use the tongues God gave us to speak honest truth and simple meaning with, to deceive, in small matter or great, one human brother of ours, and make him think Satan's black lie as good as the Lord's white truth?

It may be strong preaching, but how can one help it? Never yet did a true-hearted, clear-headed reformer set to work to clear away some old cankering sore of falsehood from a people's life that he did not meet with opposition. And never yet did that opposition come from those who loved the lie for the lie's sake or the bad for the bad's sake. It came from those who love Truth, but who could not trust her, who loved Good, but had no faith in its success, who wanted to see the right side triumph, but had no confidence in the right—who really believed, that is to say, that Satan was almighty and the Lord's cause could not prosper, in this world at least, without his help! The opposition came from those who would deal gently with respectable lies, not because they are lies, but because they are respectable; who trembled before powerful lies, not because they were lies, but because they were powerful; who, seeing shams and cheats so prosperous, so venerable, so strong, got the notion into their poor cowardly hearts that they are strongest, and wanted the reformer to come humbly, cap in hand, and ask them to let a little truth live, a little modest, humble, unaggressive truth—it will be very orderly, very quiet, very deferential, if they, the powerful, the venerable, the respectable lies[Pg 441] will let it stay here, in some corner, out of charity!

These are the men who, in all ages, have built barriers against heaven, the cowards, the faithless, the unbelieving. They dare not trust truth because it is truth, and good because it is good, leaving consequences with Him whose special business it is to take care of consequences. No, it is not love for the lie, but want of faith in the truth, that blocks the chariot wheels of the golden year.

For men do not love the lie after all. There's comfort in that. They do not like being cheated. They never get quite used to it, as, they say, eels do to skinning. They sometimes turn on the man, or the system, that tries it on them, in a very terrible and savage manner, with fury as of a mad lion, and take swift, fearful vengeance. The big, dumb heart of humanity, in the long, run, can be trusted. It is often imposed upon, its blind trust shamefully abused. Scoundrels exist and prosper on its patience and credulity. But only for a time. There is a reckoning for all such deceptions, if need be, in blood and fire. The dull heart throbs, the dull eyes open, the great brain stirs in its sleep, and humanity, true to its origin, rises to crush the lie with its million arms of power. And earth-born Briareus, when his thousand hands turn to right his wrongs, is not delicate in their handling. The echoes of a French Revolution will ring for some generations yet.

The man who turns to combat error needs the assurance of the true instincts of his race, for he enters on a task that must seem hopeless often.

'Truth crushed to earth will rise again;'

so Mr. Bryant tells him, and he is much obliged to Mr. Bryant. But will not error do just the same? He killed a lie yesterday, and buried it decently. He finds it alive again and prosperous to-day. Cut a man's head off, and he dies. There's no help for it, unless he is a St. Denis, and then he can only take a walk with his head in his hand. But, if he is not a St. Denis, he dies. That is the law. Cut the head off a lie, it does not die at all. It rather seems to enjoy the operation. You will meet it, like fifty St. Denises, on every morning walk, during your lifetime. They have a marvellous vitality. I meet lies every day that, to my certain knowledge, were put to death a hundred years ago, by master hands at the business, too. They ought, in decency at least, to look like pale ghosts 'revisiting the glimpses of the moon,' but they don't. They are smug, comfortable, and somewhat portly, as from good, solid living.

Now this is discouraging somewhat. But there is no good in shutting one's eyes to the fact. That is what I am going against. It is best to know that lies die hard. They will bear at least as many killings as a cat, and that's nine. Still, much depends upon the manner of the operation. How is it best performed? Knowledge is needed in all pursuits. There is a science undoubtedly in killing lies. If you wish to go into the business, and I trust most honest men do, you need to study it somewhat. Otherwise you will waste much effort, and get few results. It is not easy to kill one wolf with a stick, but, call science to your aid, and an ounce of strychnine, well administered, will do the business for a pack. Instead of going into a rough-and-tumble fight with some coarse, rude, vile lie, and mauling it to death by sheer force of muscle, it is better to use science and put it to death neatly, cleanly, and delicately, with unsoiled hands. Let us see if we can find the science of killing lies.

'The greater the lie the greater the truth.' Take that with you. A lie must, somewhere, have a truth to prop it. In the heart of every big successful lie you will find some reality. Of course you cannot build a house on nothing. A pyramid cannot be con[Pg 442]structed in the air. Now a lie is nothing, the very definition of nothing. It is what is not. So, of course, no pure and simple lie exists. It always builds itself on some truth. It always roots itself into some fact. And there is the secret of its vitality. You batter the lie with your logic, but the blows rebound from the iron truth beneath. You assail it with the flashing darts of your rhetoric, the points fly harmless from the marble reality below. There is truth there somewhere. That is why your rhetoric and your logic fail. That, too, is why one so often sees that most bewildering and despairing sight, men clinging to a lie, honoring it, trusting it, defending it, in all sincerity, against all assailants. It is not the lie they defend, but the truth in the lie. What a relief it was when I first made that discovery! I was ready to think meanly of my kind, to distrust humanity's instincts for truth. The lookout was on despair. But, when I understood the nature of the lie, I learned to think better of my brethren, I learned to have more hope in their Maker. No, there is no building on nothing. Every lie has a substratum of truth. In fact, look closer, and is not a lie only a distorted truth?—a truth torn from its connections, its features twisted out of all symmetry, its outlines battered out of all shape?

A man tells a true story to-day, in the hearing of one who has this distorting power, an essentially untrue soul. He hears the same story to-morrow, the very same, but so deformed, so mangled, so patched, that it is, now, every inch a lie—the truth gone crazy. That is, a truth half told is a lie, a truth added to is a lie, a truth distorted is a lie, a truth with its due proportions changed is a lie. And a lie may always be defined as a lame, deformed, or crazy truth.

And it is the truth in the lie that gives it its power, that makes honest men so often accept, love, and help it. Their conscious design is to work for the truth's sake. It is the truth in the lie that makes so many logic shafts, so many rhetoric arrows glance off, as from the hide of a rhinoceros.

And the bigger the lie the bigger also the truth. That is another bit of science. If Mrs. Tattle tells Mrs. Tittle a lie about Mrs. Jenkins, she knows very well Mrs. Tittle will not believe her unless her lie has some spice of fact to go on, unless it has vraisemblance, truth-likeness, an appearance of foundation at least. Mean little lies, like those she sets going, do not need much salt of truth to keep them from spoiling; still they require their due modicum, and they usually have it. As for instance, she says, with a long face, to Mrs. Tittle: 'Mrs. Jenkins, the widow Jenkins, you know, it's awful. She went over to Pinkins's last evening; I saw her go, and I do believe she stayed till twelve, and Mrs. Pinkins is away, you know. Isn't it terrible?' and she raises her eyes in pious horror at the depravity of the world, and of handsome young widows in particular. That is the lie. Now here is the truth. Mrs. Jenkins did go across the way to Pinkins's, because one of his little ones was suddenly taken with some baby ailment, and the poor fellow, in his wife's absence, was scared out of his few wits in consequence. He sent for the kind-hearted widow, and begged her help for Johnny. She came, nursed the young scamp like a mother, and returned at nine, with her conscience glowing under the performance of a kindly and neighborly act.

Now, without this much of truth, the amiable Mrs. Tattle would never have manufactured this particular lie. All liars understand the principle. They scarcely ever, until they become blind and stupid liars, invent a falsehood out of mere fancy. They pay tribute to humanity's instinct for truth so far as to tell as much of it as possible without ceasing to lie. They get in as great an amount of truth as convenient, to save their lie from swift, sure death.[Pg 443]

But a rousing big lie!—not one of these small neighborhood affairs, that buzz about like wasps in every community—but a grand and magnificent lie, imposed on a nation, imposed maybe on half a world, must have a corresponding truth to make it prosper. It takes less salt to cure the small pig, more to cure the large hog. So, the greater the weight of dead lie, the greater the amount required of preserving truth.

Mohammed imposed a lie on half a continent. That lie has lived and, in some sort, prospered to this day. All sorts of babblement have been written and spoken about that wonderful fact. The truth is, Mohammed's great lie was founded on, and propagated with, an equally great truth, a truth amply sufficient to carry it. In the midst of abominable idolatry, of stupid polytheism, Mohammed proclaimed: 'There is no God but God!' His wild and foolish fictions were based on that grand, unalterable truth. That truth is big enough to bear up more lies than even he ventured to cover it with. The human heart leaped up to grasp the great fact that props the Universe—'GOD IS!'—and, in its love for that, accepted also the falsehoods woven into its proclamation.

In all the universe the evil roots itself into the good. Evil never has an independent life. Like an idol, 'it is nothing in the world.' An evil nature is a good nature, only turned from its aim. Death exists only because there is life. Disease feeds on rosy health. Devils are, by nature, angels. The foulest fiend is only the loftiest seraph spoiled. The evil is always a parasite. All things were made 'very good.' An evil thing is only one of those good things corrupted. The lie, therefore, grows out of the truth. The clearest heaven's truth, half told, distorted, patched upon, is the vilest lie thenceforth.

Now, when one wants to kill lies successfully, he must remember all this. He may turn, as many have done, to the work of proving Mohammedanism a cheat. He sees it is. He wants to get others to see it. He brings his logic artillery and the rifle brigades of his flashing rhetoric to the battle. But, let him not be surprised if his heavy shot is powdered, and his Minié bullets glance harmless, as from a Monitor's turret, for beneath lies the iron truth that 'God is God,' and that saves the lie that 'Mohammed is His prophet.' He is not to rush, like a madman, at the lie, and try to maul it to death by sheer force of arm and hand. There is a hard truth beneath it, and he will only lame his knuckles. Let him go at the thing scientifically. They say of slander, which is one kind of lie, that, if left alone, it will sting itself to death. It is so somewhat with all falsehood. One should pay less attention to the lie and more to the truth. And the best way to destroy the false is to teach simply the true, and leave the false no room to stand on.

It is possible to destroy one lie by another. They are cannibals, and eat each other. Voltaire tried to conquer the lie of a corrupt church by establishing the greater lie of the denial of any church. That is a very unfortunate process, and yet it is common enough. The best way is to set out the truth, plain, and simple, and whole, and so kill lies in flocks. Positive teaching will be found the most effective teaching. The man who takes up the business of combating error, may originate quite as many errors as he destroys. There are a hundred prominent examples. Negative teaching is barren business at best. Better show what is the truth than worry oneself to show what is not it.

For, as I have shown, all lies have some truth in them. That is why they kick, and struggle, and die so hard. Now, take the truth, tear away the lies patched about it, tell it all, and you have quenched that particular lie that worried you, do you not see? and every[Pg 444] lie that roots itself in that given truth, or lives on its distortion. Declare your one truth convincingly, clearly, warmly as if you loved it, and the work is done. All that does not agree with that is, of course, false, without further breath wasted.

I might spend one day in proving that two and three are not four, another in proving that nine and six are not four, and so on ad infinitum. How much more sensible to prove that two and two are four, and so end the thing! How much simpler to show what is the truth than, laboriously, to expose the claims of a thousand pretenders that are not it! Here are five hundred John Smiths. They each pretend to be our John, the man we know and esteem so highly. I could set to work with infinite labor, and, by having commissions appointed all over the world to take evidence, and by employing a hundred or so of my friends the lawyers, I might, after a lifetime of investigation, prove the negative, that four hundred and ninety-nine of them are not John. But how much easier to walk out the real John at once, prove the positive, and let the rest pack! By proving that one truth, you see, I kill four hundred and ninety-nine lies—a good day's work that.

There is altogether too much of this negative style in all our defences of truth, too much attempt to destroy what is wrong, and too little to build what is right. And, after all, the business of the destructive, though many times very necessary and very useful, is not the highest style of work. You are never sure of your ground till, on the ruins of the towers of injustice and wrong, you erect the fortresses of justice and right.

The wise way is to let truth fight her own battles. She will render a good account of all her foes. Our humble duty is to stand by her, merely as seconds in the strife, to help her to her feet should she fall, to burnish her armor if the rust come to dim its brightness or spoil the keenness of her weapon's edge, knowing that she, as with the sword of the cherubim, will scatter, at the last, the evil legions and their dark array, as the whirlwind scatters the chaff.

I have written of a war that, as far as this world is concerned, is endless. As long as the world exists lies will exist. Truths will always be half told, half learned, half understood. The man who girds himself to do battle with falsehood and wrong should understand that 'there is no discharge in this war.' It will last his life out. He must accept the inevitable condition of his place, and must be content to do his best, hopefully and bravely, in this world-work, though he surely know that it shall be said of him, as of those faithful ones who saw only in vision the coming Christ: 'These all died in hope, not having obtained the promise.' I have attempted here some hints for the truth-lover. I warn him, on the start, that his work is endless, his discouragements many and great. Often and often it will seem that the evil is omnipotent, the false all-conquering. Again and again his heart must sink in half despair before the world's triumphant wrongs, before its overwhelming lies. In many a dark time the heavens will seem brass and the earth iron, and the evil victorious over all. He must be prepared for this. There is no good in cheating men with false hopes. In a world that crowns its saviors with thorns, such things are, and it is just as well to know it.

But there are encouragements too. The conviction is perennial among men, that, on the whole, the false must go down. That is one strong encouragement. This is another, that, after all, men are truth-lovers. The true instincts of the race will give themselves voice some time, and when they speak they shake the world. On the whole, they are for the right thing and the true thing. All history, I believe, will bear them that testimony.[Pg 445]

But the great encouragement is, that the Lord is King, that a true God owns creation, that He is on the side of truth, and armed against every lie. I think, between ourselves, that is encouragement enough. The side that Jehovah is on is a pretty strong side, no matter who is on the other. In the long run it will be the safe side, and the successful side.



'Do but grasp into the thick of human life! Every one lives it!—to not many is it known; and seize it where you will, it is interesting.'—Goethe.

'Successful.—Terminating in accomplishing what is wished or intended.'—Webster's Dictionary.


The reader must imagine a lapse of five years.

Hiram Meeker sits by an open window of his front parlor. It is the first week in June; and, although early in the afternoon, the avenue is beginning to be thronged with the fashionable world.

Hiram sits, idly regarding the passers by. If you observe particularly, you will perceive that the chair in which he is sitting is of a peculiar construction. It is made so as to be wheeled from one point to another, without disturbing the occupant.

If you regard his countenance with a little more scrutiny, you will find it greatly changed. There is no longer that firm texture of the skin which indicates the vigor of health, and which shows that the muscles are under full control. One side of the face is a very little out of shape; not enough, however, to affect the appearance of the mouth, and probably not to interfere with articulation.

Reader, the 'evil days' have come to Hiram. They have come, but, as one might say, gently, without aggravating circumstances or attending misfortunes. Still, the evil days have come. The 'years,' too, draw nigh when he shall have no pleasure in them.

It is a twelvemonth now since the fatal, long-dreaded paralysis came. The stroke was a mild one, but there it was. All that care, and forethought, and the best medical advice could accomplish, had been put in requisition, and not without effect; but the millionnaire could not neglect his vast interests, nor fail to mature plans which his fertile brain originated.

The machine gave occasional token of the wear and tear to which it was subjected. Then Hiram would intermit his labor; would ride farther and sharper of a morning; would subject himself to an extra amount of friction. Presently the brain would work bravely on again, as of yore, just the same—exactly the same. Hiram could perceive no difference—none. Then would come another premonitory symptom, which would be followed by other extra rides and various new courses of treatment, till all worked well again. During these periods, Doctor Frank, under whose charge Hiram had at length placed himself, would urge on his brother the necessity of some relief from his self-imposed labors. But,[Pg 446] as I have intimated, the advice was heeded only while danger was apparent.

When the fearful visitor did appear, Hiram bitterly regretted tasking his brain so severely. He was now quite willing to obey every injunction and follow every suggestion of his physician.

To this is owing his present comfortable state and tolerable degree of health. But privately let me tell you that he is failing—not fast, but gradually, surely failing.

Let us return to the window.

Mrs. Meeker's carriage is at the door. In a few moments Arabella herself comes out and enters it, and drives away. Positively she does not appear in the least changed since we last saw her. In fact, her health was never so good as at present.

'She will outlive me,' mutters Hiram—'she will outlive me, though she is more than two years older than I am. Let me see, from April to November is seven months. Yes, it is nearer three years than two. She will outlive me, though.

'I say, Williams!'

'Yes, sir.'

'Williams, have you heard how Mr. Hill is to-day? I am told he is not expected to live.'

'No more he wasn't sir; but I met his man this morning, at market, and he says as how Mr. Hill is very much better, sir, very much better.'


'Williams, who was that young man I saw come to the door this morning?'

'I really couldn't say, sir—I didn't know of any, sir—oh, now I recollect, sir: it was a messenger from the Doctor, sir, with the new friction gloves.'


'You understand, Williams, if that young man ever comes near the house—you know who I mean—I say, you—you understand what I told you?'

'Oh, yes, sir—certainly, sir.'

'That will do, Williams.—Hill is getting better, is he?' pursues Hiram to himself. 'Let me see—Hill must be at least four years older than I. Yes, I recollect perfectly when he was at Joslin's, the time I came down from Burnsville. Why, I was a mere boy, then, and Hill—Hill was a young man of five-and-twenty. Yes, I recollect perfectly'—and Hiram smiled, as if his encounter with Joslin and his clerk was fresh in his mind. 'So Hill is better to-day,' he continued. 'He will outlive me too. Yet he is certainly four years older—four years older.'

There may be some of my readers who have taken sufficient interest in 'that scapegrace Hill' to wish to know something about him during these last thirty years.

