The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 119,
September, 1867, by Various

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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 119, September, 1867

Author: Various

Release Date: August 17, 2010 [EBook #33451]

Language: English

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[Pg 257]



A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art, and Politics.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, by Ticknor and Fields, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.

Transcriber's Note: Minor typos have been corrected and footnotes moved to the end of the article. Table of contents has been created for the HTML version.






Not long after the tableau performance had made Myrtle Hazard's name famous in the school and among the friends of the scholars, she received the very flattering attention of a call from Mrs. Clymer Ketchum, of 24 Carat Place. This was in consequence of a suggestion from Mr. Livingston Jenkins, a particular friend of the family.

"They've got a demonish splendid school-girl over there," he said to that lady,—"made the stunningest-looking Pocahontas at the show there the other day. Demonish plucky-looking filly as ever you saw. Had a row with another girl,—gave the war-whoop, and went at her with a knife. Festive,—hey? Say she only meant to scare her,—looked as if she meant to stick her, anyhow. Splendid style. Why can't you go over to the shop and make 'em trot her out?"

The lady promised Mr. Livingston Jenkins that she certainly would, just as soon as she could find a moment's leisure,—which, as she had nothing in the world to do, was not likely to be very soon. Myrtle in the mean time was busy with her studies, little dreaming what an extraordinary honor was awaiting her.

That rare accident in the lives of people who have nothing to do, a leisure morning, did at last occur. An elegant carriage, with a coachman in a wonderful cape, seated on a box lofty as a throne, and wearing a hat-band as brilliant as a coronet, stopped at the portal of Madam Delacoste's establishment. A card was sent in bearing the open sesame of Mrs. Clymer Ketchum, the great lady of 24 Carat Place. Miss Myrtle Hazard was summoned as a matter of course, and the fashionable woman and the young girl sat half an hour together in lively conversation.

Myrtle was fascinated by her visitor, who had that flattering manner which, to those not experienced in the world's ways, seems to imply unfathomable depths of disinterested devotion. Then it was so delightful to look upon a perfectly appointed woman,—one who was as artistically composed as a poem or an opera,—in whose costume a kind of various [Pg 258]rhythm undulated in one fluent harmony, from the spray that nodded on her bonnet to the rosette that blossomed on her sandal. As for the lady, she was captivated with Myrtle. There is nothing that your fashionable woman, who has ground and polished her own spark of life into as many and as glittering social facets as it will bear, has a greater passion for than a large rough diamond, which knows nothing of the sea of light it imprisons, and which it will be her pride to have cut into a brilliant under her own eye, and to show the world for its admiration and her own reflected glory. Mrs. Clymer Ketchum had taken the entire inventory of Myrtle's natural endowments before the interview was over. She had no marriageable children, and she was thinking what a killing bait Myrtle would be at one of her own parties.

She soon got another letter from Mr. William Murray Bradshaw, which explained the interest he had taken in Madam Delacoste's school,—all which she knew pretty nearly beforehand, for she had found out a good part of Myrtle's history in the half-hour they had spent in company.

"I had a particular reason for my inquiries about the school," he wrote. "There is a young girl there I take an interest in. She is handsome and interesting, and—though it is a shame to mention such a thing—has possibilities in the way of fortune not to be undervalued. Why can't you make her acquaintance and be civil to her? A country girl, but fine old stock, and will make a figure some time or other, I tell you. Myrtle Hazard,—that's her name. A mere school-girl. Don't be malicious and badger me about her, but be polite to her. Some of these country girls have got 'blue blood' in them, let me tell you, and show it plain enough."

("In huckleberry season.") said Mrs. Clymer Ketchum, in a parenthesis,—and went on reading.

"Don't think I'm one of your love-in-a-cottage sort, to have my head turned by a village beauty. I've got a career before me, Mrs. K., and I know it. But this is one of my pets, and I want you to keep an eye on her. Perhaps when she leaves school you wouldn't mind asking her to come and stay with you a little while. Possibly. I may come and see how she is getting on if you do,—won't that tempt you, Mrs. C. K.?"

Mrs. Clymer Ketchum wrote back to her relative how she had already made the young lady's acquaintance.

"Livingston Jenkins (you remember him) picked her out of the whole lot of girls as the 'prettiest filly in the stable.' That's his horrid way of talking. But your young milkmaid is really charming, and will come into form like a Derby three-year-old. There, now, I've caught that odious creature's horse-talk, myself. You're dead in love with this girl, Murray, you know you are.

"After all, I don't know but you're right. You would make a good country lawyer enough, I don't doubt. I used to think you had your ambitions, but never mind. If you choose to risk yourself on 'possibilities,' it is not my affair, and she's a beauty,—there's no mistake about that.

"There are some desirable partis at the school with your Dulcinea. There's Rose Bugbee. That last name is a good one to be married from. Rose is a nice girl,—there are only two of them. The estate will cut up like one of the animals it was made out of,—you know,—the sandwich-quadruped. Then there's Berengaria. Old Topping owns the Planet Hotel among other things,—so big, they say, there's always a bell ringing from somebody's room day and night the year round. Only child—unit and six ciphers—carries diamonds loose in her pocket—that's the story—good-looking—lively—a little slangy—called Livingston Jenkins 'Living Jingo' to his face one day. I want you to see my lot before you do anything serious. You owe something to the family, Mr. William Murray Bradshaw! But you must, suit yourself, after all: if you are contented with a humble position in life, it is nobody's business that I know of. Only I know what life is, Murray B. Getting married is jumping overboard, any way you[Pg 259] look at it, and if you must save some woman from drowning an old maid, try to find one with a cork jacket, or she'll carry you down with her."

Murray Bradshaw was calculating enough, but he shook his head over this letter. It was too demonish cold-blooded for him, he said to himself. (Men cannot pardon women for saying aloud what they do not hesitate to think in silence themselves.) Never mind,—he must have Mrs. Clymer Ketchum's house and influence for his own purposes. Myrtle Hazard must become her guest, and then, if circumstances were favorable, he was certain of obtaining her aid in his project.

The opportunity to invite Myrtle to the great mansion presented itself unexpectedly. Early in the spring of 1861 there were some cases of sickness in Madam Delacoste's establishment, which led to closing the school for a while. Mrs. Clymer Ketchum took advantage of the dispersion of the scholars to ask Myrtle to come and spend some weeks with her. There were reasons why this was more agreeable to the young girl than returning to Oxbow Village, and she very gladly accepted the invitation.

It was very remarkable that a man living as Master Byles Gridley had lived for so long a time should all at once display such liberality as he showed to a young woman who had no claim upon him, except that he had rescued her from the consequences of her own imprudence and warned her against impending dangers. Perhaps he cared more for her than if the obligation had been the other way,—students of human nature say it is commonly so. At any rate, either he had ampler resources than it was commonly supposed, or he was imprudently giving way to his generous impulses, or he thought he was making advances which would in due time be returned to him. Whatever the reason was, he furnished her with means, not only for her necessary expenses, but sufficient to afford her many of the elegances which she would be like to want in the fashionable society with which she was for a short time to mingle.

Mrs. Clymer Ketchum was so well pleased with the young lady she was entertaining, that she thought it worth while to give a party while Myrtle was staying with her. She had her jealousies and rivalries, as women of the world will, sometimes, and these may have had their share in leading her to take the trouble a large party involved. She was tired of the airs of Mrs. Pinnikle, who was of the great Apex family, and her terribly accomplished daughter Rhadamantha, and wanted to crush the young lady, and jaundice her mother, with a girl twice as brilliant and ten times handsomer. She was very willing, also, to take the nonsense out of the Capsheaf girls, who thought themselves the most stylish personages of their city world, and would bite their lips well to see themselves distanced by a country miss.

In the mean time circumstances were promising to bring into Myrtle's neighborhood several of her old friends and admirers. Mrs. Clymer Ketchum had written to Murray Bradshaw that she had asked his pretty milkmaid to come and stay awhile with her, but he had been away on business, and only arrived in the city a day or two before the party. But other young fellows had found out the attractions of the girl who was "hanging out at the Clymer Ketchum concern," and callers were plenty, reducing tête-à-têtes in a corresponding ratio. He did get one opportunity, however, and used it well. They had so many things to talk about in common, that she could not help finding him good company. She might well be pleased, for he was an adept in the curious art of being agreeable, as other people are in chess or billiards, and had made a special study of her tastes, as a physician studies a patient's constitution. What he wanted was to get her thoroughly interested in himself, and to maintain her in a receptive condition until such time as he should be ready for a final move. Any day might furnish the decisive[Pg 260] motive; in the mean time he wished only to hold her as against all others.

It was well for her, perhaps, that others had flattered her into a certain consciousness of her own value. She felt her veins full of the same rich blood as that which had flushed the cheeks of handsome Judith in the long summer of her triumph. Whether it was vanity, or pride, or only the instinctive sense of inherited force and attraction, it was the best of defences. The golden bracelet on her wrist seemed to have brought as much protection with it as if it had been a shield over her heart.

But far away in Oxbow Village other events were in preparation. The "fugitive pieces" of Mr. Gifted Hopkins had now reached a number so considerable, that, if collected and printed in large type, with plenty of what the unpleasant printers call "fat,"—meaning thereby blank spaces,—upon a good, substantial, not to say thick paper, they might perhaps make a volume which would have substance enough to bear the title, printed lengthwise along the back, "Hopkins's Poems." Such a volume that author had in contemplation. It was to be the literary event of the year 1861.

He could not mature such a project, one which he had been for some time contemplating, without consulting Mr. Byles Gridley, who, though he had not unfrequently repressed the young poet's too ardent ambition, had yet always been kind and helpful.

Mr. Gridley was seated in his large arm-chair, indulging himself in the perusal of a page or two of his own work before repeatedly referred to. His eye was glistening, for it had just rested on the following passage:—

"There is infinite pathos in unsuccessful authorship. The book that perishes unread is the deaf mute of literature. The great asylum of Oblivion is full of such, making inaudible signs to each other in leaky garrets and unattainable dusty upper shelves."

He shut the book, for the page grew a little dim as he finished this elegiac sentence, and sighed to think how much more keenly he felt its truth than when it was written,—than on that memorable morning when he saw the advertisement in all the papers, "This day published, 'Thoughts on the Universe. By Byles Gridley, A. M.'"

At that moment he heard a knock at his door. He closed his eyelids forcibly for ten seconds, opened them, and said, cheerfully, "Come in!"

Gifted Hopkins entered. He had a collection of manuscripts in his hands which it seemed to him would fill a vast number of pages. He did not know that manuscript is to type what fresh dandelions are to the dish of greens that comes to table, of which last Nurse Byloe, who considered them very wholesome spring grazing for her patients, used to say that they "biled down dreadful."

"I have brought the autographs of my poems, Master Gridley, to consult you about making arrangements for publication. They have been so well received by the public and the leading critics of this part of the State, that I think of having them printed in a volume. I am going to the city for that purpose. My mother has given her consent. I wish to ask you several business questions. Shall I part with the copyright for a downright sum of money, which I understand some prefer doing, or publish on shares, or take a percentage on the sales? These, I believe, are the different ways taken by authors."

Mr. Gridley was altogether too considerate to reply with the words which would most naturally have come to his lips. He waited as if he were gravely pondering the important questions just put to him, all the while looking at Gifted with a tenderness which no one who had not buried one of his soul's children could have felt for a young author trying to get clothing for his new-born intellectual offspring.

"I think," he said presently, "you had better talk with an intelligent and[Pg 261] liberal publisher, and be guided by his advice. I can put you in correspondence with such a person, and you had better trust him than me a great deal. Why don't you send your manuscript by mail?"

"What, Mr. Gridley? Trust my poems, some of which are unpublished, to the post-office? No, sir, I could never make up my mind to such a risk. I mean to go to the city myself, and read them to some of the leading publishers. I don't want to pledge myself to any one of them. I should like to set them bidding against each other for the copyright, if I sell it at all."

Mr. Gridley gazed upon the innocent youth with a sweet wonder in his eyes that made him look like an angel, a little damaged in the features by time, but full of celestial feelings.

"It will cost you something to make this trip, Gifted. Have you the means to pay for your journey and your stay at a city hotel?"

Gifted blushed. "My mother has laid by a small sum for me," he said. "She knows some of my poems by heart, and she wants to see them all in print."

Master Gridley closed his eyes very firmly again, as if thinking, and opened them as soon as the foolish film had left them. He had read many a page of "Thoughts on the Universe" to his own old mother, long, long years ago, and she had often listened with tears of modest pride that Heaven had favored her with a son so full of genius.

"I'll tell you what, Gifted," he said. "I have been thinking for a good while that I would make a visit to the city, and if you have made up your mind to try what you can do with the publishers, I will take you with me as a companion. It will be a saving to you and your good mother, for I shall bear the expenses of the expedition."

Gifted Hopkins came very near going down on his knees. He was so overcome with gratitude that it seemed as if his very coat-tails wagged with his emotion.

"Take it quietly," said Master Gridley. "Don't make a fool of yourself. Tell your mother to have some clean shirts and things ready for you, and we will be off day after to-morrow morning."

Gifted hastened to impart the joyful news to his mother, and to break the fact to Susan Posey that he was about to leave them for a while, and rush into the deliriums and dangers of the great city.

Susan smiled. Gifted hardly knew whether to be pleased with her sympathy, or vexed that she did not take his leaving more to heart. The smile held out bravely for about a quarter of a minute. Then there came on a little twitching at the corners of the mouth. Then the blue eyes began to shine with a kind of veiled glimmer. Then the blood came up into her cheeks with a great rush, as if the heart had sent up a herald with a red flag from the citadel to know what was going on at the outworks. The message that went back was of discomfiture and capitulation. Poor Susan was overcome, and gave herself up to weeping and sobbing.

The sight was too much for the young poet. In a wild burst of passion he seized her hand, and pressed it to his lips, exclaiming, "Would that you could be mine forever!" and Susan forgot all that she ought to have remembered, and, looking half reproachfully but half tenderly through her tears, said, in tones of infinite sweetness, "O Gifted!"



It was settled that Master Byles Gridley and Mr. Gifted Hopkins should leave early in the morning of the day appointed, to take the nearest train to the city. Mrs. Hopkins labored hard to get them ready, so that they might make a genteel appearance among the great people whom they would meet in society. She brushed up Mr. Gridley's best black suit, and bound the cuffs of his dress-coat, which were getting a little worried. She held his honest-looking[Pg 262] hat to the fire, and smoothed it while it was warm, until one would have thought it had just been ironed by the hatter himself. She had his boots and shoes brought into a more brilliant condition than they had ever known: if Gifted helped, it was to his credit as much as if he had shown his gratitude by polishing off a copy of verses in praise of his benefactor.

When she had got Mr. Gridley's encumbrances in readiness for the journey, she devoted herself to fitting out her son Gifted. First, she had down from the garret a capacious trunk, of solid wood, but covered with leather, and adorned with brass-headed nails, by the cunning disposition of which, also, the paternal initials stood out on the rounded lid, in the most conspicuous manner. It was his father's trunk, and the first thing that went into it, as the widow lifted the cover, and the smothering, shut-up smell struck an old chord of associations, was a single tear-drop. How well she remembered the time when she first unpacked it for her young husband, and the white shirt bosoms showed their snowy plaits! O dear, dear!

But women decant their affection, sweet and sound, out of the old bottles into the new ones,—off from the lees of the past generation, clear and bright, into the clean vessels just made ready to receive it. Gifted Hopkins was his mother's idol, and no wonder. She had not only the common attachment of a parent for him, as her offspring, but she felt that her race was to be rendered illustrious by his genius, and thought proudly of the time when some future biographer would mention her own humble name, to be held in lasting remembrance as that of the mother of Hopkins.

So she took great pains to equip this brilliant but inexperienced young man with everything he could by any possibility need during his absence. The great trunk filled itself until it bulged with its contents like a boa-constrictor who has swallowed his blanket. Best clothes and common clothes, thick clothes and thin clothes, flannels and linens, socks and collars, with handkerchiefs enough to keep the pickpockets busy for a week, with a paper of gingerbread and some lozenges for gastralgia, and "hot drops," and ruled paper to write letters on, and a little Bible, and a phial with hiera picra, and another with paregoric, and another with "camphire" for sprains and bruises,—Gifted went forth equipped for every climate from the tropic to the pole, and armed against every malady from Ague to Zoster. He carried also the paternal watch, a solid silver bull's-eye, and a large pocket-book, tied round with a long tape, and, by way of precaution, pinned into his breast-pocket. He talked about having a pistol, in case he were attacked by any of the ruffians who are so numerous in the city, but Mr. Gridley told him, No! he would certainly shoot himself, and he shouldn't think of letting him take a pistol.

They went forth, Mentor and Telemachus, at the appointed time, to dare the perils of the railroad and the snares of the city. Mrs. Hopkins was firm up to near the last moment, when a little quiver in her voice set her eyes off; and her face broke up all at once, so that she had to hide it behind her handkerchief. Susan Posey showed the truthfulness of her character in her words to Gifted at parting. "Farewell," she said, "and think of me sometimes while absent. My heart is another's, but my friendship, Gifted—my friendship—"

Both were deeply affected. He took her hand and would have raised it to his lips; but she did not forget herself, and gently withdrew it, exclaiming, "O Gifted!" this time with a tone of tender reproach which made him feel like a profligate. He tore himself away, and when at a safe distance flung her a kiss, which she rewarded with a tearful smile.

Master Byles Gridley must have had some good dividends from some of his property of late. There is no other way of accounting for the handsome style in which he did things on their[Pg 263] arrival in the city. He went to a tailor's and ordered a new suit to be sent home as soon as possible, for he knew his wardrobe was a little rusty. He looked Gifted over from head to foot, and suggested such improvements as would recommend him to the fastidious eyes of the selecter sort of people, and put him in his own tailor's hands, at the same time saying that all bills were to be sent to him, B. Gridley, Esq., parlor No. 6, at the Planet House. Thus it came to pass that in three days from their arrival they were both in an eminently presentable condition. In the mean time the prudent Mr. Gridley had been keeping the young man busy, and amusing himself by showing him such of the sights of the city and its suburbs as he thought would combine instruction with entertainment.

When they were both properly equipped and ready for the best company, Mr. Gridley said to the young poet, who had found it very hard to contain his impatience, that they would now call together on the publisher to whom he wished to introduce him, and they set out accordingly.

"My name is Gridley," he said with modest gravity, as he entered the publisher's private room. "I have a note of introduction here from one of your authors, as I think he called himself,—a very popular writer for whom you publish."

The publisher rose and came forward in the most cordial and respectful manner. "Mr. Gridley?—Professor Byles Gridley,—author of 'Thoughts on the Universe'?"

The brave-hearted old man colored as if he had been a young girl. His dead book rose before him like an apparition. He groped in modest confusion for an answer. "A child I buried long ago, my dear sir," he said. "Its title-page was its tombstone. I have brought this young friend with me,—this is Mr. Gifted Hopkins of Oxbow Village,—who wishes to converse with you about—"

"I have come, sir—" the young poet began, interrupting him.

"Let me look at your manuscript, if you please, Mr. Popkins," said the publisher, interrupting in his turn.

"Hopkins, if you please, sir," Gifted suggested mildly, proceeding to extract the manuscript, which had got wedged into his pocket, and seemed to be holding on with all its might. He was wondering all the time over the extraordinary clairvoyance of the publisher, who had looked through so many thick folds, broadcloth, lining, brown paper, and seen his poems lying hidden in his breast-pocket. The idea that a young person coming on such an errand should have to explain his intentions would have seemed very odd to the publisher. He knew the look which belongs to this class of enthusiasts just as a horse-dealer knows the look of a green purchaser with the equine fever raging in his veins. If a young author had come to him with a scrap of manuscript hidden in his boots, like Major André's papers, the publisher would have taken one glance at him and said, "Out with it!"

While he was battling for the refractory scroll with his pocket, which turned half wrong side out, and acted as things always do when people are nervous and in a hurry, the publisher directed his conversation again to Master Byles Gridley.

"A remarkable book, that of yours, Mr. Gridley,—would have a great run if it were well handled. Came out twenty years too soon,—that was the trouble. One of our leading scholars was speaking of it to me the other day. 'We must have a new edition,' he said; 'people are just ripe for that book.' Did you ever think of that? Change the form of it a little, and give it a new title, and it will be a popular book. Five thousand or more, very likely."

