Project Gutenberg's Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 5 of 8, by Various

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 5 of 8
       A series of pen and pencil sketches of the lives of more
              than 200 of the most prominent personages in History

Author: Various

Editor: Charles F. Horne

Release Date: March 30, 2009 [EBook #28455]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Sigal Alon, Christine P. Travers and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries)

Columbus before Isabella.


A Series of Pen and Pencil Sketches of


Vol. V.

Copyright, 1894, BY SELMAR HESS
Edited by Charles F. Horne

New-York: Selmar Hess Publisher
Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.





COLUMBUS BEFORE ISABELLA, Vacslav Brozik Frontispiece
ULYSSES DEFYING THE CYCLOPS, Louis-Frederic Schutzenberger 10
THE MOTHER OF THE GRACCHI, Gustave Boulanger 20
THE VISION OF ST. BERNARD, Wilhelm Bernatzik 62
THE DEATH OF BARBAROSSA, Wilhelm Beckmann 70
JOAN OF ARC, Mme. Zoe-Laure de Chatillon 118
MARY STUART AND RIZZIO, Georg Conrader 162


ROLAND AT RONCESVALLES, Alphonse de Neuville 42


The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.


By Charlotte M. Yonge


One morning Jupiter boasted among the gods in Olympus that a son would that day be born, in the line of Perseus, who would rule over all the Argives. Juno was angry and jealous at this, and, as she was the goddess who presided over the births of children, she contrived to hinder the birth of the child he intended till that day was over, and to hasten that of another grandson of the great Perseus. This child was named Eurystheus, and, as he had been born on the right day, Jupiter was forced to let him be King of Argos, Sparta, and Mycenæ, and all the Dorian race; while the boy whom he had meant to be the chief was kept in subjection, in spite of having wonderful gifts of courage and strength, and a kind, generous nature, that always was ready to help the weak and sorrowful.

His name was Alcides, or Hercules, and he was so strong at ten months old that, with his own hands, he strangled two serpents whom Juno sent to devour him in his cradle. He was bred up by Chiron, the chief of the Centaurs, a wondrous race of beings, who had horses' bodies as far as the forelegs, but where the neck of the horse would begin had human breasts and shoulders, with arms and heads. Most of them were fierce and savage; but Chiron was very wise and good, and, as Jupiter made him immortal, he was the teacher of many of the great Greek heroes. When Hercules was about eighteen, two maidens appeared to him—one in a simple white dress, grave, modest, and seemly; the other scarcely clothed (p. 002) but tricked out in ornaments, with a flushed face, and bold, roving eyes. The first told him that she was Virtue, and that, if he would follow her, she would lead him through many hard trials, but that he would be glorious at last, and be blest among the gods. The other was Vice, and she tried to wile him by a smooth life among wine-cups and dances and flowers and sports, all to be enjoyed at once. But the choice of Hercules was Virtue, and it was well for him, for Jupiter, to make up for Juno's cheat, had sworn that, if he fulfilled twelve tasks which Eurystheus should put upon him, he should be declared worthy of being raised to the gods at his death.

Eurystheus did not know that in giving these tasks he was making his cousin fulfil his course; but he was afraid of such a mighty man, and hoped that one of these would be the means of getting rid of him. So when he saw Hercules at Argos, with a club made of a forest-tree in his hand, and clad in the skin of a lion which he had slain, Eurystheus bade him go and kill a far more terrible lion, of giant brood, and with a skin that could not be pierced, which dwelt in the valley of Nemea. The fight was a terrible one; the lion could not be wounded, and Hercules was forced to grapple with it and strangle it in his arms. He lost a finger in the struggle, but at last the beast died in his grasp, and he carried it on his back to Argos, where Eurystheus was so much frightened at the grim sight that he fled away to hide himself, and commanded Hercules not to bring his monsters within the gates of the city.

There was a second labor ready for Hercules—namely, the destroying a serpent with nine heads, called Hydra, whose lair was the marsh of Lerna. Hercules went to the battle, and managed to crush one head with his club, but that moment two sprang up in its place; moreover, a huge crab came out of the swamp and began to pinch his heels. Still he did not lose heart, but, calling his friend Iolaus, he bade him take a firebrand and burn the necks as fast as he cut off the heads; and thus at last they killed the creature, and Hercules dipped his arrows in its poisonous blood, so that their least wound became fatal. Eurystheus said that it had not been a fair victory, since Hercules had been helped, and Juno put the crab into the skies as the constellation Cancer; while a labor to patience was next devised for Hercules—namely, the chasing of the Arcadian stag, which was sacred to Diana, and had golden horns and brazen hoofs. Hercules hunted it up hill and down dale for a whole year, and when at last he caught it, he got into trouble with Apollo and Diana about it, and had hard work to appease them; but he did so at last; and for his fourth labor was sent to catch alive a horrid wild boar on Mount Erymanthus. He followed the beast through a deep swamp, caught it in a net, and brought it to Mycenæ.

The fifth task was a curious one. Augeas, King of Elis, had immense herds, and kept his stables and cowhouses in a frightful state of filth, and Eurystheus, hoping either to disgust Hercules or kill him by the unwholesomeness of the work, sent him to clean them. Hercules, without telling Augeas it was his appointed task, offered to do it if he were repaid the tenth of the herds, and received the promise on oath. Then he dug a canal, and turned the water of two (p. 003) rivers into the stables, so as effectually to cleanse them; but when Augeas heard it was his task, he tried to cheat him of the payment, and on the other hand Eurystheus said, as he had been rewarded, it could not count as one of his labors, and ordered him off to clear the woods near Lake Stymphalis of some horrible birds, with brazen beaks and claws, and ready-made arrows for feathers, which ate human flesh. To get them to rise out of the forest was his first difficulty, but Pallas lent him a brazen clapper, which made them take to their wings; then he shot them with his poisoned arrows, killed many, and drove the rest away.

King Minos, of Crete, had once vowed to sacrifice to the gods whatever should appear from the sea. A beautiful white bull came, so fine that it tempted him not to keep his word, and he was punished by the bull going mad, and doing all sorts of damage in Crete; so that Eurystheus thought it would serve as a labor for Hercules to bring the animal to Mycenæ. In due time back came the hero, with the bull, quite subdued, upon his shoulders; and, having shown it, he let it loose again to run about Greece.

He had a harder task in getting the mares of the Thracian king, Diomedes, which were fed on man's flesh. He overcame their grooms, and drove the beasts away; but he was overtaken by Diomedes, and, while fighting with him and his people, put the mares under the charge of a friend; but when the battle was over, and Diomedes killed, he found that they had eaten up their keeper. However, when he had fed them on the dead body of their late master they grew mild and manageable, and he brought them home.

The next expedition was against the Amazons, a nation of women warriors, who lived somewhere on the banks of the Euxine, or Black Sea, kept their husbands in subjection, and seldom brought up a son. The bravest of all the Amazons was the queen, Hippolyta, to whom Mars had given a belt as a reward for her valor. Eurystheus's daughter wanted this belt, and Hercules was sent to fetch it. He was so hearty, honest, and good-natured, that he talked over Hippolyta, and she promised him her girdle; but Juno, to make mischief, took the form of an Amazon, and persuaded the ladies that their queen was being deluded and stolen away by a strange man, so they mounted their horses and came down to rescue her. He thought she had been treacherous, and there was a great fight, in which he killed her, and carried off her girdle.

Far out in the west, near the ocean flowing found the world, were herds of purple oxen, guarded by a two-headed dog, and belonging to a giant with three bodies called Geryon, who lived in the isle of Erythria, in the outmost ocean. Passing Lybia, Hercules came to the end of the Mediterranean Sea, Neptune's domain, and there set up two pillars—namely, Mounts Calpe and Abyla—on each side of the Straits of Gibraltar. The rays of the sun scorched him, and in wrath he shot at it with his arrows, when Helios, instead of being angry, admired his boldness, and gave him his golden cup, wherewith to cross the outer ocean, which he did safely, although old Oceanus, who was king there, put up his hoary head, and tried to frighten him by shaking the bowl. It was large enough to (p. 004) hold all the herd of oxen, when Hercules had killed dog, herdsman, and giant, and he returned it safely to Helios when he had crossed the ocean.

Again Eurystheus sent Hercules to the utmost parts of the earth. This time it was to bring home the golden apples which grew in the gardens of the Hesperides, the daughters of old Atlas, who dwelt in the land of Hesperus, the Evening Star, and, together with a dragon, guarded the golden tree in a beautiful garden. Hercules made a long journey, apparently round by the north, and on his way had to wrestle with a dreadful giant named Antæus. Though thrown down over and over again, Antæus rose up twice as strong every time, till Hercules found out that he grew in force whenever he touched his mother earth, and therefore, lifting him up in those mightiest of arms, the hero squeezed the breath out of him. By and by he came to Mount Caucasus, where he found the chained Prometheus, and, aiming an arrow at the eagle, killed the tormentor, and set the Titan free. Atlas undertook to go to his daughters, and get the apples, if Hercules would hold up the skies for him in the meantime. Hercules agreed, and Atlas shifted the heavens to his shoulders, went, and presently returned with three apples of gold, but said he would take them to Eurystheus, and Hercules must continue to bear the load of the skies. Prometheus bade Hercules say he could not hold them without a pad for them to rest on upon his head. Atlas took them again to hold while the pad was put on; and thereupon Hercules picked up the apples, and left the old giant to his load.

One more labor remained—namely, to bring up the three-headed watch-dog, Cerberus, from the doors of Tartarus. Mercury and Pallas both came to attend him, and led him alive among the shades, who all fled from him, except Medusa and one brave youth. He gave them the blood of an ox to drink, and made his way to Pluto's throne, where he asked leave to take Cerberus to the upper world with him. Pluto said he might, if he could overcome Cerberus without weapons; and this he did, struggling with the dog, with no protection but the lion's skin, and dragging him up to the light, where the foam that fell from the jaws of one of the three mouths produced the plant called aconite, or hellebore, which is dark and poisonous. After showing the beast to Eurystheus, Hercules safely returned him to the under world, and thus completed his twelve great labors.

Hercules was subject to fits of madness, in one of which he slew a friend, and as a penalty he allowed himself to be sold as a slave. He was purchased by the Queen of Lydia, Omphale, and remained in her service three years. She used to make him do a woman's work, and even dressed him at times in female garments, while she herself wore his famous lion skin and laughed at him.

Hercules at the Feet of Omphale.

But strong as he was, Hercules had in time to meet death himself. He had married a nymph named Deianira, and was taking her home, when he came to a river where a Centaur named Nessus lived, and gained his bread by carrying travellers over on his back. Hercules paid him the price for carrying Deianira over, while he himself crossed on foot; but as soon as the river was between them, the faithless Centaur began to gallop away with the lady. Hercules sent (p. 005) an arrow after him, which brought him to the ground, and as he was dying he prepared his revenge by telling Deianira that his blood was enchanted with love for her, and that if ever she found her husband's affection failing her, she had only to make him put on a garment anointed with it, and his heart would return to her; he knew full well that his blood was full of the poison of the Hydra, but poor Deianira believed him, and had saved some of the blood before Hercules came up.

Several years after, Hercules made prisoner a maiden named Iole, in Lydia, after gaining a great victory. Landing in the island of Eubœa, he was going to make a great sacrifice to Jupiter, and sent home to Deianira for a festal garment to wear at it. She was afraid he was falling in love with Iole, and steeped the garment in the preparation she had made from Nessus's blood. No sooner did Hercules put it on, than his veins were filled with agony, which nothing could assuage. He tried to tear off the robe, but the skin and flesh came with it, and his blood was poisoned beyond relief. Unable to bear the pain any longer, and knowing that by his twelve tasks he had earned the prize of endless life, he went to Mount Œta, crying aloud with the pain, so that the rocks rang again with the sound. He gave his quiver of arrows to his friend Philoctetes, charging him to collect his ashes and bury them, but never to make known the spot; and then he tore up, with his mighty strength, trees by the roots, enough to form a funeral pile, lay down on it, and called on his friend to set fire to it; but no one could bear to do so, till a shepherd consented to thrust in a torch. Then thunder was heard, a cloud came down, and he was borne away to Olympus, while Philoctetes collected and buried the ashes.[Back to Contents]



Theseus, the great national hero of Athens, is said to have been born at Trœzen, where his father, Ægeus, King of Athens, slept one night with Æthra, the daughter of Pittheus, king of the place. Ægeus, on his departure, hid his sword and his shoes under a large stone, and charged Æthra, if she brought forth a son, to send him to Athens with these tokens, as soon as he was able to roll away the stone. She brought forth a son, to whom she gave the name of Theseus, and when he was grown up informed him of his origin, and told him to take up the tokens and sail to Athens, for the roads were infested by robbers and monsters. But Theseus, who was desirous of emulating the glory of Hercules, refused to go by sea, and after destroying various monsters who had been the terror of the country, arrived in safety at Athens. Here he was joyfully recognized by Ægeus, but with difficulty escaped destruction from Media and the Pallantids, (p. 006) the sons and grandsons of Pallas, the brother of Ægeus. These dangers, however, he finally surmounted, and slew the Pallantids in battle.

His next exploit was the destruction of the great Marathonian bull, which ravaged the neighboring country; and shortly after he resolved to deliver the Athenians from the tribute that they were obliged to pay to Minos, King of Crete. Every ninth year the Athenians had to send seven young men and as many virgins to Crete, to be devoured by the Minotaur in the Labyrinth. Theseus volunteered to go as one of the victims, and through the assistance of Ariadne, the daughter of Minos, who became enamoured of him, he slew the Minotaur and escaped from the Labyrinth. He then sailed away with Ariadne, whom he deserted in the island of Dia or Naxos, an event which frequently forms the subject of ancient works of art. The sails of the ship Theseus left Athens in were black, but he promised his father, if he returned in safety, to hoist white sails. This, however, he neglected to do, and Ægeus, seeing the ship draw near with black sails, supposed that his son had perished, and threw himself from a rock.

Theseus now ascended the throne of Athens. But his adventures were by no means concluded. He marched into the country of the Amazons, who dwelt on the Thermodon, according to some accounts, in the company of Hercules, and carried away their queen, Antiope. The Amazons in revenge invaded Attica, and were with difficulty defeated by the Athenians. This battle was one of the favorite subjects of the ancient artists, and is commemorated in several works of art that are still extant. Theseus also took part in the Argonautic expedition and the Calydonian hunt. He assisted his friend Pirithous and the Lapithæ in their contest with the Centaurs, and also accompanied the former in his descent to the lower world to carry off Proserpine, the wife of Pluto. When Theseus was fifty years old, according to tradition, he carried off Helen, the daughter of Leda, who was then only nine years of age. But his territory was invaded in consequence by Castor and Pollux, the brothers of Leda; his own people rose against him, and at last, finding his affairs desperate, he withdrew to the island of Scyros, and there perished, either by a fall from the cliffs or through the treachery of Lycomedes, the king of the island. For a long time his memory was forgotten by the Athenians, but he was subsequently honored by them as the greatest of their heroes. At the battle of Marathon they thought they saw him armed and bearing down upon the barbarians, and after the conclusion of the Persian war his bones were discovered at Scyros by Cimon, who conveyed them to Athens where they were received with great pomp and deposited in a temple built to his honor. A festival also was instituted, which was celebrated on the eighth day of every month, but more especially on the eighth of Pyanipsion.

The above is a brief account of the legends prevailing respecting Theseus. But he is, moreover, represented by ancient writers as the founder of the Attic commonwealth, and even of its democratic institutions. It would be waste of time to inquire whether there was an historical personage of this name who actually introduced the political changes ascribed to him; it will be convenient to adhere to the ancient account in describing them as the work of Theseus.

Tribute to the Minotaur.

(p. 007) Before this time Attica contained many independent townships, which were only nominally united. Theseus incorporated the people into one state, removed the principal courts for the administration of justice to Athens, and greatly enlarged the city, which had hitherto covered little more than the rock which afterward formed the citadel. To cement their union he instituted several festivals, and especially changed the Athenæa into the Panathenæa, or the festivals of all the Atticans. He encouraged the nobles to reside at Athens, and surrendered a part of his kingly prerogatives to them; for which reason he is perhaps represented as the founder of the Athenian democracy, although the government which he established was, and continued to be long after him, strictly aristocratic.[Back to Contents]

By Charles F. Horne


While courage and strength seemed to the ancient Greeks the noblest of virtues, they ranked wisdom and ready wit almost as high. Achilles was the strongest of the Grecian warriors at the siege of Troy, but there was another almost as strong, equally brave, and far shrewder of wit. This was Ulysses. It was he who ultimately brought about the capture of the city. Homer speaks often of him in his "Iliad;" and the bard's second great work, the "Odyssey," is devoted entirely to the wanderings of Odysseus, or, as we have learned from the Romans to call him, Ulysses. Whether he was a real person or only a creation of the poet's fancy, it is impossible to say. But as it is now generally agreed that there was a siege of Troy, it follows that there was probably a Ulysses, and his adventures, while in the main mythical, are of value as having perhaps some foundation in truth, and giving, at all events, a picture of what the old Greeks thought a hero should be and do.

Ulysses was King of Ithaca when he was summoned to join the rest of the Grecian princes for the war with Troy. He had no wish to go, for he had lately married a beautiful girl, Penelope, and was happy as a man might be. So when the heralds came he pretended to be insane, and hitching a yoke of oxen to a plough he drove them along the sands of the sea-shore. He sang and shouted, and ploughed up the sand, and scattered salt as if he were sowing it, and cried out that he would soon have a beautiful crop of salt waves. The heralds watched him for a moment, and then returning to the princes told them that (p. 008) there was no use delivering the summons to Ulysses, for he had lost his wits. Then Palamedes, who, after Ulysses, was accounted shrewdest of the Greeks, went, and standing there on the beach, watched the plough. And he took Ulysses's baby son and threw him in front of the team to see if the father was indeed mad. Ulysses turned the plough aside to avoid the child; and then the princes knew it was all a pretence, and he had to go with them. But he never forgave Palamedes, and long after brought about his death.

He was in many ways the ablest of the Greeks. Next to Achilles, Ajax was accounted the strongest; but Ulysses threw him in wrestling. Oilemenus was regarded as the swiftest of men, but Ulysses in a race outran him. When Achilles was slain Ulysses alone held back all the Trojans, while his comrades bore the body to their ships. Many other great exploits he performed, and his counsels were of much value to the Greeks through all the long siege. A great pile of spoils was heaped up to be given to the man who had been of most use to the assailants, and the Trojan prisoners themselves being called on to decide, gave it to Ulysses. At the last, when Achilles was dead, and the Greeks were all worn out and despairing, it was his fertile brain which originated the snare into which the Trojans fell.

Now, with the other Greeks, Ulysses set out to return to his home. Yet first he stopped with his Ithacans to attack the Trojan city of Ciconia. The assault was unexpected and successful. Great treasure fell into the hands of the conquerors; but, in spite of their leader's entreaties, they persisted in stopping in the captured city for a night's carouse. The dispersed Ciconians rallied, gathered together their allies, and attacking the revellers, defeated them with great slaughter, so that less than half of them escaped in their ships. Yet this was only the first of the many mishaps which befell the ill-starred Ulysses. So persistently did misfortune pursue him that the superstitious Greeks declared that he must have incurred the hatred of the sea-god, Neptune, who would not let him cross his domains.

No sooner had his flying ships escaped from Ciconia than they were struck by a terrific tempest which drove them far out of their course. For three days the storm continued; then, as it abated, they saw before them an unknown shore on which they landed to rest and recover their strength. It was the land of the lotos-eaters, and when Ulysses sent messengers to find out where he was, they, too, ate of the lotos fruit. It caused them to forget everything; their struggles and exhaustion, their homes, their leader, the great battles they had fought, all were obliterated. They only cared to lie there as the other lotos-eaters did, doing no work, but just dreaming all their lives, nibbling at the fruit, which was both food and drink, until they grew old and died.

Ulysses knew that any life, no matter how wretched, was far better than this death in life. He forbade any other of his men to touch the fruit, and binding those who had already eaten it, he bore them, despite their pleading and weeping, back to his ships, which he at once led away from that clime of subtle danger. They next sighted a fertile island, where leaving most of his comrades (p. 009) for the rest they needed, Ulysses sailed in his own ship, exploring. He soon found himself in a beautiful country, where were seen vast herds of sheep and goats, but no people. Landing with his men, they explored it and found great caves full of milk and cheese, but still no people, only a huge giant in the distance. So sitting down in one of the caves they feasted merrily and awaited the return of the inhabitants.

Now these inhabitants were giants, such as the one they had seen. They were called Cyclops, and had only one great eye in the middle of the forehead. The Cyclops who owned the cave in which the adventurers were was a particularly large and savage one named Polyphemus. When he returned at night and saw the men within, he immediately seized two of them, cracked their heads together, and ate them for supper. Then he went to bed. Ulysses and his terrified men would have slain the huge creature as he slept; but he had rolled a great stone in front of the door, and they could not possibly move it to escape. In the morning the monster ate two more of the unfortunates and then went off with his flocks, fastening the door as before. In the evening he ate two more.

By this time the crafty Ulysses, as Homer delights to call him, had perfected his plans. He offered Polyphemus some wine, which so delighted him that he asked the giver his name, and said he had it in mind to do him a kindness. The crafty one told him his name was No-man. Then said the ogre, "This shall be your reward, I will eat No-man the last of you all." Then, heavy with the wine, he fell into a deep sleep. The tiny weapons of the wanderers would have been of little effect against this man-mountain, so taking a great pole, they heated it red-hot in the fire, and all together plunged it into his one great eye, blinding him. Up he jumped, roaring and howling horribly, and groping in the dark to find his prisoners; but they easily avoided him. Then came other Cyclops running at the noise from their distant caves, and called to him, "Who has hurt thee, Polyphemus?"

He answered them, "No-man has hurt me, No-man has blinded me."

Then they said, "If no man has hurt thee, thy trouble is from the gods, and we may not interfere. Bear it patiently, and pray to them."

In the morning Polyphemus opened the door, and sitting in it, let his sheep pass out, feeling each one, so that the Greeks might not escape. But the crafty one fastened himself and his remaining comrades under the breasts of the largest sheep, and so, hidden by the wool, escaped unnoticed. They hurried to their ship and put out to sea. And now feeling safe, Ulysses shouted to the blind monster and taunted him, whereon, rushing to the shore, Polyphemus lifted up a vast rock and hurled it toward the sound he heard. It almost struck the vessel, and its waves swept the little craft back to the land. In great haste they shoved off again, and when they felt safe, shouted at him once more. He followed them, hurling rocks, but now they were beyond his reach and returned safely to their companions.

Next the wanderers reached the island of Æolus, who controls the winds. He received them with royal hospitality, pointed out to them their proper course to (p. 010) Ithaca, and when they left him, gave to Ulysses a bag in which he had tied up all the contrary winds, that they might have a fair one to waft them home. For nine days they sailed, and at last were actually in sight of their destination; but the seamen fancying there was treasure in Æolus's bag opened it while their leader slept. At once leaped out all the wild winds, and there was a terrible tempest which swept the vessels back to their starting-point. Æolus, however, refused to help them again, for he said they were plainly accursed of the gods.

So they journeyed on as best they might, and came to the land of the Læstrygonians. These people were of enormous strength and were cannibals; but Ulysses and his men knowing nothing of this, sailed into the narrow harbor. As they landed the cannibals rushed upon them and slew them, and hurling rocks from the top of the narrow entrance, sank those ships which would have escaped. Ulysses in his own ship managed to force his way out, but all the other ships were taken and their crews slain.

Then, in deep mourning, Ulysses sailed on till he came to the home of Circe, a beautiful but wicked enchantress. Here he divided his crew into two parties, and while one half rested, the others went to find what place this was. Circe welcomed them in her palace, feasted them, and gave them a magic drink. When they had drunk this, she touched them with her wand, and they were turned into swine, all except one, who had feared to enter the palace, and now returning, told Ulysses that the others had disappeared. Then the hero arose and went alone to the palace; but on the way he sought out a little herb which might render the drink harmless. This he ate, and when Circe having given him the deadly cup, would have turned him also into a brute, he drew his sword as if to slay her. Terribly frightened, she besought mercy, and at his request restored his men to their own forms.

Directed by her, Ulysses is said to have entered the abode of the dead, and conversed with the ghosts of all the great warriors who had been slain in the Trojan war, or who had died since. At last, when Circe had no more wonders to show him, the wanderer left her, once more directed on the road to Ithaca, and to some extent warned of the dangers which beset the path.

First he had to pass the Sirens, beautiful but baleful maidens, who sat on a rocky shore and sang a magic song so alluring, that men hearing it let their ships drift on the rocks while listening, or threw themselves into the sea to swim to the maidens, and were drowned. No man had ever heard them and lived. Here the crafty one filled his companions' ears with wax, so they could not hear the Sirens' song, and he bade them bind him to the mast, so that he might hear it but could not go to them. This was done, and they passed in safety. Ulysses heard the sweet song, and raved and struggled to break his bonds, but they held fast. So he was the first to hear the Sirens' song and live. And some say he was the last as well, for in despair, thinking their music had lost its power, the maidens threw themselves into the sea.


Ulysses defying the Cyclops.

Next the wanderers came to a narrow strait, on one side of which was Charybdis, a dread whirlpool from which no ship could escape, and on the other (p. 011) was the cave of Scylla, a monster having six snake-like heads, with each of which she seized a man from every passing ship. Choosing the lesser evil, the bold Ulysses sailed through the strait close to Scylla; and six poor wretches were snatched by the monster from the deck and devoured, but the rest escaped.


Menelaus. Paris. Diomedes. Ulysses. Nestor. Achilles. Agamemnon.

Then they came to an uninhabited island, filled with herds of cattle. These were held sacred to the sun, and no man might slay or eat them without being punished by the gods. This Ulysses knew well, and warned his men against touching them; but great tempests now swelled up, and for a whole month the sailors could not leave the island. Their provisions gave out and they were starving. Then their leader wandered away looking for help, and while he was gone they slew some of the oxen and ate their fill. The storm died, and, Ulysses returning, they again set sail; but at once came a terrific hurricane, upset the ship, and drowned all of the guilty ones. Ulysses had not eaten the flesh of the oxen; and he alone was saved, clinging to a spar, and was tossed on the island of the nymph Calypso. After a long sojourn he escaped from here on a raft. But his old enemy Neptune again raised a storm, which broke his raft; and, naked and almost dead, he was thrown upon another shore, from which at last the pitying people sent him home. He had been away twenty years.

His fair wife Penelope had been for four years past pestered with suitors, who declared that Ulysses must be dead. She put them all off, by saying that first she must finish a wonderful cloth she was weaving; and on this she undid each night what she had done in the day. Meanwhile they stayed in the palace, haughty and insolent, terrifying everybody, in defiance of the protests of Ulysses' infant son, now grown to be almost a man.

The wanderer, coming alone and finding how things were, feared they would slay him; so, disguised as an old beggar man, he went to the palace. The suitors mocked him, and then in sport it was proposed to see who could bend the (p. 012) great Ulysses's bow. It was brought out, but none could bend it. The beggar asked leave to try, and they hesitated, but gave him leave. Right easily he bent it, and sent then a broad arrow through the leader of the suitors. Ulysses's son ranged himself by his side. Some old servants, recognizing him, did the same; and soon all those parasites were slain. Then was there a royal welcome from wife and son, and afterward from kinsmen and friends and servants, for the royal wanderer, whom the gods had spared, and who at last was returned home.[Back to Contents]

By Charlotte M. Yonge


Among the Trojans at the fall of Troy there was a prince called Æneas, whose father was Anchises, a cousin of Priam, and whose mother was said to be the goddess Venus. When he saw that the city was lost he rushed back to his house and took his old father Anchises on his back, giving him his penates, or little images of household gods, to take care of, and led by the hand his little son Iulus, or Ascanius, while his wife Creusa followed close behind, and all the Trojans who could get their arms together joined him, so that they escaped in a body to Mount Ida; but just as they were outside the city he missed poor Creusa, and though he rushed back and searched for her everywhere, he never could find her. Because of his care for his gods, and for his old father, he is always known as the pious Æneas.

In the forests of Mount Ida he built ships enough to set forth with all his followers in quest of the new home which his mother, the goddess Venus, gave him hopes of. He had adventures rather like those of Ulysses as he sailed about the Mediterranean. Once in the Strophades, some clusters belonging to the Ionian Islands, where he and his troops had landed to get food, and were eating the flesh of the numerous goats which they found climbing about the rocks, down on them came the harpies, horrible birds with women's faces and hooked hands, with which they snatched away the food and spoiled what they could not eat. The Trojans shot at them, but the arrows glanced off their feathers and did not hurt them. However, they all flew off except one, who sat on a high rock, and croaked out that the Trojans would be punished for thus molesting the harpies, by being tossed about till they should reach Italy, but there they should not build their city till they should have been so hungry as to eat their very trenchers.

(p. 013) They sailed away from this dismal prophetess, and touched on the coast of Epirus, where Æneas found his cousin Helenus, son to old Priam, reigning over a little new Troy, and married to Andromache, Hector's wife, whom he had gained after Pyrrhus had been killed. Helenus was a prophet, and he gave Æneas much advice. In especial he said that when the Trojans should come to Italy they would find, under the holly-trees by the river-side, a large, white, old sow lying on the ground, with a litter of thirty little pigs round her, and this should be a sign to them where they were to build their city.

By his advice the Trojans coasted round the south of Sicily, instead of trying to pass the strait between the dreadful Scylla and Charybdis, and just below Mount Etna an unfortunate man came running down to the beach begging to be taken in. He was a Greek, who had been left behind when Ulysses escaped from Polyphemus's cave, and had made his way to the forests, where he had lived ever since. They had just taken him in when they saw the Cyclop coming down, with a pine-tree for a staff, to wash the burning hollow of his lost eye in the sea, and they rowed off in great terror.

Poor old Anchises died shortly after, and while his son was still sorrowing for him, Juno, who hated every Trojan, stirred up a terrible tempest, which drove the ships to the south, until, just as the sea began to calm down, they came into a beautiful bay, enclosed by tall cliffs with woods overhanging them. Here the tired wanderers landed, and, lighting a fire, Æneas went in quest of food. Coming out of the forest they looked down from a hill, and beheld a multitude of people building a city, raising walls, houses, towers, and temples. Into one of these temples Æneas entered, and to his amazement he found the walls sculptured with all the story of the siege of Troy, and all his friends so perfectly represented, that he burst into tears at the sight.

Just then a beautiful queen, attended by a whole troop of nymphs, came into the temple. This lady was Dido; her husband, Sichæus, had been King of Tyre, till he was murdered by his brother, Pygmalion, who meant to have married her; but she fled from him with a band of faithful Tyrians and all her husband's treasure, and had landed on the north coast of Africa. There she begged of the chief of the country as much land as could be enclosed by a bullock's hide. He granted this readily; and Dido, cutting the hide into the finest possible strips, managed to measure off ground enough to build the splendid city which she had named Carthage. She received Æneas most kindly, and took all his men into her city, hoping to keep them there forever, and make him her husband. Æneas himself was so happy there that he forgot all his plans and the prophecies he had heard, until Jupiter sent Mercury to rouse him to fulfil his destiny. He obeyed the call; and Dido was so wretched at his departure that she caused a great funeral pile to be built, laid herself on the top, and stabbed herself with Æneas's sword; the pile was burnt, and the Trojans saw the flame from their ships without knowing the cause.

By and by Æneas landed at a place in Italy named Cumæ. There dwelt one of the Sibyls. These were wondrous virgins whom Apollo had endowed with (p. 014) deep wisdom; and when Æneas went to consult the Cumæan Sibyl, she told him that he must visit the under-world of Pluto to learn his fate. First, however, he had to go into a forest, and find there and gather a golden bough, which he was to bear in his hand to keep him safe. Long he sought it, until two doves, his mother's birds, came flying before him to show him the tree where gold gleamed through the boughs, and he found the branch growing on the tree as mistletoe grows on the thorn.

Guarded with this, and guided by the Sibyl, after a great sacrifice, Æneas passed into a gloomy cave, where he came to the river Styx, round which flitted all the shades who had never received funeral rites, and whom the ferryman, Charon, would not carry over. The Sibyl, however, made him take Æneas across, his boat groaning under the weight of a human body. On the other side stood Cerberus, but the Sibyl threw him a cake of honey and of some opiate, and he lay asleep, while Æneas passed on and found in myrtle groves all who had died for love—among them, to his surprise, poor forsaken Dido. A little farther on he found the home of the warriors, and held converse with his old Trojan friends. He passed by the place of doom for the wicked, Tartarus; and in the Elysian Fields, full of laurel groves and meads of asphodel, he found the spirit of his father Anchises, and with him was allowed to see the souls of all their descendants, as yet unborn, who should raise the glory of their name. They are described on to the very time when the poet wrote to whom we owe all the tale of the wanderings of Æneas, namely, Virgil, who wrote the "Æneid," whence all these stories are taken. He further tells us that Æneas landed in Italy, just as his old nurse Caiëta died, at the place which still is called Gaëta. After they had buried her they found a grove, where they sat down on the grass to eat, using large round cakes or biscuits to put their meat on. Presently they came to eating up the cakes. Little Ascanius cried out, "We are eating our very tables," and Æneas, remembering the harpy's words, knew that his wanderings were over.

Virgil goes on to tell at much length how the king of the country, Latinus, at first made friends with Æneas, and promised him his daughter Lavinia in marriage; but Turnus, an Italian chief who had before been a suitor to Lavinia, stirred up a great war, and was only conquered and killed after much hard fighting. However, the white sow was found in the right place with all her little pigs, and on the spot was founded the city of Alba Longa, where Æneas and Lavinia reigned until he died, and his descendants, through his two sons, Ascanius or Iulus, and Æneas Silvius, reigned after him for fifteen generations.[Back to Contents]

(p. 015) XENOPHON[2]
By Professor J. Pentland Mahaffy
(445-354 b.c.)


There is no figure in Greek history more familiar to us than this famous Athenian. There are passages in his life known to every schoolboy; we possess all the books he ever wrote; we know therefore his opinions upon all the important questions of life, religion, ethics, politics, manners, education, as well as upon finance and military tactics, not to speak of social intercourse and sport. And yet his early youth and late age are hidden from us. Like the models of Greek eloquence, which begin with tame obviousness, rise into dignity, fire, pathos, and then close softly, without sounding peroration, so Xenophon comes upon us, an educated young man, looking out for something to do; we lose him in the autumn of his life, when he was driven from the fair retreat which the old man had hoped would be his final resting-place. During seven years of his early manhood we find him in the middle of all the most stirring events in the Greek world. For thirty years later (394-62 b.c.), we hear him from his retired country-seat recording contemporary history, telling the adventures of his youth, from the fascinations of the ragged Socrates to the fascinations of the magnificent Cyrus, preaching the lessons of his varied life. Then came the bitter loss of his brave son, killed in the van at Mantinea. According to good authority he only survived this blow a couple of years. But even then he appears to have found distraction from his grief by a dry tract upon the Attic revenue. Such is the general outline which we shall fill up and color from allusions throughout his varied and manifold writings.

He was a pure Athenian, evidently of aristocratic birth, and attracted, probably by his personal beauty, the attention of Socrates, who is said to have stopped him in the way, and asked him did he know where men of honor were to be found; upon his replying no, the sage said, follow me and learn. This apocryphal anecdote, at all events, records the fact that Xenophon attached himself to Socrates's teaching, and so afforded us perhaps the most remarkable instance of the great and various influence of that great teacher. We do not wonder at disciples like Plato; but here is a young man of fashion, of a practical turn, and loving adventure, who records in after years the teaching after his own (p. 016) fashion, and in a perfectly independent way, as the noblest of training. His youth, however, was spent in the distressful later years of the Peloponnesian War, which ended in fearful gloom and disaster for his native city. Intimate, apparently, with the great historian Thucydides, whose unfinished work he seems to have edited, and subsequently to have continued in his own "Hellenica," he must have long foreseen the collapse of the Athenian empire, and then he and many other adventurous spirits found themselves in a society faded in prosperity, with no scope for energy or enterprise. Such was the somewhat tame and vulgar Athens which succeeded to that of Pericles and Aristophanes, and which could not tolerate the spiritual boldness of Socrates. He tells us himself, in the third book of his "Anabasis," how he was tempted to leave Athens for the East by his friend Proxenus, who had made the acquaintance of the chivalrous and ambitious Cyrus, brother of the Persian king, and governor of southern Asia Minor. This prince was preparing secretly to invade Persia and dethrone his brother, and for that purpose was gathering troops and courting the favor of the Greeks. His splendid gifts were on a scale sufficient to dazzle men of small means and smaller prospects, like the youth of conquered Athens. Xenophon thought it right to consult his spiritual guide, Socrates, on the propriety of abandoning his country for hireling service. The philosopher advised him to consult the oracle at Delphi, but the young man only asked what gods he might best conciliate before his departure, and Socrates, though noting the evasion of his advice, acquiesced.

When Xenophon arrived at Sardis, Proxenus presented him to Cyrus, who invited him to accompany him on his pretended campaign to Pisidia, and then coaxed him on with the rest into his enterprise against the king Artaxerxes. On this expedition or anabasis up the country, Xenophon was only a volunteer, with no command, and under no man's orders, but accompanying the army on horseback, and enjoying the trip as a bright young man, well appointed by the prince, and full of intelligent curiosity, was sure to enjoy it. But then came the decisive day of Cunaxa, where Xenophon offered his services as an extra aide-de-camp to Cyrus, and where he witnessed the victory of his countrymen and the defeat of their cause by the rashness and death of Cyrus. In the crisis which followed he took no leading part, till the generals of the 10,000 Greeks were entrapped and murdered by Tissaphernes. Then, in the midst of the panic and despair which supervened, he tells us in graphic words how he came to be a leader of men. He, too, with the rest, was in sore distress, and could not sleep; but anon getting a snatch of rest he had a dream. It seemed to him that there was a storm, and a thunderbolt fell on his father's house and set it all in a blaze. He sprang up in terror, and, pondering the matter, decided that in part the dream was good, in that when in great danger he had seen a light from Zeus; but partly, too, he feared it, for it came from the king of heaven. But as soon as he was fully awake the first clear thought that came into his head was: "Why am I lying here? The night advances, and with the coming day the enemy will be upon us. If we fall into the king's hands we must face torture, slavery, and death, and yet here we lie, as if it were a time for rest! What am I waiting for? Is it a general (p. 017) to lead me? and where is he? or till I am myself of riper age to command? Older I shall never be, if to-day I surrender to mine enemies." And so he rouses the officers of his murdered friend, Proxenos, and appeals to them all to be up and stirring, to organize their defence and appoint new leaders to direct them. Before dawn he has some kind of confidence restored, and the new organization in progress. Presently the Persians send to demand the surrender of the army whose generals they had seized, and find to their astonishment that their task of subduing the Greeks must begin afresh. Meanwhile the policy of the Greek army becomes defined. They threaten to settle in Mesopotamia and build a fortified city which shall be a great danger and a torment to the king. They really desire to escape to the coast, if they can but find the way.

It was the king's policy to let them depart, but so harass them by the way as to produce disorder and rout, which meant absolute destruction. It was in conducting this retreat, as a joint general with the Spartan Cheirisophos, that Xenophon showed all his resource. There were no great pitched battles; no room for strategy or large combinations; but ample scope for resource in the details of tactics for meeting new and sudden difficulties, for maintaining order among an army of men that only acknowledged leaders for their ability. At first, in the plains, as they journeyed northward, the danger was from the Persian cavalry, for their own contingent had deserted to the enemy. This difficulty, which well-nigh ruined the 10,000, as it ruined Crassus in his retreat at Carrhæ, he met by organizing a corps of Rhodian slingers and archers, whose range was longer than that of the Persians, and who thus kept the cavalry in check. When the plains were passed, and the mountains reached, there arose the new difficulties of forcing passes, of repelling wild mountaineers from positions commanding the road, of providing food, and avoiding false routes. The narrative of the surmounting of all these obstacles with tact and temper is the main subject of the famous "Anabasis." Still graver dangers awaited Xenophon when the retreating army had at last hailed the welcome sea—the Black Sea—and with returning safety returned jealousies, insubordinations, and the great problem what to do with this great army when it arrived at Greek cities. Xenophon had always dreamt of forming on the border of Hellenedom a new city state, which should honor him as its founder. The wilder spirits thought it simpler to loot some rich city like Byzantium, which was saved with difficulty from their lawlessness. The Spartan governors, who now ruled throughout the Greek world, saw the danger, and were determined to delay and worry the dangerous horde until it dissipated; and they succeeded so well that presently the 6,000 that remained were glad to be led by Xenophon to take service under the Spartan commander Thibron in Asia Minor (399 b.c.). But Xenophon was not given any independent command. He appears to have acted on the staff of the successive Spartan commanders till with King Agesilaus he attained personal influence, and probably planned the new expedition of that king to conquer Persia, which was only balked by a diversion wrought by Persian gold in Greece. With Agesilaus Xenophon returned therefore to Greece, and was present at the great shock of the rival infantries, the Theban and the Spartan, at (p. 018) Coronea (394 b.c.). But either his presence in the Spartan army, or his former action against the King of Persia, whom shifting politics were now bringing over to the Athenian side, caused him to be sentenced to banishment at Athens, and so made his return to his native city impossible. He went, therefore, with his royal patron to Sparta, and sojourned there for some time, even sending for his sons, now growing boys, from Miletus, and submitting them, at Agesilaus's advice, to the famous Spartan education. They grew up fine and warlike young men, so that the death of one of them, Gryllus, in a cavalry skirmish just before the great battle of Mantinea (362 b.c.) caused universal regret. But long before this catastrophe the Spartans gave Xenophon possession of an estate at Skillus, near the famous Olympia, which combined the pleasures of seclusion and of field sports with those of varied society when the stream of visitors assembled for the Olympic games (every four years). He himself tells us that he and his family, in company with their neighbors, had excellent sport of all kinds. He was not only a careful farmer, but so keen at hunting hares that he declares a man at this delightful pursuit "will forget that he ever cared for anything else." He had also built a shrine to his patroness, the goddess Artemis, and the solemn sacrifices at her shrine were the occasion of feasts, whose solemnity only enhanced their enjoyments. As Mr. Dakyns writes: "The lovely scenery of the place, to this day lovely; the delicious atmosphere; the rare combination of mountain, wood, and stream; the opportunity for sport; the horses and the dogs; the household, the farmstead, and their varying occupations; the neighboring country gentlemen, and the local politics; the recurring festival at Olympia with its stream of visitors; the pleasures of hospitable entertainment; the constant sacrifices before the cedar image of Artemis in her temple—these things, and above all the serene satisfaction of successful literary labors, combined to form an enviable sum total of sober happiness during many years." There can be no doubt that this was the first great period of his literary activity, though he may have edited, in early youth, his predecessor Thucydides, and composed the first two books of his historical continuation entitled "Hellenica." In his retreat at Skillus he composed a series of "Dialogues," in what is termed the Socratic vein; "Memorials" of his great master, a tract on household "Economy," another on a "Symposium," or feast, one called "Hiero," or on the Greek tyrant, and an account of the "Laconian Polity," which he had so long admired and known. The tract on "Hunting" also speaks the experience at Skillus. The tract "On the Athenian State," preserved among his writings, is not from his hand, but the work of an earlier writer.

With the sudden rise of the Theban power, and consequent depression of Sparta, he and other settlers around Skillus were driven out by the Eleans, and he lost his country-seat, with all its agreeable diversions. But probably the ageing man did not feel the transference of his home to Corinth so keenly as an English gentleman would. He was a thorough Greek, and therefore intensely attached to city life, Elis, his adopted country, being the only state which consisted of a country gentry.

(p. 019) In the next place, a daily thoroughfare such as the Isthmus, must have been far more suitable for the collecting of historical evidence than Skillus, where the crowd came by only once in four years. And then his grown-up sons could find something more serious to do than hunting deer, boars, and hares in the glades of Elis. He may have known, too, that his chances of restoration to Athens were improving, and that he would do well to be within easy reach of friends in that city. Indeed we find that the rescinding of exile soon followed, and so he was able to send his two sons to do cavalry duty for Athens (and Sparta) against the Thebans. It is, indeed, likely that the young men were enrolled as Spartan volunteers. He himself must have kept very close to his literary work; for in these closing years of his life he brought out or re-edited the "Anabasis;" he discussed "Cavalry Tactics," he kept writing up contemporary history to the year 362 b.c., when the star of Thebes set with the death of Epaminondas; he completed his long and perhaps tedious historical novel, the "Education of Cyrus" (the elder), and lastly composed a curious and fanciful tract on the "Revenues of Athens." There is no evidence that he ever changed his residence back to his native city, but that he often went there when no obstacle remained, from the neighboring Corinth, is most probable. An open sailing boat could carry him, with a fair wind, in a few hours. Though a very old man, he was, however, still active with his pen when we lose him. His promising remaining son disappears with him from the scene; we hear of no descendants. The only offspring he has left us are his immortal works. The names of these have already been given, with the exception of the speech put into Socrates's mouth as his Defence, the tract on "The Horse," appendant to his "Cavalry Tactics," and his "Panegyric on Agesilaus." It remains to estimate their general features. Without controversy, he excelled all his great contemporaries in breadth of culture and experience, and in the variety of his interests. Philosophy, politics, war, husbandry, sport, travel, are all represented in his works. And upon all he has written with a clearness and a grace which earned for him the title of the "Attic Bee." But this breadth implies (as usual) a certain lack of depth, as is particularly obvious in his case, owing to the almost necessary comparison with his two mighty rivals—Thucydides, in history, Plato, in philosophy. It may, indeed, be considered hard luck for him that he stood between two such men, for they have necessarily damaged his reputation by comparison. Xenophon's portrait of Socrates is quite independent, and probably historically truer than that of Plato; but the sage lives for us in Plato, not in Xenophon. The Retreat of the Ten Thousand, and the wars of Epaminondas were far more brilliant than the operations of the Peloponnesian War. Yet, to the scholar, a raid in Thucydides is more than a campaign in Xenophon. For neither is his style so pure as that of either of his rivals, nor is his enthusiasm the same. We feel him always a polished man of the world—never the rugged patriot, never the rapt seer. He seems, too, to lack impartiality. He lavishes praise upon Agesilaus, a second-rate man, while he is curt and ill-tempered concerning Epaminondas, the real genius of the age. It is more than likely that he has colored his own part in the famous "Retreat," in glowing colors. His (p. 020) hereditary instincts lead him to approve of autocrats as against republics, Spartan discipline as against Attic freedom. Yet in himself he has shown a striking example how the latter could appreciate and embrace the former. As the simplest specimen of pure Attic prose he will ever be paramount in schools, neglected in universities—the recreation rather than the occupation of mature scholars. He is a great worthy, a man of renown; "nevertheless, he did not attain unto the first three"—the two masters of his own day, and the colossal Demosthenes.[Back to Contents]

Author signature. J. Pentland Mahaffy.

Extracts from "Cæsar, a Sketch,"
by James Anthony Froude, LL.D.
(164-133, 153-121 b.c.)

The Gracchi.

Tiberius Gracchus was born about the year 164 b.c. He was one of twelve children, nine of whom died in infancy, himself, his brother Caius, and his sister Cornelia being the only survivors. His family was plebeian, but of high antiquity, his ancestors for several generations having held the highest offices in the Republic. On the mother's side he was the grandson of Scipio Africanus. His father, after a distinguished career as a soldier in Spain and Sardinia, had attempted reforms at Rome. He had been censor, and in this capacity he had ejected disreputable senators from the Curia; he had degraded offending Equites; he had rearranged and tried to purify the Comitia. But his connections were aristocratic. His wife was the daughter of the most famous of them, Scipio Africanus the Younger. He had been himself in antagonism with the tribunes, and had taken no part, at any time, in popular agitations.

The Mother Of The Gracchi.

The father died when Tiberius was still a boy, and the two brothers grew up under the care of their mother, a noble and gifted lady. They early displayed remarkable talents. Tiberius, when old enough, went into the army, and served under his brother-in-law in the last Carthaginian campaign. He was first on the walls of the city in the final storm. Ten years later he went to Spain as quæstor, when he carried on his father's popularity, and by taking the people's side in some questions, fell into disagreement with his brother-in-law. His political views had perhaps already inclined to change. He was still of an age when (p. 021) indignation at oppression calls out a practical desire to resist it. On his journey home from Spain he witnessed scenes which confirmed his conviction and determined him to throw all his energies into the popular cause. His road lay through Tuscany, where he saw the large estate system in full operation—the fields cultivated by the slave gangs, the free citizens of the Republic thrust away into the towns, aliens and outcasts in their own country, without a foot of soil which they could call their own. In Tuscany, too, the vast domains of the landlords had not even been fairly purchased. They were parcels of the ager publicus, land belonging to the state, which, in spite of a law forbidding it, the great lords and commoners had appropriated and divided among themselves. Five hundred acres of state land was the most which by statute any one lessee might be allowed to occupy. But the law was obsolete or sleeping, and avarice and vanity were awake and active. Young Gracchus, in indignant pity, resolved to rescue the people's patrimony. He was chosen tribune in the year 133. His brave mother and a few patricians of the old type encouraged him, and the battle of the revolution began. The Senate, as has been said, though without direct legislative authority, had been allowed the right of reviewing any new schemes which were to be submitted to the Assembly. The constitutional means of preventing tribunes from carrying unwise or unwelcome measures lay in a consul's veto, or in the help of the College of Augurs, who could declare the auspices unfavorable and so close all public business. These resources were so awkward that it had been found convenient to secure beforehand the Senate's approbation, and the encroachment, being long submitted to, was passing by custom into a rule. But the Senate, eager as it was, had not yet succeeded in engrafting the practice into the constitution. On the land question the leaders of the aristocracy were the principal offenders.

Disregarding usage, and conscious that the best men of all ranks were with him, Tiberius Gracchus appealed directly to the people to revive the Agrarian law. His proposals were not extravagant. That they should have been deemed extravagant was a proof of how much some measure of the kind was needed. Where lands had been enclosed and money laid out on them, he was willing that the occupants should have compensation. But they had no right to the lands themselves. Gracchus persisted that the ager publicus belonged to the people, and that the race of yeomen, for whose protection the law had been originally passed, must be re-established on their farms. No form of property gives to its owners so much consequence as land, and there is no point on which in every country an aristocracy is more sensitive. The large owners protested that they had purchased their interests on the faith that the law was obsolete. They had planted and built and watered with the sanction of the government, and to call their titles in question was to shake the foundations of society. The popular party pointed to the statute. The monopolists were entitled in justice to less than was offered them. They had no right to a compensation at all. Political passion awoke again after the sleep of a century. The oligarchy had doubtless connived at the accumulations. The suppression of the small holdings favored their supremacy, (p. 022) and placed the elections more completely in their control. Their military successes had given them so long a tenure of power that they had believed it to be theirs in perpetuity; and the new sedition, as they called it, threatened at once their privileges and their fortunes. The quarrel assumed the familiar form of a struggle between the rich and the poor, and at such times the mob of voters becomes less easy to corrupt. They go with their order, as the prospect of larger gain makes them indifferent to immediate bribes. It became clear that the majority of the citizens would support Tiberius Gracchus, but the constitutional forms of opposition might still be resorted to. Octavius Cæcina, another of the tribunes, had himself large interests in the land question. He was the people's magistrate, one of the body appointed especially to defend their rights, but he went over to the Senate, and, using a power which undoubtedly belonged to him, he forbade the vote to be taken.

There was no precedent for the removal of either consul, prætor, or tribune, except under circumstances very different from any which could as yet be said to have arisen. The magistrates held office for a year only, and the power of veto had been allowed them expressly to secure time for deliberation and to prevent passionate legislation. But Gracchus was young and enthusiastic. Precedent or no precedent, the citizens were omnipotent, he invited them to declare his colleague deposed. They had warmed to the fight, and complied. A more experienced statesman would have known that established constitutional bulwarks cannot be swept away by a momentary vote. He obtained his Agrarian law. Three commissioners were appointed, himself, his younger brother, and his father-in-law, Appius Claudius, to carry it into effect; but the very names showed that he had alienated his few supporters in the higher circles, and that a single family was now contending against the united wealth and distinction of Rome. The issue was only too certain. Popular enthusiasm is but a fire of straw. In a year Tiberius Gracchus would be out of office. Other tribunes would be chosen more amenable to influence, and his work could then be undone. He evidently knew that those who would succeed him could not be relied on to carry on his policy. He had taken one revolutionary step already; he was driven on to another, and he offered himself illegally to the Comitia for re-election. It was to invite them to abolish the constitution, and to make him virtual sovereign; and that a young man of thirty should have contemplated such a position for himself as possible, is of itself a proof of his unfitness for it. The election day came. The noble lords and gentlemen appeared in the Campus Martius with their retinues of armed servants and clients; hot-blooded aristocrats, full of disdain for demagogues, and meaning to read a lesson to sedition which it would not easily forget. Votes were given for Gracchus. Had the hustings been left to decide the matter, he would have been chosen; but as it began to appear how the polling would go, sticks were used and swords; a riot rose, the unarmed citizens were driven off, Tiberius Gracchus himself and three hundred of his friends were killed, and their bodies were flung into the Tiber.

Thus the first sparks of the coming revolution were trampled out. But though (p. 023) quenched and to be again quenched with fiercer struggles, it was to smoulder and smoke and burst out time after time, till its work was done. Revolution could not restore the ancient character of the Roman nation, but it could check the progress of decay by burning away the more corrupted parts of it. It could destroy the aristocracy and the constitution which they had depraved, and under other forms preserve for a few more centuries the Roman dominion. Scipio Africanus, when he heard in Spain of the end of his brother-in-law, exclaimed "May all who act as he did perish like him!" There were to be victims enough and to spare before the bloody drama was played out. Quiet lasted for ten years, and then, precisely when he had reached his brother's age, Caius Gracchus came forward to avenge him, and carry the movement through another stage. Young Caius had been left one of the commissioners of the land law; and it is particularly noticeable that, though the author of it had been killed, the law had survived him, being too clearly right and politic in itself to be openly set aside. For two years the commissioners had continued to work, and in that time forty thousand families were settled on various parts of the ager publicus, which the patricians had been compelled to resign. This was all which they could do. The displacement of one set of inhabitants and the introduction of another could not be accomplished without quarrels, complaints, and perhaps some injustice. Those who entered on possession were not always satisfied. The commissioners became unpopular. When the cries against them became loud enough, they were suspended, and the law was then quietly repealed. The Senate had regained its hold over the Assembly, and had a further opportunity of showing its recovered ascendency when, two years after the murder of Tiberius Gracchus, one of his friends introduced a bill to make the tribunes legally re-eligible. Caius Gracchus actively supported the change, but it had no success; and, waiting till times had altered, and till he had arrived at an age when he could carry weight, the young brother retired from politics, and spent the next few years with the army in Africa and Sardinia, he served with distinction; he made a name for himself, both as a soldier and an administrator. Had the Senate left him alone, he might have been satisfied with a regular career, and have risen by the ordinary steps to the consulship. But the Senate saw in him the possibilities of a second Tiberius; the higher his reputation, the more formidable he became to them. They vexed him with petty prosecutions, charged him with crimes which had no existence, and at length, by suspicion and injustice, drove him into open war with them. Caius Gracchus had a broader intellect than his brother, and a character considerably less noble. The land question he perceived was but one of many questions. The true source of the disorders of the commonwealth was the Senate itself. The administration of the empire was in the hands of men totally unfit to be trusted with it, and there he thought the reform must commence. He threw himself on the people, he was chosen tribune in 123, ten years exactly after Tiberius. He had studied the disposition of parties. He had seen his brother fall because the Equites and the senators, the great commoners and the nobles, were combined against him. He revived the Agrarian law as a matter of course, but he disarmed the opposition (p. 024) to it by throwing an apple of discord between the two superior orders. The high judicial functions in the commonwealth had been hitherto a senatorial monopoly. All cases of importance, civil or criminal, came before courts of sixty or seventy jurymen, who, as the law stood, must be necessarily senators. The privilege had been extremely lucrative. The corruption of justice was already notorious, though it had not yet reached the level of infamy which it attained in another generation. It was no secret that in ordinary causes jurymen had sold their verdicts, and, far short of taking bribes in the direct sense of the word, there were many ways in which they could let themselves be approached, and their favor purchased. A monopoly of privileges is always invidious. A monopoly in the sale of justice is alike hateful to those who abhor iniquity on principle, and to those who would like to share the profits of it. But this was not the worst. The governors of the provinces, being chosen from those who had been consuls or prætors, were necessarily members of the Senate. Peculation and extortion in these high functions were offences, in theory, of the gravest kind; but the offender could only be tried before a limited number of his peers, and a governor who had plundered a subject state, sold justice, pillaged temples, and stolen all that he could lay hands on, was safe from punishment if he returned to Rome a millionnaire and would admit others to a share in his spoils. The provincials might send deputations to complain, but these complaints came before men who had themselves governed provinces, or else aspired to govern them. It had been proved in too many instances that the law which professed to protect them was a mere mockery.

Caius Gracchus secured the affections of the knights to himself, and some slightly increased chance of an improvement in the provincial administration, by carrying a law in the Assembly disabling the senators from sitting on juries of any kind from that day forward, and transferring the judicial functions to the Equites. How bitterly must such a measure have been resented by the Senate, which at once robbed them of their protective and profitable privileges, handed them over to be tried by their rivals for their pleasant irregularities, and stamped them at the same time with the brand of dishonesty! How certainly must such a measure have been deserved when neither consul nor tribune could be found to interpose his vote! Supported by the grateful knights, Caius Gracchus was for the moment all-powerful. It was not enough to restore the Agrarian law. He passed another aimed at his brother's murderers, which was to bear fruit in later years, that no Roman citizen might be put to death by any person, however high in authority, without legal trial, and without appeal, if he chose to make it, to the sovereign people. A blow was thus struck against another right claimed by the Senate, of declaring the Republic in danger, and the temporary suspension of the constitution. These measures might be excused, and perhaps commended; but the younger Gracchus connected his name with another change less commendable, which was destined also to survive and bear fruit. He brought forward and carried through, with enthusiastic clapping of every pair of hands in Rome that were hardened with labor, a proposal that there should be public granaries (p. 025) in the city, maintained and filled at the cost of the state, and that corn should be sold at a rate artificially cheap to the poor free citizens. Such a law was purely socialistic. The privilege was confined to Rome, because in Rome the elections were held, and the Roman constituency was the one depositary of power. The effect was to gather into the city a mob of needy unemployed voters, living on the charity of the state, to crowd the circus and to clamor at the elections, available no doubt immediately to strengthen the hands of the popular tribune, but certain in the long run to sell themselves to those who could bid highest for their voices. Excuses could be found, no doubt, for this miserable expedient, in the state of parties, in the unscrupulous violence of the aristocracy, in the general impoverishment of the peasantry through the land monopoly, and in the intrusion upon Italy of a gigantic system of slave labor. But none the less it was the deadliest blow which had yet been dealt to the constitution. Party government turns on the majorities at the polling places, and it was difficult afterward to recall a privilege which, once conceded, appeared to be a right. The utmost that could be ventured in later times, with any prospect of success, was to limit an intolerable evil, and if one side was ever strong enough to make the attempt, their rivals had a bribe ready in their hands to buy back the popular support. Caius Gracchus, however, had his way, and carried all before him. He escaped the rock on which his brother had been wrecked. He was elected tribune a second time. He might have had a third term if he had been contented to be a mere demagogue. But he, too, like Tiberius, had honorable aims. The powers which he had played into the hands of the mob to obtain, he desired to use for high purposes of statesmanship, and his instrument broke in his hands. He was too wise to suppose that a Roman mob, fed by bounties from the treasury, could permanently govern the world. He had schemes for scattering Roman colonies, with the Roman franchise, at various points of the empire.

Carthage was to be one of them. He thought of abolishing the distinction between Romans and Italians, and enfranchising the entire peninsula. These measures were good in themselves—essential, indeed, if the Roman conquests were to form a compact and permanent dominion. But the object was not attainable on the road on which Gracchus had entered. The vagabond part of the constituency was well contented with what it had obtained, a life in the city, supported at the public expense, with politics and games for its amusements. It had not the least inclination to be drafted off into settlements in Spain or Africa, where there would be work instead of pleasant idleness. Carthage was still a name of terror. To restore Carthage was no better than treason. Still less had the Roman citizens an inclination to share their privileges with Samnites and Etruscans, and see the value of their votes watered down. Political storms are always cyclones. The gale from the east to-day is a gale from the west to-morrow. Who and what were the Gracchi, then?—the sweet voices began to ask—ambitious intriguers, aiming at dictatorship, or perhaps the crown. The aristocracy were right, after all; a few things had gone wrong, but these had (p. 026) been amended. The Scipios and Metelli had conquered the world: the Scipios and Metelli were alone fit to govern it. Thus, when the election time came round, the party of reform was reduced to a minority of irreconcilable radicals, who were easily disposed of. Again, as ten years before, the noble lords armed their followers. Riots broke out and extended day after day. Caius Gracchus was at last killed, as his brother had been, and under cover of the disturbance three thousand of his friends were killed along with him. The power being again securely in their hands, the Senate proceeded at their leisure, and the surviving patriots who were in any way notorious or dangerous were hunted down in legal manner, and put to death or banished.[Back to Contents]

By Anna Jameson
(REIGNED 267-273 a.d.)


Of the government and manners of the Arabians before the time of Mahomet, we have few and imperfect accounts; but from the remotest ages they led the same unsettled and predatory life which they do at this day, dispersed in hordes, and dwelling under tents. It was not to those wild and wandering tribes that the superb Palmyra owed its rise and grandeur, though situated in the midst of their deserts, where it is now beheld in its melancholy beauty and ruined splendor, like an enchanted island in the midst of an ocean of sands. The merchants who trafficked between India and Europe, by the only route then known, first colonized this singular spot, which afforded them a convenient resting-place; and even in the days of Solomon it was the emporium for the gems and gold, the ivory, gums, spices, and silks of the far Eastern countries, which thus found their way to the remotest parts of Europe. The Palmyrenes were, therefore, a mixed race—their origin, and many of their customs, were Egyptian; their love of luxury and their manners were derived from Persia; their language, literature, and architecture were Greek.

Thus, like Venice and Genoa, in more modern times, Palmyra owed its splendor to the opulence and public spirit of its merchants; but its chief fame and historical interest it owes to the genius and heroism of a woman.

Zenobia Captive.

Septimia Zenobia, for such is her classical appellation, was the daughter of an Arab chief, Amrou, the son of Dharb, the son of Hassan. Of her first husband (p. 027) we have no account; she was left a widow at a very early age, and married, secondly, Odenathus, chief of several tribes of the desert, near Palmyra, and a prince of extraordinary valor and boundless ambition. Odenathus was the ally of the Romans in their wars against Sapor (or, more properly, Shah Poor), king of Persia; he gained several splendid victories over that powerful monarch, and twice pursued his armies even to the gates of Ctesiphon (or Ispahan), his capital. Odenathus was as fond of the chase as of war, and in all his military and hunting expeditions he was accompanied by his wife Zenobia—a circumstance which the Roman historians record with astonishment and admiration, as contrary to their manners, but which was the general custom of the Arab women of that time. Zenobia not only excelled her countrywomen in the qualities for which they were all remarkable—in courage, prudence, and fortitude, in patience of fatigue, and activity of mind and body—she also possessed a more enlarged understanding; her views were more enlightened, her habits more intellectual. The successes of Odenathus were partly attributed to her, and they were always considered as reigning jointly. She was also eminently beautiful—with the oriental eyes and complexion, teeth like pearls, and a voice of uncommon power and sweetness.