I will say, therefore, that when Hiram jilted Emma Tenant, Hill took a perfect disgust toward him. He presently quit drinking and swearing, and married a pretty—indeed, a very charming—rosy-cheeked girl, whose only fault was, as he said, that she was foolish enough to love him. This girl was the daughter of his landlady, and not worth a penny—in money. Till Hiram's 'affair' with Emma Tenant, he had exercised sufficient influence over Hill to prevent his committing himself. That resulted in Hill's throwing off the yoke, and announcing his independence. Hill was no fool. The fact is, Hiram, to a certain extent, was in his power. The parties never quarrelled. But all accounts were closed between them the following season. I am constrained to add Hill continued in the liquor business, in which he amassed a pretty large fortune. He was afterward made President of the Globe Bank, one of the largest in the city, as all know, which office he continues to hold. He has proved a good husband, a kind father, and a useful member of society. The phrase is a stereotyped one, but it is true of Hill.

[Pg 447]

Leaving Hiram Meeker to pursue his soliloquy, I will endeavor to put the reader in possession of such facts as may be necessary for the better understanding of the narrative, and the present situation of affairs in Hiram's own house.

After the departure of Belle, I remarked that Hiram was busily engaged for more than a week in preparing his will. With the defection of his son and the elopement of his favorite daughter, Hiram's ideas took a new and distinctive turn.

He at one time had considerable pride in the idea of building up the family name in his children, 'even unto his children's children.' This he thought a laudable ambition, since he found the phrase in Scripture. But when Belle deserted him, and he found himself not only forsaken but duped, his feelings underwent an entire change.

When Harriet, in her anxiety to induce her father to bring back her sister, said, 'Give her my share—I shall not require it,' there was stirred in Hiram's heart the old demon of Calculation and Acquisitiveness. It seemed as if something had been saved to him by Harriet's untimely departure from the world. It is difficult fully to understand this, since, while he lived, certainly he would retain control of all his property; and after his death, what could it avail him? Nevertheless, I but recount the simple truth.

That night he conceived the idea of a magnificent disposition of his vast estate, to take place on his decease. Now he began to regard his afflictions in a providential light. These were chastenings, at present not joyous but grievous; but they would work out for him a more eternal weight of glory.

The consequence was, that by his will be founded three distinct public institutions, all bearing his name; and prepared, at the same time, minute directions how to carry his bequests into effect. These institutions were not what are called charitable, neither did their establishment indicate a heart easily touched by human misfortune. They were calculated, however, to adorn and ornament the city, and to blazon forth H. Meeker to the world so long as they stood.

One thing threatened to interfere with Hiram's arrangements. His wife would have a right of dower in all his real estate, in case she survived him. This annoyed Hiram greatly.

He got along with the matter in a business way. Arabella herself was called in. Hiram announced, in general terms, what he proposed to do, and suggested that he was ready to leave her a sum certain, provided she would relinquish her rights in the real estate.

Under ordinary circumstances Arabella would have been indignant; but her thoughts were of her son, now a wanderer from his home. She was tolerably familiar with the laws which regulate property. She knew if she insisted on her dower, which she had a right to do, that however affluent she would be while she lived, she would have nothing to leave her child. She did not give Belle a thought.

After a good deal of haggling, it was agreed that Hiram should give her by his will three hundred thousand dollars (just about the sum, by the way, she brought her husband), together with the household furniture, plate, horses, carriages, and so forth, and the use of the house during her life.

This settled, Hiram was left free to follow out his ambitious plans for raising a monument to—himself.

These occupy him entirely. So much so, that he has no time to look forward to the great future which cannot now be very far off to him. Indeed, strange as one may think, although Hiram feels well assured of his title to the kingdom, he thinks very little about it; neither does the prospect give him the least satisfaction.

Meanwhile, where is Harriet? What[Pg 448] has become of Belle! How did Gus turn out?

Harriet survived longer than one would have imagined, considering the progress disease had made when we first became acquainted with her. While she lived, she could not fail to impart her influence—the influence of a gentle and a chastened spirit—over the whole household.

I have already intimated that there was a new tie between her and her mother—the worldly minded and fashionable Arabella. It was in the interest which both felt in Gus. It seemed to be the chief object of Harriet in living, to bring back her brother to his home, and to see him in the right path. The mother longed to bring about the same thing, but probably for very different reasons from those which actuated the dying girl. But here their sympathies met, and they could act in concert. Gus had always been sensibly alive to Harriet's regard for him. He loved her with real affection; and when, in a foreign land, he read her letters, fraught with the strongest expressions of love and sympathy, and filled with the most earnest appeals from his 'dying sister, whose every breath was a prayer for him,' it was impossible for his nature to resist.

In a few months, Gus had taken his resolution. He abhorred trade. His four years in college were not altogether lost on him. He felt quite sure that his father would never relent. He believed he discovered in himself a taste for the medical profession. So, after a short period, Gus established himself in a very quiet way in Paris, and became a very persevering and devoted student. His mother, of course, managed to keep him in funds; but his drafts on her were very moderate. His reformation seemed complete.

After devoting about eighteen months to the study of medicine abroad, he returned to New York. This was the season before Harriet died. He said he could not endure the idea of her passing out of the world without his seeing her again, and telling her what was in his heart.

Hiram all this time remained, or professed to remain, profoundly ignorant of what was going on. He continued to speak of his 'reprobate son,' among his acquaintances in the church. The least attempt on Harriet's part to introduce the forbidden subject was met by the most stern repulse.

But Gus came back. He was obliged to enter his own home stealthily and in secret, where he deserved to be welcomed back in honor and with reward. But he came. What was the joy, the intense satisfaction of Harriet, to see him again! And Arabella—it was a strange sight indeed to see her give way to any real emotion.

Perhaps, before this, you have guessed that Doctor Frank has had something to do with Gus's return. He has had a great deal to do with it. Doctor Frank is an old man. He has no boys—living. He wants Gus to live with him. He will give him the benefit of his large experience, and Gus in return will relieve the doctor of much of the hard work which is constantly accumulating. This is Doctor Frank's plan. It has been carried out, and Gus is now 'the young doctor.' Bravo Gus! God bless you!

Poor Belle!

At the end of a single year, she was obliged to quit her husband. Quit her husband, did I say? I mean that her husband quitted her. After spending a few weeks in travelling, the two set off for Europe; and, going to Paris, they gave themselves up to the enjoyment of the gay scenes which this remarkable city affords.

'When the ocean shall be between us, papa will no longer hold out—I know he will not.'

So Belle said to her husband. But Belle was mistaken. Months passed, and destitution stared the couple in the face. Then the various articles of jew[Pg 449]elry went, one by one—and then the crisis arrived.

When Signor Filippo Barbone became fully satisfied that his father-in-law was not to be turned from his resolution: when it became apparent that the mother was not to be influenced, he came to the conclusion that he had made a bad bargain, and resolved to escape as soon as possible from the consequences of it.

Belle, on her part, began to be disenchanted. Then all the elements of her imperious, passionate nature, broke out in the fiercest, most vehement, most vindictive manner. She heaped reproaches, taunts, and maledictions on the head of the signor, who bore them with more equanimity than would be supposed, but who determined not to have another such tempest. One night he decamped, taking with him the few remaining valuables the miserable girl possessed.

Belle had not communicated with Gus, or even permitted him to know her whereabouts. Now she wrote him a note, imploring him to come to her. He responded at once, and instantly made what arrangements he could for her comfort. After a season, and by the joint efforts of Gus and Harriet and Doctor Frank, Belle was enabled to go back to New York. Her father would not see her; her mother would not permit her to enter the house; but a small weekly stipend was allowed, to enable her to board in a respectable place, and to dress decently.

Her unfortunate marriage has had very little effect on her. She never was so handsome in her life. She enjoys exciting the sympathies of those by whom she is surrounded, including half-a-dozen gentlemen who are constantly dangling around her. A young lawyer, who was boarding at the same house, undertook to institute proceedings for a divorce against the absent signor. He was successful in his application, and Belle is now legally free. She will probably marry some man of coarse taste, who will be attracted by her fine form and showy appearance, to say nothing of the effect of the prevalent belief that she will certainly be provided for 'on old Meeker's death.'

So much for the present situation of the Meeker family. While Arabella is taking her drive, I have had time to tell the reader thus much about it. The carriage is now approaching, and I must stop.

The shadows of evening begin to gather. Along the great artery of the city press the crowd. Their steps tend homeward.

Still Hiram sits by the window, but oblivious of the current which sweeps by.

His thoughts go back to Hampton. He is a clerk in the 'opposition store,' making love to Mary Jessup.

'What a pretty girl she used to be!—how much she always did for me—what pains she took to please me!' he mutters to himself.

Now he is thinking of Burnsville. His mind seems principally to dwell on what was formerly of secondary importance to him.

'Those Hawkins girls—they were good girls—very kind to me always—nice girls—handsome girls—both of them in love with me. The widow Hawkins, too....

'Sarah Burns—she was a different sort from the rest. I don't think I ever cared so much about her—too independent—thought too much of herself. How quick she broke the engagement! I remember it was preparatory lecture—preparatory lecture....

'Emma Tenant—she wasn't proud—Emma really loved me—I always, knew she did....'

He raised his eyes.

Was it through some species of traction, as believers in odic force[Pg 450] other peculiar affinities, attribute to their influences, that he did so at that moment?

There was Emma Tenant—Mrs. Lawrence—passing in her carriage, surrounded by blooming, grown-up children.

Her attention, it seems, was directed for an instant to the window. Their gaze met.

No outward sign that they were ever acquainted was manifested. But there was, on both sides, a recognition, instantaneous and complete.

'Poor old man!' exclaimed Mrs. Lawrence, involuntarily.

'Who, mamma?'

'We have passed him now.' And no more was said.

'She loved me once,' was the soliloquy. 'That was a great while ago, too....'

Another carriage passed. A bow from a lady, accompanied by a pleasant smile. It is Miss Innis (Mrs. Leroy), driving out with her children. Though no longer young, she is still a most attractive and elegant woman.

'What a wife she would have made me! I should not be in this state if I had her to look after me. She has a kind heart—always smiling, always happy.'

'Mr. Meeker!'

The shrill voice of Arabella is heard.

Hiram groans in spirit.

'Don't you think you had better be wheeled to your room? You know I dine out to-day.'

'I prefer to sit here. Tell Williams to come to me.'

The shadows fall thicker and faster.

Still Hiram Meeker sits by the window.

Despite my real inclination, I have a morbid desire to linger by his side.

I hear the sharp ring of the prompter's bell! The curtain is about to fall. I cannot stay in the gloom alone with that man!—Good by to you, Hiram!

I breathe again—in the cheerful streets, surrounded by bustling, earnest, sympathizing humanity.

Reader, what think you? Was he successful?



One may effect an absolute insurance against all real evil by the adoption of a single rule, i. e., never to do anything against conscience. This must be applied in our treatment of ourselves, in body and mind—especially the former; because there we are most apt to fail. It must be kept strictly toward the soul, in view of its endless welfare, and in all our relations to God and man. This, I admit, may not save us from the invasions of apparent ill; but from the entire reality of evil, the security thus furnished is absolute. Conscience is the voice of God in the soul; and no one truly obeying this voice will meet with permanent harm. This rule, let us further observe, is most needed where it is least likely to be regarded, i. e., in circumstances where the voice of conscience is not so decided as in the case of temptations to palpable vice. Our danger is often greatest, where we have to resist only an obscure sense of right and wrong, in seeking the lower gratifications of life. So much the more scrupulous must we there be.[Pg 451]


Benedict of Nursia, the founder of the celebrated order which bears his name, gave to the Western monasticism a fixed and permanent form, and thus carried it far above the Eastern with its imperfect attempts at organization, and made it exceedingly profitable to the practical, and incidentally also to the literary interests of the Catholic Church. He holds, therefore, the dignity of patriarch of the Western monks. He has furnished a remarkable instance of the incalculable influence which a simple but judicious moral rule of life may exercise on many centuries.

Benedict was born of the illustrious house of Anicius at Nursia (now Norcia), in Umbria, about the year 480, at the time when the political and social state of Europe was distracted and dismembered, and literature, morals, and religion seemed to be doomed to irremediable ruin. He studied in Rome, but so early as his fifteenth year he fled from the corrupt society of his fellow students, and spent three years in seclusion in a dark, narrow, and almost inaccessible grotto at Subiaco.[5] A neighboring monk, Romanus, furnished him from time to time his scanty food, letting it down by a cord, with a little bell, the sound of which announced to him the loaf of bread. He there passed through the usual anchoretic battles with demons, and by prayer and ascetic exercise attained a rare power over nature. At one time, Pope Gregory tells us, the allurements of voluptuousness so strongly tempted his imagination that he was on the point of leaving his retreat in pursuit of a beautiful woman of previous acquaintance; but summoning up his courage, he took off his vestment of skins, and rolled himself naked on thorns and briers near his cave, until the impure fire of sensual passion was forever extinguished. Seven centuries later, St. Francis of Assisi planted on that spiritual battle field two rose trees, which grew and survived the Benedictine thorns and briers. He gradually became known, and was at first taken for a wild beast by the surrounding shepherds, but afterward reverenced as a saint.

After this period of hermit life, he began his labors in behalf of the monastery proper. In that mountainous region he established, in succession, twelve cloisters, each with twelve monks and a superior, himself holding the oversight of all. The persecution of an unworthy priest caused him, however, to leave Subiaco, and retire to a wild but picturesque mountain district in the Neapolitan province upon the boundaries of Samnium and Campania. There he destroyed the remnants of idolatry, converted many of the pagan inhabitants to Christianity by his preaching and miracles, and in the year 529, under many difficulties, founded upon the ruins of a temple of Apollo the renowned cloister of Monte Cassino,[6][Pg 452] the alma mater and capital of his order. Here he labored fourteen years till his death. Although never ordained to the priesthood, his life there was rather that of a missionary and apostle than of a solitary. He cultivated the soil, fed the poor, healed the sick, preached to the neighboring population, directed the young monks, who in increasing numbers flocked to him, and organized the monastic life upon a fixed method or rule, which he himself conscientiously observed. His power over the hearts and the veneration in which he was held is illustrated by the visit of Jotila, in 542, the barbarian king, the victor of the Romans and master of Italy, who threw himself on his face before the saint, accepted his reproof and exhortations, asked his blessing, and left a better man, but fell, after ten years' reign, as Benedict had predicted, in a great battle with the Græco-Roman army under Narses. Benedict died, after partaking of the holy communion, praying, in standing posture at the foot of the altar, on the 21st of March, 543, and was buried by the side of his sister, Scholastica, who had established a nunnery near Monte Cassino, and died a few weeks before him. They met only once a year on the side of the mountain for prayer and pious conversation. On the day of his departure two monks saw in a vision a shining pathway of stars leading from Monte Cassino to heaven, and heard a voice that said by this road Benedict, the well beloved of God, had ascended to heaven.[7]

His biographer, Pope Gregory I., in the second book of his Dialogues, ascribes to him miraculous prophecies and healings, and even a raising of the dead.[8] With reference to his want of secular culture and his spiritual knowledge, he calls him a learned ignorant and an unlettered sage.[9] At all events he possessed the genius of a lawgiver, and holds the first place among the founders of monastic orders, though his person and life are much less interesting than those of a Bernard of Clairvaux, a Francis of Assisi, and an Ignatius of Loyola.

The rule of St. Benedict, on which his fame rests, forms an epoch in the history of monasticism. In a short time it superseded all contemporary and older rules of the kind, and became the immortal code of the most illustrious branch of the monastic army, and the basis of the whole Roman Catholic cloister life.[10] It consists of a preface or prologus, and a series of moral, social, liturgical, and penal ordinances, in seventy-three chapters. It shows a true knowledge of human nature, the practical wisdom of Rome, and adaptation to Western customs; and[Pg 453] it combines simplicity with completeness, strictness with gentleness, humility with courage, and gives the whole cloister life a fixed unity and compact organization, which, like the episcopate, possessed an unlimited versatility and power of expansion. It made every cloister an ecclesiola in ecclesia, reflecting the relation of the bishop to his charge, the monarchical principle of authority on the democratic basis of the equality of the brethren, though claiming a higher degree of perfection than could be realized in the great secular church. For the rude and undisciplined world of the Middle Age, the Benedictine rule furnished a wholesome course of training and a constant stimulus to the obedience, self-control, order, and industry which were indispensable to the regeneration and healthy growth of social life.[11]

The spirit of the rule may be judged from the following sentences of the prologus, which contains pious exhortations: 'Having thus,' he says, 'my brethren, asked of the Lord who shall dwell in His tabernacle, we have heard the precepts prescribed to such a one. If we fulfil these conditions we shall be heirs of the kingdom of heaven. Let us, then, prepare our hearts and bodies to fight under a holy obedience to these precepts; and if it is not always possible for nature to obey, let us ask the Lord that He would deign to give us the succor of His grace. Would we avoid the pains of hell and attain eternal life while there is still time, while we are still in this mortal body, and while the light of this life is bestowed upon us for that purpose, let us run and strive so as to reap an eternal reward. We must, then, form a school of divine servitude, in which, we trust, nothing too heavy or rigorous will be established. But if, in conformity with right and justice, we should exercise a little severity for the amendment of vices or the preservation of charity, beware of fleeing under the impulse of terror from the way of salvation, which cannot but have a hard beginning. When man has walked for some time in obedience and faith, his heart will expand, and he will run with the unspeakable sweetness of love in the way of God's commandments. May He grant that, never straying from the instruction of the Master, and persevering in His doctrine in the monastery until death, we may share by patience in the sufferings of Christ, and be worthy to share together His kingdom.'

The leading provisions of this rule are as follows:

At the head of each society stands an abbot, who is elected by the monks, and with their consent appoints a provost (præpositus), and, when the number of the brethren requires, deans over the several divisions (decaniæ), as assistants. He governs, in Christ's stead, by authority and example, and is to his cloister what the bishop is to his diocese. In the more weighty matters he takes the congregation of the brethren into consultation; in ordinary affairs, only the older members. The formal entrance into the cloister must be preceded by a probation or novitiate of one year (subsequently it was made three years), that no one might prematurely or rashly take the solemn step. If the novice repented his resolution, he could leave the cloister without hindrance; if he adhered to it, he was, at the close of his probation, subjected to an examination in presence of the abbot and the monks, and then, appealing to the saints, whose relics were in the cloister, he laid upon the altar of the chapel the irrevocable vow, written or at least subscribed by his own hand, and therewith cut off from himself forever all return to the world.[Pg 454]

From this important arrangement the cloister received its stability, and the whole monastic institution derived additional earnestness, solidity, and permanence.