Mr. Gridley felt as if he had been rapidly struck on the forehead with a dozen distinct blows from a hammer not quite big enough to stun him. He sat still without saying a word. He had forgotten for the moment all about poor Gifted Hopkins, who had got out[Pg 264] his manuscript at last, and was calming the disturbed corners of it. Coming to himself a little, he took a large and beautiful silk handkerchief, one of his new purchases, from his pocket, and applied it to his face, for the weather seemed to have grown very warm all at once. Then he remembered the errand on which he had come, and thought of this youth, who had got to receive his first hard lesson in life, and whom he had brought to this kind man that it should be gently administered.

"You surprise me," he said,—"you surprise me. Dead and buried. Dead and buried. I had sometimes thought that—at some future period, after I was gone, it might—but I hardly know what to say about your suggestions. But here is my young friend, Mr. Hopkins, who would like to talk with you, and I will leave him in your hands. I am at the Planet House, if you should care to call upon me. Good morning. Mr. Hopkins will explain everything to you more at his ease, without me, I am confident."

Master Gridley could not quite make up his mind to stay through the interview between the young poet and the publisher. The flush of hope was bright in Gifted's eye and cheek, and the good man knew that young hearts are apt to be over-sanguine, and that one who enters a shower-bath often feels very differently from the same person when he has pulled the string.

"I have brought you my Poems in the original autographs, sir," said Mr. Gifted Hopkins.

He laid the manuscript on the table, caressing the leaves still with one hand, as loath to let it go.

"What disposition had you thought of making of them?" the publisher asked, in a pleasant tone. He was as kind a man as lived, though he worked the chief engine in a chamber of torture.

"I wish to read you a few specimens of the poems," he said, "with reference to their proposed publication in a volume."

"By all means," said the kind publisher, who determined to be very patient with the protégé of the hitherto little-known, but remarkable writer, Professor Gridley. At the same time he extended his foot in an accidental sort of way, and pressed it on the right-hand knob of three which were arranged in a line beneath the table. A little bell in a distant apartment—the little bell marked C—gave one slight note, loud enough to start a small boy up, who looked at the clock, and knew that he was to go and call the publisher in just twenty-five minutes. "A, five minutes; B, ten minutes; C, twenty-five minutes";—that was the small boy's working formula. Mr. Hopkins was treated to the full allowance of time, as being introduced by Professor Gridley.

The young man laid open the manuscript so that the title-page, written out very handsomely in his own hand, should win the eye of the publisher.



By Gifted Hopkins.

"A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown."

"Shall I read you some of the rhymed pieces first, or some of the blank-verse poems, sir?" Gifted asked.

"Read what you think is best,—a specimen of your first-class style of composition."

"I will read you the very last poem I have written," he said, and began:—


"I met that gold-haired maiden, all too dear;
And I to her: Lo! Thou art very fair,
Fairer than all the ladies in the world
That fan the sweetened air with scented fans,
And I am scorchéd with exceeding love,
Yea, crispéd till my bones are dry as straw.
Look not away with that high-archéd brow,
But turn its whiteness that I may behold,
And lift thy great eyes till they blaze on mine.
And lay thy finger on thy perfect mouth,
And let thy lucent ears of carven pearl
Drink in the murmured music of my soul,
As the lush grass drinks in the globéd dew;
For I have many scrolls of sweetest rhyme
I will unroll and make thee glad to hear.
"Then she: O shaper of the marvellous phrase
That openeth woman's heart as doth a key,
I dare not hear thee—lest the bolt should slide
[Pg 265] That locks another's heart within my own.
Go, leave me,—and she let her eyelids fall
And the great tears rolled from her large blue eyes.
"Then I: If thou not hear me, I shall die,
Yea, in my desperate mood may lift my hand
And do myself a hurt no leech can mend;
For poets ever were of dark resolve,
And swift stern deed—
That maiden heard no more,
But spake: Alas! my heart is very weak,
And but for—Stay! And if some dreadful morn,
After great search and shouting thorough the wold,
We found thee missing,—strangled,—drowned i' the mere,—
Then should I go distraught and be clean mad!
O poet, read! read all thy wondrous scroll!
Yea, read the verse that maketh glad to hear!
Then I began and read two sweet, brief hours,
And she forgot all love save only mine!"

"Is all this from real life?" asked the publisher.

"It—no, sir—not exactly from real life—that is, the leading female person is not wholly fictitious—and the incident is one which might have happened. Shall I read you the poems referred to in the one you have just heard, sir?"

"Allow me, one moment. Two hours' reading, I think, you said. I fear I shall hardly be able to spare quite time to hear them all. Let me ask what you intend doing with these productions, Mr——rr—Popkins."

"Hopkins, if you please, sir, not Popkins," said Gifted, plaintively. He expressed his willingness to dispose of the copyright, to publish on shares, or perhaps to receive a certain percentage on the profits.

"Suppose we take a glass of wine together, Mr.——Hopkins, before we talk business," the publisher said, opening a little cupboard and taking therefrom a decanter and two glasses. He saw the young man was looking nervous. He waited a few minutes, until the wine had comforted his epigastrium, and diffused its gentle glow through his unspoiled and consequently susceptible organization.

"Come with me," he said.

Gifted followed him into a dingy apartment in the attic, where one sat at a great table heaped and piled with manuscripts. By him was a huge basket, half full of manuscripts also. As they entered he dropped another manuscript into the basket and looked up.

"Tell me," said Gifted, "what are these papers, and who is he that looks upon them and drops them into the basket?"

"These are the manuscript poems that we receive, and the one sitting at the table is commonly spoken of among us as The Butcher. The poems he drops into the basket are those rejected as of no account."

"But does he not read the poems before he rejects them?"

"He tastes them. Do you eat a cheese before you buy it?"

"And what becomes of all these that he drops into the basket?"

"If they are not claimed by their author in proper season they go to the devil."

"What!" said Gifted, with his eyes stretched very round.

"To the paper factory, where they have a horrid machine they call the devil, that tears everything to bits,—as the critics treat our authors, sometimes,—sometimes, Mr. Hopkins."

Gifted devoted a moment to silent reflection.

After this instructive sight they returned together to the publisher's private room. The wine had now warmed the youthful poet's præcordia, so that he began to feel a renewed confidence in his genius and his fortunes.

"I should like to know what that critic of yours would say to my manuscript," he said boldly.

"You can try it, if you want to," the publisher replied, with an ominous dryness of manner which the sanguine youth did not perceive, or, perceiving, did not heed.

"How can we manage to get an impartial judgment?"

"O, I'll arrange that. He always goes to his luncheon about this time. Raw meat and vitriol punch,—that's what the authors say. Wait till we hear him go, and then I will lay your manuscript so that he will come to it among the first after he gets back. You shall see with your own eyes what treatment[Pg 266] it gets. I hope it may please him, but you shall see."

They went back to the publisher's private room and talked awhile. Then the small boy came up with some vague message about a gentleman—business—wants to see you, sir, etc, according to the established programme; all in a vacant, mechanical sort of way, as if he were a talking-machine just running down.

The publisher told the small boy that he was engaged, and the gentleman must wait. Very soon they heard The Butcher's heavy footstep as he went out to get his raw meat and vitriol punch.

"Now, then," said the publisher, and led forth the confiding literary lamb once more, to enter the fatal door of the critical shambles.

"Hand me your manuscript, if you please, Mr. Hopkins. I will lay it so that it shall be the third of these that are coming to hand. Our friend here is a pretty good judge of verse, and knows a merchantable article about as quick as any man in his line of business. If he forms a favorable opinion of your poems, we will talk over your propositions."

Gifted was conscious of a very slight tremor as he saw his precious manuscript deposited on the table under two others, and over a pile of similar productions. Still he could not help feeling that the critic would be struck by his title. The quotation from Gray must touch his feelings. The very first piece in the collection could not fail to arrest him. He looked a little excited, but he was in good spirits.

"We will be looking about here when our friend comes back," the publisher said. "He is a very methodical person, and will sit down and go right to work just as if we were not here. We can watch him, and if he should express any particular interest in your poems, I will, if you say so, carry you up to him and reveal the fact that you are the author of the works that please him."

They waited patiently until The Butcher returned, apparently refreshed by his ferocious refection, and sat down at his table. He looked comforted, and not in ill humor. The publisher and the poet talked in low tones, as if on business of their own, and watched him as he returned to his labor.

The Butcher took the first manuscript that came to hand, read a stanza here and there, turned over the leaves, turned back and tried again,—shook his head—held it for an instant over the basket, as if doubtful,—and let it softly drop. He took up the second manuscript, opened it in several places, seemed rather pleased with what he read, and laid it aside for further examination.

He took up the third. "Blossoms of the Soul," etc. He glared at it in a dreadfully ogreish way. Both the lookers-on held their breath. Gifted Hopkins felt as if half a glass more of that warm sherry would not hurt him. There was a sinking at the pit of his stomach, as if he was in a swing, as high as he could go, close up to the swallows' nests and spiders' webs. The Butcher opened the manuscript at random, read ten seconds, and gave a short, low grunt. He opened again, read ten seconds, and gave another grunt, this time a little longer and louder. He opened once more, read five seconds, and, with something that sounded like the snort of a dangerous animal, cast it impatiently into the basket, and took up the manuscript that came next in order.

Gifted Hopkins stood as if paralyzed for a moment.

"Safe, perfectly safe," the publisher said to him in a whisper. "I'll get it for you presently. Come in and take another glass of wine," he said, leading him back to his own office.

"No, I thank you," he said faintly, "I can bear it. But this is dreadful, sir. Is this the way that genius is welcomed to the world of letters?"

The publisher explained to him, in the kindest manner, that there was an enormous over-production of verse, and that it took a great part of one man's time simply to overhaul the cart-loads of it that were trying to get themselves[Pg 267] into print with the imprimatur of his famous house. "You're young, Mr. Hopkins. I advise you not to try to force your article of poetry on the market. The B——, our friend, there, that is, knows a thing that will sell as soon as he sees it. You are in independent circumstances, perhaps? If so, you can print—at your own expense—whatever you choose. May I take the liberty to ask your—profession?"

Gifted explained that he was "clerk" in a "store," where they sold dry goods and West India goods, and goods promiscuous.

"O, well, then," the publisher said, "you will understand me. Do you know a good article of brown sugar when you see it?"

Gifted Hopkins rather thought he did. He knew at sight whether it was a fair, salable article or not.

"Just so. Now our friend, there, knows verses that are salable and unsalable as well as you do brown sugar.—Keep quiet now, and I will go and get your manuscript for you.——There, Mr. Hopkins, take your poems,—they will give you a reputation in your village, I don't doubt, which is pleasant, but it will cost you a good deal of money to print them in a volume. You are very young: you can afford to wait. Your genius is not ripe yet, I am confident, Mr. Hopkins. These verses are very well for a beginning, but a man of promise like you, Mr. Hopkins, mustn't throw away his chance by premature publication! I should like to make you a present of a few of the books we publish. By and by, perhaps, we can work you into our series of poets; but the best pears ripen slowly, and so with genius.—Where shall I send the volumes?"

Gifted answered, to parlor No. 6, Planet Hotel, where he soon presented himself to Master Gridley, who could guess pretty well what was coming. But he let him tell his story.

"Shall I try the other publishers?" said the disconsolate youth.

"I wouldn't, my young friend, I wouldn't. You have seen the best one of them all. He is right about it, quite right: you are young, and had better wait. Look here, Gifted, here is something to please you. We are going to visit the gay world together. See what has been left here this forenoon."

He showed him two elegant notes of invitation requesting the pleasure of Professor Byles Gridley's and of Mr. Gifted Hopkins's company on Thursday evening, as the guests of Mrs. Clymer Ketchum, of 24 Carat Place.



Myrtle Hazard had flowered out as beyond question the handsomest girl of the season. There were hints from different quarters that she might possibly be an heiress. Vague stories were about of some contingency which might possibly throw a fortune into her lap. The young men about town talked of her at the clubs in their free-and-easy way, but all agreed that she was the girl of the new crop,—"best filly this grass," as Livingston Jenkins put it. The general understanding seemed to be that the young lawyer who had followed her to the city was going to capture her. She seemed to favor him certainly as much as anybody. But Myrtle saw many young men now, and it was not so easy as it would once have been to make out who was an especial favorite.

There had been times when Murray Bradshaw would have offered his heart and hand to Myrtle at once, if he had felt sure that she would accept him. But he preferred playing the safe game now, and only wanted to feel sure of her. He had done his best to be agreeable, and could hardly doubt that he had made an impression. He dressed well when in the city,—even elegantly,—he had many of the lesser social accomplishments, was a good dancer, and compared favorably in all such matters with the more dashing young fellows in society. He was a better[Pg 268] talker than most of them, and he knew more about the girl he was dealing with than they could know. "You have only got to say the word, Murray," Mrs. Clymer Ketchum said to her relative, "and you can have her. But don't be rash. I believe you can get Berengaria if you try; and there's something better there than possibilities." Murray Bradshaw laughed, and told Mrs. Clymer Ketchum not to worry about him; he knew what he was doing.

It so happened that Myrtle met Master Byles Gridley walking with Mr. Gifted Hopkins the day before the party. She longed to have a talk with her old friend, and was glad to have a chance of pleasing her poetical admirer. She therefore begged her hostess to invite them both to her party to please her, which she promised to do at once. Thus the two elegant notes were accounted for.

Mrs. Clymer Ketchum, though her acquaintances were chiefly in the world of fortune and of fashion, had yet a certain weakness for what she called clever people. She therefore always variegated her parties with a streak of young artists and writers, and a literary lady or two; and, if she could lay hands on a first-class celebrity, was as happy as an Amazon who had captured a Centaur.

"There's a demonish clever young fellow by the name of Lindsay," Mr. Livingston Jenkins said to her a little before the day of the party. "Better ask him. They say he's the rising talent in his line, architecture mainly, but has done some remarkable things in the way of sculpture. There's some story about a bust he made that was quite wonderful. I'll find his address for you." So Mr. Clement Lindsay got his invitation, and thus Mrs. Clymer Ketchum's party promised to bring together a number of persons with whom we are acquainted, and who were acquainted with each other.

Mrs. Clymer Ketchum knew how to give a party. Let her only have carte blanche for flowers, music, and champagne, she used to tell her lord, and she would see to the rest,—lighting the rooms, tables, and toilet. He needn't be afraid; all he had to do was to keep out of the way.

Subdivision of labor is one of the triumphs of modern civilization. Labor was beautifully subdivided in this lady's household. It was old Ketchum's business to make money, and he understood it. It was Mrs. K.'s business to spend money, and she knew how to do it. The rooms blazed with light like a conflagration; the flowers burned like lamps of many-colored flame; the music throbbed into the hearts of the promenaders and tingled through all the muscles of the dancers.

Mrs. Clymer Ketchum was in her glory. Her point d'Alençon must have spoiled ever so many French girls' eyes. Her bosom heaved beneath a kind of breastplate glittering with a heavy dew of diamonds. She glistened and sparkled with every movement, so that the admirer forgot to question too closely whether the eyes matched the brilliants, or the cheeks glowed like the roses. Not far from the great lady stood Myrtle Hazard. She was dressed as the fashion of the day demanded, but she had added certain audacious touches of her own, reminiscences of the time when the dead beauty had flourished, and which first provoked the question and then the admiration of the young people who had a natural eye for effect. Over the long white glove on her left arm was clasped a rich bracelet, of so quaint an antique pattern that nobody had seen anything like it, and as some one whispered that it was "the last thing out," it was greatly admired by the fashion-plate multitude, as well as by the few who had a taste of their own. If the soul of Judith Pride, long divorced from its once beautifully moulded dust, ever lived in dim consciousness through any of those who inherited her blood, it was then and there that she breathed through the lips of Myrtle Hazard. The young girl almost trembled with the ecstasy of this new mode of being, soliciting every sense with light, with perfume, with melody,—all[Pg 269] that could make her feel the wonderful complex music of a fresh life when all its chords first vibrate together in harmony. Miss Rhadamantha Pinnikle, whose mother was an Apex (of whose race it was said that they always made an obeisance when the family name was mentioned, and had all their portraits painted with halos round their heads), found herself extinguished in this new radiance. Miss Victoria Capsheaf stuck to the wall as if she had been a fresco on it. The fifty-year-old dynasties were dismayed and dismounted. Myrtle fossilized them as suddenly as if she had been a Gorgon, instead of a beauty.

The guests in whom we may have some interest were in the mean time making ready for the party, which was expected to be a brilliant one; for 24 Carat Place was well known for the handsome style of its entertainments.

Clement Lindsay was a little surprised by his invitation. He had, however, been made a lion of several times of late; and was very willing to amuse himself once in a while with a peep into the great world. It was but an empty show to him at best, for his lot was cast, and he expected to lead a quiet domestic life after his student days were over.

Master Byles Gridley had known what society was in his earlier time, and understood very well that all a gentleman of his age had to do was to dress himself in his usual plain way, only taking a little more care in his arrangements than was needed in the latitude of Oxbow Village. But Gifted must be looked after, that he should not provoke the unamiable comments of the city youth by any defect or extravagance of costume. The young gentleman had bought a light sky-blue neckerchief, and a very large breastpin containing a gem which he was assured by the vendor was a genuine stone. He considered that both these would be eminently effective articles of dress, and Mr. Gridley had some trouble to convince him that a white tie and plain shirt-buttons would be more fitted to the occasion.

On the morning of the day of the great party Mr. William Murray Bradshaw received a brief telegram, which seemed to cause him great emotion, as he changed color, uttered a forcible exclamation, and began walking up and down his room in a very nervous kind of way. It was a foreshadowing of a certain event now pretty sure to happen. Whatever bearing this telegram may have had upon his plans, he made up his mind that he would contrive an opportunity somehow that very evening to propose himself as a suitor to Myrtle Hazard. He could not say that he felt as absolutely certain of getting the right answer as he had felt at some previous periods. Myrtle knew her price, he said to himself, a great deal better than when she was a simple country girl. The flatteries with which she had been surrounded, and the effect of all the new appliances of beauty, which had set her off so that she could not help seeing her own attractions, rendered her harder to please and to satisfy. A little experience in society teaches a young girl the arts and the phrases which all the Lotharios have in common. Murray Bradshaw was ready to land his fish now, but he was not quite sure that she was yet hooked, and he had a feeling that by this time she knew every fly in his book. However, as he had made up his mind not to wait another day, he addressed himself to the trial before him with a determination to succeed, if any means at his command would insure success. He arrayed himself with faultless elegance: nothing must be neglected on such an occasion. He went forth firm and grave as a general going into a battle where all is to be lost or won. He entered the blazing saloon with the unfailing smile upon his lips, to which he set them as he set his watch to a particular hour and minute.

The rooms were pretty well filled when he arrived and made his bow before the blazing, rustling, glistening, waving, blushing appearance under[Pg 270] which palpitated, with the pleasing excitement of the magic scene over which its owner presided, the heart of Mrs. Clymer Ketchum. He turned to Myrtle Hazard, and if he had ever doubted which way his inclinations led him, he could doubt no longer. How much dress and how much light can a woman bear? That is the way to measure her beauty. A plain girl in a simple dress, if she has only a pleasant voice, may seem almost a beauty in the rosy twilight. The nearer she comes to being handsome, the more ornament she will bear, and the more she may defy the sunshine or the chandelier. Murray Bradshaw was fairly dazzled with the brilliant effect of Myrtle in full dress. He did not know before what handsome arms she had,—Judith Pride's famous arms, which the high-colored young men in top-boots used to swear were the handsomest pair in New England, right over again. He did not know before with what defiant effect she would light up, standing as she did directly under a huge lustre, in full flower of flame, like a burning azalea. He was not a man who intended to let his sentiments carry him away from the serious interests of his future, yet, as he looked upon Myrtle Hazard, his heart gave one throb which made him feel in every pulse that this was a woman who in her own right, simply as a woman, could challenge the homage of the proudest young man of her time. He hardly knew till this moment how much of passion mingled with other and calmer motives of admiration. He could say I love you as truly as such a man could ever speak these words, meaning that he admired her, that he was attracted to her, that he should be proud of her as his wife, that he should value himself always as the proprietor of so rare a person, that no appendage to his existence would take so high a place in his thoughts. This implied also, what is of great consequence to a young woman's happiness in the married state, that she would be treated with uniform politeness, with satisfactory evidences of affection, and with a degree of confidence quite equal to what a reasonable woman should expect from a very superior man, her husband.