Odenathus obtained from the Romans the title of Augustus, and General of the East; he revenged the fate of Valerian, who had been taken captive and put to death by Shah Poor: the eastern king, with a luxurious barbarity truly oriental, is said to have used the unfortunate emperor as his footstool to mount his horse. But in the midst of his victories and conquests Odenathus became the victim of a domestic conspiracy, at the head of which was his nephew Mæonius. He was assassinated at Emessa during a hunting expedition, and with him his son by his first marriage. Zenobia avenged the death of her husband on his murderers, and as her sons were yet in their infancy, she first exercised the supreme power in their name; but afterward, apparently with the consent of the people, assumed the diadem with the titles of Augusta and Queen of the East.

The Romans, and their effeminate emperor Gallienus, refused to acknowledge Zenobia's claim to the sovereignty of her husband's dominions, and Heraclianus was sent with a large army to reduce her to obedience; but Zenobia took the field against him, engaged and totally defeated him in a pitched battle. Not satisfied with this triumph over the haughty masters of the world, she sent her general Zabdas to attack them in Egypt, which she subdued and added to her territories, together with a part of Armenia and Asia Minor. Thus her dominions extended from the Euphrates to the Mediterranean, and over all those vast and fertile countries formerly governed by Ptolemy and Seleucus. Jerusalem, Antioch, Damascus, and other cities famed in history, were included in her empire, but she fixed her residence at Palmyra, and in an interval of peace she turned her attention to the further adornment of her magnificent capital. It is related by historians, that many of those stupendous fabrics of which the mighty ruins are still existing, were either erected, or at least restored and embellished, by this extraordinary woman. But that which we have most difficulty in reconciling with the manners of her age and country, was Zenobia's passion for study, and (p. 028) her taste for the Greek and Latin literature. She is said to have drawn up an epitome of history for her own use; the Greek historians, poets, and philosophers were familiar to her; she invited Longinus, one of the most elegant writers of antiquity, to her splendid court, and appointed him her secretary and minister. For her he composed his famous "Treatise on the Sublime," a work which is not only admirable for its intrinsic excellence, but most valuable as having preserved to our times many beautiful fragments of ancient poets whose works are now lost, particularly those of Sappho.

The classical studies of Zenobia seem to have inspired her with some contempt for her Arab ancestry. She was fond of deriving her origin from the Macedonian kings of Egypt, and of reckoning Cleopatra among her progenitors. In imitation of the famous Egyptian queen, she affected great splendor in her style of living and in her attire; and drank her wine out of cups of gold richly carved and adorned with gems. It is, however, admitted that in female dignity and discretion, as well as in beauty, she far surpassed Cleopatra. She administered the government of her empire with such admirable prudence and policy, and in particular with such strict justice toward all classes of her subjects, that she was beloved by her own people, and respected and feared by the neighboring nations. She paid great attention to the education of her three sons, habited them in the Roman purple, and brought them up in the Roman fashion. But this predilection for the Greek and Roman manners appears to have displeased and alienated the Arab tribes; for it is remarked that after this time their fleet cavalry, inured to the deserts and unequalled as horsemen, no longer formed the strength of her army.

While Gallienus and Claudius governed the Roman empire, Zenobia was allowed to pursue her conquests, rule her dominions, and enjoy her triumphs almost without opposition; but at length the fierce and active Aurelian was raised to the purple, and he was indignant that a woman should thus brave with impunity the offended majesty of Rome. Having subdued all his competitors in the West, he turned his arms against the Queen of the East. Zenobia, undismayed by the terrors of the Roman name, levied troops, placed herself at their head, and gave the second command to Zabdas, a brave, and hitherto successful, general. The first great battle took place near Antioch; Zenobia was totally defeated after an obstinate conflict; but, not disheartened by this reverse, she retired upon Emessa, rallied her armies, and once more defied the Roman emperor. Being again defeated with great loss, and her army nearly dispersed, the high-spirited queen withdrew to Palmyra, collected her friends around her, strengthened her fortifications, and declared her resolution to defend her capital and her freedom to the last moment of her existence.

Zenobia was conscious of the great difficulties which would attend the siege of a great city, well stored with provisions and naturally defended by surrounding deserts; these deserts were infested by clouds of Arabs, who, appearing and disappearing with the swiftness and suddenness of a whirlwind, continually harassed her enemies. Thus defended without, and supported by a strong garrison (p. 029) within, Zenobia braved her antagonist from the towers of Palmyra as boldly as she had defied him in the field of battle. The expectation of succors from the East added to her courage, and determined her to persevere to the last. "Those," said Aurelian in one of his letters, "who speak with contempt of the war I am waging against a woman, are ignorant both of the character and power of Zenobia. It is impossible to enumerate her warlike preparations of stones, of arrows, and of every species of missile weapons and military engines."

Aurelian, in fact, became doubtful of the event of the siege, and he offered the queen the most honorable terms of capitulation if she would surrender to his arms; but Zenobia, who was aware that famine raged in the Roman camp, and daily looked for the expected relief, rejected his proposals in a famous Greek epistle, written with equal arrogance and eloquence; she defied the utmost of his power; and, alluding to the fate of Cleopatra, expressed her resolution to die like her rather than yield to the Roman arms. Aurelian was incensed by this haughty letter, even more than by dangers and delays attending the siege; he redoubled his efforts, he cut off the succors she expected; he found means to subsist his troops even in the midst of the desert; every day added to the number and strength of his army, every day increased the difficulties of Zenobia, and the despair of the Palmyrenes. The city could not hold out much longer, and the queen resolved to fly, not to insure her own safety, but to bring relief to her capital—such at least is the excuse made for a part of her conduct which certainly requires apology. Mounted on a fleet dromedary, she contrived to elude the vigilance of the besiegers, and took the road to the Euphrates; but she was pursued by a party of the Roman light cavalry, overtaken, and brought as a captive into the presence of Aurelian. He sternly demanded how she had dared to oppose the power of Rome? to which she replied, with a mixture of firmness and gentleness, "Because I disdained to acknowledge as my masters such men as Aureolus and Gallienus. To Aurelian I submit as my conqueror and my sovereign." Aurelian was not displeased at the artful compliment implied in this answer, but he had not forgotten the insulting arrogance of her former reply. While this conference was going forward in the tent of the Roman emperor, the troops, who were enraged by her long and obstinate resistance, and all they had suffered during the siege, assembled in tumultuous bands calling out for vengeance, and with loud and fierce cries demanding her instant death. The unhappy queen, surrounded by the ferocious and insolent soldiery, forgot all her former vaunts and intrepidity; her feminine terrors had perhaps been excusable if they had not rendered her base; but in her first panic she threw herself on the mercy of the emperor, accused her ministers as the cause of her determined resistance, and confessed that Longinus had written in her name that eloquent letter of defiance which had so incensed the emperor.

Longinus, with the rest of her immediate friends and counsellors, were instantly sacrificed to the fury of the soldiers, and the philosopher met death with all the fortitude which became a wise and great man, employing his last moments in endeavoring to console Zenobia and reconcile her to her fate.

(p. 030) Palmyra surrendered to the conqueror, who seized upon the treasures of the city, but spared the buildings and the lives of the inhabitants. Leaving in the place a garrison of Romans, he returned to Europe, carrying with him Zenobia and her family, who were destined to grace his triumph.

But scarcely had Aurelian reached the Hellespont, when tidings were brought to him that the inhabitants of Palmyra had again revolted, and had put the Roman governor and garrison to the sword. Without a moment's deliberation the emperor turned back, reached Palmyra by rapid marches, and took a terrible vengeance on that miserable and devoted city; he commanded the indiscriminate massacre of all the inhabitants—men, women, and children; fired its magnificent edifices, and levelled its walls to the ground. He afterward repented of his fury, and devoted a part of the captured treasures to reinstate some of the glories he had destroyed; but it was too late; he could not reanimate the dead, nor raise from its ruins the stupendous Temple of the Sun. Palmyra became desolate; its very existence was forgotten, until about a century ago, when some English travellers discovered it by accident. Thus the blind fury of one man extinguished life, happiness, industry, art, and intelligence through a vast extent of country, and severed a link which had long connected the eastern and western continents of the old world.

When Aurelian returned to Rome after the termination of this war, he celebrated his triumph with extraordinary pomp. A vast number of elephants and tigers, and strange beasts from the conquered countries; sixteen hundred gladiators, an innumerable train of captives, and a gorgeous display of treasures—gold, silver, gems, plate, glittering raiment, and Oriental luxuries and rarities, the rich plunder of Palmyra, were exhibited to the populace. But every eye was fixed on the beautiful and majestic figure of the Syrian queen, who walked in the procession before her own sumptuous chariot, attired in her diadem and royal robes, blazing with jewels, her eyes fixed on the ground, and her delicate form drooping under the weight of her golden fetters, which were so heavy that two slaves were obliged to assist in supporting them on either side; while the Roman populace, at that time the most brutal and degraded in the whole world, gaped and stared upon her misery, and shouted in exultation over her fall. Perhaps Zenobia may in that moment have thought upon Cleopatra, whose example she had once proposed to follow; and, according to the pagan ideas of greatness and fortitude, envied her destiny, and felt her own ignominy with all the bitterness of a vain repentance.

The captivity of Zenobia took place in the year 273, and in the fifth year of her reign. There are two accounts of her subsequent fate, differing widely from each other. One author asserts that she starved herself to death, refusing to survive her own disgrace and the ruin of her country; but others inform us that the Emperor Aurelian bestowed on her a superb villa at Tivoli, where she resided in great honor; and that she was afterward united to a Roman senator, with whom she lived many years, and died at a good old age. Her daughters married into Roman families, and it is said that some of her descendants remained so late as the fifth century.[Back to Contents]

(p. 031) SIEGFRIED[3]
By Karl Blind
(ABOUT 450)


Siegfried is the name of the mythic national hero of the Germans, whose tragic fate is most powerfully described in the "Nibelungen Lied," and in a series of lays of the Icelandic Edda. A matchless warrior, a Dragon-killer and overthrower of Giants, who possesses a magic sword, he conquers the northern Nibelungs and acquires their famed gold hoard. In the great German epic he is the son of Siegmund and Siegelinde, who rule in the Netherlands. Going Rhine-upward to Worms, to Gunther, the King of the Burgundians, he woos and wins Kriemhild, the beautiful sister of that king, after having first helped Gunther to gain the hand of Brünhild, a queen beyond sea, in Iceland. No one could obtain that valiant virgin's consent to wedlock unless he proved a victor over her in athletic feats, and in trials of battle. By means of his own colossal strength and his hiding hood, Siegfried, standing invisibly at the side of Gunther, overcomes Brünhild. Even after the marriage has been celebrated at Worms, Siegfried has once more to help the Burgundian king in the same hidden way, in order to vanquish Brünhild's resistance to the accomplishment of the marriage. When, in later times, Kriemhild and Brünhild fall out in a quarrel about their husbands' respective worth, the secret of such stealthy aid having been given, is let out by the former in a manner affecting the honor of the Burgundian queen as a wife. Thereupon Hagen promises her to effect a revenge. Having deftly ascertained from Kriemhild the single vulnerable part of the hero, whose skin had otherwise been made impenetrable by being dipped into the Dragon's blood, Hagen treacherously murders Siegfried at a chase. The gold hoard is then sunk in the Rhine by Hagen, lest Kriemhild should use it as a means of bribing men for wreaking her own revenge. She afterward becomes the consort of Etzel, the heathen king of the Hiunes (Hunns) in Hungary, who resides at Vienna. Thither she allures the Burgundians, Hagen alone mistrusting the invitation. In Etzel's eastern land all the Burgundian knights, upon whom the Nibelung name had been conferred, suffer a terrible death through Kriemhild's wrath. Hagen, who refuses to the end to reveal to her the whereabouts of the sunken gold hoard, has his head cut off with Siegfried's sword by the infuriated queen herself. At last, she, too, is hewn down by the indignant, doughty warrior, Hildebrand; and so the lofty Hall, into which fire had been thrown, is all strewn over with the dead. (p. 032) "Here," says the poem, "has the tale an end. These were the sorrows of the Nibelungs."

In this "Iliad of the Germans," which dates from the end of the twelfth century, the Siegfried story is given as a finished epic. But its originally heathen Teutonic character is overlaid there with admixtures of Christian chivalry. In the Edda and other Scandinavian sources, the tale appears in fragmentary and lyrical shape, but in a purer version, without additions from the new faith or from mediæval chivalry. It is in the Sigurd-, Fafnir-, Brynhild-, Gudrun-, Oddrun-, Atli-, and Hamdir Lays of the Norse Scripture that the original nature of the older German songs, which must have preceded the epic, can best be guessed. Rhapsodic lays, referring to Siegfried, were, in all probability, part of the collection which Karl the Great, the Frankish Kaiser, ordered to be made. Monkish fanaticism afterward destroyed the valuable relics. Fortunately, Northmen travelling in Germany had gathered some of those tale-treasures, which then were treated by Scandinavian and Icelandic bards in the form of heroic lyrics. Hence the Eddic lays in question form now a link between our lost Siegfried "Lieder" and our national epic.

Even as in the "Nibelungen Lied" so also in the "Edda," Sigurd (abbreviation for Siegfried) is not a Scandinavian, but a Southern, a Rhenish, a German hero. The whole scene of the tragic events is laid in the Rhinelands, where the killing of the Worm also takes place. On a hill in Frank-land Sigurd frees Brynhild from the magic slumber into which Odin had thrown her on a rock of punishment, because she, as a Valkyr, or shield-maiden of his, had brought about the death of a Gothic king to whom the god of battle had promised victory. In the south, on the Rhine, Sigurd is murdered. In the Rhine, Högni (Hagen) hides the Nibelung treasure. Many German tribes—Franks, Saxons, Burgundians, Goths, even a Svava-land, or Suabian land, are mentioned in the "Edda." The "Drama of Revenge," after Sigurd's death, though motives of the act somewhat different from those stated in the "Nibelungen Lied" are assigned, is also localized on the Lower Rhine, in the Hall of Atli, the King of the Hunes. In the "Nibelungen Lied," that name appears as Etzel (Attila), King of the Hunns.

In the "Edda" and in the "Vilkina Saga," Germans are referred to as sources for some details of the Sigurd story. So strong was, in Scandinavia, the tradition of the Teutonic origin of the tale, down to the twelfth century, that, in a geographical work written in Norse by the Abbot Nicolaus, the Gnita Heath, where Sigurd was said to have killed the Dragon, was still placed half-way between Paderborn and Mainz. Thus it was from Germany that this grand saga spread all over the North, including the Faröer. In the "Hvenic Chronicle," in Danish songs, we even find Siegfried as "Sigfred;" Kriemhild as "Gremild;" and she is married to him at Worms, as in the "Nibelungen Lied," while in the "Edda" Sigurd's wife is called Gudrun, and the remembrance of Worms is lost. The scene of the Norse poems is wholly on Rhenish ground.

Siegfried slaying the Dragon.

Now, in that neighborhood, in the northwest of Germany, a Teutonic tribe once dwelt, called Hunes, which is also traceable in Scandinavia. Sigurd himself (p. 033) is, in the "Edda," described as a Hunic king. His kith and kin dwell in Huna-land. "Hune" probably meant a bold and powerful warrior. The word still lingers in Germany in various ways; gigantic grave-monuments of prehistoric times are called Hunic Graves or "Hünen-Betten," and a tall, strong man a "Hüne." In his "Church History" the Anglo-Saxon monk Baeda, or Bede, when speaking of the various German tribes which had made Britain into an Angle-land, or England, mentions the Hunes. In the Anglo-Saxon "Wanderer's Tale" they also turn up, apparently in connection with a chieftain Aetla; that is, Atli. In Friesland, the Hunsing tribe long preserved the Hunic name. The word occurs in many personal and place names both in Germany and in England; for instance: Hunolt (a Rhenish hero), Hunferd, Hunlaf, Hunbrecht (champions among Frisians and Rhinelanders in the "Beowulf" epic); Huneboldt (bold like a Hune); Ethelhun (noble Hune); then there are, in German geography, the Hunsrück Mountain; Hunoldstein, Hunenborn, Hunnesrück, near Hildesheim, etc. Again, in England: Hundon, Hunworth, Hunstanton, Huncote, Hunslet, Hunswick, and many other places from Kent and Suffolk up to Lancashire and Shetland, where certainly no Mongolic Hunns ever penetrated. The Hunic Atli name is also to be found on English soil, in Attlebridge and Attleborough.

After the Great Migrations the various tribes and races became much intermixed. It was by a misunderstanding which arose then between the German Hunes and the Hunns under Attila's leadership, that Kriemhild's revenge after the murder of Siegfried was poetically transferred from the Rhine to the Danube. The name of the Rhenish Atli, which is preserved in the "Edda," and which also occurs as a German chieftain's name on the soil of conquered Britain, easily served to facilitate the confusion. Even the composition of Attila's army lent itself to this transplantation of the second part of the Siegfried story to Danubian lands. For, though Attila was overthrown on the Catalaunian fields, mainly by Germanic hosts, to which Roman and Gallic troops were added, he had a great many Teutonic warriors in his own army. From this military intermingling of races so utterly dissimilar in blood and speech as the Hunns and the Germans, one of whose tribes were called Hunes, it is not difficult to conceive the shifting of the tragic issue of the Nibelung story to the East. Attila, the Hunn, slid into the previous Teutonic hero-figure of Atli, the Hune. This change will the more easily be understood when the deep impression is remembered which the terrible Mongolic war-leader had made on the popular mind in southern Germany, where the Nibelungen epic was cast into its present shape.

The hold which the Siegfried story has had on the German people, through ages, can be gathered from the fact of its having kept its place, down to our days, in the workman's house and the peasant's hut, first by oral tradition, and then by rudely printed and illustrated chap-books ("Die Geschichte vom hürnenen Siegfried"). In this "Volksbuch" there are remarkable details concerning the hero's early life in a smithy and the prophecy of his assassination, which are lost in the "Nibelungen Lied," but preserved in the "Edda." This circumstance—overlooked (p. 034) even by Simrock, who, like Jacob Grimm, has done much to show the German origin of the Norse Sigurd saga—is another curious bit of evidence of the undeniable Teutonic source of the corresponding Scandinavian and Icelandic stories and poems.

Many attempts have been made to get at the historical kernel of the tale. Some would see in it traces of the songs which, according to Tacitus, were sung, of old, in honor of Armin (usually, though mistakenly, called Hermann), the deliverer of Germany from the Roman yoke. It has been assumed that the contents of these songs were combined with traditions of the deeds of Civilis, the leader of the Batavian Germans against Roman dominion, as well as of the conquest of Britain by Hengest. Recently, the Norse scholar, Gudbrand Vigfússon, has once more started this "Armin" interpretation of the tale, under the impression that he was the first to do so; whereas, in Germany, Mone and Giesebrecht had worked out that idea already some sixty years ago. In order to support his theory, Vigfússon boldly proposed to change the Hunic name of Sigurd, in the Eddic text, into "Cheruskian." He imagined the former name to be absurd, because Siegfried was not a Hunn; but Vigfússon was unacquainted with the wide historical distribution of the Hunic name in Germany and England.

Others saw in the Siegfried story an echo of the overthrow of the Burgundian king Gundahari (Gunther), by Attila, on the Rhine. Gundahari, who first threw himself with an army of 20,000 men against the Hunnic leader, gloriously fell with all his men. In the same way, in the "Nibelungen Lied," the Burgundian king, Gunther, is killed, with all his men, in the land of Etzel, the ruler of the Hiunes. Again, others have pointed to the feats of Theodorick, the king of the Eastern Goths; or to the fate of Siegbert, the king of the Austrasian Franks, who was murdered at the instigation of Fredegunda; or to the powerful Frankish family of the Pipins, from whom Karl the Great hailed, by way of trying to explain some parts of the Siegfried story. With the Pipins of "Nivella," we come upon a word in consonance with "Nibelung."

Then the wars which the Frankish Kaiser Karl waged against the Saxons of Witukind, have been held to be indicated in the war which the Frankish Siegfried, in the "Nibelungen Lied," wages against the Saxons. To all appearance, however, the tale is a mixture of mythological and historical traditions. In the Middle Ages, and still much later, Siegfried was looked upon as an undoubtedly historical figure. His praise was sung through all Germany. His very tomb, one of his weapons, as well as his carved image, were shown under the name of Siegfried's grave, Siegfried's spear, and Siegfried's statue. So persistent was this belief that when, in the fifteenth century, Kaiser Frederick III. came to Worms, he had the alleged grave of "that second Hector and powerful giant" opened, to see whether his bones could be found. Only a head and a few bones were dug up, "larger than men's heads and bones usually are." At Worms, the Siegfried story was pictured, in ancient times, in the Town Hall and on the Mint. All round Worms, place-names connected with the Nibelung tale occur with remarkable (p. 035) frequency. If the lost rhapsodic songs could be recovered, both mythological and historical allusions would, in all likelihood, be found in them.

An eminently Frankish tale, the Nibelungen cycle, has arisen in that martial German tribe which once held sway in the greater part of Europe. In its origin, the tale is considered by many careful investigators—so also by Richard Wagner, who founded his famous music-drama on it—to have been a Nature myth, upon which real events became engrafted. From this point of view, the earliest meaning of Siegfried's victory over the Dragon would signify the triumph of the God of Light over the monster of the chaotic aboriginal Night. It would be, on German ground, the overthrow of Python by Apollon. In this connection it is to be pointed out that Sigurd appears in the "Edda" as the hero "with the shining eyes," and that, in one of the German Rose Garden tales, twelve swords are attributed to him—a description which might be referred to the zodiac and to sunshine; so that he would be a solar hero. And even as Day is, in its turn, vanquished by Night; as Summer must yield to Winter; so also Siegfried falls in the end. The god which he originally was thus becomes human; the sad fate of so noble a champion gives rise to feelings of revenge for what is held to be an evil and criminal deed; and a tragedy is constructed, in which generations appear as actors and victims.

A special feature of the Frankish myth is the hoard, the fatal treasure which works never-ending mischief. It is said to represent the metal veins of the subterranean Region of Gloom. There, as is stated in an Eddic record, Dark Elves (Nibelungs, or nebulous Sons of the Night) are digging and working, melting and forging the ore in their smithies, producing charmful rings that remind us of the diadems which bind the brows of rulers; golden ornaments and sharp weapons; all of which confer great power upon their owner. When Siegfried slays the Dragon, when Light overcomes Darkness, this hoard is his booty, and he becomes master of the Nibelungs. But the Dragon's dark heir ever seeks to regain it from the victor; so Night malignantly murders the Day; Hagen kills Siegfried. The treasure on which Siegfried's power is founded becomes the cause of his death; and through Death he himself, albeit originally a refulgent God of Light, is turned into a figure of gloom; that is, a Nibelung.

There is much in the Norse Skalds which seems to support this mythological aspect of the tale. The name of Siegfried's murderer, Hagen—who is one-eyed, even as Hödur, the God of Night, who kills Baldur, the God of Light, is blind—has also been adduced for this interpretation. Hagen is explained as the Thorn of Death, the hawthorn (German Hagedorn), with which men are stung into eternal sleep, or rather into a death-like trance. Odin stings Brynhild into her trance with a sleeping-thorn. Hagen, in the sense of death, still lingers in the German expression, "Friend Hain," as a euphemism for the figure which announces that one's hour has come. The hawthorn was the special wood used for fire-burial in Germany; hence the figurative poetical expression which would make Hagen a synonym for death.

In the German and Norse poems, as we possess them now, myth and apparently (p. 036) historical facts are inextricably welded together. A powerful representation of the Siegfried tale is given in the series of large pictures, at Munich, by the distinguished painter Schnorr von Karolsfeld.[Back to Contents]

Author signature. Karl Blind.

By Rev. S. Baring-Gould
(ABOUT 520)

King Arthur.

Arthur, king of the Siluri, or Dumnonii—British races driven back into the west of England by the Saxons—is represented as having united the British tribes in resisting the pagan invaders, and as having been the champion not only of his people but also of Christianity. He is said to have lived in the sixth century, and to have maintained a stubborn contest against the Saxon Cerdic, but the "Saxon Chronicle" is suspiciously silent as to his warfare and as to his existence. Indeed, the Welsh bards of the earliest period do not assert that he was a contemporary, and it is more than doubtful whether he is an historic personage. It is worthy of remark that the fame of Arthur is widely spread; he is claimed alike as a prince in Brittany, Cornwall, Wales, Cumberland, and the lowlands of Scotland; that is to say, his fame is conterminous with the Brithonic race, and does not extend to the Goidels or Gaels. As is now well known, Great Britain was twice invaded by races of Celtic blood and tongue; the first wave was that of the Goidels, and after a lapse of some considerable time a second Celtic wave, that of the Brithons, or Britons, from the east, overran Britain, and drove the Gaels to west and north. Finn and Ossian belong to the mythic heroic cycle of the Gaels, and Arthur and Merlin to that of the Britons. These several shadowy forms are probably deities shorn of their divinity and given historic attributes and position, much as, among the Norsemen, Odin, when he ceased to be regarded as the All-father, or God, came to be reckoned as an ancestor of the kings.

(p. 037) In the lays of the Welsh bards, supposed to be as early as the sixth and seventh centuries (although no MS. is extant of older date than the twelfth century), Arthur and his brave companions are celebrated, but modestly and without marvels. It is possible that there may have existed in the sixth century a prince bearing the already well-known heroic name; and if so, about him the myths belonging to the remote ancestor or god have crystallized. The legendary additions begin to gather in the history of the Britons by Nennius, a writer supposed to have lived at the beginning of the seventh century; but Mr. Thomas Wright has shown ("Biographia Literaria," Saxon period) that his history is a forgery of a much later date, probably of the tenth century. Mr. Skene, however ("The Four Ancient Books of Wales"), makes fight to give Arthur an historic place, and we do not deny that there may have been a prince of that name. Next in order come the so-called Armoric collections of Walter, Archdeacon of Oxford (latter part of eleventh century), from which Geoffrey of Monmouth professes to translate, and in which the marvellous and supernatural elements largely prevail. Here for the first time the magician Merlin comes into association with Arthur. According to Geoffrey, Arthur's father, Uther, conceiving a passion for Igerna, wife of Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, is changed by Merlin into the likeness of Gorlois, and Arthur is the result. After his father's death Arthur becomes paramount leader of the British, and makes victorious expeditions to Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, and also to France, where he defeats a great Roman army. During his absence his nephew, Modred, revolts, and seduces Prince Arthur's wife, Gweniver (Gwenhwywar). Arthur returning, falls in a battle with his nephew, and is carried to the Isle of Avalon to be cured of his wounds. Geoffrey's work apparently gave birth to a multitude of fictions, which came to be considered as quasi-historical traditions. From these, exaggerated by each succeeding age, and recast by each narrator, sprung the famous metrical romances of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, first in French and afterward in English, from which modern notions of Arthur are derived. In these his habitual residence is at Caerlon, on the Usk, in Wales, where, with his beautiful wife, Guinevere, he lives in splendid state, surrounded by hundreds of knights and beautiful ladies, who serve as patterns of valor, breeding, and grace to all the world. Twelve knights, the bravest of the throng, form the centre of this retinue, and sit with the king at a round table, the "Knights of the Round Table." From the court of King Arthur knights go forth to all countries in search of adventure—to protect women, chastise oppressors, liberate the enchanted, enchain giants and malicious dwarfs, is their knightly mission.

The earliest legends of Arthur's exploits are to be found in the bardic lays attributed to the sixth and seventh centuries ("Myoyrian Archæology of Wales," 1801). A Welsh collection of stories called the "Mabinogion," of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and translated into English by Lady Charlotte Guest in 1849, gives further Arthurian legends. Some of the stories "have the character of chivalric romances," and are therefore probably of French origin; while others "bear the impress of a far higher antiquity, both as regards the manners they depict (p. 038) and the style of language in which they are composed." These latter rarely mention Arthur, but the former belong, as Mr. Skene puts it, to the "full-blown Arthurian romance." Chrétien de Troies, the most famous of the old French trouvères in the latter part of the twelfth century, made the Arthur legend the subject for his "Romans" and "Contes," as well as for two epics on Tristan; the Holy Grail, Peredur, etc., belonging to the same cycle. Early in the same century the Arthurian metrical romance became known in Germany, and there assumed a more animated and artistic form in the "Parzival" of Wolfram of Eschenbach, "Tristan und Isolt" of Gottfried of Strasburg, "Erec and Iwein" of Hartmann, and "Wigalois" of Wirnt. The most renowned of the heroes of the Arthurian school are Peredur (Parzival or Perceval), Tristan or Tristram, Iwein, Erec, Gawein, Wigalois, Wigamur, Gauriel, and Lancelot. From France the Arthurian romance spread also to Spain, Provence, Italy, and the Netherlands, even into Iceland, and was again transplanted into England. One of the publications that issued from the press of Caxton (1485) was a collection of stories by Sir Thomas Malory, either compiled by him in English, from various of the later French prose romances, or translated directly from an already existing French compendium. Copland reprinted the work in 1557, and in 1634 the last of the black-letter editions appeared. A reprint of Caxton's "Kynge Arthur," with an introduction and notes by Robert Southey, was issued in 1817—"The Byrth, Lyfe, and Actes of Kyng Arthur." The most complete edition is that by Thomas Wright, from the text of 1634.

The name of King Arthur was given during the Middle Ages to many places and monuments supposed to have been in some way associated with his exploits, such as "Arthur's Seat," near Edinburgh, "Arthur's Oven," on the Carron, near Falkirk, etc. What was called the sepulchre of his queen was shown at Meigle, in Strathmore, in the sixteenth century. Near Boscastle, in Cornwall, is Pentargain, a headland called after him "Arthur's Head." Other localities take his name in Brittany. In the Middle Ages, in Germany, Arthur's Courts were buildings in which the patricians assembled. One such still remains at Danzig. There was one anciently at Thorn, about which a ballad and legend exist. Milton was meditating an Arthurian epic in 1639; and in our own day the interest of the legends about King Arthur and his knights has been revived by Tennyson's "Idylls of the King" and some of Wagner's operas. We must not omit to note the magnificent life-sized ideal bronze figure of Arthur, cast for the monument of Maximilian I., now in the Franciscan church at Innsbruck, and regarded as the finest among the series of heroes there represented.[Back to Contents]

The Ruins of King Arthur's Castle.

(p. 039) ROLAND

"O, for a blast of that dread horn,
On Fontarabian echoes borne
That to King Charles did come,
When Rowland brave, and Olivier,
And every paladin and peer
On Roncesvalles died!"—Marmion.

"When Charlemain with all his peerage fell,
By Fontarabbia."—Paradise Lost.


"A Roland for an Oliver!" Saving the passing reference by Scott and Milton, quoted above, Roland and Olivier are almost unknown to English readers, and yet their once familiar names, knit together for centuries, have passed into a proverb, to be remembered as we remember the friendship of David and Jonathan, or to be classed by the scholar with Pylades, and Orestes of classic story, or with Amys and Amylion of romance.

The "Song of Roland" might be called the national epic of France. It corresponds to the "Mort d'Arthur" of England, the "Cid Chronicles" of Spain, the "Nibelungen Lied" of Germany, and the Longobardian legends of North Italy. Italian mediæval literature is rich in the Roland romances, founded on the fabulous "Chronicle of John Turpin" and the "Chansons de Gestes," of which the "Song of Roland" is one. Of the Italian romances the "Morgante Maggiore" of Pulci was published as early as 1488, Boyardo's "Orlando Innamorata" in 1496, and Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso" in 1515. English versions of Boyardo and Ariosto have since been translated into the rhyming couplets of Hoole, and as late as 1831 into the ottava rima stanzas of W. S. Rose. It was not, however, till April, 1880, that a full English translation of the original "Song of Roland," from MSS. written in the old langue d'oil of Northern France, was published by Kegan, Paul & Co., from the pen of Mr. O'Hagan, Q.C., of Dublin. Most probably it was a curtailed version of this romance that is referred to by Wace in his "Roman le Rou," when he records how, as the Normans marched to Senlac Hill, in 1066, the minstrel Taillefer sang,

"Of Roland and the heroes all
Who fell at fatal Roncesvall."

(p. 040) Turning to the historical data on which the romance is based, it will be found that in the year 778 a.d. Charlemagne, accompanied by his nephew, Count Roland of Bretagne, and the flower of Frankish chivalry, made a raid across the Spanish border. Abdalrahman, the first of the great Spanish caliphs of Cordova, was engaged in putting down the rebellious chiefs who had refused to own their allegiance to the new caliphate. The frontier was therefore comparatively unprotected. The Spanish Christians, who maintained a precarious independence among the Asturias and Pyrenees, and who found it the wisest policy to be at peace with the Mohammedan rulers, were not strong enough to resist Charlemagne. Accordingly the Franks advanced nearly to Saragossa. On returning to France laden with spoil through the winding defile of Roncesvalles (the valley of thorns or briers), their rear-guard was cut off by a band of Basques or Gascons and Spanish-Arabians, and their leader, Roland, slain. To the presence of these Spanish Christians in the Moorish army must be attributed the origin of the many Spanish ballads on the victory, in which all the glory is due to the prowess of the national hero, Bernardo Del Carpio, "the doughtiest lance in Spain." It is curious also to note, on the other hand, that the Arabians themselves in their chronicles, translated by the Spanish historian Condé, make little of this victory, merely mentioning the fact. The Saracen King Marsil, or Marsilius, of Saragossa, so often referred to in this and other Carlovingian romances, is identified by Condé with the Mohammedan Wali, or Governor of Saragossa, Abdelmelic, the son of Omar, called by the Christians Omarus Filius, hence the corruption Marsilius.

With these brief outlines of the history of Roncesvalles before us it is interesting to observe the grandiloquent strain of the old Norman rymours, the fearless exaggerations, and the total ignorance of the actual state of affairs in Spain under the enlightened and accomplished Arabians.

"Carles li reis nostre emperere magnes,
Set anz tut pleins ad estet en Espaigne."

Our great emperor Charles the King had been for seven full years in Spain, so runs the chronicle; castle and keeper alike had gone down except Saragossa, the mountain town, where King Marsil held his court, surrounded by 20,000 Mohammedan nobles. At their council it was agreed to accept Spain as a fief from the emperor, and ten knights set out with golden bridles and silver saddles,

"And they ride with olive boughs in hand,
To seek the lord of the Frankish land."

Near the pass of Roncesvalles, one of the Pyrenean "gates" of Spain, sits the emperor upon a throne of beaten gold. His form is tall and majestic, and his long white beard flows over his coat of mail. 'Tis whispered, too, that he is already two hundred years old, and yet, there he is in all his pride. Beside him stand his nephew Roland, the Lord Marquis of the marches of Bretagne; Sir (p. 041) Olivier; Geoffrey of Anjou, the progenitor of the Plantagenets; "and more than a thousand Franks of France." The Moslem knights are introduced to this council of war, King Marsil's offer is accepted, and Sir Ganelon is sent to Saragossa to represent the emperor. Jealous of Roland's military glory, and envious of the stores of pagan gold, the false Ganelon conspires with King Marsil to put the all-powerful Roland to death. King Marsil is assured that on receipt of the golden tribute, Charlemagne will be persuaded to leave Spain, while by the traitor's advice Roland will be appointed to remain behind and guard the rear of the retiring hosts. The scheme succeeded. Ganelon returned to the Frankish camp with the tribute-money for the emperor, and the traitor's gold for himself. The Franks begin their homeward march. They are now descending the mountains into their own fertile Gascon plains, and their hearts beat lightly, for

"They think of their homes and their manors there,
Their gentle spouses and damsels fair."

But their great chief is silent and gloomy. Roland, the bravest of the brave, has been left behind with all the paladins, save Ganelon, beyond the gates of Spain. Last night the emperor dreamed he seemed to stand by Cizra's pass in Roncesvalles, when Ganelon appeared before him, wrenched the emperor's spear from out his hand, waved it on high, then dashed it in pieces. What did it mean? He remembered the ominous words of his peers, "Evil will come of this quest, we fear," and Ganelon's strange reply, "Ye shall hear."

Meanwhile Sir Roland was far behind in Roncesvalles. He rode his gallant steed Veillantif; his white pennon, fringed with gold and set with diamonds, sparkled in the sunshine; and by his side he wore his famous sword Durindana, with its hilt of gold shaped like a cross, on which was graven the name of "Jesus." What a glorious picture of the Christian hero of mediæval times! With him were Olivier, the good Archbishop Turpin, and the remaining knights who made up the Order of the Paladins of Charlemagne, together with an army of 20,000 men.

The drums beat to arms in Saragossa's town, the tambours roll, the tabors sound, and 400,000 men attend the call of King Marsil. From a neighboring height Sir Olivier observes this countless host approaching. He calls to Roland to blow his ivory horn and bring back the emperor. Roland refuses, and the Franks prepare to fight; not, however, before on bended knee they receive the archbishop's benediction and a promise of paradise to all who die in this holy war against the pagan foe. With the old French battle-cry, "Mont-joie! Mont-joie!" the Christians dash the rowels into their steeds and close with the enemy. Homer does not relate a bloodier fight than that which follows, and which takes eighty-six stanzas, or fifty of Mr. O'Hagan's pages, to describe. Again and again the Christians charge the Saracens. What deeds the great sword Durindana did that day! The slain lie in thousands; the Saracens flee; and in the pursuit all are killed save one, who reaches Saragossa. The triumph, however, is short-lived; Ganelon had decreed that Roland must die, and so a mightier (p. 042) army than before marches forth to exterminate Roland's handful, now reduced to 300.

During this battle a terrible storm passes over France,—thunder and whirlwinds, rain and hail, there came.

The people thought that the end of the world had come, but this was only a foreshadowing of Roland's death. At last all the nobles are killed except Roland, Olivier, the archbishop, and sixty men. Then only will Roland deign to blow his horn. Charlemagne hears it thirty leagues away, and orders his army to return to Roncesvalles. Ganelon alone seeks to dissuade him, and is put in chains by the desire of the nobles, who suspect him. The army of Charles hurries back, but all too late. They will not arrive in time. Away in the Pass of Cizra, Roland looks around on his dead comrades and weeps. He returns to Olivier's side, who is engaged in a hand-to-hand encounter with King Marsil's uncle, the Moslem prince, Algalif, from whom he receives his death-wound. Olivier reels in his saddle, his eyes are dimmed with blood, and as he strikes madly about with his spear, he smashes Roland's helmet. The friend of Olivier is astonished, but soft and low he speaks to him thus:

"'Hast thou done it, my comrade, wittingly?
Roland who loves thee so dear am I.
Thou hast no quarrel with me to seek?'
Olivier answered, 'I hear thee speak,
But I see thee not; God seeth thee.
Have I struck thee, brother, forgive it me?'
'I am not hurt, O Olivier;
And in sight of God, I forgive thee here.'
Then to each other his head hath laid,
And in love like this was their parting made."

With hands clasped Sir Olivier cries to God for admittance into Paradise, and for a blessing on "King Karl and France the fair," and above all on his brother Roland. Then his hands fall, his head sinks on his breast, and he passes away. Filled with grief, Roland murmurs:

"So many days and years gone by
We lived together.
And thou hast never done me wrong.
Since thou art dead, to live is pain."

Once more Roland turns to where Count Walter of Hum and the archbishop alone stand at bay:

"And the heathen cries, 'What a felon three!
Look to it, lords, that they shall not flee.'"

Roland at Roncesvalles.

Count Walter falls at last, just as they hear the welcome sound of Charlemagne's trumpets, at which the Saracens flee, leaving Roland and the archbishop unconquered. But their end is near. Roland swoons, and the good archbishop, (p. 043) in attempting to bring water in the famous horn for the dying Paladin, falls from loss of blood. Roland recovers only in time to see him die; then, as he feels that death is near him also, he looks once more on his goodly sword Durindana, and as he looks he cries:

"Oh fair and holy, my peerless sword,
What relics lie in thy pommel stored—
Tooth of St. Peter, Saint Basil's blood,
Hair of St. Denis beside them strewed,
Fragment of Holy Mary's vest—
'Twere shame that thou with the heathen rest,
Thee should the hand of a Christian serve,
One who should never in battle swerve."

In despair lest it fall into pagan hands he tries to break it in pieces, and the mighty slashes he made in the rocks are still pointed out as the "Brèche de Roland." You remember Wordsworth's lines:

"the Pyrenean breach,
Which Roland clove with huge two-handed sway,
And to the enormous labor left his name,
Where unremitting frost the rocky crescents bleach."

Surely Roland might now rest from his labors, amid the "flowerets of Paradise." But no; he had yet to smash the head of a prowling Saracen who thought him an easy prey. In doing so he spoiled forever the ivory horn, his only weapon. Not till then could he clasp his hands as he went to rest, and not till then did

"God from on high send down to him
One of His angel cherubim."

St. Michael it was, who with St. Gabriel bore his soul to Paradise.

It would be too long a story to tell of the vengeance of the Emperor Charles, how the sun stood still till the Franks had killed every one of the Saracens; how Ganelon was accused of treachery, tried by combat, and sentenced to be torn to pieces by wild horses. The story is a true tragedy, terrible as the tragedy of Œdipus. From another source we gather the mournful sequel.

Long before the battle of Roncesvalles Roland and Olivier had met in single combat on a quiet island in the Rhone. Toward even a fleecy cloud hovered over them, and from its midst an angel "wrapped in rosy light" separated the combatants, bidding them be friends, and telling them to turn their swords against the enemies of the Faith. The heroes shook hands, the angel vanished, and from that day there were no truer friends than Roland and Olivier. Their union was further cemented by the betrothal of Roland to the Lady Alda, Sir Olivier's sister, a maiden who had already, in Roland's presence, proved herself as bold in war as she was loving in peace.[Back to Contents]

(p. 044) ROLLO THE GANGER[4]
By Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen

Rollo the Ganger.

When King Harold the Fair-haired, in 872 a.d., had united all the scattered earldoms of Norway under his own sway, he issued a stringent order forbidding pillaging within his kingdom under penalty of outlawry. The custom of sailing out into the world as a viking and plundering foreign lands, was held to be a most honorable one in those days; and every chieftain who wished to give his sons the advantages of "a liberal education" and foreign travel, strained his resources in order to equip them for such an expedition. But the Norwegians of the ninth century had as yet no national feeling; and they regarded King Harold's prohibition against plundering their own shores as absurd and arbitrary. Rollo or Rolf, the son of the king's best friend, Ragnvald, Earl of Möre, undertook to disregard the order. Coming home from a cruise in the Baltic and being short of provisions, he landed in the south of Norway and made havoc among the coast dwellers. The king, determined to make an end of the nefarious practice, kept his word and outlawed him.

Rollo, being unequal to a struggle with the king, betook himself to the Hebrides, where a number of other Norse chieftains had sought a refuge from similar persecutions. His great strength and sagacity, no less than his distinguished birth, secured him a favorable reception and much influence. He was so tall that no Norwegian horse could carry him, for which reason he was compelled always to walk, and was surnamed Rollo the Ganger, or Walker. Though not formally recognized as chieftain, he seems gradually, by dint of his eminence, to have assumed command over the Norse exiles; and it was probably at his advice that they resolved to abandon the bleak and barren Hebrides, and seek a more congenial home in a sunnier clime. At all events a large expedition was fitted out and set sail for the south, early in the tenth century. It landed first in Holland, but finding that all-too-accessible country already devastated by other vikings, they proceeded to the coast of France and entered the mouth of the river Seine. Charles the Simple, a feeble, foolish, and good-natured man, was then king of France, but utterly unequal to the task of defending his territory against foreign invaders or domestic pretenders. The empire of Charlemagne had been broken up and divided among his grandsons; and the fraction which was to be France, was then confined between the Loire and the Meuse.

(p. 045) Here was a golden opportunity for Rollo the Ganger and his vikings. Meeting with no formidable opposition, they sailed up the Seine and cast anchor at the town of Jumièges, five leagues from Rouen. This ancient city, which had suffered much from recent sieges and invasions, was in no condition to defend itself. It was of slight avail that the priests chanted in the churches, with the fervor of despair: "Deliver us, oh God, from the fury of Norsemen!" The vikings continued to pillage the surrounding territory, and were daily expected to sack the city. In this dire dilemma the Archbishop of Rouen offered himself as an ambassador to the pagans, in the hope that perhaps he might become an instrument in the hand of God to avert the impending doom. But if, as seemed more probable, martyrdom was in store for him, he was ready to face death without flinching. Rollo, however, who could honor courage even in an enemy, received him courteously, and after a brief negotiation pledged himself, in case the city surrendered, to take peaceful possession of it and to molest no one. This pledge he kept to the letter. His ships sailed up the river, and the tall chieftain, at the head of his band of yellow-haired warriors, made his entry into Rouen, without a sword being drawn or a torch lighted. He inspected the fortifications, the water supply, and all points of strategic interest, and finding everything tolerably satisfactory, resolved to remain. Making Rouen his headquarters and base of supplies, the Norsemen made expeditions up the Seine and established a great fortified camp near the confluence of the Seine and the Eure. Hither a French army, under the command of Regnault, Duke of France, was sent to drive them out of the country. But before risking a battle Regnault chose to negotiate. He sent a certain Hasting, Count of Chartres, to Rollo in order to find out what was the aim and object of his invasion. This Hasting was himself a Norseman, and had, twenty years before, proved himself so formidable a foe, that the King of France had been compelled to buy his friendship by a concession of land and a noble title, in return for which favors Hasting had become a Christian and a vassal to the king. It was doubtful, perhaps, if this man, even though he may have acted in good faith, was the best ambassador to his countrymen. For he was himself a living example of what might be gained by audacity and a shrewd use of one's advantages.

The following conversation is reported to have taken place between the Count of Chartres and the Norwegian vikings:

"Gallant soldiers!" shouted Hasting, from afar, "what is your chieftain's name?"

"We have no lord over us," they replied; "we are all equal."

"For what purpose have you come to France?"

"To drive out the people who are here, or make them our subjects, and win for ourselves a new country. But who are you? How is it that you speak our tongue?"

"You know the story of Hasting," the count made answer; "Hasting, the great viking, who scoured the seas with his multitude of ships, and did so much damage in this kingdom?"

(p. 046) "Ay, we have heard of that; but Hasting has made a bad end to so good a beginning."

"Will you submit to King Charles?" was the ambassador's next query. "Will you give your faith and service, and receive from him gifts and honor?"

"No, no," they cried back; "we will not submit to King Charles. Go back and tell him so, you messenger, and say that we claim the rule and dominion of whatever we win by our own strength and our swords."

Hasting lost no time in communicating this message to the French and in urging a compromise. But Regnault called him a traitor, and would have none of his advice. He promptly attacked Rollo and his Norsemen, but suffered an overwhelming defeat. His army was cut to pieces, and he himself slain by a fisherman of Rouen who had attached himself to the invading force. Rollo followed up his victory by sailing up the river and laying siege to Paris; but the capital of France proved too strong for him and he had to retire to Rouen, whence he continued to havoc the surrounding country. He conquered the city of Bayeux and slew its ruler, Count Berenger, whose beautiful daughter, Popa, he married. Instead of organizing mere plundering expeditions, Rollo gradually changed his tactics and took permanent possession of the towns that fell into his hands. The peasants, too, who lived in the open country, found that it was their best policy to seek his friendship and pay him tribute, rather than rely upon the uncertain protection of the King of France. They had discovered before this that Rollo was a man whose word could be trusted—a lord of mighty will, who had a ruthless way of enforcing obedience, but was open-handed and generous withal to those who would serve his purposes.

It could no longer be said with truth, as the vikings had said to Hasting, that they had no lord over them. Rollo, whose chieftainship had hitherto been based upon his genius for ruling, was now formally chosen king—a title which he later exchanged for that of Duke of Normandy. In Norway, previous to the conquests of Harold the Fair-haired, each province had had its king, who was not always hereditary, but was often chosen by the peasants themselves, because he possessed the qualities required of a leader. It was in accordance with the same custom that they now conferred kingship upon Rollo, whose valor, sagacity, and firmness of purpose had been amply proven. It was the power of the man—the weight and force of his personality—which they respected, no less than his clear-sightedness, his readiness of resource, and his skill in the rude statecraft of his age.

Rollo the Ganger attacks Paris.

Encouraged by his previous successes, Rollo now made larger plans, and with the view to carrying them out, formed an alliance with some Danish vikings who had managed to effect a lodgement and maintain themselves for some years at the mouth of the Loire. Together they started upon an extensive campaign, the objective point of which was again Paris. But the powerful fortifications baffled the Norsemen, who possessed no machinery of destruction fit to cope with such defences. The siege had therefore to be abandoned. Dijon and Chartres also made a successful resistance. But a long chain of smaller cities (p. 047) surrendered, and the country was ravaged far and wide. The peasants took to the woods and refused to sow their fields, knowing that there was small chance of their reaping them. So desperate became the situation that nobles and peasants alike entreated the king to make peace with the Norsemen on whatever terms he could procure. The king was not unwilling to listen to such prayers. It occurred to him that in making a treaty with Rollo he would be killing two birds with one stone. He would not only be ridding France of a dangerous foe, but he might secure for himself a powerful friend who might help him keep the unruly nobles in order, and secure him in the possession of his shorn and reduced kingdom. With this end in view he invested Rollo with the sovereignty of his northern province, named after the Norsemen, Normandy, and conferred upon him the title of duke (912 a.d.). Rollo was to recognize Charles as his overlord, and defend him against external and internal foes; and he was to become a Christian and marry the king's daughter, Gisla. It is told, however, that when Rollo was required to kneel down and kiss the royal foot in token of fealty, he stoutly refused.

"I will never bend my knee before any man," he said, "nor will I kiss anyone's foot."

After much persuasion however, he permitted one of his men to perform the act of homage in his stead. His proxy stalked sullenly forward, and pausing before the king, who was on horseback, seized his foot and raised it to his lips. By this manœuvre, the king came to make a somersault, at which there followed a great and disrespectful burst of laughter from the Norsemen.

Shortly after the conclusion of this treaty Rollo was baptized, and his marriage to the Princess Gisla was celebrated with great pomp in the city of Rouen. His previous marriage to Popa does not seem to have caused him any scruple, though, as a matter of fact, he continued to regard the latter as his wife, and when Gisla died he resumed his marital relations with her, if indeed they had ever been interrupted. The princess had been to him nothing but a hostage from the king and a pledge of his good faith. But Popa, who was the mother of his son William, surnamed Longsword, he loved, and we do not hear that the fact that he had killed her father caused any serious trouble between them.

As Duke of Normandy, Rollo exhibited a political insight and a genius for administration which in those turbulent days was certainly remarkable. He had the true welfare of his people at heart, and with a firm hand he maintained justice, protecting the weak, and restraining the strong. The laws which he made he enforced with stern impartiality, and no man could plead birth or privilege before him, if he wantonly offended. The farmers were Rollo's special care; for warrior though he was, he well knew that war is destructive, and that the prosperity of a land must be founded upon productive labor. The peasantry of Normandy were not slow to discover that they were better off under their new ruler than they ever had been under the old; and they rewarded Rollo with a sincere loyalty and devotion. Their confidence in his power to right wrong, became in the course of time half superstitious; and if any of them was in peril (p. 048) or suffered at the hands of his enemy, it became the fashion to shout: "Ha, Rou!"—Rou being a corruption of Raoul, the French form of Rolf or Rollo. Then it was the duty of everyone who heard this cry, to hasten to the aid of the sufferer or to pursue his assailant. It has been asserted that our "hurrah" is derived from this Norman shout, but I hold this to be more than doubtful.

That Normandy was prosperous under the reign of Rollo, and that its people were contented, seems, however, to be well established. According to the legend, so great was the public security that property left on the highway could be found untouched after days and weeks; the farmer left his implements in the field without fear of losing them; and theft and robbery became comparatively rare. In a great measure this was, no doubt, due to the strict organization which Rollo introduced, and his insistence upon the personal accountability of each one of his subjects to himself. For he had learned one most important lesson from his enemy, Harold the Fair-haired. This king was the first to establish in Europe what is called the feudal system of land-tenure. He declared all land to be the property of the crown, and merely held in fief by the nominal owners. In recognition of the king's proprietorship, the latter, therefore, pledged themselves to pay a certain tribute, and to support the king in case of war, with a given number of armed men, in accordance with the size and value of their holdings. This same system Rollo is said to have introduced into Normandy, whence it spread over all Europe. Though we have now no more use for it, it proved a great and important element in the progress of civilization.

Rollo the Ganger must have been nearly eighty years old when he died in 927. His son, William Longsword, who succeeded him as Duke of Normandy, was a man of gentler disposition and in vigor and sagacity inferior to his father. Rollo's descendant in the fifth generation was William the Conqueror, who inherited in a larger measure the qualities of his great ancestor.[Back to Contents]

Author signature. Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen.

(p. 049) LEIF ERICSON[5]
By Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen
(About 1000)

Leif Ericson.

The story of the Finding of Wineland the Good is contained, in somewhat differing versions, in two parchment books, the one belonging to the first, and the other to the last, quarter of the fourteenth century. Both agree in attributing the discovery to Leif the Lucky, the son of Eric the Red; though the Flatey Book says that he was induced to undertake this voyage by a certain Bjarne Herjulfson, who, having been driven out of his course by storms, had seen strange lands, but had not explored them.

Leif's father, Eric the Red, was, like most Norsemen of his day, an unruly and turbulent man, whose sword sat loosely in its sheath. He was born about the middle of the tenth century at Jaederen, in Norway, but was outlawed on account of a manslaughter, and set sail for Iceland, where he married a certain Thorhild, the daughter of Jorund and Thorbjorg the Ship-chested. But the same high temper and quarrelsome spirit which had compelled him to leave Norway got him into trouble also in his new home. He was forced by blood-feuds and legal acts of banishment to change his abode repeatedly, and finally he was declared an outlaw. Knowing that his life was forfeited, Eric, as a last desperate chance, equipped a ship, and sailed "in search of that land which Gunbjörn, the son of Ulf the Crow, had seen when he was driven westward across the main;" and promised, in case he found it, to return and apprise his friends of the discovery. Fortune favored him, and he found a great, inhospitable continent, which (in order to allure colonists) he called Greenland; "for," he said, "men would be more easily persuaded thither, if the country had a good name." He landed in three or four places, but, being dissatisfied, broke up and started in search of more favorable localities. At the end of three years he returned to Iceland fought his foes and was defeated, but finally succeeded, by the backing of friends, in effecting a reconciliation with them. He spent the winter in Iceland, and sailed the following spring for Greenland, where he settled at a place called Brattahlid (Steep Lea) in Ericsfirth. Thirty-five ship-loads of people followed him, but only fourteen arrived safely. The remainder were shipwrecked, or driven back to Iceland.

The interest now shifts from Eric to his son, Leif the Lucky, who becomes (p. 050) the hero of the Saga. Sixteen years after his father's settlement in Greenland, Leif, as behooved the son of a chieftain, equipped a ship and set out to see the world, and gather fortune and experience. He must then have been between twenty and twenty-five years old. He arrived in Drontheim, Norway, in the autumn, and met there King Olaf Tryggveson. The king, who had been baptized in England, was full of zeal for the Christian faith, and was employing every means in his power to christianize the country. But the peasantry, who were worshippers of Odin and Thor, refused to listen to him, and even compelled him to eat horse-flesh and participate in pagan rites. Under these circumstances it is not to be wondered at that he took kindly to the handsome young Icelander who displayed such an interest in the new religion, and listened attentively while the king expounded the faith to him. For Leif was a courteous and intelligent man, of fine presence, good address, and indomitable spirit. The king, says the Saga, "thought him a man of great accomplishments." It was not long before he concluded to accept Christianity, whereupon he was baptized, with all his shipmates. King Olaf then charged him to return to Iceland and induce the people to abandon idolatry and accept the true faith. Leif, knowing how deeply attached the Icelanders were to their old gods, was very reluctant to undertake this mission, but finally yielded to the king's persuasions, "provided the king would grant him the grace of his protection."

He accordingly put to sea; but encountered heavy weather and was driven out of his course. For a long while he was tossed about by the tempest, until he came upon "lands of which he had previously no knowledge. There were self-sown wheat-fields and vines growing there. There were also those trees which are called masur (maples?). And of all these things they took samples."

The other version to which I have alluded is much more explicit, and recounts how Leif went to Greenland to visit his father, Eric the Red, and how there he heard the account of Bjarne Herjulfson's voyage, and of the unknown lands to the westward which he professed to have seen. The people, we read, blamed Bjarne for his lack of enterprise in failing to explore the territories of which he had caught glimpses, "so as to be able to bring some report of them." Leif, being of an adventurous spirit, was fired by this talk, and resolved to accomplish what the incurious Bjarne had left undone. He gathered together a crew of thirty-five men, and invited his father to command the expedition. Eric at first declined, saying that he was well stricken in years, and unable to endure the exposure of such a voyage. Leif insisted, however, that "he would be most apt to bring good luck," and the old man, yielding to his son's solicitation, mounted his horse and rode forth at the head of the ship-crew. But when he was nearing the beach, the horse stumbled and Eric was thrown and wounded his foot. This was held to be a bad omen, and as he was trying to rise, he exclaimed:

"It is not destined that I shall discover any more lands than the one in which we are now living; nor can we now continue longer together."

Leif, knowing persuasion to be vain, pursued his way alone, and embarked with his thirty-five shipmates.

(p. 051) "When they were ready, they sailed out to sea and found first that land which Bjarne and his shipmates found last."

It is not stated how long they had been at sea when this land was found. The account goes on as follows:

"They sailed up to the land and cast anchor, and launched a boat and went ashore, and saw no grass there. Great ice mountains lay inland, back from the sea, and it was as a [table land of] flat rocks all the way from the sea to the ice mountains; and the country seemed to them to be entirely devoid of good qualities. Then said Leif: 'It has not come to pass with us in regard to this land as with Bjarne, that we have not gone upon it. To this country I will now give a name and call it Helluland' (i.e., The Land of Flat Rocks).

"They returned to the ship and put out to sea, and found a second land. They sailed again to the land, came to anchor, launched a boat, and went ashore. This was a level wooded land, and there were broad stretches of white sand, where they went, and the land was level by the sea. Then said Leif: 'This land shall have a name according to its nature, and we will call it Markland' (i.e., Wood Land). They returned to the ship forthwith and sailed away upon the main, with northeast winds, and were out two 'doegr' before they sighted land. They sailed toward this land and came to an island which lay to the northward off the land. There they went ashore and looked about them, the weather being fine, and they observed that there was dew upon the grass; and it so happened that they touched the dew with their hands, and touched their hands to their mouths; and it seemed to them that they had never tasted anything so sweet as this. They went aboard their ship again, and sailed into a certain sound, which lay between the island and a cape which jutted out from the land on the north, and they stood in westering past the cape. At ebb-tide there were broad stretches of shallow water there, and they ran their ship aground; and it was a long distance from the ship to the ocean. Yet were they so anxious to go ashore that they could not wait until the tide should rise under their ship, but hastened to the land, where a certain river flows out from a lake. As soon as the tide rose beneath their ship, however, they took the boat and rowed to the ship, which they towed up the river, and then into the lake, where they cast anchor and carried their hammocks ashore, and built themselves booths there. They afterward determined to establish themselves there for the winter, and they accordingly built a large house. There was no lack of salmon either in the river or in the lake, and larger salmon than they had ever seen before. The country thereabouts seemed to be possessed of such good qualities that cattle would need no fodder there during the winter. There was no frost there during the winter, and the grass withered but little. The days and the nights were of more nearly equal length than in Greenland or Iceland."

Now follows an account of the exploring parties which Leif sent out, some of which he joined, while at other times he remained behind to guard the house. Here occurs, with curious abruptness, this graphic bit of characterization: "Leif (p. 052) was a large and powerful man, and of most imposing bearing, a man of sagacity, and a very just man in all things."

A very pretty incident is now related of the German Tyrker, who had been one of the thralls of Eric the Red, and of whom Leif was very fond. It was the custom in the households of Norse chiefs to give children into the special charge of a trusted thrall, who was then styled the child's foster-father. Sometimes the thrall was presented to the child as a "tooth-gift," i.e., in commemoration of its cutting its first tooth.

"It was discovered one evening that one of their company was missing; and this proved to be Tyrker, the German. Leif was sorely troubled by this; for Tyrker had lived with Leif and his father for a long time, and had been very devoted to Leif when he was a child. Leif severely reprimanded his companions and prepared to go in search of him. They had proceeded but a short distance from the house when they were met by Tyrker, whom they received most cordially. Leif observed at once that his foster-father was in lively spirits.... Leif addressed him and asked: 'Wherefore art thou so belated, foster-father mine, and astray from the others?'

"In the beginning Tyrker spoke for some time in German, rolling his eyes, and grinning, and they could not understand him. But after a time he addressed them in the Norse tongue.

"'I did not go much farther [than you]; yet I have something novel to relate. I have found grapes and vines.'

"'Is this indeed true, foster-father?' asked Leif.

"'Of a certainty it is true' replied he; 'for I was born where there is no lack of either grapes or vines.'

"They slept the night through, and on the morrow Leif said to his shipmates:

"'We will now divide our labors; and each day will either gather grapes, or cut vines, or fell trees, so as to obtain a cargo of these for my ship.'

"They acted upon this advice, and it is said that their after-boat was filled with grapes. A cargo sufficient for the ship was cut, and when the spring came they made their ship ready and sailed away. And from its products Leif gave the land a name and called it Wineland.

"They sailed out to sea and had fair winds until they sighted Greenland, and the fells below the glacier; then one of the men spoke up and said: 'Why do you steer the ship so close to the wind?' Leif answered: 'I have my mind upon my steering and upon other matters as well. Do you not see anything out of the common?' They replied that they saw nothing unusual. 'I do not know,' says Leif, 'whether it is a ship or a skerry that I see.' Now they saw it, and said that it must be a skerry. But he was so much more sharp-sighted than they, that he was able to discern men upon the skerry. 'I think it best to tack,' says Leif, 'so that we may draw near to them and be able to render them assistance, if they stand in need of it. And if they should not be peaceably disposed, we shall have better command of the situation than they.'

Leif Ericson off the Coast of Vineland.

"They approached the skerry, and lowering their sail, cast anchor and (p. 053) launched a second small boat, which they had brought with them. Tyrker inquired who was the leader of the party. He replied that his name was Thare, and that he was a Norwegian. 'But what is thy name?' Leif gave his name. 'Art thou a son of Eric the Red, of Brattahlid?' says he. Leif replied that he was. 'It is now my wish,' Leif continued, 'to take you all into my ship, and likewise as much of your possessions as the ship will hold.'

"This offer was accepted, and [with their ship] thus laden, they held their course toward Ericsfirth, and sailed until they arrived at Brattahlid. Having discharged his cargo, Leif invited Thare, with his wife, Gudrid, and three others to make their home with him, and procured quarters for the other members of the crew, both for his own and Thare's men. Leif rescued fifteen men from the skerry. He was from that time forth called Leif the Lucky."

The time of Leif's voyage to Wineland has been fixed at 1000 a.d. For we learn that it took place while Olaf Tryggveson (995-1000 a.d.) was king in Norway; and scarcely less than four or five years could have elapsed since Leif's first meeting with the king in Drontheim, shortly after the death of his predecessor, Earl Hakon.

The remainder of the Saga of Eric the Red is occupied with an account of the successive Wineland voyages of Thorwald Ericson, the brother of Leif, Thorfinn Karlsefne, and of Leif's sister, Freydis, who was as quarrelsome, proud, and pugnacious as her father. The Indians (called by the Norsemen Skrellings), who had failed to disturb Leif, made demonstrations of hostility against Thorfinn Karlsefne, and after the loss of several of his men, compelled him to abandon the attempt at a permanent settlement.