The vow was threefold, comprising stablitas, perpetual adherence to the monastic order; conversio morum, especially voluntary poverty and chastity, which were always regarded as the very essence of monastic piety under all its forms; and obedientia coram Deo et sanctis ejus, absolute obedience to the abbot, as the representative of God and Christ. This obedience is the cardinal virtue of a monk.[12]

The life of the cloister consisted of a judicious alternation of spiritual and bodily exercises. This is the great excellence of the rule of Benedict, who proceeded here upon the true principle that idleness is the mortal enemy of the soul and the workshop of the devil.[13] Seven hours were to be devoted to prayer, singing of psalms, and meditation;[14] from two to three hours, especially on Sunday, to religious reading; and from six to seven hours to manual labor indoors or in the field, or, instead of this, to the training of children, who were committed to the cloister by their parents (oblati).[15]

Here was a starting point for the afterward celebrated cloister schools, and for that attention to literary pursuits which, though entirely foreign to the uneducated Benedict and his immediate successors, afterward became one of the chief ornaments of his order, and in many cloisters took the place of manual labor.

In other respects the mode of life was to be simple without extreme rigor, and confined to strictly necessary things. Clothing consisted of a tunic with a black cowl (whence the name Black Friars); the material to be determined by the climate and season. On the two weekly fast days, and from the middle of September to Easter, one meal was to suffice for the day. Each monk is allowed daily a pound of bread and pulse, and, according to the Italian custom, half a flagon (hemina) of wine; though he is advised to abstain from the wine, if he can do so without injury to his health. Flesh is permitted only to the weak and sick,[16] who were to be treated with special care. During the meal some edifying piece was read, and silence enjoined. The individual monk knows no personal property, not even his simple dress as such; and the fruits of his labor go into the common treasury. He should avoid all contact with the world as dangerous to the soul, and therefore every cloister should be so arranged as to be able to carry on even the arts and trades necessary for supplying its wants.[17] Hospitality and other works of love are especially commanded.

The penalties for transgression of the rule are, first, private admonition, then exclusion from the fellowship of prayer,[Pg 455] next exclusion from fraternal intercourse, and finally expulsion from the cloister, after which, however, restoration is possible, even to the third time.

Benedict had no presentiment of the vast historical importance which his rule, originally designed simply for the cloister of Monte Cassino, was destined to attain. He probably never aspired beyond the regeneration and salvation of his own soul and that of his brother monks, and all the talk of some later historians about his far-reaching plans of a political and social regeneration of Europe, and the preservation and promotion of literature and art, find no support whatever in his life or in his rule. But he humbly planted a seed which Providence blessed a hundredfold. By his rule, he became, without his own will or knowledge, the founder of an order, which, until in the thirteenth century the Dominicans and Franciscans pressed it partially into the background, spread with great rapidity over the whole of Europe, maintained a clear supremacy, formed the model for all other monastic orders, and gave to the Catholic Church an imposing array of missionaries, authors, artists, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and popes, as Gregory the Great and Gregory VII. In less than a century after the death of Benedict, the conquests of the barbarians in Italy, Gaul, and Spain were reconquered for civilization, and the vast territories of Great Britain, Germany, and Scandinavia incorporated into Christendom or opened to missionary labor; and in this progress of history the monastic institution regulated and organized by Benedict's rule bears an honorable share.

Benedict himself established a second cloister in the vicinity of Terracina, and two of his favorite disciples, Placidus and St. Maurus,[18] introduced the 'holy rule,' the one into Sicily, the other into France. Pope Gregory the Great, himself at one time a Benedictine monk, enhanced its prestige, and converted the Anglo-Saxons to the Roman Christian faith by Benedictine monks. Gradually the rule found so general acceptance both in old and in new institutions, that, in the time of Charlemagne, it became a question, whether there were any monks at all who were not Benedictines. The order, it is true, has degenerated from time to time, through the increase of its wealth and the decay of its discipline, but its fostering care of religion, of humane studies, and of the general civilization of Europe, from the tilling of the soil to the noblest learning, has given it an honorable place in history and won immortal praise.

The patronage of learning, however, as we have already said, was not within the design of the founder or his rule. The joining of this to the cloister life is due, if we leave out of view the learned monk Jerome, to Cassiodorus, who, in 538, retired from the honors and cares of high civil office in the Gothic monarchy of Italy,[19] to a monastery founded by himself at Vivarium[20] (Viviers), in Calabria, in Lower Italy. Here he spent nearly thirty years as monk and abbot, collected a large library, encouraged the monks to copy and to study the Holy Scriptures, the works of the church fathers, and even the ancient classics, and wrote for them several literary and theological text books, especially his [Pg 456]treatise De institutione divinarum literarum, a kind of elementary encyclopædia, which was the code of monastic education for many generations. Vivarium at one time almost rivalled Monte Cassino, and Cassiodorus[21] won the honorary title of the restorer of knowledge in the sixth century.

The Benedictines, already accustomed to regular work, soon followed this example. Thus, that very mode of life which in its founder, Anthony, despised all learning, became, in the course of its development, an asylum of culture in the rough and stormy times of the immigration and the crusades, and a conservator of the literary treasures of antiquity for the use of modern times.


Paul. Well, Dorcas, now you have finished the book, what do you think of it?

Dorcas. I must confess, my expectations on the whole have been agreeably disappointed. From the criticisms I had read, both favorable and adverse, I was fully prepared to quarrel with it from beginning to end. I find in it much power and sustained interest. The descriptions of nature are admirable—fresh, unhackneyed, and vivid. Western New York, with its blue lakes, sloping hills, shining brooks, quiet woodlands, spring buds, autumn flowers, winding country roads, and laden grain fields, stands before one, clearly pictured. The characters, with their isms, seem like old acquaintances, and the seething, fermenting condition of American society is most accurately represented. There is pathos, too, in the story, and many will read it with moistened eyes.

Paul. So far so good, but—?

Dorcas. But there runs through the entire work a vein of sentiment or philosophy, which wears a very suspicious resemblance to that of a certain school just now popular in France. I need not tell you, Uncle Paul, how distasteful to me is that school, nor how false I think the premises upon which it is founded. I am convinced there is a difference in the mental and moral constitution of men and women. I will not bore you by any disquisition upon relative superiority or inferiority, but will simply give you a portion of my idea as I find it laid down by St. John Chrysostom: 'Do not confound submission with slavery,' says the golden-mouthed Greek. 'The woman obeys, but remains free; she is equal in honor. It is true that she is subject to her husband; and this is her punishment for having rendered herself guilty in the beginning. Mark it well; woman was not condemned to subjection at the time of her creation; when God made and presented her to her husband, He said nothing of domination; we hear nothing from the lips of Adam which supposes it. It was only after having violated her duty by leading him astray to whom she had been given as a support, that she heard these words: 'Thou shalt be under thy husband's power, and he shall have dominion over thee.''

Now, in the book under consideration, we are led to suppose that even the 'exceptional women' find submission and dependence, not only delightful, but absolute necessities of their being. They are only too happy to[Pg 457] succumb to the powerful magnetism attributed to men by reason alone of their manhood. (A doctrine too repulsive to admit of discussion.) I fancy that thinking, sensitive, and high-spirited women have not yet ceased to find submission and dependence a punishment. They may take up their cross cheerily, and wear it gracefully, but none the less do they feel it to be a cross. As for pecuniary dependence, so long as all goes smoothly and matters are so arranged that the wife is not obliged to ask the husband for funds, the power of custom and of legal provisions may be sufficient to prevent any disquietude; but after the first misunderstanding, the first unkind word, his money, as it passes through her hands, burns like coals of fire, and the bitterness of her heart, as she perhaps vainly longs for some means of employment by which to procure at least sufficient for her own personal expenses, would cause him a new and strange sensation, did she not deem it her duty to suppress all evidence, even the existence, of such self-assertion, and quietly shoulder this with the rest, as a portion of the burden to be borne through the valley of humiliation into which she has entered, and wherein, by reason of the especial power granted her of knowing and loving God, she usually finds herself Heaven's own missionary, the keeper and guide of souls. Now, do not misunderstand me, Uncle Paul; when I say that marriage is a valley of humiliation, I intend no reproach to men; I simply state a fact dependent upon the nature of things, and upon the primal sentence passed against the pride that, in spite of the prohibition of the Almighty, sought to know all things, 'to become as gods.' Meekness, humility, self-abnegation, affection, are the beautiful flowers that grow by the wayside; but the pathway is not the less thorny, and no good can be accomplished by denying or sugar-coating the fact.

Paul. I do not doubt the correctness of your views, Dorcas; but your rather vehement statement of them somewhat surprises me, as you yourself married of your own free will, and at an age when women, if ever, are supposed to know their own minds.

Dorcas. That my own marriage has been a happy one, and that my good husband has striven, by recognizing my womanly as well as individual idiosyncrasies, to render the yoke as light as it possibly can be, is the very circumstance that gives me a right to speak and offer my testimony against ideas which I think wholly unwarranted by the facts in the case. The views of modern philosophers, attacking the sanctity of Christian marriage, are to me perfectly abhorrent. Deprive marriage of its mystical, sacramental, penitential character, and it ceases to be the bulwark of a well-ordered society. I must again call upon St. John Chrysostom to speak for me. He says: 'Marriage is one of the most surprising mysteries, by reason of the sublime character which belongs to it, of representing the alliance of Jesus Christ with His Church. The necessary consequence of which is, that it should not be contracted lightly and through interested motives. No, marriage is no bargain; it is the union of the entire life.' This is what true marriage should be; but in so far as mankind fall below the lofty standards set before them, so far does actual marriage fail to reach its glorious ideal. Meantime, reverence for maidenhood is one of the strongest safeguards of the sanctity of wedded life, and no delusions of any school, whether romantic, sentimental, Micheletic, humanitarian, or Lutheranistic, should be permitted to obscure this reverence. Neither my own experience, nor that of the young maidens best known to me, teaches me that the idle hours of women are haunted by dreams of some human lover, who must be found to save them from despair. I cannot think that marriage is essential to, or even best for, the happiness of women. If we enter the nearest insti[Pg 458]tution of Charity Sisters, Sisters of Mercy, or of the Poor, we cannot fail to remark the contrast between the healthful, cheery, unsolicitous countenances of the inmates, and the nervous, suffering, careworn faces of the wives and mothers in our midst. Both live in the conscientious performance of equally estimable duties, but the pleasing of a Heavenly Master would seem to be a more peaceful and less wearing task than the gratification of an earthly lord. Let us hearken for a moment to an eloquent French theologian: 'Woman's nature, in some exceptional cases, rises to such a height of intellect and sensitiveness, that it ceases to be capable of accepting that subordination which constitutes the essence of Christian marriage. Think you there are not women athirst for the ideal; who are crushed by the commonplace of ordinary affections; who would go beyond that narrow circle traced round them by domestic cares? Give to such natures as good, kind, and conscientious a husband as you will, do you think he can ever satisfy the ardent longings of their mind and heart? Do you think they can find in the family the realization of the brilliant dream caressed by them from the earliest years of infancy? Do you not believe that they will constantly feel cruel disappointments, infinite tortures, and the deepest anguish?'

Paul. But if such be a true statement of the case, what are these good ladies to do?

Dorcas. The world has always need of intellect and enthusiasm, and these, directed by the spirit of devotion and self-sacrifice, without which nothing good or great can be accomplished, will point the way to the fulfilment of whatever may be the especial vocation of the individual. The author above quoted continues: 'Some heroic virgins have played so wonderful a part that, by the sublimity of their devotion and the power of their intellect, they have occasionally eclipsed the renown of the most illustrious men. A St. Catherine of Sienna was the light of doctors, the ambassadress of nations, the counsellor of popes, and the admiration of her age. A St. Rose of Viterbo, a charming and graceful child, became the intrepid buckler of Rome against the pretensions of the Ghibelline emperors. A St. Clara, by her ardent love for the poor and the Cross, was worthy of aiding the Seraph of Assisi in his admirable reform. A St. Theresa astonished the world by the grandeur of her character in the age of the Loyolas, the Xaviers, and the Francis Borgias.' To these few but striking instances we may add Joan of Arc, whose patriotism and valor saved her country from the dominion of the foreign invader, and, in our own day, Florence Nightingale and Miss Dix, together with hosts of courageous maidens, who in every Christian land yearly devote themselves to the service of suffering humanity. I should weary you, uncle, were I to pursue this subject into farther depths: suffice it to say that it is one which no man, however tender or talented, could ever exhaust, for there are chords in the feminine organization beyond his comprehension—strange chords, the resolution of which will be found only in that heaven where there shall be no marrying nor giving in marriage.

Paul. You mentioned Joan of Arc: did you observe that the author of 'Hannah Thurston' notices the fact, that while she has been poetized by Schiller, Southey, and others, no woman has ever yet made her the theme of song?

Dorcas. I was no little surprised to find such a reproach issuing from the lips of one who must have known that no man had yet sung her in his verse who had not violated the truth of history and smirched the beauty of a noble character, devoted solely to her country and her God, by picturing her as enamored of some mortal lover. Shakspeare must here receive his share[Pg 459] of blame, although the national prejudices still existent in his age may offer some excuse. Voltaire is not to be mentioned, Schiller twaddles through a tissue of sheer inventions and impossible absurdities, and even Southey, who strives to be faithful to history, thinks he must invest her with a 'suppressed attachment' in order to render her sufficiently interesting to be the heroine of a poem. (Inconceivable and insane vanity, that imagines no woman can live her life through without laying her heart at the feet of one of the 'irresistibles'!) The historic character of Joan of Arc has been terribly maltreated and misrepresented by every man who has attempted to portray it, with the single exception of the German historian, Guido Goerres, whose work, by the way, has been reverently done into English by two sister women.

Paul. Well, and the final conclusion to all this?

Dorcas. The final conclusion is, that a large portion of even the worthier souls in this world, is drifting away into a sea of materialism, shrouded in rose-colored mists of poetry and sentiment, and it behooves every earnest friend of humanity to sound the alarm, and at least strive to give warning of the danger.


'Far how can a man die better,
Than in facing fearful odds.
For the ashes of his fathers—
And the temples of his gods!'

Macaulay's Ballads of Ancient Rome.

Alone—and widowed so early,
Aged only twenty-one—
Only so few of her years are past,
And yet her life is quite done!

Quite concluded her life is—
Nothing for hopes, or for fears;
Nothing to think of, or look to see
But a barren desert of years!

Slender, lithe little figure—
Graceful and yielding form,
Never again to be held in the close
Clasp of a manly arm!

Oh the sweet oval face,
And the wonderful violet eyes!
No more to be sealed with true kisses,
And opened to love's paradise!

And oh the sunny, brown hair,
Which breaks into ripples and waves
O'er her sad brow—like the laughter
[Pg 460]Of young children over graves!

Put it away under widow's weeds—
Draw it as straight as you can:
Never again will the dear little head
Be held to the heart of a man.

Dazed, she sits in the twilight
Of the funeral-darkened room,
Her whole soul gathered to listen—alas!
For a voice that is stilled in the tomb.

Dear voice, now silent forever!
God help her! It seems a dream!
She hopes, even now she may waken;
But see yonder cruel sunbeam.

How it wanders over the carpet—
It lights up the distant room—
It falls on his portrait—his portrait!—
His face shines out in the gloom

As warmly and loving as ever;—
But, oh, there hangs under its frame
The sword he has wielded so bravely—
The blade that has lettered his name

On the tablets of Glory—erected
O'er the bodies of thousands of slain;
Who have died to preserve the Republic!
Our loss—but the nation's great gain.

Wring the small, white hands together—
Clasp them close over the breast:—
Prisoned heart, throbbing so wildly,
Never again to know rest.

Can you not leap and be joyful,
Knowing the nation is free!
Gentle-eyed Peace is but waiting
Sure of a welcome, to be.

Ask not for pæans of triumph
From 'only a woman's' heart:
Alas! in the triumph of nations
She hath but an humble part!

Hers to be patient, and suffer—
While her soul goes out to the fray
With the one who is dearer than heaven,
[Pg 461]To see him shot down by the way.

Anguished, for drops of cold water
That e'en to the vilest we give!
Mangled and crushed and insulted!
God! can I write it, and live!

Fold the hands o'er the soft bosom
Baby hands never caressed—
Hush into patience the sweet lips
Never to man's to be pressed.

There on the altar of nations
She has given the soul out of her life:
Holocaust greater was never:
God help the poor, little wife!




Jamaica was discovered by Columbus himself, on the 3d of May, 1494, while prosecuting his second voyage. On his fourth and last voyage he was shipwrecked on its northern coast, and, through the cruel jealousy of the governor of Hispaniola, was detained there nearly a year before relief was sent. In the dearth of historical associations, I have sometimes pleased myself with gazing at the high summit of Cape Clear Hill, which is far and wide conspicuous along the northern shore, and reflecting that the eye of the great discoverer may have often rested upon it during his weary detention, endeavoring thus to raise present insignificance somewhat by linking it with the one illustrious name in the annals of the island.

Sevilla d'Oro, the first settlement of the Spaniards in Jamaica, was founded in 1509, near the place of Columbus's shipwreck. It soon became a splendid city. Traces of pavement are still discoverable two miles distant from the church and abbey around which the town was built. In a few years, however, it disappeared as suddenly as it had arisen. Even the cause of its destruction is not certainly known. It is supposed, however, to have been a sudden irruption of the Indians. These were of the same voluptuous and gentle race which peopled the other Great Antilles, but, like them, might have been roused to temporary madness by the diabolical cruelties of the Spaniards. If so, their brief revenge availed them little, for by 1558, the sixty thousand Indians, who inhabited the island when discovered, had been extirpated, it is said, to the very last one. Near the seashore in the east of the island are some caves, in which mouldering bones of the unhappy aborigines are still found, who had taken refuge here, preferring to die of famine rather than to fall into the merciless hands of the Spaniards.