If Myrtle could have looked through the window in the breast against which only authors are privileged to flatten their features, it is for the reader to judge how far the programme would have satisfied her. Less than this, a great deal less, does appear to satisfy many young women; and it may be that the picture just drawn, fairly judged, belongs to a model lover and husband. Whether it does or not; Myrtle did not see this picture. There was a beautifully embroidered shirt-bosom in front of that window through which we have just looked, that intercepted all sight of what was going on within. She only saw a man, young, handsome, courtly, with a winning tongue, with an ambitious spirit, whose every look and tone implied his admiration of herself, and who was associated with her past life in such a way that they alone appeared like old friends in the midst of that cold, alien throng. It seemed as if he could not have chosen a more auspicious hour than this; for she never looked so captivating, and her presence must inspire his lips with the eloquence of love. And she—was not this delirious atmosphere of light and music just the influence to which he would wish to subject her before trying the last experiment of all which can stir the soul of a woman? He knew the mechanism of that impressionable state which served Coleridge so excellently well,—

"All impulses of soul and sense
Had thrilled my guileless Genevieve;
The music, and the doleful tale,
The rich and balmy eve,"—

though he hardly expected such startling results as happened in that case,—which might be taken as an awful warning not to sing moving ballads to young ladies of susceptible feelings, unless one is prepared for very serious consequences. Without expecting that Myrtle would rush into his arms, he did think that she could not help listening[Pg 271] to him in the intervals of the delicious music, in some recess where the roses and jasmines and heliotropes made the air heavy with sweetness, and the crimson curtains drooped in heavy folds that half hid their forms from the curious eyes all round them. Her heart would swell like Genevieve's as he told her in simple phrase that she was his life, his love, his all,—for in some two or three words like these he meant to put his appeal, and not in fine poetical phrases: that would do for Gifted Hopkins and rhyming tomtits of that feather.

Full of his purpose, involving the plans of his whole life, implying, as he saw clearly, a brilliant future or a disastrous disappointment, with a great unexploded mine of consequences under his feet, and the spark ready to fall into it, he walked about the gilded saloon with a smile upon his lips so perfectly natural and pleasant, that one would have said he was as vacant of any aim, except a sort of superficial good-natured disposition to be amused, as the blankest-eyed simpleton who had tied himself up in a white cravat and come to bore and be bored.

Yet under this pleasant smile his mind was so busy with its thoughts that he had forgotten all about the guests from Oxbow Village who, as Myrtle had told him, were to come this evening. His eye was all at once caught by a familiar figure, and he recognized Master Byles Gridley, accompanied by Mr. Gifted Hopkins, at the door of the saloon. He stepped forward at once to meet and to present them.

Mr. Gridley in evening costume made an eminently dignified and respectable appearance. There was an unusual look of benignity upon his firmly moulded features, and an air of ease which rather surprised Mr. Bradshaw, who did not know all the social experiences which had formed a part of the old Master's history. The greeting between them was courteous, but somewhat formal, as Mr. Bradshaw was acting as one of the masters of ceremony. He nodded to Gifted in an easy way, and led them both into the immediate Presence.

"This is my friend Professor Gridley, Mrs. Ketchum, whom I have the honor of introducing to you,—a very distinguished scholar, as I have no doubt you are well aware. And this is my friend Mr. Gifted Hopkins, a young poet of distinction, whose fame will reach you by and by, if it has not come to your ears already."

The two gentlemen went through the usual forms, the poet a little crushed by the Presence, but doing his best. While the lady was making polite speeches to them, Myrtle Hazard came forward. She was greatly delighted to meet her old friend, and even looked upon the young poet with a degree of pleasure she would hardly have expected to receive from his company. They both brought with them so many reminiscences of familiar scenes and events, that it was like going back for the moment to Oxbow Village. But Myrtle did not belong to herself that evening, and had no opportunity to enter into conversation just then with either of them. There was to be dancing by and by, and the younger people were getting impatient that it should begin. At last the music sounded the well-known summons, and the floors began to ring to the tread of the dancers. As usual on such occasions there were a large number of non-combatants, who stood as spectators around those who were engaged in the campaign of the evening. Mr. Byles Gridley looked on gravely, thinking of the minuets and the gavots of his younger days. Mr. Gifted Hopkins, who had never acquired the desirable accomplishment of dancing, gazed with dazzled and admiring eyes at the wonderful evolutions of the graceful performers. The music stirred him a good deal; he had also been introduced to one or two young persons as Mr. Hopkins, the poet, and he began to feel a kind of excitement, such as was often the prelude of a lyric burst from his pen. Others might have wealth and beauty, he thought to himself, but what were these to the gift of genius? In[Pg 272] fifty years the wealth of these people would have passed into other hands. In fifty years all these beauties would be dead, or wrinkled and double-wrinkled great-grandmothers. And when they were all gone and forgotten, the name of Hopkins would be still fresh in the world's memory. Inspiring thought! A smile of triumph rose to his lips; he felt that the village boy who could look forward to fame as his inheritance was richer than all the millionnaires, and that the words he should set in verse would have a lustre in the world's memory to which the whiteness of pearls was cloudy, and the sparkle of diamonds dull.

He raised his eyes, which had been cast down in reflection, to look upon these less favored children of Fortune, to whom she had given nothing but perishable inheritances. Two or three pairs of eyes, he observed, were fastened upon him. His mouth perhaps betrayed a little self-consciousness, but he tried to show his features in an aspect of dignified self-possession. There seemed to be remarks and questionings going on, which he supposed to be something like the following:—

Which is it? Which is it?—Why, that one, there,—that young fellow,—don't you see?—What young fellow are you two looking at? Who is he? What is he?—Why, that is Hopkins, the poet.—Hopkins, the poet! Let me see him! Let me see him!—Hopkins? What! Gifted Hopkins? etc., etc.

Gifted Hopkins did not hear these words except in fancy, but he did unquestionably find a considerable number of eyes concentrated upon him, which he very naturally interpreted as an evidence that he had already begun to enjoy a foretaste of the fame of which he should hereafter have his full allowance. Some seemed to be glancing furtively, some appeared as if they wished to speak, and all the time the number of those looking at him seemed to be increasing. A vision came through his fancy of himself as standing on a platform, and having persons who wished to look upon him and shake hands with him presented, as he had heard was the way with great people when going about the country. But this was only a suggestion, and by no means a serious thought, for that would have implied infatuation.

Gifted Hopkins was quite right in believing that he attracted many eyes. At last those of Myrtle Hazard were called to him, and she perceived that an accident was making him unenviably conspicuous. The bow of his rather large white neck-tie had slid round and got beneath his left ear. A not very good-natured or well-bred young fellow had pointed out the subject of this slight misfortune to one or two others of not much better taste or breeding, and thus the unusual attention the youthful poet was receiving explained itself. Myrtle no sooner saw the little accident of which her rural friend was the victim, than she left her place in the dance with a simple courage which did her credit. "I want to speak to you a minute," she said. "Come into this alcove."

And the courageous young lady not only told Gifted what had happened to him, but found a pin somehow, as women always do on a pinch, and had him in presentable condition again almost before the bewildered young man knew what was the matter. On reflection it occurred to him, as it has to other provincial young persons going to great cities, that he might perhaps have been hasty in thinking himself an object of general curiosity as yet. There had hardly been time for his name to have become very widely known. Still, the feeling had been pleasant for the moment, and had given him an idea of what the rapture would be, when, wherever he went, the monster digit (to hint a classical phrase) of the collective admiring public would be lifted to point him out, and the whisper would pass from one to another, "That's him! That's Hopkins!"

Mr. Murray Bradshaw had been watching the opportunity for carrying out his intentions, with his pleasant smile covering up all that was passing[Pg 273] in his mind, and Master Byles Gridley, looking equally unconcerned, had been watching him. The young man's time came at last. Some were at the supper-table, some were promenading, some were talking, when he managed to get Myrtle a little apart from the rest, and led her towards one of the recesses in the apartment, where two chairs were invitingly placed. Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes were sparkling,—the influences to which he had trusted had not been thrown away upon her. He had no idea of letting his purpose be seen until he was fully ready. It required all his self-mastery to avoid betraying himself by look or tone, but he was so natural that Myrtle was thrown wholly off her guard. He meant to make her pleased with herself to begin with, and that not by point-blank flattery, of which she had had more than enough of late, but rather by suggestion and inference, so that she should find herself feeling happy without knowing how. It would be easy to glide from that to the impression she had produced upon him, and get the two feelings more or less mingled in her mind. And so the simple confession he meant to make would at length evolve itself logically, and hold by a natural connection to the first agreeable train of thought which he had called up. Not the way, certainly, that most young men would arrange their great trial scene; but Murray Bradshaw was a lawyer in love as much as in business, and considered himself as pleading a cause before a jury of Myrtle Hazard's conflicting motives. What would any lawyer do in a jury case, but begin by giving the twelve honest men and true to understand, in the first place, that their intelligence and virtue were conceded by all, and that he himself had perfect confidence in them, and leave them to shape their verdict in accordance with these propositions and his own side of the case?

Myrtle had, perhaps, never so seriously inclined her ear to the pleasing accents of the young pleader. He flattered her with so much tact, that she thought she heard an unconscious echo through his lips of an admiration which he only shared with all around him. But in him he made it seem discriminating, deliberate, not blind, but very real. This it was which had led him to trust her with his ambitions and his plans,—they might be delusions, but he could never keep them from her, and she was the one woman in the world to whom he thought he could safely give his confidence.

The dread moment was close at hand. Myrtle was listening with an instinctive premonition of what was coming,—ten thousand mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers, and so on, had passed through it all in preceding generations until time reached backwards to the sturdy savage who asked no questions of any kind, but knocked down the great primeval grandmother of all, and carried her off to his hole in the rock, or into the tree where he had made his nest. Why should not the coming question announce itself by stirring in the pulses and thrilling in the nerves of the descendant of all these grandmothers?

She was leaning imperceptibly towards him, drawn by the mere blind elemental force, as the plummet was attracted to the side of Schehallion. Her lips were parted, and she breathed a little faster than so healthy a girl ought to breathe in a state of repose. The steady nerves of William Murray Bradshaw felt unwonted thrills and tremors tingling through them, as he came nearer and nearer the few simple words with which he was to make Myrtle Hazard the mistress of his destiny. His tones were becoming lower and more serious; there were slight breaks once or twice in the conversation; Myrtle had cast down her eyes.

"There is but one word more to add," he murmured softly, as he bent towards her—

A grave voice interrupted him. "Excuse me, Mr. Bradshaw," said Master Byles Gridley, "I wish to present a young gentleman to my friend here. I promised to show him the most charming[Pg 274] young person I have the honor to be acquainted with, and I must redeem my pledge. Miss Hazard, I have the pleasure of introducing to your acquaintance my distinguished young friend, Mr. Clement Lindsay."

Once more, for the third time, these two young persons stood face to face. Myrtle was no longer liable to those nervous seizures which any sudden impression was liable to produce when she was in her half-hysteric state of mind and body. She turned to the new-comer, who found himself unexpectedly submitted to a test which he would never have risked of his own will. He must go through it, cruel as it was, with the easy self-command which belongs to a gentleman in the most trying social exigencies. He addressed her, therefore, in the usual terms of courtesy, and then turned and greeted Mr. Bradshaw, whom he had never met since their coming together at Oxbow Village. Myrtle was conscious, the instant she looked upon Clement Lindsay, of the existence of some peculiar relation between them; but what, she could not tell. Whatever it was, it broke the charm that had been weaving between her and Murray Bradshaw. He was not foolish enough to make a scene. What fault could he find with Clement Lindsay, who had only done as any gentleman would do with a lady to whom he had just been introduced,—addressed a few polite words to her? After saying those words, Clement had turned very courteously to him, and they had spoken with each other. But Murray Bradshaw could not help seeing that Myrtle had transferred her attention, at least for the moment, from him to the new-comer. He folded his arms and waited,—but he waited in vain. The hidden attraction which drew Clement to the young girl with whom he had passed into the Valley of the Shadow of Death overmastered all other feelings, and he gave himself up to the fascination of her presence.

The inward rage of Murray Bradshaw at being interrupted just at the moment when he was, as he thought, about to cry checkmate and finish the first great game he had ever played, may well be imagined. But it could not be helped. Myrtle had exercised the customary privilege of young ladies at parties, and had turned from talking with one to talking with another,—that was all. Fortunately for him the young man who had been introduced at such a most critical moment was not one from whom he need apprehend any serious interference. He felt grateful beyond measure to pretty Susan Posey, who, as he had good reason for believing, retained her hold upon her early lover, and was looking forward with bashful interest to the time when she should become Mrs. Lindsay. It was better to put up quietly with his disappointment; and, if he could get no favorable opportunity that evening to resume his conversation at the interesting point where he left it off, he would call the next day and bring matters to a conclusion.

He called accordingly, the next morning, but was disappointed in not seeing Myrtle. She had hardly slept that night, and was suffering from a bad headache, which last reason was her excuse for not seeing company.

He called again, the following day, and learned that Miss Hazard had just left the city, and gone on a visit to Oxbow Village.

[Pg 275]


The discovery of America by Christopher Columbus is the greatest event of all secular history. Besides the potato, the turkey, and maize, which it introduced at once for the nourishment and comfort of the Old World, this discovery opened the door to influences infinite in extent and beneficence. Measure them, describe them, picture them, you cannot. While this continent was unknown, imagination invested it with proverbial magnificence. It was the Orient. When afterwards it took its place in geography, imagination found another field in trying to portray its future history. If the Golden Age is before, and not behind, as is now happily the prevailing faith, then indeed must America share at least, if it does not monopolize, the promised good.

Before the voyage of Columbus in 1492, nothing of America was really known. A few scraps from antiquity, a few rumors from the ocean, and a few speculations from science, were all that the inspired navigator found to guide him. Foremost among all these were the well-known verses of the Spaniard Seneca, in the chorus of his "Medea," which for generations had been the finger-point to an undiscovered world.

"Venient annis sæcula seris
Quibus Oceanus vincula rerum
Laxet, et ingens pateat tellus,
Tethysque novos detegat orbes;
Nec sit terris ultima Thule."[1]

"In tardy years the epoch will come in which the ocean will unloose the bonds of nature, and the great earth will stretch out, and the sea will disclose new worlds; nor will Thule be the most remote on the globe."

Two, if not more, different copies of these verses are extant in the handwriting of Columbus,—precious autographs; one in the sketch of his work on the Prophecies, another in a letter addressed to Queen Isabella; and it would seem as if there was still a third entered among his observations of lunar eclipses at Hayti and Jamaica. By these verses the great discoverer sailed. But Humboldt, who has illustrated the enterprise with all that classical or mediæval literature affords,[2] does not hesitate to declare his conviction, that the discovery of a new continent was more completely foreshadowed in the simple geographical statement of the Greek Strabo, who, after a long life of travel, sat down in the eighty-fourth year of his age, during the reign of Augustus, to write the geography of the world, including its cosmography. In this work, where are gathered the results of ancient study and experience, the venerable author, after alluding to the possibility of passing direct from Spain to India, and explaining that the inhabited world is that which we inhabit and know, thus lifts the curtain: "There may be in the same temperate zone two and indeed more inhabited lands, especially nearest the parallel of Thinæ or Athens, prolonged into the Atlantic Ocean."[3] This was the voice of ancient science.

Before the voyage of Columbus, Pulci, the Italian poet, in his Morgante Maggiore, sometimes called the last of the romances and the earliest of the Italian epics, reveals an undiscovered world beyond the Pillars of Hercules.

"Know that this theory is false; his bark
The daring mariner shall urge far o'er
The western wave, a smooth and level plain,
Albeit the earth is fashioned like a wheel.
Man was in ancient days of grosser mould,
And Hercules might blush to learn how far
Beyond the limits he had vainly set
The dullest sea-boat soon shall wing her way.
"Men shall descry another hemisphere,
Since to one common centre all things tend;
So earth, by curious mystery divine
Well balanced, hangs amid the starry spheres.
At our Antipodes are cities, states,
And thronged empires, ne'er divined of yore.[Pg 276]
But see, the sun speeds on his western path
To glad the nations with expected light."[4]

This translation is by our own eminent historian, Prescott, who first called attention to this testimony,[5] which is not mentioned even by Humboldt. Leigh Hunt referred to it at a later day.[6] Pulci was born in Florence, 1431, and died there, 1487, five years before Columbus sailed, so that he was not aided by any rumor of the discovery which he so distinctly predicts.

Passing from the discovery, it may not be uninteresting to collect some of the prophetic voices about the future of America, the "All-Hail Hereafter" of our continent. They will have a lesson also. Seeing what has been already fulfilled, we may better judge what to expect. I shall set them forth in the order of time, prefacing each prediction with an account of the author sufficient to explain its origin and character. If some are already familiar, others are little known. Brought together into one body, on the principle of our national Union, E pluribus unum, they must give new confidence in the destinies of the Republic.

Of course I shall embrace only what has been said seriously by those whose words are important; not an oracular response, which may receive a double interpretation, like the deceptive replies to Crœsus and to Pyrrhus; and not a saying, such as is described by Sir Thomas Browne when he remarks, in his "Christian Morals," that "many positions seem quodlibetically constituted, and, like a Delphian blade, will cut both ways."[7] Men who have lived much and felt strongly see further than others. Their vision penetrates the future. Second sight is little more than clearness of sight. Milton tells us,

"That old experience does attain
To something like prophetic strain."

Sometimes this strain is attained even in youth.

Sir Thomas Browne.—1682.

Dr. Johnson called attention to a tract of Sir Thomas Browne entitled, "A Prophecy concerning the Future State of Several Nations," where the famous author "plainly discovers his expectation to be the same with that entertained later with more confidence by Dr. Berkeley, that America will be the seat of the fifth empire."[8] The tract is vague, but prophetic.

Sir Thomas Browne was born 19th October, 1605, and died 19th October, 1682. His tract was published, two years after his death, in a collection of Miscellanies, edited by Dr. Tenison. As a much-admired author, some of whose writings belong to our English classics, his prophetic prolusions are not unworthy of notice. They are founded on verses entitled "The Prophecy," purporting to have been sent to him by a friend. Among these are the following:—

"When New England shall trouble New Spain,
When Jamaica shall be lady of the isles and the main;
When Spain shall be in America hid,
And Mexico shall prove a Madrid;
When Africa shall no more sell out their blacks
To make slaves and drudges to the American tracts;
*   *   *   *
When America shall cease to send out its treasure,
But employ it at home in American pleasure;
When the New World shall the Old invade,
Nor count them their lords but their fellows in trade;
*   *   *   *
Then think strange things have come to light,
Whereof but few have had a foresight."[9]

Some of these words are striking, especially when we consider their early date. The author of the "Religio Medici" seems in the main to accept the prophecy. In a commentary on each verse he seeks to explain it. New England is "that thriving colony which hath so much increased in his day"; its people are already "industrious," and when they have so far increased "that the neighboring country will not contain them, they will range still farther,[Pg 277] and be able in time to set forth great armies, seek for new possessions, or make considerable and conjoined migrations." The verse about Africa will be fulfilled "when African countries shall no longer make it a common trade to sell away their people." And this may come to pass "whenever they shall be well civilized and acquainted with arts and affairs sufficient to employ people in their countries." It would also come to pass "if they should be converted to Christianity, but especially into Mahometism; for then they would never sell those of their religion to be slaves unto Christians." The verse about America is expounded as follows:—

"That is, when America shall be better civilized, new policied, and divided between great princes, it may come to pass that they will no longer suffer their treasure of gold and silver to be sent out to maintain the luxury of Europe and other ports; but rather employ it to their own advantages, in great exploits and undertakings, magnificent structures, wars, or expeditions of their own."[10]

The other verse, on the invasion of the Old World by the New, is thus explained:—

"That is, when America shall be so well peopled, civilized, and divided into kingdoms, they are like to have so little regard of their originals as to acknowledge no subjection unto them; they may also have a distinct commerce themselves, or but independently with those of Europe, and may hostilely and piratically assault them, even as the Greek and Roman colonies after a long time dealt with their original countries."[11]

That these speculations should arrest the attention of Dr. Johnson is something. They seem to have been in part fulfilled. An editor remarks that, "To judge from the course of events since Sir Thomas wrote, we may not unreasonably look forward to their more complete fulfilment."[12]

Bishop Berkeley.—1726.