The tradition of these Wineland voyages continued, however, to be transmitted from generation to generation in Iceland, and in the early part of the fourteenth century was committed to writing.

It will be seen that the saga to which I have referred was not written primarily with a view to establish Leif's claim to be the discoverer of Wineland. In the first place the story, in the shape in which we have it, is more than a century and a half older than the Columbian discovery, and there could, accordingly, be no great glory in having found a country which had since been lost. Secondly, the saga is (like most Icelandic sagas) a family chronicle, purporting to relate all matters of interest pertaining to the race of Eric the Red. The Wineland voyages are treated as remarkable incidents in this chronicle, but they hardly occupy any more space than properly belongs to them in a family history which is concerned with a great many other things besides. The importance of this as corroborating the authenticity of the narrative, can scarcely be over-estimated.[Back to Contents]

Author signature. Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen.


Harold, King of England.

Harold II., the last of the native English kings, was the second son of Earl Godwin by his Danish wife Gytha, the sister of Earl Ulf, and was born about 1022. At an early age he was made Earl of the East Angles and he shared his father's outlawry in 1051, finding a refuge in Ireland. Next year, together with his brother Leofwin, he crossed the Channel with nine ships, defeated the men of Somerset and Devon at Porlock, and ravaged the country, next joined his father at Portland, and shared the triumph of his return. Harold was at once restored to his earldom, and next year (1053) succeeded to his father's earldom of the West Saxons. Henceforward he was the right hand of King Edward, and still more after the deaths of the old Earls Leofric and Siward, he directed the whole affairs of the kingdom, with an unusual union of gentleness and vigor. His brother Tostig succeeded Siward as Earl of the Northumbrians in 1055, and two years later two other brothers were raised to earldoms: Gurth to that of the East Anglians, Leofwin to one formed out of Essex, Kent, and the other shires round about London. Meantime Harold drove back the Welsh marauders of King Griffith out of Herefordshire, and added that post of danger to his earldom. The death in 1057 of the Ætheling Edward, the son of Edmund Ironside, who had been brought back from Hungary as heir to the throne, opened up the path for Harold's ambition, and from this time men's eyes rested on him as their future king. And nature had equalled fortune in her kindness, for his handsome and stalwart figure and his gentle and conciliatory temper were kingly qualities that sat well upon his sagacity, his military skill, and his personal courage. Harold's policy throughout was thoroughly English, contrary to the predominant French influences that had governed the early part of Edward's reign. He was English in everything, even to his preference for secular priests to monks. He made his pilgrimage to Rome in 1058, and after his return completed his church at Waltham, known later as Waltham Abbey. In 1063, provoked by the fresh incursions of Griffith, he marched against him, and by making his men put off their heavy armor and weapons, and adopt the Welshmen's own tactics, he was able to traverse the whole country, and beat (p. 055) the enemy at every point. Griffith was killed by his own people, whereupon Harold gave the government to the dead king's brothers, Bleddyn and Rhiwallon, who swore oaths of fealty both to King Edward and to himself.

It is impossible to say exactly at what date occurred that famous visit of Harold to the court of Duke William, in Normandy, of the results of which the Norman writers make so much, although with many contradictions, while the English writers, with the most marked and careful unanimity, say nothing at all. It seems most likely that Harold did make some kind of oath to William, most probably under compulsion, when he had fallen into his hands after being shipwrecked on the coast of Ponthieu, and imprisoned by its Count Guy. Mr. Freeman thinks the most probable date to be 1064. It is at least certain that Harold helped William in a war with the Bretons, and in the Bayeux tapestry we see his stalwart form lifting up two Normans at once when they were in danger of being swept away by the river Coesnon, which divides Normandy from Brittany. The Norman writers make Harold formally swear fealty to William, promising to marry one of his daughters, and we are told that additional sanctity was given to this oath by its being made upon a chest full of the most sacred relics.

In 1065, the Northumbrians rebelled against the rule of Tostig, and Harold found himself compelled, between policy and a sense of justice, to side with them, and to acquiesce in their choice of Morcar and the banishment of Tostig. At the beginning of 1066 King Edward died, his last breath being to recommend that Harold should be chosen king. He was crowned on January 6th, and at once set himself with steadfast energy to consolidate his kingdom. At York he won over the reluctant men of Northumbria, and he next married Ealdgyth, Griffith's widow, in order to secure the alliance of her brothers, Morcar and Edwin. His short reign of forty weeks and one day was occupied with incessant vigilance against the attacks of two formidable enemies at once. Duke William lost no time in beginning his preparations for the invasion of England, and Tostig, after trying the Normans and the Scots, and filibustering along the coasts on his own account, succeeded in drawing to his side the famous Harold Hardrada, king of Norway. In the month of September the two reached the Humber, and Harold marched to meet them, resting neither day nor night. The Icelandic historian, Snorro, in his dramatic narrative of the fight, tells how Harold rode out accompanied with twenty of his housecarls to have speech with Earl Tostig, and offer him peace; and when asked what amends King Hardrada should have for his trouble in coming, replied, "Seven feet of the ground of England, or more perchance, seeing he is taller than other men." At Stamford Bridge Harold overtook his enemy, and after a bloody struggle won a complete victory (September 25, 1066), both Tostig and Harold Hardrada being among the slain. But four days later Duke William landed at Pevensey. Harold marched southward with the utmost haste, bringing with him the men of Wessex and East Anglia, and the earldoms of his brothers; but the two earls, Edwin and Morcar, held aloof and kept back the men of the north, although some of the men of Mercia, in the earldom of Edwin, followed their king to the fatal struggle which was fought out (p. 056) from nine in the morning till past nightfall, on October 14, 1066. The English fought with the most stubborn courage, and the battle was only lost by their allowing the pretended flight of the Normans to draw them from their impregnable position on the crest of the hill, ringed with an unbroken shield wall. On its slope, right in front of the Norman army, waved the golden dragon of Wessex, as well as the king's own standard, a fighting man wrought upon it in gold. Here Harold stood with his mighty two-handed axe, and hewed down the Normans as they came. Before nightfall he fell, pierced through the eye with an arrow. His housecarls fought where they stood till they fell one by one; his brothers, Gurth and Leofwin, died beside him. The king's body was found upon the field, recognized only by a former mistress, the fair Eadgyth Swanneshals ("Edith of the swan's neck").

At first, William ordered it to be buried on the rocks at Hastings, but seems after to have permitted it to be removed to Harold's own church at Waltham. Than Harold, no braver or more heroic figure ever filled a throne; no king ever fought more heroically for his crown. If he failed, it was because he had to bow his head to fate, and in his death he saved all the honor of his family and his race. His tragic story has given a subject for a romance to Lytton, and for a stately drama to Tennyson.[Back to Contents]

Edith searching for the Body of Harold.

By Henry G. Hewlett

The Cid.

The narratives concerning the life and exploits of the Cid are, to a great extent, merely poetic. Yet it has been wisely said, that much which must be rejected as not fact may still be accepted as truth; that is, there is often to be found under the husks of legend and myth, a sound kernel of historical reality. This may be the case with respect to the Cid, who probably was a warrior so remarkable for genius or bravery above his fellows that he gathered up in a single fame the reputation of many others, with whose deeds he was credited, and whom, as a class, he accordingly represents in history.

Spain, long one of the most flourishing provinces of the Roman Empire, was among the first to fall under the sway of the Visigoths, a warlike but enlightened race, which soon embraced Christianity. For three centuries the country (p. 057) remained under Gothic rule, but fell, in 712, by the invasion of the Arabian conquerors of Africa—a remnant of Christians only preserving an independent monarchy in the mountains of Asturia. This little seed of freedom grew and bore fruit. France proved a formidable barrier against further invasion; and in Spain itself internal jealousies among the Arab families weakened the Moslem and strengthened the Christian power. In the eleventh century there were several states in Spain wholly unfettered by a foreign yoke. The enmity between the two races and creeds was bitter, and war raged perpetually. Yet it often happened that, at the prompting of private revenge or family quarrels, alliances were made between kingdoms thus naturally opposed to each other. A recollection of this fact is essential to a clear understanding of Spanish history at this period.

At the commencement of the eleventh century the chief Christian states of Spain became, through divers marriages, united under one king, Sancho, who died in 1034 dividing his territories among his three sons: of whom Garcia took Navarre, Ferdinand, Castile, and Ramirez, Aragon. Leon, the remaining Christian monarchy, was ruled by Bermudez III., whose sister Ferdinand of Castile had married. Just as this apparent junction of interest occurred among the warriors of the Cross, the greatest confusion prevailed among those of the Crescent. The mighty house of the Ommiades—perhaps the most illustrious of the factions into which the successors of the Prophet were divided—no longer commanded the allegiance of the Arabs of Spain. Its last prince fled, and the chief cities fell into the hands of independent lords, who constituted themselves petty Emirs in their own dominions. Instead, however, of taking full advantage of this state of anarchy to extend their united power, the Christian kings weakened each other by unnatural and deadly quarrels. Ferdinand, King of Castile, seems to have been the principal aggressor. His great captain in his wars, both with Moslem and Christian states, was Rodrigo Laynez, who was called also by the Spaniards Ruy Diaz de Rivar, from the name of his birthplace, and by the Arabs El Sayd (Lord), which has been altered into Cid. He was probably born about the year 1026, or rather later, at the Castle of Rivar, near Burgos, in Old Castile, of a noble but not wealthy family. He joined the army of Ferdinand, and rose by his talents, strength, and courage to the highest place in that king's service. Among the romantic stories told of his early career is one concerning his marriage, which forms the subject of a popular ballad. The father of Rodrigo, having been injured by a Count Gomez, the young knight defied the latter to a duel and slew him. The count's daughter, Ximena, in a storm of grief and rage, flew to the king, and cried for vengeance on Rodrigo, who met her face to face, and awaited the result of her entreaties.

No one, however, was hardy enough to offer himself as the damsel's champion against so doughty a warrior, and Rodrigo calmly retired. His manly bearing and fame won him a place in the very heart which he had so deeply offended; and, with truly Spanish impetuosity, Ximena gave him, not only pardon, but love. She again repaired to the king and asked leave to bestow her hand upon (p. 058) the knight, urging the curious plea that she foresaw he would one day be the most powerful subject in the realm. Informed of this request, of which the king approved, Rodrigo consented to the marriage, as an act of obedience to his sovereign and of justice to the lady. The meeting of this strangely matched pair is thus described in the ballad (Lockhart's translation):

"But when the fair Ximena came forth to plight her hand,
Rodrigo, gazing on her, his face could not command:
He stood, and blushed before her: thus at the last said he,
'I slew thy sire, Ximena, but not in villany:
In no disguise I slew him; man against man I stood;
There was some wrong between us, and I did shed his blood:
I slew a man; I owe a man; fair lady, by God's grace,
An honored husband shalt thou have in thy dead father's place.'"

It is unfortunate that this charming story is supposed to have but little foundation in fact. Many of Rodrigo's legendary exploits are still less authentic; but history and fable unite in declaring him a warrior of no common stamp. His master, King Ferdinand, as we have said, invaded the territories of his brothers and friends, besides those of his enemies. Garcia, Ramirez, and Bermudez successively fell before his attacks, which Rodrigo, in the true spirit of knightly obedience to his lord, did not hesitate to lead. Sancho, the king's eldest son, was Rodrigo's most intimate friend; and on the accession of the prince to his father's throne on the death of Ferdinand, in 1065, Rodrigo became Campeador (or, as the Arabs call him, El Cambitur); that is, head of the army. The new king followed in his father's courses of injustice, and drove his brother, Alfonso, King of Leon, into exile.

The Cid ordering the Execution of Ahmed.

In 1072 Sancho besieged Zamora, which one of his sisters, whom he had likewise despoiled, held out against him. The king was killed during the siege, and, as it was suspected, by the agency of his exiled brother, Alfonso, who succeeded to the throne. Rodrigo felt his friend's death deeply, and did not scruple to avow his suspicions of Alfonso. Before promising allegiance, the Campeador insisted that the king should cleanse himself by an oath of the accusation which popular rumor had brought against him. To this Alfonso, whether innocent or guilty, not unnaturally demurred; but the powerful warrior was firm, and the king at last yielded. When the appointed day arrived, Alfonso made his appearance, surrounded by his courtiers, all obsequiously vying in praise of his glory and virtue, and contemptuous denunciations of his daring accuser. Rodrigo stood alone and gazed on the king sternly. Some of the nobles endeavored to dissuade him from holding this attitude of opposition, and to induce him to forego the demand which he had made; but he put them aside and repeated his challenge. Alfonso dared not refuse to accept, and accordingly recited aloud the form of oath prescribed on such occasions, affirming, in the presence of his maker and the saints of heaven, that he was guiltless of the death of his brother. He had no sooner concluded than all eyes were turned upon the Cid, who, in deep, solemn tones, and with the most impressive earnestness of manner, imprecated (p. 059) on the head of his king every curse that heaven or hell could inflict, if, in taking that oath, he had committed perjury. The awed assembly then broke up. Rodrigo, from that hour, was hated by the king and shunned by the court.

Yet, aware of the Cid's value, Alfonso seems to have concealed his resentment for some time, and even endeavored to win the affection of his great subject by allying him in marriage with one of the royal family. Rodrigo's wife was now dead, and he consented to marry the princess proposed to him, whose name was also Ximena. The marriage took place in 1074. It had not the effect, however, of uniting the king and the Cid. After having achieved a brilliant success over the Arabs of Granada, who were at war with two other Moslem states in alliance with Castile, and having signalized his humanity by releasing all his prisoners, the great Campeador was disgraced and banished by his ungrateful master. At the court of the Emir of Saragossa the exile found a ready welcome, and was appointed to a high post in the government of the kingdom. He did not bear arms against his own sovereign, but headed the Arabs in several battles with the Christians of Aragon and other states. The invasion of a Moorish host in Spain, under the eminent Caliph Jusef Ben Taxfin, chief of the Almoravides and conqueror of Morocco; the rapid subjugation of the independent Emirs, and the defeat of Alfonso's army at the battle of Zalaka, in 1087, recalled the Castilians to a sense of Rodrigo's worth. He was invited to return by Alfonso, and with great generosity consented, bringing with him a large body of men raised by his own exertion and cost. For two years he made his name terrible to the Moors, as the great Christian champion.

But even this fame was not sufficient to secure his influence at court, and about the year 1090 he was once more banished, and his estates were seized. He appears from this time to have commenced a life of adventurous and independent warfare with the Moors. He besieged Alcocer, a strong Moorish fortress on the borders of Aragon, and finally took it. With a band of determined warriors of his own stamp he ravaged, consumed, and spoiled all the Moslem territories which he invaded, making a castle on a rock in Ternel his chief stronghold, and thence sallying out in forays. The place has been ever since called the Rock of the Cid.

The last and greatest achievement of this hero was the taking of Valencia. This city was in the hands of a Moslem prince, Alcadir by name, who had refused to acknowledge the authority of Jusef and the Almoravides over Spain, which they were attempting to subdue. The Cid, either as an ally of Alcadir, or from motives of policy, assisted him in the defence of the city; but it was taken through the treachery of its Cadi, Ahmed. For this service, the traitor was made governor in the room of Alcadir, who fell fighting bravely. A kinsman of the betrayed king determined to avenge his death, and asked the Cid's aid, which was promptly given. The Arabian historians relate that Ahmed yielded after a brief siege, on conditions of safety for himself and family. It is further related that this promise was faithlessly broken, and the guilty Ahmed sentenced by Rodrigo to be burned alive for his crimes. The Christian historians happily acquit (p. 060) the Cid's memory of this barbarity; but all unite in recording the successful siege of the city, which he took in 1094. While he lived, the Moors vainly tried to retake it; but on his death, which is supposed to have occurred in 1099, Valencia again fell. Romance has colored with glowing tints this scanty historic outline of the Cid's life. Spanish literature, for two or three hundred years after his death, is almost confined to epic or ballad poetry, of which he is the hero. To acquire such a fame demanded a force of character, which, if not accurately painted by these loving and fanciful narrators, cannot have fallen far short of the glory with which the world will forever associate the name of the Cid Campeador.[Back to Contents]

By Henry G. Hewlett

In 1091, when the career of the Cid was drawing to a close in Spain, a yet greater Christian champion was born in France; greater, if only in this, that the weapons of his warfare were not carnal. That the work was good in itself, we think will be clear from a perusal of the life of the warrior-monk, St. Bernard.

His birthplace was Fontaines, near Dijon, in Burgundy; his father, Tecelin, a knight of honorable reputation, and so absorbed in his profession that he was compelled to leave the care of his seven sons, of whom Bernard was the third, to his wife Aleth. She was a pious and gentle woman, strictly attached to the duties of religion, and anxious for the spiritual rather than the temporal welfare of her children, whom she therefore devoted to the cloister. A dream, it is said, had indicated to her the future fame of her third son, before his birth. He rapidly displayed signs of possessing no ordinary character. His education was undertaken by the then celebrated school of Chantillon and the University of Paris, where he remained some years, actively pursuing his studies. His mother died soon (p. 061) after his return home, and he then proceeded to fulfil her wish, which accorded with his own, of becoming a monk. His father and friends endeavored to dissuade him from this step, but instead, he persuaded five of his brothers and twenty-five other friends to join him in the career which he had chosen. His father and remaining brothers subsequently followed him, and the whole family took monastic vows. Bernard did not select for his abode one of those monasteries whose wealth and splendor had corrupted the intention of their founders, and softened the severity of the original discipline. His motive was truly religious, and took the superstitious form then almost inseparable from earnest piety. He and his comrades entered the poor convent of Citeaux, near Dijon, where the rules of life enjoined by St. Benedict in the sixth century were observed with great rigor. Frequent watchings, fasts, bleedings, and scourgings, for the purpose of mortifying the body; abstinence from conversation or laughter; habits of perpetual devotion, laborious exertion, and humble obedience to the abbot, were the main features of the system. Bernard undertook the duties of his office with such incessant zeal, and displayed such amazing control over his appetites, that he seriously weakened his health, but at the same time enlarged his reputation to such an extent that the convent became overcrowded with the number of those whom he had attracted thither. He was therefore appointed, after three years' residence at Citeaux, to head a colony of monks which was to be fixed in the valley of Clairvaux—a desolate though beautiful spot in the bishopric of Langres. The tears of their brethren accompanied the departure of Bernard and the twelve others who composed the band. It was in the year 1115, and at the age of twenty-six, that he was made Abbot of Clairvaux. His appearance at the consecration is described as that of a corpse rather than a man, so emaciated with the rigors of devotion had he become. He had frequent visions, perhaps from his weakness, in one of which he imagined that the Virgin Mary herself appeared to him. The privations of the members of his little colony were most severe. The season for sowing had been spent in building the convent, and when the winter came they were reduced to little better than starvation. Coarse bread and beech-leaves steeped in salt were their only food. This scanty sustenance, together with the strict adherence to the Benedictine rule, in which Bernard still persisted, so shattered his health, that the bishop of the diocese, who was his personal friend, at last interfered, and released him from the active duties of abbot. But as soon as a brief respite had restored his strength, Bernard renewed his self-mortifying practices. A fresh attack of illness followed, and he was obliged permanently to relax his habits. In after-years he lamented the error into which his early enthusiasm and mistaken zeal had led him, the effects of which greatly marred his future influence for good.

Though debarred from laboring in his own sphere, Bernard's energetic mind would not let him rest, and he began from this time to exercise the power which his reputation for sanctity had brought him, in political life. He well knew the nature of the position which he was thus enabled to take, and did not shrink from its perils. "Bernard! wherefore art thou here on earth?" is said to have (p. 062) been his constant self-appeal. Poor and unarmed, a priest or monk in those days had nothing wherewith to oppose the tyranny of the powerful nobility, save the weapons of religion and intellect. How righteously they could be used we shall see in the case of Bernard. In repeated instances he interposed the weight of his authority between the anger of a king or noble and the weakness of a subject or tenant, and scarcely ever failed in his object. One of the most remarkable examples of this kind was his conduct toward the Count of Aquitaine. This nobleman, a man of immense strength of will no less than body, and violent and despotic beyond his fellows, having espoused the cause of one rival Pope against another, dismissed from their sees several excellent bishops in his territory who were adverse to his views, and supplied their places without regard to fitness of character. Bernard, having twice remonstrated in vain, after the last interview held a solemn mass in the church near the count's castle, at which that nobleman, as excommunicated, could not be present, but stood outside. The consecration of the wafer was duly performed, and the blessing bestowed upon the people, when Bernard suddenly made his way through the crowd, bearing in his hand the Host on its paten (or plate), and confronted the astonished count as he stood at the church door amid his soldiery. With pale, stern face, and flashing eyes, the daring monk thus addressed the haughty chief: "Twice have the Lord's servants entreated you, and you have despised them. Lo! now the blessed Son of the Virgin—the Head and Lord of that Church which you persecute—appears to you! Behold your Judge, to whom your soul must be rendered! Will you reject Him like His servants?" A hush of awe and expectation among the bystanders followed these words, broken by a groan from the conscience-stricken count, whose imagination was filled with such lively terror of Divine wrath that he fell fainting to the ground. Though raised up by his men, he again fell speechless. Bernard, seizing the opportunity, called to his side one of the deposed bishops, and on the count's recovery ordered that the kiss of reconciliation should be bestowed, and the exile restored. The effect of this scene was not transient, for the proud spirit had been subdued in the count's heart, and he performed penance for his offences by going on pilgrimage.

The Vision of St. Bernard.

Various other instances of Bernard's boldness in rebuking kings, nobles, and even Popes, might be adduced. His most remarkable appearance as a political peace-maker was in the dispute which took place after the death of Pope Honorius II., as to the succession to the popedom. Two rival factions at Rome contended for the claims of separate candidates: one a wealthy and worldly, the other a learned and pious, cardinal. Bernard, as we may suppose, supported the cause of the latter, who took the name of Innocent II. At the council of Etampes, where Louis VI. of France and his nobles were assembled, the monk's eloquence prevailed over all the arguments of diplomacy, and the influence of France was pledged to the side of Innocent. Bernard next engaged aid from Henry I., of England, and Lothaire, the Emperor of Germany. He then proceeded to Milan, where the party of the rival Pope, Anaclete, and his supporter, Conrad, Duke of Suabia, Lothaire's antagonist, was strongest. Bernard's fame (p. 063) was so great, and the imaginations of those who beheld him so fascinated by his force of will, that on his way the sick were carried forth to meet him, and numerous miracles were said to be wrought by the touch of his garments. In Milan, through his eloquence, Anaclete's party was completely vanquished, and the Milanese so impressed that they offered to displace their archbishop in Bernard's favor. But on this and other occasions he steadily refused any such rank, content to live and die in a sphere where he could be more useful, if less exalted. He returned to France, after a lengthened absence, in 1135, meeting on his way with a royal reception.

He was once more absorbed in the duties of his office, as Abbot of Clairvaux, when again summoned to Italy by Innocent II., to oppose the power of Roger, the Norman King of Sicily, whose aid Anaclete had obtained. Bernard first passed into Germany, and successfully mediated between the emperor and the Suabian princes, inducing the latter to relinquish their rebellion. Lothaire was then prevailed upon to aid Innocent by force of arms, while Bernard proceeded to employ force of intellect in the same service. He first won over by his arguments many of Anaclete's chief supporters, and then accepted a challenge which King Roger threw out, to dispute publicly in the Court of Salerno as to the claims of the rival Popes, with Anaclete's champion, Cardinal Pietro di Pisa. At this public contest Bernard not only confuted, but converted, the cardinal, and reconciled him to Innocent. With Roger, Bernard was not so successful, and a battle ensued between the armies of the contending Popes. Innocent was captured, but contrived to make favorable terms with Roger; and a peace was agreed to, which was finally ratified by the death of Anaclete, in 1138. Another anti-pope having been set up, Bernard used his personal influence with the pretender, and induced him to yield. Thus the schism in the Church was healed, and the good abbot returned to Clairvaux.

In 1146 he was mainly instrumental in promoting the second crusade. News reached Europe that, two years before, the Christian state of Edessa (which, as we have already seen, was founded by Baldwin, brother of Godfrey de Bouillon) had, through the weakness of its government, fallen into the hands of the Sultan of Bagdad, and Jerusalem was again in peril. Inflamed with enthusiasm, Bernard stirred up the hearts of his countrymen to zeal in the cause of the Cross. Louis VII., of France, was readily persuaded to undertake the crusade as a penance for his crimes; but the Emperor Conrad, of Germany, was indisposed to exertion; and to him, therefore, Bernard hastened, rousing the people of France and Germany as he travelled through. The frozen reluctance of the monarch could not withstand the fiery earnestness of the monk. Conrad is said to have dissolved into tears at the discourse, and eagerly accepted the cross which was offered. While in Germany Bernard showed his liberality of thought—rare in those days—by sternly rebuking the ignorance of a monk who was denouncing the Jews as the cause of the recent calamities. At the council of Vezelay (in Burgundy), held in 1146, Bernard's eloquence was as exciting in its influence on his hearers as that of Pope Urban had been on a previous occasion. As the (p. 064) speaker, at the end of his oration, held up the cross which was to be the badge of the enterprise, Louis VII. threw himself at the feet of his subject, and the whole assembly thronged round him, shouting the old war-cry, "It is God's will!" Bernard distributed to thousands of eager hands all the crosses which he had brought with him; and finding these insufficient for the demand, took off the Benedictine robe which he wore, and tore it into cross-shaped pieces. So impressed were the chiefs of the crusading army with his power over the people, that at a subsequent assembly they even offered the command of the expedition to him—an unwarlike monk.

He declined the post on the ground of unfitness, but had he accepted it, the issue of the crusades might have been different from what it was. His authority would at least have kept in check the discords, perfidies, and excesses to which he, probably with justice, afterward attributed the failure of the enterprise. From these causes, together with a fatal incapacity on the part of the French and German generals, the second crusade resulted in nothing but the wholesale massacre of the Christian armies by the Turks. Bernard, who had predicted the success of the expedition, was deeply distressed at the unfortunate result; the more as, with great injustice, the weight of popular indignation fell upon him and seriously damaged his influence. This disappointment, however, did not discourage him, and only served to concentrate his attention for the rest of his life on the more immediate duties of his calling.

These he had never neglected, even while immersed in religious politics. By advice and example he greatly reformed the discipline of monastic life. He continually preached in his own convent; and, either personally or through agents, is said to have founded upward of sixty monasteries in alliance with Clairvaux. Among them the Hospice of Mount St. Bernard, in Switzerland, has distinguished itself by loving deeds worthy of its founder. Bernard was an eminent theologian, both in theory and practice, and many of his works are extant. They disclose very forcibly his strong intellect and warm heart. Many of his opinions were most liberal for his age, and he rejected several tenets, on which the Roman Catholic Church has since insisted, with a decision which would have ranked him among heretics had he lived a few centuries later. He manifested, nevertheless, a want of freedom in his conduct toward the great Abelard, who in that age represented the true Protestant spirit of inquiry into the received doctrines of the Church. Against this daring thinker Bernard unjustifiably employed the weight of authority which he possessed, to silence what he deemed a dangerous boldness of opinion. Toward Abelard personally, however, he displayed nothing but generous and respectful courtesy, even in the heat of controversy; and it is satisfactory to know that a cordial interchange of kindly feeling passed between these two eminent men long before their deaths.

Many of Bernard's wise and good deeds are recorded, which cannot be noticed here. We may refer to but one, which greatly influenced the world for centuries after his death; namely, the sanction and aid which he gave to the establishment of the Knight-Templars, a body of soldier-priests, who devoted their (p. 065) lives to the preservation of the Holy Places and the protection of pilgrims. Had they faithfully adhered to the statutes which he drew up for their conduct, the exhibition of zeal which they were designed to make might have been as blessed to Christendom as their arrogance was cursed.

A few years before his death, Bernard had the gratification of seeing one of his own disciples raised to the papal chair, as Pope Eugenius III. The new pontiff recognized his master's authority no less than before his accession, and Bernard's counsel and influence were repeatedly used in his behalf. But the over-activity of the good abbot too soon decayed the slender strength which his firm will had wrested, as it were, from death in a hand-to-hand struggle that lasted for more than forty years. Always sickly, frequently reduced to the brink of the grave, yet perpetually at work, his constitution gave way in 1155, at the age of sixty-three. His last act was worthy of his life. He was on a dying-bed when a discord broke out between the nobles and the burghers of the town of Mentz. Bernard rose, and once more entered the arena of strife with the olive-branch of peace in his hand. The proud barons and the angry citizens listened humbly to his gentle words, and shrank from the mild glances of those eyes which his biographers scarcely ever mention without calling dove-like. The turbulence of passion was hushed, and Bernard returned to die. The filial tears of his disciples at Clairvaux, and the regrets of all the nation, followed him to the grave. About twenty years after his death a decree of canonization awarded him the title of Saint, which, considering how it has been disgraced by unholy bearers, will not seem so fitly to recognize his merit as that name which the reverence of the Church has further bestowed on him—the last of the Fathers.[Back to Contents]

By Lady Lamb

It seems almost incredible that no history should exist of the childhood and early life of an emperor of such note as "Barbarossa;" yet, in spite of most diligent search, we have been compelled almost to renounce one of the most pleasing tasks of a biographer, which consists in making acquaintance with a hero in his infancy, and through childhood and youth following his career to fame and glory. So far as we have been able to discover, no trace, except a few dry data, exists of "Frederick of the Red Beard," until we find him setting out with his uncle, Conrad III., in the spring of 1147, to join the second crusade against the Saracens. The date of his birth is given as 1121, his father being Duke Frederick of Hohenstauffen (surnamed "le Borgne") and his mother Judith, daughter of (p. 066) Henry the Black, Duke of Bavaria; opinions are divided on the subject of his birthplace, some writers mentioning the castle of Veitsberg, near Ravensburg, others the town of Weiblingen, in Nuremburg; but since the main interest of his history does not begin until his succession to the paternal duchy of Swabia, and his departure for the Holy Land in 1147; his marriage with Adelaide, daughter of Theobald, Margrave of Vohburg, in 1149; and finally his accession to the imperial throne in 1152, we must resign ourselves to silence on the subject of his earlier years, and take up his history from the death of Conrad III., and that monarch's choice of him as a successor, to the exclusion of his own son.

Frederick Barbarossa.

From every possible point of view, Frederick of Hohenstauffen justified his uncle's choice: endowed with the most brilliant qualities of heart and mind, he had already earned the suffrages of a great portion of his new subjects by the manner in which he had distinguished himself during the above-mentioned campaign in the Holy Land; moreover, as the son of Frederick of Hohenstauffen and Judith, daughter of Henry the Black, Duke of Bavaria, Ghibelline by his father and Guelph on his mother's side, there seemed good ground for the hope that in him might terminate the differences of the two contending factions. The election diet was accordingly assembled at Frankfort, and it being there decided to confirm Conrad's choice and to invest Frederick with the imperial insignia, he was proclaimed King of the Romans and of Germany, and anointed at Aix-la-Chapelle on March 5, 1152, the ceremony being performed by Arnoul de Gueldre, Archbishop of Cologne. Not lightly or eagerly did the new emperor accept these dignities, but after mature and careful consideration of his capacity to undertake the responsibility of guiding Germany through shoals and quicksands which had little (p. 067) by little enveloped the fair countries won three hundred years before by the valiant Charlemagne.

Tidings of ever-recurring disturbances determined Frederick to make an expedition into Italy, as soon as affairs in Germany would admit of his absence; but there was much to be done first—many princes to be dealt with, who, from different motives viewing his election with dissatisfaction, would take immediate advantage of his departure to bring all the horrors of civil war into his dominions. Bavaria, for example, had been wrested from Henry the Lion, Duke of Saxony, during his minority, by Conrad III., and now he conjured Frederick, with tears and threats, to restore it to him. This, by dint of much diplomacy, Frederick effected, and the result was that for some years he gained a stanch ally, instead of a designing enemy.

Having decided this quarrel and several others, into which we need not enter, Frederick prepared for that first expedition into Italy which, as we have seen, he had resolved on from the commencement of his reign.

At the head of a numerous army he passed into Switzerland, and encamped near the lake of Constance; when, under the banner of Count von Lenzburg, the inhabitants of the three "cents" or cantons of Schwyz, Uri, and Unterwalden came to do homage and offer their feudal service in the field. At the same time, and while still engaged in assembling the forces with which to march into Italy, deputies from the city of Lodi arrived, and throwing themselves at his feet, besought his interference against the oppressions of the Milanese, who had declared for Adrian IV., and whose town was indeed the very hot-bed of the papal faction. The emperor instantly sent letters commanding the Milanese to make full reparation to their unfortunate neighbors; but on perusal of his behests they tore the missives in a thousand pieces, and flung them in the faces of the messengers, sending back by them as their sole answer an open defiance of his authority. Enraged at this insolence, Frederick crossed the Alps, but, too prudent to risk an immediate attack on Milan, strongly fortified and well garrisoned as it was, he sought rather to weaken it through the other towns with which it was in league, and accordingly besieged in turn Rosate, Cairo, and Asti, which all fell into his hands, and ended with the total demolition of the city of Tortona, which he reduced to ashes, afterward even levelling the ground upon which it had stood. This last victory proved the accuracy of Barbarossa's judgment, as regarded the remainder of the fifteen towns of the so-called "Lombard League," most of which, intimidated by his energetic measures, sent ambassadors to do homage on their account. He now seized the iron crown of Lombardy; was crowned at Pavia and again at Monza, after which he entered into negotiations with Adrian IV. for the performance of the coronation ceremony at Rome.

We now come to the second marriage of our hero, when Beatrix, the only child and heiress of Reinold of Burgundy, became his bride; and an echo of the old romantic halo which surrounds that incident in Barbarossa's life reaches us, even in this prosaic age, as we picture to ourselves the gallant, handsome Frederick riding off with his trusty knights to deliver the fair heiress of Count Reinold (p. 068) from the gloomy prison in which her uncle, Count William, had confined her in order to appropriate the rich domains of "Franche-Comté." Over hill and dale sped the chivalrous band till the grim castle was reached; a halt was ordered, and an envoy sent to summon Count William to yield both his fortress and the fair prisoner. At first the count meditated resistance, but on looking out and investigating the number of Frederick's followers, he decided to submit, and congratulated himself on his determination when Frederick's messenger said, on behalf of his master, that if the castle were not given freely it would be taken by force, the fair Beatrix released, and her gloomy prison walls be prevented from hiding any other like iniquity by being razed to the ground. Prudence, we hear, is the better part of valor, and evidently Count William shared in the opinion, for we learn that he promptly let down the drawbridge, over which Frederick and his followers passed, and whence they presently issued, bearing in their midst the quondam prisoner, the lovely Beatrix, whose eyes, moist with tears of gratitude, looked trustingly in the handsome face of her deliverer. So now, away, away to the old church at Wurtzburg! deck the streets, ring the bells, bid priests don their vestments and burghers their best, and fall in merrily with the gay procession that comes to do honor to Barbarossa and his fair bride!

Thus far the little romance of our emperor and Beatrix; now to return to the sober and solemn statement of facts. During 1157 and the next year, Frederick busied himself with a campaign against Poland, and compelled Boleslaw, the king, to acknowledge the supremacy of the head of the German Empire, and to take the oath of fealty, barefoot and with his naked sword hung round his neck; after which he bestowed the kingdom upon Wladislaw of Bohemia, whom he had appointed regent of the German states during his absence, and whom he now took this opportunity to reward. New disputes began to arise between Pope Adrian and Frederick; and when at Besançon some indiscreet remarks of His Holiness as to having "conferred the imperial crown" on, and "accorded it by favor" to Frederick, were mentioned, that monarch waited no longer, but collected a fresh army, and marched into Italy to chastise the pontiff, who, on hearing of his approach, and scared at the prospect of such a calamity, hastened to explain away his words as best he might. The emperor accepted his excuses, but as he was so far on the road, determined to attack Milan, whose inhabitants had increased the anger he already felt for them by rebuilding Tortona (which, as we know, he had totally destroyed), and expelling the inhabitants of Lodi from their dwellings for having called him to mediate on the subject of their wrongs. With 100,000 men (for almost all of the Lombard cities had, either willingly or by force, contributed their militia) and 15,000 cavalry, he advanced toward Milan and laid siege to it. The inhabitants made a most obstinate resistance, and were at length only vanquished by the impossibility of finding food for the vast population within the walls. A capitulation was effected, by which the emperor contented himself with very moderate conditions, the most severe being that which condemned the city to the loss of her privileges; but when the chief nobles came to deliver the keys, barefooted and with every token of humility, he (p. 069) forgot their former insolence, and only required, in return for his clemency, a renewal of the oath of fealty and their promise to rebuild the town of Lodi.

To put an end to these ever-recurring disputes Frederick called together a diet at Roncaglia, to which each of the Italian towns was commanded to send its representative; the four most learned jurists from the university of Bologna being also requested to attend, for the purpose of drawing up a document which should conclusively define the relations between himself, as head of the empire, and the vassals and imperial cities of Italy. But when the learned quartet had heard all the points of dispute, and were in possession of the facts, their decision gave such almost limitless power to Frederick that several of the towns, and more especially Milan, refused to abide by it and prepared for further resistance.

Frederick had not been idle all the time these schisms were raging; on the contrary, he had made a third expedition to Italy, from which he had been compelled to return, leaving the flower of his army lying dead, stricken down with pestilence. The next six years were spent in settling various disputes and complications which had arisen in Germany during his absence; in causing his son Henry, a child of only five years of age, to be crowned at Aix-la-Chapelle; and in keeping some sort of check on his vassal, Henry the Lion, who, now that he had increased his power by a marriage with Matilda, daughter of Henry II. of England, was no unimportant person in the empire, and moreover one extremely liable to become sulky and unmanageable if he had a chance, or the smallest grievance to complain of.

The news now spread through Europe of the reconquest of Jerusalem by Saladin. These tidings effaced every other thought; the new Pope, Urban, forgot the thunders of the Church which he had been keeping, like a second sword of Damocles, suspended over Frederick's head; the emperor buried his resentment; a general peace was concluded, and Barbarossa, then in his seventieth year, gave the regency of his dominions to his son Henry, and joyfully taking up the cross—accompanied by his son Frederick, the flower of German chivalry, and an army of 100,000 men—marched by way of Vienna to Presburg, and thence through Hungary, Servia, and Roumelia.

Isaac Angelus, the Greek emperor, who had promised to furnish the German troops with provisions and assist Frederick in all ways, with the proverbial duplicity of his nation, broke his word, harassed him on his march, and threw Count von Diez, his ambassador, into prison; which treachery greatly incensed the emperor, and caused him to give permission to his soldiers to plunder; the results being that the country soon bore sad traces of their passage, and that the two important towns of Manioava and Philippopolis were completely destroyed. This reduced Isaac, professedly, to a state of contrition; and when Barbarossa advanced toward Constantinople, the Greek emperor, anxious to conciliate him, placed his entire fleet at his disposal for the transport of the German army. Scarcely had they entered Asia Minor before Isaac's good resolutions abandoned him, and leaguing himself with another faithless ally of Frederick, the Sultan of Iconium, they beset the German troops, and did everything they possibly (p. 070) could to make the march more difficult; however, though they tried both fair means and foul, their evil practices resulted in their own defeat, and the Oriental Christians soon found they had every reason to congratulate themselves upon the arrival of such a champion.

The fanaticism of a Turkish prisoner, who, acting as guide, wilfully sacrificed his life in order to mislead Frederick's army, involved the Germans in almost endless troubles by taking them amidst pathless mountains, where the horrors of starvation and the entire lack of water added yet more miseries to their condition. Brave where all were despairing, encouraging his men with cheering words and hopeful looks, their gallant old leader rode on, and footsore, half-starved, thirsty, and wretched as they were, the men tried, though tears of agony filled their eyes, to raise the notes of their Swabian war-song to please him. Frederick, Duke of Swabia, hastened forward with half the remaining army, and gaining a victory over a body of Turks, pushed on till he came to the town of Iconium; when, scattering the enemy before him, he put the inhabitants to the sword, gained a great booty, and, more than all, food, drink, and rest for his weary men.

A body of Turks had meanwhile crept round the town, and surrounded the columns which were advancing under Barbarossa; worn out with sorrow, hunger, and thirst, even his courage gave way for one moment, as he thought that this band of Turks had only, in all probability, reached him by passing over the dead bodies of his brave son and the gallant Swabians; the aged monarch bowed his head, and the scorching tears of rage ran down his cheeks; then dashing his hand across his eyes, he cried: "Christ still lives! Christ conquers!" and shouting to his followers, they fell on the Turks like lions; Barbarossa with his own hand sending many a one to his last sleep. Then they marched forward to Iconium, where rest and plenty awaited them, and where the old emperor doubtless found much cause for thankfulness when he threw himself into the arms of his brave son.

At Iconium the army stayed for some time, the soldiers being in sad need of repose; and then starting afresh, continued as far as the little river Saleph; when, the road being encumbered with cattle, and the emperor impatient of delay, he commanded his men to cross the stream and plunged into the water. Here this hero of many combats, this brave and wise king, was destined to end his long life in an obscure river, of which he had probably never heard; the current was too strong for his horse, and, nobly as the animal battled against it, both rider and steed were drowned.

The Germans, almost frantic with grief and dismay, made frenzied efforts to regain the body of their leader; and, when at last they succeeded, they conveyed it with much loving care to Antioch, where it was buried in St. Peter's Church.

With the history of the crusade after the death of our hero, we have nothing to do further than to say that his son, Frederick, took the chief command and led the brave followers of his gallant father until a pestilence occasioned his death at Acre, in the following year, when the remnant of the once formidable army returned to Germany.

The Death of Barbarossa.

How Barbarossa still lingers in the hearts of his people even now, when all (p. 071) these hundreds of years divide his time from theirs, is shown by a dozen legends. Most of these profess an utter disbelief in the death of their loved emperor; one of them tells how, in a rocky cleft of the Klyfhaüser Mountains, Barbarossa still sleeps calmly and peacefully; he sits before a marble table into which and through which his red beard has grown; his head is bowed on his folded hands, and though he from time to time lifts it and opens his eyes, it is but to shut them again quickly, for the right time of his awakening is not come; he has seen the ravens flying round the mountain, and his long sleep will only end when their black forms are no longer visible, when he will step forth and avenge the wrongs of the oppressed.

Another story says that he is lying in the Untersberg near Salzburg, and that when the dead pear-tree which, thrice cut down, plants itself afresh, shall bud forth and blossom, the gallant "Rothbart" will come out into the bright daylight, hang his shield on the pink-flowered bough, throw down his gauntlet as a gage to all evil-doers, and, aided by the good and chivalrous few who will still be inhabitants of this bad world, will vanquish cruelty and wickedness, and realize the dream of a golden age they have for so long anticipated.[Back to Contents]


Richard Cœur De Lion.

Richard I., King of England, surnamed Cœur de Lion, was the third son of Henry II. and his queen, Eleanor, and was born at Oxford, in the king's manor house there, afterward the monastery of the White Friars, in September, 1157. By the treaty of Montmirail, concluded on January 6, 1169, between Henry and Louis VII. of France, it was stipulated that the duchy of Aquitaine should be made over to Richard, who should do homage and fealty for it to Louis, and should espouse Adelais, or Alice, that king's youngest daughter; and in 1170 King Henry, being taken ill at Domfront, in Maine, made a will, by which he confirmed this arrangement. In 1173 Richard, with his younger brother, Geoffrey, and their mother, joined their eldest brother, Henry, in his first rebellion against their father. On the submission of the rebels, in September, 1174, Richard received two castles in Poitou, with half the revenue of that earldom, and, along with Geoffrey, did (p. 072) homage and swore fealty to their father. Nevertheless Richard continued from this time to hold the government of the whole of Aquitaine, and to be usually styled, as before, Duke of Aquitaine, or Duke of Poitou (which were considered as the same title), although it appears that King Henry now looked upon the arrangements made at the treaty of Montmirail as annulled, and that dukedom to have actually reverted to himself. In 1183 Richard refused, when commanded by his father, to do homage for Aquitaine to his elder brother, Henry; on which his brothers Henry and Geoffrey invaded the duchy, and a new war ensued between them and their father, who was assisted by Richard, which, however, was terminated by the death of the eldest of the three brothers in June of that same year, when Richard became his father's heir-apparent. But at an interview between King Henry and Philip Augustus, now King of France, in November, 1188, Richard, apparently impelled by a suspicion that his father intended to leave his crown to his younger brother, John, and also professing to resent his father's conduct in withholding from him his affianced bride, the French king's sister, suddenly declared himself the liegeman of Philip for all his father's dominions in France; whence arose a new war, in which Philip and Richard speedily compelled King Henry to yield to all their demands, and a treaty to that effect was about to be signed when King Henry died, on July 6, 1189. Richard was present at the burial of his father in the choir of the convent of Fontevrault.

Notwithstanding his apprehensions, real or affected, of his brother John, Richard made no particular haste to come over to England, but, contenting himself with ordering his mother, Queen Eleanor, to be liberated from confinement, and to be invested with the regency of that kingdom, he first proceeded to Rouen, where he was formally acknowledged as Duke of Normandy on July 20th, and it was August 13th before he arrived at Portsmouth (or, as others say, at Southampton). His coronation, from which the commencement of his reign is dated, took place in Westminster Abbey on September 3d. It was on occasion of that ceremony that a furious riot broke out among the Jews in London, which was in the course of the next six months renewed in most of the great towns throughout the kingdom. At York, in March, 1190, a body of 500 Jews, with their wives and children, having taken refuge in the castle, found no other way of saving themselves from their assailants than by first cutting the throats of the women and children and then stabbing one another.

A short time before his father's death Richard, and his then friend, Philip Augustus, had, as it was expressed, taken the cross, that is to say, had publicly vowed to proceed to the Holy Land, to assist in recovering from the infidels the city and kingdom of Jerusalem, which had recently (1187) fallen into the hands of the great Saladin. The mighty expedition, in which all the principal nations of Western Christendom now joined, for the accomplishment of this object is known by the name of the Third Crusade. Leaving the government of his kingdom during his absence in the hands of William Longchamp, Bishop of Ely and chancellor, and Hugh Pudsey, Bishop of Durham and justiciary, Richard took his departure from England on December 11th of this same year, 1189, and proceeding (p. 073) to Normandy, united his forces with those of Philip Augustus in the plain of Vezelay on July 1, 1190. The two friends proceeded together at the head of an army of more than 100,000 men as far as Lyons, where they separated on the 31st; Philip taking the road to Genoa, Richard that to Marseilles, where he was to meet his fleet. The fleet, however, not arriving so soon as was expected, Richard in his impatience hired thirty small vessels for the conveyance of himself and his suite, and, sailing for Naples, arrived there on August 28th. On September 8th he proceeded by sea to Salerno, where he remained till the 23d, and then sailed for Messina, which port his fleet had reached about a week before, with the army, which it had taken on board at Marseilles. The French king had also arrived at Messina a few days before his brother of England.

The two kings remained together at Messina till the end of March, 1191. During their stay Richard compelled Tancred, who had usurped the crown of Sicily, to relinquish the dower of his sister Joan, the widow of William, the late sovereign, and to pay him besides forty thousand ounces of gold. In return he betrothed his nephew, Arthur, the son of his next brother, Geoffrey, to Tancred's infant daughter, and formed a league offensive and defensive with the Sicilian king—a connection which afterward cost him dear, for it was the source of the enmity of the Emperor Henry VI., who had married Constantia, the aunt of William, and claimed the throne of Sicily in right of his wife. After the dispute with Tancred had been settled, the latent rivalry of Richard and Philip broke out in a quarrel about the Princess Adelais, whom her brother Philip insisted that Richard should espouse, in conformity with their betrothment, now that his father no longer lived to oppose their union. But if Richard had ever cared anything for the French princess, that attachment had now been obliterated by another, which he had some years before formed for Berengaria, the beautiful daughter of Sancho VI. (styled the Wise), King of Navarre; in fact he had by this time sent his mother Eleanor to her father's court to solicit that lady in marriage, and, his proposals having been accepted, the two were now actually on their way to join him. In these circumstances Philip found himself obliged to recede from his demand; and the matter was arranged by an agreement that Richard should pay a sum of ten thousand marks, in five yearly instalments, and restore Adelais, who had previously been conducted into England, and the places of strength that had been given along with her as her marriage portion, when he should have returned from Palestine.

Richard, having sent his mother home to England, sailed from Messina on April 7th, at the head of a fleet of about two hundred ships, of which fifty-three were large vessels of the sort styled galleys; his sister, the queen dowager of Sicily, and the Princess Berengaria accompanying him. The King of France had set sail about a week before. Several months, however, elapsed before Richard reached the Holy Land, having been detained by an attack which he made upon the island of Cyprus; Isaac, the king, or emperor, of which had ill used the crews of some of the English ships that had been driven upon his coasts in a storm. Richard took Limasol, the capital, by assault; and that blow was soon followed (p. 074) by the complete submission of Isaac and the surrender of the whole island. Isaac was put into confinement, and remained a captive till his death in 1195. Meanwhile the island of Cyprus was made over by Richard, in 1192, to Guy of Lusignan, upon his resignation of the now merely titular royalty of Jerusalem to his rival Henry of Champagne and Guy's posterity reigned in that island till the year 1458.

Having married Berengaria at Limasol, Richard set sail from Cyprus, on June 4th (1191), with a fleet now described as consisting of thirteen large ships called busses, fifty galleys, and a hundred transports; and on the 10th he reached the camp of the crusaders assembled before the fortress of Acre, the siege of which had already occupied them not much less than two years, and had cost the lives, it is said of nearly two hundred thousand of the assailants. But the presence of the English king, although he was suffering from severe illness, and had to be carried to the trenches on a litter, immediately inspired so much new vigor into the operations of the Christian army that, on July 12th, the place surrendered, and Saladin, who had been harassing the besiegers from the neighboring mountains, withdrew, in conformity with the terms of capitulation. This great event, however, was immediately followed by an open rupture between Richard and King Philip, whose rivalry had already exhibited itself in a variety of ways, and more particularly in the support given by Richard to the claim of Guy of Lusignan, and by Philip to that of Conrad of Montferrat to the vacant crown of Jerusalem. Philip, in fact, took his departure from Palestine on the last day of July, leaving only ten thousand men, under the command of the Duke of Burgundy.

Richard at the Battle of Arsur.

Richard performed prodigies of valor in the Holy Land, but, although a signal defeat of Saladin on September 7th at Arsur was followed by the capture of Jaffa and some other places of less importance, Jerusalem, which was the main object of the crusade, so far from being taken was not even attacked. Jaffa, however, after it had again fallen into the hands of Saladin, was recovered by the impetuous valor of the English king. At last, on October 9, 1192, Richard set sail from Acre in a single vessel, his fleet, having on board his wife, his sister, and the daughter of the captive King of Cyprus, having put to sea a few days before. The three ladies got safe to Sicily; but the first land the king made was the island of Corfu, which he took about a month to reach. He left Corfu about the middle of November with three coasting-vessels which he hired there; but after being a few days at sea he was compelled by a storm to land on the coast of Istria, at a spot between the towns of Aquileia and Venice. After narrowly escaping first from falling at Goritz into the hands of Maynard, a nephew of Conrad of Montferrat (to whose murder in Palestine Richard, upon very insufficient evidence, was suspected to be an accessory), and then at Friesach from Maynard's brother, Frederick of Batesow, he was taken on December 21st, at Erperg, near Vienna, by Leopold, Duke of Austria (a brother-in-law of Isaac of Cyprus), and was by him consigned to close confinement in the castle of Tyernsteign, under the care of his vassal, Baron Haldmar. In the course of a few (p. 075) days, however, by an arrangement between Leopold and the Emperor Henry VI., the captive king was transferred to the custody of the latter, who shut him up in a castle in the Tyrol, where he was bound with chains, and guarded by a band of men who surrounded him day and night with drawn swords. In this state he remained about three months. Meanwhile, intelligence of his having fallen into the hands of the emperor had reached England, and excited the strongest sensation among all ranks of the people. It is sufficient to mention that during his absence a struggle for supremacy had for some time been carried on with varying success between the king's brother, John, and Longchamp, the chancellor, who had acquired the entire regency, and had also been appointed papal legate for England and Scotland; and that this had resulted, in October, 1191, in the deposition of Longchamp, by a council of the nobility held in St Paul's Churchyard, London; after which he left the country, and although he soon ventured to return, ultimately deemed it most prudent to retire to Normandy. The supreme authority was thus left for a time in the hands of John, who, as soon as he learned the news of his brother's captivity, openly repaired to Paris, and did homage to the French king for the English dominions on the Continent.

Richard Cœur De Lion

On returning to England, John raised an army to support his pretensions, while his confederate, Philip, took up arms in his behalf in France, and, entering Normandy, overran a great part of that duchy, although Rouen, the capital, was preserved principally by the exertions of the Earl of Essex, lately one of Richard's companions in the Holy Land. In England, also, John met with a general opposition to his usurpation of the regal authority, which soon compelled him to conclude an armistice with a council of regency that had been appointed by the prelates and barons. This was the position of affairs when Longchamp, having discovered Richard's place of confinement, after much solicitation prevailed upon the emperor to allow the royal prisoner to be brought before the diet at Hagenau, where, accordingly, he made his appearance on April 13, 1193, and defended himself with so much eloquence against the several charges made against him in regard to Tancred and the kingdom of Sicily, to his conquest of Cyprus, and to the murder of Conrad of Montferrat, that Henry found himself compelled by the general sentiment of the diet to order his chains to be immediately struck off, and to agree to enter upon negotiations for his ransom. Longchamp was immediately despatched to England with a letter to the council of regency, and the result was, that, notwithstanding the insidious efforts both of John and his friend, (p. 076) Philip of France, to prevent the conclusion of the treaty, Richard was at last liberated, on February 4, 1194, after seventy thousand marks had been actually paid to the emperor, and hostages given for the payment of thirty thousand more. The English king had also engaged to release both Isaac of Cyprus and his daughter, and he had besides, at the persuasion, it is said, of his mother, Eleanor, the more effectually to conciliate Henry, formally resigned his crown into the hand of the emperor, who immediately restored it to him to be held as a fief of the empire, and burdened with a yearly feudal payment to his superior lord of five thousand pounds. This strange transaction rests on the authority of the contemporary annalist Hoveden. Richard, descending the Rhine as far as Cologne, proceeded thence across the country to Antwerp, and, embarking there on board his own fleet, landed at Sandwich on March 13th.

Most of John's strongholds had been wrested from his hands before his brother's return, and now the rest immediately surrendered and he himself fled the country, and with his principal adviser, Hugh, Bishop of Coventry, having been charged with high treason, and not appearing to plead after forty days, was outlawed and divested of all his possessions.

Meanwhile it was thought necessary that Richard should be crowned again, and that ceremony was accordingly performed at Winchester by Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, on April 17th. Then, leaving Hubert guardian of England and grand justiciary, on May 2d, following, having, with his characteristic activity employed almost every moment since his arrival in raising an army and procuring funds for its maintenance by all sorts of exactions and the most unscrupulous use of every means in his power, he again set sail from Portsmouth, his whole soul bent on chastising the King of France. Owing to adverse winds he was a fortnight in reaching Barfleur, in Normandy, where, as soon as he landed, he was met by his brother John, who professed contrition and implored his pardon, which, on the intercession of his mother, Eleanor, was granted. Richard now marched against Philip, and several engagements took place between them, in most of which the English king was successful. But the war, though it lasted for some years, was distinguished by few remarkable events. A truce for one year was agreed to on July 23d, and although hostilities were resumed some time before the expiration of that term, a peace was again concluded in the end of the following year, which lasted till the beginning of 1197.

All this time Hubert, assisted by Longchamp, who had been restored to his office of chancellor, is said to have presided over the government at home with great ability. Hubert had been educated under the famous Glanvil, and he seems, in the spirit of his master, to have exerted himself in re-establishing and maintaining the authority of the law, by which alone, even if he did no more, he must have materially contributed to the revival of industry. The large sums, however, which he was obliged to raise by taxation to meet the expenses of the war, in the exhausted state to which the country had been reduced provoked much popular dissatisfaction; and the third year of the king's absence in particular was distinguished by the remarkable commotion excited by William Fitz-Osbert, (p. 077) styled Longbeard, a citizen of London, who is admitted to have possessed both eloquence and learning, and whose whole character and proceedings might not improbably, if he had had his own historian, have assumed a very different complexion from what has been given to him. Longbeard, who acquired the names of the Advocate and King of the Poor, is affirmed to have had above fifty thousand of the lower orders associated with him by oaths which bound them to follow whithersoever he led. When an attempt was made to apprehend him by two of the wealthier citizens, he drew his knife and stabbed one of them, named Geoffrey, to the heart, and then took refuge in the church of St Mary-le-Bow in Cheapside, the tower of which he and his followers fortified, and held for three days, when they were at last (April 7, 1196), dislodged by fire being set to the building. Fitz-Osbert was first dragged at a horse's tail to the Tower, and then to the Elms in West Smithfield, where he was hanged, with nine of his followers. The people, however, long continued to regard him as a martyr.

The war between Richard and Philip broke out again in 1197, and in the course of this campaign Richard had the gratification of capturing the Bishop of Beauvais, a personage whom he had reason to regard as a main instigator of the severities and indignities which he had sustained at the hands of the emperor. The bishop was taken armed cap-à-pie and fighting, and when Pope Celestine recommended him to the clemency of Richard as his son, the English king sent his holiness the bishop's coat of mail, with the following verse of Scripture attached to it: "This have we found; know now whether it be thy son's coat, or no." This same year, too, finished the career of the Emperor Henry, who, in his last moments, is said to have expressed the extremest remorse for the manner in which he had treated the great champion of the Cross. Richard's other enemy, Leopold, Duke of Austria, had been killed by a fall from his horse two years before.

A truce, as usual, at the end of the year, again suspended hostilities for a space. The war was renewed on its termination, and in this campaign (of the year 1198) Richard gained one of his greatest victories near Gisors, when Philip in his flight fell into the river Epte, and was nearly drowned. After this, by the intercession of the Pope's legate, a truce was concluded between the two kings for five years, and they never met again in fight; although they probably would, notwithstanding the truce, if both had lived. But on March 26th in the following year, 1199, as Richard was engaged in reducing the castle of Chaluz, the stronghold of one of his Aquitanian vassals, Vidomar, Viscount of Limoges, who it seems had refused to surrender a treasure found on his estate, to which the king laid claim in right of his feudal superiority, Cœur de Lion was struck in the left shoulder by an arrow, aimed from the rampart of the castle by a youth named Bertrand de Gurdun. The wound would not have been dangerous but for the mismanagement of the surgeon in his attempts to extract the arrow-head, which had broken off in the flesh. As it was, Richard lived only till Tuesday, April 16th. The shot was a fatal one in every way; in the fury into which the wound of the king threw the besieging army the castle was taken by storm, and all the (p. 078) persons found in it were immediately hanged, as some authorities say, by the king's orders, with the exception only of Gurdun. He was brought into the presence of his dying victim, when Richard, under the impulse of generosity or compunction, gave him his liberty, with a hundred shillings to take him home; but after the king's death he was flayed alive, and then hanged, by order of Marchadee, the leader of the Brabantine mercenaries serving in Richard's army.

The character of Richard is, of course, not to be judged without reference to the general manners of the age in which he lived. It is probable enough that there was hardly an excess, either of violence or licentiousness, into which his impetuous temperament did not occasionally precipitate him; but he seems to have had nothing base or malignant in his composition; and that he was as capable of acts of extraordinary generosity and disinterestedness as of excesses of brutal fury or profligacy. Of the courage and strength of will proper to his race, he had his full share, with more than his share of their strength of thew and sinew; and his intellectual powers, both natural and acquired, were also of a high order. He was renowned in his own day not only as beyond all dispute the stoutest and most gallant of living heroes, but as likewise occupying a place in the foremost rank of those who excelled in wit, in eloquence, and in song.[Back to Contents]

By George Parsons Lathrop, LL.D.

St. Francis of Assisi.

One reason why those beings who are known to us as saints are so little understood is, that their lives are usually written in one of two ways, both equally unsuited to popular appreciation. Either they are presented in a dry, bare, matter-of-fact manner, which requires all the knowledge and sympathy of the initiated to give it vital meaning; or else they are surrounded with an appanage of portents, visions, miracles, legends—spread before the reader without discrimination or explanation—which confuse the mind and soul, and absolutely repel all who do not share the faith of the subject and the biographer.

As a matter of fact, no Catholic is obliged to accept these legends and traditions (p. 079) literally, except in those cases where the authorities of the Church, after a scrutiny, which is always deliberate and searching, declare that a miracle was wrought. But every Catholic, by the very nature of his belief in the actual presence of the Divinity among men, must acknowledge and maintain that miracles have been wrought by that supernatural power constantly, ever since apostolic times; that they may and do occur, through the same power, at any moment to-day; and always will occur. In the ordinary gossip of the world, men hold to the maxim that if reports are current, all pointing to one particular fact, there must be truth in them. "Where there is so much smoke there is sure to be some fire." We should at least accord the same, if not a greater, degree of probability and of credence to stories of the saints which have been carefully, competently examined. "The love of the marvellous," says Chavin de Malin, in his book on St. Francis, "is but a remnant of our original greatness. Man was created to contemplate the wonders of the Divinity; and, until he clearly beholds them, he is borne onward by an interior desire to love and admire everything which bears the slightest resemblance to them.... A person utterly ignorant of the practices of a spiritual life can no more do justice to the life of a saint, than a blind man could adjudicate on the merits or demerits of a painting." He adds that, with regard to the religious occupations of the Middle Ages, "the positive bounds of history could not be kept, digressions were made on all sides, and thus around the true history of saints, like a poetic wreath, wonder and amazement were both entwined. Christianity has had its denominated legendary tales, which invariably are based on truth, and should not be rejected by the historian without serious reflection and profound study."

There is still another way of regarding the saints; the purely material view, which denies the immediate action of supernatural power upon the details of natural daily life, mental or physical. This view—or rather, this abstention from seeing—is futile; because, without a particle of actual proof to sustain its negative, it refuses to admit possibilities of truth to which the really comprehensive and perceptive mind must always hold itself open.

Saint Francis was born at Assisi, in Umbria, in 1182; near the close of the twelfth century, which has been called a "century of mud and blood, when darkness prevailed over light, evil over good, the flesh over the spirit." Umbria was then, as it is now, a beautiful and fertile valley, rich in citron, almond, aloe, with forest trees of oak and pine and fir, to which long cultivation has added grapevines, engarlanding the elms, and orchards of the pale-leaved olive-tree, that give the landscape a somewhat transparent, aërial effect. The province is encircled on one hand by the yellow Tiber; on the other, by the bluish foot-hills of the Apennines; and it is full of ancient little towns, nestled in the vales, or perched upon the airy hill-crests, with crenelated towers and terraces which command far-reaching and inspiring views. Old Perugia guards the northern entrance to this exquisite region; and five leagues to the northeast of that town is the saint's birthplace, Assisi.

His father was Peter Bernard of Moriconi, better known as "Bernardone," a (p. 080) rich merchant who carried on extensive business with France. In those days Italian merchants maintained a lavish mode of life, resembling that of the nobles; and as the disorders of the period and the perils attending travel compelled them to send armed escorts with their convoys of merchandise, there was something of military daring and display mingled with their business and their surroundings. The wife of Bernardone, however, whose name was Pica (of the noble Bourlemont family of Provence), was remarkable for her piety; the son—in this, as in so many historic instances of genius or distinction—inheriting his rare quality from the mother's side. She had but one other child, a younger son, Angelo, who, notwithstanding his heavenly name, seems to have been a boy after Bernardone's own pattern; since he, later on, reviled Francis and called him a fool for his piety and self-renunciation. Angelo's descendants were still living in Assisi in the latter half of the sixteenth century. Whether they shared their ancestor's contemptuous opinion of the Saint has not been recorded; but it seems probable that the homage of the world, rendered to the poor ascetic for several centuries, may have made some impression on their minds, if not their souls.