After the extirpation of the Indians, the labor of African slaves was introduced. Some sugar was raised, but the greater part of the island was devoted to the raising of cattle and swine. Besides the few whites and negroes need[Pg 462]ed for this, and a small number at two or three seaports, the population was mainly gathered in the town of St. Jago de la Vega. This was built on the south side, a few miles from the sea, after the destruction of Sevilla d'Oro. At the time of the English conquest in 1655, during Cromwell's protectorate, the population consisted of twelve hundred whites and fifteen hundred negro slaves. They were summoned by the English admiral to take the oath of allegiance to England or to leave the island. But they declared that they could do neither; that they were born subjects of the King of Spain, and knew no other allegiance; and, on the other hand, that they were natives of Jamaica, and had neither friends nor kindred elsewhere. They implored him, therefore, not to exact an impossible oath, nor yet to turn them adrift in the wide world. But the misfortunes of Spanish Papists were a matter of little concern to English Puritans. They were expelled the island, but leaving their slaves in the mountain forests of the central ridge, they planted a seed which for generations bore bitter fruit to their cruel enemies. These slaves became the nucleus of those formidable Maroon communities which for generations were a terror to the island. Their masters, having conveyed their families across to Cuba, returned with a body of Spanish troops, hoping, in their turn, to expel the invaders. They intrenched themselves in a natural fastness that appeared impregnable, and an English messenger being sent to demand a surrender, the venerable governor, Don Arnoldo Sasi, it is said, ordered him to be shown around the fortification, that he might see that it was impossible to take it, and then dismissed him with a handsome present. But the English soldiers knew no such thing as an impregnable fortress; they soon stormed the height, and, as the Spaniards were fleeing along the cliffs, picked them off like so many crows. A few attendants hurried down the aged governor to the sea, and conveyed him across to Cuba. And thus perished the tranquil and happy colony of St. Jago de la Vega. The victors took possession of the deserted town, which has finally become the seat of government. But they changed its Popish appellation of St. Jago de la Vega to the homely but unimpeachably Protestant name of Spanishtown, which it still bears in popular use, although officially it has resumed its former designation. There were two Roman Catholic churches in the town, each of which gave the name of its patron saint to the street on which it stood. But the Puritans would know them only as Whitechurch street and Redchurch street—names which, I believe, still remain, curious monuments of Puritan scrupulosity in that southern land. Spanishtown has increased in population to about five thousand, and in its palmy days of slaveholding prosperity exhibited doubtless much pomp of vice-regal splendor. But this has long fled, and its sandy streets are now almost as silent and sombre in the glittering sunshine as if traversed only by the ghosts of the Spanish colonists who dwelt here in peace until ruthlessly thrust forth by the English invader.

After the conquest, the island filled up with English, partly by voluntary emigration, and partly by a double deportation from home, first of refractory Cavaliers during Cromwell's protectorate, and partly of mutinous Puritans after the return of the Stuarts. These often renewed in the streets of Spanishtown the brawls of the mother country, and the exclamation, 'My king!' which the negroes are fond of using, is said to be a genuine relic of the time when it was the watchword of the outnumbered but courageous Cavaliers. Even after the Restoration, the Puritans were for a while in the ascendant in the island which the Puritan protector had wrested from the great foe of Protestantism; but gradually all traces of that hardy sect dis[Pg 463]appeared from a land which an enervating climate and the rapidly advancing barbarism of slavery rendered far fitter for another sort of inhabitants, namely, the buccaneers. The buccaneers, it will be remembered, were not exactly pirates preying indiscriminately upon all. They were rather English corsairs, who took advantage of the long enmity between England and Spain to carry on, in time of peace and war alike, perpetual forrays against the Spanish settlements and commerce of the West Indies. They were simply the jayhawkers and border ruffians of their day, and, with some traits of chivalry, differed probably as little from pirates as Quantrell and his fellow scoundrels differ from robbers. This villanous crew early resorted in great numbers to Jamaica, which became as good a base of operations against a power with which England was professedly at peace as Liverpool and Greenock are now against another power with which she is professedly at peace. Dr. Arnold, in one of his letters, says he imagines the British West Indies have never recovered from the taint of buccaneer blood. It is hard to say, for the universal corruption of morals and justice induced by slavery, existing in the overwhelming proportions which it had in the West Indies, renders it almost impossible to measure how far any subsidiary influence of evil may have helped to aggravate the mischief.

Jamaica, like the other colonies, soon received a constitution. Like her sisters on the continent, she opposed a spirited and successful resistance to the early encroachments of the crown. When our Revolution broke out, her Assembly passed resolutions declaring their entire concurrence in the principles set forth by the Congress, and gave as the reasons for not joining in our armed vindication of them, their insular position, and the peculiar nature of their population. Had geography permitted, Jamaica would doubtless have made one Slave State the more in the original Union, and would have been one of the fiercest afterward in the secession. We may well believe that nothing but the knowledge that she would be crushed like an eggshell by the mighty power of England, hindered her in 1834 from heading her sister islands in a revolt against the impending abolition of slavery, and thus giving the world twenty-seven years earlier the spectacle of a great slaveholders' rebellion.

The history of Jamaica, otherwise so monotonous and devoid of interest, even to its own people, yet includes one awful event, the destruction of Port Royal by the earthquake of 1692. This city, built by the English soon after the conquest, on the tongue of land which encloses the present harbor of Kingston, soon became the most splendid city of the English in America. Its quays and warehouses, Macaulay says, were thought to rival those of Cheapside. This wealth and splendor were not wholly the fruit of lawful commerce, for Port Royal was the favored resort of the buccaneers. Their lawless forrays against the Spanish filled it with wealth, and filled it also with voluptuous wickedness.

Tradition adds, perhaps to give emphasis to its doom, that just before the earthquake, a successful expedition had filled the city with booty, which loaded the warehouses, and even overflowed into the dwelling houses and verandas. But the stroke of judgment came, and a few shocks of an earthquake in a few seconds buried the greater part of the dissolute and splendid city beneath the waters of its own harbor. The decaying bodies that were thrown afterward on the shore produced a pestilence which swept off three thousand of those who had survived the earthquake. The sad remnant went over to the inside shore of the harbor, and built Kingston. A poor village of some twelve or fifteen hundred souls, adjoining the naval station, is now all that represents the once wealthy and wicked[Pg 464] city, the Sodom of the West, and smitten with a fate like that of Sodom.

The same earthquake which destroyed Port Royal, almost ruined the island. Whole plantations changed their places. The mountains were strangely torn and rent. In many parts the immense accumulation of earth fallen from the mountains choked up the course of the streams for twenty-four hours, and when at last they burst their way through, they bore down on their swollen floods thousands of trunks of trees, branchless and barkless, to the sea. The gorge of the Bocaguas, through which the Rio Cobre winds in a glorious succession of cascades and whirling pools, is said to have been entirely filled up, causing the waters to overspread the upland basin of St. Thomas-in-the-Vale with a lake, which lasted nine days before the waters tore loose from their confinement, and swept over the plains to the ocean. There was evidence of a slight subsidence over the whole island. The earthquake of 1692 is undoubtedly the most desolating convulsion of nature which has ever befallen any portion of the English race.

For generations after the destruction of Port Royal, it was affirmed that the spires and housetops of the sunken city could be discerned on a clear day through the waters of the harbor. Even now there is a floating belief that they may occasionally be dimly descried, though I have never been able to ascertain whether it is worthy of credit.

Since then, although there are often shocks of earthquake, sometimes several in a year, and though some have occurred quite destructive to property, there has been none to divide with that of 1692 its awful preeminence of desolation. It is true, we know not at what time such a one may come, and it has been truly said that 'this beautiful island may be regarded as a gorgeous carpet spread over the deeply charged mines of a volcano.' Hurricanes, though very much less frequent than in the Windward Islands, have yet left their traces in the annals of Jamaica. Particularly noted are those of the 28th of August, 1712, of the 28th of August, 1722, and the series which, with the exception of two years, annually ravaged the island from 1780 to 1786 inclusive. It was in one of these that the town of Savanna-la-Mar was so completely overwhelmed by the sea, driven over it by the force of the wind, that when the flood rolled back to its home, not the slightest vestige of the place was discernible. In such a region the petition of the Litany, as it is here offered, 'From lightning, tempest, and earthquake, good Lord, deliver us,' falls on the stranger's ear with unwontedly solemn force.

The awful magnificence of these convulsions of nature is in strange contrast with the insignificance of the record of human actions in this island. Not that Jamaica was an insignificant member of the empire. Far from it. The teeming source of wealth, she was, on the contrary, during the whole of the eighteenth century, continually increasing in importance. Even dukes were glad to leave England to assume the princely state of a governor of Jamaica. Six hundred thousand African slaves were introduced during the last century, of which number something over half remained at the beginning of this. Human blood flowed in fertilizing streams over the island, and out of this ghastly compost rose an opulence so splendid as to silence for generations all inquiry into its origin or character. It secured its possessors not only easy access, but frequent intermarriages among the aristocracy of England, who thus in time came to be among the largest West Indian slaveholders. Jamaica was justly reckoned one of the brightest jewels in the British crown. But the brilliancy was merely that of wealth, and as the ownership of this was transferred more and more to Great Britain, the island itself at length came to be of little more independent account than an[Pg 465] outlying estate. Petty squabbles between the governors and the Assembly, occasional negro conspiracies, soon suppressed and cruelly punished, and the wearying contests with the remaining negroes, who, under the name of Maroons, long maintained a harassing warfare from their mountain fastnesses, and yielded at last to favorable terms, are almost all that fills the chronicles of the colony.

The island society, unrelieved by any eminence of genius or virtue, or by the stir of great public interests, presented little more than a dull monotony of sensuality and indolence, on a ground of inhumanity. It is no wonder that Zachary Macaulay, from his experience in Jamaica as the superintendent of an estate, formed in quiet sternness that resolution to devote his life to uprooting a social system whose presiding divinities he saw to be Mammon and Moloch, which he afterward so nobly fulfilled. The graces and virtues of private character that lent some relief to this dreary picture, I shall speak of hereafter.

One relief to the prevailing dulness of Jamaica life was found in a bar of first-rate talent. There was so much wealth passing from hand to hand, and so many disputed titles in the continual mutations of ownership among the estates under the reckless system of conducting them prevalent, that the disciples of the law found a rich harvest, and it was worth while for a first-rate man to settle in the island. It is thought that the lawyers of Jamaica used to receive not less than £500,000 annually. Whether this was reckoned in sterling money or in the island currency, I do not know, but probably the latter, equivalent to £300,000 sterling. Of men not lawyers, Bryant Edwards is the only one of the last century or the early part of this of any note whatever among those permanently settled in the island. His chief claim to distinction is found in his carefully prepared and judicious 'History of the West Indies.' Beckford, the author of 'Vathek,' and Monk Lewis, christened Matthew, the patent ghost-story teller of half a century ago, and more honorably connected with the history of the island as a proprietor, whose inexperienced kindness toward his negroes had almost led to his prosecution, both resided in the island for a while. Jamaica had almost drawn to herself a name far more illustrious than any or all which had appeared in her annals—that of Robert Burns. It is known that he had already engaged his passage to the island, when the course of events turned him from it. He celebrates his expected departure in some verses more witty than moral, in which he addresses our islanders as follows:

'Jamaica bodies, use him weel,
And hap him in a cosy biel,
Ye'll find him aye a dainty chiel,
And fu' of glee;
He wadna wrang the very deil,
That's ower the sea.'

Poor fellow! had he really gone, the admonition to 'Jamaica bodies' to 'use him weel,' would probably have been obeyed by making him drink himself to death ten or twelve years earlier than he did in Dumfries, and thus would one of earth's great, though stained names, have been lost in the inglorious darkness of a Jamaica bookkeeper's short life, as many a young countryman of his, perhaps not less gifted than he, had perished before him.

Among the distinguished personages of Jamaica, I ought not to omit mention of the Duke of Manchester, governor soon after the beginning of this century, who was able to boast that no virtuous woman had crossed the threshold of the King's House in Spanishtown during his administration. So that if Jamaica has never had her parc-aux-cerfs, she can at least boast her Regent Orleans. There is small need of any special parc-aux-cerfs in a slaveholding country.[22][Pg 466]

In brief, except a certain interest attached to the struggles of the barbarous Maroons to maintain their wild freedom in the woods and mountains, the human history of Jamaica, from the English conquest in 1655 to the abolition of slavery in 1834, is little more than a monotonous blank.

She had a vigorous bar, a sumptuous church establishment, and boundless, though shifting wealth. But all these together, smitten as they were with the palsy of voluptuousness and oppression, had not the power to bring forth one great name, to achieve one heroic deed, or on the other hand, to foster any growth of humble, diffused happiness. Her sin, plated with gold, dazzled the eyes and confounded the consciences of men, but, like the ornaments of a sepulchre, it only beautified outwardly what within was full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness.

Those events of her history which bear on the abolition of slavery will be specially noticed hereafter.


The rule held, anciently, that a nation's architecture was the exponent of its national character, growing with and out of its social, civil, and religious peculiarities, and modified by climate, habit, and taste. In those early ages, the halcyon days of the art, men built with a purpose, built what they wanted in a natural and appropriate way, and—built successfully. So true was this, that to this day, most of their relics proclaim their own origin, just as fossils determine the relative positions of their enclosing strata, and history owes to architecture the solution of many of her hardest problems. The ancient Egyptians, for instance, gloried in the erection of the most magnificent tombs that their genius could produce, and, ruined as they are, we find that it is in their sepulchral monuments—the rock-wrought mausoleum, and the stupendous pyramid—that their art-current found its readiest flow. Compare these with the light and graceful structures of the Moors, the cool, arcaded courts, and the tesselated pavements, the orange trees, and the fountains. 'But no comparison,' says Fergusson, 'is applicable to objects so totally different. Each is a true representative of the feeling and character of the people by whom it was raised. The plaster Alhambra would be totally out of place and contemptible beside the great temple-palace of Karnak. No less would the granite works of Egypt be considered monuments of ill-directed labor if placed in the palace of the gay and luxurious Arab fatalist, to whom the present was everything, and with whom the enjoyment of the passing hour was all in all.'

Still another idea, grander than any aspiration of Saracen or Egyptian, we find, when Europe, slowly shaking off the lethargy of the Dark Ages, was developing the idea of religion. It was material, however, as well as spiritual. God was glorified, not only by repentance or holiness of life, but also by the devotion of hand and heart and fortune to His earthly temples and the jewelled shrines of His saints. All that impetus which is now given to religion itself, was turned into the channels of religious art. And yet, temporally speaking, how grand were the results! Slowly but surely arose those vast and wonderful cathedrals, springing lightly[Pg 467] out of the quaintly gabled streets, with their richly wrought transepts and their pinnacled spires. Not trailing along the ground like the Greek temple or the Arab mosque—of the earth, earthy—but leading the soul heavenward with their upward flow of harmony. Vast Bibles of stone, bearing on lofty façade and on buttressed flank the sculptured details of Holy Writ—silent lessons, but not lost upon the rude though reverent men who dwelt within their shadow. It is sad to think that there can never be any more cathedrals. For they grew in those times: now they would have to be built.

But we are following a tangent. Our idea is, that architecture, to be good, must be appropriate—expressive of the spirit of the age. It should be an epitome of the nation's progress, an abstract of its guiding principles, condensed, as it were, and crystallized into an art. Of what use would a garment be, though ever so elaborate, if it did not fit? Just so our houses, which are but a broader kind of clothing, should be fitted to their purpose, or they will never yield us any pleasure.

Suppose that, in searching the ruins of ancient Greece, we found nothing but pusillanimous, sham imitations of Egyptian art. Would we not despise such a paltry method of making matter serve for mind—such a miserable make-shift to save the labor of invention? And yet it is this same servile imitation of classical and foreign models that is fettering the progress of art in America. Instead of honestly constructing what we want, and then decorating it with a style of ornament that should assist, explain, and intensify it, we go wandering off to the ends of the earth, building Grecian temples and Veronese palaces, some entire and some in slices, dreary, indefinite-looking objects, devoid of all constructive principles within, and ornamented with falsified gewgaws without, stuck on in the hope of hiding rather than helping out the flimsy design. Our 'national style' we are sure can never be born of any such travesties. Borrowed architecture never fits well.

The fact is, we ignore the first great principle—the essence and sine qua non, of the art—DECORATED CONSTRUCTION. By construction is meant that mechanical arrangement of parts which is best suited to convenience and most conducive to stability. It is what the French would call the motif, the end in view, while decoration is only the means. And the moment we lose sight of it, in our anxiety to make room for some pet ornament, that very ornament becomes an eyesore, and will persist in spoiling the design, for the simple reason that the end is sacrificed to the means. Set it down, then, at the start, that ornament must be dependent upon construction, and not construction upon ornament. The useful begets the beautiful, and the order cannot be reversed.

But before proceeding to what American architecture might be, we must, in all fairness, examine it as it is.

Our great cities, of course, claim our attention first, for these centres of wealth and intellect must necessarily be centres of art, and there, if at all, are we to discover our prospects for a national style. As a single example of what it has attained to so far, nothing can be better suited to our purpose than Broadway, New York, our best-known and most essentially American thoroughfare. But what to compare it to we know not. Neither history nor geography affords a parallel. It resembles neither the London Strand nor the Parisian Boulevard, nor is it like the Ludwig Strasse of Munich, nor the Grand Canal of Venice; and yet it has something or other in common with all of these. There is all the incongruity of the English thoroughfare and the brilliancy of the French, while the frequent succession of vast palatial structures allies it still closer to the last-named examples. Perhaps, after all, the Grand Canal—the silent highway of the City of the Sea—is more like it in[Pg 468] general effect than any other street in Europe. The one, it is true, is as straight as an airline, and the other nearly the shape of an S; the one a paved roadway, noisy with the rush of traffic, and, in the other, the water washing the very walls of palaces that are mournful and deserted—while, as regards style, there is scarcely a single specimen of the Venetian in this country.