It is pleasant to think that Berkeley, whose beautiful verses predicting the future of America are so often quoted, was so sweet and charming a character. Atterbury wrote of him, "So much understanding, knowledge, innocence, and humility I should have thought confined to angels, had I never seen this gentleman." Swift said, "He is an absolute philosopher with regard to money, title, and power." Pope let drop a tribute which can never die, when he said,

"To Berkeley every virtue under Heaven."

Such a person was naturally a seer.

He is compendiously called an Irish prelate and philosopher; he was born in Kilkenny, 1684, and died in Oxford, 1753. He began as a philosopher. While still young, he wrote his famous treatise on "The Principles of Human Knowledge," in which he denies the existence of matter, insisting that it is only an impression produced on the mind by Divine power. After travel for several years on the Continent, and fellowship with the witty and learned at home, among whom were Addison, Swift, Pope, Garth, and Arbuthnot, he conceived the project of educating the aborigines of America, which was set forth in a tract, published in 1725, entitled, "Scheme for Converting the Savage Americans to Christianity by a College to be erected in the Summer Islands, otherwise called the Isles of Bermuda." Persuaded by his benevolence, the ministers promised twenty thousand pounds, and there were several private subscriptions to promote what was called by the king "so pious an undertaking." Berkeley possessed already a deanery in Ireland, with one thousand pounds a year. Turning away from this residence, and refusing to be tempted by an English mitre, offered by the queen, he set sail for Rhode Island, "which lay nearest Bermuda," where, after a tedious passage of five months, he arrived, 23d January, 1729. Here he lived on a farm back of Newport, having been, according to his own report, "at[Pg 278] great expense for land and stock." In familiar letters he has given his impression of this place, famous since for fashion. "The climate," he says, "is like that of Italy, and not at all colder in the winter than I have known it everywhere north of Rome. This island is pleasantly laid out in hills and vales and rising grounds, hath plenty of excellent springs and fine rivulets and many delightful landscapes of rocks and promontories and adjacent lands. The town of Newport contains about six thousand souls, and is the most thriving, flourishing place in all America for its bigness. It is very pretty and pleasantly situated. I was never more agreeably surprised than at the first sight of the town and its harbor."[13] He seems to have been contented here, and when his companions went to Boston stayed at home, "preferring," as he wrote, "quiet and solitude to the noise of a great town, notwithstanding all the solicitations that have been used to draw us thither."[14]

The money which he had expected, especially from the ministry, failed, and after waiting in vain expectation two years and a half, he returned to England, leaving an infant son buried in the yard of Trinity Church, and bestowing upon Yale College a library of eight hundred and eighty volumes, as well as his estate in Rhode Island. During his residence at Newport he had preached every Sunday, and was indefatigable in pastoral duties, besides meditating, if not composing, "The Minute Philosopher," which was published shortly after his return.

He had not been forgotten at home during his absence; and shortly after his return he became Bishop of Cloyne, in which place he was most exemplary, devoting himself to his episcopal duties, to the education of his children, and the pleasures of composition.

It was while occupied with his plan of a college, especially as a nursery for the Colonial churches, shortly before sailing for America, that the future seemed to be revealed to him, and he wrote the famous poem, the only one to be found among his works, entitled, "Verses on the Prospect of Planting Arts and Learning in America."[15] The date may be fixed at 1726. Such a poem was an historic event. I give the first and last stanzas.

"The Muse, disgusted at an age and clime
Barren of every glorious theme,
In distant lands now waits a better,
Producing subjects worthy fame.
*   *   *   *
"Westward the course of empire takes its way;
The first four acts already past,
A fifth shall close the drama with the day;
Time's noblest offspring is the last."

It is difficult to exaggerate the value of these verses, which have been so often quoted as to become one of the commonplaces of literature and politics. There is nothing from any oracle, there is very little from any prophecy, which can compare with them. The biographer of Berkeley, who wrote in the last century, was very cautious, when, after calling them "a beautiful copy of verses," he says that "another age will, perhaps, acknowledge the old conjunction of the prophetic character with that of the poet to have again taken place."[16] The vates of the Romans was poet and prophet; and such was Berkeley.

The sentiment which prompted the prophetic verses of the good Bishop was widely diffused; or, perhaps, it was a natural prompting.[17] Of this an illustration is afforded in the life of Benjamin West. On his visit to Rome in 1760, the young artist encountered a famous improvvisatore, who, on learning that he was an American come to study the fine arts in Rome, at once addressed him with the ardor of inspiration, and to the music of his guitar. After singing the darkness which for so many ages veiled America from the eyes of science, and also the fulness of time when the purposes for which America had been raised from the deep would be manifest, he hailed the youth[Pg 279] before him as an instrument of Heaven to raise there a taste for those arts which elevate man, and an assurance of refuge to science and knowledge, when, in the old age of Europe, they should have forsaken her shores. Then, in the spirit of prophecy, he sang:—

"But all things of heavenly origin, like the glorious sun, move westward; and truth and art have their periods of shining and of night. Rejoice then, O venerable Rome, in thy divine destiny; for though darkness overshadow thy seats, and though thy mitred head must descend into the dust, thy spirit immortal and undecayed already spreads towards a new world."[18]

John Adams, in his old age; dwelling on the reminiscences of early life, records that nothing was "more ancient in his memory than the observation that arts, sciences, and empire had travelled westward, and in conversation it was always added, since he was a child, that their next leap would be over the Atlantic into America." With the assistance of an octogenarian neighbor, he recalled a couplet that had been repeated with rapture as long as he could remember:—

"The Eastern nations sink, their glory ends,
And empire rises where the sun descends."

It was imagined by his neighbor that these lines came from some of our early pilgrims,—by whom they had been "inscribed, or rather drilled, into a rock on the shore of Monument Bay in our old Colony of Plymouth."[19]

Another illustration of this same sentiment will be found in Burnaby's "Travels through the Middle Settlements of North America, in 1759 and 1760," a work which was first published in 1775. In his reflections at the close of his book the traveller thus remarks:—

"An idea, strange as it is visionary, has entered into the minds of the generality of mankind, that empire is travelling westward: and every one is looking forward with eager and impatient expectation to that destined moment when America is to give the law to the rest of the world."[20]

The traveller is none the less an authority for the prevalence of this sentiment because he declares it "illusory and fallacious," and records his conviction that "America is formed for happiness, but not for empire." Happy America! What empire can compare with happiness! But, to make amends for this admission, the jealous traveller, in his edition of 1796, after the adoption of our Constitution, announces that "the present union of American States will not be permanent, or last for any considerable length of time," and "that that extensive country must necessarily be divided into separate states and kingdoms."[21] Thus far the Union has stood against all shocks, foreign or domestic; and the prophecy of Berkeley is more than ever in the popular mind.


Among the illustrious names of France there are few equal to that of Turgot. He was a philosopher among ministers, and a minister among philosophers. Malesherbes said of him, that he had the heart of L'Hôpital and the head of Bacon. Such a person in public affairs was an epoch for his country and for the human race. Had his spirit prevailed, the bloody drama of the French Revolution would not have occurred, or it would at least have been postponed. I think it could not have occurred. He was a good man, who sought to carry into government the rules of goodness. His career from beginning to end was one continuous beneficence. Such a nature was essentially prophetic, for he discerned the natural laws by which the future is governed.

He was of an ancient Norman family, whose name suggests the god Thor; he was born at Paris, 1727, and died, 1781. Being a younger son, he was destined for the Church, and commenced his[Pg 280] studies as an ecclesiastic at the ancient Sorbonne. Before registering an irrevocable vow, he announced his repugnance to the profession, and turned aside to other pursuits. Law, literature, science, humanity, government, now engaged his attention. He associated himself with the writers of the Encyclopædia, and became one of its contributors. In other writings he vindicated especially the virtue of toleration. Not merely a theorist, he soon arrived at the high post of intendant of Limousin, where he developed a remarkable talent for administration, and a sympathy with the people. He introduced the potato into that province. But he continued to employ his pen, especially on questions of political economy, which he treated as a master. On the accession of Louis XVI. he was called to the cabinet as Minister of the Marine, and shortly afterwards he gave up this place to be the head of the finances. Here he began a system of rigid economy, founded on a curtailment of expenses and an enlargement of resources. The latter was obtained especially by a removal of disabilities from trade, whether at home or abroad, and the substitution of a single tax on land for a complex multiplicity of taxes. The enemies of progress were too strong at that time, and the king dismissed the reformer. Good men in France became anxious for the future; Voltaire, in his distant retreat, gave a shriek of despair, and addressed to Turgot some remarkable verses entitled Épître à un Homme. Worse still, the good edicts of the minister were rescinded, and society was put back.

The discarded minister gave himself to science, literature, and friendship. He welcomed Franklin to France and to immortality in a Latin verse of marvellous felicity. He was already the companion of the liberal spirits who were doing so much for knowledge and for reform. By writing and by conversation he exercised a constant influence. His "ideas" seem to illumine the time. We may be content to follow him in saying, "The glory of arms cannot compare with the happiness of living in peace." He anticipated our definition of a republic, when he said "it was formed upon the equality of all the citizens,"—good words, not yet practically verified in all our States. Such a government he, living under a monarchy, bravely pronounced the best of all; but he added that he "had never known a constitution truly republican." This was in 1778. With similar plainness he announced that "the destruction of the Ottoman empire would be a real good for all the nations of Europe," and—he added still further—for humanity also, because it would involve the abolition of negro slavery, and because to strip "our oppressors is not to attack, but to vindicate, the common rights of humanity." With such thoughts and aspirations, the prophet died.

But I have no purpose of writing a biography, or even a character. All that I intend is an introduction to Turgot's prophetic words relating to America. When only twenty-three years of age, while still an ecclesiastic at the Sorbonne, the future minister delivered a discourse on the Progress of the Human Mind, in which, after describing the commercial triumphs of the ancient Phœnicians, covering the coasts of Greece and Asia with their colonies, he lets drop these remarkable words:—

"Les colonies sont comme des fruits qui ne tiennent à l'arbre que jusqu'à leur maturité; devenues suffisantes à elles-mêmes, elles firent ce que fit depuis Carthage,—ce que fera un jour l'Amérique."[22]

"Colonies are like fruits, which hold to the tree only until their maturity; when sufficient for themselves, they did that which Carthage afterwards did,—that which some day America will do."

On this most suggestive declaration,[Pg 281] Dupont de Nemours, the editor of Turgot's works, published in 1808, remarks in a note as follows:—

"It was in 1750 that M. Turgot, being then only twenty-three years old, and devoted in a seminary to the study of theology, divined, foresaw the revolution which has formed the United States,—which has detached them from the European power apparently the most capable of retaining its colonies under its domination."

At the time Turgot wrote, Canada was a French possession; but his words are as applicable to this colony as to the United States. When will this fruit be ripe?

John Adams.—1755, 1776, 1780, 1785, 1787.

Next in time among the prophets was John Adams, who has left on record at different dates several predictions which show a second-sight of no common order. Of his life I need say nothing, except that he was born 19th October, 1735, and died 4th July, 1826. I mention the predictions in the order of their utterance.

1. While teaching a school at Worcester, and when under twenty years of age, he wrote a letter to one of his youthful companions, bearing date 12th October, 1755, which is a marvel of foresight. Fifty-two years afterwards, when already much of its prophecy had been fulfilled, the original was returned to its author by the son of his early comrade and correspondent, Nathan Webb, who was at the time dead. In this letter, after remarking gravely on the rise and fall of nations, with illustrations from Carthage and Rome, he proceeds:—

"England began to increase in power and magnificence, and is now the greatest nation of the globe. Soon after the Reformation, a few people came over into this New World for conscience' sake. Perhaps this apparently trivial incident may transfer the great seat of empire to America. It looks likely to me; for if we can remove the turbulent Gallics, our people, according to the exactest computations, will, in another century, become more numerous than England itself. Should this be the case, since we have, I may say, all the naval stores of the nations in our hands, it will be easy to obtain the mastery of the seas; and then the united force of all Europe will not be able to subdue us. The only way to keep us from setting up for ourselves is to disunite us. Divide et impera. Keep us in distinct colonies, and then, some great men in each colony desiring the monarchy of the whole, they will destroy each others' influence, and keep the country in equilibrio."[23]

On this letter his son, John Quincy Adams, remarks:—

"Had the political part of it been written by the minister of state of a European monarchy, at the close of a long life spent in the government of nations, it would have been pronounced worthy of the united wisdom of a Burleigh, a Sully, or an Oxenstiern.... In one bold outline he has exhibited by anticipation a long succession of prophetic history, the fulfilment of which is barely yet in progress, responding exactly hitherto to his foresight, but the full accomplishment of which is reserved for the development of after ages. The extinction of the power of France in America, the union of the British North American Colonies, the achievement of their independence, and the establishment of their ascendency in the community of civilized nations by the means of their naval power, are all foreshadowed in this letter, with a clearness of perception and a distinctness of delineation which time has done little more than to convert into historical fact."[24]

2. The Declaration of Independence bears date 4th July, 1776, for on that day it was signed; but the vote which determined it was on the 2d July. On the 3d July, John Adams, in a letter to his wife, wrote as follows:—

"Yesterday the greatest question[Pg 282] was decided which ever was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was nor will be decided among men.... I am surprised at the suddenness as well as greatness of this revolution. Britain has been filled with folly, and America with wisdom. At least this is my judgment. Time must determine. It is the will of Heaven that the two countries should be sundered forever.... The day is past. The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward, forevermore. You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the ray of ravishing light and glory; and that posterity will triumph in that day's transaction, even although we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not."[25]

Here is a comprehensive prophecy, first, that the two countries would be separated forever; secondly, that the anniversary of Independence would be celebrated as a great annual festival; and, thirdly, that posterity would triumph in this transaction, where, through all the gloom, shone rays of ravishing light and glory; all of which has been fulfilled to the letter. Recent events give to the Declaration additional importance. For a long time its great promises that all men are equal, and that rightful government stands only on the consent of the governed, were disowned by our country. Now that at last they are beginning to prevail, there is increased reason to celebrate the day on which the mighty Declaration was made, and new occasion for triumph in the rays of ravishing light and glory.

3. Here is another prophetic passage in a letter dated at Paris, 13th July, 1780, and addressed to the Count de Vergennes of France, pleading the cause of the colonists:—

"The United States of America are a great and powerful people, whatever European statesmen may think of them. If we take into our estimate the numbers and the character of her people, the extent, variety, and fertility of her soil, her commerce, and her skill and materials for ship-building, and her seamen, excepting France, Spain, England, Germany, and Russia, there is not a state in Europe so powerful. Breaking off such a nation as this from the English so suddenly, and uniting it so closely with France, is one of the most extraordinary events that ever happened among mankind."[26]

Perhaps this may be considered a statement rather than a prophecy; but it illustrates the prophetic character of the writer.

4. In an official letter to the President of Congress, dated at Amsterdam, 5th September, 1780, the same writer, while proposing an American Academy for refining, improving, and ascertaining the English language, thus predicts the extension of this language:—

"English is destined to be in the next and succeeding centuries more generally the language of the world than Latin was in the last or French is in the present age. The reason of this is obvious,—because the increasing population in America, and their universal connection and correspondence with all nations, will, aided by the influence of England in the world, whether great or small, force their language into general use, in spite of all the obstacles that may be thrown in their way, if any such there should be."[27]

In another letter of an unofficial character, dated at Amsterdam, 23d September, 1780,[Pg 283] he thus repeats his prophecy:—

"You must know I have undertaken to prophesy that English will be the most respectable language in the world, and the most universally read and spoken in the next century, if not before the close of this. American population will in the next age produce a greater number of persons who will speak English than any other language, and these persons will have more general acquaintance and conversation with all other nations than any other people."[28]

This prophecy is already accomplished. Of all the European languages, English is most extensively spoken. Through England and the United States it has become the language of commerce, which, sooner or later, must embrace the globe. The German philologist, Grimm, has followed our American prophet in saying that it "seems chosen, like its people, to rule in future times in a still greater degree in all the corners of the earth."[29]

5. There is another prophecy, at once definite and broad, which proceeded from the same eminent quarter. In a letter dated London, 17th October, 1785, and addressed to John Jay, who was at the time Secretary for Foreign Affairs under the Confederation, John Adams reveals his conviction of the importance of France to us, "while England held a province in America";[30] and then, in another letter, dated 21st October, 1785, reports the saying of people about him, "that Canada and Nova Scotia must soon be ours; there must be war for it; they know how it will end, but the sooner the better. This done, we shall be forever at peace; till then, never."[31] These intimations foreshadow the prophecy which will be found in the Preface to his "Defence of the American Constitutions," written in London, while he was Minister there, and dated at Grosvenor Square, 1st January, 1787:—

"The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature.... Thirteen governments thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind. The experiment is made, and has completely succeeded."[32]

Here is foretold nothing less than that our system of government is to embrace the whole continent of North America.

Galiani.—1776, 1778.

Among the most brilliant persons in this list is the Abbé Galiani, a Neapolitan, who was born in 1728, and died at Naples in 1787. Although Italian by birth, yet by the accident of official residence he became for a while domesticated in France, wrote the French language, and now enjoys a French reputation. His writings in French and his letters have the wit and ease of Voltaire.

Galiani was a genius. Whatever he touched shone at once with his brightness, in which there was originality as well as knowledge. He was a finished scholar, and very successful in lapidary verses. Early in life, while in Italy, he wrote a grave essay on Money, which contrasted with another of rare humor suggested by the death of the public executioner. Other essays followed, and then came the favor of that congenial pontiff, Benedict XIV. In 1760 he found himself at Paris, as Secretary of the Neapolitan Embassy. Here he mingled with the courtiers officially, according to the duties of his position, but he fraternized with the liberal and sometimes audacious spirits who exercised such an influence over society and literature. He was soon recognized as one of them, and as inferior to none. His petty stature was forgotten, when he conversed with inexhaustible[Pg 284] faculties of all kinds, so that he seemed an Encyclopædia, Harlequin, and Machiavelli all in one. The atheists at the Thursday dinner of D'Holbach were confounded, while he enforced the existence of God. Into the questions of political economy which occupied attention at the time he entered with a pen which seemed borrowed from the French Academy. His Dialogues sur le Commerce des Blés had the success of a romance; ladies carried this book on corn in their work-baskets. Returning to Naples, he continued to live in Paris through his correspondence, especially with Madame d'Epinay, the Baron d'Holbach, Diderot, and Grimm.[33]

Among his later works, after his return to Naples, was a solid volume—not to be forgotten in the History of International Law—on the "Rights of Neutrals," where a difficult subject is treated with such mastery that, half a century later, D'Hautefeuille, in his elaborate treatise, copies from it at length. Galiani was the predecessor of this French writer in the extreme assertion of neutral rights. Other works were left at his death in manuscript, some grave and some humorous; also letters without number. The letters he had preserved from Italian savans filled eight large volumes; those from savans, ministers, and sovereigns abroad filled fourteen. His Parisian correspondence did not see the light till 1818, although some of the letters may be found in the contemporary correspondence of Grimm.

In his Parisian letters, which are addressed chiefly to that clever individuality, Madame d'Epinay, the Neapolitan Abbé shows not only the brilliancy and nimbleness of his talent, but the universality of his knowledge and the boldness of his speculations. Here are a few words from a letter dated at Naples, 12th October, 1776, in which he brings forward the idea of "races," so important in our day, with an illustration from Russia:—

"All depends on races. The first, the most noble of races, comes naturally from the North of Asia. The Russians are the nearest to it, and this is the reason why they have made more progress in fifty years than can be got out of the Portuguese in five hundred."[34]

Belonging to the Latin race, Galiani was entitled to speak thus freely.

1. In another letter to Madame d'Epinay, dated at Naples, 18th May, 1776, he had already foretold the success of our Revolution. Few prophets have been more explicit than he was in the following passage:—

"Livy said of his age, which so much resembled ours, 'Ad hæc tempora ventum est quibus, nec vitia nostra, nec remedia pati possumus,'—'We are in an age where the remedies hurt as much as the vices.' Do you know the reality? The epoch has come of the total fall of Europe, and of transmigration into America. All here turns into rottenness,—religion, laws, arts, sciences,—and all hastens to renew itself in America. This is not a jest; nor is it an idea drawn from the English quarrels; I have said it, announced it, preached it, for more than twenty years, and I have constantly seen my prophecies come to pass. Therefore, do not buy your house in the Chaussée d'Antin; you must buy it in Philadelphia. My trouble is that there are no abbeys in America."[35]

This letter was written some months before the Declaration of Independence was known in Europe.