Just before the birth of Francis, his mother suffered greatly. A pilgrim, coming to the house for alms, told the servants: "The mother will be delivered only in a stable, and the child see the light upon straw." This appeared strange and unreasonable enough. Nevertheless his advice was followed. Pica was carried to the stable, and there she gave birth to her first son, whom she caused to be baptized John, after the beloved apostle of Jesus. Her husband, Bernardone, was absent at the time on a business tour in France. Upon his return, he was delighted at finding that he had a boy; and he insisted on giving him the surname Francis, in commemoration of that country with which he drove such a flourishing trade. Possibly he was also moved by the thought—albeit the chroniclers do not say so—that his wife's family came from Southern France. At all events, Francis was the name by which the son came to be known throughout his life and in history.

Under priestly teachers he received an education which, for that time, was a fairly good one, in Latin, French, and literature. At the age of fourteen his father took him into partnership; and for ten years the young man bought and sold with him, or travelled for him. But while Bernardone was a hard, avaricious man, the son differed from him greatly in disposition; being fond of dress, of song, and feasting, gayety, and gaming. He was generous even to prodigality, full of wit and imagination, very sympathetic withal, and compassionate. Thomas of Celano thus describes him: "His figure was above the middle height and well set. He was thin, and of a very delicate constitution. He had an oval face, broad brow, white, close-set teeth, dark complexion, black hair, regular features, expressive countenance, rosy lips, and a charming smile." With all his roystering, dissipation, and extravagance, however, he was a foe to immorality, always rebuked impurity in severe terms, and kept his own purity intact. This lavish and somewhat reckless pursuit of other pleasures gave his parents much anxiety; although his mother, Pica, said in his defence, "I see in him, even in his (p. 081) amusements, a nobility of character which gives me the highest hopes of his future." But up to his twenty-fourth year nothing seemed more unlikely than that he should have any vocation to a holy life. He was called the "flower of the youth" of Assisi, rejoiced in his gay leadership of the rich young men of the place, and dreamed of winning military glory.

In this capacity of taking the lead, and in the confident belief he often expressed that he would one day receive honor from the world, we see one natural germ of his later spiritual eminence. Another and more potent germ was the love of the poor, and his pity for them, which he manifested from childhood. In 1201, taking part as a soldier in a brief war between Assisi and Perugia, he was captured, with several of his companions, and imprisoned for a year. This experience, his first touch of adversity, sobered him a little; opening his eyes to the contrast between prosperity, with idle amusement and flattery, on the one hand, and on the other, suffering. Soon after his return home, also, he was stricken down by a long and painful illness. When he rose from it and, as a convalescent, took his first walk into the country, he was astonished to find that the beautiful Umbrian landscape which he had always so enjoyed, seemed to him cold, discolored, and sombre. A natural effect of illness, one may say. Yet it more often happens that when a convalescent returns to fresh air and the beauty of the earth, his pleasure in them is heightened. At all events Francis was vividly impressed with the nothingness of nature, as compared with the eternal splendor of God. But presently the passion for warlike renown took possession of him again. In 1206 he volunteered to join the Count of Brienne, a Guelph champion of Italian national independence, who was defending the Two Sicilies against the attacks of the German emperor, Frederick II. Announcing to his friends that he was about to become a great captain, Francis set out for the field of war, richly apparelled and with a brilliant retinue.

In truth he was shortly to become a great captain, though not as he expected, in war, but in peace. On the way to Spoleto, southward, a voice that seemed to come from heaven sounded in his ears; just as Saul was appealed to while on his way to Damascus and was converted by it into St. Paul. To the young Umbrian, half asleep, the voice said: "Francis, which can do thee most good; the master or the servant, the rich one or the pauper?" He replied: "The master and the rich one." And the voice resumed: "Why, then, leavest thou God, who is both rich and the Master, to run after man, who is only the servant and the pauper?" Then Francis cried: "Ah, Lord; what willest Thou I should do?" "Go," said the voice, "return to thy native city, for the vision thou hast had has a spiritual meaning. It is from God, not men, thou shalt receive its accomplishment."

Heedless of whatever taunts might be flung at him, he turned back. But the youth of Assisi, though surprised, were rejoiced to see him, and begged him to preside once more at their revels. He gave them a final magnificent banquet, at which they noticed that he was silent and preoccupied. Immediately afterward he retired to a grotto, where he passed his days alone, entreating God to pardon (p. 082) the misspent years of youth and to direct him in the right way. Here he had a vision of Jesus Christ nailed to the cross. It is probably impossible to prove a vision; but that this one was real to Francis, at least, we may judge by its effects. Thenceforth he devoted himself to a pious life of marvellous self-abnegation. Seeing the change that had come upon him, his former friends fell away; but he, undisturbed, went on performing works of charity; making gifts of money, food, and even his own clothes to the poor. Again a voice spoke to him, from the crucifix of the dilapidated old church of St. Damien: "Francis, go and repair my house, which you see falling into ruins!" The young ascetic obeyed literally, and, passing through the streets, begged from all whom he met a stone or two to help rebuild the old church. Bernardone had been absent several months on one of his business trips; but his home-coming, this time, was not so pleasing to him as when his boy had been born. For, seeing the young man's complete transformation, all his selfish love of him turned into rage. He imprisoned him for a while in his own house; but Pica, recognizing that it was useless to oppose her son's religious vocation, finally set him free, and Francis took refuge in St. Damien's church. His father pursued him there, and brought before the Bishop of Assisi a complaint against him, demanding that he should give up all the money in his hands. Francis not only surrendered his money, but stripped off his clothing and gave it to his father, saying: "Until now I have called Peter Bernardone my father. Henceforth I can boldly say, 'Our Father, who art in heaven,' in whom I have placed all my treasures and my hopes."

The bishop covered him with his mantle and held him clasped in his arms, until the by-standers brought Francis the cloak of a poor peasant. "Oh, what a grand bankrupt this merchant becomes to-day!" Bossuet wrote of him, long afterward. "Oh man worthy of being written in the book of the evangelical poor, and henceforward living on the capital of Providence!" From that time Francis wore mendicant's garb and begged his food in the streets.

What did he accomplish by all this? To begin with, he succeeded in rebuilding three churches. But his influence was destined to be much more far-reaching than that, and of a very different nature. One day, while he was supplicating in church, his brother Angelo passed near him, and said to a friend, scoffingly: "Go, ask him to sell you some drops of his sweat." "No," said Francis; "I shall not sell my sweat to men. I shall sell it at a higher price, to God." He gave his sweat, his toil, his sufferings, and his renunciation to God, in exchange for the regeneration of men in a corrupt age.

All Europe, at that time the whole civilized world, was suffering. The mass of the people were the poor, who were in deep distress, ground down by the pride and oppressions of the barons and the rich. The country was devastated by wars, large and small. The emperors of Germany were trying to establish their dominion over Italy and to control the Pope. The Church itself, after emerging from an heroic struggle with centuries of barbarism, had been obliged to accept and use the feudal system as a means of self-defence; and now the wrongs, the injustices, the selfishness of feudal society were beginning to exercise (p. 083) a corrupting influence on the exterior of the Church itself. Unselfish and holy men in ecclesiastical places, both high and humble, preserved the spirit and sanctity of Christian faith, but were not able wholly to counteract the evils of pride, wealth, and luxury that invaded the Church from the worldly side, and infected its unworthy servants. Francis perceived that the only hope or relief possible to that age lay in a decisive spiritual revolution, to be effected without violence, which would recall people to the primitive simplicity, unselfishness, and absolute devotion of the time of Christ and the apostolic period. This revolution could be accomplished, he saw, only by a personal example so strong, so undeviating, so entirely free from self-seeking, that all men would be compelled to pause and consider it, and then to act upon it. He therefore sacrificed his whole life for the good of the race. In the end he achieved his aim, single-handed, single-souled. No one who believes in God and in Christianity throughout, can maintain that Francis of Assisi brought about these results by mere unaided human power. The human element relies upon will, coercion, manœuvre, and even intrigue. Francis gave up all these means. He first served the lepers for a month, living with them and taking care of them. This should especially interest us to-day; since Father Damien's self-immolating life among the lepers of the Hawaiian Islands in recent years is so well known to us, and since the first refuge of Saint Francis from the world was St. Damien's church, in Assisi. Portiuncula, "The Little Portion," was one of the churches which he had rebuilt, and was his favorite. While he was listening to the Gospel there, one day in February, 1209, these words were read from the altar: "Do not possess gold nor silver, nor money in your purses; nor scrip for your journey, nor two coats, nor shoes, nor a staff."

That precept decided him. He saw his vocation as a devotee of holy poverty. Straightway he began preaching everywhere the duty of poverty and love of the poor; and gradually he drew to himself disciples, until they numbered twelve; sometimes accosting his old friends, sometimes strangers, who immediately joined him and consented to give up all worldly things, for the love of God. Most of them were men of rank and wealth, who had never known privation; yet they gave up social positions where they had been accustomed to command, accepted dire penury with him in a hut at Rivotorto, and submitted themselves to him in entire obedience. "Bread begged from door to door is the bread of angels," said Francis. They went barefoot, wore a coarse gray tunic with a cincture of cord, prayed much, helped the sick and needy, discoursed to and exhorted the people, and lived on bread and water chiefly. Amid all these austerities they thanked God that they had been chosen to give an example of perfect happiness! Their leader insisted upon incessant industry and unfailing cheerfulness. "Think of your errors in your cells," he commanded. "Weep, kneeling before God. But before others be gay, and maintain an air of ease." At first they called themselves simply "penitents from Assisi," and for a time they were treated with ridicule, scorn, and even violence. But their mission was to suffer everything, to rejoice at insults and injuries and, by patience, compel recognition of the dignity (p. 084) of every human creature under whatsoever guise he might present himself. In this they succeeded.

To a novice he said one day, "Brother, let us go out and preach." Taking him along, he went up into Assisi and they walked through the streets without saying a word; then returned to the convent. "And our preaching, father?" asked the novice. "It is done," replied the Saint; implying that a modest, thoughtful exterior and the force of example are often the most eloquent kind of preaching. But in 1209 it became clear to him by an inward vision in which the Christ came to him as a shepherd, that great numbers would flock to follow him; and, though he had not thought of founding an Order, he now saw that it would be necessary. He therefore drew up a simple Rule in twenty-three chapters; the gist of which was that they were to possess no money, no property whatever; that they were neither to blame nor to judge any one; were to hold themselves profoundly respectful toward all members of the clergy; to say not a word against the rich or against luxury; to preach, everywhere, concord and the love of God and one's neighbor; to bind themselves to obedience and chastity, as well as poverty; to do penance and persist in the perfect faith of Christ. Not until sixteen years later did the Lateran Council ordain that all religious orders must receive the approval of the Holy Father. But Francis did not wait for decrees. His humility, obedience, and loyalty to the Vicar of Christ led him to repair to Rome with his companions and there ask the permission of Pope Innocent III., which he quickly obtained. The Rule was rewritten in 1619. Some of the brethren suggested that he take the advice of a cardinal in formulating his rules; but the Saint declared that God had willed that he should "appear as a new sort of madman in the world," arresting the attention of the people and bringing them to reflect, without qualification, upon "the folly of the cross," and that he alone must direct the manner in which this was to be done.

The Vision of St Francis.

His order multiplied rapidly, and convents were established in all parts of Europe; although he was inclined to object to costly buildings, and was prevailed upon to let them stand on the plea that they were needed to shelter travellers and pilgrims. He established also the order of Poor Clares, so called from a noble maiden, Clare, who became its first superior. This was, for women, what his order of the Friars Minor was for men; though the Clares remained strictly enclosed, while the Friars went abroad preaching, and established missions in various quarters of the globe. Finally, he formed his Third Order, which included laymen and laywomen living in the world, who bound themselves by simple vows of virtue and charity, while continuing in their accustomed phase of life. Thousands joined the Friars; and probably millions were enrolled in the Third Order. It has been said that Francis first made known to the Middle Ages the power of association among the weak and humble, and that from the pages on which he inscribed his institutes sprang modern democracy in Italy. Certain it is that the Emperor Frederick II. received a letter from some of his Italian feudal supporters, saying: "The Friars Minor ... have raised themselves against us. They have publicly condemned both our mode of life and our principles, they have (p. 085) shattered our rights, and have brought us to nothingness." Yet the Franciscan Friars and the Third Order had done this only by the contrast of example, of poverty, fasting, prayer, self-denial, and charity of the heart as well as of the hands.

The work of Saint Francis did much to undermine feudalism; and it almost regenerated the spirit of Christianity in the thirteenth century. "Man of the people," writes R. F. O'Connor, "he did more for the people than ever yet had been done by any one; whose vocation was to revive in the midst of a corrupting opulence the esteem and practice of poverty, which he ennobled, ... and, without setting class against class, or violating the least point of the divine or human law, levelled every social barrier and united princes and peasants in a bond of union which neither time nor eternity was to sever."

This phase of his influence should interest us of to-day, when the same problems of wealth and poverty and of superficiality in religion confront our arrogant modern "civilization." That St. Francis was not a madman is evident from the orderliness of his work, his clear legislative and administrative capacity, his calm, powerful, amiable sway over all sorts of people. Yet he was possessed by an absolute passion and ecstasy of charity and universal love, which raised him above the apprehension of the gross, material mind. It was this supremacy of the spiritual in him which enabled him to accomplish marvels of practical result. Toward the end of his life, this exaltation of the spirit produced upon his body a singular phenomenon. His hands and feet appeared to be transpierced by large nails, and a wound opened in his side, from which blood frequently flowed. In a word, he bore the wounds, or "stigmata" of Christ, on his own body. The nails were distinct from the wound, but were apparently blackened flesh; being inseparable from the hands and feet. This phenomenon was well attested at the time. Within the present century several similar cases have occurred, under the observation of modern and approved sceptical men of science, who find that they occur when there has been much fasting, loss of sleep, and constant meditation upon the Passion of Christ. Their testimony states the conditions and verifies the fact, but does not explain it.

He died at his convent of St. Mary of the Angels (Portiuncula), October 4, 1226, in perfect lucidity of mind, with patience and simple resignation, while giving good counsel to his brethren. Of death he spoke gently as "our sister death;" and when, during his illness, his physician was obliged to cauterize him with a red-hot iron, he blessed the iron, speaking of it as "our brother fire," and submitted to the cauterization, or moxa, without a murmur or sign of pain. One remarkable thing about him was his extraordinary recognition of all the powers and elements of nature as related to man in one family under God. This was the origin of his famous short "sermon to the birds," which has been preserved. He talked to them and to all other animals as though he firmly believed that they could understand him, and could adore their Creator as well as he; though it is not probable that he supposed they would understand him precisely as men would, or adore in the same way. It is clear that St. Francis had a great influence over animals, even over wolves.

(p. 086) Nowadays we have many lion-tamers and tiger-tamers, who rely simply upon human will and craft. Therefore it is not astonishing that St. Francis, who relied upon Divine power, should have been able to tame beasts. What is surprising is, that he should have been able to control men, who are so much harder to tame.

The poems of St. Francis—his "Canticle of the Sun," "Canticle of Love," and "Canticle of Charity"—exemplify the immense and tender scope of his exquisite love and good-will. His Order continues, and has given rise to subsidiary organizations such as the Recollects and the Capuchins. Thousands of people in common life belong to his Third Order, now, and continue his work unostentatiously. His spirit is alive and operative in the world to-day, nearly six hundred and seventy years since he left this earth.[Back to Contents]

Author signature. George Parsons Lathrop.

By Henry G. Hewlett

St. Louis.

The most striking features of the political history of France during the tenth and eleventh centuries are the conflict of the feudal aristocracy on the one hand, with monarchical and democratical power on the other, and the influence exerted by the Crusades on both.

The Crusades aided much in the accomplishment of the final result, the destruction of the power of the nobility. In the first place, they glorified the character of feudalism by enforcing the principles of chivalry. To be a "true knight," a man must be devout, just, merciful, and pure. Many Crusaders, indeed, fell far short of this high ideal; but there can be no doubt that, on the whole, it elevated the standard of morality, and checked the rampant tyranny which had previously prevailed. Founded on a principle of sincere though mistaken piety, the Crusaders recognized all who took the cross as brethren; hence the meanest serf became, in some measure, free; and the same benign sentiment extended its effect to all classes. The attraction of a common cause in foreign lands further contributed to wean the Crusaders from the class quarrels and domestic feuds which occupied them at (p. 087) home. During their absence the crown was enabled to acquire a strength which had previously been spent in the repression of constant rebellions. And the need of money for the expedition obliged many feudal lords to contract with the communes for the sale of lands or liberties.

The Education of Louis IX.

Such was the condition of France at the commencement of the thirteenth century. The balance of power, however, was only sustained by the activity of all the parties concerned. The slightest wavering on the part of the crown would be fatal, the least opportunity seized. A wise, sincere, and humane ruler was needed to confirm and enlarge the vantage ground which law and order had already obtained; and such a ruler rose in the person of Louis IX., who ascended the throne in 1226.

His father, Louis VIII., was a man of weak character, whose reign was chiefly signalized by the horrible persecution of the Protestant Albigenses of Provence, which, under the sanction of Innocent III., and later Popes, had been carried on by Simon de Montfort and other fanatics, since 1209. Louis himself had died of fever when about to commence the siege of Toulouse.

The Queen Dowager, Blanche, of Castile, was a woman of great energy, and during the minority of her son she bravely contested her claims to the regency of the kingdom against those of Philip, her husband's brother, whom Henry III., of England, supported. She appealed, not in vain, to the gratitude of the metropolis, which the Capetian kings had befriended; and at her call a large force of citizens joined her. With their aid she defeated Philip and other nobles, who opposed her son's coronation, and by two treaties, in 1229 and 1231, she both extended the limits of her kingdom and put an end to civil war. Over Louis, who was but eleven years old when his father died, she exercised a somewhat rigorous, but a holy and prudent discipline, to which he was much indebted for strengthening his moral and mental constitution. He was educated at the Abbey of Royaumont by Vincent de Beauvais, and though not remarkable for talents, possessed considerable decision of character, and a large share of personal courage. It is, however, by the piety, purity, and benevolence of his soul that he stands forth so prominently in the history of Europe. The year of his coronation all the jails of the kingdom were thrown open by the royal command. A nature more truly loving and lovable has rarely been bestowed on any member of the human family. Yet, with all these paramount excellences, his life presents a tragedy—the fatal consequences of unreasoning faith. All his errors—we cannot justly call them faults—proceeded from this prolific source. Before recording these, it will be gratifying to point out the happier results of those noble and wise qualities which have consecrated his name.

After the treaty of 1231, France remained at peace for some years, during which time Louis married Margaret of Provence, a princess only inferior in worth to himself. Soon after attaining his majority he was called upon to contend with the Count of Brittany and other nobles who resisted his authority. At the head of his vassals Louis marched against the rebels, and was so prompt and energetic in his measures that the count was forced to yield and sue for pardon (p. 088) in the attitude of a criminal, with a rope round his neck. Henry III. crossed the channel with an army to support the rebellion, and recover, if possible, the possessions which King John had surrendered to King Philip. The armies met at Saintes, in 1242, where the French were victorious, the rebels subsequently submitting, and Henry returning home.

In 1244 Louis had a severe illness, which was attended with danger to his life. During the progress of it, he vowed to undertake a new crusade should he recover. The fulfilment of this vow was opposed by Blanche of Castile (who still had great influence over her son) and many of his best counsellors; but Louis was inflexible where religion and honor demanded a sacrifice.

In 1248 he collected a large army, and prepared to start by way of Sicily, the nearest route to Palestine, when he remembered that the island belonged to Frederick II., of Germany, who was under excommunication by the Pope. All attempts to shake the decision of Innocent IV. failed; and yielding to the pious weakness of fearing to rest in an excommunicant's territory, Louis changed his plans, and determined to pass by way of Cyprus and Egypt—a route which proved the ruin of the expedition. He committed the regency of France to his mother, assumed the staff of pilgrimage, and accompanied by his wife and brothers, left Paris on June 12, 1248. He stayed for several months in Cyprus, until his armament amounted to 50,000 men, and then sailed for Egypt.

Arrived at the port of Damietta, he caused the oriflamme (the national standard of France) to be waved above his head; and, arrayed in complete armor, he unsheathed his sword, and leaped into the sea, followed by the knights. The inhabitants fled, and the French took possession of the city. The inundation of the Nile prevented their further movements for several months. Licentiousness and disease were fostered by this delay, in spite of the king's remonstrances; and their unopposed success made the Crusaders careless as to the tactics of the enemy.

On the subsidence of the Nile, Louis fortified Damietta, and left his queen and her ladies there, while he, with the main army, advanced on Cairo, the metropolis of Egypt, where the sultan resided. Near Mansourah, the Crusaders became perplexed by the intricacy of the canals, and a hasty dash across one of these, made by the king's brother, the Count of Artois, with 2,000 men, led to a calamitous result. Mansourah was apparently deserted, and the count's troops, who preceded their comrades at some distance, commenced pillaging the houses. The inhabitants, who were only concealed, showered down stones from the roofs; and at the same moment, a large body of the sultan's army made an attack in front. Louis reached Mansourah in time to save a few of his men, but found his brother and several others slain. The Moslem camp was captured, but proved a doubtful prize. The plains were barren and scorching, and the harassing assaults of the Egyptians, who poured "Greek fire" (missiles filled with combustible materials) on their foes, rendered the situation more intolerable still. Pestilence broke out, and the king himself fell dangerously ill. He then ordered a retreat to Damietta, whither the sick were to be conveyed in galleys. These were intercepted, (p. 089) and the sick murdered by the Egyptians; while, at the same time an attack was made on the Christian camp.

St. Louis.

Louis was so weak that he could scarcely ride, but nevertheless would not desert his post. He rode between the ranks, encouraging his men, till he fainted and was obliged to withdraw from the field. His quaint and affectionate biographer, the Lord of Joinville, who was with him in this expedition, thus describes the scenes which ensued: "Of all his men-at-arms there was only one with him, the good knight, Sir Geoffrey de Sargines; and who, I heard say, did defend him like as a faithful servant doth guard his master's cup from flies—for every time that the Saracens did approach the king he defended him with vigorous strokes of the blade and point of his sword, and his strength seemed doubled. At last he brought the king to a house where there was a woman from Paris; and laying him on the ground, placed his head on the woman's lap, expecting every moment that he would breathe his last." In this half-dying condition a body of Egyptians found him, and bore him to the tent of the sultan. The defeat of the Christians, who were weakened by the climate, disease, and want of food, was general; many fell by the sword, and the rest were taken prisoners with their king.

In captivity Louis showed a noble resignation and courage amid the apostasy of many. He won the respect of the sultan, who treated him with generosity, and listened to the terms of ransom which he proposed. The queen remained at Damietta, which was strongly garrisoned. Fearful, nevertheless, of falling into the hands of the Moslems, who would have carried her into the sultan's harem, she prayed an old knight in her suite to slay her with his sword, should there be any danger of that event. "I had determined on so doing, madam," was the answer. Margaret's heroism was not put to this severe test, for the surrender of Damietta was one of the conditions of her husband's release; and after paying in addition a sum of 400,000 livres, Louis was on the point of being set free. An insurrection, however, suddenly arose among the Mamelukes, or Tartarian troops, in whose hands the real power of the state was placed, and the sultan was murdered. A party of the assassins, it is said, entered the chamber of Louis with their scimitars drawn, but his calm dignity saved him, and the treaty was carried out by the new sultan.

Many of the French nobles returned home, but the king, faithful to his vow, proceeded to Syria, and spent four years in strengthening the fortresses of Tyre (p. 090) and other Christian towns, redeeming many Crusaders from slavery, and reducing to order the disturbed condition of the country.

The death of the Queen Dowager Blanche, who had governed France wisely during her regency, recalled him in 1254, after an absence of six years. He still wore the cross upon his shoulder, as a token that his oath as a Crusader was not yet fulfilled; but he never once neglected the more pressing and necessary duties which devolved on him as a monarch. His immediate work was to supersede the arbitrary legislation which the nobles exercised in their manorial courts over their tenants. He accordingly introduced into general use the famous code of Roman laws known as the Pandects of Justinian, and constituted the chief civil lawyers, who had studied its contents and were best acquainted with its principles, into a Parliament, or Court of Justice. The nobles and the clergy were duly represented in this assembly; but its clerks, or lawyers, were especially favored by the king, who seconded their own efforts to absorb the business of the court as much as possible. Louis further mediated between the tyranny of the nobles and the weakness of their tenants, by encouraging the practice of appealing to the crown in case of injustice. This he even extended to ecclesiastical matters; a bold step for one so devoted to the Church. The prohibition of the barbarous custom of duelling to decide personal quarrels was another of his humane laws. These, and divers other ordinances, founded in a like spirit of equity, are known in a collected shape as the Institutes of St. Louis. His enactment touching appeals from the Church to the Crown, and the prohibition which he likewise issued against the levying of money in France for the use of the Pope without the king's license, are known as a Pragmatic Sanction—a term applied to any especially important national decree. Louis set the example of enforcing the laws personally, and none was fitter to administer them than he. Under an oak in the forest of Vincennes, near Paris, often sat the good king to hear appeals and petitions from his poor subjects. His social and foreign relations were as fully attended to as his political reforms. He first placed the French navy on a substantial footing. To him Paris owed a public library, a hospital for the blind, and the establishment of a body of police. Under his sanction, also, his confessor, Robert de Sorbon, founded the famous theological college called by his name. So scrupulously just and honorable was Louis, that he appointed a commission to ascertain what restitution of territory should be made to nations which had been mulcted by the conquests of his predecessors, and he thus more than once sacrificed extensive possessions for the sake of a principle. By a treaty in 1255, made with Henry III., Louis restored to the English crown the provinces of which Philip Augustus had deprived it, and obtained in return the surrender of Henry's rights in Normandy and other fiefs. The reputation which Louis thus acquired among his fellow-monarchs led to his being asked to act as mediator in several quarrels, and gave him many opportunities of exhibiting his peaceful and loving policy.

Louis IX. opens the Jails of France.

The mental blindness of which we have spoken led him to commit errors, which, if his misled conscience had not sanctioned them, would deserve the name (p. 091) of crimes. Toward Jews and heretics he showed no mercy, issuing severe and unjust laws against them "for the good of his soul." The duty of the historian is to record these failings of a noble nature as impartially as its beauties; but the evil must, in all fairness, be credited to the Church and system which taught, and not to the believer who practised.

In 1270 the affairs of the East again attracted the attention of Europe, and recalled Louis to the fulfilment of his vow, which he had only postponed. The Greeks had retaken the city of Constantinople from the French and Venetian Crusaders some years previously, yet the reconstitution of the Christian Empire of the East had not availed to check the aggressions of the Moslem in Palestine. Benocdar, the Sultan of Egypt, had already taken Cæsarea and Jaffa; and news now came that Antioch had fallen, 100,000 Christians having been massacred in the siege. The seventh and last Crusade was at once set on foot by outraged Europe, and Louis led the expedition, in which France was, as usual, foremost. He raised an army of 6,000 horse and 30,000 foot, and was accompanied by his three sons, the King of Navarre, and several nobles of high rank. His brother, Charles of Anjou (the new King of Naples), and Edward I., of England, (then prince), were to join the French in the course of the year. Some romantic intelligence that the Moslem King of Tunis was desirous of being baptized, induced the pious Louis again to try the African, instead of the Asiatic, route to Palestine. He narrowly escaped with his life, in a tempest which overtook the fleet in the Mediterranean, but landed in Sardinia, and after recruiting here again set sail, and anchored off Carthage. He met with opposition, instead of welcome, from the inhabitants of the coast, and was obliged to besiege Tunis. The excessive heat of the climate and the unhealthiness of the soil proved a second time fatal to the army. Plague at last broke out, and Louis was himself seized. Finding himself dying, he sent for Philip, his eldest son and successor. Placing in his hand a written paper, the good king prayed his son to follow the directions which it contained—directions for the conduct of his life, as king and individual; enforcing those principles of love to God and man which had guided his own career. Then, requesting to be lifted from his bed, Louis instructed his attendants to strew the floor of his tent with ashes and place him thereon, that he might die as he had lived, in an attitude of humiliation and penitence toward his creator. This was done, and shortly afterward, as though in vision fulfilling the vow which he was not permitted to realize, he uttered, "I will enter thy house—I will worship in thy sanctuary!" and expired. His age was but fifty-four.

A few hours elapsed, and the sound of a trumpet echoed through the plague-stricken and half-deserted camp. It was the note of Charles of Naples, whose fleet had just arrived off the coast. Meeting with no response, he rode rapidly toward the tent of the king, and on entering saw his body lying still warm upon the ashes. The rites of burial were not performed with the usual formalities, his remains being distributed among his relatives. The flesh was kept by Charles, who buried it, on his return to Sicily, in the great Abbey of Monreale, at Palermo. (p. 092) The bones and other parts were conveyed back to France. Those who have visited Paris will not forget the exquisite Gothic structure known as the "Sainte Chapelle," which is attached to the Palais de Justice, containing the courts of law. It was erected by Louis as a receptacle for certain supposed relics of Christ. The windows of the chapel are entirely composed of stained glass, and as the sunbeams strike upon them, their tints of crimson, blue, and orange blend into a rainbow-like harmony of glowing and lustrous color, which recalls the heart of Louis IX., enshrined within those walls, as its fitting human antitype. He was canonized about thirty years afterward, under the title of St. Louis.[Back to Contents]

By Noah Brooks

Marco Polo.

In the month of November, in the year 1295, there appeared in the beautiful city of Venice three strangers, who were clothed in an outlandish and shabby garb of a Tartar cut. They claimed to be of Venice, but, according to one of their biographers, one Ramusio, "through the many worries and anxieties they had undergone, they were quite changed in aspect, and had got a certain indescribable smack of the Tartar both in air and accent, having, indeed, all but forgotten their Venetian tongue." They went to the house of the Polo family, demanding entrance and claiming to be Nicolo Polo, Maffeo, his brother, and Marco, son of the elder of the two brothers, Nicolo. They were laughed to scorn as pretenders and impostors; for the three missing members of the Polo family had been gone away from Venice some twenty-odd years; it was in 1271 that the Polos were last heard from, then at Acre, journeying into the Far East.

But the three somehow gained access to their own house, then in the possession of one of their relations. And the news of their home-coming was presently noised abroad throughout the city of Venice; so much so that the people for days talked of little else save the reappearance in the land of the living of the long-lost travellers. Many, however, doubted if these really were the brothers Polo and young Marco; this last was a mere lad of seventeen when he went away, and now was grown to be a portly man of forty-odd years. So incredulous were the townsfolk that the brothers hit upon a scheme to convince the doubting ones. They made a grand feast to which all the gentry were invited, for the Polo family were of noble birth and had held station in the state. The entertainment (p. 093) was served in great splendor with gold and silver dishes, and the three travellers, when they sat down, were dressed in robes of the richest crimson satin flowing down to the ground. After some of the courses had been eaten, they retired to their chamber and came forth again dressed in other robes of crimson silk damask, very rich, and the satin garments were cut up and divided among the servants. Again, later on in the repast, they retired, and when they came again to the table they wore other robes, of the richest crimson velvet, and the second garments were cut up and divided as the others had been. When the dinner was over they took off the velvet robes, and these were disposed of in like manner. "These proceedings," says the honest Ramusio, "caused much wonder and amazement among the guests," which we can well imagine.

Next, dismissing all the servants, the younger one of the three, Marco Polo, went to an inner chamber and brought forth to the table the coarse and shabby dresses in which the three had arrived in Venice. Then, taking sharp knives, the travellers ripped open the seams and welts of the garments, and shook from them a vast profusion of diamonds, rubies, sapphires, carbuncles, emeralds, and other precious stones. The guests were dumfounded and amazed. "And now," says Ramusio, "they recognized that in spite of all former doubts, these were in truth those honored and worthy gentlemen of the Casa Polo that they claimed to be; and so all paid them the greatest honor and reverence." Furthermore, we are told that when the story got wind in Venice, straightway the whole city, gentle and simple, flocked to the house to embrace the three travellers, and to make much of them with every conceivable demonstration of affection and respect.

This was the wonderful home-coming of the three Polos, who for twenty-four years had been wandering in the East, and who, when they set out on their homeward journey, a journey beset with untold difficulties and dangers, took the precaution to conceal in their garments, as above told, the wealth which they had accumulated while they were at the court of the Great Khan of Tartary. It reads like a romance, a story out of "The Arabian Nights' Entertainments." But it is all true, and the archives of Venice corroborate pretty nearly all the details herein set forth. Indeed, as a prophet is not without honor save in his own country and among his own kindred, it must be said that the later generation of Venetians found less difficulty in believing the tales of the three travellers than did those who first heard them. In telling these tales, they had frequent occasion to use the word "millions," a word not then common among the Venetians, as to say that the Great Khan had revenues amounting to ten or fifteen millions of gold, and so on. And the people gave Marco, who seems to have been the story-teller of the party, the nickname of Messer Marco Millioni. Curiously enough, this name appears in the public records of old Venice.

Of the final exit of the elders of the Polo family, Nicolo and Maffeo, we have no trustworthy account. As they were well stricken in years when they returned from their long sojourn in Cathay, we may suppose that they did not (p. 094) live long after their return to Venice. But the younger Marco had a busy and stirring life. At that time the republics of Venice and Genoa were rivals for the ruling of the seas and the monopoly of maritime trade everywhere. A Venetian galley could not meet one from Genoa without a fight, and the fleets of the two states were continually at war.

Marco, being one of the representatives of the noble Venetian families who were required to come to the support of the state with at least one galley, entered the naval service of Venice in command of a war galley, and was engaged in the great battle between Venice and Genoa near Curzola, off the Dalmatian coast, in 1298, three years after his return from Cathay. The Venetians were beaten ignominiously, and 7,000 of them were taken prisoners and carried to Genoa. It was a lucky thing for the world that Marco Polo was thus put into enforced idleness, and that he had for a companion in confinement an educated gentleman, one Rusticiano, of Pisa. Otherwise, most likely we never would have heard of the travels of Marco Polo, whom some of the later chroniclers have likened to Columbus, the discoverer of America.

To beguile the tedium of their imprisonment, Marco was wont to tell his traveller's tales to his companion, Rusticiano, and this worthy gentleman conceived the notion of writing out the marvellous adventures and observations of his fellow-prisoner. We must bear in mind that the Italian gentry of that time did not hold in high esteem the art of writing, and although Marco was not inferior to any man in daring or adventurousness, he was willing to leave to the scriveners the task of writing about such matters. But, in the end, the advice of Rusticiano prevailed, and the Pisan gentleman set down from the dictation of Marco "The Book of Ser Marco Polo Concerning the Kingdoms and Marvels of the East." This was, up to that time, the most important book of travels and voyages ever written. Indeed, it was the most important book of any kind written during the Middle Ages.

The book contributed more new facts toward a knowledge of the earth's surface, says one skilled authority, than any book that had been written before. The writer was the first to describe China, or Cathay, in its vastness of territory, its wonderfully rich and populous cities, and the first to tell of Tartary, Thibet, Burmah, Siam, Cochin-China, the Indian Archipelago, the Andaman Islands, of Java and Sumatra, of the fabled island of Cipangu, or Japan, of Hindustan, and that marvellous region which the world learned to know as Farther India. From far-voyaging sailors he brought home accounts of Zanzibar and Madagascar, and the semi-Christian country of Abyssinia, where some accounts located that mysterious potentate called Prester John. He had traversed Persia and had picked up a vast amount of information concerning the country of Siberia, with its polar snows and bears, its dog-sledges, and its almost everlasting winter. He traversed the entire length of Asia.

Surely, Europe might well be dazed when this account of regions, until then unknown, was unrolled before the scholars and explorers who could read the few precious books then in circulation. For it should be remembered that the art of (p. 095) printing was then unknown, and only in manuscript did any book make its appearance. Rusticiano wrote in a very poor sort of French; for then, as now, that language was commonest in all the cities of Europe. How much of the language of the book of Marco Polo's travels was Marco's, and how much was the worthy Rusticiano's, we are unable to decide. The facts in that famous book were duly vouched for by Marco. The opening chapter, or prologue, inflated and wordy, after the fashion of the times, was undoubtedly Rusticiano's. He began thus: "Great Princes, Emperors, and Kings, Dukes and Marquises, Counts, Knights, and Burgesses! and People of all degree who desire to get knowledge of the various races of mankind and of the diversities of the sundry regions of the World, take this Book and cause it to be read to you. For ye shall find therein all kinds of wonderful things, and the divers histories of the Great Hermenia, and of Persia, and of the Land of the Tartars, and of India, and of many another country of which our Book doth speak, particularly and in regular succession, according to the description of Messer Marco Polo, a wise and noble citizen of Venice, as he saw them with his own eyes."

This portentous prologue ends with these great swelling words: "And I may tell you that in acquiring this knowledge he spent in those various parts of the World good six-and-twenty years. Now, being thereafter an inmate of the Prison at Genoa, he caused Messer Rusticiano, of Pisa, who was in the same Prison likewise, to reduce the whole to writing; and this befell in the year 1298 from the birth of Jesus."

One year later, in the summer of 1299, Marco Polo was set at liberty and returned to Venice, where he died peacefully in 1324. His last will and testament, dated January 9, 1323, is preserved among the archives of Venice, and a marble statue in his honor was set up by the Venetians, in the seventeenth century, and may be seen unto this day in the Palazzo Morosini-Gattemburg, in the Campo S. Stefano of that city.

How came Marco Polo to be drawn so far into the vague and shadowy East? Somewhere about the middle of the thirteenth century, certain members of the Polo family had established a trading-house in Constantinople, then pretty near the end of the world from Europe. These adventurous Venetians, in 1260, sent the two brothers, Nicolo and Maffeo, still further to the eastward on a trading journey to the Crimea. Led on by one adventure and another, and lured by the hope of new and greater gains, they ascended the Volga northward and eastward, crossed Bokhara, and finally broke into one of the northwestern provinces of China, or Cathay, then faintly known in Europe by various names, the most classic of which was Seres.

Here they made their way to the capital city of the Great Mongol Empire, the seat of government where ruled the Great Khan, a very mighty potentate, Kublai Khan, grandson of the famous conqueror, Ghenghis Khan. Kublai Khan resided at the wonderful city of Cambuluc, which we now know as Pekin. North of the Great Wall, and some one hundred and eighty miles from Cambuluc, was the Great Khan's summer palace, one of the wonders of the world, reading of (p. 096) which in Purchas' account of Marco Polo's travels, it is said that Coleridge fell asleep and dreamed the famous poem beginning:

"In Xanadu did Kublai Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree,
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran,
Through caverns measureless to man,
Down to a sunless sea."

These Polo brothers were the first Europeans that the Great Khan had ever seen; but before this time, Friar Plano Carpini, in 1246, and Friar William Rubruquis, in 1253, had penetrated into Mongolia on some errand not now distinctly understood, but far enough to learn that a great and civilized country existed somewhere in the eastern extremity of Asia. They also learned that beyond this extremity of the continent there was a sea; people had until then believed that the eastern end of Asia disappeared in a vast and reedy bog, beyond which was deep and impenetrable darkness. More exact knowledge of that far eastern sea was subsequently acquired by the Venetian travellers. From these wandering friars the Great Khan had heard, at second-hand, doubtless, of European princes, potentates, and powers, and of the Pope of Rome.

He was mightily taken with the noble Venetians, and we are told that he treated them with every courtesy and consideration. He was anxious to secure through them the aid of the Sovereign Pontiff, of whose functions he entertained high respect, in the civilizing of the hordes that had lately been added to the Mongol Empire by wars of conquest. And he entreated the good offices of the polished and cultivated Venetians in securing for him the good offices of the Pope for that end. Accordingly, the two brothers, after satisfying to some degree their curiosity, set out for home, full of tales of their strange adventure, we doubt not; and they reached Venice in 1269, only to find that the Pope Clement IV. was dead, and that no successor had been chosen in his place.

There was a long interregnum, and the brothers, taking with them the son of Nicolo, the young Marco, then a stout lad, began to retrace their steps to Cathay, despairing of being able to enlist the one hundred priests which the Great Khan had asked them to borrow for missionary purposes from the Pope.

At Acre, then held by European powers that had been engaged in the crusades for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre, they took counsel with one Tebaldo Visconti, an eminent prelate, who was Archdeacon of Liége and a person of great consequence in the Eastern church. At their request, he wrote letters to the Great Khan, authenticating the causes of their failure to fulfil the wishes of the Khan in the matter of obtaining the missionaries whom he desired. Then they pushed on toward the farther East, and while waiting for a vessel to sail from the port of Ayas, on the Gulf of Scanderoon, then the starting-point for the Asiatic trade, they were overtaken by the news that their friend the Archdeacon Tebaldo had been chosen Pope, under the title of Gregory X. They at once returned to Acre, and were able to present to the newly elected (p. 097) pontiff the request of the Great Khan and get a reply. But instead of one hundred teachers and preachers, they were furnished with only two Dominican friars; and these lost heart and drew back before the journey was fairly begun. It may be said here that the Great Khan, being disappointed by the Roman Church, subsequently applied to the Grand Llama of Thibet, and from that source secured the teachers whom he so greatly desired. The Great Khan appears to have been an enlightened and liberal sovereign, and, according to his lights, was willing to furnish to his people the best form of religion that was to be had. He preferred the religion of the elegant and polished Italians, but, failing to get this, he naturally turned his eyes in the direction of Thibet, then an unknown land to all Europeans, but regarded in Mongolia as a region of some considerable civilization.

The three members of the Polo family finally set out on their return to Cathay, leaving Acre in November, 1271. They proceeded by the way of Ayas and Sivas to Mardin, Mosul, and Bagdad to Hormuz, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Here they met with some obstacle and turned from Hormuz, and traversed successively Kerman and Khorassan, Balkh, and Badakhshan, by the way of the upper Oxus, to the plateau of Pamir; thence crossing the steppes of Pamir, the three travellers descended upon Kashgar, whence they proceeded by Yarkand and Khotan to the vicinity of Lake Lob; and, crossing the desert of Gobi, they reached the province of Tangut in the extreme northwestern corner of China, or Cathay. Skirting the northern frontier, they finally reached the actual presence of the Great Khan, who was then at his summer palace of Kaipingfu, before spoken of, situated at the base of the Khingan Mountains, fifty miles north of the Great Wall. One may form some idea of the difficulties of Asiatic travel in those days, as well as the leisurely habits of the time, by considering that this journey occupied the three Venetians three years and a half. They arrived at the palace of the Khan about May, 1275.

The Polos were very cordially and gladly received by the potentate, then ruling over a territory so vast that it has been well said that, "In Asia and Eastern Europe scarcely a dog might bark without Mongol leave, from the borders of Poland and the coast of Cilicia to the Amoor and the Yellow Sea." Kublai Khan regarded the young Marco with especial favor, and soon began to employ him in errands and commissions of importance. "The Young Bachelor," as he is called in his book, took pains to acquire at once an acquaintance with the Chinese alphabet, and to learn the languages and dialects of the countries in which he found profitable and interesting employment.

It appears that the Khan had been greatly annoyed by the stupidity of his own officials and agents. They attended only to the errands on which they were sent, and brought back absolutely no knowledge of the distant countries that they visited, except that which they were specially directed to fetch. Very different was the conduct of the young Venetian. He was shrewdly observant, of a lively disposition, and given to inquiring into the strange and wonderful things which he beheld in those remote parts of the world, hitherto secluded from the observation (p. 098) of Europeans. He made copious and minute notes of all that he saw and heard, for the benefit of his imperial master. These notes afterward served him a good purpose, as we shall see; for they were the basis of the book that has made the name of Marco Polo famous throughout the world. When he returned to the imperial court, we can imagine the satisfaction with which the picturesque and intelligent narrations of what he had seen and heard were received by the Great Khan.

In the records of the Mongol dynasty has been found a minute setting forth the fact that a certain Polo, undoubtedly young Marco, was nominated a second-class commissioner attached to the privy council of the Empire, in the year 1277. His first mission appears to have taken him on public business to the provinces of Shansi, Shensi, Sechuen and Yunnan, in the southern and southwestern part of China, and east of Thibet. Even now, those regions are comparatively unknown to the rest of the world; and one must needs admire the intrepidity of the young Venetian who penetrated their wild mountain fastnesses, traced their mighty rivers, and carried away for the delight of the Great Khan, much novel information concerning the peoples that so numerously flourished in that cradle of the human race.

In his book Marco Polo does not greatly magnify himself and his office, and it is only incidentally, as it were, that we know that he was for three years governor of the great city of Yangchau. Following the details laid down in his book, the accuracy of which we have no reason to doubt, we find him visiting the old capital of the Khans, in Mongolia, employed in Southern Cochin-China, and on a mission to the Indian Seas, when he visited some of the states of India, of which Europeans at that time had only dimly heard the most fabulous and vague accounts. That the Polos were all favorites of the Great Khan is sufficiently evident; but it does not appear that any but Marco was in the employment of the Khan. All three of them doubtless made hay while the sun shone, and gathered wealth as they could, trading with the people and making use of their Venetian shrewdness in dealing with the natives, who were no match for the cunning traders from the Rialto.

Naturally, they longed to carry their wealth and their aged heads—for the two elders were now well stricken in years—safely back to their beloved Venice on the Adriatic, so far away. But Kublai Khan would not listen to any of their suggestions, and turned a deaf ear to their hints. A happy chance intervened to bring them out of the wild, mysterious realm of the Great Khan. Arghun, Khan of Persia, a great-nephew of Kublai, had lost by death his favorite wife, who was of one of the Mongol tribes, and who, dying in 1286, laid a parting injunction on the Khan that he should wed none but a Mongol princess. Sorely mourning her, the Persian Khan sent an embassy to the court of Kublai Khan to solicit a suitable bride for him. The Lady Kuchachin, a damsel of seventeen, beautiful and virtuous, was selected by the Court and was made ready to be sent to Tabriz, then the capital of the Persian Empire. The overland journey was highly dangerous, as it lay through regions tenanted by hostile and warlike tribes, (p. 099) besides being portentously long to be undertaken by a delicate young princess. The Persian envoys, accordingly, entreated the Great Khan to send with them by sea the three foreigners, of whose seamanship they undoubtedly held high opinion, especially as the young Marco had just returned from his distant and venturous voyage to the Indian Seas. With much reluctance the Khan consented, and the argosy set forth.

Having given leave for the three Venetians to sail, the Great Khan fitted them out nobly and endowed them with handsome presents at parting. They sailed, so far as we can now make out, from the port of Zayton, better known as Chinchau, in Fokien, at the beginning of the year 1292, two hundred years before Columbus set forth upon his voyage across the Ocean Sea.

It was an ill-starred and unfortunate voyage for the three Polos and their precious charge, although all escaped with their lives and treasure. They were detained five months on the coast of Sumatra, and there were even longer detentions off the southern coast of India, so that more than two years had passed since their departure from Fokien, when they arrived at the camp of the then reigning prince of Persia. The Khan of Persia, they found, had died before they set sail from China, and his son, Ghazan Khan, reigned in his stead.

After the custom of the times and the people, however, the princess was married without ado to the successor of the royal person to whom she had been betrothed before leaving far-off Cathay. It is related that she took her leave of the three noble Venetians, to whom she had become like a daughter and sister, with many tears and protestations of affection; for they had been very choice in their care of her, and she lamented their departure with sincere sorrow and many tears.

Leaving the princess at the camp of the Khan (for he was now at war), the Venetians pushed on to Tabriz, where they made a long halt, resting and refreshing themselves after their long and wearisome journey. Then they again took up their line of march westward, and reached Venice, as we have seen, in November, 1295, only to find their identity denied and their stories disbelieved, until, by an artifice, they made themselves truly known to their fellow-townsmen, who had long since given them up for dead.

Marco Polo's book, dictated by him in prison, is remarkable for its reserve and its scantiness of all semblance of ornament in its literary style. Messer Marco evidently did not greatly affect the arts and graces of fine writing. Like most of the Italian gentlefolk of his day and generation, he held the business of writing in low esteem. Some of his chapters are very brief indeed, the text being no greater in bulk than the headings which his amanuensis put over them of his own motion. Of the original manuscript, written in French, copies were made for the use of the learned, the art of printing being as yet not invented. There are now in existence no less than eighty of these manuscripts, in various languages, more or less differing from each other in unimportant details; but all substantially verifying the facts of the wonderful history of Messer Marco Polo as here set forth. The most precious of these is known as the Geographical text, (p. 100) and is preserved in the great Paris Library; from it was printed, in 1824, one of the most valued of the texts now in existence. But the most useful and satisfactory of all the printed editions is that edited and annotated by Colonel Henry Yule, and printed in London in 1871. The first printed edition of Marco Polo's book was in the German text, and was published in 1477.

Many writers have dwelt long on the question, Did Columbus gather any information from the book of Marco Polo that aided him in forming his theory, that one could reach India and Cathay by sailing westward from Spain out into the Sea of Darkness? We cannot satisfactorily answer that question. But we do know that all Europe, at the time of Marco Polo's adventurous journey eastward, resolutely turned its back upon the Atlantic, and looked toward Cathay and the Far Orient for a road to the fabulous diamond mines and spice islands that were believed to exist somewhere in the vague and mysterious East. Many philosophers, among whom was Columbus himself, thought the globe much smaller than it really is; but it was Columbus who was apparently charged with a divine mission to teach the world that sailing due westward from the Pillars of Hercules would bring the voyager to the dominions of Prester John, the Indies, and Cipangu.

When Columbus set sail for his hazardous venture into the Sea of Darkness, he was armed with letters to Prester John, the traditional Christian prince of the Far East; and his first landfall, as we know now, was by him supposed to be an outlying portion of that vast region vaguely known to the explorers who followed Marco Polo, as Farther India. But centuries rolled away before the world saw the facts of geography as we know them, or learned to accept as true the marvellous stories of Marco Polo, whose priceless legacy was first dimly known to the few, and was dubbed the Romance of the Great Khan.[Back to Contents]

Author signature. Noah Brooks.


The life and exploits of this most popular national hero of the Scots have been principally preserved in a legendary form by poetry and tradition, and are only to a very small extent matter of contemporary record, or illustrated by authentic documents. There is no extant Scottish chronicler of the age of Wallace. Fordun, the earliest of his countrymen from whom we have any account of him, is his junior by nearly a century. Wyntoun, the next authority, is still half a century later. His (p. 101) chief celebrator is the metrical writer Blind Harry, or Harry the Minstrel, whose work confesses itself by its very form to be quite as much of a fiction as a history, and whose era, at any rate, is supposed to be nearly two centuries subsequent to that of his hero. Some few facts, however, may be got out of the English annalists Trivet and Hemingford, who were the contemporaries of Wallace.

Sir William Wallace.

There are contradictory statements of the year of his birth, but it is probable he was born about 1270. His family was one of some distinction, and he is said to have been the younger of the two sons of Sir Malcolm Wallace, of Elderslie and Auchinbothie, in the neighborhood of Paisley. His mother, who according to one account was Sir Malcolm's second wife, is stated by the genealogists to have been Margaret, daughter of Sir Raynald or Reginald (other authorities say Sir Hugh) Crawford, who held the office of Sheriff of Ayr.

The history of Wallace down to the year 1297 is entirely legendary, and only to be found in the rhymes of Harry the Minstrel; though many of the facts which Harry relates still live as popular traditions in the localities where the scenes of them are laid, whether handed down in that way from the time when they happened, or only derived from his poem, which long continued to be the literary favorite of the Scottish peasantry. Harry, who, it may be observed, professes to translate from a Latin account written by Wallace's intimate friend and chaplain, John Blair, makes him to have been carefully educated by his uncle, a wealthy churchman who resided at Dunipace, in Stirlingshire, and to have been afterward sent to the grammar-school of Dundee. Here his first memorable act is said to have been performed; his slaughter of the son of Selby, the English governor of the castle of Dundee, in chastisement of an insult offered him by the unwary young man; Wallace with his dagger struck him dead on the spot. This must have happened, if at all, in the year 1291, after Edward I. of England had obtained possession of all the places of strength throughout Scotland on his recognition as Lord Paramount by the various competitors for the crown, which had become vacant by the death of the infant Margaret, the Maiden of Norway, in September, 1290.

This bold deed committed by Wallace, who in making his escape is asserted to have laid several of young Selby's attendants as low as their master, was immediately followed by his outlawry. He now took to the woods, and gifted as he was with eloquence, sagacity, and other high mental powers and accomplishments (to this the testimony of Fordun is as express and explicit as that of his poetical biographer), not less than with strength and height of frame and all other personal advantages, he soon found himself at the head of a band of attached as well as determined followers, who under his guidance often harassed the English soldiery, both on their marches and at their stations, plundering and (p. 102) slaying, as it might chance, with equally little remorse. Particular spots in nearly every part of Scotland are still famous for some deed of Wallace and his fellow-outlaws, performed at this period of his life; but for these we must refer to the Blind Minstrel. The woods in the neighborhood of Ayr would seem to have been his chief haunt; and some of his most remarkable feats of valor were exhibited in that town, in the face and in defiance of the foreign garrison by which it was occupied. Both his father and his elder brother are said to have fallen in rencontres with the English during this interval. It was now also that he fell in love with the orphan daughter of Sir Hew de Bradfute, the heiress of Lamington, having, it is said, first seen her at a church in the neighborhood of Lanark. The Scotch writers affirm that this lady, whom he appears to have married, and who at any rate bore him a daughter, a year or two after forming her connection with Wallace fell into the hands of his enemies, and was barbarously executed by order of Hazelrig, the English Sheriff or Governor of Lanark, while her husband, or lover, was doomed to witness the spectacle from a place where he lay in concealment. Such private injuries were well fitted to raise his hatred to an unextinguishable flame.

How far the guerilla warfare maintained by Wallace and his associates contributed to excite and spread the spirit of resistance to the English government, we have scarcely the means of judging; but it seems probable that it aided materially in producing the general insurrection which broke out in the spring of 1297. The accounts we have of the commencement of that movement represent Wallace at its head, in command of a considerable force, and in association with some of the most distinguished persons in the kingdom, such as the Steward of Scotland and his brother, Wishart, Bishop of Glasgow, Sir William Douglas, etc. Soon after this he was joined by the younger Robert Bruce (afterward King Robert I.) who had hitherto, as well as his father, who was still alive (the son of the original competitor for the crown), professed to adhere to the English king.

This, however, appears to have been but an ill-cemented confederacy. When the force despatched by Edward to quell the revolt presented itself before the Scottish army posted near Irvine, in Ayrshire, the leaders of the latter, throwing off the authority of their nominal chief, could no more agree what to do than whom to obey: and the result was that Bruce, the Steward, Douglas, and others of them, availing themselves of the diplomatic talents of the Bishop of Glasgow, concluded a treaty on July 9th, by which they agreed to acknowledge Edward as their sovereign lord. All the rest ultimately acceded to this arrangement, except only Wallace and his friend, Sir Andrew Moray, of Bothwell. The treaty of Irvine, which is printed by Rymer, is, we believe, the first of the few public documents in which mention is made of Wallace; to the instrument (which is in French) are subjoined the words, "Escrit à Sir Willaume," the meaning of which Lord Hailes conceives to be, "that the barons had notified Wallace that they had made terms of accommodation for themselves and their party." The words, moreover, on the supposition that they refer to Wallace, of which there seems to be little doubt, show that he had before this date obtained the (p. 103) honor of knighthood. It had probably been bestowed upon him (as was then customary) by some other knight, one of his companions in arms, since his elevation from being the captain of a band of outlaws to be the commander-in-chief of the national forces.

Wallace now retired to the north, carrying with him, however, a considerable body of adherents, to whom additional numbers rapidly gathered, so that he soon found himself in a condition to recommence aggressive operations. Directing his force to the northeastern coast, he surprised the castle of Dunottar, cleared Aberdeen, Forfar, Brechin, and other towns of their English garrisons, and then laid siege to the castle of Dundee. While he was engaged in this last attempt, news was brought that the English army was approaching Stirling; upon which, leaving the siege to be carried on by the citizens of Dundee, he hastened to meet the enemy in the field. The result was the complete defeat and rout of the English, at the battle of Stirling Bridge, fought on September 11, 1297—a battle which once more, for the moment, liberated Scotland. The English were immediately driven or fled from every place of strength in the country, including Berwick itself.

Availing himself of this panic and of the exhilaration of his countrymen, Wallace pursued the fugitives across the border; and putting himself at the head of a numerous force, he entered England on October 18th, and, remaining till November 11th, wasted the country with fire and sword from sea to sea, and as far south as to the walls of Newcastle. It was during this visitation that the prior and convent of Hexham obtained from him the protection preserved by Hemingford. It is dated at Hexildesham (Hexham), November 7th, and runs in the names of "Andreas de Moravia, et Wilhelmus Wallensis, duces exercitus Scotiæ, nomine præclari principis Joannis, Dei gratia, Regis Scotia illustris, de consensu communitatis regni ejusdem," that is, "Andrew Moray and William Wallace, commanders-in-chief of the army of Scotland, in the name of King John, and by consent of the community of the said kingdom." The John here acknowledged as King of Scotland was Baliol, now in the hands of Edward, and living in a sort of free custody in the Tower of London. Wallace's associate in the command was the young Sir Andrew Moray, son of his faithful friend of that name, who had retired with him from the capitulation of Irvine, and who had fallen at the battle of Stirling Bridge.

One of the most curious of the few public papers in which the name of Wallace occurs was a few years since discovered by Dr. Lappenburg, of Hamburg, in the archives of the ancient Hanseatic city of Lübeck. It is a letter, in Latin, addressed to the authorities of Lübeck and Hamburg, informing them that their merchants should now have free access to all ports of the kingdom of Scotland, seeing that the said kingdom, by the favor of God, had been recovered by war from the power of the English. The letter is dated "apud Badsing tonam" (the true word, it has been suggested, is probably Haddingtonam), October 11, 1297, that is, a few days before the invasion of Cumberland and Northumberland. It is in the name of "Andreas de Moravia et Willelmus Wallensis, (p. 104) duces exercitis regni Scotiæ, et communitas, eiusdem regni"—like the Hexham protection—but without any mention of King John.

After his triumphal return from his incursion into England, Wallace assumed the title of Guardian of the Kingdom in the name of King John, whether formally invested with that dignity or only hailed as such by the gratitude of his countrymen. In a charter, printed in Anderson's "Diplomata," conferring the constabulary of Dundee on Alexander Skirmischur (Scrimgeour) and his heirs, and dated at Torphichen (in the county of Linlithgow) March 29, 1298, he styles himself, "Willelmus Walays miles, Custos Regni Scotiæ, et ductor exercituum ejusdem, nomine præclari principis Domini Johannis, Dei gratia Regis Scotiæ illustris, de consensu communitatis ejusdem." The grant is stated to have been made with the consent and approbation of the nobility ("per consensum et assensum magnatum dicti regni.")

But this supreme elevation did not last long. Supported only by his own merits and the admiration and attachment of his humbler fellow-countrymen, Wallace, a new man, and without family connection, would probably have found it difficult or impossible to retain his high place, even if he had had nothing more to contend with than domestic jealousy and dissatisfaction. Fordun relates that many of the nobility were in the habit of saying, "We will not have this man to rule over us." Meanwhile the energetic English king, who had been abroad when the defeat of Stirling Bridge lost him Scotland, had now returned home, and was already on his march toward the borders at the head of a powerful army. A body of English, which had landed in the north of Fife, led by Aymer de Vallois, Earl of Pembroke, is said by the Scottish authorities to have been attacked and routed by Wallace on June 12, 1298, in the forest of Blackironside, in that county; but when the two main armies met on July 22d, in the neighborhood of Falkirk—the Scots commanded by Wallace, the English by their king in person—the former, after a gallant and obstinate resistance, were at last forced to give way, and the battle ended in a universal rout accompanied with immense slaughter.

This defeat did not put an end to the war; but it was taken advantage of by the Scottish nobility to deprive Wallace of his office of guardian or chief governor of the kingdom. The Scottish accounts say that he voluntarily resigned the supreme power; it is certain, at any rate, that Bruce, his rival Comyn, and Lamberton, Bishop of St. Andrew's, were now appointed joint guardians of Scotland, still in the name of Baliol. For some years after this our accounts of Wallace are slight and obscure; but he appears to have returned with a chosen band of followers to the practice of the desultory warfare in which he had originally distinguished himself. The legendary histories continue to detail his deeds of prowess performed in harassing the enemy both on their marches and in their camps and strongholds. And to fill up the story, they also make him to have paid two visits to France—the first in 1300, the second in 1302. The next well-ascertained fact regarding him is that when the Scottish leaders were at last obliged to submit to Edward at Strathorde, on February 9, 1304, Wallace was (p. 105) not included in the capitulation, one of the clauses of which (printed in the original French in Ryley's "Placeta Parliamentaria") is to the effect that as for Wallace (Monsieur Guillaume de Galeys), he might, if he pleased, give himself up to the king's mercy ("quil se mette en la voluntè et en la grace nostre seigneur le Roy, si lui semble, que bon soit"). He was soon after summoned to appear before a parliament or convention of Scotch and English nobility, held at St. Andrew's; and upon their not presenting themselves, he and Sir Simon Frisel, or Fraser, were pronounced outlaws. For some time his retreat remained undiscovered, although his active hostility still continued occasionally to make itself felt. A principal person employed in the attempts to capture him appears to have been Ralph de Haliburton; but how he was actually taken is not known. Sir John Menteith (a son of Walter Stewart, Earl of Menteith), to whose treachery his delivery to the English king is attributed by Blind Harry and popular tradition, appears to have really done nothing more than forward him to England after he was brought a prisoner to Dumbarton Castle, of which Menteith was governor under a commission from Edward.

On being brought to London, Wallace was lodged in the house of William Delect, a citizen, in Fenchurch Street; and on the next day, being the eve of St. Bartholomew, he was brought on horseback to Westminster, and in the hall there, "being placed on the south bench," says Stow, "crowned with laurel for that he had said in times past that he ought to bear a crown in that all," he was arraigned as a traitor, and on that charge found guilty, and condemned to death. After being dragged to the usual place of execution—the Elms, in West Smithfield—at the tails of his horses, he was there hanged on a high gallows, on August 23, 1305, after which he was "drawn and quartered." His right arm was set up at Newcastle, his left at Berwick; his right leg at Perth, his left at Aberdeen; his head on London Bridge. Wallace's daughter, by the heiress of Lamington, married Sir William Bailie, of Hoprig, whose descendants through her inherited the estate of Lamington.[Back to Contents]

By Sir J. Bernard Burke, LL.D.