But the resemblance is this: your prevailing impression from first to last is the absence of all general arrangement, and the independent elegance of each separate façade. Each tells the same story: it is the wealth and enterprise of the citizen, and not the munificence of the sovereign, that has added palace to palace, and made the dumb stones eloquent. Remembering, then, that it is private taste and influence that is to develop our art, we proceed to the analysis of the great thoroughfare in question.

Fancy yourself, patient reader, at one end of this street, so as to command its vista. What do you see? Architecture? Very little, we imagine. Save the buildings immediately at your right and left, all the others are seen in profile, a contingency never reckoned on by their builders. The decoration is all piled on the front, as elaborate a design, often, as Palladio ever dreamt of, but at the side, every cornice and stringpiece stops as short as if it had been sawn off, and the whole side is a flat blank piece of brickwork. This is greatly aggravated by the disparity in height, and the ponderous cornices. As to construction, the prevailing type is a flimsy pile of brick and timber, 'put up,' apparently, by mutual connivance of the contractor and the coroner, and screened off from the street by a thin veneer of 'architecture.' Now there is a certain merit, sui generis, in a clever deception, but those in vogue here are too utterly transparent to claim even this. The telltale wall of brick cheats you out of the pleasure of cheating yourself, no matter how charitably disposed.

Were it necessary to represent this street upon the stage, the decorator would simply have to paint his scenes upon the edges, and leave the side toward the audience bare. As you walk along you see a given building sideways for five minutes or more, but you cannot see it as it was meant to be seen—full in front—for as many seconds. We even know of churches in the cross streets, though near Broadway, whose square towers are stone-fronted after the usual fashion, but present nothing to the crowded thoroughfare but undressed walls of brick! Yes, a Christian church, in flagrante delictu.

It will be objected to this that there is no use in finishing the sides of city buildings, as they may afterward be hidden by others. This would do well enough if they were all of the same height; but they are not, and never can be. Indeed, a house is by many considered 'handsomer' than its neighbors, just so far forth as it overtops them. The builder would hardly think it a fair beat if the cornices corresponded. The successive erections on a row of vacant lots, usually illustrate this popular ambition. Some one secures the corner and builds his house. So far, so good. Presently number two comes along, and, to secure himself from invidious comparison, piles his house half a story higher than number one. But his triumph is short, for the third aspirant soon arrives, who, true to principle, takes another step in the ascending series. So it goes till the block is finished, the whole thing looking as if architecture was a sort of auction, in which the prize of success was awarded to the highest builder.

It being one of our social necessities that our houses differ in size, we must pay some attention to their sides. Not giving them as decided a treatment as the front, but something compatible with a plain surface. And, above all,[Pg 469] the principal cornice and roof lines should be carried round on the sides, at least as far as they can be seen. In some rare instances, where this has been done, it is astonishing to note the improved appearance and finish, that it gives.

Did you ever consider the superior elegance of a corner house? Yet it is not so much the position as the fact that the position is taken advantage of. Being finished on both sides, it gives to the mind the idea of thickness as well as length and breadth. It is, in short, a solid, while the affair next door, overtopping it perhaps a story or two, is merely a superficies.

But this is only a side thrust. Our 'commercial palaces' challenge the same criticism face to face. For the front, considered by itself even, is generally incomplete. A supposititious formula determines that the house must be in the Italian palace style, but the narrow lot forbidding an entire design, the builder, as he cannot put in all, puts in all he can, so that, instead of the house being a house, it is only a specimen slice of a palace. It has no particular beginning or middle or ending, and, with the long viscera of brickwork trailing off behind, it looks as if just wrenched out of the side of some Florentine or Genoese mansion. And, in very truth, is it not?

The common cause of these errors and incongruities is our self-abasement to a style which depends for its effect upon continuous uniformity of design, while, from the very nature of our society, our houses must be diverse in size and pretension. We are a social people, it is true, but our individualities are strongly marked, and our dwellings, while designed with reference to each other, should never be too uniform. How frightful those white-shuttered brick piles which monotonize the streets of Philadelphia! But to assert its individuality the house need not shoot up like a vein of trap rock through a stratum of conglomerate: an American rises, not through the mass, but out of it.

Have you ever seen a street view of Bruges or Nuremberg, those fantastic old cities of mediæval Germany? You remember them, the tall gabled houses with projecting stories, the picturesque grouping of porch and gallery and oriel, the curious old bridges and the Gothic fountains, the grotesque carvings over the doorways, and the perfect population of dormer windows and turrets and lanterns. And did you not, entre nous, like it better than those stiff, formal views of the French and Italian cities? Was not the poetry more pleasing than the prose?

'Oh well,' you say, 'these turrets and gables and things look all very well in pictures, but they would never do for our streets: we must build in some regular style, you know.' The same old error again, the same servile imitation of a vague something or other, which we call classic. Do you think the old German burghers built in any regular style? Not a bit of it. They built just what they wanted, in the most natural and plain-spoken manner. If they wanted a porch over the door, or a bay window at a certain corner, or a turret to enjoy some favorite view—they made them, put them just where they were needed. Convenience was everything, and precedent nothing.

Is there not something about this individual originality, this perfect freedom of thought and expression, that might be adapted to express the American character? And if more pleasing, why cling to the effete and cumbrous tyrannies of a soulless classicism? Why crush out all symptoms of natural growth to make room for the unsightly exotic?

Nature herself has made the law that beauty is variety. Monotony, though magnificent, will become irksome, but variety is an unceasing delight. Versailles, with its formal avenues of shorn foliage, and its geometrical lawns and terraces, may please you[Pg 470] more at first sight than an English park, because the mind feels a sort of pride in being able to grasp such vast ideas at a glance. But you will find, upon a second or third visit, that the unnatural arrangement of the French pleasure grounds has something of staleness about it. Nature disdains such bondage. Louis XIV, it is said, grew weary of his splendid plaything, almost before it was finished. How different the English landscape garden, where graceful sweeps and irregular masses of foliage meet the eye with unlooked-for beauties at every turn! Well do we remember how, after a few days spent in viewing the grand dullness of the Bavarian capital, we looked wearily back to the delightful visit we made at Nuremberg, with its curious old streets and fountains:

'Quaint old town of toil and traffic, quaint old town of art and song;
Memories haunt thy pointed gables like the rooks that round them throng.'

To claim the merit of variety for our streets is wrong, for they are not varied, but only incongruous. Their variety is rather that of an architectural museum than the result of any combination. We have styles enough, in all conscience, but none that will tolerate any other.

Against this may be urged the very argument with which we set out, that a nation's architecture should be the exponent of its national character, and as we are made up of every people and every class, that this heterogeneous mélange is our normal style. But mark the distinction: Although we are made up of so many diverse elements, yet the component parts are severally and mutually held in solution. Each so affects the mass as to give rise to a new element—not a mere union, but a result—not an addition, but a multiplication. But with the representative art, the materials have merely come in contact—nothing more. Our houses lack that social element which characterizes our people. Each is itself, and itself alone, ruining the appearance of its neighbors, and ruined by them in turn. Odi profanum vulgus, et arceo, is the only law; while we are a chemical solution, our architecture is only a mechanical one.

How proceed, then, to develop our national style, that unborn something which a future age might refer to as American, just as we speak of Byzantine or Gothic? Are we waiting for somebody to invent it? We think, maybe, that it is to spring forth, ready made, like Minerva from the brain of Zeus. If this is our idea, we might as well give up at once and confess to the world our imbecility. Never, from Adam's day to this, did anybody ever invent a new architecture. It is purely a matter of genealogy. For just as we trace back a family line, can we trace the generations of art. Spite of its complications, many an offshoot can be followed up directly to the parent stock. Taking, for example, the mediæval architecture of Spain, the brilliant 'Moresco,' we find it to be a combination of the vigorous Gothic of the North with the beautiful though effeminate Saracenic—the exotic of the South. And of these latter, each is traceable, though by different lines, to the same great prototype, the Roman. For when Rome was divided, the Dome fell to the inheritance of the Eastern Empire, and the Basilica (which was only a Greek temple turned inside out) to the Western. The former, joined to the Arabian, and the latter to the Gothic, formed two great families, from the union of whose descendants sprang the Moresco. But even the Roman was a derivative style, leading us back successively through Greece, Assyria, and Egypt. Each step is visibly allied to the preceding, and yet how unlike the pyramid and the Spanish cathedral! Did history permit, all the styles that have ever existed could be traced in the same way; it is quite as easy to account for their diversities, as for those of the nations that produced them. Ham and Japheth were of the same[Pg 471] household, yet how different their descendants of to-day! As from one man sprang all people, so was there an original germ of architecture from which all successive styles have been derived.

The composite forms that have arisen since commerce and civilization have brought the ends of the world together, increase the complication. There have been marriages and intermarriages, some good matches and some bad ones, some with vigorous and some with sickly offspring, and some hybrids of such monstrous malformation as almost to make us fear that a new style can be invented. But the effect is impossible without the cause. Save the mysterious Pyramids, every structure extant acknowledges its ancestry. If physiologists are fond of claiming the history of the race as one of their own chapters, architecture has at least an equal claim.

But all this does not mean that we are mere passive agents in the matter. We are, in a great measure, the 'external influences' that modify art. The motion exists, but it devolves upon us to give direction.

We have already alluded to Venetian architecture as being parallel in origin and tendency to our own, and much can be gained, we believe, by a careful examination of what it accomplished. Not that we ought to copy, line for line, the doge's palace or the Casa d'Oro—the arabesque arcade, or the Gothic balcony—that would only be following the well-worn rut of imitation. We are not to study the result, but the cause. For the causes that produced the style in question were not unlike what we find at home to-day. A commercial republic, there was the same liberty of expression—the same preponderance of the individual over the national; and there, as here, are we attracted rather by the elegance of independent units than by any general unity of design.

But the growth of art in Venice (we ask special attention) was due to her central situation, and the simultaneous influx of foreign elements. It was her commerce that made Venice great: her glory came and departed with it. Witnessing, as she did, the development of all the mediæval styles, she became—geographically and historically—the metropolis of architecture. 'The Greeks,' says Ruskin, 'gave the shaft, Rome gave the arch, the Arabs pointed and foliated the arch.... Opposite in their character and mission, alike in their magnificence of energy, they came from the North and from the South—the glacier torrent and the lava stream, they met and contended over the wreck of the Roman Empire; and the very centre of the struggle, the point of pause of both, the dead water of the opposite eddies, charged with embayed fragments of the Roman wreck, is Venice.

'The ducal palace of Venice contains the three elements in exactly equal proportions, the Roman, Lombard, and Arab. It is the central building of the world.'

Truly, it was a glorious success that art achieved in the Italian republic, Whether the old precedents were violated or not, the result is unquestionably pleasing, and the pleasure-seeking tourist lingers there as long as the critic.

At this transition state, through which Venice passed so nobly, have we now arrived. We have collected our materials, and piled them up together, but just as all seems most propitious, le mouvement s'arrête, the materials will not coalesce. The brass and the silver, the iron and the gold, are all in the crucible, but there is no fusion, only a discordant clash.

Alas! there is no heat. We are not warmed, as yet, with any love for art. We are too much absorbed in the rapid accumulation of wealth, or the passing excitement of the hour, to attend to anything that is noble or honest or beautiful. And now that devastating war is sweeping through the land and[Pg 472] clogging the wheels of progress, we are learning terrible lessons; but, with experience for our teacher, learning them well. Where war prevails, civilization for the time must stand still. Inter arma silent—artes. And so long as we consider art a marketable commodity, and consign it, like merchandise, to soulless builders, so long will it remain in hopeless embryo. Only by taking a personal interest in it can we hope to make it our own.

So much for what we have done. There is little to be proud of, and little, we hope, that will influence our future art. To which we now turn our attention.

To begin with, great public buildings will never form a distinguishing feature of American architecture. It is to be preeminently a domestic style. Herein shall we differ from the European nations, for in art, as in politics, the people are the rulers. It is discouraging, at first thought, to reflect that no such magnificent architectural combinations as those of the French capital can ever find place in an American city. They are grand, they are superb, these endless successions of palaces and gardens and triumphal arches, with groves and fountains all in perfect symmetry, and well-balanced vistas radiating in all directions; but they are the result of centuries of despotism—of the impoverishment of the many and the aggrandizement of the few. This, we hope, is not to be the fashion in America. It is true that the ground plan for the city of Washington exhibits a design analogous to the above, but we think it will be a long time before it exists elsewhere than on the map. The Greeks and Romans, we know, confined their efforts to public buildings, but that was their business. They served their Governments, but our Government serves us: the spirit of the age points in an opposite direction. Since we are so fond of the classic, why not have chariots for carriages, and triremes instead of gunboats and steamers?

Our real style will first appear in our residences and warehouses, in our banks and hotels and railroad depots. It sounds odd, but it is manifestly so to be. We are a commercial republic. Old European palaces and cathedrals are doubtless very grand, and—for those who need such things—most excellent models. But with us the private element already predominates; we only need to begin honestly, and the thing is half done.

Our national dread of Gothic, except it be for church purposes, should be done away with. The Gothic principle, we mean; the style we may follow or may not. But to be sincere and constructive, to build with a purpose, we must do as did the mediæval builders. In their hands, our daguerrean sky-lights and shot towers, our factory chimneys and signboards, would have become glorious objects, become useful objects. Their art did not confine itself to one day in seven; it permeated the commonest details of every-day life, because they were common. Hence they ennobled everything.

But the Romans, unfortunately, never had any shot towers, or hotels, or railroad depots, and so we think such things exceptions to the ordinary rules of architecture. But after all, perhaps, this is all the better for their future, as it leaves them comparatively untrammelled. In the matter of railroad depots, England has certainly stolen a march upon us, the large city stations in that rail-bound country being perfect Crystal Palaces in size and elegance, while those for the more rural places are often the most exquisite little villas, unapproachable in neatness and taste. In some parts of the Continent, the Swiss style has been pressed into this service with notable success.

In regard to fire-alarm towers, we rejoice to be able to make an exceptional remark. New York city has actually produced two or three of these of new and elegant shape, perfectly adapted to their purpose; and yet, so far as we[Pg 473] know, not copied from anything else. Those in Sixth and Third avenues have a grace of outline that is really elegant, and show what we can accomplish if we only build what we want in a natural and appropriate way.

Nothing, however, is to exert a vaster influence on our style than the hotel. This 'institution,' as we have it, is comparatively unknown in Europe; beyond all nations are we a travelling and hotel-building people. Our hotels have not grown up with the scant traffic of the post chaise or diligence; they overleaped that feeble infancy, and started at once with the railroad and steamboat. Large, luxurious, and well appointed, they are usually the prominent buildings in all our large cities.

But as yet it is only their size and social importance that distinguishes them, not their architecture. The recipe for a first-class city house is simple: a vast square front of white, with ninety-six or a hundred and forty-four windows, as the case may be, all alike, and all equidistant. The variety afforded by this arrangement is much the same as that of an uncut sheet of postage stamps. In such large masses, a single color—white especially—is always disagreeable, unless treated with some variety of form. Brick, with stone dressings, will almost invariably produce a finer front than stone alone. But, after all, the most desirable kind of variety is that which seeks to express exteriorly the inner arrangement of the building, by giving some degree of prominence to the principal rooms. As to interior, our hotels neglect a grand opportunity in making no capital of the central space they generally enclose. This, instead of being abandoned to cats and ash barrels, might be made the feature of the establishment. Fancy such a court roofed over with glass,[23] and surrounded with light arcades of ironwork forming a continuous balcony at each story, arrange a garden in the centre with a fountain, and give the whole a sort of oriental treatment, and what a really elegant effect could be produced! The main entrance in this case would be, not on the street, but on one of the sides of this inner court, while an arched carriage way, to connect with the street, would render vehicles accessible under cover. The arcades, connecting all parts of the house, would take the place of halls and corridors, besides forming delightful promenades. Some few hotels could be named, in our large cities, which seem to have the germ of this idea, but we know no instance of its complete development.

Still we have great hopes of the hotel, because it is the place of all others which it is to our interest to make look well. People go to the post office all the same, be it a barn or a parthenon, but they will go, other things being equal, to the best hotel. Here comes in the American principle of Competition, the keynote of all our enterprise. Competition is to do for us what the hope of earthly immortality did for the builders of the Pyramids, what the desire to glorify God did for the builders of the cathedrals. It is to be the soul of our art: what sort of a body it is to put on, we shall presently see. Even now it is safe to assume that no more such granite prisons as the 'Revere' or the 'Astor' will be built for hotels. Lightness, variety, and vivacity will more probably characterize this style.

The shop front is something that we must have in some shape or other, and, if fairly treated, it would become as decidedly American as business is. It is susceptible of great variety, but care must be taken that it harmonizes with the superstructure. How often we see massive structures of marble, five stories or more, supported on basements of plate glass, apparently; while the real supports are carefully concealed! The best method, so far tried, seems to be that in which the columns are made sufficiently prominent to show their object, and are surmounted by arches,[Pg 474] which give a good basis for what comes next above, while affording sufficient window space to the store front.

But we must make up our mind to part with those hideous signboards, which trail their loathsome length across our best buildings, regardless of console or capital or cornice. For the importance of the sign renders it constructive, and it has as much right to take part in the design as a door or a window. Instead of being pinned on like an afterthought, it should be built into the wall, panel fashion, and by a little taste in the selection of the style of letter, it might become one of the most striking features of the whole front. Color would be better for the letters than relief, being more economical and more easily altered.