2. In another letter, dated at Naples, 7th February, 1778, the Abbé alludes to the "quantities" of English men and women who have come to Naples "for shelter from the American tempest," and adds, "Meanwhile the Washingtons and Hancocks will be fatal to them."[36] In still another, dated at Naples, 25 July, 1778, he renews[Pg 285] his prophecies in language still more explicit:—

"You will at this time have decided the greatest revolution of the globe; namely, if it is America which is to reign over Europe, or if it is Europe which is to continue to reign over America. I will wager in favor of America, for the reason merely physical, that for five thousand years genius has turned opposite to the diurnal motion, and travelled from the East to the West."[37]

Here again is the idea of Berkeley which has been so captivating.

Adam Smith.—1776.

In contrast with the witty Italian is the illustrious philosopher and writer of Scotland, Adam Smith, who was born 5th June, 1723, and died 17th July, 1790. His fame is so commanding that any details of his life or works would be out of place on this occasion. He was a thinker and an inventor, through whom mankind was advanced in knowledge.

I say nothing of his "Theory of Moral Sentiments," which constitutes an important contribution to the science of ethics, but come at once to his great work of political economy, entitled "Inquiry into the Nature and Sources of the Wealth of Nations," which first appeared in 1776. Its publication marks an epoch which is described by Mr. Buckle when he says: "Adam Smith contributed more, by the publication of this single work, toward the happiness of man, than has been effected by the united abilities of all the statesmen and legislators of whom history has preserved an authentic account." The work is full of prophetic knowledge, and especially with regard to the British colonies. Writing while the debate with the mother country was still pending, Adam Smith urged that they should be admitted to Parliamentary representation in proportion to taxation, so that their representation would enlarge with their growing resources; and here he predicts nothing less than the transfer of empire.

"The distance of America from the seat of government, the natives of that country might flatter themselves, with some appearance of reason too, would not be of very long continuance. Such has hitherto been the rapid progress of that country in wealth, population, and improvement, that, in the course of little more than a century, perhaps, the produce of America might exceed that of British taxation. The seat of the empire would then naturally remove itself to that part of the empire which contributed most to the general defence and support of the whole."[38]

In these tranquil words of assured science this great author carries the seat of government across the Atlantic.

Governor Pownall.—1777, 1780, 1785.

Among the best friends of our country abroad during the trials of the Revolution was Thomas Pownall, called by one biographer "a learned antiquary and politician," and by another "an English statesman and author." Latterly he has so far dropped out of sight, that there are few who recognize in him either of these characters. He was born, 1722, and died at Bath, 1805. During this long period he held several offices. As early as 1745 he became secretary to the Commission for Trade and Plantations. In 1753 he crossed the ocean. In 1755, as Commissioner for Massachusetts Bay, he negotiated with New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, in union with New England, the confederated expedition against Crown Point. He was afterwards Governor of Massachusetts Bay, New Jersey, and South Carolina, successively. Returning to England, he was, in 1761, Comptroller-General of the army in Germany, with the military rank of Colonel. He sat in three successive Parliaments until 1780, when he passed into private[Pg 286] life. Hildreth gives a glimpse at his personal character, when, admitting his frank manners and liberal politics, he describes his "habits as rather freer than suited the New England standard."[39]

Pownall stands forth conspicuous for his championship of our national independence, and especially for his foresight with regard to our national future. In both these respects his writings are unique. Other Englishmen were in favor of our independence, and saw our future also; but I doubt if any one can be named who was his equal in strenuous action, or in minuteness of foresight. While the war was still proceeding, as early as 1780, he openly announced, not only that independence was inevitable, but that the new nation, "founded in nature and built up in truth," would continually expand; that its population would increase and multiply; that a civilizing activity beyond what Europe could ever know would animate it; and that its commercial and naval power would be found in every quarter of the globe. All this he set forth at length with argument and illustration, and he called his prophetic words "the stating of the simple fact, so little understood in the Old World." Treated at first as "unintelligible speculation" and as "unfashionable," the truth he announced was neglected where it was not rejected, but generally rejected as inadmissible, and the author, according to his own language, "was called by the wise men of the British Cabinet a Wild Man, unfit to be employed." But these writings are a better title now than any office. In manner they are diffuse and pedantic; but they hardly deserve the cold judgment of John Adams, who in his old age said of them, that "a reader who has patience to search for good sense in an uncouth and disgusting style will find in those writings proofs of a thinking mind."[40]

He seems to have written a good deal. But the works which will be remembered the longest are not even mentioned by several of his biographers. Rose, in his Biographical Dictionary, records works by him, entitled Antiquities of Ancient Greece; Roman Antiquities dug up at Bath; Observations on the Currents of the Ocean; Intellectual Physics; and also contributions to the Archæologia. Gorton in his Biographical Dictionary adds some other titles to this list. But neither mentions his works on America. This is another instance where the stone rejected by the builders becomes the head of the corner.

At an early date Pownall comprehended the position of our country, geographically. He saw the wonderful means of internal communication supplied by its inland waters, and also the opportunities of external commerce supplied by the Atlantic Ocean. On the first he dwells, in a memorial drawn-up in 1756 for the Duke of Cumberland.[41] Nobody in our own day, after the experience of more than a century, has portrayed more vividly the two masses of waters,—one composed of the great lakes and their dependencies, and the other of the Mississippi and its tributaries. The great lakes are described as "a wilderness of waters spreading over the country by an infinite number and variety of branchings, bays, and straits." The Mississippi, with its eastern branch, called the Ohio, is described as having, "so far as we know, but two falls,—one at a place called, by the French, St. Antoine, high up on the west or main branch"; and all its waters "run to the ocean with a still, easy, and gentle current." The picture is completed by exhibiting the two masses of water in combination:—

"The waters of each respective mass—not only the lesser streams, but the main general body of each going through this continent in every course and direction—have by their approach to each other, by their communication[Pg 287] to every quarter and in every direction, an alliance and unity, and form one mass, or one whole."[42]

Again, depicting the intercommunication among the several waters of the continent, and how "the watery element claims and holds dominion over this extent of land," he insists that all shall see these two mighty masses in their central throne, declaring that "the great lakes which lie upon its bosom on one hand, and the great river Mississippi and the multitude of waters which run into it, form there a communication,—an alliance or dominion of the watery element, that commands throughout the whole; that these great lakes appear to be the throne, the centre of a dominion, whose influence, by an infinite number of rivers, creeks, and streams, extends itself through all and every part of the continent, supported by the communication of, and alliance with the waters of the Mississippi."[43]

If these means of internal commerce were vast, those afforded by the Atlantic Ocean were not less extensive. The latter were developed in the volume entitled "The Administration of the Colonies," the fourth edition of which, published in 1768, is now before me. This was after the differences between the Colonies and the mother country had begun, but before the idea of independence had shown itself. Pownall insisted that the Colonies ought to be considered as parts of the realm, entitled to representation in Parliament. This was a constitutional unity. But he portrayed a commercial unity also, which he represented in attractive forms. The British isles, and the British possessions in the Atlantic and in America, were, according to him, "one grand marine dominion," and ought, therefore, by policy, to be united into one empire, with one centre. On this he dwells at length, and the picture is presented repeatedly.[44] It was incident to the crisis produced in the world by the predominance of the commercial spirit which already began to rule the powers of Europe. It was the duty of England to place herself at the head of this great movement.

"As the rising of this crisis forms precisely the object, on which government should be employed, so the taking leading measures towards the forming all those Atlantic and American possessions into one empire, of which Great Britain should be the commercial and political centre, is the precise duty of government at this crisis."

This was his desire. But he saw clearly the resources as well as the rights of the Colonies, and was satisfied that, if power were not consolidated under the constitutional auspices of England, it would be transferred to the other side of the Atlantic. Here his words are prophetic:—

"The whole train of events, the whole course of business, must perpetually bring forward into practice, and necessarily in the end into establishment, either an American or a British union. There is no other alternative."

The necessity for union is enforced in a manner which foreshadows our national Union:—

"The Colonial Legislature does not answer all purposes; is incompetent and inadequate to many purposes. Something more is necessary,—either a common union among themselves, or a common union of subordination under the one general legislature of the state."[45]

Then, again, in another place of the same work, after representing the declarations of power over the Colonies as little better than mockery, he prophesies again:—

"Such is the actual state of the really existing system of our dominions, that neither the power of government over these various parts can long continue under the present mode of administration, nor the great interests of commerce extended throughout the whole long subsist under the present system of the laws of trade."[46][Pg 288]

Recent events may give present interest to his views, in this same work, on the nature and necessity of a paper curency, where he follows Franklin. The principal points of his plan were, that bills of credit, to a certain amount, should be printed in England for the use of the Colonies; that a loan-office should be established in each Colony to issue bills, take securities, and receive the payment; that the bills should be issued for ten years, bearing interest at five per cent,—one tenth part of the sum borrowed to be paid annually, with interest; and that they should be a legal tender.

When the differences had flamed forth in war, then the prophet became more earnest. His utterances deserve to be rescued from oblivion. He was open, and almost defiant. As early as 2d December, 1777, some months before our treaty with France, he declared, from his place in Parliament, "that the sovereignty of this country over America is abolished and gone forever"; "that they are determined at all events to be independent, and will be so"; and "that all the treaty this country can ever expect with America is federal, and that, probably, only commercial." In this spirit he said to the House:—

"Until you shall be convinced that you are no longer sovereigns over America, but that the United States are an independent, sovereign people,—until you are prepared to treat with them as such,—it is of no consequence at all what schemes or plans of conciliation this side of the House or that may adopt."[47]

The position taken in Parliament he maintained by writings, and here he depicted the great destinies of our country. He began with a work entitled "A Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe," which was published early in 1780, and was afterwards, through the influence of John Adams, while at the Hague, abridged and translated into French. In this remarkable production independence was the least that he claimed for us. Thus he foretells our future:—

"North America is become a new primary planet in the system of the world, which, while it takes its own course, must have effect on the orbit of every other planet, and shift the common centre of gravity of the whole system of the European world. North America is de facto an independent power, which has taken its equal station with other powers, and must be so de jure.... The independence of America is fixed as fate. She is mistress of her own future, knows that she is so, and will actuate that power which she feels she hath, so as to establish her own system and to change the system of Europe."[48]

Not only is the new power to take an independent place, but it is "to change the system of Europe." For all this its people are amply prepared. "Standing on that high ground of improvement up to which the most enlightened parts of Europe have advanced, like eaglets, they commence the first efforts of their pinions from a towering advantage."[49] Then again, giving expression to this same conviction in another form, he says:—

"North America has advanced, and is every day advancing, to growth of state, with a steady and continually accelerating motion, of which there has never yet been any example in Europe."[50] "It is a vitality, liable to many disorders, many dangerous diseases; but it is young and strong, and will struggle, by the vigor of internal healing principles of life, against those evils, and surmount them. Its strength will grow with its years."[51]

He then dwells in detail on "the progressive population" here; on our advantage in being "on the other side of the globe, where there is no enemy"; on the products of the soil, among which is "bread-corn to a degree that has wrought it to a staple export for[Pg 289] the supply of the Old World"; on the fisheries, which he calls "mines of more solid riches than all the silver of Potosi"; on the inventive spirit of the people; and on their commercial activity. Of such a people it is easy to predict great things; and our prophet announces,—

1. That the new state will be "an active naval power," exercising a peculiar influence on commerce, and, through commerce, on the political system of the Old World,—becoming the arbitress of commerce, and, perhaps, the mediatrix of peace.[52]

2. That ship-building and the science of navigation have made such progress in America, that her people will be able to build and navigate cheaper than any country in Europe, even Holland, with all her economy.[53]

3. That the peculiar articles to be had from America only, and so much sought in Europe, must give Americans a preference in those markets.[54]

4. That a people "whose empire stands singly predominant on a great continent" can hardly "suffer in their borders such a monopoly as the European Hudson Bay Company"; that it cannot be stopped by Cape Horn or the Cape of Good Hope; that before long they will be found "trading in the South Sea and in China"; and that the Dutch "will hear of them in the Spice Islands."[55]

5. That by constant intercommunion of business and correspondence, and by increased knowledge with regard to the ocean, "America will seem every day to approach nearer and nearer to Europe"; that the old alarm at the sea will subside, and "a thousand attractive motives will become the irresistible cause of an almost general emigration to the New World"; and that "many of the most useful, enterprising spirits, and much of the active property, will go there also."[56]

6. That "North America will become a free port to all the nations of the world indiscriminately, and will expect, insist on, and demand, in fair reciprocity, a free market in all those nations with whom she trades"; and that, adhering to this principle, "she must be, in the course of time, the chief carrier of the commerce of the whole world."[57]

7. That America must avoid complication with European politics, or "the entanglement of alliances," having no connections with Europe other than commercial;[58]—all of which at a later day was put forth by Washington in his Farewell Address, when he said, "The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political concern as possible."

8. That similar modes of living and thinking, the same manners and same fashions, the same language and old habits of national love, impressed on the heart and not yet effaced, the very indentings of the fracture where North America is broken off from England, all conspire naturally to a rejuncture by alliance.[59]

9. That the sovereigns of Europe, "who have despised the unfashioned, awkward youth of America," and have neglected to interweave their interests with the rising States, when they find the system of the new empire not only obstructing, but superseding, the old system of Europe, and crossing all their settled maxims, will call upon their ministers and wise men, "Come, curse me this people, for they are too mighty for me."[60]

This appeal was followed by two other memorials, "drawn up solely for the king's use, and designed solely for his eye," dated at Richmond, January, 1782, in which the author most persuasively pleads with the king to treat with the Colonies on the footing of independence,[Pg 290] and with this view to institute a preliminary negotiation "as with free states de facto under a truce." On the signature of the treaty of peace, he wrote a private letter to Franklin, dated at Richmond, 28th February, 1783, in which be testifies again to the magnitude of the event, as follows:—

"My old Friend,—I write this to congratulate you on the establishment of your country as a free and sovereign power, taking its equal station amongst the powers of the world. I congratulate you, in particular, as chosen by Providence to be a principal instrument in this great Revolution,—a Revolution that has stranger marks of Divine interposition, superseding the ordinary course of human affairs, than any other event which this world has experienced."

He closes this letter by saying that he thought of making a tour of America, adding that, "if there ever was an object worth travelling to see, and worthy of the contemplation of a philosopher, it is that in which he may see the beginning of a great empire at its foundation."[61] He communicated this purpose also to John Adams, who answered him, that "he would be received respectfully in every part of America,—that he had always been considered friendly to America,—and that his writings had been useful to our cause."[62]

Then came another work, first published in 1783, entitled, "A Memorial addressed to the Sovereigns of America, by Governor Pownall," of which he gave the mistaken judgment to a private friend, that it was "the best thing he ever wrote." Here for the first time American citizens are called "sovereigns." At the beginning he explains and indicates the simplicity with which he addresses them:—

"Having presumed to address to the Sovereigns of Europe a Memorial ... permit me now to address this Memorial to you, Sovereigns of America. I shall not address you with the court titles of Gothic Europe, nor with those of servile Asia. I will neither address your Sublimity or Majesty, your Grace or Holiness, your Eminence or High-mightiness, your Excellence or Honors. What are titles, where things themselves are known and understood? What title did the Republic of Rome take? The state was known to be sovereign and the citizens to be free. What could add to this? Therefore, United States and Citizens of America, I address you as you are."[63]

Here again are the same constant sympathy with liberty, the same confidence in our national destinies, and the same aspirations for our prosperity, mingled with warnings against disturbing influences. He exhorts that all our foundations should be "laid in nature"; that there should be "no contention for, nor acquisition of, unequal domination in men"; and that union should be established on the attractive principle by which all are drawn to a common centre. He fears difficulty, in making the line of frontier between us and the British Provinces "a line of peace," as it ought to be; he is anxious lest something may break out between us and Spain; and he suggests that possibly, "in the cool hours of unimpassioned reflection," we may learn the danger of our "alliances,"—referring plainly to that original alliance with France which, at a later day, was the occasion of such trouble. Two other warnings occur. One is against Slavery, which is more noteworthy, because in an earlier memorial he enumerates among articles of commerce "African slaves carried by a circuitous, trade in American shipping to the West India market."[64] The other warning is thus strongly expressed:—"Every inhabitant of America is, de facto as well as de jure, equal, in his essential, inseparable rights of the individual, to any other individual, and is, in these rights, independent of any power that[Pg 291] any other can assume over him, over his labor, or his property. This is principle in act and deed, and not a mere speculative theorem."[65]

I close this strange and striking testimony, all from one man, with his farewell words to Franklin. As Pownall heard that the great philosopher and negotiator was about to embark for the United States, he wrote to him from Lausanne, under date of 3d July, 1785, as follows:—

"Adieu, my dear friend. You are going to a New World, formed to exhibit a scene which the Old World never yet saw. You leave me here in the Old World, which, like myself, begins to feel, as Asia hath felt, that it is wearing out apace. We shall never meet again on this earth; but there is another world where we shall, and where we shall be understood."

Clearly Pownall was not understood in his time; but it is evident that he understood our country as few Englishmen since have been able to understand it.

David Hartley.—1775, 1785.

Another friend of our country in England was David Hartley. He was constant and even pertinacious on our side, although less prophetic than Pownall, with whom he co-operated in purpose and activity. His father was Hartley the metaphysician, and author of the ingenious theory of sensation. The son was born 1729, and died at Bath, 1813, During our revolution he sat in Parliament for Kingston-upon-Hull. He was also the British plenipotentiary in negotiating the definitive Treaty of Peace with the United States. He, too, has dropped out of sight. In the biographical dictionaries he has only a few lines. But he deserves a considerable place in the history of our independence.

John Adams was often austere, and sometimes cynical in his judgments. Evidently he did not like Hartley. In one place he speaks of him as "talkative and disputatious, and not always intelligible";[66] then, as "a person of consummate vanity";[67] and then, again, when he was appointed to sign the definitive Treaty, he says, "it would have been more agreeable to have finished with Mr. Oswald";[68] and, in still another place, he records, "Mr. Hartley was as copious as usual."[69] And yet, when writing most elaborately to Count de Vergennes on the prospects of the negotiation with England, he introduces opinions of Hartley at length, saying that he was "more for peace than any man in the kingdom."[70] Such testimony may well outweigh the other expressions, especially as nothing of the kind appears in the correspondence of Franklin, with whom Hartley was much more intimate.

The Parliamentary History is a sufficient monument for Hartley. He was a frequent speaker, and never missed an opportunity of pleading our cause. Although without the immortal eloquence of Burke, he was always clear and full. Many of his speeches seem to have been written out by himself. He was not a tardy convert. He began as "a new member" by supporting an amendment favorable to the Colonies, 5th December, 1774. In March, 1775, he brought forward "propositions for conciliation with America," which he sustained in an elaborate speech, where he avowed that the American Question had occupied him already for some time:—

"Though I have so lately had the honor of a seat in this House, yet I have for many years turned my thoughts and attention to matters of public concern and national policy. This question of America is now of many years' standing."[71]

In the course of this speech he thus[Pg 292] acknowledges the services of New England at Louisburg:—

"In that war too, sir, they took Louisburg from the French, single-handed, without any European assistance,—as mettled an enterprise as any in our history,—an everlasting memorial of the zeal, courage, and perseverance of the troops of New England. The men themselves dragged the cannon over a morass which had always been thought impassable, where neither horses nor oxen could go, and they carried the shot upon their backs. And what was their reward for this forward and spirited enterprise,—for the reduction of this American Dunkirk? Their reward, sir, you know very well; it was given up for a barrier to the Dutch."[72]

All his various propositions were negatived; but he was not disheartened. On every occasion he spoke,—now on the budget, then on the address, and then on specific propositions. At this time he asserted the power of Parliament over the Colonies, and he proposed on the 2d November, 1775, that a test of submission by the Colonists should be the recognition of an act of Parliament, "enacting that all the slaves in America should have the trial by jury."[73] Shortly afterwards on the 5th December, 1775, he brought forward another set of "propositions for conciliation with America," where, among other things, he embodied the test on slavery, which he put forward as a compromise; and here his language belongs, not only to the history of our Revolution, but to the history of anti-slavery. While declaring that in his opinion Great Britain was "the aggressor in everything," he sought to bring the two countries together on a platform of human rights, which he thus explained:—

"The act to be proposed to America, as an auspicious beginning to lay the first stone of universal liberty to mankind, should be what no American could hesitate an instant to comply with, namely, that every slave in North America should be entitled to his trial by jury in all criminal cases. America cannot refuse to accept and enroll such an act as this, and thereby to re-establish peace and harmony with the parent state. Let us all be re-united in this, as a foundation to extirpate slavery from the face of the earth. Let those who seek justice and liberty for themselves give that justice and liberty to their fellow-creatures. With respect to putting a final period to slavery in North America, it should seem best that, when this country had led the way by the act for jury, each Colony, knowing their own peculiar circumstances, should undertake the work in the most practicable way, and that they should endeavor to establish some system by which slavery should be in a certain term of years abolished. Let the only contention henceforward between Great Britain and America be, which shall exceed the other in zeal for establishing the fundamental rights of liberty for all mankind."[74]

The motion was rejected; but among the twenty-three in its favor were Fox and Burke. During this same month the unwearied defender of our country came forward again, declaring that he could not be "an adviser or a well-wisher to any of the vindictive operations against America, because the cause is unjust; but at the same time he must be equally earnest to secure British interests from destruction," and he thus prophesies:—

"The fate of America is cast. You may bruise its heel; but you cannot crush its head. It will revive again. The new world is before them. Liberty is theirs. They have possession of a free government, their birthright and inheritance, derived to them from their parent state, which the hand of violence cannot wrest from them. If you will cast them off, my last wish is to them, May they go and prosper!"