Robert Bruce was born in the year 1274, on the Feast of the translation of St. Benedict, being March 21st, and was undoubtedly of Norman origin. In an annual roll containing the names of those knights and barons who came over with William the Conqueror, we find that of Brueys; and from the Domesday Book it appears that a family of the same name were possessed of lands in Yorkshire. Coming down to a later period, 1138, when David I. of Scotland made his fatal attack (p. 106) upon England—fatal, that is, to himself and his people—the English barons, previous to the battle of Cutton Moor, near Northallerton, sent a message to the Scottish king, by Robert Bruce, of Cleveland, a Norman knight, who possessed estates in either country. Upon his death, this knight bequeathed his English lands to his eldest son, and those in Annandale to his younger, who received a confirmation of his title by a charter of William the Lion. From this root sprung Robert Bruce, the competitor for the crown with Baliol, whose grandson was the more celebrated Robert Bruce, the younger, Earl of Carrick in virtue of his mother's title, and afterward King of Scotland. He was the eldest of three brothers and seven sisters, whose marriages with some of the leading families of Scotland proved an important element of success to the future hero. His earliest years were passed at the castle of Turnberry, where his mother resided; but as he grew older, his father, who considered himself an English baron, thought proper that he should be removed to the English court. The friendship subsisting between Edward the First and the Earl of Carrick induced the former to adopt the earl's son; so that the confiding monarch trained up his mortal enemy in the use of those arts and weapons which were one day to be turned against himself.

Robert Bruce.

The family of Bruce, as we have already noticed, were competitors for the Scottish throne with Baliol, in whose favor an award was pronounced by Edward, when called upon to arbitrate between them. At this time the elder Bruce was far advanced in years; his son, the Earl of Carrick, was still in the prime of life, and his grandson, Robert Bruce was eighteen years of age. Upon the old man being required to do homage for his lands in Scotland to the new monarch of that country, he indignantly refused, exclaiming, "I am Baliol's sovereign, not Baliol mine; and rather than consent to such a homage, I resign my lands in Annandale to my son, the Earl of Carrick." But Carrick was not less proud, or averse to anything that might call in question his claim to the crown of Scotland, and in like manner refused to hold any lands of Baliol. As, however, according to the feudal law, he must either divest himself of his estate, or do homage for it, he adopted the former alternative, and resigned the lands of Annandale in favor of his son, Robert. The young baron, less scrupulous than his relatives, did not hesitate to accept his father's gift, which, upon feudal principles, carried with it the title of Earl of Carrick, and did homage for the same to Baliol. By his father's death, in 1304, he became possessed of the family estates in England.

(p. 107) From this time Bruce played his part with skill, though in justice it must be allowed that his patriotism was not altogether without the alloy of a selfish ambition; and perhaps it would be expecting too much from human nature, even in its best and highest forms, to look for anything else. Neither can we free him from the charge of dissimulation in that he swore a fealty to Baliol, which it is plain he never intended to observe, and affected gratitude and attachment for the English monarch, while in secret he was preparing to undermine him. An excuse for this has been sought by his more partial admirers in the necessity of the case, arising from the well-known sagacity of Edward, who would otherwise have penetrated his purposes and crushed them in the bud without scruple. Nor was this the only obstacle in his path to empire. Upon the failure of Baliol and his only son, Edward, the ancient and powerful family of the Comyns were ready to dispute his title to the crown, which they claimed for themselves. John, commonly called the Red Comyn, who had been the determined opponent of Wallace, possessed, in the event of the monarch dying without issue, the same right to the throne which was vested in Bruce himself. He, too, had connected himself by marriage with the royal family of England, and was at this time one of the most powerful subjects in Scotland. When Baliol leagued with Comyn to throw off the supremacy of Edward, whose hand, whether justly or not, had raised him to the Scottish throne, the Bruces and their party, tempted by the promise of a crown, lent their best aid to the English monarch. Upon the termination of the campaign the elder Bruce demanded the fulfilment of Edward's promise, to which the latter indignantly replied that he had not come into Scotland to conquer a kingdom for him; so that Bruce reaped nothing else at the time from his service, than the satisfaction of seeing his rival, Baliol, dethroned, and the influence of the Comyns effectually diminished.

In 1296 Edward held a parliament at Berwick, compelling the Scotch barons to do him homage, and the young lord of Carrick concurred in the national submission. But notwithstanding this outward show of fealty, he became, in the time of Wallace's success, suspected of entertaining designs upon the crown. At first, indeed, he had joined against Wallace, and wasted the lands of his adherent, Douglas, with fire and sword; yet, soon after his return home, he summoned the Annandale men, who were the vassals of his father, then in the service of Edward, and thus addressed them: "You have already heard, without doubt, of that solemn oath, which I lately took at Carlisle, and I cannot deny the fact; but the oath was a foolish one, and exacted by fear; it was my body that took the oath, and not my mind; but its having been taken at all is now to me the cause of much remorse and sorrow; yet erelong I hope to be absolved from it by our Holy Father. In the meanwhile, I am resolved to go and join my fellow-countrymen, and assist them in their efforts to restore to its liberty the land of my nativity, for none, as you know, is an enemy of his own flesh, and as for me, I love my people. Let me beseech you, then, to adopt the same resolution, and you shall ever be esteemed my most dear friends and approved counsellors."

(p. 108) To this request the men of Annandale deferred giving any answer till the morning, and took advantage of the night to retire, so that Bruce could only join the insurgents with his own vassals of Carrick.

The first disappointment might have taught Bruce to desist from his design, for which the time was not yet ripe; but blinded by ambition, he entered into a strict alliance with Wishart, the Bishop of Glasgow, and the Steward of Scotland, the principal leaders of the insurrection. Upon joining his new associates, he found their purposes utterly incompatible with his views upon the crown. Wallace, the soul of the party, had ever supported the claims of Baliol, and his great supporter, Sir Andrew Moray, a near connection of the Comyns, had the same object. During the campaign, therefore, of 1298, which concluded with the battle of Falkirk, Bruce shut himself up in his castle of Ayr, maintaining a cautious neutrality, while his father continued to reside in England and to serve Edward in his wars. The king, however, did not admire this cold system of neutrality. He in consequence determined to attack the castle of Ayr, and Bruce, dreading the consequences, razed it to the ground, and sought an asylum in the mountain fastnesses of Carrick.

In the following year, when Wallace had resigned the regency, John Comyn, of Badenoch, and Sir John de Soulis, were chosen governors of the kingdom, and the party of Bruce availed themselves of the opportunity to advance his influence by opposition to those in power, and by defeating every measure taken for the public benefit. An attempt was made by those who really wished well to the national cause, or who dreaded that their disunion might be fatal to all alike, to reconcile the contending factions; with this view they elected Bruce, and Lamberton, Bishop of Glasgow, joint regents in the name of Baliol; but this ill-assorted coalition soon fell to pieces, as might have been expected, where the views which one party entertained in secret were so utterly opposed to the avowed purposes of all.

The policy which actuated Bruce on this occasion may be easily explained. It was clear that Edward would never consent to the restoration of Baliol, then in exile, and the Comyns had taken so decided a part against him, that it seemed most improbable he would ever consent to raise one of that family to the throne. Continuing, therefore, the same line of duplicity with which he had commenced, and which he had only abandoned for a single instant in the vain hope of persuading the party of Wallace to openly adopt his claims, he now endeavored by submission and affected attachment to win the favor of the English monarch. Edward, he well knew, had the power, could he be brought to entertain the inclination, to place him on the Scottish throne, and if this point were once attained, Bruce trusted that means would afterward occur of shaking off all dependence upon his benefactor. In these designs he to a certain extent succeeded, but not in his main object. If he was crafty, Edward was yet craftier. He had fallen into the same error that his father had, in 1296, and was outwitted by the superior political ability of him whom he had intended to deceive, and who, it must be confessed, was equally insincere. Edward cheated both father and son, by (p. 109) holding out to them the hope of a crown he never meant them to attain, his object being to unite the two countries; an excellent purpose in itself, if we could only bring ourselves to overlook the fraud and violence by which it was to be accomplished. When, therefore, the Comyns submitted, in 1304, and he proceeded to the settlement of his new dominions, the Earl of Carrick found that his only gain was the being employed among the commissioners in organizing a system of government. He had, however, reaped no little advantage from his dissimulation. While Baliol was an exile and Comyn in disgrace, he had preserved his estates, and won the king's confidence without losing, but rather augmenting, his influence with the Scotch. At the same time he saw that Comyn was still powerful; his claims to the throne were more generally admitted by the people, and without his concurrence nothing could be effected. Thus situated, Bruce submitted to his rival this alternative: "Give me your land, and I shall bind myself to support your title to the kingdom, and, when we have expelled our enemies, to place the crown upon your head; or, if thou dost not choose to assume the state of the kingdom, here am I ready to resign to you my estates, on condition that you second me in my efforts to regain the throne of my fathers." Comyn accepted the latter alternative, but immediately betrayed the design to Edward, and sent him the letter, or indenture, by which Bruce had bound himself. But the latter, when suddenly charged with it, denied his hand and seal with a coolness that could only belong to one long practised in the arts of dissimulation, and demanded time to prove his innocence. Arch-deceiver as the English king himself was, he yet allowed himself to be duped by this specious effrontery, and Bruce escaping into Scotland, murdered Comyn in the church of the Grey Friars, at Dumfries. Soon afterward he was crowned at Scone, and the revolution spread far and wide; upon hearing which, Edward sent an invading army into Scotland. Superiority of force and military skill soon compelled Bruce to retreat to the mountain fastnesses, that offered a better place of security than the strongest castle, for castles might be stormed; but here, if danger threatened him at one point, he had only to retreat to one more remote and more rugged, and thus at any time was enabled to baffle his pursuers when he found them too powerful to be resisted. A series of fights—battles they could hardly be called—and adventures now ensued which have all the coloring of romance, but which entailed so much of hardness and privation upon his followers, that after a while it became evident he would not be able much longer to keep them from abandoning a cause so desperate. Then, again, a spark of hope was kindled by the disaffection growing out of the severity which Edward exercised upon all who had been in arms to resist him. Numbers in consequence flocked to Bruce, and fresh adventures succeeded of a yet more romantic nature than those already mentioned; the fortunes of the wanderer seeming now to be at the lowest ebb, and then again rising into a prosperous flood, which as rapidly subsided, making it a matter of some difficulty for him to escape being stranded by the falling waters. It was during this season that Douglas disgraced himself and the Scottish name by barbarities that have never been surpassed, and rarely even equalled.

(p. 110) The death of the great Edward—for great he was, in spite of all his faults—and the accession of his son, the feeble Edward II., left an open field to Bruce, who was as much superior to those that now opposed him, as he had been overcrowned by the genius of his late adversary. He marched from victory to victory, and would, no doubt, have brought the contest to a happy termination, had he not been seized by an alarming sickness. At first, it threatened to be fatal; things were again beginning to look gloomy for Scotland; but in the moment of extreme peril, he shook off his disease by a strong effort, and once more led his followers through a series of triumphs, which were crowned by the great battle of Bannockburn. Though we cannot allow the ambition which seeks a crown to pass for patriotism, it is impossible to deny the highest praise to the courage, firmness, and ability displayed by Bruce through the whole of this trying period. None may deny that he deserved a crown, and when once obtained, it acquired a lustre from the talents of him who wore it.

Bruce soon found himself in a condition to assist his brother Edward in the attempt to drive the English out of Ireland. But here the usual good fortune of the Scotch abandoned them. After a hard-fought campaign, attended by many vicissitudes, his sagacity saw that the attempt was hopeless, and he returned to Scotland. Shortly afterward, the turbulent and aspiring Edward Bruce was slain in battle.

His wonted success attended Bruce in the field, in the midst of which, however, a plot was formed against his life and government. Fortunately it was revealed in time by the Countess of Strathearn, to whom the conspirators had the weakness to confide their intentions; and soon afterward, to crown his prosperity, Edward II. was compelled by a series of defeats to conclude a peace. But Bruce's health began to be impaired, and when war again broke out between the countries, upon the deposition of Edward II. and the succession of his son, Edward III., he was unable to lead his projected expedition against England. It ended in failure, if not in defeat.

A short interval of health and hope gleamed upon him after this attack, and peace was concluded between the two countries, greatly to the dissatisfaction of the English, who, justly enough, considered themselves sacrificed to the ambition of the queen-mother, Isabella, and of her favorite, Mortimer. But this momentary promise of health and vigor soon passed away, and it became plain to all that the life of this brave and sagacious monarch was drawing rapidly to a close. In expectation of the final event he had given orders to have a magnificent tomb made at Paris; which was brought to Bruges, thence through England into Scotland, and on its arrival erected in the church of the Benedictines at Dunfermline.

Bruce died in his fifty-fifth year, and was buried in the abbey-church of Dunfermline, as he had desired.

In the prime of his life Bruce was upward of six feet high; his shoulders were broad, his chest full and open; the cheek-bones strong and prominent, and the muscles of the back and neck of great size and thickness; his hair curled short over a broad forehead, and the general expression of his face was calm and cheerful; (p. 111) yet, when he pleased, he could assume a character of stern command. Such, at least, Bruce has been described by the old historian, and we may easily believe it, since the outward semblance agrees so well with what is recorded of his life and actions.[Back to Contents]

(DIED, 1386)

Arnold von Winkelried.

The incident with which this name is connected is, after the purely legendary feat of Tell, the best known and most popular in the early history of the Swiss Confederation. We are told how, at a critical moment in the great battle of Sempach, when the Swiss had failed to break the serried ranks of the Austrian knights, a man of Unterwalden, Arnold von Winkelried by name, came to the rescue. Commending his wife and children to the care of his comrades, he rushed toward the Austrians, gathered a number of their spears together against his breast, and fell pierced through, having opened a way into the hostile ranks for his fellow-countrymen, though at the price of his own life. But the Tell and Winkelried stories stand in a very different position when looked at in the dry light of history; for, while in the former imaginary and impossible men (bearing now and then a real historical name) do imaginary and impossible deeds at a very uncertain period, in the latter we have some solid ground to rest on, and Winkelried's act might very well have been performed, though, as yet, the amount of genuine and early evidence in support of it is very far from being sufficient.

The Winkelrieds of Stanz were a knightly family when we first hear of them, though toward the end of the fourteenth century they seem to have been but simple men without the honors of knighthood, and not always using their prefix "von." Among its members we find an Erni Winkelried acting as a witness to a contract of sale on May 1, 1367; while the same man, or perhaps another member of the family, Erni von Winkelried, is plaintiff in a suit at Stanz, on September 29, 1389, and in 1417 is the landamman (or head-man) of Unterwalden, being then called Arnold Winkelriet. We have, therefore, a real man named Arnold Winkelried living at Stanz, about the time of the battle of Sempach. The question is thus narrowed to the points, was he present at the battle, and did he then perform the deed commonly attributed to him? The determination of this question requires a minute investigation of the history of that battle, to ascertain if (p. 112) there are any authentic traces of this incident, or any opportunity for it to have taken place.

1. Evidence of Chronicles.—The earliest known mention of the incident is found in a Zurich chronicle (discovered in 1862 by Herr G. von Wyss), which is a copy, made in 1476, of a chronicle written in, or at any rate not earlier than, 1438, though it is wanting in the sixteenth century transcript of another chronicle written in 1466, which up to 1389 closely agrees with the former. It appears in the well-known form, but the hero is stated to be "ein getrüwer man under den Eidgenozen," no name being given, and it seems clear that his death did not take place at that time. No other mention has been found in any of the numerous Swiss or Austrian chronicles, till we come to the book "De Helvetiæ Origine," written in 1538 by Rudolph Gwalther (Zwingli's son-in-law), when the hero is still nameless, being compared to Decius or Codrus, but is said to have been killed by his brave act. Finally we read the full story in the original draft of Giles Tschudi's chronicle, where the hero is described "as a man of Unterwalden, of the Winkelried family," this being expanded in the first rescension of the chronicle (1564) into "a man of Unterwalden, Arnold von Winkelried by name, a brave knight;" while he is entered (in the same book, on the authority of the "Anniversary Book" of Stanz, now lost) on the list of those who fell at Sempach, at the head of the Nidwald (or Stanz) men, as "Herr Arnold von Winkelried, ritter," this being in the first draft "Arnold Winckelriet."

2. Ballads.—There are several war songs on the battle of Sempach which have come down to us, but in one only is there mention of Winkelried and his deed. This is a long ballad of sixty-seven four-line stanzas, part of which (including the Winkelried section) is found in the additions made between 1531 and 1545 to Etterlin's chronicle by H. Berlinger of Basel, and the whole in Werner Steiner's chronicle (written 1532). It is agreed on all sides that the last stanza, attributing the authorship to Halbsuter, of Lucerne, "as he came back from the battle," is a very late addition. Many authorities regard it as made up of three distinct songs (one of which refers to the battle and Winkelried), possibly put together by the younger Halbsuter (citizen of Lucerne in 1435, died between 1470 and 1480); though others contend that the Sempach-Winkelried section bears clear traces of having been composed after the Reformation began, that is, about 1520 or 1530. Some recent discoveries have proved that certain statements in the song, usually regarded as anachronisms, are quite accurate; but no nearer approach has been made toward fixing its exact date, or that of any of the three bits into which it has been cut up. In this song the story appears in its full-blown shape, the name of Winckelriet being given.[Back to Contents]

Arnold Winkelried at Sempach.

(p. 113) JOAN OF ARC[8]
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Joan of Arc.

In the history of the world since the dawn of time, there is no other character so remarkable to me as that of Joan of Arc.

You have but to think of any young girl of your acquaintance, seventeen years old, and try to imagine her leading an army to battle, storming a fort, or planning a campaign, in order to realize in a measure the astounding qualities possessed by this wonderful being.

Not only did she do all this as wisely as the most astute general who ever lived, but she succeeded in liberating France from the hands of the English, where we have very good reason to think it might have otherwise remained to this day; for the English were gaining ground steadily, and the French dauphin was utterly discouraged, and had ceased to make an effort to maintain his rights, when Joan of Arc came to his rescue.

The English king, Henry V., had died in the midst of his triumphs. Two months later, imbecile Charles VI., of France, passed away also, and Henry VI., of England, was proclaimed king of both nations; while at the same time the dauphin was hailed King of France by his few followers. But his fortunes were at the lowest ebb, his small army, stationed at Orleans, was in need of food. Four thousand of his men went out to search for provisions, and encountered half that number of English soldiers. A battle ensued, and five hundred of the bravest French soldiers were left dead on the field of strife. Despite their bravery, hunger and fatigue had unfitted them to combat with their well-fed adversaries.

The dauphin had shut himself in the castle of Chinon, with fair women and gay comrades, while the siege was raging before the walls of Orleans. He was at that time a weak and vacillant youth, given over to the same pleasures and vices which drove his father mad and caused his brother's death. He had no pride in rescuing his crown from the English, and it must be confessed that the treatment he had received from his own mother and his own countrymen, who sold him to the enemy, was sufficient to dishearten a stronger nature than his. Added to this, he was doubtful of his legitimate right to the throne, owing to his mother's depraved career. But when, in the midst of his orgies, the news was brought to him, in the castle of Chinon, that his army was defeated before the (p. 114) walls of Orleans, what little hope or courage he had left seemed to desert him and he sank into a state of despair.

And far away on the frontier, in the little village of Domremy, a young girl watched her flocks, and wept over the fate of her beloved country; and weeping, prayed that God would save France from the oppressor. How earnestly she prayed, and how well God listened, history has recorded in a tale more wonderful than any story ever conceived by the imagination of man, and sadder than any other save the story of the Nazarene upon the Cross of Calvary.

The end of France as a nation seemed at hand. The nobility had been led into captivity and sold to an invading enemy; the clergy had seen its altars defamed by arrogant strangers. Industry had been ruined by civil wars during the long imbecility of Charles VI., and the succeeding ravages made by the English. Villages were depopulated, homes desolated, and look where they might, the people of France saw no hope of aid, save from on high.

Of this epoch Henry Martin says, "The people expected nothing from human sources; but a sentiment of indestructible nationality stirred in their hearts and told them that France could not die. Hoping nothing from earth, they lifted their souls to heaven; an ardent religious fervor seized upon them, which had no part with clergy or creed. It rose from the extremity of their need, and fixed its root in an old oracle of the Middle Ages, which had predicted that France should be 'lost through a woman and saved by a virgin.'"

France had certainly been lost through its wicked queen; that part of the old prophecy had been fearfully fulfilled; the remaining clause was yet to be verified. The people, excited to a religious frenzy by their desperate straits and their faith in the old superstition, prayed more fervently with each day; and their prayers rose like great white eagles and settled upon the heart of that strange divine child, who was weeping over the fate of France while she watched her sheep on the plains of Domremy.

A humbly born girl was Joan of Arc, unable to read or write; women who could do more than that were rare in those days, so she was not despised on account of her ignorance, but highly respected for her industry and piety. An enthusiastic Catholic, she added to her church duties by active benevolence and kindness to the sick and poor in her native town. Often she was seen to kneel in the fields and pray; and there was a chapel some miles from Domremy to which she used to make a pilgrimage every Sunday and offer prayers to the Virgin. There was, too, in the forest of Bois Chemin a famous beech-tree under which a stream of clear water flowed; and a superstition prevailed among the people of Domremy that fairies had blessed this tree and bestowed healing properties upon the waters of the stream. The priest and the villagers marched about the sacred tree once each year singing solemn chants, and the young people hung its boughs with garlands, and danced under its shading branches. Joan dearly loved this spot, and it became her favorite haunt. The echoes of war reverberated even to this quiet frontier hamlet, and in her hours of reverie she dwelt sadly upon the stories of bloodshed and suffering which she heard her elders repeat.

(p. 115) She was twelve years old when the dauphin was proclaimed king by his few followers; and in all his flight from province to province, fleeing before the usurpers of his throne, no heart in all France suffered more keenly than the heart beating in the breast of this humble shepherd girl. The misfortunes of the dauphin, the woes of her country, took complete possession of her expanding mind. Her pure young soul yearned toward the Infinite in one ceaseless prayer; and when any soul is so lifted up above all thought of self, praying for the good of others, a response never fails to come. It is only selfish prayers which remain unanswered. Joan's beautiful nature was like the sensitive plate prepared to receive the impression; and while she prayed the angels to save France, the angels prepared her to become the saviour.

One summer day, when she was in her fourteenth year, she was running in the fields with her companions, when, as she afterward declared, "she felt herself lifted as by an invisible force and carried along as if she possessed wings." Her companions gazed upon her with astonishment, seeing her fly beyond their reach. Then she heard a voice, which proceeded from a great light above her; and the voice said, "Joan, put your trust in God, and go and save France."

This strange experience filled her with terror; but ere many days she heard the voice again, and this time she saw the figure of a winged angel. "I am the Archangel Michael," the voice said, "and the messenger of God, who bids you to go to the aid of the dauphin and restore him to his throne."

Overcome with fear, she fell on her knees in tears; but the angel continued to appear to her, accompanied with two female forms, and always urging her to go to the aid of her country. Fear gave place to ecstacy, and in the heart of this divine child awoke the audacious idea whose climax astounded the whole world.

At first she reasoned with the voices, telling them "she was but a poor girl, who knew nothing of men or war." But the voices replied, "Go and save France; God will be with you, and you have nothing to fear."

During three years she listened to these voices, which made themselves heard by her two or three times each week. She seemed consumed by an inward fever, and strange words escaped her. One day she said to a laborer, that "midway between Coussi and Vaucouleurs there lived a maid who should bring the dauphin to his throne."

These words were repeated to her father and they alarmed him; and we cannot wonder that they did. How could he think otherwise than that his little girl was losing her senses? How could he dream of the divine and superhuman powers that had descended upon her from a higher world? He told her brother that if Joan should attempt to follow the army, as he feared she might, "he would rather drown her with his own hands." Her parents set a watch upon her movements, and decided to marry her to a young man who was secretly enamored of her. They connived with this admirer to swear before an officer of the law that Joan had promised him her heart; but she so strenuously denied the assertion before the judge that she gained her case.

(p. 116) Just at this epoch the people of Domremy were obliged to fly before an invading troop of soldiers. When they returned to their village they found their church burned and their homes pillaged. Joan regarded this as a direct punishment for her hesitation in heeding the "voices." She would hesitate no longer, and after repeated delays and disheartening rebuffs, she succeeded in winning her way, with a few believers in her mission, to the king's castle.

When Charles finally consented to an interview, he disguised one of his courtiers as king, and he was disguised as a courtier; but Joan was not deceived by clothing; she fell at his feet, clasped his knees, and exclaimed, "Gentle king, God has taken pity on you and your people; the angels are on their knees praying for you and them."

The king was impressed with her lofty enthusiasm, and plied her with questions. Her responses astonished him. One reliable authority tells us that she revealed to him something known only to himself—and answered a question which he had that day demanded of God in the privacy of prayer—the question of his legitimate right to the throne. Joan told him that he had asked this question of God, and that she was able to reply to it in the affirmative.

The king was so astonished and overjoyed at this proof of the maiden's powers, that he expressed belief in her divine mission; but he quickly relapsed into doubt again, and Joan was obliged to endure a very critical examination before a parliament, where she confused and confounded the learned doctors by her simple words: "I know not A or B, but I am commanded by my voices to raise the siege of Orleans and crown the dauphin at Rheims." When one aggressive doctor, with a bad accent, asked sarcastically; "what language her voices spoke," she replied, "Better than yours, sir," which brought the laughter of the whole parliament upon him. A messenger sent to Domremy, to ascertain the early conduct of the maid, returned with accounts of her piety and benevolence. All this worked in her favor, together with the strong faith which the masses reposed in her; for the people remembered the old prophecy and believed that the maiden had come to deliver France.

Even the doctors of theology were affected by this prophecy, and the result was the final equipment of Joan for battle. When arrayed in a knight's armor she refused to accept a sword. "The voices told me," she said, "that in the church vault at Fierbois there lies a sword marked with five crosses which I must carry, and no other."

A messenger was sent, who found the sword exactly as she had described it. This naturally swelled the faith of the people in her divine mission. She ordered a white banner made, covered with the lilies of France, and with the inscription, "Jesus Maria," emblazoned upon it. At the end of two months she entered the town of Blois, where the army was stationed, seated upon a fine horse, her head bare, her dark curls streaming in the wind, an air of triumph and joy on her face. Six thousand soldiers were drawn up to receive her. But the pleasure-loving young dauphin, be it said to his shame, was enjoying himself in his castle and was not there to meet her. Nothing had yet been decided about the position (p. 117) Joan was to occupy, but the wild enthusiasm of the army at once made her its leader.

The very first act of this pure being was an attempt to uplift the moral status of the army. Women of evil repute were sent away with good advice, and the men were called to battle by prayer and confession. Coarse soldiers followed her to mass, fascinated by her peculiar spell, and rough language was silenced in her presence. Remarkable as has seemed Joan's career up to this point, it was simple compared to the miracles which ensued. Modest as the simplest maiden in private life, gentle as a child in all matters pertaining to herself, utterly devoid of self-seeking interests, she was yet enabled to plan campaigns, direct attacks and lead armies with all the skill of any world-renowned general. In the dead of night, with a band of 200 men, she entered the beleaguered city of Orleans in the face of the English enemy. The inhabitants crowded about her, regarding her rightly with wonder and awe. Her first act was to hasten to a cathedral where the Te Deum was being chanted by torch-light. She then selected her home with a lady of spotless reputation, in order that all her hours of repose might be guarded from suspicions of evil. The following day she directed a letter of warning to be sent to the English, urging them to retreat before compelled to do so by the "fire of Heaven." She then reconnoitred the city, determining in her mind where to begin the attack; and as she saw no signs that the English had taken heed of her letter, she finally mounted the walls of the town, and in a loud voice warned the English to depart before overtaken with the shame and disaster in store for them. To this the English responded with insults and ribald words, and told her to "Go home and keep her cows." Joan wept at their insults to her modesty, and would have at once opened an attack, had she not been dissuaded by her generals, who begged her to await the arrival of her army.

Despite their bold words, the English were so influenced by Joan's peculiar power, that they allowed her army to enter Orleans with a convoy of provisions, and made no resistance. They seemed to be paralyzed with fear, and many of them expressed a belief that she was aided by the devil. Although the maid was immensely popular with the army, a lurking secret jealousy of her was already at work in the breasts of some of her officers; and these men chose an hour when she was taking a brief repose, to open an attack upon the English, hoping to take the glory of a conquest to themselves. But Joan's Voices awoke her, and told her the blood of France was being spilled; and seizing her white banner, she mounted her horse, and rushed into the strife, turning the tide of battle at once in favor of the French army, which had already suffered loss. Wherever the white flag was seen, a superhuman strength seemed to take possession of the men; and after a fierce battle of three hours, the bastile of St. Loup was won by the French.

The bastile des Augustins fell next, and here Joan was slightly wounded in the foot; but she resolved to attack the only remaining hold of the English the following day. Her officers counselled together and reported themselves unfavorable to this project, as the bastile des Tournelles was very strong, and filled (p. 118) with the bravest of the English army. But Joan replied, "I, too, have been at council with God, and we shall fight to-morrow."

They did fight, the English with fury, the French "as if they believed themselves immortal." After three hours of warfare Joan saw her men hesitate under the fierce attack of the enemy. She seized a ladder, planted it against a wall, and began to ascend it. At that moment an English arrow struck her between the neck and shoulder, and she fell to the ground. The disheartened soldiers bore her from the field, and dressed her wound, from which she extracted the arrow with her own hand, shedding womanly tears meanwhile. After the wound was dressed, a vision came to her, and with sudden strength she remounted her horse and rode back to battle.

The English, believing her nearly dead from her wound, were terrified to see her return, and lost courage from that moment; while the French, electrified by her unexpected presence, fought with such zeal that before nightfall the maid led her army into Orleans crowned with triumph. It was only seven days since she had entered the city, and Joan had already verified her assertion that she could and would "raise the siege of Orleans."

The indolent and unworthy dauphin, however, refused to go to Rheims and be crowned and so fulfil the second part of Joan's mission. He said there were ports along the Loire which needed to be taken first so the girl general laid out her campaign and added Beaugency and Jargeau to her other conquests. The English had become filled with superstitious fear of her power, attributing it to the devil. But the Dauphin of France still dallied with light women in his castle, and treated Joan with coldness and suspicion. The army now became so unanimous in the desire that the king should go to Rheims, that he finally, with reluctance, consented. On July 16th, after having taken Troyes and Chalons on the way, the French army entered Rheims; and there, on the following day, the dauphin was anointed with holy oil and received the crown of France.

Happy, but modest and humble in her happiness, rejoicing only in the prosperity of the king and the country, the sublime saviour of her land knelt before her sovereign after the ceremonies were concluded and said, "Gentle king, I wish now that I might return toward my father and my mother, to keep my flocks and my herds as heretofore." Alas for the happiness of the poor girl and the honor of two countries, that her request was not granted!

Joan's father was present on this occasion, and the inn where he lodged at the king's expense, and the cathedral where the dauphin was crowned, still exist in Rheims.

Joan of Arc.

During all Joan's life as a soldier and general, she exhibited a most touching humanity toward the conquered enemy. She would spring from her horse to sooth the wounds of a suffering English soldier, and it is recorded of her that she carried a dying enemy in her arms to a confessor, and remained with him till his soul took flight. The people adored her, the soldiers of her army idolized her, and the king realized that she was of too great value to him to permit her to go in peace to her old humble home. So Joan remained, asking that the king (p. 119) would remove all impost from the village of Domremy, in place of bestowing a title upon her family as he offered to do. For three hundred years her request was obeyed. From this time to the tragic end, the story of Joan's life is a hard one to relate. Although we are nearing the fifth centennial of her birth, the recital of her sufferings and death must still wring tears from every heart which is not made of stone. The feeling of jealousy which great success, of even the most worthy and noble souls, arouses in meaner natures, had already sprung up against Joan. This feeling increased as the days passed by and she added more and more to her glory by the conquest of Laon, Soissons, Compiègne, and Beauvais. Paris was next besieged, and here Joan was seriously wounded, an event which depressed the king and the army.

Her wound disabled her from action, and she was left lying on the field until evening, neglected, and seemingly forgotten. Already conscious of the growing sentiment of jealousy among her officers, this final proof of their indifference to her fate must have been more painful to her pure and lofty mind than the physical agony she was enduring. But even lying there, wounded, she cheered on the men as they passed her in the combat, and revived their failing courage.

She was enabled to resume action the next day; her plans were all perfected, and judging from her past triumphs we can but suppose victory would have attended her, had not that most remarkable mandate arrived from the king, commanding the French army to retreat to Saint-Denis.

To the undying shame of his memory be it said that Charles VII. entered into a plot, with jealous enemies of Joan, to force failure upon her. The people and the soldiers had grown to believe her infallible; the king and his favorites determined that she should be proven fallible. They deemed the country sufficiently safe, the army sufficiently strong, to enable them to go on now and claim victories of their own, without having their divine deliverer share the glory.

Next to the crime of Isabel, who sold her son and her country to the enemy, this base act of Charles VII. stands unparalleled in infamy. So discouraged and heart-broken was Joan over the conduct of the king, although she did not understand the deep-laid plot against her, that she resolved to abandon the life of a soldier and enter the church of Saint-Denis. She hung up her armor and her sword, but when the king heard of this he sent for her to return to the army. He was not yet sure of himself, and he wanted her where he could call upon her if need be.

Joan returned with reluctance; "her Voices" counselled her to keep to her resolution; but she was so accustomed to obey the king, that for the first time she allowed an earthly voice to overrule the counsels of her heavenly guides. And from this hour her star set; from this hour her path led into darkness. Soon after her return to the army she broke the magic sword with which she had achieved so many conquests; the Voices, too, were silent, and all this troubled her. The king kept her away from all active warfare, and she grew restive and impatient with her life of inaction. The army, which under her influence had been reformed of half its vices, now separated from her by the king's orders and fell (p. 120) into the most wild excesses. Joan prayed and pleaded to be allowed to go again into combat, and finally the king allowed her to do so; but such success attended her, and such enthusiasm seized upon her soldiers, that the jealous favorites of the king were alarmed. They resolved to prevent any further triumphs for her, but to pretend great friendship and admiration meanwhile.

The king was influenced to bestow honors and titles upon her family, and to present her two brothers, who had fought in the army, with swords of silver; all of which Joan received coldly and with indifference, for meantime she was suffering such agony as only so brave and valiant a soul could suffer in being kept from her duty.

After four months of this galling life, Joan could not fail to see that she was the victim of a jealous plot. What suffering to a nature so honest and self-sacrificing as hers, to discover that the king for whom she had achieved such miracles, was a coward and a hypocrite, unworthy of her respect and faith.

But it was surely this knowledge which actuated Joan to take a few brave men, and without orders from the king, to go in aid of William de Flavy, commander of the fortress of Compiègne, who was in distress. She set out, and on the evening of May 24th, headed an attack upon the English. She fought nobly and well, but before the close of the combat, she was obliged to sound a retreat, and as she was attempting to escape through the half-closed city gate, an English archer came up behind and pulled her to the ground.

Joan of Arc was a prisoner. The joy of the English was overwhelming—the despair of the French correspondingly great; and that despair gave place to anger when it was learned that William de Flavy, the man whom she had tried to defend, had betrayed her into the hands of the English because he was jealous of her. This man's wife slew him when she learned of his base act, and was pardoned for the crime when she told its cause. In all the cities which Joan had delivered from English control, public prayers and processions were ordered; people walked barefooted and bareheaded, chanting the Miserere, in the streets of Tours. She was imprisoned first at Beaurevoir, then in the prison of Arras, and from there she was taken to Le Crotoy.

It was customary in those days to exchange prisoners taken in arms, or to ransom them; but the English had suffered such loss and defeat through Joan that they determined she should die.

Their only way to do this without publicly dishonoring themselves, was to accuse her of being a witch, and to compel the "religious" tribunal of her own land to become her murderer.

During the first six months of her captivity Joan was treated humanely; but the defeat of the English at Compiègne awoke anew the superstitions of the English, who believed that, though a prisoner, she exercised her spell upon the army; and she was taken to Le Crotoy, and cast into an iron cage with chains upon her wrists and ankles. After being starved, insulted, and treated with the most hellish brutality in prison for nearly ten months, the saviour of France was brought before a tribunal of men, all of them her enemies. There were three days of this (p. 121) shameful pretence of a trial, and the holy maid, deserted by those whom she had crowned with glory and benefits, was trapped into signing a paper which she supposed only a form of abjuration, but which proved to be a confession of all the crimes with which she was charged; and after she was returned to her dungeon this was exhibited to the people to convince them of her guilt and turn the tide of public sympathy. The Bishop of Beauvais then sentenced her to prison for the rest of her life, on condition that she resume woman's apparel; yet one morning she woke to find no dress in her prison but the clothes she had worn in battle. No sooner had she donned these than the bishop appeared, and accused her of disobedience to the orders of the Church, and he fixed her execution for the next day.

When the horrible fact was made known to her that she was to be burned at the stake in the market-place of Rouen, before a multitude of people, she burst into piercing cries of agony. Her physical strength, courage, and brain-power were all impaired by the months of abuse she had endured, and her very soul was torn by the neglect and indifference which the base king manifested toward her. Up to the very last hour she had believed deliverance would come, but it came only through death. Never since that spectacle of the bleeding Nazarene upon the Cross of Calvary, has the world beheld so terrible a picture of crucified innocence and purity as that of Joan of Arc, the saviour of France, burning in the market-place of Rouen. With her dying breath she cried out that the Voices were real, and that she had obeyed God in listening to their counsels.

Her last word was the name of—Jesus.[Back to Contents]

Author signature. Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

By Alphonse de Lamartine

Hans Gensfleisch Gutenberg von Sorgeloch was a young patrician—born at Mainz, a free and wealthy city on the banks of the Rhine, in the year 1400. His father, Friel Gensfleisch, married Else von Gutenberg, who gave her name to her second son John.

It is probable that if Mainz, his country, had not been a free city, this young gentleman would have been unable to conceive or to carry into execution his invention. Despotism and superstition equally insist upon silence; they would have stifled the universal and resistless echo which genius (p. 122) was about to create for written words. Printing and liberty were both to spring from the same soil and the same climate.

Hans Gutenberg.

Mainz, Strasburg, Worms, and other municipal towns on the Rhine, then governed themselves, under the suzerainty of the empire, as small federal republics, like Florence, Genoa, Venice, and the other states of Italy. The nobility warlike, the burgesses increasing in importance, and the laboring population vacillating between these two classes, who alternately oppressed and courted it, from time to time, here as everywhere, fought for supremacy. Outbursts of civil war, excited by vanity or interest, and in which the victory remained sometimes with the patricians, sometimes with the burgesses, and at others with the artisans, made them alternately victors, conquered, and proscribed. This is the history of all cities, of all republics, and of all empires. Mainz, was a miniature of Rome or Athens, only the proscribed party had not the sea to cross to escape from their country; they went outside the walls, and crossed the Rhine; those of Strasburg going to Mainz, and those of Mainz to Strasburg, to wait until their party recovered power, or until they were recalled by their fellow-citizens.

In these intestine struggles of Mainz, the young Gutenberg, himself a gentleman, and naturally fighting for the cause most holy in a son's eyes—that of his father—was defeated by the burgesses, and banished, with all the knights of his family, from the territory of Mainz. His mother and sisters alone remained there in possession of their property, as innocent victims on whom the faults of the nobility should not be visited. His first banishment was short, and peace was ratified by the return of the refugees. A vain quarrel about precedence in the public ceremonies on the occasion of the solemn entry of the Emperor Robert, accompanied by the Archbishop Conrad, into Mainz, refreshed the animosity of the two classes in 1420, and young Gutenberg, at the age of nineteen, under went his second exile.

The free city of Frankfort now offered itself as a mediator between the nobles and plebeians of Mainz, and procured their recall on condition of the governing magistracy being equally shared between the high classes and the burgesses. But Gutenberg, whether his valor in the civil war had rendered him more obnoxious and more hostile to the burgesses; whether his pride, fostered by the traditions of his race, could not submit patiently to an equality with plebeians; or whether, more probably, ten years of exile and study at Strasburg had already turned the bent of his thoughts to a nobler subject than the vain honors of a free city, refused (p. 123) to return to his country. His mother, who watched over her son's interest at Mainz, petitioned the republic to allow him to receive as a pension a small portion of the revenues of his confiscated possessions. The republic replied that the young patrician's refusal to return to his country was a declaration of war, and that the republic did not pay its enemies. Gutenberg, persisting in his voluntary exile and in his disdain, lived on the secret remittances of his mother.

But at Strasburg he already enjoyed so great a popularity for his disposition and his acquirements, that one day, when the chief magistrate of Mainz was passing the territory of Strasburg, he was arrested by the friends of Gutenberg, shut up in a castle, and did not recover his liberty until the city of Mainz had signed a treaty which restored the exile his patrimony. Thus this youth, the great tribune of the human mind, whose invention was destined to destroy forever the prejudices of race, and to restore, in after-times, liberty and civil equality to all the plebeians of the world, began his life, as yet unrecognized, at the head of the patrician party of his country, in these struggles between the privileged castes and the people. Fortune seemed to delight in the contrast. But Gutenberg's wisdom, increasing with his age, was afterward destined to reunite the people and nobility, who looked on each other as enemies.

The restoration of his goods allowed young Gutenberg to satisfy his literary, religious, and artistic tastes, by travelling from town to town to study monuments, and visit men of all conditions celebrated for their science, their art, or even their trade. The artisans of Germany then held nearly the same rank as the artists. It was at the time when the trades, scarcely known, were confused with the arts, and when the most humble professions produced their earliest masterpieces, which, on account of their novelty, were looked upon as prodigies. Gutenberg travelled alone, on foot, carrying a knapsack containing books and clothes, like a mere student visiting the schools, or a journeyman looking for a master. He thus went through the Rhenish provinces, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and lastly, Holland, not without an object, like a man who lets his imagination wander at the caprice of his footsteps, but carrying everywhere with him a fixed idea, an unchanging will led by a presentiment. This guiding star was the thought of spreading the word of God and the Bible among a vaster number of souls.

Thus it was religion which, in this young wandering apostle, was seeking the soil wherein to sow a single seed, of which the fruit hereafter was to be a thousand various grains. It is the glory of printing that it was given to the world by religion, not by industry. Religious enthusiasm was alone worthy to give birth to the instrument of truth.

What mechanical processes Gutenberg may until then have revolved in his mind, remains unknown. Whatever they were, chance effaced them all, and brought him at once upon his great discovery. One day, at Haarlem, in Holland, the verger of the cathedral, named Lawrence Koster, with whom he had established friendly relations, showed him in the sacristy a Latin grammar, curiously wrought in engraved letters on a wooden board, for the instruction of the seminarists. Chance, that gratuitous teacher, had produced this approach to printing.

(p. 124) The poor and youthful sacristan of Haarlem was in love. He used to walk on holydays to the spring outside the town, and sit under the willows by the canals, to indulge in his day-dreams. His heart full of the image of his bride, he used to amuse himself, in true lover's fashion, by engraving with his knife the initials of his mistress and himself, interlaced, as an emblem of the union of their hearts and of their interwoven destinies. But, instead of cutting these ciphers on the bark, and leaving them to grow with the tree, like the mysterious ciphers so often seen on the trees in the forests and by the brooks, he engraved them on little blocks of willow stripped of their bark, and still reeking with the moisture of their sap; and he used to carry them, as a remembrance of his dreams and a pledge of affection, to his lady-love.

One day, having thus cut some letters on the green wood, probably with more care and perfection than usual, he wrapped up his little work in a piece of parchment, and brought it with him to Haarlem. On opening it next day to look at his letters, he was astonished to see the cipher perfectly reproduced in brown on the parchment by the relieved portion of the letters, the sap having oozed out during the night and imprinted its image on the envelope. This was a discovery. He engraved other letters on a large platter, replaced the sap by a black liquid, and thus obtained the first proof ever printed. But it would only print a single page. The movable variety and endless combinations of characters infinitely multiplied, to meet the vast requirements of literature, were wanting. The invention of the poor sacristan would have covered the surface of the earth with plates engraved or sculptured in relief, but would not have been a substitute for a single case of movable type. Nevertheless, the principle of the art was developed in the sacristy of Haarlem, and we might hesitate whether to attribute the honor of it to Koster or Gutenberg, if its invention had not been with one the mere accidental discovery of love and chance, and, in the other, the well-earned victory of patience and genius.

At the sight of this coarse plank, the lightning from heaven flashed before the eyes of Gutenberg. He looked at the plank, and, in his imagination, analyzed it, decomposed it, put it together again, changed it, divided it, readjusted it, reversed it, smeared it with ink, placed the parchment on it, and pressed it with a screw. The sacristan, wondering at his long silence, was unwittingly present at this development of an idea over which his visitor had brooded in vain for the last ten years. When Gutenberg retired, he carried a new art with him.

On the morrow, like a man who possesses a treasure, and knows neither rest nor sleep until he has hidden it safely, Gutenberg left Haarlem, hastened up the Rhine until he reached Strasburg, shut himself up in his work-room, fashioned his own tools, tried, broke, planned, rejected, returned to his plans, and again rejected them, only to return to them again; and ended by secretly executing a fortunate proof upon parchment with movable wooden types, bored through the side with a small hole, strung together and kept close by a thread, like square beads on a chaplet, each with a letter of the alphabet cut in relief on (p. 125) one side—the first printer's alphabet, coarse, but wonderful—the first company of twenty-four letters, which multiplied like the herds of the patriarchs, until at last they covered the whole earth with written characters, in which a new and immaterial element—human thought—became incarnate.

Gutenberg, perceiving at the first glance the immense social and industrial bearing of his invention, felt that his weak hand, short life, and moderate property would be spent in vain on such a work. He experienced two opposite wants—the necessity of associating with himself persons to assist in meeting the expenses and in executing the mechanical labor, and the necessity of concealing from his assistants the secret and real object of their labors, for fear lest his invention might be divulged and pirated, and the glory and merit of his discovery taken from him. He cast his eyes on the nobility and rich gentry of his acquaintance at Strasburg and Mainz. He probably met with rebuffs from all quarters, on account of the prejudice then prevailing that handicrafts were derogatory to a gentleman. He was, therefore, obliged to sink his rank, become a workman, associate with artisans, and mix with the people, in order to raise the people to the high level of morality and intelligence.

Under the pretence of working together at a new and marvellous craft, such as jewelry, clock-making, and grinding and setting precious stones, he entered into a deed of partnership with two wealthy inhabitants of Strasburg, Andrew Dritzchen and Hans Riffe, bailiff of Lichtenau; and afterward with Faust, a goldsmith and banker of Mainz, whose name, confounded with that of Faustus, the wondrous sorcerer of German fable, the master of mystery, and the friend of the Evil One, caused the invention of printing to be attributed to magic; and, lastly, with Hulmann, whose brother had just established the first paper-mill at Strasburg.

In order the more effectually to conceal from his partners the real object of his pursuit, Gutenberg joined them in several artistic and secondary enterprises. Continuing in secret his mechanical researches on printing, he employed himself publicly in these other occupations. He taught Dritzchen the art of cutting precious stones. He himself polished Venetian glass for mirrors, or cut pieces of it into facets, setting them in copper frames ornamented with wooden figurines representing personages from history or fable, from the Bible or the Testament. These articles, which found sale at the fair of Aix-la-Chapelle, kept up the funds of the association, and assisted Gutenberg in the secret expenses reserved for accomplishing and perfecting his design.

To conceal it the better also from the restless curiosity of the public, who began to circulate a suspicion of witchcraft against him, Gutenberg left the town, and established his workshop in the ruins of an old deserted monastery, called the Convent of St. Arbogast. The solitude of the place, only inhabited by the houseless poor of the suburbs, covered his first attempts.

In a corner of one of the vast cloisters of the monastery, occupied by his partners for their less secret labors, Gutenberg had reserved for himself a cell, always closed with lock and bolt, and to which none but himself ever had access. (p. 126) He was supposed to go there to draw the designs, arabesques, and figurines for his jewelry and the frames of his glasses; but he passed his days and sleepless nights there, wearing himself out in the pursuit of his invention. There it was that he engraved his movable types in wood, and projected casting them in metal, and studied hard to find the means of inclosing them in forms, whether of wood or of iron, to make the types into words, phrases, and lines, and to leave spaces on the paper. There it was that he invented colored mediums, oleaginous and yet drying, to reproduce these characters, brushes and dabbers to spread the ink on the letters, boards to hold them, and screws and weights to compress them. Months and years were spent, as well as his own fortune and the funds of the firm, in these persevering experiments, with alternate success and disappointment.

At length, having made a model of a press, which seemed to him to combine all the requirements of printing, according to his ideas at that time, he concealed it under his cloak, and walking to the town, went to a skilful turner in wood and metal, named Conrad Saspach, who lived in the Mercer's Lane, asking him to make the machine of full size. He requested the workman to keep it secret, merely telling him that it was a machine by the help of which he proposed to produce some masterpieces of art and mechanism, of which the marvels should be known in due time.

The turner, taking the model in his hands, and turning it backward and forward with the smile of contempt that a skilful artist usually puts on when looking at a rough specimen, said, somewhat scornfully, "But it is just simply a press that you are asking me for, Master Hans!"

"Yes," replied Gutenberg, with a grave and enthusiastic tone, "it is a press, certainly, but a press from which shall soon flow in inexhaustible streams the most abundant and most marvellous liquor that has ever flowed to relieve the thirst of man! Through it God will spread his Word. A spring of pure truth shall flow from it; like a new star, it shall scatter the darkness of ignorance, and cause a light heretofore unknown to shine among men." He retired. The turner, who understood not these words, made the machine, and delivered it at the monastery of Arbogast.

This was the first printing-press.

As soon as he was in possession of his press, Gutenberg began printing. Little is known of the first works which he sent out; but the strongly religious disposition of the inventor leaves no doubt concerning the nature of the labors to which he devoted the first-fruits of his art. They were, to a certainty, religious books. The art invented for the sake of God, and by his inspiration, began with his worship. His later publications at Mainz are a proof of it; the divine songs of the Psalmist, and the celebrated Latin Bible, were the first works issued at Mainz from the machine invented by Gutenberg, and applied to the use of the most sacred powers of man, lyrical praise of his Maker, and lamentation for the woes of earth. Under the hands of this pious and unfortunate man, praise and prayer were the first voices of the press. The press ought ever to be proud of it.

Gutenberg's Invention.

But great tribulation awaited him after his triumph. We have seen that the (p. 127) necessity of procuring funds obliged him to take partners. The necessity that subsequently arose of getting assistance for the multifarious labor of a great printing establishment obliged him to confide his occupation, and even the secret of his process, to his partners and to a number of workmen. His partners, tired of supplying funds to an enterprise which, for want of perfection, was not then remunerative, refused to persevere in the ungrateful occupation. Gutenberg begged them not to abandon him at the very moment that fortune and glory were within his grasp. They consented to make fresh advances, but only on condition of sharing completely his secret, his profits, his property, and his fame.

He sold his fame to procure success to his work. The name of Gutenberg disappeared. The firm absorbed the inventor, who soon became a mere workman in his own workshop. It was a parallel to the case of Christopher Columbus brought back in irons on board his own vessel, by a crew to whom he had opened a new world.

This was not all. The heirs of one of the partners brought an action against him to contest his invention, his property, and his right of carrying on the work. They compelled him to appear before the judges at Strasburg, to make him submit to some more complete and more legal spoliation than the voluntary abandonment he had himself acknowledged. His perplexity before the court was extreme. To justify himself, it was necessary to enter into all the technical details of his art, which he did not as yet wish to make completely public, reserving to himself, at least, the secret of his hopes. The judges, being inquisitive, pressed him with insidious questions, the answers to which would have exposed the secret of all his processes. He evaded them, preferring an adverse decision to the publication of his art. To succeed in penetrating the secret of the discovery which filled people's imaginations, the judges summoned his most confidential workmen, and required them to give evidence of what they knew. These men, simple-minded, yet faithful and strongly attached to Gutenberg, refused to reveal anything. Their master's secret was safer in their hearts than in the breasts of his more grasping associates. None of the great mysteries of the art transpired. Gutenberg, ruined, condemned, perhaps banished, retired alone and in poverty to Mainz, his native place, to recommence his labors and begin his life and fame anew.

He was still young, and the report of his lawsuit at Strasburg had made his fame known all over Germany, but he returned a workman to a city which he had quitted as a knight. Humiliation, poverty, and glory contended with each other in his fate and in the behavior of his fellow-citizens. Love alone recognized him for what he had been, and for what he was one day to become.

On his return to Mainz, having been relieved from degradation and ruin by the woman he loved, as Mohammed was by his first wife, Gutenberg gave himself entirely up to his art, entered into partnership with Faust and Schœffer, Faust's son-in-law; established offices at Mainz, and published, still under the name of the firm, Bibles and Psalters, of remarkable perfection of type.

Schœffer had for a long time carried on the business of a scrivener, and a (p. 128) trade in manuscripts in Paris. His travels, and his intimacy with the artists of that town, had made him acquainted with mechanical processes for working in metals, which he adapted, on his return to Mainz, to the art of printing. These new means enabled him to cast movable leaden types in a copper matrix, with greater precision than before, and thus to give great neatness to the letters. It was by this new process that the Psalter, the first book bearing a date, was printed in 1457. Soon afterward the Mainz Bible, recognized as a masterpiece of art, was produced under the direction of Gutenberg, from types founded by Peter Schœffer's process.

The tendency of the new art, which began by cheapening sacred books under the auspices of the Church alone, escaped, during the first years of its existence, the notice of the Roman court, which saw an auxiliary in what it afterward considered as an opponent.

"Among the number of blessings which we ought to praise God for having vouchsafed during your pontificate," says a dedication in the time of Paul II., "is this invention, which enables the poorest to procure libraries at a low price. Is it not a great glory to your Holiness, that volumes which used to cost one hundred pieces of gold are now to be bought for four, or even less, and that the fruits of genius, heretofore the prey of the worms and buried in dust, begin under your reign to arise from the dead, and to multiply profusely over all the earth?"

Meanwhile, Faust the banker, and Schœffer the workman, Gutenberg's new partners, were not long in giving way, like his former partner, one Mentel or Metelin at Strasburg, to the temptation of absorbing by degrees Gutenberg's glory, the most tempting of all possessions, because of its immortality. Like many others, they hoped to deceive posterity, if not their own contemporaries. After recognizing, in the Epistle Dedicatory prefixed to the German translation of Livy, printed by Hans Schœffer, and addressed to the Emperor Maximilian, "that the art of printing was invented at Mainz by that sublime mechanician Hans von Gutenberg," they forgot this confession, and seven years later assumed to themselves all the merit and honor of the discovery.

A short time afterward, the Emperor Maximilian, erecting the printers and compositors into a species of intellectual priesthood, relieved them by the nobility of their occupation from all degradation of rank. He ennobled the art and the artists together; he authorized them to wear robes embroidered with gold and silver, which nobles only had a right to wear, and gave them for armorial bearings an eagle with his wings spread over a globe, a symbol of the flight of written thoughts, and of its conquest of the world.

But Gutenberg was no longer upon earth to enjoy the possession of that intellectual world, religious and political, of which he had only had a glimpse, like Moses, in the vision of his dream in the monastery of St. Arbogast. Despoiled by his partners of his property and of his fame; expelled again, and for the last time, from his country by poverty, his only consolation being that he was followed by his wife, who remained faithful through all his troubles; deprived by death of all his children; advanced in years, without bread, and soon afterward, by his (p. 129) wife's decease, a widower, he was received by the Elector of Nassau, the generous Adolphus. The elector created him his counsellor of state and chamberlain, in order to enjoy in an honorable familiarity the conversation of this surpassing genius, who was afterward to hold converse with all times and all places. This shelter afforded to Gutenberg sheds everlasting lustre on Nassau and its prince. We meet in history with instances where a generous hospitality has given happiness and immortal fame to the most insignificant potentates and to the smallest of states.

Gutenberg continued printing with his own hands, at Nassau, under the eyes of his Mæcenas, the elector, during several years of peace and quiet. He died at the age of sixty-eight, leaving his sister no inheritance, but bequeathing to the world the empire of the human mind, discovered and achieved by a workman.

"I bequeath," he says in his will, "to my sister all the books which I printed at the monastery of St. Arbogast." The poor inventor's only legacy to his surviving relative was the common property of almost all inventors like himself—wasted youth, a persecuted life, a name aspersed, toil, watchings, and the oblivion of his contemporaries.[Back to Contents]


William Caxton.

William Caxton, to whom England owes the introduction of printing, was born, according to his own statement, in the Weald of Kent. Of the date of his birth nothing is known with certainty, though Oldys places it in 1412. Lewis and Oldys suppose that between his fifteenth and eighteenth years he was put apprentice to one Robert Large, a mercer or merchant of considerable eminence, who was afterward, successively, sheriff and lord mayor of London, and who upon his death, in 1441, remembered Caxton in his will by a legacy of 20 marks. Caxton at this time had become a freeman of the Company of Mercers. His knowledge of business, however, induced him, either upon his own account or as agent of some merchant, to travel to the Low Countries for a short time. In 1464 we find him joined in a commission with one Robert Whitehill, to continue and confirm a treaty of trade and commerce between Edward IV. and Philip, Duke of Burgundy; or if they find it necessary, to make a new one. They are styled in it ambassadors (p. 130) and special deputies. This commission at least affords a proof that Caxton had acquired a reputation for knowledge of business. Seven years afterward Caxton describes himself as leading a life of ease, when, "having no great charge or occupation," he set about finishing the translation of Raoul le Fevre's "Recueil des Histoires de Troye," which he had commenced two years before, in 1469. The original was the first book he printed, and this translation the third. Of Caxton's pursuits and travels abroad, we know little more than that in his peregrinations he confined himself, for the most part, to the countries of Brabant, Flanders, Holland, and Zealand, and finally entered into the service, or at least the household, of Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy, who encouraged him to finish his translation of Le Fevre's "History of Troy," assisted him with her criticisms upon his English, and amply rewarded him upon the completion of his labor. From the prologues and epilogues of this work we discover that he was now somewhat advanced in years, and that he had learnt to exercise the art of printing, but by what step he had acquired this knowledge cannot be discovered; his types only show that he acquired it in the Low Countries. He does not appear to have seen any of the beautiful productions of the Roman, Venetian, and Parisian presses before he had caused his own font of letters to be cut.

The original of Raoul's "History," the "Oration of John Russell on Charles, Duke of Burgundy, being created a Knight of the Garter," and the "Translation" of Raoul, were, as far as we know, Caxton's first three works; the last finished in 1471. A "Stanza," by Wynkyn de Worde, notices an edition of "Bartholomœus, de Proprietatibus Rerum," as printed by Caxton at Cologne (about 1470), but the actual existence of this edition is unknown. Nor has more certain information yet been obtained of the exact period of Caxton's return to his native country. The usual supposition has been that he brought the art of printing into England in 1474, and this date is indicated by the figures which are united in the centre of his device as a printer. In 1477, however, he had undoubtedly quitted the Low Countries and taken up his residence in the vicinity of Westminster Abbey, where and in which year he printed his "Dictes and Sayings of the Philosophers." Stowe says he first exercised his business in an old chapel near the entrance of the abbey; but a very curious placard, a copy of which, in Caxton's largest type, is now at Oxford in the late Mr. Douce's library, shows that he printed in the Almonry. It is as follows: "If it plese any man spirituel or temporel to bye ony Pyes of two and thre comemoracions of Salisburi vse emprynted, after the forme of this present lettre whiche ben wel and truly correct, late hym come to Westmonester in to the Almonesrye at the reed pole and he shal have them good chepe. Supplico stet cedula." According to Bagford, Caxton's office was afterward removed to King Street.

The First Sheet from Caxton's Press.

From the evidence of Wynkyn de Worde, in the colophon of his edition of "Vitæ Patrum," 1495, it appears that these "Lives of the Fathers" were "translated out of French into English by William Caxton, of Westminster, lately dead," and that he finished the work "at the last day of his life." His death, however, seems fixed, by two or three entries in the parish accounts of St. Margaret, (p. 131) Westminster, to the year 1491 or 1492, in which we read, "Item: atte bureyng of William Caxton for iiij, torches vjs viijd. Item: for the belle at same Bureyng vjd." Wynkyn de Worde no doubt referred to this time.

Caxton, Mr. Warton observes, by translating, or procuring to be translated, a great number of books from the French, greatly contributed to promote the state of literature in England. In regard to his types, Mr. Dibdin says he appears to have made use of five distinct sets, or fonts, of letters, which, in his account of Caxton's works, he has engraved plates in fac-simile. Edward Rowe Mores, in his "Dissertation upon English Typographical Founders and Foundries," says Caxton's letter was originally of the sort called Secretary, and of this he had two fonts; afterward he came nearer to the English face, and had three fonts of Great Primer, a rude one which he used anno 1474, another something better, and a third cut about 1482; one of Double Pica, good, which first appears 1490; and one of Long Primer, at least nearly agreeing with the bodies which have since been called by those names. All of Caxton's works were printed in what are called black letter.[Back to Contents]

By A. R. Spofford, LL.D.

Christopher Columbus.

The discovery and the discoverer of America have furnished an almost inexhaustible theme for the critic, the biographer, and the historian. In the year 1892 there was celebrated an event which has come by common consent to be regarded as a world-famous epoch, worthy to be held in everlasting remembrance. We commemorated the man whose discovery almost doubled the extent of the habitable globe.

The life, the voyages, the brilliant triumphs, and the mournful end of Columbus are already familiar to most readers. To recount them at length would be here a needless repetition. Let us rather attempt to glance at some of the historic disputes involving the character and acts of the great discoverer, to sketch briefly the sources of information about him, and to characterize some of the more important writings upon the subject.

(p. 132) There is no lack of biographical material concerning the discoverer of America. He has left memorials of his personality and life-history more abundant than most of the men who have influenced their age. There are more than sixty authentic letters of Columbus in existence. There are long narratives of his expeditions and discoveries, by persons who knew him more or less intimately. There is an extended biography of him written by his own son, Ferdinand Columbus, or from materials furnished by him. There are numerous documents and state papers authenticating his acts, his privileges, and his dignities. And yet, with all the wealth of material, so copious upon his character and his career, it would seem, from recent developments, that the true discoverer of America is yet to be discovered.

Among the many lives of Columbus that have been written, there exist some twenty-five in the English language. Of these two or three only have any historical or critical value. The mass of biographies, both English and American, are mere echoes or abridgments, in other forms of language, of the great work of Washington Irving, first published in 1828. This book was written in Spain, and based upon collections of documents (manuscript and printed) not previously used by biographers. Hence its value as the most copious and systematic life of Columbus which had appeared in any language. The finished and graceful style which characterizes all the works of its accomplished author gave it a high place in literature, which it has maintained for more than half a century, being constantly reprinted.

Next in point of time to Irving, though treating Columbus with less fulness of detail, came the polished historian Prescott, whose "History of Ferdinand and Isabella" was published in 1837. This ardent and laborious scholar was, like Irving, constitutionally inclined to the optimistic view of his leading characters. To magnify the virtues and to minimize the faults of their heroes has always been the besetting sin of biographers. The pomp and picturesque circumstance of the Spanish court, the splendid administrative abilities of Ferdinand, the beauty, amiability, and devoted piety of Isabella, are depicted in glowing colors, but the crimes and cruelties which they sanctioned, while condemned upon one page, are softly extenuated upon others. Columbus appears as a romantic figure in history, the glory of whose successful discovery atones for his many failings.

Of the original sources of information about Columbus the most important are:

1. The great collection of original documents printed in Spanish by Navarrete, in 1825-37, in five volumes, and partly reprinted in a French translation in 1828. These contain the precious letters of Columbus, many of which have been translated and recently published in English.

2. The "Historia general de las Indias," of Oviedo, first published in 1535.

3. The "Historia de las Indias," of the Spanish Bishop Las Casas, composed in 1527 to 1561, which remained in manuscript until 1875, when it was printed from the original Spanish.

(p. 133) 4. The "Letters and the Decades of Peter Martyr," written in part contemporaneously with the discovery of America, and printed in Latin in 1530, and in English in 1555.