Our warehouses and even our factories might become imposing objects if appropriately conceived, for is not labor ennobling? Anything that is worth doing, is worth doing well; and if any of our manufacturing towns are hideous, they are not necessarily so.[24] There is a certain grandeur about many such places, with their myriad chimneys and ponderous wheels and whirling engines, that deserves a corresponding grandeur of expression, and some of our Pennsylvania ironworks already afford splendid examples of this. We have seldom been more impressed by the grandeur of mechanical operations than on a recent night visit to one of the large rolling mills of Scranton. The whole interior, vast as a cathedral, was brilliantly lighted by the numerous operations in molten and red-hot iron that were everywhere in progress, and, with its gleaming furnaces, ranged on either hand down the long vista, and glowing here and there from the galleries, really made us feel prouder of our race than did many a dim, dilapidated temple of the Old World.

As to churches, we cannot expect much, except that they will be tasteful and commodious audience rooms, commensurate with the importance of their congregations. The religion of to-day appeals to soul, and not to soul and sense. The world is older and better educated than in the cathedral era, and the apostles and prophets are read, not from sculptured doors or painted windows, but from the printed page and the winged word. Childhood, that cannot read, requires gaudily painted primers for its instruction and amusement, but the world is a grown man now; the press has superseded the cathedral, and if we imitate those structures in our churches, we should bear in mind that it was their size that gave them grandeur, and that they would be caricatures without it. We have heard our American church interiors spoken of somewhere as divisible into two classes—the charlotte-russe style and the molasses-candy style. This is not true, we hope; but there is too much truth in it, for it shows the influence of a too close imitation of European palaces and churches, and the hard shamming that has to be done to make this imitation apparent.

If our rural architecture has been more successful, it is because our better class of country houses are planned with reference to the landscapes they occupy. A rich level meadow with here and there a waving elm requires a different style of house from a fir-clad bluff on a river bank or a wild gorge in a mountain. No intelligent architect, we take it, would design a country house without an intimate acquaintance with the surroundings, and yet the same man, likely as not, would make you a sketch for the elevation of your house in town, without even looking to see what it was to adjoin on either side. Now this method may be correct, but it seems to us that, by first putting on paper the existing houses, say one or[Pg 475] two, on each side of the space to be built upon, the new front could be much better planned, and much of that unnecessary discord avoided which destroys so many of our best streets. This is what is done in painting and other arts, and why not in architecture? Particular situations require particular treatments. A front that would appear well on a narrow street, would be inappropriate on a broad avenue or a square. A corner, or the head of a street, are most responsible situations. A tall marble front, placed in a modest row of freestone, is hideous, and yet the unrelieved monotony of many such rows is quite as bad. A dome, unless at the top of a street or on some open space, is next to worthless. Who would ever notice Boston State House or the Baltimore Cathedral, but for their elevated and central positions?

We often find among the old masters elegant architectural paintings, street views, taken from the picturesque cities they lived in. We should like to find some one bold enough to paint a street view of Broadway or Washington street or Chestnut street.

It is a pity that our architects are unwilling to acknowledge the importance of the buttress. Concerning this feature, it is not easy to say whether beauty or utility is most apparent. It is the very idealization of strength, and hence its inherent elegance. Suppose Nôtre Dame or Milan Cathedral stripped of their double tiers of flying buttresses. Would you not say that their glory was gone—their beauty departed? And yet the old builders did not pile them up against their naves for mere beauty's sake. By no means. But they knew the immense weight of their vaulted roofs, and anticipated the outward thrust of the walls. That was the problem, and most fairly was it met. They counteracted the outward pressure from within by an inward pressure from without, and there was the buttress. But what if they had said, We are not going to spoil our fine churches by sticking props all around them, and had resorted to concealed bedplates and invisible rods of iron, would their structures have been better or nobler or more enduring? Fortunately, they gave themselves no concern, as to how they would look—for architecture was honest in those days—they simply built them, allowing decoration to come in afterward in its proper order; and thereupon the buttress became the distinguishing feature of Gothic art.

Perhaps this is the very reason why we so neglect it; but symptoms are already appearing which lead us to hope that gothophobia is on the decline, and not the least of them is the outcropping of something that would be a buttress if it dared to, but hides its real intention under a classic mask, and passes off as a pilaster or a panel border. But it has a guilty look, and the sooner it puts off its borrowed garments the better. Certainly the demand for it is immense. So long as we are a commercial people, vast warehouses, piled from cellar to roof with heavy merchandise, must abound in all our cities. And yet how utterly incompetent would many such buildings be to stand alone! So long, too, as we are a manufacturing people, must we have huge mills crowded full with heavy apparatus, vibrating machinery, and human lives. Have we forgotten Lawrence? Let us not wait for another such holocaust ere we learn wisdom. We can do without ornament, but we must have safety. A mere increase of dead weight is no remedy; there should be a well-studied mechanical disposition of material. If buttresses are applied to warehouses and factories with sole reference to their utility, elegance will grow upon them afterward as naturally as leaves grow upon trees.

Material must depend much upon locality, but iron is undoubtedly to hold an important place in our architecture. Already it is extensively used, but does not seem to command general[Pg 476] favor. The reason is that nearly everything that has been done with it so far is not iron architecture, but stone architecture done in iron. We do not let it speak its own language; the truss, the tie rod, and the girder are kept out of sight, while every possible display is made of consoles and cornices and Corinthian columns and balustrades, and all sorts of foreign expressions. No wonder that it is unable to give an account of itself with all these false witnesses. Stone houses should be made of stone, and if made of wood or iron or plaster, they are nothing but shams, unenduring and unsatisfactory.

Now architecture requires the least amount of material that is compatible with the greatest amount of strength. The forms of different materials must be varied to suit their texture, according as it is fibrous or crystalline, tough or brittle. Iron, of course, requires a peculiar treatment. At the risk of being charged with pedantry, we say that there have never been but two iron buildings, of any pretension, in this country—the Niagara Suspension Bridge and the Crystal Palace at New York. The first still speaks for itself; and of the latter, no one who saw it can forget what an exquisite structure it was, so light and airy and elegant, and yet so strong. It was but a bird cage, though, compared with its enormous prototype at Sydenham. That is unquestionably one of the wonders of the world; its internal coup d'œil is without a parallel. Fancy a broad level vista, a third of a mile long, flanked on either side by graceful groves of ironwork, and covered with a continuous crystal arch, a hundred feet above your head; line it with a profusion of tropical foliage and clambering vines, that grow as luxuriantly as in their native woods, and interspersed with statuary and vases gleaming everywhere through the rich masses of verdure, while here and there fountains of rare and exquisite design, rising from broad marble basins, relieve without lessening the immense length—and you may have some faint idea of this peerless structure. 'No material is used in it,' says Fergusson, 'which is not the best for its purpose, no constructive expedient employed which was not absolutely necessary, and it depends wholly for its effect on the arrangement of its parts and the display of its construction.' It is in iron what Gothic is in stone.

Details, if fairly studied, would do much to nationalize our architecture. Why should we, in designing a capital or cornice, still cling to the classic acanthus or honeysuckle ornament, or even the English ivy, when we have such a fund of our own? The maize and the sugarcane, the potato blossom and the cotton boll afford so many mines of treasure, that it is surprising that they have not already been worked. In the architecture of the Central Park, however, a decided impetus has been given in this direction. The details of the grand terrace at the end of the Mall are as elaborate as those of a European cathedral, but they are all American—all our own.

Another excellent feature of our city houses is that little strip of garden in front, just within the sidewalk. For this, too, we think we have some claim of originality. At least it is not European, for in Berlin, Vienna, etc., some of the most palatial quarters are without so much as a sidewalk—the paving stones reaching from wall to wall. Such barrenness of arrangement cannot be relieved by any architecture, nor was there ever a building so good that it could not be improved by a setting of foliage. The power of mutual relief between art and nature is wonderful. To this is owing much of the effect of the celebrated 'Place Napoleon,' the court of the New Louvre at Paris. The contrast between the richly wrought façades of Caen stone and the foliage in the centre, is most grateful to the eye. Even the grand quadrangle of the Tuileries seems dismal after it, grand as are its ogre-roofed 'pavilions' and[Pg 477] triumphal arch, for it lacks the refreshing verdure. The eye wearies of the everlasting buff color.

Not to overstep the subject, we will say just one word about the street plans of our cities. It is really shameful that these are not more studied. No one seems to think of adapting them to the surface of the ground, but everything must needs be graded flat, and rectangular blocks laid out thereon. Our Western cities, particularly, appear to crystallize in cubes—their monotony is painful. An occasional introduction of the curved street, so common in Britain, would be a delightful relief. The London 'Quadrant' is a superb example—the way in which the houses come into view, one by one, as you follow the curve, is not to be surpassed. But the chief secret of success in plotting a town is to seize upon the natural irregularities of the ground, and make them part and parcel of the design. The beauty of Edinburgh—the 'Scottish Athens,' as Dugald Stewart called it—is entirely owing to this. The new town is a 'wilderness of granite, magnificently dull,' and the old has barely enough of the picturesque to save it from being hideous. But there is a broad, natural ravine, dividing the two, which has been retained in its original shape, and being tastefully arranged with shrubbery and terraced walks, forms a fine park. Near one end of this the Castle Hill rises abruptly against the old town, while at the other end the view is closed by Calton Hill, with its classic monuments, and Arthur's Seat rising grandly beyond. Two or three bridges afford a level communication between the old town and the new, and Prince's street, the thoroughfare of the latter, forms a fine terrace along the northern edge of the ravine, passing midway the Scott monument, a superb spire of Gothic. This latter is perhaps the only commendable feature per se in the city—for the details of Edinburgh are notably poor, its pictorial effect arising solely from the very happy manner in which they are grouped, amphitheatre-like, around the 'Gardens.'

Did such a vale lie in the track of one of our cities, we would consider it an unlucky blemish, to be filled up at once to the general level. It would be named in the contract as such-and-such 'sunken lots,' and as the Castle Rock was digged down and dumped in, tax-payers would rejoice over the saved cartage. Having thus killed off Nature, we would put up squares of houses upon the dead level, while the local papers would comment upon the 'improvement of property.'

If we only had a Napoleon here, some think, his master mind might arrest this Vandalism, infuse some system into our rag-bag cities, and make each a Paris. But have we not Public Opinion, stronger than any despot? Let a little of this current, guided by taste, be turned into the channels of art, and the results will soon be forthcoming. We seem to be hampered, as yet, with a kind of feudal system of architecture; this will presently be done away with, for the American character is eclectic, and naturally selects and combines the best in art, as in politics and commerce. To combine English good sense without its heaviness, French vivacity without its hollowness, and the exuberance of German fancy without its inertia—to combine and reflect all these should be the mission of our architecture.

Neither is it too much to say that a genuine love for art may have its bearing on that part of us which is immortal. Not that any of these things will exist after this life, but as children are drilled by their teachers in many studies which have no practical bearing on their after life, so may we consider ourselves as only at boarding school with Nature while in this present temporary state; and if she has set us some lessons which do not appertain directly to our more exalted future, we should remember that this is her method of discipline. But she has done more; she has made[Pg 478] the very tasks delightful. Are not such studies more beneficial and satisfactory than the idleness and play which fill up so much of our lives?

No student can succeed, however, who tamely copies his neighbor's work. Let us hope, then, that our art will soon drop its clumsy costume, and take to itself something natural and national; that it will become, as it should, the type of our Western civilization—a civilization that spreads itself, not by sword or sceptre or crozier, but by life and liberty and light.



London, 10 Half Moon Street, Piccadilly,

January 28th, 1864

In two pamphlets, published by me last summer, Mr. Jefferson Davis was clearly convicted of sustaining the repudiation of the Union Bank bonds, and the Planters' Bank bonds of the State of Mississippi. These pamphlets were most extensively circulated throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, and upon the continent of Europe, and several confederate writers have since referred to them; but no attempt ever has been made, either by Mr. Davis himself, or by any of his agents or friends, to refute any one of the facts or deductions contained in those pamphlets. Indeed, the facts were founded upon authentic documents, official papers, and Mr. Davis's own two letters over signature, plainly and unequivocally sustaining the repudiation of Mississippi. It is true, in the case of the Union Bank bonds of Mississippi, that Mr. Davis justified their repudiation on the ground that the bonds of the State were unconstitutional. But the utter fallacy of this position was shown by two unanimous decisions of the highest judicial tribunal of the State of Mississippi, before whom this very question was brought directly for adjudication, affirming the constitutionality and validity of these bonds. When it is recollected, also, that this was the Court designated by the Constitution and laws of Mississippi, as the tribunal to which the ultimate decision of this question was referred, the wretched character of this pretext must be at once perceived. Mr. Davis's two repudiating letters were published by him in the spring and summer of 1849, yet one of these decisions by the highest judicial tribunal of Mississippi, quoted by me, affirming the validity and constitutionality of these very bonds, was made in 1842, and again unanimously reaffirmed in 1853. But still, Mr. Davis adhered to the same position. As to the Planters' Bank bonds, however, the repudiation of which was shown to have been justified by Mr. Davis, there never was even a pretext that they were illegal or unconstitutional. Nor is there any force in the suggestion, that these questions were decided before Mr. Davis came into public life. They were continuous questions, constantly discussed in the press and before legislative and judicial tribunals. And, we have seen, even as late as 1853, four years succeeding Mr. Davis's repudiating letters, the second decision was made by the highest judi[Pg 479]cial tribunal of Mississippi, reaffirming the validity and constitutionality of these bonds.

But I will now cite another instance of the advocacy of repudiation by Mr. Jefferson Davis, still more flagitious than that of Mississippi. It was that of the State bonds of Arkansas, the validity and constitutionality of which never has been disputed. A brief history of this transaction is as follows: In 1830, James Smithson, an eminent and wealthy citizen of London, in the kingdom of Great Britain, died, bequeathing, by his last will and testament, the whole of his property to the United States of America, in trust, to found at Washington, under the name of 'The Smithsonian Institution,' an establishment 'for the increase of diffusion of knowledge among men.' After some delay, the Congress of the United States, in 1836, passed an act, accepting the trust, and pledging the faith of the Government for the faithful application of the money to the noble purpose designated by the illustrious donor. Under this act, Richard Rush, one of our most distinguished citizens, who had been minister to England and to France, and had held the position of Secretary of State and of the Treasury, at Washington, was sent by the Government to London, to obtain from the Court of Chancery the fund, amounting to over $500,000. It is usual in the proceedings of the English Court of Chancery, when funds, under circumstances like these, are bequeathed to trustees for scientific or charitable purposes, not to part with the money to the trustee, except upon his filing in court absolute security for the faithful fulfilment of the trust. In this case, however, the High Court of Chancery in England, considering that to imply any laches or neglect of a trust so sacred, on the part of the Government of the United States, was an idea not to be entertained, did, by their decree, without any security, hand over all the money to the Government of the United States, to be appropriated to the purpose designated by the donor, receiving only the pledge given by the Congress of the United States, for the faithful appropriation of the money. Now, if there ever was any obligation, that would be considered sacred by the whole civilized world, it was this, and most faithfully has the Government of the United States executed this trust. Nay, it has done much more; it has granted forty acres of ground, belonging to the Government, in the city of Washington, gratuitously, for the erection of the buildings upon them, erected by the Government, are worth largely more than the whole bequest. Not only has the Government done this, but, upon the whole fund received from Mr. Smithson, it has always punctually paid an interest of six per cent. in gold upon the whole sum, and pledged its faith for a similar perpetual payment. It has also largely aided the institution by contributions to its museum, collections, and library, and by the gratuitous services of public officers in its behalf. Such was the bill passed by Congress in 1846, and which has always been most faithfully executed. So that the institution is now established upon a permanent basis, and is fulfilling all the great and noble purposes proposed by the illustrious donor. Now, in 1837, this fund was received by the Government of the United States, and invested by the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. Woodbury, in the six per cent. bonds of the State of Arkansas at par, to the extent of over half a million of dollars. During the same year Arkansas invested this money in a bank, entitled 'The Real Estate Bank of Arkansas;' and of which the State was the great stockholder. In 1839, this Bank, having loaned out these funds to the citizens of Arkansas, became absolutely and totally insolvent, and has never been able to pay one cent on the dollar to any of its creditors. In 1839, the State[Pg 480] of Arkansas failed to pay the interest on its bonds, and from that day to this has never paid one dollar either of interest or principal on any of these most sacred obligations.

On the 4th of March, 1845, I became Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, and having taken the deepest interest in this Smithsonian fund, and in its faithful application to the noble purpose of the donor, and inasmuch as one of my predecessors had invested these funds in these bonds, and the Government had made itself directly responsible for the faithful execution of this trust, I endeavored to reclaim, as far as possible, this money from the State of Arkansas, and to induce Congress to appropriate its own moneys to redeem the pledge of the Government, and fulfil this trust. My first official action on this subject was as follows: By act of Congress, five per cent. of the net proceeds of the sales of the public lands of the United States in Arkansas was payable to that State, for certain purposes designated in the act. There was, also, an act of Congress in force, authorizing the Secretary of the Treasury, where there were mutual debts and credits between the Government and any other person, to offset any debt due by any creditor of the United States, against any debt, so far as it would go, due by the United States to such creditor. I interpreted this act as authorizing me to withhold this five per cent. fund from the State of Arkansas and appropriate it, as far as it would go, in payment of the interest which had accumulated on the bonds of the State of Arkansas, in which my predecessor, Mr. Woodbury, on behalf of the Government, had invested the Smithsonian Fund; thus saving a small portion of the interest which had accrued on these bonds. For this act I was violently denounced by the Senators and Representatives of Arkansas in Congress, as also by the Legislature and Governor of the State, and strenuous efforts were made, unsuccessfully, first to induce me to revoke my action, and, secondly, to have it overruled by the Government. But I adhered to it, and declared openly, that if such a breach of trust were consummated, and my action overruled in the premises, I would resign my seat in the cabinet. My official action, however, was sustained by an almost unanimous public sentiment of Congress, and of the country. Indeed, beyond the limits of the State of Arkansas, and the circle of the repudiators of Mississippi, my course was sustained and approved.