Again, on the 10th May, 1776, he vindicated anew his original proposition,[Pg 293] and here again he testifies for peace and against slavery.

"For the sake of peace, therefore, I did propose a test of compromise by an act of acceptance, on the part of the Colonists, of an act of Parliament which should lay the foundation for the extirpation of the horrid custom of slavery in the New World. My motion was simply an act of compromise and reconciliation; and, as far as it was a legislative act, it was still to have been applied in correcting the laws of slavery in America, which I considered as repugnant to the laws of the realm of England and to the fundamentals of our constitution. Such a compromise would at the same time have saved the national honor."[75]

All gratitude to the hero who at this early day vowed himself to the abolition of slavery. Hartley is among the first of abolitionists, with hardly a predecessor except Granville Sharp, and in Parliament absolutely the first. Clarkson was at this time fifteen years old, Wilberforce sixteen. It was only in 1787 that Clarkson obtained the prize for the best Latin essay on the question, "Is it right to make men slaves against their will?" It was not until 1791 that Wilberforce moved for leave to bring in a bill for the abolition of the slave-trade. Surely it is a great honor for one man, that he should have come forward in Parliament as an avowed abolitionist, while he was at the same time a vindicator of our independence.

Again, on the 15th May, 1777, Hartley pleaded for us, saying:—

"At sea, which has hitherto been our prerogative element, they rise against us at a stupendous rate; and if we cannot return to our old mutual hospitalities towards each other, a very few years will show us a most formidable hostile marine, ready to join hands with any of our enemies.... I will venture to prophesy that the principles of a federal alliance are the only terms of peace that ever will and that ever ought to obtain between the two countries."[76]

On the 15th June, immediately afterwards, the Parliamentary History reports briefly:—

"Mr. Hartley went upon the cruelties of slavery, and urged the Board of Trade to take some means of mitigating it. He produced a pair of handcuffs, which he said was a manufacture they were now going to establish."[77]

Thus again the abolitionist reappeared in the vindicator of our independence. On the 22d June, 1779, he brought forward another formal motion "for reconciliation with America," and, in the course of a well-considered speech, denounced the ministers for "headstrong and inflexible obstinacy in prosecuting a cruel and destructive American war."[78] On the 3d December, 1779, in what is called "a very long speech," he returned to his theme, inveighing against ministers for "the favorite, though wild, Quixotic, and impracticable measure of coercing America."[79] These are only instances.

During this time he had maintained a correspondence with Franklin, which appears in the "Diplomatic Correspondence of the Revolution," and all of which attests his desire for peace. In 1778 he came to Paris on a confidential errand, especially to confer with Franklin. It was on this occasion that John Adams met him and judged him severely. In 1783 he was appointed a commissioner to sign the definitive Treaty of Peace.

These things belong to history. Though perhaps not generally known, they are accessible. I have presented them partly for their intrinsic value and their prophetic character, and partly as an introduction to an unpublished letter from Hartley which I received some time ago from an English friend who has since been called away from important labors. The letter concerns[Pg 294] emigration to our country and the payment of the national debt.

The following indorsement will explain its character:—

"Note. This is a copy of the material portion of a long letter from D. Hartley, the British Commissioner in Paris, to Lord Sydenham, January, 1785. The original was sold by C. Robinson, of 21 Bond Street, London, on the 6th April, 1859, at a sale of Hartley's MSS. and papers chiefly relating to the United States of America. It was Hartley's copy, in his own hand.

"The lot was No. 82 in the sale catalogue. It was bought by J. R. Smith, the London bookseller, for £2 6s. 0d.

"I had a copy made before the sale.

"Joseph Parkes.

"London, 18 July, '59."

The letter is as follows:—

"My Lord,—In your Lordship's last letter to me, just before my leaving Paris, you are pleased to say that any information which I might have been able to collect of a nature to promote the mutual and reciprocal interests of Great Britain and the United States of America would be extremely acceptable to his Majesty's government.... Annexed to this letter I have the honor of transmitting to your Lordship some papers and documents which I have received from the American Ministers. One of them (No. 5) is a Map of the Continent of North America, in which the land ceded to them by the late treaty of peace is divided, by parallels of latitude and longitude, into fourteen new States. The whole project, in its full extent, would take many years in its execution, and therefore it must be far beyond the present race of men to say, 'This shall be so.' Nevertheless, those who have the first care of this New World will probably give it such directions and inherent influences as may guide and control its course and revolutions for ages to come. But these plans, being beyond the reach of man to predestinate, are likewise beyond the reach of comment or speculation to say what may or may not be possible, or to predict what events may hereafter be produced by time, climates, soils, adjoining nations, or by the unwieldy magnitude of empire, and the future population of millions superadded to millions. The sources of the Mississippi may be unknown. The lines of longitude and latitude may be extended into unexplored regions, and the plan of this new creation may be sketched out by a presumptuous compass, if all its intermediate uses and functions were to be suspended until the final and precise accomplishment, without failure or deviation, of this unbounded plan. But this is not the case; the immediate objects in view are limited and precise; they are of prudent thought, and within the scope of human power to measure out and to execute. The principle indeed is indefinite, and will be left to the test of future ages to determine its duration or extent. I take the liberty to suggest thus much, lest we should be led away to suppose that the councils which have produced these plans have had no wiser or more sedate views than merely the amusement of drawing meridians of ambition and high thoughts. There appear to me to be two solid and rational objects in view: the first is, by the sale of lands nearly contiguous to the present States (receiving Congress paper in payment according to its scale of depreciation) to extinguish the present national debt, which I understand might be discharged for about twelve millions sterling.

"If your Lordship will cast your eye upon the map to the south and east of the Ohio and the Mississippi, you will see many millions of acres, which, valued at a single dollar per acre, would discharge many millions sterling. The whole space within the boundaries lately conceded to the United States, together with the unoccupied lands eastward of the great rivers, may perhaps contain near half a million of square miles (in acres, perhaps three hundred millions, more or less). A sixth part of this, the nearest parts[Pg 295] being likewise the most valuable, would discharge the whole of their national debt. It is a new proposition to be offered to the numerous common rank of mankind in all the countries of the world, to say that there are in America fertile soils and temperate climates in which an acre of land may be purchased for a trifling consideration, which may be possessed in freedom, together with all the natural and civil rights of mankind. The Congress have already proclaimed this, and that no other qualification or name is necessary but to become settlers, without distinction of countries or persons. The European peasant, who toils for his scanty sustenance in penury, wretchedness, and servitude, will eagerly fly to this asylum for free and industrious labor. The tide of immigration may set strongly outward from Scotland, Ireland, and Canada to this new land of promise. A very great proportion of men in all the countries of the world are without property, and generally are subject to governments of which they have no participation, and over whom they have no control. The Congress have now opened to all the world a sale of landed settlements where the liberty and property of each individual is to be consigned to his own custody and defence. The first settlers, as the seedlings of a new State, will be under a temporary government of their own choice, provided it be similar to some one of the present American governments. But as soon as their numbers shall amount to twenty thousand, their temporary government is to cease, and they are to establish a permanent government for themselves, and whenever such new State shall have of free inhabitants as many as shall be in any one the least numerous of the original States. These are such propositions of free establishments as have never yet been offered to mankind, and cannot fail of producing great effects in the future progress of things. The Congress have arranged their offers in the most inviting and artful terms, and lest individual peasants and laborers should not have the means of removing themselves, they throw out inducements to moneyed adventurers to purchase and to undertake the settlement by commission and agency, without personal residence, by stipulating that the lands of proprietors being absentees shall not be higher taxed than the lands of residents. This will quicken the sale of lands, which is their object. For the explanation of these points, I beg leave to refer your Lordship to the documents annexed, Nos. 5 and 6, namely, the Map and Resolutions of Congress, dated April, 1784. There is another circumstance would confirm that it is the intention of Congress to invite moneyed adventurers to make purchases and settlements, which is the precise and mathematical mode of dividing and marking out for sale the lands in each new proposed State. These new States are to be divided by parallel lines running north and south, and by other parallels running east and west. They are to be divided into hundreds of ten geographical miles square, and then again into lots of one square mile. The divisions are laid out as regularly as the squares upon a chessboard, and all to be formed into a Charter of Compact.

"They may be purchased by purchasers at any distance, and the titles may be verified by registers of such or such numbers, north or south, east or west; all this is explained by the document annexed, No. 7, viz. The Ordinance for ascertaining the mode of locating and disposing of lands in the Western Territory. This is their plan and means for paying off their national debt, and they seem very intent upon doing it. I should observe that their debt consists of two parts, namely, domestic and foreign. The sale of lands is to be appropriated to the former.

"The domestic debt may perhaps be nine or ten millions, and the foreign debt two or three. For payment of the foreign debt it is proposed to lay a tax of five per cent upon all imports until discharged, which, I am informed, has already been agreed to by most[Pg 296] of the States, and probably will soon be confirmed by the rest. Upon the whole, it appears that this plan is as prudently conceived and as judiciously arranged, as to the end proposed, as any experienced cabinet of European ministers could have devised or planned any similar project. The second point which appears to me to be deserving of attention, respecting the immense cession of territory to the United States at the late peace, is a point which will perhaps in a few years become an unparalleled phenomenon in the political world. As soon as the national debt of the United States shall be discharged by the sale of one portion of those lands, we shall then see the Confederate Republic in a new character, as a proprietor of lands, either for sale or to let upon rents, while other nations may be struggling under debts too enormous to be discharged either by economy or taxation, and while they may be laboring to raise ordinary and necessary supplies by burdensome impositions upon their own persons and properties. Here will be a nation possessed of a new and unheard of financial organ of stupendous magnitude, and in process of time of unmeasured value, thrown into their lap as a fortuitous superfluity, and almost without being sought for.

"When such an organ of revenue begins to arise into produce and exertion, what public uses it may be applicable to, or to what abuses and perversions it might be rendered subservient, is far beyond the reach of probable discussion now. Such discussions would only be visionary speculations. However, thus far it is obvious and highly deserving of our attention, that it cannot fail becoming to the American States a most important instrument of national power, the progress and operation of which must hereafter be a most interesting object of attention to the British American dominions which are in close vicinity to the territories of the United States, and I should hope that these considerations would lead us, inasmuch as we value those parts of our dominions, to encourage conciliatory and amicable correspondence between them and their neighbors.

"I have thus, my Lord, endeavored to comply with your Lordship's commands to the best of my power, in stating such information to his Majesty's government as I have been enabled to collect of such nature as may tend to the mutual and reciprocal interest of Great Britain and the United States of America. I do not recollect at present anything further to trouble your Lordship with. If any of the foregoing points should require any further elucidation, I shall always be ready to obey your Lordship's summons, or to give in any other way the best explanations in my power."

Count d'Aranda.—1783.

The Count d'Aranda was one of the first of Spanish statesmen and diplomatists, and one of the richest subjects of Spain in his day; born at Saragossa, 1718, and died 1799. He, too, is one of our prophets. Originally a soldier, he became ambassador, governor of a province, and prime minister. In the latter post he displayed character as well as ability, and was the benefactor of his country. He drove the Jesuits from Spain and dared to oppose the Inquisition. He was a philosopher, and, like Pope Benedict XIV., corresponded with Voltaire. Such a liberal spirit was out of place in Spain. Compelled to resign in 1773, he found a retreat at Paris as ambassador, where he came into communication with Franklin, Adams, and Jay, and finally signed the Treaty of Paris, by which Spain acknowledged our independence. Shortly afterwards he returned to Spain and took the place of Florida Blanca as prime minister.

Franklin, on meeting him, records, in his letter to the secret committee of Congress, that he seemed "well disposed to us."[80] Shortly afterwards he[Pg 297] had another interview with him, which he thus chronicles in his journal:—

"Saturday, June 29th [1782].—We went together to the Spanish Ambassador's, who received us with great civility and politeness. He spoke with Mr. Jay on the subject of the treaty they were to make together.... On our going out, he took pains himself to open the folding-doors for us, which is a high compliment here, and told us he would return our visit (rendre son devoir), and then fix a day with us for dining with him."[81]

Adams, in his journal, describes a Sunday dinner at his house, then a "new building in the finest situation of Paris,"[82] being a part of the incomparable palace, with its columnar front, which is still admired as it looks on the Place de la Concorde. Jay also describes a dinner with the Count, who was "living in great splendor, with an assortment of wines the finest in Europe," and was "the ablest Spaniard he had ever known"; showing by his conversation "that his court is in earnest," and appearing "frank and candid, as well as sagacious."[83] These hospitalities have a peculiar interest, when it is known, as it now is, that Count d'Aranda regarded the acknowledgment of our independence with "grief and dread." But these sentiments were disguised from our ministers.

After signing the Treaty of Paris, by which Spain acknowledged our independence, D'Aranda addressed a memoir secretly to King Charles III., in which his opinions on this event are set forth. This prophetic document slumbered for a long time in the confidential archives of the Spanish crown. Coxe, in his "Memoirs of the House of Bourbon in Spain," which are founded on a rare collection of original documents, makes no allusion to it. The memoir appears for the first time in a volume published at Paris in 1837, and entitled Gouvernement de Charles III., Roi d'Espagne, ou Instruction réservée à la Funte d'État par ce Monarque. Publiée par D. André Muriel. The editor had already translated into French the Memoirs of Coxe, and was probably led by this labor to make the supplementary collection. An abstract of the memoir of D'Aranda appears in one of the historical dissertations of the Mexican authority, Alaman, who said of it that it has "a just celebrity, because results have made it pass for a prophecy."[84] I translate it now from the French of Muriel.

"Memoir communicated secretly to the King by his Excellency the Count d'Aranda, on the Independence of the English Colonies, after having signed the Treaty of Paris of 1783.

"The independence of the English colonies has been acknowledged. This is for me an occasion of grief and dread. France has few possessions in America; but she should have considered that Spain, her intimate ally, has many, and that she is left to-day exposed to terrible shocks. From the beginning, France has acted contrary to her true interests in encouraging and seconding this independence; I have so declared often to the ministers of this nation. What could happen better for France than to see the English and the colonists destroy each other in a party warfare which could only augment her power and favor her interests? The antipathy which reigns between France and England blinded the French Cabinet; it forgot that its interest consisted in remaining a tranquil spectator of this conflict; and, once launched in the arena, it dragged us unhappily, and by virtue of the family compact, into a war entirely contrary to our proper interest.

"I will not stop here to examine the opinions of some statesmen, our own countrymen as well as foreigners, which I share, on the difficulty of preserving our power in America. Never have so extensive possessions, placed at a great[Pg 298] distance from the metropolis, been long preserved. To this cause, applicable to all colonies, must be added others peculiar to the Spanish possessions; namely, the difficulty of succoring them in case of need; the vexations to which the unhappy inhabitants have been exposed from some of the governors; the distance of the supreme authority to which they must have recourse for the redress of grievances, which causes years to pass before justice is done to their complaints; the vengeance of the local authorities to which they continue exposed while waiting; the difficulty of knowing the truth at so great a distance; finally, the means which the viceroys and governors, from being Spaniards, cannot fail to have for obtaining favorable judgments in Spain; all these different circumstances will render the inhabitants of America discontented, and make them attempt efforts to obtain independence as soon as they shall have a propitious occasion.

"Without entering into any of these considerations, I shall confine myself now to that which occupies us from the dread of seeing ourselves exposed to dangers from the new power which we have just recognized in a country where there is no other in condition to arrest its progress. This Federal Republic is born a pygmy, so to speak. It required the support and the forces of two powers as great as Spain and France in order to attain independence. A day will come when it will be a giant, even a colossus formidable in these countries. It will then forget the benefits which it has received from the two powers, and will dream of nothing but to organize itself. Liberty of conscience, the facility for establishing a new population on immense lands, as well as the advantages of the new government, will draw thither agriculturists and artisans from all the nations; for men always run after fortune. And in a few years we shall see with true grief the tyrannical existence of this same colossus of which I speak.

"The first movement of this power, when it has arrived at its aggrandizement, will be to obtain possession of the Floridas, in order to dominate the Gulf of Mexico. After having rendered commerce with New Spain difficult for us, it will aspire to the conquest of this vast empire, which it will not be possible for us to defend against a formidable power established on the same continent, and in its neighborhood. These fears are well founded, Sire; they will be changed into reality in a few years, if, indeed, there are not other disorders in our Americas still more fatal. This observation is justified by what has happened in all ages, and with all nations which have begun to rise. Man is the same everywhere; the difference of climate does not change the nature of our sentiments; he who finds the opportunity of acquiring power and of aggrandizing himself, profits by it always. How then can we expect the Americans to respect the kingdom of New Spain, when they shall have the facility of possessing themselves of this rich and beautiful country? A wise policy counsels us to take precautions against evils which may happen. This thought has occupied my whole mind, since, as Minister Plenipotentiary of your Majesty, and conformably to your royal will and instructions, I signed the Peace of Paris. I have considered this important affair with all the attention of which I am capable, and after much reflection drawn from the knowledge, military as well as political, which I have been able to acquire in my long career, I think that, in order to escape the great losses with which we are threatened, there remains nothing but the means which I am about to have the honor of exhibiting to your Majesty.

"Your Majesty must relieve yourself of all your possessions on the continent of the two Americas, preserving only the islands of Cuba and Porto Rico in the northern part, and some other convenient one in the southern part, to serve as a seaport or trading-place for Spanish commerce.

"In order to accomplish this great[Pg 299] thought in a manner becoming to Spain, three infantas must be placed in America,—one as king of Mexico, another as king of Peru, and the third as king of the Terra Firma. Your Majesty will take the title of Emperor."

I have sometimes heard this remarkable memoir called apocryphal, but without reason, except because its foresight is so remarkable. The Mexican historian Alaman treats it as genuine, and, after praising it, informs us that the proposition of Count d'Aranda to the king was not taken into consideration, which, according to him, was "disastrous to all, and especially to the people of America, who in this way would have obtained independence, without struggle or anarchy."[85] Meanwhile all the American possessions of the Spanish crown, except Cuba and Porto Rico, have become independent, as predicted, and the new power, known as the United States, which at that time was a "pygmy," has become a "colossus."

D'Aranda was not alone in surprise at the course of Spain. The English traveller Burnaby, in his edition of 1796, mentions this as one of the reasons for the success of the colonists, and declares that he had not supposed, originally, "that Spain would join in a plan inevitably leading by slow and imperceptible steps to the final loss of all her rich possessions in America."[86] This was not an uncommon idea. One of John Adams's Dutch correspondents, under date of 14th September, 1780, writes he has heard it said twenty times, that, "if America becomes free, it will some day give the law to Europe; it will seize our islands and our colonies of Guiana; it will seize all the West Indies; it will swallow Mexico, even Peru, Chili, and Brazil; it will take from us our freighting commerce; it will pay its benefactors with ingratitude."[87] Mr. Adams also records in his diary, under date of 14th December, 1779, on his landing at Ferrol in Spain, that, according to the report of various persons, "the Spanish nation in general have been of opinion that the Revolution in America was of bad example to the Spanish colonies, and dangerous to the interests of Spain, as the United States, should they become ambitious, and be seized with the spirit of conquest, might aim at Mexico and Peru."[88] All this is entirely in harmony with the memoir of the Count d'Aranda.