5. The "Historia de las Reyes Catolicos," of Andres Bernaldez.

6. The "Life of the Discoverer," by Ferdinand Columbus, first published in 1571 at Venice, in Italian.

The last five writers had personal knowledge or intercourse with Columbus, while Las Casas, Oviedo, and Ferdinand had the advantage of residence in America, and intimate knowledge of the aborigines, and of the men and events of the period.

Almost every item involved in the checkered and eventful life of Columbus has afforded a fruitful theme for controversy. His birth, even, is disputed, under stress of evidence, as falling anywhere between 1435 and 1447—a discrepancy of twelve years. His birthplace is claimed by more towns than that of Homer, although his own statement, that he was a native of Genoa, has met general concurrence. His knowledge of geography, astronomy, and navigation is asserted and denied with various degrees of pertinacity. His treatment by the sovereigns of Portugal, Castile, and Aragon is so far in question that irreconcilable differences of opinion exist. How much Columbus really owed to the aid of the crown, and how much to private enterprise, in fitting out his expeditions of discovery, cannot be definitely ascertained. How far he was hindered by the bigotry, or helped by the enlightenment of powerful ecclesiastics, as at the council of Salamanca, is a theme of perennial controversy.

The island where he first landed is so far from being identified, that many books have been written to prove the claims of this, that, or the other gem of the sea to be the true land-fall of Columbus. His treatment of the natives has been made the subject of unsparing denunciation and of undiscriminating eulogy. His conduct toward his own, often mutinous, crews is alternately lauded as humane and generous, or denounced as arrogant and cruel, according to the sympathies or the point of view of the critic. His imprisonment and attempted disgrace have been made the theme of indignant comment and of extenuating apology. His moral character and marital relations are subjects of irreconcilable differences of judgment. His deep religious bias, so manifest in nearly all his writings, has been praised as a mark of exalted merit by some writers, and stigmatized by others as cant and superstition. The last resting-place of his bones, even, is in doubt, which it required an elaborate investigation by the Royal Academy of History of Madrid to solve in favor of Havana, as against the cathedral of Santo Domingo; though its report is still controverted, and M. A. Pinart has proved to the satisfaction of many that a misprision took place and that the true remains of Columbus still rest at Santo Domingo. The movement to canonize the great discoverer has been championed with more zeal than discretion by some over-ardent churchmen, while the too-evident human frailties of the proposed candidate for the honors of sainthood have inspired an abundant caution in the councils of the Vatican.

(p. 134) On a subject fraught with so much inherent difficulty, contradictory evidence, and conflict of opinion, he is on the safest ground who candidly holds his judgment in reserve. In the light of the keenly-sifted evidence which modern critical study has brought to bear, the laudatory judgments of Irving and Prescott, rendered sixty years ago, cannot stand wholly approved.

Neither can a discerning reader accept the fulsome laudations of his principal French biographer, Roselly de Lorgues, whose rhetorical panegyrics and pious eulogies place its author in the front rank of the canonizers.

On the other hand, those who have taken the unfavorable view of Columbus, have done their utmost to divest him of most of the honors which the general voice of history has assigned him as America's greatest discoverer. The established fact that parts of North America were seen centuries before, though no permanent settlement nor continuity of intercourse ensued, has been used to discredit him, though he was undeniably the pioneer who set out with a plan to discover, and did discover by design, what others found only by accident. His geographical ideas were derived, they say, from Behaim and Toscanelli; his nautical skill from Pinzon; his certainty of finding new lands from Alonzo Sanchez; his courage and daring from some of his fellow-voyagers.

We are pointed to his double reckoning on his first voyage, by which he deceived his sailors as to their true distance from Spain, as evidence of a false nature. He is charged with ambition, cupidity, and arrogance, in demanding titles, dignities, and money as fruits of his discoveries. He was, we are told, a fanatic, a visionary, a tyrant, a buccaneer, a liar, and a slave-trader. He was proud, cruel, and vindictive.

What manner of man, then, was this Columbus, with whose name the trump of fame has been busy so long? As to his person, we have no verified portrait, while the likenesses (of all periods) claiming to represent his features, present irreconcilable differences. But here is the description of him given by Herrera: "Columbus was tall of stature, long-visaged, of a majestic aspect, his nose hooked, his eyes gray, of a clear complexion, somewhat ruddy. He was witty and pleasant, well-spoken and eloquent, moderately grave, affable to strangers, to his own family mild. His conversation was discreet, which gained him the affection of those he had to deal with, and his presence attracted respect, having an air of authority and grandeur. He was a man of undaunted courage and high thoughts, patient, unmoved in the many troubles and adversities that attended him, ever relying on the Divine Providence." Gomara describes him as "a man of good height, strong-limbed, with a long countenance, fresh and rosy in aspect, somewhat given to anger, hardy in exposure to fatigues."

Benzoni says that Columbus was "a man of exalted intellect, of a pleasant and ingenuous countenance."

Bernaldez, the historian of Ferdinand and Isabella, who knew him intimately in his later years, says "he was a man of very lofty genius, and of marvellously honored memory."

Columbus ridiculed at the Council of Salamanca.

With these personal characteristics, Columbus united a restless spirit, a firm (p. 135) will, and a singularly enthusiastic temperament. The latter faculty gave him a consuming zeal for his undertakings, which was as rare as it proved ultimately successful in compassing his great discovery. He was discouraged by no rebuffs, would take no denials. His motto seemed to be never to despair, and never to let go. His spiritual nature was as remarkable as his intellectual. Here, his imagination was the predominant faculty. He firmly believed himself divinely commissioned to find out the Indies, and to bring their inhabitants into the fold of the true faith. He had early vowed to devote the profits of his enterprise, if successful, to rescue the tomb of Christ from the infidels. Himself a devout son of the Church, he fervently believed that he had miraculous aid on many perilous occasions of his life. Humble before God, he was sufficiently proud and independent before men. He insisted upon conditions with the haughty sovereigns of Spain which they deemed exacting, but the high views and tenacity of Columbus carried the day, and his own terms were granted at last. He never forgot, in all his subsequent trials and humiliations, that he was a Spanish admiral, and Viceroy of the Indies.

Such was the character of Columbus. Let us now look at his environment, which in all men contributes so much to make or modify character. Born in Genoa, the headquarters in that day of navigation, Columbus early imbibed a passion for maritime affairs. His youthful days and nights were given to the study of astronomy and of navigation. He was a trained sailor and map-maker from his boyhood. He brooded over the problems involved in the spherical form of the earth. He caught up all the hints and allusions in classical and mediæval writers that came in his way, of other lands than those already known. The Atlantis of Plato, and the clear prediction in Seneca of another world in the west, fired his imagination. He himself tells us that he voyaged to the Ultima Thule of his day, which was Iceland, besides various expeditions in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.

The early fancies of isles in the western sea loomed up before his eyes, and repeated themselves in his dreams. These visions were heightened by that vague sense of wonder that is linked with the unknown. No wonder, then, that Columbus, with a bent almost preternatural toward the undiscovered regions of the globe, should dream of new lands, new men, new scenery, and new wealth. But to his vivid imagination dreams became realities, until he believed with all the force of his ardent nature that he was divinely commissioned to be a discoverer. Hitherto the Portuguese voyages familiar to Columbus had only skirted the coast of Africa, and discovered the Cape Verde Islands and the Azores. It was not till 1486, years after the idea of his western voyage took firm root in his mind, that the Cape of Good Hope was at last doubled by Vasco da Gama. All voyages prior to his had been only tentative and brief, slowly creeping from headland to headland, or else finding new islands by being drifted out of courses long familiar to mariners.

It was the supreme merit of Columbus that he was the first to cut loose from one continent to find another, and to steer boldly across an unknown sea, in (p. 136) search of an unknown world. We need not belittle (still less need we deny) the finding of Greenland and of other parts of North America by the Norsemen in the ninth and tenth centuries. We may hail Eric the Red and his stout son, Leif Ericson, as pioneers in what may be termed coasting voyages of discovery. But the story of America gains as little from these shadowy and abortive voyages as civilization has gained from their fruitless results.

On the first voyage of Columbus, he was more fortunate in the uncertain elements which always affect sea voyages so overpoweringly than in some of his later ones. His own vessel, with single deck, was about ninety feet long, by a breadth of twenty feet. The Pinta, a faster sailer, and the Nina (or "baby") were smaller caravels, and without decks, commanded respectively by the brothers Martin and Vicente Pinzon. The three vessels carried ninety persons, sailing September 6, 1492, running first south to the Canaries, and then stretching straight westward on the twenty-eighth parallel for what the admiral believed to be the coast of Japan. Delightful weather favored the voyagers, but when, on the tenth day out from Spain, the caravels struck into that wonderful stretch of seaweed and grass, known as the Sargasso Sea, fear lest they should run aground or soon be unable to sail in either direction took possession of the crews. In five days the caravels ran into smooth water again. But as their distance from Spain grew greater, the spirit of protest and mutiny grew louder. Columbus needed all of his invincible constancy and firmness of purpose to quell and to animate his despairing crews. At last, October 21, 1492—day ever memorable in the annals of this world—the unknown land rose from the bosom of the water. It was named by its pious discoverer San Salvador—Holy Saviour. The charm of climate and of landscape enchanted all, and fear and despondency gave way to delight and joy and the most extravagant anticipations. The subsequent history of this first voyage, the wreck of the admiral's flag-ship Santa Maria, the base desertion of Pinzon, and his baffled attempt to forestall Columbus in the credit of the discovery, the triumphal honors paid to the successful admiral, and the pope's bull conferring upon Spain all lands west of a meridian one hundred leagues from the Azores—all this is familiar to most readers. The actual discoveries of the first voyage included Cuba and Hispaniola (or Haiti), with some little islands of the Bahama group, of small importance.

On his second voyage Columbus found no difficulty in collecting seventeen ships and 1,500 adventurers, so popular had the new way to the Indies become when the way was once found. He set sail six months after his return to Spain, or on September 15, 1493. He returned in June, 1496, after three years of explorations, interrupted by a long illness, and having discovered Jamaica, Porto Rico, Santa Cruz, Antigua, Montserrat, Dominica, and Guadaloupe.

The third voyage began May 30, 1498, and embraced six vessels and 200 men. Columbus struck southwestward from the Cape Verde Islands and ran nearly to the equator, into a region of torrid heat, discovering Trinidad, Tobago, Grenada, and the Gulf of Paria, and making his first landing on the continent, at the Pearl Coast, near the mouth of the Orinoco, in what is now Venezuela. (p. 137) This voyage witnessed many disasters—the rebellion of Roldan, the severe prostration of the admiral by fever, and his seizure and imprisonment in chains by the infamous Bobadilla.

The fourth and last voyage of Columbus, with four small caravels and 150 men, was begun May 11, 1502. On this voyage he discovered Martinique and the coasts of Honduras, Nicaragua, and Veragua, on the mainland, returning to Spain, after untold disasters and miseries, on November 7, 1504. Then followed the weary struggle of the infirm old voyager to secure justice and a part of his hard-earned benefits from the crown. But Isabella had died, and Ferdinand, under the influence of the hard-hearted and cruel bigot, Fonseca, postponed all the claims of Columbus. He who had given a world died in poverty, a suppliant for the means of an honorable existence.

It is easy enough for the writers of the nineteenth century to criticise the actors of the fifteenth; and learned scholars, sitting in luxurious easy-chairs in great libraries, can pass swift and severe judgment upon the acts and motives of Columbus. But let them go back four hundred years, and divest themselves of the bias which the science of to-day unconsciously inspires; let them quit the age of steam-engines, telegraphs, democratic governments, printing-presses, and Sunday-schools; let them orient themselves, and become Spaniards of 1492, instead of Americans of 1892; let them take the place of Columbus—if they are gifted with imagination enough among their manifold endowments to do it; let them think his thoughts, endure his trials, cherish his resolves, encounter his rebuffs, overcome his obstacles, launch out on his voyage, govern his mutinous crew, deal with his savage and hostile tribes, combat the traitors in his camp, suffer his shipwrecks, struggle with his disappointments, bear the ignominy of his chains, see his visions, and pray his prayers.

Behold him, launched on his uncertain voyage across the "sea of darkness," in three little caravels, no larger than the modern yacht, and far less seaworthy. Watch his devoted and anxious look, his solitary self-communings, his all-night vigils under the silent stars. See his motley crew, picked up at random in Palos streets, ignorant, superstitious, and full of fears, dreading every added mile of the voyage, and alarmed at the prevalent east winds which they thought would never permit them to sail back to Spain; so that Columbus, on a contrary head-wind springing up, thanked God with all the fervency of his pious soul. Pursue his career in his later expeditions, hampered by the mutinous vagabonds whom fate had thrust upon him as followers, many of them desperadoes just out of jail. See his baffled endeavors to maintain order and discipline among such a crew; to restrain their excesses, curb their lawless acts of violence, and secure some semblance of decency in their conduct toward the natives. Many of them, we read, were so given over to idleness and sloth, that they actually made the islanders beasts of burden, to carry them on their backs. It is a most unhappy fact that the missionaries of the cross were often accompanied by bands of miscreants, who wantonly broke every commandment in the decalogue and trampled upon every precept of the gospel. See him in his last voyage, beating about (p. 138) the rocks and shoals of an unknown archipelago, overtaken by West India hurricanes, almost engulfed in waterspouts, scudding under bare poles amid perilous breakers, blinded by lightning, deafened by incessant peals of thunder, his crazy little barks tossed about like cockle-shells in the raging waves, his anchors lost, his worm-eaten vessels as full of holes as a honey-comb, two caravels abandoned, and the two remaining run ashore at Jamaica, where Columbus built huts on their decks to shelter his forlorn crew. See him stranded here, pressed by hunger and want, visited by sickness and almost blindness, burning with fever under the wilting, fiery heat of the tropics, desolate, forsaken, infirm, and old. There he lay a whole year without relief, until the cup of his misery was full.

If Columbus was sometimes harsh and cruel, we are to remember that he lived in an age when the most cruel and barbarous punishments were common. There are numerous instances of his clemency both to natives and to his revolted Spaniards, and he more than once jeopardized his own life by sparing theirs. Among a treacherous and vindictive race, many of whom were continually plotting for his overthrow, the admiral, endowed with full power over the lives and acts of his followers, was compelled to make examples of the worst, many of whom were criminals released from the prisons of Spain. Like other fighters, he met treachery with treachery, cruelty with cruelty. He had never learned to love his enemies, nor to turn his cheek for the second blow. Show us the man invested with absolute power, in that or in any former age, who abused it less. Try him by the moral standards, not of our humane and enlightened age, but by those of his own. Compared with the deeds of darkness that were done by Bobadilla and Ovando, the governors who replaced him, the reign of Columbus appears, even at its worst, to have been mild and merciful.

By the side of the atrocities and cruel massacres perpetrated under Cortes in Mexico, and Pizarro in Peru, the few deeds of blood under Columbus appear slight indeed. While we have no right to extenuate his errors and his abuses, we have as little right to hold him to a standard nowhere set up in his day. He had learned his ethics in a school which taught that, for great and pious objects, the end justified the means. In the ardor of his zeal for what he deemed the Christian faith, Columbus committed many glaring mistakes and errors; but what over-zealous apostle or reformer has failed to do the same? Columbus was unduly eager after gold, they say; but in our advanced age, when that which Virgil called "the accursed hunger for gold" pervades all ranks, and our cities are nothing but great encampments of fortune-hunters, does it lie in our mouths to condemn him?

The age of Columbus took him as he was—all full of human imperfections and frailties, but full also to overflowing with a great idea, and with a will, a perseverance, a constancy, and a faith so sublime, as fairly to conquer every obstacle, after a weary struggle of eighteen years, and to carry forward his arduous enterprise to triumphant success. That the great discoverer failed as a governor and administrator makes nothing against his merits as a discoverer. That his light at last went out in darkness—that the world he discovered brought nothing to (p. 139) Spain but disappointment and Dead Sea ashes—that he dragged out a miserable old age in rotten and unseaworthy ships, lying ill in the torrid heats of the West Indies, racked with excruciating pain, and in absolute penury and want—all this but adds point to a life so full of paradox that we may almost pardon him for believing in miracles. After so much glory and so much fame, his life darkened down to its dreary and pathetic close. His ardent soul went at last where wicked governments cease from troubling, and weary mariners are at rest. On May 20, 1506, worn out by disease, anxieties, and labors, the great discoverer launched forth on his last voyage of discovery, beyond the border of that unknown land whose boundaries are hid from mortal ken.

His place among the immortals is secure. By the power of the unconquerable mind with which nature had endowed him, he achieved a fame so imperishable that neither the arrows of malice, nor the shafts of envy, nor the keenest pens of critics, nor the assaults of iconoclasts can avail to destroy it.[Back to Contents]

Author signature. A. R. Spofford.

By Judge Albion W. Tourgée

Vasco da Gama.

Vasco da Gama was the pet of fortune. Never did a man win immortality more easily. As a discoverer and a navigator he should rank not only below Columbus, but also below Bartolemeo Diaz and Cabral among his own countrymen, as well as Vespucius and Magellan, who carried the Spanish flag, and the Cabots, who established England's claim to the most important portions of the New World. As a commander, an administrator, and ruler of newly discovered regions, however, he ranks easily above them all. He not only led the way to India, but laid securely the foundations of Portuguese empire in the East.

Even in the hour of his birth he was fortunate. Prince Henry, surnamed "the Navigator," to whose indefatigable exertions for more than forty years was due that impulse to maritime achievement of which the discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were the result, had just died, and his influence hung like an inspiration over the (p. 140) little kingdom for which he had wrought with such self-denying patience. This grandson of John of Gaunt has received scant credit for that wonderful series of discoveries by which the accessible earth was more than quadrupled in extent. Yet without him, there is no reason to believe that either the coast of Africa would have been explored, the Cape of Good Hope passed, or the American continents discovered for a century, at least, perhaps for two or three centuries afterward. He was the father of discovery, and it was his hand more than any or all others that rolled up the curtain of darkness which hid the major part of the habitable globe. All the navigators and discoverers of that marvellous age were but the agents of his genius and the creatures of his indefatigable exertion.

The son of the most noted sovereign of Portugal, and grandson of that rugged Englishman from whose loins have sprung so many royal lines, he was fitted by descent and training for the heroic part which he performed. Distinguished for military achievement before he had come to man's estate, urged by four of the leading sovereigns of Europe to take command of their armies, and made Grand Master of the Order of Christ before he was twenty-five, there is hardly any limit to the military distinction he might have won or the power he might have secured, had he sought his own advancement.

But he gave himself to Portugal, and determined to raise the little kingdom his father had so gallantly held against jealous and powerful neighbors, to the rank of a first-class power. To seek to enlarge a realm shut in by mountains on one side and the sea upon the other, by constant strife with embittered enemies, he saw at once was to invite annihilation. The sea afforded the only avenue of hope, the continent of Africa, where his father had already gained something from the Moor, in battling with whom he had himself won renown, the only visible opportunity. So he determined to explore, and finally, to circumnavigate Africa, and give to Portugal whatever of power or wealth the ocean or the dark continent might hide. He believed that India might be reached by sailing round its southern extremity, and he determined to pour the wealth of the Orient into the treasury of the kingdom his father had established.

In 1418, therefore, he turned his back on personal ambition, laid aside the glory of military renown, and sat himself down to a hermit's life and a scholar's labors on the promontory of Sagres, in the province of Algarve, that point on the coast of Portugal which stretches farthest out into the Atlantic in the direction of his hope. Here he built an observatory whose light was the last his captains saw as they went forth, and the first to greet them on their return. Here he opened a school of navigation, and here were trained the discoverers who opened the way for all who came afterward. Here was not only nourished the impulse which fired the hearts of Columbus and his contemporaries, but here was taught the science and here were gathered the facts which enabled them to achieve success.

Up to that time, Cape Nun had been the boundary of the modern world to the southward. With infinite patience, Prince Henry labored to convince his captains that the terrors which they thought lay at the southward of this point were wholly imaginary. Little by little his caravels crept down the coast of Africa. (p. 141) Every year he sent out two or three. Navigators and geographers flocked to his service. In two years he re-discovered Madeira and Porto Santo, of which latter he afterward made Perestrello, the father of Columbus's wife, the governor. By 1433 his ships had reached Cape Bojador; eight years afterward they passed Cape Blanco; in 1445 they were at the mouth of the Senegal. Still he urged them on toward that "thesaurus Arabum et divitia Indiæ," to which he set himself the task of opening up the way. The crown of Portugal assumed all the cost of these expeditions. Gold, ivory, cinnabar, dye-woods, spices, and slaves, added to the wealth of the kingdom only to furnish forth new ventures.

He died before the end came, but not until many of the most important problems of cosmographic condition had been solved. It was known by actual experience that the "steaming sea" was a myth. Ships had crossed the equator, and their crews came back to tell of southward-stretching shadows. Ships were able, it was seen, to sail up the southern slope of the world as well as down it. Why they did not fall off into space, none knew, but that they did not was proved. Gravitation was a force whose laws and character were yet unformulated. The diurnal motion of the earth was hardly suspected until a hundred years later. But the facts on which these two fundamental truths are based were being gathered for Newton and Copernicus. When he died, those whom he had inspired and instructed continued the work to which he had devoted himself, under the patronage of his brother Alfonso and his nephew João II.; until, in 1486, Bartholomeo Diaz had sailed two hundred miles to the eastward of the Cape of Good Hope and returned to assure his sovereign that the way to India had at length been found.

It was not, however, until Dom Manoel had succeeded to the throne, in 1495, that any successful effort was made to follow up the success which Diaz had achieved. The way to India was indeed open, but no one seems to have had sufficient fortitude to undertake so long a voyage in order to reach it by that route. Dom Manoel had, however, but one idea. He was not a geographer like his predecessor, João, "the perfect," but he was a man of action, and determined that the route Prince Henry's navigators had opened to India should not remain unused. Vasco da Gama was then in his thirty-fifth year, the handsomest man of his age, of ancient family, and it is claimed was not without royal blood in his veins. As a soldier he was trained in the war with Castile; as a navigator he had served under Prince Henry's best captains. Camoens, the historical poet of Portugal, declares that he was familiar not only with the recorded achievements of his predecessors, but with all the regions they had discovered. Dom João, on the return of Diaz, selected him to command the fleet he meant to send to follow up this discovery. In the ten years that elapsed before he actually sailed, it is probable that he had grown to be not only a better geographer, but also a stronger, more cool-headed, and reliable man. That he was able to command, those mutineers who cavilled at his severity during the stormy passage of four months from Lisbon to Table Bay, found out when they demanded that he give up trying to reach India and return to Portugal as other captains had done, at the behest of their crews. He made short work of them, and in his whole career, (p. 142) so salutary was the lesson, no one under his command ever again refused to obey his orders.

It was July 8, 1497, when he sailed from Lisbon, and it was not until December 1st that he left Delagoa Bay, the farthest eastward point which Diaz had reached, to pass over the actually unknown water that lay between him and India. Even this could hardly be called "unknown water," for Corvilhan, who a dozen years before had made his way overland to Aden, had sent back to Dom João II. this message:

"Anyone who will persist, is sure to sail around the southernmost point of Africa, and can then easily make his way up the eastern shore and across the gulf to India."

Literally were his words fulfilled. With favoring breezes, Gama reached Malinda early in January, 1498, and securing the services of an Indian pilot, who had not only sailed hither from Calicut, but seemed as familiar as Gama himself with compass and astrolabe, he set out boldly across the Indian Ocean, and in May arrived at Calicut. When we consider that this latter part of the voyage was with a pilot accustomed to make the trip in the far more fragile crafts of the Arabs, the boldness of the undertaking does not seem so apparent to one of our day. Compared with the voyages of Columbus, Magellan, Vespucius, or Cabral over absolutely unknown seas, without pilots or charts of any kind, the passage from Aden to India hardly seems remarkable. Yet upon this the fame of Gama as an explorer rests, and as has been remarked, "few men have won fame so easily." His real merit lay in the fact that he did what so few of his predecessors were able to accomplish, controlled the mutinous crews, who had after all been the most serious obstacle in the path of Portugal to the coveted Indian possessions. It is probable that if Prince Henry had encouraged his captains to exercise greater severity, the darling object of his life might have been attained before his death and the birth of the fortunate explorer, whose cheaply-won fame has obscured his own, even with the king-loving Portuguese.

It would seem as if the capacity to control men, which was so prominent a characteristic of the "Discoverer of India," was not of a conciliatory character, for the Zamorin of Calicut received him but coldly, and before his ships were loaded the difference had ripened into a quarrel, and he was obliged to cut his way out of the harbor to begin his homeward voyage. This lack of complaisance on the part of the Zamorin he attributed, not without reason, to the jealousy of the Arab merchants, whose swift-sailing dhows crowded the port. Why should they not be jealous of him who came to take away their immemorial privilege? Theretofore the treasures of the Orient had reached the western world only through the hands of the Arab merchants. The dhow and the camel had been its carriers. Gama had brought the more capacious caravel to bear them over a new highway to the western consumers. His success meant the loss of a great part of the business on which the sailors, merchants, and camel-drivers of Arabia depended for a livelihood. Why should they not conspire to kill him and destroy his fleet?

(p. 143) His homeward passage was as fortunate as the outward one had been. That he did not experience the disasters which befell others, was no doubt largely due to the fact that he foresaw and avoided peril whenever possible. He was one of those men who, while shrinking from no unavoidable danger, take no unnecessary risks. He was received with unprecedented honors when, after two years and two months' absence, his ships were again anchored in the Tagus. Their rich cargo attested the rare value of the trade he had opened up. Despite the gold which the miners of Española were beginning to send to Spain, and the pearls which had come from Cubagua, the apparent value of the discoveries of Columbus were as nothing to the boundless wealth which Gama's voyage assured to Portugal. By the bull of Pope Alexander VI., all lands discovered east of the meridian of the Azores belonged to the King of Portugal. It was not only half the world, but that half which was of most inexhaustible richness, Asia and Africa. Titles and honors and wealth were conferred upon the fortunate explorer. In consideration perhaps of his royal extraction, he was permitted to affix the kingly title, "Dom," to his name. No wonder he was thus honored, when the cargo of one small caravel loaded with spices, yielded a greater sum than the whole outfit of the fleet Columbus commanded on his first voyage!

In an incredibly short time, thirteen ships were fitted out, and under that prince of navigators, Cabral, set sail to secure the results of Gama's discovery. On him, too, fortune smiled as it rarely has on them that "go down to the sea in ships." Blown out of his course by head-winds, his very mishaps ripened into the rarest fortune, for he discovered Brazil, and thus added to his master's realm what was destined to be one of the richest kingdoms of the world. With the instinct of genius, and a courage as rare as it was heroic, he did not return to notify his king of the new continent which had risen out of the deep before him, but sending back a single caravel with the marvellous news, he turned his battered prows to that point of the compass where he judged the Cape of Good Hope to be, and after passing three thousand miles of water that had never known a keel before, he rounded the southern point of Africa and proceeded to carry out his orders. He lacked, however, the soldierly qualities and administrative power of the "Discoverer of India," who the year after his return was sent out to complete his work. This time he had a fleet of twenty sail, and from the outset was bent not only on taking permanent possession of the countries whose trade it was desirable to secure, but on avenging the affront that had before been offered him by the Zamorin of Calicut and the Arab traders who had inspired the action.

On his way he founded the colonies of Mozambique and Sofala, and sailed to Travancore. During the passage he fell in with a ship which was carrying many Indian Mussulmans to Mecca, laden with rich presents for the shrine of the Prophet. This he pillaged and burned, with all of her 300 passengers except twenty women and children, whom he saved more for his own pleasure, no doubt, than from any pity for them. He excused this act of savagery, so far as any excuse was necessary, on the ground that they were paynim Moors, and some (p. 144) among them had incited the attack upon him at Calicut on his former voyage. The truth is they were rich; he wanted the plunder; and there was less likelihood of trouble if he killed them than if they were left alive to publish and avenge their losses. It was merely an application of the freebooter's maxim, that "dead men tell no tales."

Arriving at Calicut, he found that forty Portuguese who had been left to establish a permanent post, had been killed. With unusual deliberation, he investigated the matter and demanded reparation, submission, and a treaty acknowledging the sovereignty of Portugal over India. This being refused, he bombarded the city, burned the ships in the harbor, and compelled the Zamorin himself and all the native princes of the region to submit and acknowledge themselves feudatories of Portugal. So rapid were his movements, and so accurate his calculations, that before the close of 1503 he had reached Lisbon again with thirteen vessels laden to the gunwale with the plunder of the Orient—by all odds the richest argosy that had come to any European port since the days of the Romans.

Da Gama was now forty-three years old, and must have been in the very prime of manhood. Why so skilled a navigator, so intrepid a commander, so shrewd a negotiator, and so successful an administrator, who had established the power of Portugal from Delagoa Bay to Calcutta, should, at that period of his life, have been laid upon the shelf for twenty years, is a conundrum hard to answer. Knowing the character of Dom Manoel, it is not difficult to guess that his sordidness lay somewhere at the bottom of the trouble; but it is said to Gama's credit, that he neither whined nor remonstrated.

It must be admitted, however, that he was succeeded by one who was greatly his superior both as a general, a statesman, and an administrator. If Vasco da Gama laid the foundations of Portuguese empire in the East, Alfonso d'Albuquerque, "the Great," broadened and built upon them as he could never have done. From Aden to Cochin blood flowed beneath his blows, but peace followed; and though he was termed "the Portuguese Mars," his justice became traditional, and his sagacity was shown in the permanence of the settlements he made, even under the incompetent viceroys who followed him.

It was twenty years since Vasco da Gama had commanded a ship. Albuquerque was dead, and his successors had brought shame and defeat upon the Portuguese power in the East. Dom Manoel was dead also, and whatever grievance he had against "the Discoverer of India," seems to have died with him. His successor, Dom João III., casting about for someone to bring order out of confusion, success out of failure, and honor out of shame, called again into his service the courtly and sagacious mariner, now over sixty years of age; and conferring upon him the title of viceroy, sent him to retrieve the prestige his successors had lost. His high spirit was yet undaunted, and when he neared the coast of India and found the waters in a strange ferment for which no one could account, as there was neither wind nor tide, he said loftily: "The sea beholds its conqueror and trembles before him!" It sounds bombastic, but in the mouth of one who had first guided a civilized keel over its surface, such arrogance is at least pardonable.

(p. 145) In the few months that intervened before his death he made the power of Portugal once more respected in the East. When he died in Cochin, in 1525, he was mourned by the natives as a just ruler, and by his countrymen as one who had saved to Portugal the richest part of the national domain. It is not strange, therefore, that when his ashes were conveyed to Lisbon, they were received with a pomp almost equal to that which greeted him when he came as the discoverer of the Orient and its priceless treasures. It is rare in history that one receives two triumphs, the one while living and the other when dead, especially in connection with the same achievement; but it is rarer still that one who has won immortality should leave a record so singularly free from bickering and strife as that of the dignified and self-contained Portuguese rival of Columbus, Dom Vasco da Gama, the "Discoverer and Sixth Viceroy of India, Count of Vidigueira," where he lies entombed. Little is known of his private life; but there seems no doubt that it was free from the stains that obscure his great rival's fame, from whom he also differed in the fact that he neither begged nor boasted, and in old age was honored even more than in his prime.[Back to Contents]

Author signature. Albion W. Tourgée.

By Herbert Greenhough Smith

The Chevalier Bayard.

Pierre Du Terrail was born in 1476, at Castle Bayard, in Dauphiny. The house of Terrail belonged to the Scarlet of the ancient peers of France. The Lords of Bayard, during many generations, had died under the flags of battle. Poictiers, Agincourt, and Montlhéry had taken, in succession, the last three; and in 1479, when Pierre was in his nurse's arms, his father, Aymon du Terrail, was carried from the field of Guinegate with a frightful wound, from the effects of which, although he survived for seventeen years to limp about his castle with the help of sticks, he never again put on his shirt of mail.

The old knight was thus debarred from bringing up his son as his own squire. (p. 146) But the Bishop of Grenoble, his wife's brother, was a close friend of Charles the Warrior, the great Duke of Savoy. When Pierre was in his fourteenth year it was proposed that he should begin his knightly education among the pages of the duke. The bishop promised to present him. A little horse was bought; a tailor was set to work to make a gorgeous suit of silk and velvet; and Pierre was ready to set out.

During six months the palace of Charles became his home. The lovable and handsome boy soon won all hearts about him. The duke with delight saw him leap and wrestle, throw the bar, and ride a horse better than any page about the court. The duchess and her ladies loved to send him on their dainty missions. His temper was bright and joyous; his only fault, if fault it can be called, was an over-generosity of nature. His purse was always empty; and when he had no money, any trifling service of a lackey or a groom would be requited with a silver button, a dagger, or a clasp of gold. And such was to be his character through life. Time after time, in after years, his share of treasure, after some great victory, would have paid a prince's ransom; yet often he could not lay his hand on five gold pieces.

When Pierre had lived at the palace about half a year, the duke made a visit to Lyons, to pay his duty to the king. That king was Charles the Eighth, then a boy of twenty, who was making his days fly merrily with tilts and hawking parties, and his nights with dances and the whispers of fair dames. The duke desired to carry with him to his sovereign a present worthy of a king's acceptance. A happy notion struck him. He resolved to present the king with Bayard and his horse.

King Charles, delighted with his new page, placed him in the palace of Lord Ligny, a prince of the great house of Luxemburg, and there for three years he continued to reside. During that time his training was the usual training of a page. But the child was the father of the man. Thoughts of great deeds, of tilts and battle-fields, of champions going down before his lance, of crowns of myrtle, and the smiles of lovely ladies—such already were the dreams which set his soul on fire.

At seventeen Pierre received the rank of gentleman. Thenceforward he was free to follow his own fortune; he was free to seek the glorious Dulcinea of his dreams—a fame as bright and sparkling as his sword. And thereupon begins to pass before us, brilliant as the long-drawn scenes of a dissolving view, the strange and splendid series of his exploits. He had not ceased to be a page ten days before the court was ringing with his name.

Sir Claude de Vauldre, Lord of Burgundy, was regarded as the stoutest knight in France. He was then at Lyons, and was about to hold a tilt, with lance and battle-axe, before the ladies and the king. His shield was hanging in the Ainay meadows, and beside it Montjoy, the king-at-arms, sat all day with his book open, taking down the names of those who struck the shield. Among these came Bayard. Montjoy laughed as he wrote down his name; the king, Lord Ligny, and his own companions, heard with mingled trepidation and delight (p. 147) that Bayard had struck the blazon of Sir Claude. But no one had a thought of what was coming. The day arrived, the tilt was held, and Bayard, by the voice of all the ladies, bore off the prize above the head of every knight in Lyons.

The glory of this exploit was extreme. It quickly spread. Three days later Bayard went to join the garrison at Aire. He found, as he rode into the little town, that the fame of his achievement had arrived before him. Heads were everywhere thrust out of windows, and a band of fifty of his future comrades issued on horseback from the garrison to bid him welcome. A few days after his arrival he held a tilt in his own person, after the example of Sir Claude. The palms were a diamond and a clasp of gold. Forty-eight of his companions struck his shield, and rode into the lists against him. Bayard overthrew the whole band, one by one, and was once more hailed at sunset by the notes of trumpets as the champion of the tourney.

It is not in tournaments and tilts, however, that a knight can win his spurs. Bayard burned for battle. For many months he burned in vain; but at last the banners of the king were given to the wind, and Bayard, to his unspeakable delight, found himself marching under Lord Ligny against Naples.

The two armies faced each other at Fornovo. The odds against the French were six to one, and the fight was long and bloody. When the great victory was at last decided, Bayard was among the first of those called up before the king. That day two horses had dropped dead beneath him; his cuirass and sword were hacked and battered, and a captured standard, blazing with the arms of Naples, was in his hand. At the king's order he knelt down, and received upon the spot the rank of knight. At one bound he had achieved the height of glory—to be knighted by his sovereign on the field of battle.

Bayard was not yet nineteen. His figure at that age was tall and slender; his hair and eyes were black; his complexion was a sunny brown; and his countenance had something of the eagle's.

He was now for some time idle. He was left in garrison in Lombardy. But fiercer fields were soon to call him. Ludovico Sforza took Milan. At Binasco, Lord Bernardino Cazache, one of Sforza's captains, had three hundred horse; and twenty miles from Milan was Bayard's place of garrison. With fifty of his comrades he rode out one morning, bent on assaulting Lord Bernardino's force. The latter, warned by a scout of their approach, armed his party, and rushed fiercely from the fort. The strife was fought with fury; but the Lombards, slowly driven back toward Milan, at length wheeled round their horses and galloped like the wind into the city.

Bayard, darting in his spurs, waving his bare blade, and shouting out his battle-cry of "France," was far ahead of his companions. Before he knew his danger, he had dashed in with the fugitives at the city gates and reached the middle of the square in front of Sforza's palace. He found himself alone in the midst of the fierce enemy—with the white crosses of France emblazoned on his shield.

Sforza, hearing a tremendous uproar in the square, came to a window of the (p. 148) palace and looked down. The square was swarming with the soldiers of Binasco, savage, hacked, and bloody; and in the centre of the yelling tumult, Bayard, still on horseback, was slashing at those who strove to pull him from his seat.

Sforza, in a voice of thunder, bade the knight be brought before him. Bayard, seeing that resistance was mere madness, surrendered to Lord Bernardino, and was led, disarmed, into the palace. Sforza was a soldier more given to the ferocity than to the courtesies of war. But when the young knight stood before him, when he heard his story, when he looked upon his bold yet modest bearing, the fierce and moody prince was moved to admiration. "Lord Bayard," he said, "I will not treat you as a prisoner. I set you free; I will take no ransom; and I will grant you any favor in my power." "My Lord Prince," said Bayard, "I thank you for your courtesy with all my soul. I will ask you only for my horse and armor." The horse was brought; Bayard sprang into the saddle, and an hour later was received by his companions with raptures of surprise and joy, as one who had come alive out of the lion's den.

Milan fell; Sforza was taken; and Bayard went into garrison at Monervino. At Andri, some miles distant, was a Spanish garrison under the command of Don Alonzo de Sotomayor, one of the most famous knights in Spain. Bayard, with fifty men, rode out one morning, in the hope of falling in with some adventure. It happened that he came across Alonzo, with an equal party, abroad on the same quest. Their forces met; both sides flew joyously to battle, and for an hour the victory hung in the balance. But at last Bayard, with his own sword, forced Alonzo to surrender; and his party, carrying with them a large band of prisoners, rode back in triumph to the garrison.

Sotomayor behaved in most unknightly fashion, and after being ransomed, accused Bayard of ill-treating him. Bayard sent him the lie, and challenging him to a duel to the death, slew him. A few days later, the Spaniards, panting for reprisal, proposed to meet a party of the French in combat, for the glory of their nations. Bayard received the challenge with delight. On the appointed day, thirteen knights of either side, glittering in full harness, armed with sword and battle-axe, and prepared for a contest to the death, rode forth into the lists.

By the laws of such a tilt a knight unhorsed, or forced across the boundary, became a prisoner, and could fight no longer. The Spaniards, with great cunning, set themselves to maim the horses; and by these tactics, eleven of the French were soon dismounted. Two alone were left to carry on the contest, Bayard and Lord Orose.

Then followed such a feat of arms as struck the gazers dumb. For four hours these two held good their ground against the whole thirteen. The Spaniards, stung with rage and shame, spurred till their heels dripped blood. In vain. Night fell; the bugles sounded; and still the unconquerable pair rode round the ring.

But great as this feat was, it was soon to be succeeded by a greater. A few weeks afterward the French and Spanish camps were posted on opposite sides of the river Gargliano. Between them was a bridge, in the possession of the (p. 149) French; and some way farther down the river was a ford, known only to the Spanish general, Pedro de Paez. He proposed to lure the French guards from the bridge, and then to seize it. And his stratagem was ready.

Early in the morning the French soldiers at the bridge were startled to perceive a party of the enemy, each horseman bearing a foot-soldier on his crupper, approach the river at the ford and begin to move across it. Instantly, as Paez had intended, they left the bridge and rushed toward the spot. Bayard, attended by Le Basque, was in the act of putting on his armor. He sprang into the saddle, and was about to spur after his companions, when he perceived, across the river, a party of two hundred Spaniards making for the bridge. The danger was extreme; for if the bridge were taken the camp itself would be in the most deadly peril. Bayard bade Le Basque gallop for his life to bring assistance. And he himself rode forward to the bridge, alone.

The Spaniards, on seeing a solitary knight advance against them, laughed loudly at his folly. Their foremost horsemen were already half-way over when Bayard, with his lance in rest, came flying down upon them. His onset swept the first three off the bridge into the river, and instantly the rest, with cries of vengeance, rushed furiously upon him. Bayard, not to be surrounded, backed his horse against the railing of the bridge, rose up in his stirrups, swung his falchion with both hands above his head, and lashed out with such fury that, with every blow a bloody Spaniard fell into the river, and the whole troop recoiled in wonder and dismay, as if before a demon. While they still stood, half-dazed, two hundred glaring at one man, a shout was heard, and Le Basque, with a band of horsemen, was seen approaching like a whirlwind. In two minutes the Spaniards were swept back upon the land in hopeless rout—and the French camp was saved.

Bayard received for this great feat the blazon of a porcupine, with this inscription, Unus agminis vires habet—"One man has the might of armies."

And still came exploit after exploit in succession—exploits of every kind of fiery daring. At Genoa, when the town revolted, Bayard stormed the fort of the insurgents, quelled the riot, forced the city to surrender, and hanged the leader on a pole. At Agnadello, against the troops of Venice, he waded with his men through fens and ditches, took the picked bands of Lord d'Alvicino on the flank, scattered them to the winds, and won the day. At Padua, during the long siege, he scoured the country with his band of horse, and frequently rode back to camp at nightfall with more prisoners than armed men. At Mirandola, where he faced the papal armies, he laid a scheme to take the Pope himself. A snowstorm kept the fiery Julius in his tent, and Bayard lost him. A few days afterward the pontiff's life was in his hands. A traitor offered, for a purse of gold, to poison the Pope's wine. But it is not the Bayards of the world who fight with pots of poison; and the slippery Judas had to fly in terror from the camp, or Bayard would infallibly have hanged him.

So far, amid his life of perils, Bayard had escaped without a wound. But now his time had come.

(p. 150) Brescia was taken by the troops of Venice. Gaston de Foix, the thunderbolt of Italy, marched with 12,000 men to its relief. Bayard was among them. At the head of the storming-party he was first across the ramparts, and was turning round to cheer his men to victory when a pike struck him in the thigh. The shaft broke off, and the iron head remained embedded in the wound.

Two of his archers caught him as he fell, bore him out of the rush of battle, and partly stanched the wound by stripping up the linen of their shirts. They then bore him to a mansion close at hand. The master of the house, who seems to have been a person of more wealth than valor, had disappeared, and was thought to be hiding somewhere in a convent, leaving his wife and his two daughters to themselves. The girls had fled into a hay-loft, and plunged themselves beneath the hay; but, on the thunderous knocking of the archers, the lady of the house came trembling to the door. Bayard was carried in, a surgeon was luckily discovered close at hand, and the pike-head was extracted. The wound was pronounced to be not dangerous. But Bayard, to his great vexation, found he was doomed to lie in idleness for several weeks.

According to the laws of war, the house was his, and all the inmates were his prisoners. And the fact was well for them. Outside the house existed such a scene of horror as, even in that age, was rare. Ten thousand men lay dead in the great square; the city was given up to pillage, and it is said that the conquerors gorged themselves that day with booty worth three million crowns. The troops were drunk with victory and rapine. No man's life, no woman's honor, was in safety for an instant.

Bayard set his archers at the door-way. His name was a talisman against the boldest; and in the midst of the fierce tumult that raged all round it, the house in which he lay remained a sanctuary of peace.

The ladies of the house were soon reassured. Bayard refused to regard them as his prisoners or to take a coin of ransom. The daughters, two lovely and accomplished girls, were delighted to attend the wounded knight. They talked and sang to him, they touched the mandolin, they woke the music of the virginals. In such society the hours flew lightly by. The wound healed, and in six weeks Bayard was himself again.

On the day of his departure the lady of the house came into his apartment, and besought him, as their preserver, to accept a certain little box of steel. The box contained two thousand five hundred golden ducats. Bayard took it. "But five hundred ducats," he said, "I desire you to divide for me among the nuns whose convents have been pillaged." Then, turning to her daughters, "Ladies," he said, "I owe you more than thanks for your kind care of me. Soldiers do not carry with them pretty things for ladies; but I pray each of you to accept from me a thousand ducats, to aid your marriage portions." And with that he poured the coins into their aprons.

Bayard taking Leave of The Ladies of Brescia.

His horse was brought, and he was about to mount, when the girls came stealing down the steps into the castle court, each with a little present, worked by their own hands, which they desired him to accept. One brought a pair of (p. 151) armlets, made of gold and silver thread; the other, a purse of crimson satin. And this was all the spoil that Bayard carried from the inestimable wealth of Brescia—the little keepsakes of two girls whom he had saved.

The scenes of Bayard's life at which we have been glancing have been chiefly those of his great feats of arms. And so it must be still; for it is these of which the details have survived in history. And yet it was such incidents as these at Brescia which made the fame of Bayard what it was and what it is. To his foes, he was the flower of chivalry; but to his friends, he was, besides, the most adored of men. It is said that in his native province of Dauphiny, at his death, more than a hundred ancient soldiers owed to him the roof that covered their old age; that more than a hundred orphan girls had received their marriage portions from his bounty. But of such acts the vast majority are unrecorded; for these are not the deeds which shine in the world's eye.

Gaston de Foix was now before Ravenna. Bayard rode thither with all speed; he was just in time. Two days after his arrival came the battle. Weak though he still was from his long illness, Bayard on that day was seen, as ever, "shining above his fellow-men." He turned the tide of victory; he tore two standards from the foe with his own hand; and he was first in the pursuit.

Two months after, Bayard was at Pavia. The little troop with which he was then serving had there sought refuge under Louis d'Ars. The armies of the Swiss burst in upon them. Bayard, with a handful of soldiers in the market-place, held, for two hours, their whole force at bay, while his companions were retreating from the town across a bridge of boats. As he himself was crossing, last of all, a shot struck him in the shoulder, and stripped it to the bone. No surgeon was at hand. The wound, roughly stanched with moss, brought on a fever, and for some time he lay in danger of his life.

And now Bayard was to follow a new master. Louis XII. died; Francis I. received the crown; and Bayard, with the young king, marched to Milan, which the Swiss had seized and held.

On Thursday, September 13, 1515, King Francis pitched his camp at Marignano, before the city of the spires. No danger of attack was apprehended; the king sat calmly down to supper in his tent; when all at once the Swiss, aroused to madness by the fiery eloquence of Cardinal de Sion, broke like a tempest from the city, and fell upon the camp. The French, by the red light of sunset, flew to arms, and fought with fury till night fell. Both armies sat all night on horseback, waiting for the dawn; and with the first streaks of morning, flew again to battle. It was noon before the bitter contest ended, and the Swiss, still fighting every inch of ground, drew slowly back toward the city. It had been, indeed, as Trevulzio called it, a Battle of the Giants. And the greatest of the giants had been Bayard and the king.

That evening Francis held, before his tent, the ceremony of creating knights of valor. But before the ceremony began, a proclamation by the heralds startled and delighted all the camp. Francis had determined to receive the rank in his own person. Bayard was to knight the king!

(p. 152) In the days of the primeval chivalry, when even princes were compelled to win their spurs, such a spectacle was not uncommon. But not for ages had a king been knighted by a subject on a field of battle. Nor was any splendor wanting that could make the spectacle impressive. Nowhere in Ariosto is a picture of more gorgeous details than is presented by this scene of history; the great crimson silk pavilion, the seat spread with cloth of gold, the blazoned banners, the heralds with their silver trumpets, the multitude all hushed in wonder, the plumed and glittering company of knights and men-at-arms. Such were the surroundings amid which Francis knelt, and Bayard, with his drawn sword, gave the accolade.

The sword with which he had performed the ceremony Bayard kept religiously until his death. It was then mislaid, and never rediscovered. The loss is a misfortune. For few relics could exist of more romantic interest than the sword with which the noblest of all knights did honor to the most magnificent of kings.

Bayard's glory had long been at such a height that hardly any exploit could increase it. And yet an exploit was at hand at which, even when Bayard was the actor of it, all France and Germany were to stand in wonder.

The German emperor, marching with a mighty army on Champagne, took Monson by surprise, and advanced against Mézières. If Mézières were taken, the whole province would be in the most deadly peril. And yet defence seemed hopeless; the place had no artillery, and the ramparts were in ruins. At this crisis Bayard volunteered to hold the crazy city. "No walls are weak," he said, in his own noble style, "which are defended by brave men."

With a small but chosen band he hastened to Mézières. Two days after his arrival the Count of Nassau, with a vast array of men and cannon, appeared before the walls. The siege began—a siege which seemed impossible to last twelve hours.

But day after day went by, and still the town was standing. Every day the ramparts gaped with cannon-shot; but every night, as if by miracle, they rose again. The defenders suffered from wounds, pestilence, and famine; but Bayard had put every man on oath to eat his horse, and then his boots, before he would surrender. Three weeks passed; and when at last the king arrived with forces to relieve the town, he found a few gaunt spectres still glaring defiance from the battered ramparts against a hundred cannon and more than forty thousand men.

Nothing can more strikingly describe the part of Bayard than the testimony of his enemies themselves. Some time after, Mary of Hungary asked the Count of Nassau in disdain how it came to pass that with a host of troops and guns he could not take a crazy pigeon-house. "Because," replied the count, "there was an eagle in it."

It was Bayard's last great exploit. It had been his lifelong wish that he might fall upon the field of battle. And so it was to be.

Early in the spring of 1524, the French camp was posted at Biagrasso. Lord Bonnivet, who was in command, found himself, after a prolonged resistance, at last compelled by famine and sickness to retire before the Spaniards. It was Bayard's (p. 153) constant custom to be first in an advance and last in retreat, and that day he was, as usual, in the post of danger. It was for the last time. Friends and enemies were to hear, before night fell, the thrilling tidings that Bayard was no more.

On both sides of the road which the retreating army had to traverse the Spaniards had placed in ambush a large force of arquebusiers. It was a weapon which Bayard held in detestation; for while skill and courage were required to wield a spear or sword, any skulking wretch could pull a trigger from behind a stone. From one of these hated weapons he received his death. As he was retreating slowly with his face toward the foe, a stone from a cross-arquebus struck him on the side. He instantly sank forward on his saddle-bow, exclaiming in a faint voice, "Great God! I am killed."

His squire helped him from his horse, and he was laid beneath a tree. His spine was broken in two places; and he felt within himself that he was dying. He took his sword, and kissed the cross-hilt, murmuring aloud the Latin prayer, "Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam."

The Spaniards were approaching. His friends made some attempt to raise him and to bear him from the field. But the least movement made him faint with agony; and he felt that all was vain. He charged his companions, as they loved him, to turn his face toward the enemy, and to retire into a place of safety; and he sent, with his last breath, his salutation to the king. With breaking hearts they did as he desired, and he was left alone.

When the Spaniards reached the spot, they found him still alive, but sinking fast. The conduct of Lord Pescara, the Spanish general, toward his dying foe, was worthy of a great and noble knight. He bade his own pavilion to be spread above him; cushions were placed beneath his head; and a friar was brought, to whom he breathed his last confession. As he was uttering the final words, his voice faltered, and his head fell. The friar looked upon his face—and saw that all was over.[Back to Contents]

By Charles F. Horne

Three or four hundred years ago the little country of Denmark was of much greater importance than it is to-day. It had the mightiest navy in the world, and its rule over the seas was undisputed. Its appearance on the map was also very different then, for it not only extended over much of the German territory now surrounding it, but also held all Norway as a province. Sweden, too, though often rebelling, and being punished with terrible cruelty, was, up to the year 1523, a dependency of the Danish crown.

(p. 154) Naturally the Danes rather looked down on the conquered Swedes, and made them the subject of many rude jests and taunts. There was in the beginning of the sixteenth century at the great Danish university at Upsala a Swedish boy, who with the rest of his countrymen must have suffered many such insults. His proud, brave, little heart rebelled against this treatment; and one day, when his teacher had driven him beyond endurance with his severe punishments and bitter sneers, the boy snatched out his little sword and plunged it straight through the master's book. "I will teach you something, too," he cried; "teach you that the Swedes are no cowards, for some day I will gather them together and treat every Dane in Sweden as I do your book." Then he rushed out of the school, never to return.

Gustavus Vasa.

Many lads have, in some moment of passion made big boasts of what they would do "some day." Few ever made so tremendous a vaunt; fewer still ever so completely fulfilled their threats; and, perhaps, no one ever struggled so patiently, so nobly, nor against such tremendous obstacles before the goal was reached, as did this angry little Swede, known to history as Gustavus Vasa. He was born in 1496, and was the oldest son of Sir Eric Johansson, governor of a little group of islands in the Gulf of Bothnia. Returning home after his precipitate flight from school, Gustavus grew up under the eye of his stalwart father, who trained him to be not only a strong and a shrewd man, but also a good one.

Sent at the age of eighteen to the court of Svante Sture, the regent governing Sweden, he threw himself eagerly into the great war for freedom which his countrymen had begun under that mighty leader. This struggle was so far successful that four years later King Christian, of Denmark, utterly defeated on land and with his fleet in sore danger anchored off Stockholm, and proposed a peace. He asked that hostages be sent to remain on his ships, while he was on shore arranging the treaty. This was readily agreed to, and the hostages went on board without a thought of evil, the king having guaranteed their safe return. Young Vasa, although only twenty-two, had already gained such prominence among the patriots as to be one of those selected for this duty. Just as he and his companions reached the ships, the wind, which had hitherto blown from such a direction that King Christian was unable to leave the harbor, suddenly changed, and the king as promptly changing his plans, hoisted sail and fled from Stockholm, carrying with him, as prisoners, the hostages whom he was bound in honor to respect. But this grim and cruel old king never at any time let himself be checked by his promised word; and now he seriously considered slaying these men as rebels and traitors. Finally he concluded to hold them as prisoners.

Gustavus was placed for safe keeping in the castle of Eric Bauer, a Jutland noble, where he remained for two years. He lived on the very poorest food, (p. 155) and far worse, had to endure taunts a hundred times more bitter than those of his old school days, from the young nobles about him. Worse still, he learned from them that King Christian was gathering another and greater army with which to utterly crush the rebellious Swedes; and he could neither warn his countrymen nor raise a finger to give them help. But his courage and patience never failed him. Through all that weary time he was always planning and watching for a chance to escape. At last it came. Deceived by his apparent indifference his jailers permitted him to ride, and even to hunt with them, but always under a careful watch. One day, however, the hunt grew so exciting that everyone forgot Gustavus and rode hard and fast after the game. He saw his opportunity, and rode hardest and fastest of all. Soon he was first in the race; but he did not stop when he reached the captured deer. There was no one in sight and he hurried on faster than ever. When his horse gave out he pressed forward on foot, and nightfall found him forty miles from the castle. He astonished a countryman by trading clothes with him; and the next day, thus disguised, he hired himself to a drover to help him drive a herd of cattle to the great German city of Lubeck. Probably no cattle had ever been so driven before. Our hero knew well that the pursuit would be fast and furious, and he kept the herd almost on a steady run. The old drover was in a perpetual state of amazement; he did not know whether to regard his new assistant as a madman or as the most valuable hand he had ever hired. Gustavus never let the poor old fellow rest a moment; he had to eat his meals as he walked, and even to totter along half asleep. At last animals and men reached Lubeck, all badly worn out, but safe, for Lubeck was a free city and a powerful one, and when, an hour later, the enraged Eric Bauer galloped up to its great gates, he knew that his prisoner was beyond his reach, and that unless he could persuade the citizens to give him up there was no chance of recapturing him.

The citizens did not give Gustavus up. He and his jailer were brought face to face before the City Council to argue their case. When Eric said his prisoner had broken his word in escaping, Gustavus related how the king had broken his in the capture. When Eric threatened them all with his master's wrath, the shrewd old burghers laughed. They knew King Christian had other things to keep him busy enough, and that he would think twice before attacking their great league of cities. Besides, this young man had already shown that he could do great things, and, as one of the Council said, "Who knows what he may win if we send him home." So Eric was forced to leave without his captive; and after some delay, during which he was treated with high honor, Gustavus was sent home by the kind Lubeckers with the promise to help him, if need be, with both men and money.

Indeed Sweden needed all the help she could get just then; but it did not seem as though one man could do much for her. King Christian had carried out his threats, and landing with a great army, defeated the brave Sture and spread terror and destruction through all the land. The tale of his cruelty and treacheries belongs rather to the history of Sweden than of Gustavus. Enough to say (p. 156) that, having by promises of peace and pardon got all the leading Swedes into his power, he had them murdered, and then he and his soldiers went on slaying the common people right and left in mere wanton savagery. All the surviving nobles were in his pay; the least suspicion of an uprising was crushed with an iron hand, the least murmur of discontent brought death. Never had Sweden seemed more helpless in the power of the Danes.

To this unhappy country came Gustavus Vasa, and at once he was declared an outlaw, and a great price was offered for his head; for the king knew that here survived one man whom he could neither terrify nor bribe. One castle still held out against the besieging Danes, and for this Gustavus set out. But its defenders were disheartened by their hopeless position, and were almost on the point of surrender. They answered angrily to his brave words, and he left them to try and rouse the peasantry all over the land.

Now began for him such a period of danger, sorrow, and privation, as few men could have endured and lived. The land was filled with Danes eager for his capture. The peasants were timid and disheartened. To his passionate patriotic appeal they answered only, "We have salt and herring still. If we rebel we will lose them too." Often they drove him away with stones. Sometimes his own countrymen would have slain him for the promised reward. At length it was no longer possible for him to remain in Southern Sweden, and with a single servant he fled to the highlands of Dalecarlia, a province in the north. From this on his life reads like some wild romance of adventure. He had the grim courage and grit and perseverance of a bull-dog. Nothing could dishearten him in his seemingly hopeless and insane resolve to raise the Swedes once more against Christian.

He found as much devotion in some places, as he did treachery in others. Having crossed a ferry in advance of his servant, this latter rode off with their small stock of money. Gustavus plunged his horse into the river, and riding back after the faithless servitor, pursued him all day straight back into the enemy's country, until the terrified thief, abandoning horse and money and all, fled into the woods. Gustavus recovered his property and pursued his course. The Danes swarmed into Dalecarlia after him. He disguised himself as a woodcutter, and lived as such. One day he met in the woods a giant Dalesman named Liss Lars, and, as they were chatting together, a great bear attacked Gustavus. After a fierce battle Lars slew the brute with a blow of his axe. The two woodcutters became friends, and Lars got his companion a place under the same master as himself, where Gustavus remained a whole winter unsuspected. Often he himself was questioned by the Danish spies, hunting for the now famous Vasa.

Abdication of Gustavus Vasa.

Once there was like to have been trouble between the two friends, for Lars loved a maiden at the farm, who out of coquetry often smiled at Gustavus, until the giant Dalesman became terribly jealous. One day when she brought them their noon-day ale, she handed it first to Gustavus, who, after drinking, returned it with a pleasant word and a pat on the cheek. With a roar like a mad bull, Lars rushed on his comrade and seized him in his giant arms. As he did so he (p. 157) saw around his neck the embroidered collar worn by the Swedish nobility. The astounded Dalesman staggered back, pointing to it. "Either thou art a thief, or the great Gustavus himself." "Ay, friend Lars, I am the outlaw Gustavus, son of Eric. Now, wilt thou hand me over to the Danes, or smash my head against the floor, as just now thou seemedest minded?" "I will swear eternal fealty to thee," cried Lars; "and if thou raisest the standard of revolt, I will be the first to join."

Soon, however, even this retired spot became too unsafe, and Gustavus fled farther north. Once an old schoolmate offered him shelter, and then, while Gustavus slept, rode away to get help to capture him. But the housewife, suspecting her husband's treachery, roused Gustavus, who climbed through a window twenty feet from the ground, and escaped on a horse the good woman had provided.

At another time, by burying himself in a load of hay he was carried past some Danish soldiers who were searching for him. They thrust their spears through the hay and then rode on. One of the spears wounded the hidden man, and, seeing the blood trickle down, the soldiers hurried back. But the driver had snatched out his knife and given a slight cut to one of his horses; and when he pointed to this, charging one of them with having done it, they rode away again laughing at their own suspicions. In a hundred other equally dangerous situations he escaped either by his own courage, or by the ready wit of the brave Dalecarlian peasants; and at last the Danish spies gave up the hunt for him, and returned to Stockholm.

Then he came forth again, and in ringing words urged the people to revolt. But though they loved Gustavus, and loved Sweden, yet they held back in doubt and fear from his daring plans; and so the hero left them, and went on through the surrounding provinces, telling everywhere of King Christian's cruelty, and sowing seed which was to ripen later on. Yet nowhere could he rouse the peasants to action, until word came that the cruel king had sworn to cut a hand and foot from every man in Sweden, that they might never revolt again. Now all felt that there was nothing left but fight. In great haste the Dalecarlians sent after Gustavus and brought him back. They held a great meeting, and to it came Gustavus' wood-cutter friend, Liss Lars. He made a great homely speech, saying, "This Gustavus, son of Eric, is a man. He has threshed with me, and I know him. We can trust him, and sense has he, more than all of us put together. He must be our leader."

All swore fealty to Gustavus; and he bade them make swords and spears and arrows on their own anvils, while he went on again to rouse the other provinces. King Christian had been called home by a rumor of rebellion there, but his lieutenants thought to crush this little uprising of the Dalecarlians as easily as they had a few others, and one of them marched promptly there with a large force. The brave peasants, led by Liss Lars and another, attacked him as he was crossing a river and defeated him with great slaughter. Gustavus heard rumors of the battle, and that his little army was destroyed. In wild haste he galloped back to Dalecarlia to find them celebrating their victory.

(p. 158) Now did the men he had roused in every quarter come pouring in; and he drilled them, and trained them, and encouraged them, became head and hand and heart for them all, till soon he had such an army that he might fairly hope to match any force the Danes could bring against him. Then he sent out a proclamation declaring Christian deposed for his cruel and bloody tyranny, and calling all true Swedes to join him in making war upon the oppressor.

Thus did this young man at twenty-five become the leader of a great rebellion, which he himself had created and controlled. He led his men against one fortress after another. There were long sieges and terrible battles; but Gustavus proved himself as great a general as he was a man; and two years later, in 1525, Stockholm, the last town remaining to the Danes in Sweden, surrendered to his army. Christian himself had been unable to leave Denmark, but he was in constant communication with his lieutenants, and wild was his rage at the continued success of his young opponent. Gustavus's mother and sister, with many other Swedish ladies, had fallen into the king's hands at the time of those wholesale murders; and he tried to frighten the hero with threats of what he would do to them; but poor Gustavus had learned only too surely that most of them were already dead from his cruel treatment. Finally this brute was deposed by his own subjects, and a new king chosen. This king made some faint attempts to recover Sweden, but he had small chance against such a man as Vasa.

The hero and his army entered Stockholm in triumph; and such of the old nobles as were left, gathered in a council and offered him the crown which he had wrested from Denmark. He refused it, saying he had labored for his country, not himself, and bade the nobles choose from among themselves some older man. But the whole country cried out that they would submit to no man but him; he had freed them, he should rule them. So there was, what seldom has been in history, a free choice of a king by a united people; and Gustavus, son of Eric, became Gustavus I., King of Sweden. Five years before he had been carried off a helpless, almost friendless prisoner, by a mighty king. Now they had, by sheer force of character, changed places; the king was in a dungeon, Gustavus on a throne.