Now, then, let us see what was the action of Mr. Jefferson Davis on the question of these Arkansas bonds. On reference to the journals of the House of Representatives, of the Congress of the United States, it appears that Mr. Jefferson Davis took his seat in that body, as one of the members elect from the State of Mississippi, on the 8th of December, 1845. (P. 56.) When the bill was pending for organizing the Smithsonian Institution, and making good for both principal and interest, the sum bequeathed by Mr. Smithson that had been invested by the Government of the United States in these Arkansas State bonds, Mr. Jefferson Davis, on the 29th April, 1846, as appears by the official proceedings of the House, page 749, moved an amendment: 'To add at the end of the section the following'—'Provided, however, That if the Governor of the State of Arkansas shall make it appear to the satisfaction of the Attorney-General of the United States, that he has used suitable means to obtain from the Real Estate Bank of the State of Arkansas, payment of the debt due by said Bank to the State of Arkansas, but without success, then, in that case, and until the arrears due by the said Real Estate Bank shall have been received into the Treasury of the State of Arkansas, the said State shall be and is hereby declared to be absolved from the promises on the face of her bonds by which the said State[Pg 481] heretofore pledged her faith for the due payment of the principal and interest of said bonds.' Now, then, it will be remembered, that the legality and constitutionality of these Arkansas State bonds never has been disputed. These bonds were issued by the State, under direct authority of law, signed by the Governor, with the broad seal of the State attached, and recognized by the Government of the United States, by the investment of this sacred fund in these obligations. Nay, more, this fund thus received by the State from the Government on these bonds, had been invested, under the law of the State of Arkansas, in a Real Estate Bank, created by that State, and the money loaned to the citizens of the State. That State Bank, however, in 1839, became utterly and notoriously insolvent, and never did or could pay one cent in the dollar on its obligations. And, more especially, never did it pay, after 1839, one single cent of the principal or interest upon these State obligations. Now, then, this institution, in 1846, being absolutely and totally insolvent, its funds having been wasted and squandered without the possibility of recovery, either in whole or in part, Mr. Davis offers this resolution to authorize the State to repudiate its bonds, and that the Government should look only to this insolvent Bank for the payment of the principal and interest on these bonds, amounting then to over $700,000. It was not alleged by Mr. Davis, or by any other person, that these bonds were unconstitutional. No such pretext was ever made even by the State of Arkansas. It was a most atrocious case of open repudiation. And here, it matters not, so far as this question is concerned, what may have been the obligation of the Government of the United States to make good these funds. That is a totally distinct and independent question. The true and real issue in this case is this: Was not the State of Arkansas bound to pay these bonds, both interest and principal, as it fell due, in, which bonds, by the request and authority of the State, the Government of the United States had invested this Smithsonian fund? This obligation of the State of Arkansas, both moral and legal, is undisputed and indisputable; and yet Mr. Davis moved the resolution before quoted, absolving the State from the payment of the principal and interest of these bonds, except so far as the assets of her own Bank, then notoriously bankrupt, should avail to make good these obligations. That is, the Congress of the United States, by solemn act, was to authorize the State of Arkansas to repudiate her solemn obligations. Recollect, this was not a case of Mississippi bonds, of which State Mr. Davis was then a Representative in Congress, but it was the case of Arkansas, another State, having on the floor of Congress its own Senators and Representatives. But it is a very remarkable fact, that Mississippi, for many years, had then repudiated her own bonds, that Mr. Davis justified and sustained that repudiation, and that now he appears on behalf of Arkansas to induce Congress, by solemn act, to authorize that State to repudiate her obligations also. Thus was it that Mr. Davis travelled out of his own State into another, to make the Government of the United States a party to the repudiation of her bonds by the State of Arkansas. Let me not be misunderstood. I do not mean to say, that Mr. Davis proposed or intended that the Government of the United States should repudiate its faith, plighted to the British Court of Chancery, to make good this fund. That is not the question. It is entirely collateral. But, what he did do was this, and there stands his own resolution, offered by himself in the Congress of the United States, which, if carried into effect, would have released the State of Arkansas from these bonds, or, in Mr. Davis's own words, 'The said State shall be and is hereby declared to be absolved from the promises on the face of[Pg 482] her bonds, by which the said State heretofore pledged her faith for the due payment of the principal and interest of said bonds.'

Why should Congress release Arkansas from the payment of her State obligations? Why thus justify the repudiation of her bonds? Can any other reason be assigned than this, that Mr. Jefferson Davis was looking to the repudiated bonds of Mississippi, and was endeavoring to establish a precedent, by solemn act of the Congress, by which, if adopted as a principle, Mississippi, and every other defaulting State, could be justified in the repudiation of their bonds also. It is to the credit of the Congress of the United States, that Mr. Davis's resolution was rejected without a division, and without a count. When it is recollected, that at this very time, I, as Secretary of the Treasury, was appropriating the five per cent. found payable by the Government to the State of Arkansas toward the liquidation of these bonds against the protest of that State, the further meaning of these movements will be clearly perceived. Had this resolution of Mr. Davis passed the two Houses of Congress, absolving the State of Arkansas from the payment of these bonds, I could, of course, as Secretary of the Treasury, no longer have withheld that fund from the State, and appropriated it, so far as it went, toward the liquidation of the interest accrued and accruing on these bonds. It appears, then, by conclusive and official evidence, that Mr. Jefferson Davis's repudiation of State obligations, was not confined to his own State, nor even to the State of Arkansas; but that he desired to make the Government of the United States, by solemn act of Congress, a party directly sanctioning such atrocious violations of State faith and State obligations.

R. J. Walker.



Two Rules.-To get safely and comfortably through the world, one must observe two rules: first, keep your eyes open; second, keep them shut.

Not to see the actual realities of our daily existence, is the part of a fool.

Not to notice the thousand and one petty faults of others, and the ever-recurring petty annoyances of our circumstances, is the part of a wise man.

Even injuries intentionally done to us, are often best disposed of by resolutely ignoring them.

So of evils that cannot be remedied—the less we know of them the better. Not to see an ill sight, is often just as good as to remove it from existence.

We need only to add: This seeing and not seeing, depends very much upon the will. The wolf that wills it can easily see the lamb disturbing the water that he drinks, even while the lamb is below him on the bank of the stream; and the lamb, by a stern resolve, can refuse to see the injustice which it has no power to remedy. The will of man is little less than omnipotent in the wide sphere of its appropriate power; and that sphere is much wider than feeble-minded people may suppose.[Pg 483]


Life and Correspondence of Theodore Parker, Minister of the Twenty-eighth Congregational Society, Boston. By John Weiss. In 2 volumes. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 443 & 445 Broadway.

A work of two large octavo volumes, containing 1,020 pages, with two portraits of Mr. Parker, and some vignettes on wood. The author is John Weiss, and the biography is exceedingly well written, a great deal of it being given directly from Mr. Parker's own letters and journals. He was born in Massachusetts in 1810, and died in Italy before he had completed his fiftieth year. He was brought up on his father's farm, taught school while in his teens to provide money for further progress, prepared himself for the university, taught a higher school during his college course, studied the classics, acquired German, French, and Spanish, became a divinity student in Cambridge, added Danish, Swedish, Arabic and Syriac, Anglo-Saxon and Modern Greek, was ordained a Unitarian minister in 1837, and settled at West Roxbury. His labors were great: he preached, lectured, translated, edited, and wrote. His health sank under his arduous mental toil. He went abroad to regain it, and died in Florence in 1860. Whatever we may think of his creed, as a preacher he was able and earnest. He was a man of varied gifts, of wide and detailed culture. He was opposed to slavery, and stood in bold antagonism to the Fugitive Slave Law. He was blamed, perhaps maligned, during his lifetime, but posterity will acknowledge him as a man of large brain and generous heart. His letters are exceedingly interesting, touching upon almost every subject now under discussion.

'Would you be good, and fill each human duty?
One art's enough for that—the finest art—
See but the good in every human heart.'

Was He Successful? A Novel. By Richard B. Kimball, Author of 'St. Leger,' 'Undercurrents,' 'Romance of Student Life,' etc. New York; Carleton, publisher, 413 Broadway. Leipsic: Tauchnitz. 1864.

The readers of The Continental have been favored with the first perusal of this monitory novel. It is an accurate delineation of men and manners found too frequently in our midst, and the moral should be deeply graven on every heart. We feel the more at liberty to recommend this work, as it was commenced in our columns before the present corps of editors had entered upon their labors, and we cordially wish every species of success to Mr. Kimball.

Musical Sketches. By Eliza Polko. Translated from the sixth German edition, by Fanny Fuller. Philadelphia: Frederick Leypoldt. New York: F. W. Christern.

We think this book will become a favorite with our people. It contains sketches, legends, and traditions of many of the great musicians. Bach, Gluck, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Pergolesi, Schubert, Scarlatti, Weber, Paganini, Gretry, Catalani, Malibran, Handel, Anderle, Haydn, Boieldieu, Cimarosa, Beethoven, Lully, Berger, etc., float pleasantly through its fanciful pages. Romance and reality mingle genially together, the reality half persuading us that the romance is true. It is appreciative and tender in the original, and the translation is well executed. The vignette of the music-making cherubs is really beautiful.

Husks. Colonel Floyd's Wards. By Marion Harland. New York: Sheldon & Co., 335 Broadway.

Few young writers have attained so sudden a popularity as Marion Harland. We believe it well deserved. Her plots are in[Pg 484]teresting, her characters well drawn, her style natural, her morals unexceptionable. Of the two tales composing the present volume, we prefer 'Colonel Floyd's Wards.' The interest is well sustained, and Virginian society and manners truthfully depicted.

Diary, from November 18, 1862, to October 18, 1863. By Adam Gurowski. Volume Second. New York: Carleton, publisher, 413 Broadway.

Has Count Gurowski's course toward his own unfortunate country, heroic Poland, been sufficiently loyal and faithful to induce us to put much confidence in his portraitures of the men and events of the land of his adoption?

The Great Consummation. The Millennial Rest; or, The World as it Will Be. By Rev. John Cumming, D. D., F. R. S. E., Minister of the Scottish National Church, Crown Court, Covent Garden; Author of 'The Great Tribulation,' and 'The Great Preparation.' Second Series. New York: Carleton, publisher, 413 Broadway.

The writings of the Rev. Dr. Cumming are too well known to the public to need any characterization at our hands. His style is clear and simple, and we believe it is his desire to awaken and win souls. Although frequently miscomprehending the dogmas of the Mother Church, he is neither narrow nor bigoted in his religious views. In the volume under consideration, he takes passages found principally in Isaiah and Revelations as texts to describe the Millennium which he believes at hand. He strives to inculcate the lesson, 'Be ye therefore ready.'

Cudjo's Cave. By J. T. Trowbridge, Author of 'Neighbor Jackwood,' 'The Drummer Boy,' etc. Boston: Tilton & Co.

We believe Mr. Trowbridge has achieved a real success in his Cudjo. The plot is well conceived and sustained, and the interest never flags from the first page to the last. There is no dull reading in the book, no interminable preludes or introductions. We are presented in the very first chapter to the hero, the young schoolmaster, about to be tarred and feathered by a brutal mob. And a real hero he proves himself in his gentleness, conscientiousness, and manly moral and physical courage. Carl, the German boy, is an inimitable picture of young German life and character. Toby, the house negro, is, in his mingled stupidity, cunning, and faithfulness, drawn to the life. Nor are the negroes of the cave less excellent. Events hurry forward, different characters are strangely grouped, new elements and capacities constantly developed, while truth to the original conception is constantly adhered to. Graphic descriptions and picturesque situations abound. If scenes of violence occur, it is because they are true to the history of the hour. We close by extracting the closing sentence of this loyal and natural novel: 'For peaceful days, a peaceful and sunny literature: and may Heaven hasten the time when there shall be no more strife, and no more human bondage; when, under the folds of the starry flag, from the lake chain to the gulf, and from sea to sea, freedom, peace, and righteousness shall reign; when all men shall love each other, and the nations shall know God!'

United States Wall Atlas. Constructed and drawn under the direction of A. Guyot, by Ernest Sandoz. New York: Published by Charles Scribner, 124 Grand street.

This is a physical map of the United States, giving the altitudes (within certain limits) of the surface of the land, the height of the principal mountains, the courses of the ranges and also of the rivers, together with many other interesting particulars. The principal political divisions and the chief towns are also indicated. The names of that profound and earnest savant, Prof. A. Guyot, and of his talented nephew, E. Sandoz, are a sufficient guarantee of the accuracy and excellence of this useful work.

A Budget of Fun for Little Folks. By Aunt Maggie. Boston: Loring, publisher, 319 Washington street.

Jean Belin; or, The Adventures of a Little French Boy. By Alfred de Brehat. Translated from the French. Boston: Loring, publisher, 319 Washington street. For sale by O. S. Felt, 36 Walker street, New York.

Two very pleasant books for children. The first contains the adventures of a knitting society, interspersed with sundry novel fairy tales, and the second is intended to supply the need felt by all the little ones when 'Robinson Crusoe' and the 'Swiss Family Robinson' have been exhausted. The tale is lively and well told, and the charac[Pg 485]ters natural and ably sustained. We notice in both works an occasional inaccuracy of expression. Such slight blemishes do not materially impair the excellence of these sprightly volumes, but a little more attention would have sufficed to render them entirely free from error. The examples of language placed before youth cannot be too carefully revised. With this minute exception, we heartily recommend the 'Budget of Fun' and 'Jean Belin,' especially the latter, to all young people.

Carrot-Pomade, with twenty-six Illustrations by Augustus Hoppin. 'Hair ten carats fine.' New York: James G. Gregory, publisher, 46 Walker street.

A ludicrous satire, and well deserved, on the general style of advertisements. Hoppin is too well known to need laudation. His illustrations are irresistibly comic. What could be happier than the cupids of the brush and comb on the frontispiece? The poor 'krittur which furnished the grease' is well conceived and executed.

Poems. By Henry Peterson. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott.

A volume of graceful verses. We quote its dedication: 'To the members of that hard-working, poorly rewarded editorial profession, who make so many reputations for others, and so few for themselves, this book is respectfully dedicated by one of the fraternity.' 'Abra's Vision' is a happy rendering of Leigh Hunt's 'Abou Ben Adhem.'

Appleton's United States Postal Guide; containing the Chief Regulations of the Post Office; and a complete List of Post Offices throughout the United States, with other information for the People. Published Quarterly. New York: D. Appleton & Co., 443 & 445 Broadway. One dollar per annum. Price, 25 cents.

This volume has been prepared with the sanction of Mr. Blair, Postmaster General, and is an authorized medium of information between the Post Office Department and the public. It meets a want very generally felt, and will be welcomed by the community at large. Its table of contents is a full one; we have space but for a few items: 'Officers, and recent Orders of the Department; Rates of Postage to Foreign Countries; Rates of Domestic Postage; Date of Sailing of Foreign Steamers; Establishment of Post Offices; Mail Contracts; Penalties in certain cases; Suggestions to the Public; Time occupied in the transmission of Letters; Local Post Office Regulations; List of Post Offices in the United States, etc. We regard the condensation of important and indeed almost necessary information as of great value to our people.

Legends of the Birds. By Charles Godfrey Leland. Illustrated by F. Moras. Philadelphia: Frederick Leypoldt, publisher. New York: for sale by F. W. Christern, 763 Broadway.

An exquisite volume, containing illuminated pictures of the Birds of the Legends. Very beautiful are the legends, tenderly and simply told in the golden words of a poet. They are calculated to teach us humanity toward the winged creatures of the air, so often the victims of our cruel sports. We have The Swallow, The Eagle, The Robin, The Cock, The Swan, The Falcon, The Wood Dove, The Humming Bird, The Scarlet Tannager, The Peacock, and The Owl, each bird occupying his own illuminated page; each with his own simple and touching legend. Mr. Leland's little poems will speak to many a heart, and many a mother will read them aloud to the wild boys begging for guns to devastate our forests, to inspire them with mercy for these flying flowers, these musicians of the air. Paper, print, type, arabesques, and designs, are excellent. We heartily congratulate Mr. Leypoldt on the beauty of the publication.

Hand Book of Calisthenics and Gymnastics: A Complete Drill Book for Schools, Families, and Gymnasiums. With Music to accompany the Exercises. Illustrated from original designs. By J. Madison Watson. New York and Philadelphia: Schermerhorn, Bancroft & Co. Chicago: George Sherwood. 1864.

The American people are waking up to the importance of physical culture, struggling to develop muscle, to strengthen weak nerves, and to build up national bodily vigor. The purpose of the volume before us is to solve this problem. The author "has aimed to make it a complete gymnastic drill book, with words of command and classes of movements systematically arranged, embracing all necessary exercises for the lungs, the voice,[Pg 486] the organs of speech, the joints, and the muscles."

Part 1st, under the head of Vocal Gymnastics, treats of Respiration, Phonetics, and Elocution; concise and clear principles and rules are given, accompanied by examples and exercises sufficiently numerous to enable the student to bring them completely within his comprehension and under his control. We regard this part of the work before us as exceedingly important. To read aloud well is one of the rarest of accomplishments, though one of the most desirable, and the training of the voice is absolutely necessary to attain this end. When properly pursued, such exercises are exceedingly invigorating. 'In forming and undulating the voice,' says Dr. Combe, 'not only the chest, but also the diaphragm and abdominal muscles are in constant action, and communicate to the stomach and bowels a healthy and agreeable stimulus.' The poetic selections are made with great taste, and are admirably fitted to achieve the end for which they are designed.

Part 2d, under the head of Calisthenics, exhibits a varied course of exercises without the aid of apparatus. Pupils are taught to beat time, and use is thus made of the magic power of rhythmical movement. Nineteen pieces of piano music are given, which are well chosen, and appropriately introduced.