From Count d'Aranda to Robert Burns,—from the rich and titled minister, faring sumptuously in the best house of Paris, to the poor ploughboy poet, struggling in a cottage,—what a contrast! Of the poet I shall say nothing, except that he was born 25th January, 1759, and died 21st July, 1796, in the thirty-seventh year of his age.

There is only a slender thread of Burns to be woven into this web, and yet, coming from him, it must not be neglected. In a letter dated 8th November, 1788, after saying a friendly word for the unfortunate house of Stuart, he thus prophetically alludes to our independence:—

"I will not, I cannot, enter into the merits of the cause, but I dare say the American Congress, in 1776, will be allowed to be as able and as enlightened as the English Convention was in 1688; and that their posterity will celebrate the centenary of their deliverance from us, as duly and sincerely as we do ours from the oppressive measures of the house of Stuart."[89]

The year 1788, when these words were written, was a year of commemoration, being the hundredth from the famous revolution by which the Stuarts were excluded from the throne of England. The "centenary" of our independence is not yet completed; but long ago the commemoration began.[Pg 300] On the coming of that hundredth anniversary, the prophecy of Burns will be more than fulfilled.


In quoting from Charles James Fox, the statesman, minister, and orator, I need add nothing, except that he was born 24th January, 1749, and died 13th September, 1806, and that he was an early friend of our country.

Many words of his, especially during our Revolution, might be introduced here; but I content myself with a single passage of a later date, which, besides its expression of good-will, is a prophecy of our power. It will be found in a speech on his motion for putting an end to war with France in the House of Commons, 30th May, 1794.

"It was impossible to dissemble that we had a serious dispute with America, and although we might be confident that the wisest and best man of his age, who presided in the government of that country, would do everything that became him to avert a war, it was impossible to foresee the issue. America had no fleet, no army; but in case of war she would find various means to harass and annoy us. Against her we could not strike a blow that would not be as severely felt in London as in America, so identified were the two countries by commercial intercourse. To a contest with such an adversary he looked as the greatest possible misfortune. If we commenced another crusade against her, we might destroy her trade, and check the progress of her agriculture, but we must also equally injure ourselves. Desperate, therefore, indeed, must be that war in which each wound inflicted on our enemy would at the same time inflict one upon ourselves. He hoped to God that such an event as a war with America would not happen."[90]

All good men on both sides of the ocean must join with Fox, who thus early deprecated a war between the United States and England, and portrayed the consequences. Time, which has enlarged and multiplied the relations between the two countries, makes his words more applicable now than when he first uttered them.

George Canning.—1826.

George Canning was a successor of Fox, in the House of Commons, as statesman, minister, and orator; he was born 11th April, 1770, and died 8th August, 1827, in the beautiful villa of the Duke of Devonshire, at Chiswick, where Fox had died before. Unlike Fox in sentiment for our country, he is nevertheless associated with a leading event of our history, and is the author of prophetic words.

The Monroe Doctrine, as it is now familiarly called, proceeded from Canning. He was its inventor, promoter, and champion, at least so far as it bears against European intervention in American affairs. Earnestly engaged in counteracting the designs of the Holy Alliance for the restoration of the Spanish colonies to Spain, he sought to enlist the United States in the same policy, and when Mr. Rush, who was at the time our Minister at London, replied that any interference with European politics was contrary to the traditions of our government, he argued that, however just such a policy might have been formerly, it was no longer applicable,—that the question was new and complicated,—that it was "full as much American as European, to say no more,"—that it concerned the United States under aspects and interests as immediate and commanding as those of any of the states of Europe,—that "they were the first power on that continent, and confessedly the leading power"; and he then asked, "Was it possible that they could see with indifference their fate decided upon by Europe? Had not a new epoch arrived in the relative position of the United States toward Europe, which Europe must acknowledge? Were the great political and commercial interests which hung upon the destinies of the[Pg 301] new continent to be canvassed and adjusted in this hemisphere, without the co-operation, or even the knowledge, of the United States?" With mingled ardor and importunity the British Minister pressed his case. At last, after much discussion in the Cabinet at Washington, President Monroe, accepting the lead of Mr. Canning, put forth his famous declaration, where, after referring to the radical difference between the political systems of Europe and America, he says, that "we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their systems to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety," and that, where governments have been recognized by us as independent, "we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power, in any other light than as a manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States."[91]

The message of President Monroe was received in England with enthusiastic congratulations. It was upon all tongues; the press was full of it; the securities of Spanish America rose in the market; the agents of Spanish America were happy.[92] Brougham exclaimed, in Parliament, that "no event had ever dispersed greater joy, exultation, and gratitude over all the freemen of Europe." Mackintosh rejoiced in the coincidence of England and the United States, "the two great commonwealths, for so he delighted to call them; and he heartily prayed that they may be forever united in the cause of justice and liberty."[93] The Holy Alliance abandoned their purposes on this continent, and the independence of the Spanish colonies in America was established. Some time afterwards, on the occasion of assistance to Portugal, when Mr. Canning felt called to review and vindicate his foreign policy, he assumed the following lofty strain. This was in the House of Commons, 12th December, 1826:—

"It would be disingenuous not to admit that the entry of the French army into Spain was, in a certain sense, a disparagement,—an affront to our pride,—a blow to the feelings of England. But I deny that, questionable or censurable as the act may be, it was one that necessarily called for our direct and hostile opposition. Was nothing then to be done? If France occupied Spain, was it necessary, in order to avoid the consequences of that occupation, that we should blockade Cadiz? No. I looked another way. I sought materials for compensation in another hemisphere. Contemplating Spain, such as our ancestors had known her, I resolved that, if France had Spain, it should not be Spain 'with the Indies.' I called the New World into existence to resist the balance of the Old."[94]

The republics of Spanish America, thus called into independent existence, were to redress the balance of the Old World. If they have not contributed the weight thus vaunted, the growing power of the United States is ample to compensate any deficiencies on this continent. There is no balance of power which it cannot redress, if occasion requires.

Richard Cobden.—1849.

Coming to our own day, we meet a familiar name, now consecrated by death,—Richard Cobden; born 3d June, 1804, and died 2d April, 1865. In proportion as truth prevails among men, his character will shine with increasing glory until he is recognized as the first Englishman of his time. Though thoroughly English, he was not insular, and he served mankind as well as England.

His masterly faculties and his real goodness made him a prophet always. He saw the future, and strove to hasten[Pg 302] its promises. The elevation and happiness of the human family were his daily thought. He knew how to build as well as to destroy. Through him disabilities upon trade and oppressive taxes were overturned; also a new treaty was negotiated with France, quickening commerce and intercourse. He was never so truly eminent as when bringing his practical sense and enlarged experience to commend the cause of Permanent Peace in the world by the establishment of a refined system of International Justice, and the disarming of the nations. To this great consummation all his later labors tended. I have before me a long letter, dated at London, 7th November, 1849, where he says much on this absorbing question, from which, by an easy transition, he passes to speak of the proposed annexation of Canada to the United States. As what he says on the latter topic concerns America, and is a prophetic voice, I have obtained permission to copy it for this collection.

"Race, religion, language, traditions, are becoming bonds of union, and not the parchment title-deeds of sovereigns. These instincts maybe thwarted for the day, but they are too deeply rooted in nature and in usefulness not to prevail in the end. I look with less interest to these struggles of races to live apart for what they want to undo, than for what they will prevent being done in future. They will warn rulers that henceforth the acquisition of fresh territory, by force of arms, will only bring embarrassments and civil war, instead of that increased strength which, in ancient times, when people were passed, like flocks of sheep, from one king to another, always accompanied the incorporation of new territorial conquests.

"This is the secret of the admitted doctrine, that we shall have no more wars of conquest or ambition. In this respect you are differently situated, having vast tracts of unpeopled territory to tempt that cupidity which, in respect of landed property, always disposes individuals and nations, however rich in acres, to desire more. This brings me to the subject of Canada, to which you refer in your letters.

"I agree with you, that nature has decided that Canada and the United States must become one, for all purposes of free intercommunication. Whether they also shall be united in the same federal government must depend upon the two parties to the union. I can assure you that there will be no repetition of the policy of 1776, on our part, to prevent our North American colonies from pursuing their interest in their own way. If the people of Canada are tolerably unanimous in wishing to sever the very slight thread which now binds them to this country, I see no reason why, if good faith and ordinary temper be observed, it should not be done amicably. I think it would be far more likely to be accomplished peaceably, if the subject of annexation were left as a distinct question. I am quite sure that we should be gainers, to the amount of about a million sterling annually, if our North American colonists would set up in life for themselves and maintain their own establishments, and I see no reason to doubt that they might be also gainers by being thrown upon their own resources.

"The less your countrymen mingle in the controversy, the better. It will only be an additional obstacle in the path of those in this country who see the ultimate necessity of a separation, but who have still some ignorance and prejudice to contend against, which, if used as political capital by designing politicians, may complicate seriously a very difficult piece of statesmanship. It is for you and such as you, who love peace, to guide your countrymen aright in this matter. You have made the most noble contributions of any modern writer to the cause of peace; and as a public man I hope you will exert all your influence to induce Americans to hold a dignified attitude and observe a 'masterly inactivity' in the controversy which is rapidly advancing to a solution between the mother country and her American colonies."

A prudent patriotism among us will[Pg 303] appreciate the wisdom of this counsel, which is more needed now than when it was written. The controversy which Cobden foresaw "between the mother country and her American colonies" is yet undetermined. The recent creation of what is somewhat grandly called "The Dominion of Canada" marks one stage in its progress.

Lucas Alaman.—1852.

From Canada I pass to Mexico, and close this list with Lucas Alaman, the Mexican statesman and historian, who has left on record a most pathetic prophecy with regard to his own country, intensely interesting to us at this moment.

Little can be gathered here with regard to this remarkable character. His name does not appear in any biographical or bibliographical dictionary,—not in the late editions of Michaud or Brunet,—although his public life and his literary labors might claim for him a place in biography and bibliography. From the title-page of one of his volumes it appears that, besides being a member of the Mexican Society of Geography and Statistics, and also of the Fine Arts, he was a corresponding member of several foreign societies, among which were the Royal Academy of History at Madrid, the Royal Institute of Sciences in Bavaria, the Philosophical Society of Philadelphia, and the Massachusetts Historical Society. It is only in the dearth of authentic information with regard to him that I mention these circumstances. It does not appear when he died. The Preface to the last volume of his History is dated 18th November, 1852; and, as his name is not noticed in Mexican affairs since then, it is not unreasonable to suppose that he died shortly after this date, although his death first appears in the Transactions of the Massachusetts Historical Society for 1861.

Alaman figured in the Mexican Cortes, and also as Minister of Foreign Affairs, especially under President Bustamente. In the latter capacity he inspired the respect of foreign diplomatists. One of these, who had occasion to know him officially, says of him, in answer to my inquiries, that he "was the greatest statesman which Mexico has produced since her independence." His portrait, as engraved in one of his volumes, resembles the late Mr. Clayton of Delaware. He was one of the few persons in any country who have been able to unite literature with public life, and obtain honors in each department.

His first work was "Dissertations on the History of the Mexican Republic," Disertaciones sobre la Historia de la Republica Megicana, in three volumes, published at Mexico, 1844. In these he considers the original conquest by Cortez; its consequences; the conqueror and his family; the propagation of the Christian religion in New Spain; the formation of the city of Mexico; the history of Spain and the house of Bourbon. All these topics are treated somewhat copiously. Then followed the "History of Mexico, from the First Movements which prepared its Independence in 1808, to the present Epoch," (Historia de Mejico desde los primeros Movimientos que prepararon á su Independencia en el Año de 1808 hasta la Época presente,) in five volumes, published at Mexico, the first bearing date 1849, and the fifth 1852. From the Preface to the first volume, it appears that the author was born in Guanajuato, and witnessed there the beginning of the Mexican revolution in 1810, under Don Miguel Hidalgo, the curate of Dolores; that he was personally acquainted with the curate and with many of those who had a principal part in the successes of that time; that he was experienced in public affairs, as deputy and as member of the cabinet; and that he had known directly the persons and things of which he wrote. His last volume embraces the government of Iturbide as Emperor, and also his unfortunate death, ending with the establishment of the Mexican Federal Republic in 1824. The[Pg 304] work is careful and well considered. The eminent diplomatist already mentioned, who had known the author officially, writes that "no one was better acquainted with the history and causes of the incessant revolutions in his unfortunate country, and that his work on this subject is considered by all respectable men in Mexico a chef-d'œvre for purity of sentiments and patriotic convictions."

It is on account of the valedictory words of this History that I have introduced the name of Alaman on this occasion. They are as follows:—

"Mexico will be, without doubt, a land of prosperity from its natural advantages, but it will not be so for the races which now inhabit it. As it seemed the destiny of the peoples who established themselves therein at different and remote epochs to perish from the face of it, leaving hardly a memory of their existence; even as the nation which built the edifices of Palenque, and those which we admire in the peninsula of Yucatan, was destroyed without its being known what it was nor how it disappeared; even as the Toltecs perished by the hands of barbarous tribes coming from the North, no record of them remaining but the pyramids of Cholulu and Teotihuacan; and, finally, even as the ancient Mexicans fell beneath the power of the Spaniards, the country gaining infinitely by this change of dominion, but its ancient masters being overthrown;—so likewise its present inhabitants shall be ruined and hardly obtain the compassion they have merited, and the Mexican nation of our days shall have applied to it what a celebrated Latin poet said of one of the most famous personages of Roman history, STAT MAGNI NOMINIS UMBRA,[95]—nothing more remains than the shadow of a name illustrious in another time.

"May the Almighty, in whose hands is the fate of nations, and who by ways hidden from our sight abases or exalts them, according to the designs of his providence, be pleased to grant unto ours the protection by which he has so often deigned to preserve it from the dangers to which it has been exposed."[96]

Most affecting words of prophecy! Considering the character of the author as statesman and historian, it could have been only with inconceivable anguish that he made this terrible record with regard to the land whose child and servant he was. Born and reared in Mexico, honored by its important trusts, and writing the history of its independence, it was his country, having for him all that makes a country dear; and yet thus calmly he consigns the present people to oblivion, while another enters into those happy places where nature is so bountiful. Thus does a Mexican leave the door open to the foreigner.


Such are some of the prophetic voices about America, differing in character and importance, but all having one augury, and opening one vista, illimitable in extent and vastness. Farewell to the idea of Montesquieu, that a republic can exist only in a small territory.

Ancient prophecy foretold another world beyond the ocean, which in the mind of Christopher Columbus was nothing less than the Orient with its inexhaustible treasures. Then came the succession of prophets, who discerned the future of this continent, beginning with that rare genius, Sir Thomas Browne, who, in the reign of Charles II., while the settlements were in their infancy, predicted their growth in power and civilization; and then that rarest character, Bishop Berkeley, who, in the reign of George I., while the settlements were still feeble and undeveloped, heralded a Western empire as "Time's noblest offspring."

These voices are general. Others[Pg 305] more precise followed. Turgot, the philosopher and minister, saw in youth, with the vision of genius, that all colonies must at their maturity drop from the parent stem, like ripe fruit. John Adams, one of the chiefs of our own history, in a youth illumined as that of Turgot, saw the predominance of the Colonies in population and power followed by the transfer of empire to America; then the glory of Independence and its joyous celebration by grateful generations; then the triumph of our language; and, finally, the establishment of our republican institutions over all North America. Then came the Abbé Galiani, the Neapolitan Frenchman, who, writing from Naples while our struggle was still undecided, gayly predicts the total downfall of Europe, the transmigration to America, and the consummation of the greatest revolution of the globe by establishing the reign of America over Europe. There is also Adam Smith, the illustrious philosopher, who quietly carries the seat of government across the Atlantic. Meanwhile Pownall, once a Colonial Governor and then a member of Parliament, in successive works of great detail, foreshadows independence, naval supremacy, commercial prosperity, immigration from the Old World, and a new national life, destined to supersede the systems of Europe and arouse the "curses" of royal ministers. Hartley, also a member of Parliament, and the British negotiator who signed the definitive treaty of Independence, bravely announces in Parliament that the New World is before the Colonists, and that liberty is theirs; and afterwards, as diplomatist, instructs his government that, through the attraction of our public lands, immigration will be quickened beyond precedent and the national debt cease to be a burden. D'Aranda, the Spanish statesman and diplomatist, predicts to his king that the United States, though born a "pygmy," will soon be a "colossus," under whose influence Spain will lose all her American possessions except only Cuba and Porto Rico. Burns, the truthful poet, looks forward a hundred years, and beholds our people rejoicing in the centenary of their independence. Fox, the liberal statesman, foresees the increasing might and various relations of the United States, so that a blow aimed at them must have a rebound as destructive as itself. Canning, the brilliant orator, in a much-admired flight of eloquence, discerns the New World, with its republics just called into being, redressing the balance of the old. Cobden, whose fame will be second only to that of Adam Smith among all in this catalogue, calmly predicts the separation of Canada from the mother country by peaceable means. Alaman, the Mexican statesman and historian, announces that Mexico, which has already known so many successive races, will hereafter be ruled by yet another people, who will take the place of the present possessors; and with these prophetic words, he draws a pall over his country.

All these various voices, of different times and countries, mingle and intertwine in representing the great future of our Republic, which from small beginnings has already become great. It was at first only a grain of mustard-seed, "which is, indeed, the least of all seeds; but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof." Better still, it was only a little leaven, but it is fast leavening the whole continent. Nearly all who have prophesied speak of "America" or "North America," and not of any limited circle, colony, or state. It was so, at the beginning, with Sir Thomas Browne, and especially with Berkeley. During our Revolution the Colonies, struggling for independence, were always described by this continental designation. They were already "America," or "North America," thus incidentally foreshadowing that coming time when the whole continent, with all its various States, shall be a Plural Unit, with one Constitution, one Liberty, and one Destiny. The theme was also taken[Pg 306] up by the poet, and popularized in the often quoted lines:—

"No pent-up Utica contracts your powers,
But the whole boundless continent is yours."[97]

Such grandeur may justly excite anxiety rather than pride, for duties are in corresponding proportion. There is occasion for humility also, as the individual considers his own insignificance in the transcendent mass. The tiny polyp, in its unconscious life, builds the everlasting coral; each citizen is little more than the industrious insect. The result is accomplished by continuous and combined exertion. Millions of citizens, working in obedience to nature, can accomplish anything. Of course, war is an instrumentality which a true civilization disowns. Here some of our prophets have erred. Sir Thomas Browne was so much overshadowed by his own age, that his vision was darkened by "great armies," and even "hostile and piratical attacks" on Europe. It was natural that D'Aranda, schooled in worldly affairs, should imagine the new-born power ready to seize the Spanish possessions. Among our own countrymen, Jefferson looked to war for the extension of dominion. The Floridas, he says on one occasion, "are ours on the first moment of war, and until a war they are of no particular necessity to us."[98] Happily they were acquired in another way. Then again, while declaring that no constitution was ever before so calculated as ours for extensive empire and self-government, and insisting upon Canada as a component part, he calmly says that "this would be, of course, in the first war."[99] Afterwards, while confessing a longing for Cuba, "as the most interesting addition that could ever be made to our system of States," he says that "he is sensible this can never be obtained, even with her own consent, without war."[100] Thus at each stage is the baptism of blood. In much better mood the good Bishop recognized empire as moving gently in the pathway of light. All this is much clearer now than when he prophesied. It is easy to see that empire obtained by force is unrepublican, and offensive to that first principle of our Union according to which all just government stands only on the consent of the governed. Our country needs no such ally as war. Its destiny is mightier than war. Through peace it will have everything. This is our talisman. Give us peace, and population will increase beyond all experience; resources of all kinds will multiply infinitely; arts will embellish the land with immortal beauty; the name of Republic will be exalted, until every neighbor, yielding to irresistible attraction, will seek a new life in becoming a part of the great whole; and the national example will be more puissant than army or navy for the conquest of the world.