Though the remainder of our hero's life was less adventurous, it was no less noble. He made, as all had foreseen, a great king, showing himself as wise and high-minded as he had already proven brave and patient. He found Sweden a petty province, he left it a mighty kingdom; he found it a wilderness, poor, thinly peopled, and semi-barbarous, he left it prosperous, populous, and civilized. He himself was the head and centre of all this, performing an amount of work which seems almost impossible for one man. His letters, some of which remain, are clear, minute in detail, and exact. He knew just how he wanted things done, and he had them done his way. His own life might be summed up in his advice to his two sons, given when, only a few months before his death, he resigned a crown grown too heavy for his failing strength. "Think carefully, execute promptly, never give up, never delay. Resolves not carried out are like clouds without rain in times of drought."[Back to Contents]

By Samuel L. Knapp

Mary, Queen of Scots.

Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, was the third child of James V. and his wife, Mary of Guise. That lady had borne him previously, two sons, both of whom died in infancy. Mary was born on December 7, 1542, in the palace of Linlithgow. She was only seven days old when she lost her father, who, at the time of her birth, lay sick at the palace of Falkland.

The young queen was crowned by Cardinal Beaton, at Stirling, on September 9, 1543. Soon after her birth, the Parliament nominated commissioners, to whom they intrusted the charge of the queen's person, leaving all her other interests to the care of her mother. The first two years of her life, Mary spent at Linlithgow, where it is said she had the small-pox, but the disease must have been of a particularly gentle kind, having left behind no visible traces. During the greater part of the years 1545, 1546, and 1547, she resided at Stirling Castle, in the keeping of Lords Erskine and Livingstone. She was afterward removed to Inchmahome, a sequestered island in the lake of Monteith; after remaining there upward of two years, it was thought expedient by those who had at the time the disposal of her future destiny, that she should be removed to France. She was accordingly, in the fifth year of her age, taken to Dunbarton, where she was delivered to the French admiral, whose vessels were waiting to receive her; and attended by Lords Erskine and Livingstone, her three natural brothers, and four young ladies as companions, she left Scotland.

The thirteen happiest years of Mary's life were spent in France. She was received at Brest, by order of Henry II., with all the honors due to her rank and royal destiny. She travelled by easy stages to the palace at St. Germain en (p. 160) Laye; and to mark the respect that was paid to her, the prison gates of every town she came to were thrown open, and the prisoners set free. Shortly after her arrival she was sent, along with the king's own daughters, to one of the first convents in France, where young ladies of distinction were instructed in the elementary branches of education.

Henry, to confirm the French authority in Scotland, was eager to marry Francis, his son, to Mary. Francis, the young dauphin, who was much about Mary's own age, was far inferior to her both in personal appearance and mental endowments. They had been playmates from infancy; they had prosecuted all their studies together; he loved her with the tenderest affection; it was not in Mary's nature to be indifferent to those who evinced affection for her; and if her fondness for Francis was mingled with pity, it has long been asserted that "pity is akin to love."

On April 24, 1558, the nuptials took place in the church of Notre Dame, with great splendor. Every eye was fixed on the youthful Mary; and, inspired by those feelings which beauty seldom fails to excite, every heart offered up prayers for her future welfare and happiness. She was now at that age when feminine loveliness is perhaps most attractive. It is not to be supposed, indeed, that her charms, in her sixteenth year, had ripened into that full-blown maturity which they afterward attained; but they were on this account only the more fascinating. Some have conjectured that Mary's beauty has been extolled far above its real merits; and it cannot be denied that many vague and erroneous notions exist regarding it. But that her countenance possessed, in a pre-eminent degree, the something which constitutes beauty, is sufficiently attested by the unanimous declaration of all contemporary writers. Her person was finely proportioned, and her carriage exceedingly graceful and dignified.

Shortly after the espousals, Mary and her husband retired to one of their princely summer residences, where she discharged the duties of a wife without ostentation. But the intriguing and restless ambition of her uncles could not allow her to remain long quiet. About this time Mary Tudor, who had succeeded Edward VI. on the English throne, died; and although the Parliament had declared that the succession rested in her sister Elizabeth, it was thought proper to claim for Mary Stuart a prior right. But it was destined that there was to be another and more unexpected death at the French court. Henry II. was killed at a tournament by Count Montgomery. Francis and Mary succeeded to the throne. Mary was now at the very height of European grandeur, for she was queen of two powerful countries, and heir presumptive of a third. She stood unluckily on too high a pinnacle to be able to retain her position long. Francis died after a short reign of seventeen months, and the heir to the throne Charles IX., being a minor, Catharine de Medicis became once more virtually queen of France; and from her Mary could expect no favors.

In August, 1561, Mary left France with tears, and was received in Scotland with every mark of respect. She came, alone and unprotected, to assume the government of a country which had long been distinguished for its rebellious turbulence. (p. 161) Contrasted, too, with her former situation, that which she was now about to fill appeared particularly formidable. By whatever counsel she acted, the blame of all unpopular measures would be sure to rest with her. If she favored the Protestants, the Catholics were sure to renounce her, and if she assisted the Catholics, the Protestants would be again found assembling at Perth, listening, with arms in their hands, to the sermons of John Knox, pulling down the remaining monasteries, and subscribing additional covenants. Is it surprising, then, that she found it difficult to steer her course between the rocks of Scylla and the whirlpools of Charybdis? If misfortunes ultimately overtook her, the wonder unquestionably ought to be, not that they ever arrived, but that they should have been guarded against so long.

To further their political views, Mary's hand was sought for by princes of the several European courts. The princes of the house of Austria, apprehensive of the ambition of France, wished a union between the Scottish queen and the Archduke Charles. Philip II., envying the Austrians so important a prize, used all his influence to procure her hand for his son Don Carlos, heir to the extensive domains of the Spanish monarchy. Catharine de Medicis, jealous of them both, offered the hand of the Duke of Anjou, brother to her former husband, and Elizabeth, the artful queen of England, recommended Lord Robert Dudley, afterward Earl of Leicester.

Mary shunned all their intrigues, and followed the bent of her own inclination in marrying Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, eldest son of the Earl of Lennox. Darnley, at this time in the bloom of youth, was distinguished for the beauty and grace of his person, and accomplished in every elegant art; and he also professed the Catholic religion. Darnley's qualifications, however, were superficial, and abandoning himself to pleasure and the vices of youth, he became gradually careless and indifferent toward the queen, whose disappointments and mortifications were in proportion to the fervor of her former sentiments. Her French secretary was one David Rizzio, who was possessed of musical talents, and to whom she became much attached. Darnley became jealous of Rizzio, and he, with a number of conspirators, took possession of the palace on March 9, 1566, while the queen was at supper with the Countess of Argyle and Rizzio. The latter clung to the queen for protection, but he was torn from her and dragged to the next apartment, where the fury of his enemies put an end to his existence, by piercing his body with fifty-six wounds. The conspirators put Mary under guard, but she escaped, and by the aid of Bothwell and others, she was soon enabled to put her enemies at defiance. This event served to alienate Mary's affections from Darnley.

On June 19, 1566, the queen gave birth to a son; an event more fortunate to the nation than to his unhappy mother, whose evil destiny received aggravation from a circumstance which appeared so flattering to her hopes.

Darnley, neglected by the queen, and despised by the people, remained in solitude at Stirling, but alarmed by the rumor of a design to seize his person, he thought fit to retire to his father at Glasgow. On his way thither he was seized (p. 162) with a dangerous illness. Mary visited him, and it is said prevailed on him to be removed to the capital, where she would attend on him. Kirk of Field, a house belonging to the provost of a collegiate church, was prepared for his reception. The situation, on a rising ground and in an open field, was recommended for the salubrity of its air.

At two o'clock on the morning of February 10, 1567, the city was alarmed by a sudden explosion. The house in which Darnley resided was blown up with gunpowder. The dead body of Henry and a servant, who slept in his room, were found lying in an adjacent garden, without marks of violence, and untouched by fire. Thus perished Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, in his twenty-first year, a youth whom the indulgence of nature and fortune had combined to betray to his ruin.

This execrable deed gave rise to various suspicions and conjectures, which, while they glanced at the queen from her new sentiments with regard to her husband, were, with a general consent, directed toward Bothwell. A proclamation was issued from the throne, offering a considerable reward for the murderer. Neither the power and greatness of Bothwell, nor his favor with the queen, secured him from the indignant sentiment of the nation. He had a mock trial, in which he was acquitted.

The queen, on a journey from Edinburgh to Stirling, to visit her son, was seized by a party of Bothwell's and conducted a prisoner to his castle at Dunbar. Here he prevailed on her to marry him, and on her subsequent appearance in public she was received with a sullen and disrespectful silence by the people.

The transactions which had passed during the last three months in Scotland were beheld by Europe with horror and detestation. The murder of the king, the impunity with which his assassins were suffered to escape, and the marriage of the queen with the man accused of being their chief, were a series of incidents, which, for their atrocity and rapid succession, were scarcely to be paralleled in the pages of history. A general infamy fell upon the Scotch nation, which was regarded, from these circumstances, as a people void of decency, humanity, and honor.

Mary Stuart and Rizzio.

The discontented nobles confederated together and flew to arms. Bothwell and Mary were unable to stem the opposition; she surrendered to her enemies, and was conducted a captive to the castle of Lochleven. Mary had for some weeks suffered the terrors of a prison; of her deliverance there seemed to be but little prospect; no one had appeared as her defender or advocate. Thus solitary, deserted, and distressed, her persecutors reckoned on her fears and on her sex. Lord Lindsay, the fiercest zealot of the party, was employed to communicate their plan to the queen, and to obtain from her a subscription to the papers with which he was charged. In the execution of his commission, he spared neither harshness nor brutality; certain death was offered to the unhappy victim, as the alternative of her refusal. Thus urged, she yielded to the pressure of circumstances, and put her signature to the papers presented to her by Lindsay. By one of these papers she resigned the crown, renounced all share in the government, (p. 163) and consented to the coronation of the young king. By another, she appointed Murray to the regency, and vested him with the powers and privileges of the office. Pierced with grief, and bathed in indignant tears, she signed the deed of her own humiliation, and furnished to her adversaries the instrument of her abasement.

The people were not generally satisfied with the conduct of Murray, the regent, and the scattered party of the queen began gradually to reunite. Such was the disposition of the nation when Mary, through the medium of George Douglas, a youth of eighteen, contrived to escape from prison. She flew on horseback, at full speed, to Hamilton, where, before a train of great and splendid nobles, and an army 6,000 strong, she declared that the deeds signed by her during her imprisonment, and the resignation of her crown, were extorted from her by fear. An engagement between her forces and those of Murray took place at Hamilton; her army was defeated. She stood on a hill and saw all that passed. In confusion and horror she began her flight, and so terrible was the trepidation of her spirits, that she stopped not till she reached the abbey of Dunrenan, in Galloway, fully sixty Scottish miles from the field of battle. In the space of eleven days she had beheld herself a prisoner, at the mercy of her greatest enemies; at the head of a powerful army, with a numerous train of nobles devoted to her service; and a fugitive, at the hazard of her life, driven, with a few attendants, to lurk in a corner of her kingdom. Still anxious and agitated in her retreat, she was impelled by her fears to an irretrievable step, fatal to all her future hopes. In vain her attendants, with the lords Herries and Heming, implored her on their knees not to confide in Elizabeth, her resolution was not to be shaken, and to England she fatally resolved to fly. No longer an object of jealousy, but compassion, Mary trusted in the generosity of a sister queen, that she would not take advantage of her calamitous situation. She got into a fisherman's boat, and with about twenty attendants, landed at Workington, in Cumberland, whence, with marks of respect, she was conducted to Carlisle.

She addressed, on her arrival in England, a letter to the queen, in which she painted in glowing colors the injuries she had sustained, and implored the sympathy and assistance which her present situation so pressingly required. Elizabeth and her council deliberated upon the course which, in this extraordinary event, it would be proper to pursue; and at last determined, in spite of justice and humanity, to avail herself of the advantages given her by the confidence of her rival. Mary demanded a personal interview with Elizabeth, but this honor she was told must be denied to her. She had no intention of acknowledging superiority in the queen of England, who, she expected, would, as a friend, herself receive and examine her defences. But Elizabeth chose to consider herself as umpire between the Scottish queen and her subjects; and she prepared to appoint commissioners to hear the pleadings of both parties, and wrote to the Regent of Scotland to empower proper persons to appear in his name, and produce what could be alleged in vindication of his proceedings.

Mary, who had hitherto relied on the professions of Elizabeth, was by this (p. 164) proposal at once undeceived, and she was, in despite of her remonstrances and complaints, conducted to Bolton, a castle of Lord Scroop, on the borders of Yorkshire. Commissioners met on both sides, and after protracted deliberations for four months, they left things just as they found them.

The last eighteen years of Mary's life were spent in imprisonment, and are comparatively a blank in her personal history. She was transported, at intervals, from castle to castle, and was intrusted sometimes to the charge of one nobleman, and sometimes to another; but for her the active scenes of life were past; the splendor and dignity of a throne were to be enjoyed no longer; the sceptre of her native country was never more to grace her hands; her will ceased to influence a nation; her voice did not travel beyond the walls that witnessed her confinement. She came into England at the age of twenty-five, in the prime of womanhood, the full vigor of health, and the rapidly ripening strength of her intellectual powers. She was there destined to feel, in all its bitterness, that "hope deferred maketh the heart sick." Year after year passed slowly on, and year after year her spirits became more exhausted, her health feebler, and her doubts and fears confirmed, till they at length settled in despair. Premature old age overtook her before she was past the meridian of life; and for some time before her death, her hair was white "with other snows than those of age." Yet, during the whole of this long period, amid sufferings which would have broken many a masculine spirit, and which, even in our own times, have been seen to conquer those who had conquered empires, Mary retained the innate grace and dignity of her character, never forgetting that she had been born a queen, or making her calamities an excuse for the commission of any petty meanness, which she would have scorned in the days of her prosperity. Full of incident as her previous life had been, brilliant in many of its achievements, it may be doubted whether the forbearance, fortitude, and magnanimity displayed in her latter years, do not redound more highly to her praise than all that preceded. Elizabeth wished for some plausible pretext to take away the life of the unhappy Mary, whom, though so defenceless, she regarded as a dangerous rival. The Duke of Norfolk made offers of marriage to Mary, to which she consented, in case she should be liberated. His scheme also was to favor the Catholic cause, and on its being discovered he was thrown into prison, where, after six months' confinement, he was liberated, on condition of his holding no further intercourse with the queen. He was, however, arrested the second time, and executed.

A conspiracy soon after took place, through the blind affection of the English Catholics for Mary, and their implacable hatred of Elizabeth; that, while it proved fatal to the life of one queen, has left on the memory of the other an indelible stain. It was a conspiracy of two zealous Catholics, to take the life of Elizabeth. The plot was revealed in confidence to Anthony Babington, a young gentleman of Derbyshire, possessing a large fortune and many amiable qualities, whom the Archbishop of Glasgow had recommended to the notice of Mary. The conspirators, through treachery, were arrested, and it is said two letters from Mary were found with Babington. This was a pretext to represent these fanatics (p. 165) as the instruments of the captive queen. Determined that no circumstance of solemnity suited to the dignity of the person arraigned might be wanting, Elizabeth appointed, by a commission under the great seal, forty persons, the most illustrious in the kingdom for their rank and birth, together with five judges, for the decision of the cause.

On October 11, 1586, the commissioners arrived at Fotheringay, where Mary was confined. She solemnly protested her innocence of the crime laid to her charge, and having never countenanced any attempt against the life of Elizabeth, she refused to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the commissioners. "I came," said she, "into the kingdom an independent sovereign, to implore the queen's assistance, not to subject myself to her authority. Nor is my spirit so broken by past misfortunes, or intimidated by present dangers, as to stoop to anything unbecoming the majesty of a crowned head, or that will disgrace the ancestors from whom I am descended, and the son to whom I shall leave my throne."

Mary made her own defence; and her conduct before her judges displayed the magnanimity of a heroine, tempered by the gentleness and modesty of a woman. The judges were predetermined to find her guilty: the trial was a mere pretence to give a sanction to their proceedings; they were unanimous in declaring Mary "to be accessory to the conspiracy of Babington, and to have imagined divers matters, tending to the hurt, death, and destruction of Elizabeth, contrary to the express words of the statute made for the security of the life of the queen."

On Tuesday, February 7, 1587, the Earls of Shrewsbury and Kent arrived at Fotheringay, and read in Mary's presence the warrant for her execution, which was appointed for the ensuing day. "That soul," said Mary, calmly crossing herself, "is unworthy the joys of heaven, which repines because the body must endure the stroke of the axe. I submit willingly to the lot which heaven has decreed for me; though I did not expect the Queen of England would set the first example of violating the sacred person of a sovereign prince." Then laying her hand on a Bible, which happened to be near her, she solemnly protested her innocence.

At the scaffold she prayed for the prosperity of her son, and for a long and peaceable reign to Elizabeth. She hoped for mercy, she declared, only through the death of Christ, at the foot of whose image she willingly shed her blood. With intrepid calmness she laid her neck on the block; her hands were held by one executioner, while the other, with two blows, dissevered her head from her body. "So perish all the enemies of Elizabeth!" exclaimed the dean, as he held up the streaming head. "Amen," answered the Earl of Kent alone; every other eye was drowned in tears; every other voice was stifled in commiseration. Thus, after a life of forty-four years and two months, nineteen years of which had been passed in captivity, perished the lovely and unfortunate Mary, Queen of Scots.[Back to Contents]

By Marion Harland

Captain John Smith.

Of the antecedents of John Smith, Esquire, Captain and Knight, little is recorded beyond the facts that he was of gentle blood and honorable lineage, and that he was born in Lancashire, England, in 1579.

He was still under age when he enlisted as a private soldier and fought with "our army" in Flanders. Sigismund Bathor, Duke of Transylvania, was warring with the Turks, and young Smith, athirst for adventure, next took service under him. Before the Transylvanian town of Regall, he killed three Turkish officers in single combat, for which doughty deed he was knighted. The certificate of Sigismund's patent empowering the Englishman to quarter three Turks' heads upon the family coat-of-arms is in the Herald's Office in London.

The tables were turned by his subsequent capture by the Turks. He was sent to Tartary as a slave, not a prisoner of war, and compelled to perform the most ignoble tasks, until, escaping by killing his brutal master, he made his way by his wits to his native country in 1604. He was now twenty-five years of age, and emphatically a soldier of fortune. The tale of his prowess and adventures had preceded him, and he was eagerly welcomed in London by kindred spirits who were preparing to emigrate to America to form the colony of Virginia under the grant and direct patronage of James I. By the time the enterprise was ripe for execution, Smith had made himself so useful in counsel and preparation that the king named him as one of the councillors of the prospective colony.

The boundary lines of the royal grant were two hundred miles north, and the same distance south, of the mouth of the James River, and east and west "from sea to sea."

On December 19, 1606, the band of adventurers, 100 in number, embarked at Gravesend in three small vessels. Christopher Newport was in command, but Smith, and his close allies, Bartholomew Gosnold and George Percy, a younger brother of the Duke of Northumberland, were the ruling spirits of the voyagers. Carpenters and laborers were oddly jumbled upon the list of emigrants with (p. 167) jewellers, perfumers, and gold refiners, and "gentlemen" held prominence in numbers and influence. The officers outnumbered the privates. The little fleet was hardly out of the offing when the struggle for power began. The voyage was not half accomplished when John Smith was charged with complicity in a discovered mutiny. He had intended, it was alleged, to murder his superiors, seize the fleet, and make himself king of Virginia. The "General History of Virginia" tells how serious an aspect the affair wore:

"Such factions here we had, as commonly attend such voyages, that a paire of gallowes was made, but Captain Smith, for whom they were intended, could not be persuaded to use them."

He was still under suspicion and arrest when the fleet anchored (May 13, 1607) in the broad river, Powhatan, to which the English explorers gave the name of their king. Their first tents were pitched and first cabins built upon a low peninsula flanked by extensive marshes. The settlement received the name of Jamestown, in further demonstration of loyalty.

When the king's sealed orders were opened, the name of John Smith appeared second upon the roll of seven councillors appointed to govern the infant colony. Next to him Gosnold was fittest for the responsible position assigned to them. His death within three months after the landing, left Smith the object of the envious distrust of Wingfield, who had been elected president, and virtually alone in the honest desire to found a permanent settlement in Virginia for ends he thus sets forth:

"Erecting towns, peopling countries, informing the ignorant, reforming things unjust, teaching virtue and gain to our native Mother Country."

There is a prophetic ring in this remarkable utterance of one whom his contemporaries persisted in regarding as a reckless adventurer, ambitious and unscrupulous. His frank denunciation of the feeble measures of Wingfield and the selfish villainy of Ratcliffe, another colleague, had earned the ill-will of the president and the relentless hatred of Ratcliffe. Smith, being under arrest, was not allowed to take his place among the councillors. He bided the day of justice with patience learned from adversity. When the supreme opportunity came he grasped it. An attack from hostile Indians proved Wingfield's unfitness for the military command, and the alarmed colonists turned instinctively to the bravest of their number. Wingfield anticipated the uprising by reiterating his intention of sending Smith to England for trial, for the double crime of mutiny and treason.

"The restive soldier suddenly flamed out. He would be tried in Virginia as was his right—there was the charter! and the trial took place. The result was a ruinous commentary on the characters of Wingfield and the council. The testimony of their own witnesses convicted them of subornation of perjury to destroy Smith. He was acquitted by the jury of all the charges against him, and Kendall, who had conducted the prosecution, was condemned to pay him £200 damages. This sum was presented by Smith to the colony for the general use, and then the foes partook of the commission, and the soldier was admitted to his seat in the council." (Cooke's "History of Virginia.")

(p. 168) By autumn the settlement was fearfully reduced in numbers and spirits. Fever, engendered by marshland malaria and famine, threatened utter extinction.

"From May to September, those who escaped lived upon sturgeon and sea-crabs; 50 in this time were buried," writes one of the sufferers. "The rest, seeing the president's projects to escape these miseries in our pinnace by flight (who all this time had neither felt want or sickness), so moved our dead spirits as we deposed him and established Ratcliffe in his place."

It was an exchange of inefficiency for deliberate wickedness, and in the excess of continued misery the more reasonable of the victims arose as a man and put Smith at the head of affairs.

The "terrible summer" left hardly ten men who could wield axe or hoe. Smith himself was ill with malarial fever, yet nursed the sick, prayed with the dying, and kept up the hearts of all by brave words and braver action. He bought corn and meat of the Indians when they would sell, and when they refused, secured supplies by intimidation. Yet we find him, as soon as the immediate peril was over, again the subordinate of envious leaders, and volunteering to satisfy malcontents in America and in England, by heading a party in mid-December to attempt the discovery of the great "South Sea," for so long the ignis fatuus of Western adventurers.

The explorers sailed up the James, diverging here and there into the tortuous creeks of the Chickahominy. When stopped by shallows, Smith procured a canoe and Indian guides and pushed on with but two other white men (Robinson and Emry) into the unknown wilderness, teeming with spies jealous of the foreign intruders. Attempting to land at "Powhatan," one of "the emperor's" residences, he and his guide sank into the morass and were fired upon from the shore.

"The salvages ... followed him with 300 bowmen, led by the king of Pamunkee, who, searching the turnings of the river, found Robinson and Emry by the fire-side. These they shot full of arrowes and slew."

Smith bound the Indian guide to his arm and used him as a shield, thus saving his own life. He was, however, captured, lashed to a tree, and would have been killed, but for his address in presenting the King Opecancanough with "a round ivory double compass Dyall"—his own pocket compass—directing the attention of the "salvages" to the movement of the needle, and describing the uses of the instrument.

"A month those Babarians kept him prisoner; many strange triumphes and conjurations they made of him, yet he so demeaned himself among them as he not only diverted them from surprising the Fort, but procured his own libertie, and got himself and his company such estimation among them that these Salvages admired him as a demi-god."

From the pen of a contemporary we have the account of what led to his "libertie." He had killed two of the attacking party, and was condemned by Powhatan to die for the offence.

Captain Smith saved by Pocahontas.

"Having feasted him after their best barbarous manner they could, a long consultation was held; but the conclusion was, two great stones were brought (p. 169) before Powhatan, then, as many as could lay hands on him, dragged him to them, and thereon laid his head, and being ready with their clubs to beate out his brains, Pocahontas, the king's dearest daughter, when no entreaty could prevaile, got his head in her armes, and laid her owne upon his to save him from death; whereat the emperor was contented he should live to make him hatchets, and her bells, beads, and copper."

From other pages we get the stage-setting for this, the most dramatic incident in colonial history.

The emperor had heard the evidence with a "sour look," sitting in state upon a rude dais, covered with mats, his body wrapped in a cloak of raccoon skins. His dusky harem was grouped about him, watchful and interested. When the trial was over he bade one wife to bring water to wash the captive's hands, another a bunch of feathers to dry them upon. This was preliminary to the feast.

"So fat they fed Mee," says "A True Relation of Virginia," published by Smith in 1608, "that I much doubted they intended to have sacrificed mee to the Quioughquosiche, which is a superiour power they worship."

The appointment to the position of armorer in the royal household, and trinket-maker to the princess, was one of honor. Smith enjoyed it for a month only, but to his residence at Powhatan and intimacy with Pocahontas, he was indebted for the familiarity with Indian language and customs which was afterward of incalculable benefit to the Virginians. He describes Pocahontas in respectful admiration:

"For features, countenance, and expression she much exceeded the rest."

Her gala attire was a doeskin mantle lined with down from the breasts of wood-pigeons; bangles of coral bound her brown ankles and wrists, and in her hair was a white heron's feather in token of her royal blood. At the time of her rescue of Smith she was about thirteen years old.

In January, 1608, the emperor offered Smith a forest principality if he would remain with the tribe, but he petitioned to be allowed to return to Jamestown. The request was reluctantly granted, and an escort sent with him to the "Fort." This returned, bearing gifts for Powhatan and his wives, with marvellous stories of the cannon-shot fired into the sleety forest at Smith's command. We cannot but wonder what toy or ornament went to the petted child whom he had served in glad gratitude while a member of her father's household.

He had no time for sentimental musings. Upon the very day of his unlooked for return (January 8, 1608), Ratcliffe repeated Wingfield's attempt to escape to England in the only vessel left at Jamestown. The anchor was actually raised when Smith hastily collected a force and hurried to the landing. "With the hazzard of his life, with sakre, falcon, and musket shot, Smith forced" (them) "now the third time to stay or sinke."

In their sullen rage the foiled conspirators plotted and nearly executed a fiendish revenge. Once more we copy from the "General History," written by Smith and his friends.

"Some no better than they should be, had plotted with the president" (p. 170) (Ratcliffe) "the next day to have put him" (Smith) "to death by the Leviticall law for the lives of Robinson and Emry, pretending the fault was his that had led them to their ends; but he quickly took such order with such lawyers that he layd them by the heeles till he sent some of them prisoners to England."

The colony was almost destitute of food, and the memories of the famine of last year terrified the imaginations of those who had lived through it. "Gentlemen" having again predominated in reinforcements sent from England, the crops planted and gathered in Smith's absence had been meagre, while rats brought over in one of the vessels had wrought havoc with stored grain. Like an angel of mercy was the apparition of Pocahontas, at the head of a "wild train" of Indians laden with corn and game, approaching the fort. "Ever once in four or five days during the time of two or three years," the young princess, thus attended, visited the fort and succored the needy settlers. Smith declares that "next under God she preserved the colony from death, famine, and utter confusion." He might have subjoined that, but for himself, not even Pocahontas's bounty could have saved the settlement from the consequences of misconduct and misrule.

His was the only voice lifted to condemn the mad folly of loading a homeward-bound vessel with the glittering mud of a neighboring creek. That he was "not enamored of their dirty skill to freight such a drunken ship with so much gilded dirt"—was one of the mildest of his phrases, as, "breathing out these and many other passions," he harangued those who had "no thought, no discourse, no hope, and no work but to dig gold, wash gold, refine gold, and load gold."

Before the English assayers confirmed his judgment as to the value of this cargo, the intrepid adventurer had sailed, with fourteen others, up the Chesapeake into new and wonderful regions. Never losing heart, even when he believed himself to be dying from the sting of a poisonous fish, he discovered and entered the Potomac, the Rappahannock, and tributary creeks, fighting his way when not allowed to proceed peaceably. In July (1608) he led another party to the spot now occupied by the city of Baltimore, and made friends with a tribe called Susquehannocks, believed to be sun-worshippers. Returning from these voyages of three thousand miles in all, he drew in masterly style a chart of the countries explored, and sent it to England.

Jamestown was still in a state of what he calls "combustion," under the tyranny of Ratcliffe. Emboldened by Smith's return, the colonists deposed the hated governor, and formally elected Smith Governor of Virginia. The winter closed in upon an "affrighted" population. Storehouses were nearly empty, agriculture having been neglected in the gold fever. As Smith could not be "persuaded to use" the gallows, so he now announced that "no persuasion could persuade him to starve." In company with George Percy and fifty others, he visited his old ally Powhatan, and tried to buy food. A change had come to the emperor's heart. He addressed his quondam armorer as a "rash youth;" protested that he was afraid of him, and would not treat with the English unless they came to him unarmed. Warned by Pocahontas, who stole through the (p. 171) woods after dark to apprise Smith that treachery was intended, the party lay on their arms all night, and the force sent to surprise them retreated. Next day, Powhatan loaded the boats with corn, and Smith sailed up the York upon a similar errand to Opecancanough, Powhatan's brother. While in audience with him, the Englishmen were surrounded by a band of seven hundred armed savages. Seizing the wily chieftain by the scalp-lock, Smith held a pistol to his breast, and demanded a cargo of corn and safe-conduct for his party to Jamestown. The fifty men, without loss of a single life, took back enough food to victual the town.

Early in the spring of 1609, the president thus made known his policy to his constituents:

"Countrymen! You see now that power resteth wholly in myself. You must obey this now for a law—he that will not work shall not eat. And though you presume that authority here is but a shadow and that I dare not touch the lives of any, but my own must answer for it, yet he that offendeth, let him assuredly expect his due punishment.

"I protest by that God that made me, since necessity hath no power to force you to gather for yourselves, you shall not only gather for yourselves, but for those that are sick. They shall not starve."

Fields were tilled, the fort was repaired, wise Powhatan treated the pale-faces kindly for Smith's sake, and the emigrants felt for the first time firm ground beneath their feet. They had twenty-four pieces of ordnance, and three hundred stand of small-arms; three ships, seven boats, a store of more than two months' provisions, six hundred hogs, with goats, fowls, and sheep, and an established trading-station with the natives.

Like an aërolite from the summer sky came news from England that a fleet was to be sent out with a new colony, a new charter, and new officers; Smith's old enemy, Christopher Newport, was in command of the expedition. Smith had been complained of at home as "dealing harshly with the natives and not returning the ships full-freighted." His day was over. The king so willed it.

Smith's last official act was the establishment of a colony at Powhatan, renamed "Nonsuch," opposite where the city of Richmond was laid out over a century later. On his way back to Jamestown, he was cruelly wounded by the explosion of a bag of gunpowder. There was no good surgeon in the colony. To return forthwith to England was but anticipating by a few weeks what must be when the fleet arrived.

He returned to London at the age of thirty. "He had broke the ice and beat the path, but had not there" (in Virginia) "one foot of ground, nor the very house he builded, nor the ground he digged with his own hands."

In 1614 he returned to America, but now to the northern region assigned to the Plymouth Company. He gave name to Boston; explored and made a survey of the New England coast. On a second voyage he had a fight with a French squadron, was captured, and taken to Rochelle. While there he wrote a "Description of New England," for which service James I. appointed him (p. 172) "Admiral of New England." He died in London, in 1631, at the age of fifty-two, never having revisited Virginia. Upon his tomb, in the Church of St. Sepulchre's, London, may be still traced the outlines of the Three Turks' Heads and the inscription, beginning:

"Here lies one conquered that hath conquered kings."

Any sketch of his life, however brief, would be incomplete that contained no reference to the letter written by him to Queen Anne (the consort of James I.), in 1616, recommending the Lady Rebecca Rolfe to the royal favor.

He would "be guilty of the deadly poison of ingratitude," he wrote, if he failed to narrate what he and the colony at Jamestown owed to Pocahontas. He besought the queen's kindly consideration for the stranger just landed upon her shores, as due to Pocahontas's "great spirit, her desert, birth, want, and simplicity." His one call upon the wife of John Rolfe, Gentleman, was marked by profound respect on his part to one whom he accosted as "Lady Rebecca;" by profound emotion on hers.

John Smith's biography and epitaph are best summed up by one of his brothers-in-arms:

"What shall I saye, but thus we lost him that in all his proceedings made justice his first guide and experience his second, ever hating basenesse, sloth, pride, and indignitie more than any dangers; that never allowed more for himself than for his soldiers with him; that upon no danger would send them where he would not lead them himselfe; that would never see us want what he either had or could by any means get us; that would rather want than borrow, or starve than not pay; that loved action more than wordes, and hated falsehood and covetousnesse worse than death; whose adventures were our lives and whose losse our deaths."[Back to Contents]

Author signature. Marion Harland.


William Harvey was born on April 1, 1578, at Folkestone, on the southern coast of Kent. He was the eldest of nine children; of the rest little more is known, than that several of the brothers were among the most eminent merchants in the city of London during the reigns of the two first Stuarts. His father, Thomas Harvey, followed no profession. He married Joanna Falke, at the age of twenty, and lived upon his own estate at Folkestone. This property devolved by inheritance (p. 173) upon his eldest son; and the greater part of it was eventually bequeathed by him to the college at which he was educated.

At ten years of age he commenced his studies at the grammar school in Canterbury; and upon May 31, 1593, soon after the completion of his fifteenth year, was admitted as a pensioner at Caius College, Cambridge.

William Harvey.

At that time a familiar acquaintance with logic and the learned languages was indispensable as a first step in the prosecution of all the branches of science, especially of medicine; and the skill with which Harvey avails himself of the scholastic form of reasoning in his great work on the Circulation, with the elegant Latin style of all his writings, particularly of his latest work on the Generation of Animals, affords a sufficient proof of his diligence in the prosecution of these preliminary studies during the next four years which he spent at Cambridge. The two next were occupied in visiting the principal cities and seminaries of the Continent. He then prepared to address himself to those investigations to which the rest of his life was devoted; and the scene of his introduction to them could not have been better chosen than at the University of Padua, where he became a student in his twenty-second year.

The ancient physicians gathered what they knew of anatomy from inaccurate dissections of the lower animals, and the slender knowledge thus acquired, however inadequate to unfold the complicated functions of the human frame, was abundantly sufficient as a basis for conjecture, of which they took full advantage. With them everything became easy to explain, precisely because nothing was understood; and the nature and treatment of disease, the great object of medicine, and its subsidiary sciences, was hardily abandoned to the conduct of the imagination, and sought for literally among the stars. Nevertheless, so firmly was their authority established, that even down to the close of the sixteenth century the naturalists of Europe still continued to derive all their physiology, and the greater part of their anatomy and medicine, from the works of Aristotle and Galen, read not in the original Greek, but re-translated into Latin from the interpolated versions of the Arabian physicians. The opinions entertained by these dictators in the republic of letters, and consequently by their submissive followers, with regard to the structure and functions of the organs concerned in the circulation, were particularly fanciful and confused; so much so that it would be no easy task to give an intelligible account of them that would not be tedious from its length. It will be enough to say, that a scarcely more oppressive mass of mischievous error was cleared away from the science of astronomy by the discovery of Newton, than that from which physiology was disencumbered by the discovery of Harvey.

But though the work was completed by an Englishman, it is to Italy that, in anatomy, as in most of the sciences, we owe the first attempts to cast off the (p. 174) thralldom of the ancients. Mundinus had published a work in the year 1315, which contained a few original observations of his own; and his essay was so well received that it remained the text-book of the Italian schools of anatomy for upward of two centuries. It was enriched from time to time by various annotators, among the chief of whom were Achillini, and Berengarius, the first person who published anatomical plates. But the great reformer of anatomy was Vesalius, who, born at Brussels in 1514, had attained such early celebrity during his studies at Paris and Louvain, that he was invited by the Republic of Venice, in his twenty-second year, to the chair of anatomy at Padua, which he filled for seven years with the highest reputation. He also taught at Bologna, and subsequently, by the invitation of Cosmo de' Medici, at Pisa. The first edition of his work, "De Corporis Humani Fabrica" was printed at Basle, in the year 1543; it is perhaps one of the most successful efforts of human industry and research, and from the date of its publication begins an entirely new era in the science of which it treats. The despotic sway hitherto maintained in the schools of medicine by the writings of Aristotle and Galen was now shaken to its foundation, and a new race of anatomists eagerly pressed forward in the path of discovery. Among these no one was more conspicuous than Fallopius, the disciple, successor, and in fame the rival, of Vesalius, at Padua. After him the anatomical professorship was filled by Fabricius ab Aquapendente, the last of the distinguished anatomists who flourished at Padua in the sixteenth century.

Harvey became his pupil in 1599, and from this time he appears to have applied himself seriously to the study of anatomy. The first germ of the discovery which has shed immortal honor on his name and country was conceived in the lecture-room of Fabricius.

He remained at Padua for two years; and having received the Degree of Doctor of Arts and Medicine, with unusual marks of distinction, returned to England early in the year 1602. Two years afterward he commenced practice in London and married the daughter of Dr. Launcelot Browne, by whom he had no children. He became a Fellow of the College of Physicians, when about thirty years of age, having in the meantime renewed his degree of Doctor in Medicine, at Cambridge; and was soon after elected Physician to St. Bartholomew's Hospital, which office he retained till a late period of his life.

On August 4, 1615, he was appointed Reader of Anatomy and Surgery to the College of Physicians. From some scattered hints in his writings it appears that his doctrine of the circulation was first advanced in his lectures at the college about four years afterward; and a note-book in his own hand-writing is still preserved at the British Museum, in which the principal arguments by which it is substantiated are briefly set down, as if for reference in the lecture-room. Yet with the characteristic caution and modesty of true genius, he continued for nine years longer to reason and experimentalize upon what is now considered one of the simplest, as it is undoubtedly the most important known law of animal nature; and it was not till the year 1628, the fifty-first of his life, that he consented to publish his discovery to the world.

(p. 175) In that year the "Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis" was published at Frankfort. This masterly treatise begins with a short outline and refutation of the opinions of former anatomists on the movement of the animal fluids and the function of the heart; the author discriminating with care, and anxiously acknowledging the glimpses of the truth to be met with in their writings; as if he had not only kept in mind the justice due to previous discoveries, and the prudence of softening the novelty and veiling the extent of his own, but had foreseen the preposterous imputation of plagiarism, which, with other inconsistent charges, was afterward brought forward against him. This short sketch is followed by a plain exposition of the anatomy of the circulation, and a detail of the results of numerous experiments; and the new theory is finally maintained in a strain of close and powerful reasoning, and followed into some of its most important consequences. The whole argument is conducted in simple and unpretending language, with great perspicuity, and scrupulous attention to logical form.

The doctrine announced by Harvey may be briefly stated thus: The blood circulates through the body, thereby sustaining life. The heart is simply the pump which drives the blood through the arteries, from whence it returns impure, and is then forced through the lungs and repurified.

The pulmonary circulation had been surmised by Galen, and maintained by his successors; but no proof even of this insulated portion of the truth, more than amounted to strong probability, had been given till the time of Harvey, and no plausible claim to the discovery, still less to the demonstration, of the general circulation has ever been set up in opposition to his. Indeed, its truth was quite inconsistent with the ideas everywhere entertained in the schools on the functions of the heart and other viscera, and was destructive of many favorite theories. The new doctrine, therefore, as may well be supposed, was received by most of the anatomists of the period with distrust, and by all with surprise. Some of them undertook to refute it, but their objections turned principally on the silence of Galen, or consisted of the most frivolous cavils; the controversy, too, assumed the form of personal abuse even more speedily than is usually the case when authority is at issue with reason. To such opposition Harvey for some time did not think it necessary to reply; but some of his friends in England, and of the adherents to his doctrine on the Continent, warmly took up his defence. At length he was induced to take a personal share in the dispute in answer to Riolanus, a Parisian anatomist of some celebrity, whose objections were distinguished by some show of philosophy, and unusual abstinence from abuse. The answer was conciliatory and complete, but ineffectual to produce conviction; and in reply to Harvey's appeal to direct experiment, his opponent urged nothing but conjecture and assertion. Harvey once more rejoined at a considerable length; taking occasion to give a spirited rebuke to the unworthy reception he had met with, in which it seems that Riolanus had now permitted himself to join; adducing several new and conclusive experiments in support of his theory; and entering at large upon its value in simplifying physiology and (p. 176) the study of diseases, with other interesting collateral topics. Riolanus, however, still remained unconvinced; and his second rejoinder was treated by Harvey with contemptuous silence. He had already exhausted the subject in the two excellent controversial pieces just mentioned, the last of which is said to have been written at Oxford about 1645; and he never resumed the discussion in print. Time had now come to the assistance of argument, and his discovery began to be generally admitted. To this, indeed, his opponents contributed, by a still more singular discovery of their own, namely, that the facts had been observed, and the important inference drawn, long before. This was the mere allegation of envy, chafed at the achievements of another, which, from their apparent facility, might have been its own. It is indeed strange that the simple mechanism thus explained should have been unobserved or misunderstood so long; and nothing can account for it but the imperceptible lightness as well as the strength of the chains which authority imposes on the mind.

In the year 1623 Harvey became physician extraordinary to James I., and seven years later was appointed physician to Charles. He followed the fortunes of that monarch, who treated him with great distinction during the first years of the civil war, and he was present at the battle of Edgehill, in 1642. Having been incorporated doctor of physic by the University of Oxford, he was promoted by Charles to the wardenship of Merton College, in 1645; but he did not retain this office very long, his predecessor, Dr. Brent, being reinstated by the Parliament after the surrender of Oxford in the following year.

Harvey then returned to London, and resided with his brother Eliat at Cockaine house, in the Poultry. About the time of Charles's execution he gave up his practice, which had never been considerable, probably in consequence of his devotion to the scientific, rather than the practical, parts of his profession. He himself, however, attributed his want of success to the enmity excited by his discovery. After a second visit to the Continent, he secluded himself in the country, sometimes at his own house in Lambeth, and sometimes with his brother Eliat at Combe, in Surrey. Here he was visited by his friend, Dr. Ent, in 1651, by whom he was persuaded to allow the publication of his work on the "Generation of Animals." It was the fruit of many years of experiment and meditation; and, though the vehicle of no remarkable discovery, is replete with interest and research, and contains passages of brilliant and even poetical eloquence. The object of his work is to trace the germ through all its changes to the period of maturity; and the illustrations are principally drawn from the phenomena exhibited by eggs in the process of incubation, which he watched with great care, and has described with minuteness and fidelity. The microscope had not at that time the perfection it has since attained; and consequently Harvey's account of the first appearance of the chick is somewhat inaccurate, and has been superseded by the observations of Malpighi, Hunter, and others. The experiments upon which he chiefly relied in this department of natural history had been repeated in the presence of Charles I., who appears to have taken great interest in the studies of his physician.

Harvey demonstrating the Circulation of the Blood.

(p. 177) In the year 1653, the seventy-fifth of his life, Harvey presented the College of Physicians with the title-deed of a building erected in their garden, and elegantly fitted up, at his expense, with a library and museum, and commodious apartments for their social meetings. Upon this occasion he resigned the professorship of anatomy, which he had held for nearly forty years, and was succeeded by Dr. Glisson.

In 1654 he was elected to the presidency of the college, which he declined on the plea of age; and the former president, Sir Francis Prujean, was re-elected at his request. Two years afterward he made a donation to the college of a part of his patrimonial estate, to the yearly value of £56, as a provision for the maintenance of the library, and the annual festival and oration in commemoration of benefactors.

At length his constitution, which had long been harassed by the gout, yielded to the increasing infirmities of age, and he died in his eightieth year, on June 3, 1657. He was buried at Hempstead, in Essex, in a vault belonging to his brother Eliat, who was his principal heir, and his remains were followed to the grave by a numerous procession of the body of which he had been so illustrious and munificent a member.

In person he was below the middle size, but well proportioned. He had a dark complexion, black hair, and small, lively eyes. In his youth his temper is said to have been very hasty. If so, he was cured of this defect as he grew older; for nothing can be more courteous and temperate than his controversial writings; and the genuine kindness and modesty which were conspicuous in all his dealings with others, with his instructive conversation, gained him many attached and excellent friends. He was fond of meditation and retirement; and there is much in his works to characterize him as a man of warm and unaffected piety.[Back to Contents]

By Andrew Lang, LL.D.

Charles Edward Stuart, called the "Young Pretender" by his enemies, the "Young Chevalier" by neutrals, "Prince of Wales" and "Prince Regent" by his partisans, "Prince Edouard" by the French, "Ned" by his intimates, as we read in letters of Oliphant of Gask, and "Prince Charlie" by later generations, was born at Rome, December 31, 1720. His father was James VIII., of Scotland, and III. of England, according to the Legitimist theory; his foes called him "The Pretender," partly on the strength of the old fable about the warming-pan, so useful to the Whigs. No sane person now doubts the genuineness of James' descent from (p. 178) James II., but the nickname of Pretender still sticks, though Boswell tells us that George III. particularly disliked an appellation which "may be parliamentary, but is not gentlemanly." James III., or the Chevalier de St. George, was taken up by Louis XIV. on the death of James II., in France. He is said to have displayed courage in several battles in Flanders, but his attempt to assert his rights in 1715 was a melancholy failure. James showed melancholy and want of confidence; he soon left Scotland for the Continent, and the best that can be said for his conduct is that he endeavored to compensate the peasants whose houses were destroyed in the military operations of "the Fifteen." Unable to reside in France, he retired to Rome, a pensioner of the Pope, and entertained with royal honors. In 1719 he married Clementina Sobieski, a granddaughter of the famous John Sobieski, who delivered Europe from the Turks. Their eldest son, Prince Charles, appears to have inherited the spirit and daring of his Polish ancestors, which animated him throughout his youth, and were extinguished less by Culloden than by the treatment which he received from the French court, by his imprisonment in Vincennes in 1748, and by the unrelenting animosity of the English Government, which made him a homeless exile living mysteriously in hiding on the Continent. Heart-broken by these misfortunes and by other disappointments, Charles developed an unreasoning and sullen obstinacy, which alienated his adherents, while the habit of heavy drinking, learned in his Highland distresses, ruined his head and heart, and converted the most gallant, gay, and promising of princes into a brutal dipsomaniac.

Prince Charles Stuart.

The education of Charles was casual and interrupted. Now he was in the hands of Protestants, now of Catholic governors and tutors, as the advice of English adherents, or the wishes of his devout mother, chanced to prevail. There were frequent quarrels between James and his wife, turning partly on the question of education, more on the jealousy which the queen conceived of the Countess of Inverness. The Pope sided with the queen in these melancholy broils, and James's private life (which was not faultless) was much more subject to criticism and interference than that of his at least equally lax rival on the English throne. A second son, Henry Benedict, Duke of York, was born in 1725, and, at one time, was regarded as of more martial disposition than Prince Charles. As the elder, Charles was first under fire, and at the siege of Gaeta, in 1734, while a mere boy, he displayed coolness, daring, and contempt of danger. Young Henry, aged nine, "was so much discontented at being refused the partnership of that glory and that danger, that he would not put on his sword till his father threatened to take away his garter too," says Murray of Broughton, in a (p. 179) letter dated 1742. In later life the Duke of York showed no military aptitude. A kind of progress which Charles made through the cities of Italy, aroused his desire to be a prince in more than name. The English Government quarrelled with the Republic of Venice about the royal honors paid to the prince, and his ambition was awakened. His education, we have said, was very imperfect. Murray of Broughton, indeed, credits him with Latin, Greek, history, and philosophy. But his spelling in both French and English was unusually bad, even in an age of free spelling; he wrote époles for epaules, "Gems" for "James," "sord" for "sword." He did not neglect physical exercise; was wont to make long marches without stockings, to harden his feet (as he told a follower during his Highland distresses). He was a good shot, fond of hunting, and, about 1742, was probably the first man who ever played golf in Italy. Murray describes him as "tall above the common stature, his limbs cast in the most exact mould, his complexion of an uncommon delicacy, all his features perfectly regular and well turned, and his eyes the finest I ever saw." Whether they were blue or hazel is undecided; they are hazel in at least one contemporary portrait. As a boy, engravings show him pretty, merry, and buoyant; an air of melancholy may be remarked as early as 1744. With bright nut-brown hair, golden in the sun, and worn long beneath his peruke, he certainly justified the endearing name of "Bonny Prince Charlie." The distinction of his air could be concealed by no disguise, as his followers loved fondly to declare. He certainly had the royal memory for faces. At the opera, in 1773, he noticed an English officer opposite, whom he sent for. The gentleman visited the royal box, accompanied by a Scotch servant. "I have seen you before," said Charles to this man. "You once brought me a message at Falkirk, in 1746."

Such was Prince Charles when, in 1742, Murray of Broughton became acquainted with the royal exile in Rome, and was appointed secretary for Scotland. With Lochiel and others, Murray formed a Jacobite association in his native country. Negotiations were begun with the French court, which hung off and on, as did the English Jacobites. They would rise, if France supplied men, money, and arms. France would do this if sufficiently assured of support in England. The king had no enthusiasm for the enterprise. He was weary of promises and of leaning on that broken reed, Louis XV. Murray intrigued in Scotland, Lord Elcho in England, Kelly at the French court. Lord Semple confused all by false hopes; Charles was much in the hands of Irishmen—Sheridan, Sullivan, O'Brien, and O'Neil; already a "forward," or Prince's party was growing, as opposed to the waiting policy and party of the disheartened and unambitious James. To what extent English Jacobites were pledged is uncertain. There was much discontent with the Hanoverian dynasty in England, but the dread of popery was strong among the middle classes. The butchers were advised that Catholics ate no meat on Sundays, the official clergy preached Protestant sermons, the Jacobite gentry feared for their lives and estates in case of failure, and the sagacity of the Government has never revealed the extent to which the Duke of Beaufort and others were committed to King James. The universities, (p. 180) the sporting squires, and the smugglers drank to "The king over the water," but there enthusiasm began and ended.

More was expected, and till assured of more, France held aloof, while making promises enough. Even the Highland chiefs said that without a French army nothing could be done. In 1744 Charles left Rome, under pretext of a hunting party, concealed his withdrawal with great skill, and reached Paris. He was obliged, however, to be incognito and was not received by the king. An invading force was crowded on board ship. The chance seemed excellent, England's forces being mainly abroad; but the old friends of England, the winds, drove the battered fleet back into harbor, and Charles in vain tried to persuade the Earl Marischal to accompany him to Scotland in a small fishing vessel.

One result followed the reception of Charles by France, niggardly as that reception was—war with England broke out, and the French army of invasion was moved from Dunkirk to Flanders. The prince, not permitted to serve in the French army, returned to Paris, where he had been falsely assured by Semple and Æneas Macdonald that England was ready to rise for him. Murray, who visited him in Paris, tried to dissuade him from a wild venture; in Scotland he found the chiefs of his own opinion, but the letter carrying the news never reached the prince. His Irish friends urged him on; "the expedition was entirely an Irish project." He borrowed money from his bankers, the Waters, he pawned his share of the Sobieski jewels, and, with a privateer man-of-war and a brig, La Doutelle, he left Belleisle on July 13, 1745. Neither the French court nor his father knew that, attended only by seven men, "The Seven Men of Moidart," he had set out to seek for a crown. The day before he embarked he wrote to James; he said that no man would buy a horse, nor trust a prince, that showed no spirit. "I never intend to come back," he added. So, dressed as a student of the Scots College, he started. He lost his convoy, the Elizabeth, on the way, after a drawn battle with the Lion (Captain Brett). Resisting all advice to turn back, as Æneas Macdonald, who accompanied him, narrates, he held on in La Doutelle, and reached Erisca, an islet between Barra and South Uist, on August 2, 1745. An eagle hovered over his ship, and Tullibardine hailed the royal bird as a happy omen. But he found himself unwelcome. Boisdale bade him go home; "I am at home," said the prince. He steered for Moidart, the most beautiful but the wildest shore of Scotland, a region of steep and serrated mountains, of long salt-water straits, winding beneath the bases of the hills, and of great fresh-water lochs. Loch Nahuagh was his port; here he received Clan Ranald, whose desolate keep, Castle Tirrim, stands yet in ruins, since "the Fifteen." Glenaladale (whose descendants yet hold their barren acres), Dalilea, and Kinlochmoidart (now, like Clan Ranald, landless men) met him with discouraging words. But, seeing a flash in the eyes of a young Macdonald, of Kinlochmoidart, Charles said, "You will not forsake me?" "I will follow you to death, were no other sword drawn in your cause."

The chiefs caught fire, Charles landed, with the seven men of Moidart—Æneas Macdonald, the Judas of the cause; the Duke of Athol (Tullibardine), (p. 181) who had been out in the fifteen; Sheridan, the prince's tutor; Sir John Macdonald; Kelley, a parson who had been in Atterbury's affair; Strickland, an Englishman; and Buchanan. Young Lochiel was disinclined to join, but yielded to the fascination of the prince. With his accession the rising was a certainty. But Duncan Forbes of Culloden, the lord president, had influence enough to hold back the Macleods of Skye, to paralyze the shifty Lovat, and to secure the Sutherland house for the Hanoverian cause. Charles left Boisdale for Kinlochmoidart, "the head of Loch Moidart," where an avenue of trees, the prince's walk, is still shown, though the old house was burned after Culloden. Keppoch cut off a small party of Scots Royal; this was first blood for the Jacobite cause. The wounded were hospitably treated by Lochiel; the English captain was released on parole. Charles now crossed the steep hills between Kinlochmoidart and the long narrow lake of Loch Sheil, there he took boat, and rowed past the lands of Glenaladale and Dalilea to Glenfinnan, where Tullibardine raised the standard, inscribed Tandem Triumphans. A statue of the prince, gazing southward, now marks the spot. The clans came in, and as Charles marched southeast, each glen sent down its warriors to join the stream. The clansmen, as a rule, had probably little knowledge of or interest in the cause. They followed their chiefs. The surviving Gaelic poetry speaks much of the chieftains; of Tearlach, righ nan Gael, but little is said. It was the middle of August before the rulers of England received the news of the landing. They at once set a reward of £30,000 on Charles's head, a proceeding "unusual among Christian princes," said Charles, who was compelled by his forces, and their threats of desertion, to follow the evil example. Sir John Cope was sent with an English army to stop the prince. It appeared likely that the armies would meet about Dalwhinnie, now the highest and bleakest part of the Highland Railway. The path then led over Corryarrack; Charles and his men raced for the summit, but Cope was not to be seen. He had marched east and north, to Inverness, and all the south of Scotland lay open to the prince. He passed by Killiecrankie and Blair Athol to Perth; Cluny came in, with the Duke of Perth, and Lord George Murray, Charles's most skilled general, who had been out at Glensheil, in 1719, and had learned the lesson of war in the Sardinian army. How easily he won Edinburgh, how he held court at Holyrood, how he routed Cope (who returned by sea) at Preston Pans or Gladsmuir, is familiar to all. His clemency was conspicuous; he wrote to James that he would give up Holyrood to the wounded, rather than see them homeless. Home, a Whig volunteer, and the author of a Whiggish history, acknowledges the nobility of his conduct, and his "foolish lenity" (he would not permit the execution of several persons who tried to assassinate him) is blamed by the fanatics who, in 1749, issued a wild Cameronian manifesto, "The Active Testimonies of Presbyterians." The contrast with the savage brutalities of Cumberland is very notable. In the battle the chiefs refused to let Charles lead the charge, but he was at the head of the second line, "a pistol shot behind" the first. Preston Pans was fought on September 21, 1745. That Charles dallied before Edinburgh Castle till October 21st (p. 182) was no fault of his. Some of his men had gone home with booty, others were to be waited for, many of the chiefs were in favor of holding Scotland under James as a separate kingdom, and it was only by constant personal appeals that the prince persuaded them to push south. Lord George's strategy deceived the English, who knew not where to look for the Highlanders. They met at Carlisle, took it, passed through Preston and Manchester, gave Cumberland the slip, and their advanced posts, six miles south of Derby, were within a hundred and twenty miles of London. The army of Finchley was unlikely to make a stand, the city was partly Jacobite, the mob were ready for anything, when Lord George and the chiefs insisted on retreat. Historians doubt which policy was the wiser; it is certain that success, if to be attained at all, could only be won by audacity. The chiefs, however, declared for a return and a junction with French forces then expected. Charles wept and prayed to no avail. His army, as disappointed as himself, found their faces set to the north, and the prince, who had ever walked among the first ranks, leaving his carriage to old Lord Pitsligo, now rode dejected and heart-broken. The retreat was rapid and able. At Clifton, Murray turned on the pursuing dragoons, headed a claymore charge, and drove them back. A hapless garrison of Lancashire volunteers was left to the tender mercies of Cumberland in Carlisle, and Charles went by way of Whiggish Dumfries (the house where he lodged is now an inn) to Glasgow. To all intents and purposes the end had come. Charles had lost faith in the advisers who dragged him back from the south, he listened to Murray of Broughton and to his Irishry; he suspected, unjustly but not unnaturally, the good faith of Lord George. He dallied at Stirling, besieging the castle without proper artillery, and Hawley was sent to attack him. On January 17, 1746, the armies met at Falkirk. A storm of wind and rain blew at the backs of the Highlanders, they charged, scattered the enemy, drove them in flight, and cut up the Glasgow volunteers. But, in the dark and the mist they scarcely knew their own advantage. The pipers had thrown their pipes to their boys, had gone in with the claymore, and could not sound the calls. Hawley wrote to Cumberland "My heart is broke ... I got off but three cannon of the ten." Hawley retreated to Edinburgh, the Duke of Cumberland came to take the command; the Highlanders began to desert with their booty, dissensions prevailed, and Charles went on besieging Stirling. Again Lord George Murray urged a retreat, Charles dashed his head in impotent rage against the wall of his room, but he had to follow. With perfect truth he said:

"I cannot see anything but ruin and destruction to us all in case we should think of a retreat;" his forces in flight would lose heart, his enemies would gain confidence. All this was true, but all this was unavailing. Months were spent in unimportant movements. Cumberland, meanwhile, instructed his men in the method of meeting a Highland charge, and deceiving the parry of the Highland shields. It was known that France would lend no substantial aid, and a French subsidy of 30,000 Louis d'or came too late, after the battle of Culloden, and was buried at the head of Loch Arkaig. One last chance Charles had: Lord (p. 183) George proposed, and Charles eagerly seconded, a night surprise at Nairn. But the delays on the march, and the arrival of dawn, made Murray command a retreat, and Charles's faith in him was irretrievably gone for the time, though he later expressed in writing a more worthy opinion. With 10,000 well-fed men against 5,000 who were starving, Cumberland had every chance of victory at Culloden. The Macdonalds, placed on the left wing, would not charge. Keppoch's men were discontented because they were not allowed to have a Catholic chaplain. Crying out, "The children of my clan have forsaken me," Keppoch charged alone, and died the death of renown. Beaten and blinded by a storm of snow in their faces, the Highland right clove the ranks of Monro and Burrell, only to fall, in layers three or four deep, before the fire of Sempill's regiment in the second line. The whole English force advanced; Charles rode to his second line, and offered to charge with them. His officers told him that it was in vain; Highlanders once beaten would not rally. (MS. "Lyon in Mourning," and MS. of Stuart Threipland at Abbotsford.) Charles was hurried off the field by his Irish tutor, and fled to Lord Lovat's, at Gortuleg. A story of his lack of courage, told by Sir Walter Scott on the authority of Sir James Stewart Denham's recollections of Lord Elcho's MS., is erroneous. Lord Elcho's MS. does not contain the statement. What he objects to is Charles's refusal to meet the fragments of his army at Ruthven, in Badenoch, whence they hoped to wage a guerilla warfare. Lord George Murray himself admits that the project was impossible. Charles, however, should have gone to Ruthven, but he distrusted Lord George; and his hope of a speedy voyage to France, where he expected to receive aid in men and money, was frustrated.

It is needless to repeat the tale of Cumberland's almost incredible butcheries, cruelties, and robberies, or to tell of the executions accompanied by the torture of disembowelling the living man. The story of Charles's wanderings and distresses is narrated best in the MS. "Lyon in Mourning," partly printed by Robert Chambers, in "Jacobite Memoirs." No words can overpraise the loyalty of the starving Highlanders; neither English tortures, nor the promise of £30,000, ever moved one man or woman from their constant faith. Only one hungry boy whom Charles had fed, attempted to betray him, but was not believed. As for the prince, he is briefly described by a companion as "the most prudent man not to be a coward, the most daring not to be foolhardy, whom he had ever known." He showed a constant gayety, singing and telling tales to hearten his followers. His resource was endless; he was by far the best cook and the least fastidious eater of his company. He could cook a dish of cow's brains, or swallow raw oatmeal and salt-water. Surrounded by English cordons, through which he slipped at night up the bed of a burn, when the sentinels had reached their furthest point apart, Charles led a little expedition which cut off the cattle intended for the provender of his enemies. (MS. "Lyon in Mourning.") He would not even let a companion carry his great-coat. He knew every extremity of hunger, thirst, and cold; and perhaps his most miserable experience was to lurk for many hours, devoured by midges, under a wet rock. Unshorn, unwashed, in a filthy shirt, his last, he was (p. 184) yet the courteous prince in his dealings with all women whom he met, notably with Flora Macdonald, the stainless and courageous heroine of loyalty and womanly kindness. At last, late in September, 1746, Charles, with Lochiel and many others, escaped in a French barque from Loch Nahuagh, where he had first landed. It has been said of him by his enemies, especially by Dr. King, a renegade, that he was avaricious and ungrateful. Letters and receipts in the muniment room of a Highland chief show him directing large sums, probably out of the Loch Arkaig treasure, to be paid to Lochiel, to "Keppoch's lady," and to many poor clansmen. The receipts, written in hiding, and dried with snuff or sand, attest that the money came to the persons for whom it was intended.

Charles' expedition could only be justified by success. That it failed was due to no want of courage, or audacity, or resolve on his part, but to the very nature of a Highland army, to the jealousies of Irish and Scotch, to the half-heartedness of his English partisans, and to the English horror of his father's religion. By his own creed he held very loosely.

The First Meeting of Prince Charles with Flora Macdonald.