Part 3d, under the head of Gymnastics, presents a wider collection of exercises for wands, dumb bells, Indian clubs, and hand rings, than any of the books we have yet seen. All the exercises are arranged in accordance with well-known principles of Anatomy, Physiology, and Hygiene. 'In presenting a new system of Calisthenics and Gymnastics, a series of illustrations from original designs is indispensable.' These are remarkably well drawn and executed. Accent, quantity, with Iambic, Trochaic, Anapestic, and Dactylic Rhythms, are practically given in the work, which, should the student have poetic talent, would be of great use to him in making his own verses, while to the reader of poetry a knowledge of them is indispensable.

We heartily commend this book to the notice of our readers—to all who prize physical culture, health, and symmetrical education. We hope it may find its way into our schools and families.

Print, paper, and the mechanical execution of this valuable Hand Book are really excellent.

Light on Shadowed Paths. By T. S. Arthur, Author of 'Ten Nights in a Bar Room,' 'Steps toward Heaven,' 'Golden Grain,' etc. New York: Carleton, publisher, 413 Broadway.

The books of T. S. Arthur have had a very wide circulation both in this country and in England. This volume is composed of thirty-three short tales, well calculated to touch and soothe the popular heart. They are tender, moral, and simple.


The Universalist Quarterly. Boston: Published by T. Tompkins & Co. New York: H. Lyon, 119 Nassau street.

Contents: The Logic and the End of the Rebellion. The Eastern Church and Council of Nice. Salvation in Christ not Limited to this Life. Contributions of Science to Religion. History of the Doctrine of a Future Life. Atheism and its Exponents. Formula of Baptism. The Universalists as a Christian Sect. General Review. Recent Publications. American and English Quarterlies.

The North American Review, January 1st, 1864. Editors: Prof. James Russell Lowell and Charles Eliot Norton, Esqs. Boston: Crosby & Nichols, 117 Washington street. New York: H. Dexter, Hamilton & Co., Sinclair Tousey, and D. G. Francis.

Contents: Ticknor's Life of Prescott. The Bible and Slavery. The Ambulance System. The Bibliotheca Sacra. Immorality in Politics. The Early Life of Governor Winthrop. The Sanitary Commission. Renan's Life of Jesus. The President's Policy. Critical Notices.

The Christian Examiner.—Contents: Weiss's Life of Theodore Parker. Uhland. The Patience of Hope. Arthur Schopenhauer. The System and Order of Christ's Ministry. Ticknor's Life of Prescott. Our Ambulance System. The Two Messages. Review of Current Literature. New Publications Received. Boston: By the Proprietors, at Walker, Wise & Co.'s, 245 Washington street.

[Pg 487]



The evening of February 4th, 1864, will long be remembered as the occasion of one of the most delightful receptions ever given in the Tenth-street Studio Building. The Committee deserve great praise for the successful manner in which they filled without crowding the pleasant exhibition-room and the many interesting studios. Their task was certainly not an easy one, and merits imitation by all managers of social entertainments.

Want of space must for the present prevent any description of the fine works exhibited; suffice it to say that the Committee—Whittredge, McEntee, Thompson, as well as Gifford, Eastman Johnson, Bierstadt, Beard, the Weirs, Hazeltine, William Hart, Dana, Leutze, Gignoux, Shattuck, Brown, Suydam, etc., were all worthily represented. New York has reason to be proud of her artists.

Amusing incidents were not wanting. As we stood before Beard's 'Watchers' (an impressive representation of a company of crows watching the last struggles of a dying deer), we heard a lady ask her attendant the meaning of the picture and of its name. The reply was, 'Why—do you not see? Those birds are owls, and they are asleep, and the deer is asleep too, and so they are all watchers!' 'Ah!' returned the lady, as if this lucid explanation had flooded the subject with light. We were accompanied by a very bright young girl, who, desirous of visiting the studio of Mr. Church, and disappointed at learning that it had not been opened to the guests of the building, exclaimed, 'Heart of the Andes, indeed! Where is his own?' No lover of the true and the beautiful could have resisted the pleading of those earnest blue eyes. We also overheard that 'the Tenth-street boys hold their heads mighty high!' Long may they continue to do so, and long may success of every kind crown their efforts, whether as artists or as conscientious, patriotic men!


This opera has attracted large audiences wherever it has been represented, and has elicited much attention and criticism from the musical public. Dwight's Journal of Music, Boston, January 23d, contains the best review of its merits and defects which we have thus far chanced to meet. Mr. Dwight gives M. Gounod ample credit for the good judgment, common sense, science, taste, poetic feeling, rich and highly dramatic orchestration, ingenious musical characterization of individuals and situations, and the many passages of beautiful music found in this elaborate work, but denies to him the highest inspiration, the spontaneity of genius, and the attainment of any very lofty ideal in the production of continuous, elevated, and soul-entrancing melodies. We think this a pretty fair statement of the facts in the case. Mr. Dwight, however, says: 'Not even Mozart in 'Don Juan' had so great a subject;' and in this connection we feel compelled to offer a few remarks. We think every great composer owes it to his own God-gift, and to the human beings whom he is to influence, not to select intrinsically repulsive subjects, and such have we found both 'Don Juan' and 'Faust.' Now we are not morbidly fastidious, and we well know the freedom that must be accorded to art, that it may have ample scope and range in the delineation of human feeling and romantic situation; but when we see a representation of 'Don Juan,' we instinctively strive to ignore the plot, with its odious characters (the sensual Don, the coarse-minded servant, the unwomanly, man-seeking Elvira, the vengeful Anna, the insignificant Ottavio, the light-headed and shallow-hearted Zerlina), and live only in the beautiful music which the prodigality of genius has wasted upon so poor a theme. Not even that libretto could degrade the pure, serious, and essentially innocent character of Mozart's conceptions; but, in turn, his refined musical conception has been unable to lift the subject from the mire of Da Ponte's delineation. We know that page after page[Pg 488] has been written to unfold the mystic meanings and profound philosophy contained in the story, but our observation has been, that the effect of the whole upon pure minds is simply—disgust. The musical grandeur of the finale rarely saves its becoming ludicrous in the representation, and the good joke of a life of unblushing immorality is in no way lessened by the appearance of demons, in whose existence half the world (at least of of opera goers) has ceased to believe.

The 'Faust' is nearly, if not quite, as bad. The undisguised sensuality of Faust, both in Goethe's drama and in the operatic rendering, is such that it nearly destroys our sympathy with Margaret, and scenes that should be pathetic are either merely repulsive, or excite our indignation to such a degree that we 'turn all our tears to sparks of fire.'

Nothing but loathing can attend the open, deliberate, and utterly gross destruction of virtue as planned and executed by that miserable libertine. Mephistopheles himself is scarcely more corrupt, and the representation of these two great poisonous spiders, weaving their meshes round their unfortunate and but too easy prey, can never in any sense impress us as lofty specimens of high art.

How different is the plot of 'Fidelio,' where one can yield oneself to the beauty of the music and the pathos of the story without a single jarring sensation!

Let the masters then beware! Music is essentially pure, and should never by great minds be wedded to coarse ideas. The subject must have an influence upon the immortality of the work. The really noble and truly art-loving men and women of all countries will, as they advance in mental cultivation and comprehension of the higher aims of art, banish such gross delineations and festering moral sores from the stage, and fine musical works thus sullied will continue to live solely as represented by such instrument or instruments as may best be calculated to express their real value and meaning.

We go to the opera for relaxation, improvement, and enjoyment, and none of these can be found in the spectacle of noble means perverted to corrupt ends. May the day soon come when such important channels of public amusement and instruction may be guided by a refined taste and correct views of the intimate connection between the Beautiful and the Absolute Good!

Ballads of the War.


By Isabella McFarlane.

Loud rang the voice of the chieftain,
As the Fifty-fourth rushed on:
'Charge on the guns of Wagner,
Charge—and the fort is won!'

On—like a wave of the ocean,
Dashing against a rock!—
Back—ah! back—all broken,
Like a wave from the fruitless shock.

Thus from the guns of Wagner
The Fifty-fourth surged back:
But the voice of their brave young chieftain
Checked not their backward track

For there, on the sands by Wagner,
The gallant Shaw lay low,
'Midst a heap of his brave black soldiers,
Left in the hands of the foe.

Not a flag was lowered in his honor,
Not a gun its deep voice gave,
When, on the sands by Wagner,
Shaw was laid in the grave.

Not a friend stood over his coffin,
Shedding tears on his gory breast;
But instead, was curse and insult,
Cruel laughter, ribald jest.

Wide and deep was the trench they hollowed,
Where the gallant Shaw was laid,
With forty negro soldiers
Piled over his noble head.

Yes, forty negro soldiers,
Whose hearts were hearts of steel,
Who had fought in the cause of freedom,
Who had died for their country's weal.

Was it then so great dishonor
For that chief so young and brave—
Who had led them on to the battle—
To be with them in the grave?

Nay—most just was the mandate
That in death they should not part,
For he loved his poor black brothers,
With a true and steadfast heart.

Move not his honored ashes—
Let him slumber where he lies,
Till the voice of the great Archangel
Sounds the trumpet-call to the skies![25]


[1] The Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man, with Remarks on Theories of the Origin of Species by Variation. By Sir Charles Lyell, F. R. S. Author of 'Principles of Geology,' Elements of Geology,' etc., etc. Illustrated by woodcuts. Philadelphia: George W. Childs, 628 and 630 Chestnut street. 1863

[2] If any one is disposed to doubt that the doctrine that fossil forms are direct creations, and were never living animals at all, is held by any respectable person, we refer them to a book entitled 'Cosmogony, or the Mysteries of Creation,' by Thomas A. Davies, and published by Rudd & Carleton, of New York, of no longer ago than 1857.

[3] Principles of Geology, 9th ed., p. 740.

[4] Professor Louis Agassiz, the most patient, learned, and acute investigator of embryology now living, finds in that science (upon which, in truth, rests the final settlement of the so-called development theory) 'no single fact to justify the assumption that the laws of development, now known to be so precise and definite for every animal, have ever been less so, or have ever been allowed to run into each other. The philosopher's stone is no more to be found in the organic than the inorganic world; and we shall seek as vainly to transform the lower animal types into the higher ones by any of our theories, as did the alchemists of old to change the baser metals into gold.' He also says: 'To me the fact that the embryonic form of the highest vertebrate recalls in its earlier stages the first representatives of its type in geological times and its lowest representatives at the present day, speaks only of an ideal relation, existing, not in the things themselves, but in the mind that made them. It is true that the naturalist is sometimes startled at these transient resemblances of the young among the higher animals in one type to the adult condition of the lower animals in the same type; but it is also true that he finds each one of the primary divisions of the animal kingdom bound to its own norm of development, which is absolutely distinct from that of all others; it is also true that, while he perceives correspondences between the early phases of the higher animals and the mature state of the lower ones he never sees any one of them diverge in the slightest degree from its own structural character—never sees the lower rise by a shade beyond the level which is permanent for the group to which it belongs—never sees the higher ones stop short of their final aim, either in the mode or the extent of their transformation.' He likewise ('Methods of Study in Natural History,' page 140) discusses the matter of breeds as bearing upon diversities of species in a manner to justify his conclusion, that: 'The influence of man upon animals is, in other words, the influence of mind upon them; and yet the ordinary mode of argument upon this subject is, that, because the intelligence of man has been able to produce certain varieties in domesticated animals, therefore physical causes have produced all the diversity existing among wild ones. Surely, the sounder logic would be to infer that, because our finite intelligence may cause the original pattern to vary by some slight shades of difference, therefore a superior intelligence must have established all the boundless diversity of which our boasted varieties are but the faintest echo. It is the most intelligent farmer who has the greatest success in improving his breeds; and if the animals he has so fostered are left to themselves without that intelligent care, they return to their normal condition. So with plants....'—Ed. Con.

[5] In Latin, Sublaqueum, or Sublacum, in the States of the Church, over thirty English miles (Butler says 'near forty,' Montalombert, 'fifty miles') east of Rome, on the Teverone. Butler describes the place as 'a barren, hideous chain of rocks, with a river and lake in the valley.'

[6] Monasterium Cassinense. It was destroyed, indeed, by the Lombards, as early as 583, as Benedict is said to have predicted it would be, but was rebuilt in 731, consecrated in 748, again destroyed by the Saracens in 857, rebuilt about 950, and more completely, after many other calamities, in 1649, consecrated for the third time by Benedict XIII in 1727, enriched and increased under the patronage of the emperors and popes, in modern times despoiled of ts enormous income (which at the end of the sixteenth century was reckoned at 500,000 ducats), and has stood through all vicissitudes to this day. In the times of its splendor, when the abbot was first baron of the kingdom of Naples, and commanded over four hundred towns and villages, it numbered several hundred monks but in 1843 only twenty. It has a considerable library. Montalembert (Monks of the West, ii. 19) calls Monte Cassino 'the most powerful and celebrated monastery in the Catholic universe; celebrated especially because there Benedict wrote his rule and formed the type which was to serve as a model to innumerable communities submitted to that sovereign code.' He also quotes the poetic description from Dante's Paradiso. Dom Luigi Tosti published at Naples, in 1842, a full history of this convent, in three volumes.

[7] Gregor. Dial. ii. 37.

[8] Butler, in his Lives of Saints, compares Benedict even with Moses and Elijah. 'Being chosen by God, like another Moses, to conduct faithful souls into the true promised land, the kingdom of heaven, he was enriched with eminent supernatural gifts, even those of miracles and prophecy. He seemed, like another Eliseus, endued by God with an extraordinary power, commanding all nature, and, like the ancient prophets, foreseeing future events. He often raised the sinking courage of his monks, and baffled the various artifices of the devil with the sign of the cross, rendered the heaviest stone light, in building his monastery, by a short prayer, and, in presence of a multitude of people, raised to life a novice who had been crushed by the fall of a wall at Monte Cassino.' Montalembert omits the more extraordinary miracles, except the deliverance of Placidus from the whirlpool, which he relates in the language of Bossuet, ii. 15.

[9] 'Scienter nesciens, et sapienter indoctus.'

[10] The Catholic Church has recognized three other rules besides that of St. Benedict, viz.: 1. That of St. Basil, which is stilt retained by the Oriental monks; 2. That of St. Augustine, which is adopted by the regular canons, the order of the preaching brothers or Dominicans, and several military orders; 3. The rule of St. Francis of Assisi and his mendicant order, in the thirteenth century.

[11] Pope Gregory believed the rule of St. Benedict even to be directly inspired, and Bossuet (Panégyrie de Saint Benoît), in evident exaggeration, calls it 'an epitome of Christianity, a learned and mysterious abridgement of all doctrines of the gospel, all the institutions of the holy fathers, and all the counsels of perfection.' Montalembert speaks in a similar strain of French declamatory eloquence.

[12] Cap. 5: 'Primus humilitatis gradus est obedientia sine mora. Hæc convenit iis, qui nihil sibi Christo carius aliquid existimant: propter servitium sanctum, quod professi sunt, seu propter metum gehennæ, vel gloriam vitæ æternæ, mox ut aliquid imperatum a majore fuerit, ac si divinitus imperetur, moram pati nesciunt in faciendo.'

[13] Cap. 48: 'Otiositas inimica est animæ; et ideo certis temporibus occupari debent fratres in labore manuum, certis iterum horis in lectione divina.' vina.'

[14] The horæ canonicæ are the Nocturnæ vigiliæ, Matutinæ, Prima, Tertia, Sexta, Nona, Vespera, and Completorium, and are taken (c. 16) from a literal interpretation of Ps. cxix. 164: 'Seven times a day do I praise thee,' and v. 62: 'At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee.' The Psalter was the liturgy and hymn book of the convent. It was so divided among the seven services of the day, that the whole Psalter should be chanted once a week.

[15] Cap. 59: 'Si quis forte de nobilibus offert filium suum Deo in monasterio, si ipse puer minori ætate est, parentes ejus faciant petitionem,' etc.

[16] Cap. 40: 'Carnium quadrupedum ab omnibus abstinetur comestio, præter omnino debiles et ægrotos.' Even birds are excluded, which were at that time only delicacies for princes and nobles, as Mabillon shows from the contemporary testimony of Gregory of Tours.

[17] Cap. 66: 'Monasterium, si possit fieri, ita debet construi, ut omnia necessaria, id est aqua, molendinum, hortus, pistrinum, vel artes diversæ intra monasterium exerceantur, ut non sit necessitas monachis vagandi foras, quia omnino non expedit animabus eorum.'

[18] This Maurus, the founder of the abbacy of Glanfeuil (St. Maur sur Loire), is the patron saint of a branch of the Benedictines, the celebrated Maurians in France (dating from 1618), who so highly distinguished themselves in the seventeenth and early part of the eighteenth centuries, by their thorough archæological and historical researches, and their superior editions of the Fathers. The most eminent of the Maurians are D. (Dom, equivalent to Domnus, Sir) Menard, d'Achery, Godin, Mabillon, le Nourry, Martianay, Ruinart, Martene, Montfaucon, Massuet, Garnier, and de la Rue, and in our time Dom Pitra, editor of a valuable collection of patristic fragments, at the cloister of Solesme.

[19] He was the last of the Roman consuls—an office which Justinian abolished—and was successively the minister of Odoacer, Theodoric, and Athalaric, who made him prefect of the pretorium.

[20] Or Vivaria, so called from the numerous vivaria, or fish ponds, in that region

[21] Comp. Mabillon, Ann. Bened. 1. v. c. 24, 27; F. de Ste.-Marthe, Vie de Cassiodore, 1684.

[22] I take this anecdote on Mr. Underhill's authority.

[23] As in the Hotel du Louvre in Paris.

[24] The great Bible-printing establishment at Oxford encloses a spacious courtyard, which is laid out as a garden. The foliage is agreeably disposed, and there are shrubbery walks, flowers, vases, and parterres, all arranged in the best taste. Consider what a healthful influence this must have on the character of the workman.

[25] 'Buried with his niggers.' Such was the answer of the rebel commander at Charleston to General Gillmore's demand for the body of Colonel Shaw, who commanded the 54th Massachusetts, one of the first negro regiments organized, and was killed in an unsuccessful attempt to carry Fort Wagner by assault.

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