In France Charles was a popular hero, and adored by ladies. His appearance at court was magnificent, and for him the Princesse de Tallemant made every sacrifice. But the Government was deaf to his appeals, a journey to Spain was fruitless; worst of all, his brother Henry, to whom he had been tenderly devoted, accepted a cardinal's hat, on July 3, 1747. This was fatal. The English would never forgive a son of their so-called king who became a Romish priest; and the shadow of the hat fell on Charles. From letters of James to the prince, it is plain that, for some reason, the Duke of York could not look forward to marriage and to continuing the Stuart family. The young man, therefore, having also a vocation withal, accepted ecclesiastical rank, and a cluster of rich benefices. A breach between Charles and James followed, which was never healed, despite the touching letters of the king to his "dearest Carluccio." Charles betook himself to adventurous and secret projects. In the Highlands he had learned to seek the consolation of the poor, and to forget hunger, cold, misery, and sorrow in drink. He drank "our best bowlsman," says an islander, under the table. The habit soon dominated him, and—with his disgraceful arrest and imprisonment, when he refused to acknowledge the peace of Aix la Chapelle and to withdraw from France—soured his character and ruined his life. Released from Vincennes, he hurried to the then Papal city of Avignon, where he introduced boxing-matches. England threatened to bombard Civita Vecchia, and Charles had to depart. Whither he went no man knows. There is a Jacobite tract of 1750, purporting to be written by his equerry, Henry Goring. According to this, Charles, Goring, and a mysterious Comte de la Luze (Marshal Keith?), went to Lyons, Dijon, Strasbourg. Here Charles rescued a beautiful girl from a fire, and honorably declined to take advantage of her manifest passion for her preserver. The party was attacked by assassins, Charles shot two of them, La Luze and Goring accounted for others. They took ship from some northern coast, were tempest-driven to an unfriendly port, visited, apparently, Frederick the Great, spent some time in Lithuania, and there are hints of a love affair, though Charles had already (p. 185) proclaimed that he would never marry to beget royal beggars. He certainly visited Sweden; there was talk of him as a candidate for the Polish crown. For many years (1749-1755) neither James nor the English Government knew where Charles really was. Grimm says that for three years he lay hidden in the house of a lady in Paris, a friend of the Princesse de Tallemant. A sportsman and a lover of the open air is not likely to have loitered so long with Armida in a secret chamber. There is tattle about him in D'Argenson's "Memoirs;" a disguised shabby prince appears now and then, none knows whence, and vanishes. In the papers of Charles Stuart, Comte d'Albanie, one finds a trace of a visit paid by the prince to Ireland. There is evidence, in the State Papers, that he was not far from Paris, in June, 1749. We have it under his own hand, in the Stuart Papers at Windsor, that he visited London on September 5, 1750, returning to Paris on September 13th. Here, as we know from the document left by Archibald Cameron, Lochiel's brother, the last man executed for the rising, or rather for a later plot, Charles renounced the Catholic faith. Charles himself gives 1750 as the date of this conversion. It came five years too late, and he recanted his recantation. He was in England again later (1752), and held his last council in Merriworth Castle in Kent. There is a legend of his ghost haunting a house in Godalming, which probably comes from a tradition of his residence there. Since 1750 or thereabouts, a Miss Clementina Walkinshaw, of Barrowfield, had been his mistress. He is said to have met her near Glasgow, and flirted with her; when or where she fled to him on the continent is obscure. Mr. Ewald supposes her to have been with him in Paris before the affair of Vincennes (1748). The writer, however, has seen a letter from Paris to a sister of Miss Walkinshaw describing the arrest at the Opera House, without the most distant allusion to Clementina, about whom her sister would be concerned. Clementina, judging by a miniature, was a lady with very large black eyes; a portrait in oil gives a less favorable view of her charms. In 1754 Charles was again in England, and in Nottingham. He actually walked in Hyde Park, where someone, recognizing him, tried to kneel to him. He therefore returned at once to France. He is reported to have come back in 1755 or 1756, braving the reward of £30,000 for his head. The Jacobites now requested him to dismiss Clementina Walkinshaw, whose eldest sister was a lady housekeeper in the Hanoverian family. A scrap in Charles's hand at Windsor proves that he regarded some lady as a possible traitor, but he declined to be dictated to, in his household matters, by his adherents. This gave the English Jacobites an excuse for turning their coats, of which they availed themselves. Sir Walter Scott makes the romance of "Redgauntlet" hang on the incident. About this time jottings of Charles prove that he fancied himself a Republican. He hated Louis XV., and declined on one occasion to act as a bug-bear (épouvantail), at the request of France. He had already struck a medal in honor of the British Navy and contempt of the French. He is now lost sight of till 1760, when Miss Walkinshaw, with his daughter, left his protection for that of a convent. This lady, in some letters, now unluckily lost, endeavored to persuade her family that she was married to the prince. A later myth (p. 186) averred that her daughter (the Duchess of Albany) had been secretly married, and a General Stuart, claiming, on this evidence, to be a legitimate descendant of the prince, died about 1852. As Charles, late in life, legitimatized his daughter by Clementina Walkinshaw (a thing needless had he been married to her mother), and made affirmation that he never had any other child, all these legends are manifestly absurd. (The affirmation is among documents in possession of Lord Braye, and is published by the Historical MSS. Commission.)

From this point there is little historical or personal interest in the life of Charles. His father, James III., died in 1766, and was buried as a king. Charles hurried from Bouillon to Rome; his brother, the cardinal, tried to secure his recognition by the Papal Court, but the Pope dared not, and no other government chose to defy the English Ministry. Charles's life was spent, now in seclusion, now in society; he still was fond of shooting, of music, and the drama; he still retained his grace of demeanor when he happened to be sober. Late in 1771 he went in disguise to Paris, where he accepted a pension from France, and a beautiful bride, Louise, Princess of Stolberg, descended from the Earl of Ailesbury into whose arms Charles II. fell under the stroke of his fatal illness. The ill-matched pair were married on Good Friday, April 17, 1772. At first Charles behaved with more sobriety and good humor than usual. A child of the marriage was expected, at least by the Scotch Jacobites, in 1773. There is a legend that a child was actually born, was intrusted to Captain John Carter Allen, was brought up by him as his own, and this infant, grown to manhood, became the father of two gentlemen calling themselves John Sobieski Stolberg Stuart and Charles Edward Stuart, Counts of Albany. They lived till late in the present century, were picturesque figures in society, and writers of some spirit and vigor. For long they were much cherished by some noble Highland families. Charles, the younger, has left descendants. It is needless to discuss here the authenticity of these claims.

Charles's relations with his wife were on the pattern of his relations with his mistress. He was jealous, and brutal beyond description; she was courted by Alfieri, the poet, and, after fleeing from her husband to a convent, she united her fortunes with Alfieri's. On his death she chose a young French painter, Fabre, as his successor, and to him she left her rich collection of relics, spoils of the poet and the king. A beautiful, witty, and engaging woman, she was long a centre of society in Italy. She died in 1824. In 1784 Charles sent for his daughter by Miss Walkinshaw. Both had long been maintained by the cardinal. He made her Duchess of Albany, medals were designed, if never struck, representing her as spes ultima et exigua, "the last frail hope," of the Stuarts. For the last time, in conversation with a Mr. Greathead, the old spirit blazed out. His face brightened, he began the tale of his campaign, but, when attempting to narrate the butcheries of Cumberland, the cruel executions in London, he fell on the floor in convulsions. He used to solace himself by playing on the pipes, and at the sound of the martial music which he had heard on three stricken fields, he was able to live in the past. On January 31, 1788, the anniversary of (p. 187) the death of Charles I., Charles Edward passed away from earth. His daughter did not long survive him; she was killed by a fall from her horse. Henry now took the title of Henry IX. "by grace of God, not by the will of men." He died in 1806; the French had stripped him of all his property, even the famous Sobieski rubies were gone, and he was in receipt of a pension from the English Government. In 1819 George IV. erected a monument by Canova, in St Peters at Rome, to "James III., son of James II., King of Great Britain, to Charles Edward, and Henry, his sons, the last of the Royal Stuart line. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord." Sir Walter Scott visited this alone of Roman sights, in 1832, just before he came home to die.

Had Charles fallen at Culloden, history could find no blot on his name, no stain on the white rose. Surviving, as he did, a broken-hearted exile, with no home, no chance of a career, "eating his own heart, shunning the paths of men," as Homer says of Bellerophon, he fell a victim to the habit which has ever the same wretched results, which turns a hero to a coward, a gentleman to a brute. Yet, in his one year of brilliance, he won immortal love. Scott had seen strong men, the prince's ancient comrades, weep at the mention of his name. No man, in any age, ever inspired such a large, such a gallant, such a tender and melancholy body of song. Even now as one hears the notes of

"Will ye no come back again,
Better lo'ed ye canna be,"

sung by the lads of a Scotch village, one feels that Charles Stuart did not wholly fail; the song outlives the dynasty, and relics of Prince Charlie are fondly cherished, while no man cares a halfpenny for his Hanoverian rivals.

The best life of Prince Charles is that by Mr. Ewald (London, 1875). Mr. Ewald alone has used the State Papers at the Record Office. Lord Stanhope's and Mr. Chambers's "Histories of the Forty-five" are also excellent; as are "Jacobite Memoirs," selected from Bishop Forbes's MS. "Lyon in Mourning." These works, with the contemporary tracts, and some MSS., with Lord Stanhope's "Decline of the Last Stuarts," and the Stuart Papers at Windsor, as given in Browne's "History of the Highland Clans," have been consulted in compiling this study of Prince Charles.[Back to Contents]

Author signature. Andrew Lang.

By Oliver Optic

Captain James Cook.

As an example of the self-made man without fortune or the prestige of a distinguished family to assist him, perhaps there is none better and more instructive than the career of Captain Cook, the great English navigator and discoverer. At his birth, in 1728, his father was a farm-laborer, and his mother belonged to the same grade of society. They lived in the north of England, and were people of excellent character. On account of his honesty, industry, and skill in farming, his father was promoted to the place of head servant on a farm some distance from where he had been working; but it does not appear that he ever made any further advancement. James learned to read and write, and was instructed in some of the simpler rules of arithmetic, which was the extent of his school learning, a very slender outfit for one of the distinction to which he attained in a lifetime of fifty years.

At the age of thirteen James was bound as an apprentice to a dry-goods dealer in a small way in a considerable fishing town. The business did not suit the youth at all, for he had before cherished the idea of going to sea, and his surroundings in a seaport doubtless increased his yearnings in that direction. A disagreement between the apprentice and his employer enabled him to procure his discharge, and he engaged his services to the Messrs. Walker, a couple of Quakers, who owned two vessels employed in the coal trade. He passed the greater portion of his term, and a considerable period after its expiration, as a common sailor on board of the ship Free Love, where he obtained a thorough knowledge of seamanship. From this humble sphere he was promoted to be mate of one of the Walker ships. His life in this capacity was uneventful, though he was all the time learning navigation and storing his mind with the information which was to enable him to distinguish himself in later years.

In 1755, when Cook was twenty-seven years old, war broke out between England and France, and there was a great demand for seamen for the navy of England. At that time the system of impressment was in vogue, and when Britain wanted sailors she took them, wherever and whenever she could find them. Press-gangs were sent out, under one or more officers, by ships of war in port needing more men. They visited the drinking-places and taverns of the (p. 189) town and captured all the seamen they could find, usually more or less intoxicated, and compelled them to go on board of the man-of-war. They were forced to do duty. Sometimes the unlucky tars were taken from the vessels to which they belonged, whether in port or at sea. This impressment was not always confined to British seamen, and this system was one of the causes which led to the war of 1812 between England and the United States. Though the law sanctioning this abuse was never repealed, press-gangs became obsolete half a century ago.

Cook's ship was in the Thames at this time, and he was liable to impressment, for mates were not exempt, though captains were. Like all British seamen, he had a dread of being forced into the naval service, oftener because they were forced than for any other reason. He concealed himself, and used all the precautions he could to avoid such a calamity, as he then regarded it. But he faithfully reconsidered the subject, and concluded to enter the navy by voluntary enlistment, thus escaping impressment, which would be an outrage upon his manhood. He began his service on board the Eagle, a sixty-gun ship, which was soon after commanded by Captain Palliser. Cook was not only an able and skilful seaman, but he diligently and faithfully performed every duty, so that he soon attracted the attention of his officers.

His friends at home had endeavored to do something for him, and his commander received a letter from a member of Parliament commending the seaman to his favor. The captain acknowledged the merit of Cook in his reply, but stated that he had been in the navy for so brief a period that he could not be made a commissioned officer, but in due time, if he proved worthy, a master's warrant might be obtained for him. Four years after he entered the service a strong interest secured this promotion for him. In this capacity he was assigned to the frigate Mercury, which was ordered to North America, where she became one of the fleet that operated in connection with the army of General Wolfe in the siege of Quebec.

The navigation of this portion of the St. Lawrence River was difficult and dangerous then to the English; they were comparative strangers there, and the French had removed the channel buoys. It was necessary to make a survey, and Captain Palliser recommended Master Cook for the service. The locality was exposed to the enemy, and for several nights he conducted the work till he had about completed it, when his operations were discovered by the French. A force of Indians was sent to capture the surveyor, and they surrounded him in the darkness in their canoes, and Cook made his escape only by leaping ashore, to which his barge had been directed, near the English hospital, while the Indians were boarding the boat over the stern. But he had performed the duty intrusted to him, and from his measurements constructed a perfect chart of the channel.

He was a very skilful draughtsman, though he had educated himself in the art, as well as an expert surveyor, and he was employed by the admiral in making surveys of other portions of the river. His charts of the locality were published, with soundings and sailing directions; and they were so correct that no (p. 190) others were needed for at least a hundred years. He piloted the boats of the squadron in the attack upon Montmorency, and superintended the landing of the troops for the assault on the Plains of Abraham, where both Wolfe and Montcalm were mortally wounded.

For four years Cook had been an acting master, but in 1759 he was fully confirmed in his rank and appointed to the flag-ship of Lord Colvill, passing the following winter at Halifax. This was a season of leisure from active professional occupation, and the master employed it in studying geometry, astronomy, and mathematics generally, fitting himself for the highest positions in the navy. For the next ten years he was largely engaged in surveying in Newfoundland, and was present at its capture from the French. Returning to England he was married, but was soon sent back to the field of his recent labors, as marine surveyor of the coasts, by the influence of his constant friend, now Sir Hugh Palliser. He was busily employed in this capacity, rendering valuable service to his country, and especially to the king's ministers in arranging the terms of peace with France. During his absence he observed an eclipse of the sun, which was so well done that his results were published in the "Philosophical Transactions," adding greatly to his reputation as an astronomer.

At this period the spirit of discovery was reanimated in England, and an expedition was fitted out, at the instance of the Royal Society, primarily to observe a transit of Venus across the disk of the sun, which could only be done in some parts of the Pacific Ocean. Sir Hugh Palliser was again his friend, and Cook, raised to the rank of lieutenant, was appointed to the command. He selected a ship of three hundred and seventy tons, called the Endeavor, for the purpose, and accompanied by several eminent scientists, he sailed in 1778. In addition to its astronomical task, the expedition was to make discoveries and explorations in the Pacific.

It would be impossible to follow Lieutenant Cook in the details of his three notable voyages of discovery in anything less than a volume, so full are they of interesting incidents. He proceeded first to Madeira, and then across the Atlantic to Rio Janeiro, where he made a considerable stay to obtain supplies, and improve the condition of his crew. Passing through the Strait of Le Maire, he went around Cape Horn, and in April of 1769 the Endeavor arrived at Otaheite, now called Tahiti, in the Society Islands, where the transit was to be observed. The observations required a considerable stay in Matavia Bay, and as soon as he had made his preparations on shore for the work, the commander established regulations for intercourse between his people and the natives who crowded in multitudes around their strange visitors.

No man in his day and generation ever had more extensive dealings with the uncivilized tribes of the earth than Captain Cook, and none ever treated them with more enlightened humanity, or with more even-handed justice. His treatment of the aborigines of the vast number of islands and other regions he visited, is in remarkable contrast with that of the early explorers of the Western Continent. By the latter the natives were remorselessly slain, enslaved, and even tortured. (p. 191) They were regarded as pagans, with no natural rights, whose territories, families, and persons were the legitimate spoils of the conquerors. On the contrary, Cook, with the means in his possession to overawe, subdue, and subjugate them, always extended to them the utmost consideration in his power. He could be severe when necessity required, but his forbearance was almost unlimited.

The first of a series of rules he established and enforced was: "To endeavor, by every fair means, to cultivate a friendship with the natives, and to treat them with all imaginable humanity." He was largely dependent upon the resources of the islands he visited for the sustenance of his people; but nothing, except in dire necessity, was ever taken from the natives by force. Persons were appointed to trade with them, and no others were allowed to barter or exchange goods with them, and a proper equivalent was always to be given. His own men were put under the strictest discipline in order to control their relations with the natives who constantly surrounded them. Generally the most friendly spirit prevailed on both sides. The inhabitants of all the islands seemed to have a natural inclination to steal, and most of the trouble with them grew out of this tendency. Cook judiciously repressed theft from the beginning, and almost invariably compelled the restoration of the property.

On the other hand, his own men were sometimes tempted to desert; but he hunted them down, secured one or more chiefs as hostages, or by some common-sense method recovered the absentees. At some of the islands Cook was extremely popular with the inhabitants, and was regarded as a superior being, even a demigod, in many of them. When he was compelled to resort to extreme severity, he did not begin with cannon, loaded with grape, but trusted first to the loud report, terrific to the savages, fired over their heads, or had the muskets loaded with small shot which would hurt, but did not kill. No slaughter that could possibly be avoided was permitted. If he erred at all it was on the side of humanity, and if he had been less forbearing he might have added more years to his length of days.

The astronomical work at Otaheite was successfully accomplished, and in July Captain Cook departed, taking with him Tupia, a native of some distinction, who proved to be valuable to him as an interpreter, and for his general knowledge. During this voyage he visited many of the islands of the Pacific, including New Zealand, where he encountered no little hostility, so that it was often difficult and sometimes impossible to establish friendly relations with the natives. But he obtained what he needed, and proceeded on his voyage. He gave names to islands, bays, straits, and harbors, some of which seem strange at the present day, but most of them were suggested by the circumstances of the visit. Of many of the islands he took possession in the name of his sovereign, leaving memorials of his landing.

Sailing to the westward, he examined the east coast of New Holland, as it was then called, Australia, at the present time, charted the coast, as he had done throughout the voyage, and took possession of the country in the name of (p. 192) England. The existence of a Southern Continent had long been a mooted question, and in this and subsequent voyages Captain Cook searched unsuccessfully for it. He passed through Torres Strait, and thus proved that New Guinea was not a part of Australia, as some claimed. Continuing his voyage, he went around the Cape of Good Hope, and reached England in the middle of 1771. The results of his cruise of nearly four years were exceedingly important to his country. His reputation was largely increased, and he was promoted to the rank of commander in the navy.

So well approved was the conduct of Captain Cook on his first voyage around the world, that he was appointed to the command of another similar expedition, consisting of two ships, the Resolution and the Adventure, and after about a year on shore, he sailed again in 1772. He went around the Cape of Good Hope, and cruised in the Southern Pacific, discovering and taking possession of New Caledonia, visiting islands where he had landed before, and exploring and charting the New Hebrides. His instructions particularly required him to circumnavigate the earth in the highest practicable southern latitude in search of the unknown continent still supposed to be there. He used the southern summer for this purpose; but he found no land he was willing to call a continent. Though large bodies of land have since been discovered in that region, the question is still an open one.

Adapting his operations to the varying climate of the north and the south, Captain Cook continued his explorations, encountering many hardships and perils in unknown seas, from hostile savages, and in the icy realms of the extreme south.

He returned to England in 1775 after an absence of three years. The commander had always taken excellent care of the health of his men, for in voyages of the description he had undertaken the mortality was always considerable, and sometimes terrible. One of the most noticeable features of his second expedition was that it returned with a record of only one death in both ships; and the details of the means he used to secure a good sanitary condition among his crews are very interesting.

On his return Cook was immediately raised to the rank of post-captain, and was also appointed a captain in Greenwich Hospital, which secured to him an honorable retirement, and reward for his important labors. He was elected a member of the Royal Society, which also bestowed upon him a gold medal in recognition of his contributions to the science of the period. The passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific by the north coast of America was exciting a great deal of attention at this time, and Captain Cook was sent upon an expedition to continue his explorations in the Pacific, and then to investigate the mystery of a northwest passage. He sailed in the Resolution in 1776, and was followed by Captain Clerke in the Discovery. He proceeded, after his arrival at the Cape of Good Hope, to Tasmania, visited New Zealand again, and passed the following year in explorations in the Pacific.

Death of Captain Cook.

In the first month of 1778 he discovered the Sandwich Islands, to which he (p. 193) gave this name in honor of his patron, the Earl of Sandwich, then the first Lord of the Admiralty. Obtaining the supplies he needed, the commander proceeded to explore the northwest coast of America, which he followed inside of Behring Strait, till the ice and cold compelled him to seek a more southern latitude, which he found in the genial airs of the Sandwich Islands.

During his former visit he had found the natives to be friendly and generally well disposed, though more addicted to thieving than the people of any other islands the explorer had visited. For some unexplained reason they were in a different frame of mind on his second visit. A boat belonging to the expedition had been stolen by the savages, and Captain Cook proceeded, in his usual vigorous manner, to recover it. He sent a boat on shore for this purpose, and then landed himself with another party, intending to capture a certain chief, to be exchanged for the boat. An immense crowd gathered around him, and were hypocritically friendly at first; but it was soon observed that they were arming themselves. The commander asked Kariopoo, the chief he had selected, to go with him, and he made no objection. The captain had ordered the marines to be drawn up on the shore, and leading his prisoner by the hand he approached the boat, the natives opening a passage for him.

The chief's family and friends interposed to save him, declaring that he would be killed if he went on board of the ship. The captain expostulated with them and the tumult increased. The lieutenant of marines wanted to fire, but Cook refused the pet mission. The tumult soon became a battle, and then he ordered his men to fire. As he was trying to save his party he was struck with a club, which partially stunned him, and then he was stabbed in the back of the neck by an iron dagger. He fell into shallow water, and the savages threw themselves upon him. A struggle ensued, and he was hauled on the beach by his foes, where they stabbed him in turn in their barbarous rage. His body lay on the beach, and it might have been recovered, but it was not. Only a portion of his remains were obtained, and they were buried at sea.

Thus perished Captain James Cook, and all England mourned him.[Back to Contents]

Author signature. William S. Adams.

(p. 194) JOHN HOWARD[15]
By Harriet G. Walker

John Howard.

John Howard was born in Hackney, Middlesex County, England, September 2, 1726. The only existing record of this fact is the inscription upon his monument in St. Paul's Cathedral, London. His parentage came through a somewhat obscure family, his father being sometimes mentioned as an upholsterer and sometimes as a merchant of moderate means. Of his mother we know only her name—Chomley—and that she died when her second child, and only son, was an infant. The father was a strict, sturdy, honest, severe Puritan, the marks of whose character ever remained on the character of the son.

The motherless boy seems to have passed unnoticed through the weary days of a sickly childhood, and the usual martyrdom of the "dullest boy in the school," under first one tutor and then another, to his sixteenth year, when he left school and books, as he afterward testifies, "not thoroughly knowing any one thing." How much does any boy or girl thoroughly know of any one thing at sixteen? Surely not enough to warrant his removal from school.

But not so reasoned the father of John Howard, for we find him at this age apprenticing his only son to Alderman Newham, a wholesale grocer on Watling Street, London.

That this was not a change made from pecuniary necessity is evidenced by the liberal provision made for the boy. We are told that his father paid £700 for his fee of apprenticeship, and provided him a separate suite of apartments, a servant, and a pair of saddle-horses! The inference is that young John's progress in school was not such as to warrant his continuance at his books.

His letters and manuscripts still in existence reveal a lamentable deficiency in orthography and the handling of the king's English.

Some of Howard's biographers attempt to attribute his methodical businesslike habits in later life to the experience gained while in the service of this wholesale grocer. But when we consider that his stay was far less than one year, we (p. 195) may fairly be allowed to conclude that more was due to an inherited temperament for slow methodical action.

Before reaching his seventeenth year, the death of his father released him from the grocery business, for which he had evidently no affection, and left him in possession of £7,000 in ready cash, beside land, plate, house, etc.

This fortune was left under the management of guardians, it being his father's wish that he should not control it until his twenty-fourth year. But his course of life goes to show that he had wonderfully easy trustees, as he immediately bought himself off the grocery business, and made a long tour of the Continent for the benefit of his health. Returning to England, he dropped into the little village of Stoke Newington, a mere hamlet, where he had some possessions.

That a young man of wealth and free from all ties of family or business, should have voluntarily chosen such a home, and been contented to remain there, in a state of idle inactivity, for the space of seven or eight years, can be accounted for only by remembering his feeble health.

When twenty-five, his health entirely failed, and he was prostrated by a severe fit of illness, through which he was nursed by his landlady, Mrs. Loidore. Upon his recovery he made her his wife, in testimony of his gratitude, though history records that she had neither beauty, money, nor health, having been an invalid for twenty-two years, and was twenty-seven years his senior.

Two or three years after this seemingly ill-suited marriage, which, strange to say, seems to have been a not unhappy one, Mrs. Howard died. Immediately Mr. Howard, then twenty-eight or nine years of age, again left England for a second extended tour. This being the year of the great earthquake of Lisbon, he naturally turned his steps thitherward.

Setting sail from England for Spain, he was captured on the high seas by a French privateer, and for two months suffered the hardships and indignities of prison life in those times. Upon his release he used all his influence to secure the exchange of the remainder of his vessel's company, and was successful. This prison experience he never forgot.

Three years later (1758) he married Henrietta Leeds, a lady of fine character, and one to whom he was sincerely attached. Indeed, so fearful was he that their married life might not be entirely without jars, that he made a bargain with her, in advance of their marriage, that on all disputed points the adjustment should be according to his judgment. One is at a loss which member of a couple the most to admire, the man who could make such a proposition, or the woman who would bind herself with such bonds! But, like his first marriage, his strange contract with his second wife seems to have led only to happy results.

They settled in Cardington, upon the Howard estate, and for the next seven years led the uneventful life of landed gentry of the times. The husband and wife were united in their efforts to improve the morals and general condition of their tenantry. Rightly believing that the beginning of all reform was to improve the physical condition, Howard spared no expense in rearing new cottages (p. 196) upon new and improved plans, held his tenants removable at will, and through their improved conditions ruled over them with an almost despotic sway, tempered and made bearable in that all his restrictions and requirements were on the line of their temporal and spiritual advancement.

How strange is the making of history! Had the gentle, loving, well-governed, dependent Mrs. Howard lived on, this would no doubt have been the continuation, the aim, and the end of John Howard's life—to constantly advance and improve the interests and condition of his tenantry, and to wisely govern and administer his estate. But it was not so to be. The happy home must be broken up, and the man whom God needed must, through the sting of his own sorrow, be sent out again upon his wanderings to do the work reserved for him in the broad field not of his own choosing. The birth of the only child, a son, preceded the death of its mother by but a few days, and Howard was again alone. To the end of his life he remained a sincere and constant mourner for the wife to whom he owed the happiest, if not the most useful, seven years of his life. It is said by some of his biographers that he always kept the anniversary of her death as a solemn day of fasting and prayer.

Come we now to the point in his career where, all unknown to himself, Howard took up the work which was to startle the whole civilized world, and place his name in the roll of those whose memories die not.

But first let us remember the son whose life began where his mother's ended, and ended where it was well his mother had not lived to see it.

It would seem that the loss of his beloved wife and the sad recollection of his own motherless unloved boyhood, would have made of John Howard a tender and pitiful, as well as devoted father. Such was not the case, if we may judge from the vehemence with which some of his biographers deny the charges of undue severity to the infant, and forgetfulness and neglect of the growing-up boy, and the silence of others on the same subject.

The real truth probably was, so far as we can judge, that the man had nothing in his stiff nature and puritanical education, certainly nothing in his own early life, to make him respond to the uninteresting helplessness of infancy.

So we find him doing his duty by the crying infant of a few months, in a manner which would be amusing if it were not pathetic. He takes him from the nurse, lays him across his knees, and sits unmoved and unmovable until the tempest exhausts itself, and the child is silent from exhaustion, when he hands him solemnly back to the nurse, and feels that, by so much at least, has he cast out of the young child the spice of Old Adam, which is the birthright of us all! A few such experiences, we are told, and the child would at once cease its struggles and be silent. One would surely think it would!

But the silent, lonely man, bereft of the loving companionship of the gentle wife, who would so differently have soothed and silenced the crying infant, could not long bear the solitude of his broken home, and so began the years of wanderings, which lasted as long as his life, and through which he seems so largely to have lost sight of his young son at his most impressionable age, save to provide (p. 197) for his material wants, and to some extent, also, his education. When with him in later years he appears to have enjoyed his society, or at least the evidences which he gave of implicit, unreasoning obedience, illustrated by his remark, "I believe if I told the boy to put his hand in the fire he would obey me."

At four the boy was put into a boarding-school, and the home was broken up. The later glimpses which we get of his career are vague, unsatisfactory, or decidedly bad, until the end came, and "Jack" was incarcerated in a mad-house when but twenty-two, where his unfortunate life went out after twelve years' confinement in a darkness that darkened also the last years of his good, if injudicious, father, with a sorrow beside which all common bereavements should seem like blessings.

In 1769, then, we see the Cardington home broken up, the boy placed in a boarding-school, and John Howard setting forth upon what to him was but an aimless journey, in search of consolation, amid new scenes, for the shattered fortunes of his home. He travelled over large portions of Italy, and returned again to England, where in 1773 he was elected High Sheriff of Bedford. No sooner had he entered upon the duties of his office, than he was struck with the gross injustice of the practices, especially as affecting those prisoners held for debt. Many heads of families were held for months and years, not for the original debt for which they were incarcerated, which in many cases had been forgiven or paid, but for an accumulation of fees due to jailer and divers other officers of the prison, who drew their salaries from this source. Much astounded by such a state of things in a Christian land, but supposing it to be a peculiarity of his own county, he made a journey into some of the surrounding districts, to learn from them, if possible, some better method. It but augmented his indignation and distress to find their condition and methods worse even than at home, since in some he actually found the fees wrung from these unhappy prisoners to amount to so much that the office of jailer was sold to the highest bidder, the sum paid for the position often amounting to as much as £40 per annum.

On this tour Howard, now thoroughly awake on the subject, could not but observe the miseries of the prisoners from other sources, besides extortions. This might have been borne, but for the terrible crowding of herds of men and women, without regard to age, sex, character, or crime, into foul underground dungeons, damp, dark, unventilated, often unwarmed, with insufficient and unfit food and clothing, without beds, and many in chains. Such were the sights which met his gaze at every turn, and moved his soul with shame for his country, and a slow but deadly anger that, once kindled, died only with his life. Thoroughly and systematically he continued his investigation of the jails and prisons of England, until he had been over them all, which consumed nearly a year's time (travel was a different matter a hundred years ago, from now), and then made his report public, for which labor he was called before the bar of the House of Commons and received the thanks of that august body.

More satisfactory still, he had the pleasure of seeing two bills passed, one making the office of jailer a salaried position, thereby abolishing the whole (p. 198) iniquitous system of special fees from prisoners, the other having reference to improvements in ventilation and other sanitary matters.

The text of these bills he had printed in large bold type at his own expense, and sent them to every jail and prison in England. A few months later, being desirous of seeing whether or not the requirements of the new laws were being put into execution, he made personal inspection, riding by chaise or on horseback from city to city and from town to town.

Toward the last of this year, 1774, Howard made his first and last venture into the arena of political life. Being a man of strong, stern political convictions, and feeling it his duty to stand by his principles, he listened to the advice of friends, and made a stand for the House of Commons. Fortunately for the world he was defeated by four votes.

On such small hinges swing the doors of life. Had he been elected he would doubtless have sunk out of sight and been forgotten, and his great work would have been given to some other agent.

Though greatly disappointed at his failure, Howard's mind at once returned to the question of prison reform, and his next journey led him over Ireland and Scotland. The former he found worse and the latter better than England.

Being desirous of publishing a book upon his investigations and their results, he at the close of this year left England to examine the prisons of France, Flanders, and Holland. It surprises us much to learn that he found the prisons of Holland almost models, while France is declared far in advance of England, although these were the days of the Bastille! He also journeyed into Switzerland and again made a survey of the jails of England and Wales. Feeling at last that he had sufficient material he returned to England and began upon his book. For eight months he labored incessantly upon this work, correcting proofs, collating and arranging statistics, etc., although for the literary part he was obliged to call in the assistance of some of his learned friends, who, better than he understood the use of the king's English.

This book made a most profound sensation throughout the civilized world. That it might reach a more extended circulation, it was sold at less than the cost of production, and large numbers were given away among the officials. All this expense was borne by Howard out of his own private purse, as were at all times his immense and constant outlay in travel. Not only his whole private income, but the fortune of £15,000 received from his only sister at her death, was expended in the same manner.

Subsequently Howard published a second volume, in 1780, as an appendix to the first, and in 1784 a third and last, which was a compilation of the first two, with much added material acquired during his continuous travels over every part of Europe.

Howard relieving a Prisoner.

During the earlier and idler parts of his life, Howard had been pleased to dabble somewhat in medicine, after the manner of the gentlemen of his time. This stood him in good part upon his travels, and made him familiar with the various forms of disease that especially afflicted prisons and the people at large. For (p. 199) jail fever and typhus he rightly judged that the sanitary and food conditions were sufficient cause and attacked them from this basis. But having in a measure finished his jail and prison work, to his mind, he became possessed with the idea that he might search out and find a remedy for the dreadful plague that was filling all Europe with dismay. The methodical habit of the man's mind is evidenced by noting that he followed exactly the same method in this as in his former undertaking, namely, personal investigation and experience. He left home in July, 1789, and it is surprising that for six months he literally lived in the poisonous atmosphere of the pest-houses, pest-ships, and lazarettos of Europe, and escaped contagion. In January, 1790, however, in a little Russian village near the Crimea, he was called upon to prescribe for a young lady, ill with some low malignant fever, from which visit he contracted the same disease. Being then sixty-four years of age, naturally frail, worn down by sixteen years of hard, exhaustive toil, depleted by a diet that found no place for meats or stimulants, he had nothing upon which to rally, and rapidly sank into the long slumber which at last gave him what he had so many years denied himself—rest.

His remains were buried there in Russia in the village of Dophinovka. After his death a monument was erected to his memory, being the first placed in St. Paul's Cathedral, London. This was appropriately inscribed to his memory, although it was his latest expressed wish that he should be left to sleep in an unmarked, unknown grave.

A just estimate of the character of John Howard can only be arrived at by a careful consideration of the times in which he lived and the peculiar circumstances of his life. The natural inherited sternness of his character never felt the modifying influences of a mother's love or the companionship of brothers or sisters. His ill health added to his restless desire for travel and change, but unfitted him for close or continued application to any special line of thought or interest, while his early independence in the management of his fortune placed in his way strong temptations to extravagance and idleness.

It is therefore more than an ordinary indication of an inborn principle of humanity when we find him, upon his first settlement upon his father's estates, devoting time, thought, and money to the amelioration of the condition of his neglected and suffering tenantry. Model landlords were not in fashion in those times, and a man who so administered his affairs must have done so in the face of much criticism, ridicule, and contempt among his peers.

But none of these things seem to have moved him from the even tenor of his way. Yet there was no sentimentalism in his dealings with his tenants, as we find him holding them to a strict accounting for the use made of their improved conditions.

So of his prison work. It seemed to be all and altogether for the masses, and not for individuals. No record is left of personal almsgiving, save when resorted to as a ruse to obtain entrance to the French prisons. That his interest was not in individuals is further shown by the calm and deliberate manner in which he prosecuted his investigations, taking years for the accumulation of materials (p. 200) and months to their careful watching through the press. It was the principle of justice ingrained in the man's deepest nature that forced him to know all that could be known or said upon both sides before speaking. It was this thoroughness, this absolute fairness, that made of his work and of his inartistically constructed books the tremendous and lasting success which they were.

Deeply religious, he naturally reflected the spirit of the religious teachings of the times, which savored more of the terrors of the law than of mercy and forgiveness to evil-doers; that found more worship in denying self the indulgences of soft living than in the partaking of the harmless pleasures and sweets of life, giving a good God thanks for His good gifts. Through all the life and writings of Howard one constantly hears the minor chord of infinite sadness wrought into his life by his motherless infancy, his unloved boyhood, his years of invalidism, his ceaseless mourning for his wife Henrietta, the bitterness of death in the cup held to his lips by his unfortunate son, and over and above all, the constant atmosphere of crime, cruelty, sin, and suffering in which he spent the last sixteen years of his life. Life to him came to mean sin, suffering, and sorrow in the world about him, and for himself work, work, incessant work, in the effort to do what one man could to lift or lighten the burden under which the whole earth groaned. Death came to him where he would have most wished it might, and took him directly from labor to reward. And throughout the coming ages the world will be the better because in the last half of the eighteenth century there lived, labored, and died in the midst of his labors one John Howard, the Philanthropist.[Back to Contents]

Author signature. Harriet G. Walker.

By Gertrude Van Rensselaer Wickham

Was Ethan Allen a hero or a humbug? a patriot or a pretender? Ask Vermont and she cries "Nulli secundus!" Ask New York and the reply is "Ad referendum."

The differentiation antedates the American Revolution and the part Ethan Allen played in that historic drama. It is an inheritance of loving loyalty and gratitude that quivers in the answer of one State, the traditional antagonisms of prejudice that speak in the other.

But for Ethan Allen, Vermont would have had no separate existence. But for Ethan Allen, New York's northeastern boundary would have been the Connecticut River. Therefore, on one shore of Lake Champlain the disputed shield (p. 201) is unalloyed gold, reflecting all that is strong and brave, all that is courageous and magnanimous, all that is patriotic and generous, while from the other shore its appearance is as brass engraven by vanity and vulgarity, by self-sufficiency and infidelity.

Ethan Allen.

Controversy over property rights engenders such diversities of opinion, and when, as in this case, one side gains all and the other loses much, the exultation of triumph or the bitterness of defeat will color the ink of all literature on the subject for a century to come.

Not until after the year 1761 did the dense wilderness of either Northern New York, or what was then considered Western New Hampshire, prove attractive to the Yankee or Dutch settler in search of a pioneer home. The cruel conflicts that for over seventy years had made these border lands the scene of bloody race enmities were ended by the conquest of Canada. These primeval forests, that had echoed only to the tread of skulking savages, or the revengeful tramp of opposing forces, became peaceful spots for the erection of hearth-stones around which women and children might gather in safety. Many of the Connecticut soldiery who had taken active part in the late French and Indian wars, now recalled the beautiful country through which they had marched to meet or pursue the foe, the grandeur of its evergreen mountain peaks, the limpid sheets of water nestling between, its sparkling fish-laden streams, and the apparent fertility of its soil.

These recollections were stimulated by the conditions which confronted them on their return to peaceful and agricultural pursuits. The subdivision of farms among the many robust sons of the average New England household had reached its limit, and the young man who would found a home and family of his own, thenceforth must seek for cheaper and broader acres than were to be found already under cultivation. New Hampshire's liberal offer of grants in her western border upon easy terms, decided the future of many a New England lad, and for several years the tide of emigration rolled steadily northward.

From Burlington, on Lake Champlain, for one hundred miles south to Bennington, the sound of the axe was heard by day and by night. The enthusiasms of a new country lent strength to the arm and courage to the heart. In every direction homes sprang up, surrounded by young orchards, and beyond and around these, cultivated fields.

Suddenly the settlers were set to wondering and worrying at the sight of strange surveyors taking new measurements through the farms wrenched from the wilds with so much of hard labor and wearisome toil. And then the blow fell. New York was claiming all this tract of land as part of her province, and declaring New Hampshire grants to be null and void. A second payment for their farms was demanded, based upon their present value as improved property.

(p. 202) In some cases new owners put in an appearance and attempted to take possession, having purchased, in good faith, of land speculators in New York City, to whom Governor Colden, of New York, had issued immense grants covering a large part of the disputed territory. These speculators were mostly lawyers, who were favorites or friends of the governor. Against these shrewd men of wealth and education, with their powerful backing, the puny defence of the original settlers seemed wellnigh hopeless. But it was to be a contest between might and right, and that invisible influence which seems ever to weaken the one and strengthen the other was surely, though silently at work.

Upon this scene of trouble and uncertainty appears Ethan Allen, a farmer, born about thirty years before in Coventry, Conn., large of frame, of great personal strength, and with mental characteristics in harmony with his powerful physique: a tender-hearted giant whose standard of honor and honesty soon measured the injustice of New York's position in the land controversy, and at once sided with the besieged farmers, with whom he had many generalities of sympathy.

With fiery energy of will and purpose, he immediately assumed the leadership of the defence, guiding its combined strength into the legal side of the question, thus meeting the power of alleged law with like weapons. Selecting the best legal talent of Connecticut as assistants, and armed with New Hampshire's charter and seal, he appeared in the Albany courts to contest New York's claim that the Connecticut River was the boundary between that province and New Hampshire.

But the trial was a farce, stripped of all dignity and justice by the fact that the judge upon the bench, the prosecuting attorneys, and other officials were personally interested, each holding New York grants for many thousand acres in the disputed territory. All evidence for the defence, even the New Hampshire charter, was ruled out of court, and Ethan Allen's peaceful efforts for defence were defeated.

He returned home, burning with indignation and resolving to protect his property and that of his neighbors, if need were, by the force of his own strong right arm. For six years, under his leadership, all attempts by New York settlers to take possession were frustrated by the alertness of the "Green Mountain Boys," as the defence now termed themselves, who drove them off quietly or with violence, according to the exigencies of the occasion.

As a measure of punishment for these acts, Ethan Allen was outlawed by the Governor of New York, and a price offered for his capture. Soon after he rode alone into Albany one day, and alighting at a tavern in the heart of the city, called for refreshment. His former visit had marked his strong personality in the remembrance of many, and he was at once recognized by prominent officials, who stared at him with curiosity, but made no effort to arrest him. Returning their gaze, he lifted his glass to his lips, pledging in a loud, firm voice "The Green Mountain Boys," and then rode away unmolested.

This act was defined by his friends as the rashness of bravery; by his enemies as the madness of impudence.

(p. 203) But the cloud overhanging the shores of Lake Champlain was but a shadow compared with the darkness of the storm brooding over the whole region south and east of it, and the battle of Lexington ended this local strife.

Thenceforth, Ethan Allen was to bid defiance, not to a State, but to a nation. To him and his Green Mountain Boys came urgent appeals from leading patriots of the American Revolution for help and support in the coming struggle, and the answer was more than kindly assent and promise: it was prompt and vigorous action—the first aggressive blow at the power of Great Britain, for the musket-shots that harassed the retreating red-coats from Concord were those of spirited defence rather than of deliberate attack.

As the fortress of Ticonderoga had been the key of the position in the late French and Indian wars, the gain or loss of which meant either overwhelming victory or disaster, so now it was deemed of equal importance in the coming conflict, which inevitably would bring the British foe upon them from the North, along the same familiar war-path. The capture of this fort was a serious undertaking, for it was well garrisoned by a company of British soldiers, and thoroughly equipped for vigorous defense. Only the keenest strategy and the most complete surprise would avail in the accomplishment of the task.

But the experience and ability of Ethan Allen—who had been unanimously chosen as leader—was adequate to the occasion, and his plans were made with the greatest secrecy and skill. One of his men was detailed to gain admission to the fort on some pretext, and then by skilfully acting the part of a greenhorn full of foolish questions, to learn many important facts and necessary details. In addition, a lad was found thoroughly familiar with the interior of the garrison, who would serve as guide, and on the night of May 9, 1775, 270 American patriots appeared on the shore opposite Fort Ticonderoga, which was on the west or New York side of Lake Champlain.

A day or two previous a small force of men had been despatched secretly to points above and below this spot in quest of boats, which failing them, in this emergency only 83 of the 270 men could be accommodated in the limited number at hand. Spring lingers long in this latitude, and the night, clear and cold, was giving way to dawn when the brave leader and his little vanguard of heroes resolved to attack without further re-enforcement. According to military precedent, he first harangued his followers.

"Friends and fellow-soldiers, you have for a number of years been a scourge and a terror to arbitrary power. Your valor has been famed abroad and acknowledged, as appears by the advice and orders to me from the General Assembly of Connecticut to surprise and take the garrison now before us. I now propose to advance before you and in person conduct you through the wicket gate; for we must this morning either quit our pretensions to valor, or possess ourselves of this fortress in a few minutes. And inasmuch as it is a desperate attempt, which none but the bravest men dare undertake, I do not urge it on any contrary to his will. You that will undertake voluntarily, poise your firelock!"

Needless to state, the firelocks were all "poised"—whatever that may be—and, (p. 204) led by Allen, a rush was made, the sentry overpowered, and soon the gallant "83" were standing back to back on the parade-ground within the fort, their muskets levelled at the two barracks which, filled with sleeping soldiers, faced each other.

The commandant was then aroused by loud rapping on his door and the voice of Allen bidding him come out and surrender the fort. The astonished officer, half dressed, made his appearance, demanding by what authority he was asked to do such a thing.

A part of Ethan Allen's famous reply: "In the name of Jehovah and the Continental Congress!" was more prophetic than authentic, as the latter earthly tribunal at that time had no existence.

The hundred cannon and quantities of ammunition found in the fort were sent east, where they proved of great service in the siege of Boston.

Crown Point, the garrison of St. Johns, many boats, vessels, and a British armed schooner soon after fell into the hands of the Green Mountain Boys, thus giving them the full sweep of Lake Champlain, and holding in check any attempts at invasion from that direction.

Ethan Allen's military instincts and foresight transcended any experience and all knowledge he possessed on the subject. He at once saw the importance of pushing the advantage now gained, by an immediate advance upon Canada before reinforcements could arrive to strengthen the strongholds of Montreal and Quebec; a measure which, if adopted, would have changed the whole history of the northern campaign that eventually proved so disastrous.

With the splendid magnanimity of a noble soul and the abnegation of a true patriot, he addressed the Continental Congress of New York on the subject, first apologizing for his seeming neglect to consult with that body before his attack on Ticonderoga, which was within its province, and explaining the necessity for secrecy, which prompted him. Note the spirit of prophecy breathed in the following words:

"I wish to God America would at this critical juncture exert herself agreeable to the indignity offered her by a tyrannical ministry. She might rise on eagle's wings and mount up to glory, freedom, and immortal honor if she did but know and exert her strength. Fame is now hovering over her head. A vast continent must now sink to slavery, poverty, and bondage, or rise to unconquerable freedom, immense wealth, inexpressible felicity, and immortal fame."

He then offers the services of his own men for the purpose, and to raise a regiment of rangers in Northern New York, a proposal which he trusts will not be deemed impertinent.

Ethan Allen at Ticonderoga.

But for some unexplained reason no action was taken on his suggestions until months later, when the conditions had materially changed, making such a campaign exceedingly more difficult. Generals Schuyler and Montgomery were then in command, and to Ethan Allen was given a task requiring shrewdness, tact, and great personal influence—to enlist the co-operation or the neutrality of the Canadians in the struggle between the American colonists and the mother country. For weeks he travelled in Canada, "preaching politics" so successfully (p. 205) that he was able to report a company of 300 Canadian recruits for the American service, and that 2,000 more could be enlisted when needed.

In returning from this expedition he was persuaded by a brother officer into a step that but for an accident would have been more brilliant than Allen's former exploit and added fresh laurels to his name as a military hero. It was no less than the surprise and capture of Fort Montreal, then garrisoned by 500 men, 40 only of whom were regulars, the remainder volunteers and Indians.

It seemed a feasible undertaking. The plan was similar to the seizure of Ticonderoga—the quiet landing of boats under the walls of the fort before daybreak and the quick rush of attack. The forces were divided, Allen taking 110 men and landing below the city. The remainder and larger portion were to cross the river above and then signal the others. Colonel Allen promptly performed his part of the programme, but no signal greeted his ears, and daylight found him in full view of the fort and unable to retreat. He and his men for two hours bravely resisted the enemy, who sallied out to attack them, but without avail, and they were taken prisoners.

The story of Ethan Allen's long captivity, lasting two years and eight months, as told by himself, is one of the most interesting narratives connected with the Revolutionary war. Loaded with chains, consigned to the filthy hold of a vessel, with no seat nor bed save a seaman's chest, half starved, tortured by daily indignities, his high courage and brave spirit never faltered. Once, when insulted, he sprang at his tormentor—the captain of the ship—and with his shackled hands knocked him down; and again he bit off the nail that fastened his handcuffs, and by these feats of strength and anger awed his guards into some show of respect.

The method by which he saved himself from a felon's death in England was worthy the dignity of a veteran diplomat. A letter to the Continental Congress, which he knew would never reach its destination, but fall into the hands of its bitterest enemy, Lord North, contained an account of his ill treatment and possible fate, and closed with the request that if retaliation upon the Tory and other prisoners in its power should be found necessary, it might be exercised not according to his own value or rank, but in proportion to the importance of the cause for which he suffered.

The English ministry concluded evidently to treat him henceforth as a prisoner of war entitled to an honorable exchange, rather than a rebel deserving an ignoble death, and he was returned to America, where he was confined, with varieties of usage, in Halifax, and afterward in New York.

While in the latter place, and suffering from hunger and long ill health, he was approached by a British officer, authorized to offer him the command of a royalist regiment, and the gift of thousands of acres of land at the close of the war, in any part of the American colonies he might select, providing he would forsake the patriot cause and take oath of allegiance to the crown. Colonel Allen rejected this overture with great scorn, assuring the officer that he had as little land to promise him as had the devil when making a similar one.

(p. 206) "Thereupon," said Allen, "he closed the conversation and turned from me with an air of dislike, saying I was a bigot."

An exchange of prisoners at length freed him from a situation so full of personal hardship and mental anguish, and he hastened home to his family, from whom he so long and cruelly had been separated.

His only son had died in the meantime, and his wife and daughters, not expecting his arrival, were not at Bennington in time to receive him. But his neighbors and friends flocked in from miles around to give him greeting, and although it was the Sabbath, a day strictly observed in those parts, the enthusiasm of the joyful occasion could neither be postponed nor suppressed, and its expression found vent in the firing of cannon and happy huzzas.

The "Hampshire Grants" in his absence had become the full-fledged "State of Vermont," knocking for admission at the doors of the Continental Congress.

Ethan Allen at once was appointed General of the Vermont State Militia, and although he did not again join the American army, his natural gifts of diplomacy were of inestimable service to the country, and the number of men he could summon at a moment's notice to his command, served to hold in check any attempted raids of the enemy through Canada. He lived eight years after the declaration of peace, dying at the age of fifty-one, in Burlington, where he was engaged in farming.

A little incident never before in print was recently related to the writer of this sketch by a lady to whom it was told in childhood by an old man who, as a lad, lived on Ethan Allen's farm. It was in illustration of the simplicity of the celebrated hero's private life.

The farm hands all sat at the table with the family, much to the amusement or astonishment of his frequent guests, who sometimes were wealthy and distinguished and quite unaccustomed to such practical exhibitions of democracy. One of these had the poor taste to expostulate with the general, and remarked, "I should think your men would prefer to eat by themselves."

General Allen feigned to misunderstand the meaning of this, and after a moment's reflection replied, "Thank you very much for calling my attention to it. I see that what has been hearty enough for my family may not have been for my hard-working help. I will take more notice hereafter to see that they are better served."

"It was little use," says my informant, "to try to dictate to Ethan Allen."[Back to Contents]

Author signature. Gertrude Van Rensselaer Wickham.

Footnote 1: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 2: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 3: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 4: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 5: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 6: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 7: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 8: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 9: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 10: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 11: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 12: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 13: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 14: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 15: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

Footnote 16: Copyright, 1894, by Selmar Hess.[Back to Main Text]

End of Project Gutenberg's Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 5 of 8, by Various


***** This file should be named 28455-h.htm or *****
This and all associated files of various formats will be found in:

Produced by Sigal Alon, Christine P. Travers and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at (This
file was produced from images generously made available
by The Internet Archive/Canadian Libraries)

Updated editions will replace the previous one--the old editions
will be renamed.

Creating the works from public domain print editions means that no
one owns a United States copyright in these works, so the Foundation
(and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without
permission and without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules,
set forth in the General Terms of Use part of this license, apply to
copying and distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works to
protect the PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm concept and trademark.  Project
Gutenberg is a registered trademark, and may not be used if you
charge for the eBooks, unless you receive specific permission.  If you
do not charge anything for copies of this eBook, complying with the
rules is very easy.  You may use this eBook for nearly any purpose
such as creation of derivative works, reports, performances and
research.  They may be modified and printed and given away--you may do
practically ANYTHING with public domain eBooks.  Redistribution is
subject to the trademark license, especially commercial



To protect the Project Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting the free
distribution of electronic works, by using or distributing this work
(or any other work associated in any way with the phrase "Project
Gutenberg"), you agree to comply with all the terms of the Full Project
Gutenberg-tm License (available with this file or online at

Section 1.  General Terms of Use and Redistributing Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic works

1.A.  By reading or using any part of this Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work, you indicate that you have read, understand, agree to
and accept all the terms of this license and intellectual property
(trademark/copyright) agreement.  If you do not agree to abide by all
the terms of this agreement, you must cease using and return or destroy
all copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in your possession.
If you paid a fee for obtaining a copy of or access to a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work and you do not agree to be bound by the
terms of this agreement, you may obtain a refund from the person or
entity to whom you paid the fee as set forth in paragraph 1.E.8.

1.B.  "Project Gutenberg" is a registered trademark.  It may only be
used on or associated in any way with an electronic work by people who
agree to be bound by the terms of this agreement.  There are a few
things that you can do with most Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works
even without complying with the full terms of this agreement.  See
paragraph 1.C below.  There are a lot of things you can do with Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works if you follow the terms of this agreement
and help preserve free future access to Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works.  See paragraph 1.E below.

1.C.  The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation ("the Foundation"
or PGLAF), owns a compilation copyright in the collection of Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic works.  Nearly all the individual works in the
collection are in the public domain in the United States.  If an
individual work is in the public domain in the United States and you are
located in the United States, we do not claim a right to prevent you from
copying, distributing, performing, displaying or creating derivative
works based on the work as long as all references to Project Gutenberg
are removed.  Of course, we hope that you will support the Project
Gutenberg-tm mission of promoting free access to electronic works by
freely sharing Project Gutenberg-tm works in compliance with the terms of
this agreement for keeping the Project Gutenberg-tm name associated with
the work.  You can easily comply with the terms of this agreement by
keeping this work in the same format with its attached full Project
Gutenberg-tm License when you share it without charge with others.

1.D.  The copyright laws of the place where you are located also govern
what you can do with this work.  Copyright laws in most countries are in
a constant state of change.  If you are outside the United States, check
the laws of your country in addition to the terms of this agreement
before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or
creating derivative works based on this work or any other Project
Gutenberg-tm work.  The Foundation makes no representations concerning
the copyright status of any work in any country outside the United

1.E.  Unless you have removed all references to Project Gutenberg:

1.E.1.  The following sentence, with active links to, or other immediate
access to, the full Project Gutenberg-tm License must appear prominently
whenever any copy of a Project Gutenberg-tm work (any work on which the
phrase "Project Gutenberg" appears, or with which the phrase "Project
Gutenberg" is associated) is accessed, displayed, performed, viewed,
copied or distributed:

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

1.E.2.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is derived
from the public domain (does not contain a notice indicating that it is
posted with permission of the copyright holder), the work can be copied
and distributed to anyone in the United States without paying any fees
or charges.  If you are redistributing or providing access to a work
with the phrase "Project Gutenberg" associated with or appearing on the
work, you must comply either with the requirements of paragraphs 1.E.1
through 1.E.7 or obtain permission for the use of the work and the
Project Gutenberg-tm trademark as set forth in paragraphs 1.E.8 or

1.E.3.  If an individual Project Gutenberg-tm electronic work is posted
with the permission of the copyright holder, your use and distribution
must comply with both paragraphs 1.E.1 through 1.E.7 and any additional
terms imposed by the copyright holder.  Additional terms will be linked
to the Project Gutenberg-tm License for all works posted with the
permission of the copyright holder found at the beginning of this work.

1.E.4.  Do not unlink or detach or remove the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License terms from this work, or any files containing a part of this
work or any other work associated with Project Gutenberg-tm.

1.E.5.  Do not copy, display, perform, distribute or redistribute this
electronic work, or any part of this electronic work, without
prominently displaying the sentence set forth in paragraph 1.E.1 with
active links or immediate access to the full terms of the Project
Gutenberg-tm License.

1.E.6.  You may convert to and distribute this work in any binary,
compressed, marked up, nonproprietary or proprietary form, including any
word processing or hypertext form.  However, if you provide access to or
distribute copies of a Project Gutenberg-tm work in a format other than
"Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other format used in the official version
posted on the official Project Gutenberg-tm web site (,
you must, at no additional cost, fee or expense to the user, provide a
copy, a means of exporting a copy, or a means of obtaining a copy upon
request, of the work in its original "Plain Vanilla ASCII" or other
form.  Any alternate format must include the full Project Gutenberg-tm
License as specified in paragraph 1.E.1.

1.E.7.  Do not charge a fee for access to, viewing, displaying,
performing, copying or distributing any Project Gutenberg-tm works
unless you comply with paragraph 1.E.8 or 1.E.9.

1.E.8.  You may charge a reasonable fee for copies of or providing
access to or distributing Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works provided

- You pay a royalty fee of 20% of the gross profits you derive from
     the use of Project Gutenberg-tm works calculated using the method
     you already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  The fee is
     owed to the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark, but he
     has agreed to donate royalties under this paragraph to the
     Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.  Royalty payments
     must be paid within 60 days following each date on which you
     prepare (or are legally required to prepare) your periodic tax
     returns.  Royalty payments should be clearly marked as such and
     sent to the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation at the
     address specified in Section 4, "Information about donations to
     the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation."

- You provide a full refund of any money paid by a user who notifies
     you in writing (or by e-mail) within 30 days of receipt that s/he
     does not agree to the terms of the full Project Gutenberg-tm
     License.  You must require such a user to return or
     destroy all copies of the works possessed in a physical medium
     and discontinue all use of and all access to other copies of
     Project Gutenberg-tm works.

- You provide, in accordance with paragraph 1.F.3, a full refund of any
     money paid for a work or a replacement copy, if a defect in the
     electronic work is discovered and reported to you within 90 days
     of receipt of the work.

- You comply with all other terms of this agreement for free
     distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm works.

1.E.9.  If you wish to charge a fee or distribute a Project Gutenberg-tm
electronic work or group of works on different terms than are set
forth in this agreement, you must obtain permission in writing from
both the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation and Michael
Hart, the owner of the Project Gutenberg-tm trademark.  Contact the
Foundation as set forth in Section 3 below.


1.F.1.  Project Gutenberg volunteers and employees expend considerable
effort to identify, do copyright research on, transcribe and proofread
public domain works in creating the Project Gutenberg-tm
collection.  Despite these efforts, Project Gutenberg-tm electronic
works, and the medium on which they may be stored, may contain
"Defects," such as, but not limited to, incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual
property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other medium, a
computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by
your equipment.

of Replacement or Refund" described in paragraph 1.F.3, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation, the owner of the Project
Gutenberg-tm trademark, and any other party distributing a Project
Gutenberg-tm electronic work under this agreement, disclaim all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal

defect in this electronic work within 90 days of receiving it, you can
receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending a
written explanation to the person you received the work from.  If you
received the work on a physical medium, you must return the medium with
your written explanation.  The person or entity that provided you with
the defective work may elect to provide a replacement copy in lieu of a
refund.  If you received the work electronically, the person or entity
providing it to you may choose to give you a second opportunity to
receive the work electronically in lieu of a refund.  If the second copy
is also defective, you may demand a refund in writing without further
opportunities to fix the problem.

1.F.4.  Except for the limited right of replacement or refund set forth
in paragraph 1.F.3, this work is provided to you 'AS-IS' WITH NO OTHER

1.F.5.  Some states do not allow disclaimers of certain implied
warranties or the exclusion or limitation of certain types of damages.
If any disclaimer or limitation set forth in this agreement violates the
law of the state applicable to this agreement, the agreement shall be
interpreted to make the maximum disclaimer or limitation permitted by
the applicable state law.  The invalidity or unenforceability of any
provision of this agreement shall not void the remaining provisions.

1.F.6.  INDEMNITY - You agree to indemnify and hold the Foundation, the
trademark owner, any agent or employee of the Foundation, anyone
providing copies of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works in accordance
with this agreement, and any volunteers associated with the production,
promotion and distribution of Project Gutenberg-tm electronic works,
harmless from all liability, costs and expenses, including legal fees,
that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following which you do
or cause to occur: (a) distribution of this or any Project Gutenberg-tm
work, (b) alteration, modification, or additions or deletions to any
Project Gutenberg-tm work, and (c) any Defect you cause.

Section  2.  Information about the Mission of Project Gutenberg-tm

Project Gutenberg-tm is synonymous with the free distribution of
electronic works in formats readable by the widest variety of computers
including obsolete, old, middle-aged and new computers.  It exists
because of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers and donations from
people in all walks of life.

Volunteers and financial support to provide volunteers with the
assistance they need, are critical to reaching Project Gutenberg-tm's
goals and ensuring that the Project Gutenberg-tm collection will
remain freely available for generations to come.  In 2001, the Project
Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation was created to provide a secure
and permanent future for Project Gutenberg-tm and future generations.
To learn more about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
and how your efforts and donations can help, see Sections 3 and 4
and the Foundation web page at

Section 3.  Information about the Project Gutenberg Literary Archive

The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a non profit
501(c)(3) educational corporation organized under the laws of the
state of Mississippi and granted tax exempt status by the Internal
Revenue Service.  The Foundation's EIN or federal tax identification
number is 64-6221541.  Its 501(c)(3) letter is posted at  Contributions to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation are tax deductible to the full extent
permitted by U.S. federal laws and your state's laws.

The Foundation's principal office is located at 4557 Melan Dr. S.
Fairbanks, AK, 99712., but its volunteers and employees are scattered
throughout numerous locations.  Its business office is located at
809 North 1500 West, Salt Lake City, UT 84116, (801) 596-1887, email  Email contact links and up to date contact
information can be found at the Foundation's web site and official
page at

For additional contact information:
     Dr. Gregory B. Newby
     Chief Executive and Director

Section 4.  Information about Donations to the Project Gutenberg
Literary Archive Foundation

Project Gutenberg-tm depends upon and cannot survive without wide
spread public support and donations to carry out its mission of
increasing the number of public domain and licensed works that can be
freely distributed in machine readable form accessible by the widest
array of equipment including outdated equipment.  Many small donations
($1 to $5,000) are particularly important to maintaining tax exempt
status with the IRS.

The Foundation is committed to complying with the laws regulating
charities and charitable donations in all 50 states of the United
States.  Compliance requirements are not uniform and it takes a
considerable effort, much paperwork and many fees to meet and keep up
with these requirements.  We do not solicit donations in locations
where we have not received written confirmation of compliance.  To
SEND DONATIONS or determine the status of compliance for any
particular state visit

While we cannot and do not solicit contributions from states where we
have not met the solicitation requirements, we know of no prohibition
against accepting unsolicited donations from donors in such states who
approach us with offers to donate.

International donations are gratefully accepted, but we cannot make
any statements concerning tax treatment of donations received from
outside the United States.  U.S. laws alone swamp our small staff.

Please check the Project Gutenberg Web pages for current donation
methods and addresses.  Donations are accepted in a number of other
ways including checks, online payments and credit card donations.
To donate, please visit:

Section 5.  General Information About Project Gutenberg-tm electronic

Professor Michael S. Hart is the originator of the Project Gutenberg-tm
concept of a library of electronic works that could be freely shared
with anyone.  For thirty years, he produced and distributed Project
Gutenberg-tm eBooks with only a loose network of volunteer support.

Project Gutenberg-tm eBooks are often created from several printed
editions, all of which are confirmed as Public Domain in the U.S.
unless a copyright notice is included.  Thus, we do not necessarily
keep eBooks in compliance with any particular paper edition.

Most people start at our Web site which has the main PG search facility:

This Web site includes information about Project Gutenberg-tm,
including how to make donations to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation, how to help produce our new eBooks, and how to
subscribe to our email newsletter to hear about new eBooks.