[1] Seneca, Medea, Act II. v. 371.

[2] Humboldt, Examen critique de la Géographie, Tome I. pp. 101, 162. See also Humboldt, Kosmos, Vol. II. pp. 516, 556, 557, 645.

[3] Strabo, Lib. I. p. 65; Lib. II. p. 118.

[4] Pulci, Morgante Maggiore, Canto XXV. st. 229, 230.

[5] Prescott, Ferdinand and Isabella, Vol. II. pp. 117, 118.

[6] Leigh Hunt, Stories from the Italian Poets, p. 171.

[7] Browne, Works, Pickering's edition. Vol. IV. p. 81.

[8] Johnson, Life of Sir Thomas Browne.

[9] Browne, Works, Vol. IV. pp. 232, 233.

[10] Browne, Works, Vol. IV. p. 236.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid., p. 231, note.

[13] Berkeley, Works, Vol. I., Life prefixed, p. 53.

[14] Ibid., p. 53.

[15] Berkeley. Works, Vol. II. p. 443.

[16] Ibid., Vol. I., Life prefixed, p. 15.

[17] Grahame, History of the United States, Vol. IV. pp. 136, 448.

[18] Galt, Life of West, Vol. I. pp. 116, 117.

[19] John Adams, Works Vol. IX. pp. 597-599.

[20] Burnaby, Travels, p. 115.

[21] Ibid., Preface, p. 21.

[22] Turgot, Œuvres, Tome II. p. 66. See also Condorcet, Œuvres, Tome IV., Vie de Turgot; Louis Blanc, Histoire de la Révolution Française, Tome I. pp. 527-533.

[23] John Adams, Works, Vol. I. p. 23. See also Vol. IX. pp. 591, 592.

[24] Ibid., Vol. I. pp. 24, 25.

[25] John Adams, Works, Vol. I. pp. 230, 232.

[26] Ibid., Vol. VII. p. 227.

[27] Ibid., p. 250.

[28] John Adams, Works, Vol. IX. p. 510.

[29] Keith Johnston, Physical Atlas p. 114.

[30] John Adams, Works, Vol. VIII. p. 322.

[31] Ibid. p. 33.

[32] John Adams, Works, Vol. IV. p. 293.

[33] Biographie Universelle of Michaud; also of Didot; Louis Blanc, Histoire de la Révolution Française, Tome I. pp. 390, 545-551.

[34] Galiani, Correspondence, Tome II. p. 221. See also Grimm, Correspondence, Tome IX. p. 282.

[35] Galiani, Tome II. p. 203; Grimm, Tome IX. p. 285.

[36] Galiani, Tome II. p. 275.

[37] Galiani, Tome II. p. 275.

[38] Smith, Wealth of Nations, Book IV. cap. 7, part 3.

[39] Hildreth, History of the United States, Vol. II. p. 476.

[40] John Adams, Works, Vol. X. p. 241.

[41] Pownall, Administration of the Colonies, Appendix, P. 7.

[42] Pownall, Administration of the Colonies, Appendix, p. 6.

[43] Ibid., p. 9.

[44] Pownall, Colonies, pp. 9, 10, 164.

[45] Pownall, Administration of the Colonies, p. 165.

[46] Ibid., p. 164.

[47] Parliamentary History, Vol. XIX. pp. 527, 528. See also p. 1137.

[48] Pownall, Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe, pp. 4, 5.

[49] Ibid., p. 43.

[50] Ibid., p. 56.

[51] Ibid., p. 69.

[52] Pownall. Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe, pp. 74, 77.

[53] Ibid., p. 82.

[54] Ibid., p. 83.

[55] Ibid., p. 85.

[56] Ibid., p. 87.

[57] Pownall, Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe, pp. 80, 97.

[58] Ibid., p. 78.

[59] Ibid., p. 93.

[60] Ibid., p. 91.

[61] Franklin, Works, Vol. IX. p. 491.

[62] John Adams, Works, Vol. VIII. p. 179.

[63] Pownall, Memorial to the Sovereigns of America, pp. 5, 6.

[64] Pownall, Memorial to the Sovereigns of Europe, p. 83.

[65] Pownall, Memorial to the Sovereigns of America, p. 55.

[66] John Adams, Works, Vol. IX. p. 517.

[67] Ibid., Vol. III. p. 137.

[68] Ibid., Vol. VIII. p. 54.

[69] Ibid., Vol. III. p. 363.

[70] Ibid., Vol. VII. p. 226.

[71] Parliamentary History, Vol. XVIII. p. 553.

[72] Parliamentary History, Vol. XVIII. p. 556.

[73] Ibid., p. 846.

[74] Parliamentary History, Vol. XVIII. p. 1050.

[75] Parliamentary History, Vol. XVIII. p. 1356.

[76] Parliamentary History, Vol. XIX. pp. 259, 260.

[77] Ibid., p. 315.

[78] Ibid., p. 904.

[79] Ibid., p. 1190.

[80] Franklin, Works, Vol. VIII. p. 194.

[81] Franklin, Works, Vol. IX. p. 350.

[82] John Adams, Works, Vol. III. p. 379.

[83] Jay, Life of John Jay, Vol. I. p. 140; Vol. II. p. 101

[84] Alaman, Disertaciones sobre la Historia de la Republica Megicana, Tomo III. pp. 351, 352.

[85] Alaman, Disertaciones, Tomo III. p. 333.

[86] Burnaby, Travels in North America, Preface, p. 10.

[87] John Adams, Works, Vol. VII p. 484

[88] John Adams, Works, Vol. III. p. 234.

[89] Currie, Life and Works of Burns, p. 266, Grahame, History of United States, Vol. IV. p. 462.

[90] Parliamentary History, Vol. XXXI. p. 627.

[91] Annual Message to Congress of 2d December, 1823.

[92] Rush, Memoranda of Residence at London, Vol. II. p. 458: Wheaton, Elements of International Law, pp. 97-112, Dana's note.

[93] Stapleton, Life of Canning, Vol. II. pp. 46, 47.

[94] Canning, Speeches, Vol. VI. pp. 108, 109.

[95] In the original text of Alaman this is printed in large capitals, and it is explained in a note as said by Lucan in his Pharsalia, with regard to Pompey.

[96] Alaman, Historia, Tomo V. pp. 954, 955.

[97] By Jonathan M. Sewall, in an epilogue to Addison's tragedy of "Cato," written in 1778 for the Bow Street Theatre, Portsmouth, N. H.

[98] Jefferson's Works, Vol. V. p. 444.

[99] Jefferson's Works, Vol. V. p. 444.

[100] Ibid., Vol. VII. p. 316. See also pp. 288, 299.

[Pg 307]


Near my summer home there is a little cove or landing by the bay, where nothing larger than a boat can ever anchor. I sit above it now, upon the steep bank, knee-deep in buttercups, and amid grass so lush and green that it seems to ripple and flow instead of waving. Below lies a tiny beach, strewn with a few bits of driftwood and some purple shells, and so sheltered by projecting walls that its wavelets plash but lightly. A little farther out, the sea breaks more roughly over submerged rocks, and the waves lift themselves, ere breaking, in an indescribable way, as if each gave a glimpse through a translucent window, beyond which all ocean's depths might be clearly seen. On the right side of my retreat a high wall limits the view, while on the left the crumbling parapet of Fort Greene stands out into the foreground, its grassy scarp so relieved against the blue water, that each inward-bound schooner seems to sail into a cave of grass. In the middle distance is a white lighthouse, and beyond lie the round tower of old Fort Louis and the soft low hills of Conanicut.

Behind me an oriole chirrups in triumph amid the birch-trees which wave around the house of the haunted window; before me a kingfisher pauses and waits, and a darting blackbird shows the scarlet on his wings. From the mossy and water-worn stones of the fort the bright-eyed rats peep out, or, emerging, swim along the beach, with a motion made graceful, as is all motion, by contact with the water. Sloops and schooners constantly come and go, careening in the wind, and their white sails taking, if remote enough, a vague blue mantle from the delicate air. Sailboats glide in the distance,—each a mere white wing of canvas,—or coming nearer, and glancing suddenly into the cove, are put as suddenly on the other tack, and almost in an instant seem far away. There is to-day such a live sparkle on the water, such a luminous freshness on the grass, that it seems, as is so often the case in early June, as if all history were a dream, and the whole earth were but the creation of a summer's day.

If Petrarch still knows and feels the consummate beauty of these earthly things, it may seem to him some repayment for the sorrows of a lifetime that one reader, after all this lapse of years, should choose his sonnets to match this grass, these blossoms, and the soft lapse of these blue waves. Yet any longer or more continuous poem would be out of place to-day. I fancy that this narrow cove prescribes the proper limits of a sonnet; and when I count the lines of ripple within yonder projecting wall, there proves to be room for just fourteen. Nature meets our whims with such little fitnesses. The words which build these delicate structures are as soft and fine and close-textured as the sands upon this tiny beach, and their monotone, if such it be, is the monotone of the neighboring ocean. Is it not possible, by bringing such a book into the open air, to separate it from the grimness of commentators, and bring it back to life and light and Italy? The beautiful earth is the same as when this poetry and passion were new; there is the same sunlight, the same blue water and green grass; yonder pleasure-boat might bear, for aught we know, the friends and lovers of five centuries ago; Petrarch and Laura might be there, with Boccaccio and Fiammetta as comrades, and with Chaucer as their stranger guest. It bears, at any rate, if I know its voyagers, eyes as lustrous, voices as sweet. With the world thus young, beauty eternal, fancy free, why should these delicious Italian pages exist but to be tortured into grammatical examples? Is there no reward to be imagined for a delightful book that can match Browning's fantastic burial of a[Pg 308] tedious one? When it has sufficiently basked in sunshine, and been cooled in pure salt air, when it has bathed in heaped clover, and been scented, page by page, with melilot, cannot its beauty once more blossom, and its buried loves revive?

Emboldened by such influences, at least let me translate a sonnet, and see if anything is left after the sweet Italian syllables are gone. Before this continent was discovered, before English literature existed, when Chaucer was a child, these words were written. Yet they are to-day as fresh and perfect as these laburnum-blossoms that droop above my head. And as the variable and uncertain air comes freighted with clover-scent from yonder field, so floats through these long centuries, a breath of fragrance, the memory of Laura.


"Lieti fiori e felici."

O joyous, blossoming, ever-blessed flowers!
'Mid which my queen her gracious footstep sets;
O plain, that keep'st her words for amulets
And hold'st her memory in thy leafy bowers!
O trees, with earliest green of spring-time hours,
And spring-time's pale and tender violets!
O grove so dark, the proud sun only lets
His blithe rays gild the outskirts of your towers!
O pleasant country-side! O purest stream,
That mirrorest her sweet face, her eyes so clear,
And of their living light can catch the beam!
I envy you her haunts so close and dear.
There is no rock so senseless but I deem
It burns with passion that to mine is near.

Goethe compared translators to carriers, who convey good wine to market, though it gets unaccountably watered by the way. The more one praises a poem, the more absurd becomes one's position, perhaps, in trying to translate it. If it is so perfect,—is the natural inquiry,—why not let it alone? It is a doubtful blessing to the human race, that the instinct of translation still prevails, stronger than reason; and after one has once yielded to it, then each untranslated favorite is like the trees round a backwoodsman's clearing, each of which stands, a silent defiance, until he has cut it down. Let us try the axe again. This is to Laura singing.


"Quando Amor i begli occhi a terra, inclina."

When Love doth those sweet eyes to earth incline,
And weaves those wandering notes into a sigh
Soft as his touch, and leads a minstrelsy
Clear-voiced and pure, angelic and divine,
He makes sweet havoc in this heart of mine,
And to my thoughts brings transformation high,
So that I say, "My time has come to die,
If fate so blest a death for me design."
But to my soul thus steeped in joy the sound
Brings such a wish to keep that present heaven,
It holds my spirit back to earth as well.
And thus I live; and thus is loosed and wound
The thread of life which unto me was given
By this sole Siren who with us doth dwell.

As I look across the bay, there is seen resting over all the hills, and even upon every distant sail, an enchanted veil of palest blue, that seems woven out of the very souls of happy days,—a bridal veil, with which the sunshine weds this soft landscape in summer. Such and so indescribable is the atmospheric film that hangs over these poems of Petrarch's; there is a delicate haze about the words, that vanishes when you touch them, and reappears as you recede. How it clings, for instance, around this sonnet!


"Aura che quelle chiome."

Sweet air, that circlest round those radiant tresses,
And floatest mingled with them, fold on fold,
Deliciously, and scatterest that fine gold,
Then twinest it again, my heart's dear jesses,
Thou lingerest on those eyes, whose beauty presses
Stings in my heart that all its life exhaust,
Till I go wandering round my treasure lost,
Like some scared creature whom the night distresses.
I seem to find her now, and now perceive
How far away she is; now rise, now fall;
Now what I wish, now what is true, believe.
O happy air! since joys enrich thee all,
Rest thee; and thou, O stream too bright to grieve!
Why can I not float with thee at thy call?

The airiest and most fugitive among Petrarch's love-poems, so far as I know,—showing least of that desperate earnestness which he has somehow imparted to almost all,—is this little ode or madrigal. It is interesting to see, from this, that he could be almost conventional and courtly in moments when he held Laura farthest aloof; and when it is compared with the depths of solemn emotion in his later sonnets, it[Pg 309] seems like the soft glistening of young birch-leaves against a background of pines.


"Nova angeletta sovra l'ale accorta."

A new-born angel, with her wings extended,
Came floating from the skies to this fair shore,
Where, fate-controlled, I wandered with my sorrows.
She saw me there, alone and unbefriended.
She wove a silken net, and threw it o'er
The turf, whose greenness all the pathway borrows.
Then was I captured; nor could fears arise,
Such sweet seduction glimmered from her eyes.

The following, on the other hand, seems to me one of the Shakespearian sonnets; the successive phrases set sail, one by one, like a yacht squadron; each spreads its graceful wings and glides away. It is hard to handle this white canvas without soiling. Macgregor, in the only version of this sonnet which I have seen, abandons all attempt at rhyme; but to follow the strict order of the original in this respect is a part of the pleasant problem which one cannot bear to leave out. And there seems a kind of deity who presides over this union of languages, and who sometimes silently lays the words in order, after all one's own poor attempts have failed.


"O passi sparsi; o pensier vaghi e pronti."

O wandering steps! O vague and busy dreams!
O changeless memory! O fierce desire!
O passion strong! heart weak with its own fire;
O eyes of mine! not eyes, but living streams;
O laurel boughs! whose lovely garland seems
The sole reward that glory's deeds require;
O haunted life! delusion sweet and dire,
That all my days from slothful rest redeems;
O beauteous face! where Love has treasured well
His whip and spur, the sluggish heart to move
At his least will; nor can it find relief.
O souls of love and passion! if ye dwell
Yet on this earth, and ye, great Shades of Love!
Linger, and see my passion and my grief.

Yonder flies a kingfisher, and pauses, fluttering like a butterfly in the air, then dives toward a fish, and, failing, perches on the projecting wall. Doves from neighboring dove-cotes alight on the parapet of the fort, fearless of the quiet cattle who find there a breezy pasture. These doves, in taking flight, do not rise from the ground at once, but, edging themselves closer to the brink, with a caution almost ludicrous in such airy things, trust themselves upon the breeze with a shy little hop, and at the next moment are securely on the wing.

How the abundant sunlight inundates everything! The great clumps of grass and clover are imbedded in it to the roots; it flows in among their stalks, like water; the lilac-bushes bask in it eagerly; the topmost leaves of the birches are burnished. A vessel sails by with plash and roar, and all the white spray along her keel is sparkling with sunlight. Yet there is sorrow in the world, and it reached Petrarch even before Laura died,—when it reached her. This exquisite sonnet shows it:—


"I' vidi in terra angelici costumi."

I once beheld on earth celestial graces,
And heavenly beauties scarce to mortals known,
Whose memory lends nor joy nor grief alone,
But all things else bewilders and effaces.
I saw how tears had left their weary traces
Within those eyes that once like sunbeams shone,
I heard those lips breathe low and plaintive moan,
Whose spell might once have taught the hills their places.
Love, wisdom, courage, tenderness, and truth,
Made in their mourning strains more high and dear
Than ever, wove sweet sounds for mortal ear;
And Heaven seemed listening in such saddest ruth
The very leaves upon the boughs to soothe,
Such passionate sweetness filled the atmosphere.

These sonnets are in Petrarch's earlier manner; but the death of Laura brought a change. Look at yonder schooner coming down the bay, straight toward us; she is hauled close to the wind, her jib is white in the sunlight, her larger sails are touched with the same snowy lustre, and all the swelling canvas is rounded into such lines of beauty as nothing else in the world—not even the perfect outlines of the human form—can give. Now she comes up into the wind, and goes about with a strong flapping of the sails, which smites our ears at a half-mile's distance; and she then glides off on the other tack, showing us the shadowed side of her sails, until she reaches the[Pg 310] distant zone of haze. So change the sonnets after Laura's death, growing shadowy as they recede, until the very last seems to merge itself in the blue distance.


"Gli occhi di ch' io parlai."

Those eyes, 'neath which my passionate rapture rose,
The arms, hands, feet, the beauty that erewhile
Could my own soul from its own self beguile,
And in a separate world of dreams enclose,
The hair's bright tresses, full of golden glows,
And the soft lightning of the angelic smile
Which changed this earth to some celestial isle,
Are now but dust, poor dust, that nothing knows.
And yet I live! Myself I grieve and scorn,
Left dark without the light I loved in vain,
Adrift in tempest on a bark forlorn;
Dead is the source of all my amorous strain,
Dry is the channel of my thoughts outworn,
And my sad harp can sound but notes of pain.

"And yet I live!" What immeasurable distances of time and thought are implied in the self-recovery of those words. Shakespeare might have taken from them his "Since Cleopatra died,"—the only passage in literature which has in it the same wide spaces of emotion. There is a vastness of transition in each, which, if recited by Fanny Kemble, would take one's breath away.

The next sonnet seems to me the most stately and concentrated of the whole volume. It is the sublimity of all hopelessness, destined to deliverance, but unable to foresee it.


"Soleasi nel mio cor."

She ruled in beauty o'er this heart of mine,
A noble lady in a humble home,
And now her time for heavenly bliss has come,
'Tis I am mortal proved, and she divine.
The soul that all its blessings must resign,
And love whose light no more on earth finds room
Might rend the rocks with pity for their doom,
Yet none their sorrows can in words enshrine;
They weep within my heart; and ears are deaf
Save mine alone, and I am crushed with care,
And naught remains to me save mournful breath.
Assuredly but dust and shade we are,
Assuredly desire is blind and brief,
Assuredly its hope but ends in death.

In the next he has risen to that dream which is more than earth's realities.

Sonnet 261

"Levommi il mio pensiero."

Dreams bore my fancy to that region where
She dwells whom here I seek, but cannot see.
'Mid those who in the loftiest heaven be
I looked on her, less haughty and more fair.
She touched my hand, she said "Within this sphere,
If hope deceive not, thou shall dwell with me:
I filled thy life with war's wild agony;
Mine own day closed ere evening could appear.
My bliss no human brain can understand;
I wait for thee alone, and that fair veil
Of beauty thou dost love shall wear again."
Why was she silent then, why dropped my hand
Ere those delicious tones could quite avail
To bid my mortal soul in heaven remain?

In the next sonnet visions multiply upon visions. Would that one could transfer into English the delicious way in which the sweet Italian rhymes recur and surround and seem to embrace each other, and are woven and unwoven and interwoven, like the heavenly hosts that gathered around Laura!


"Cli angeli cletti."

The holy angels and the spirits blest,
Celestial bands, upon that day serene
When first my love went by in heavenly mien,
Came thronging, wondering at the gracious guest.
"What light is here, in what new beauty drest?"
They said among themselves; "for none has seen
Within this age come wandering such a queen
From darkened earth into immortal rest."
And she, contented with her new-found bliss,
Ranks with the purest in that upper sphere,
Yet ever and anon looks back on this,
To watch for me, as if for me she stayed.
So strive my thoughts, lest that high path I miss.
I hear her call, and must not be delayed.

These odes and sonnets are all but parts of one vast symphony, leading us through a passion strengthened by years and only purified by death, until at last the graceful lay becomes an anthem and a Nunc dimittis. In the closing sonnets he withdraws from the world, and they seem like a voice from a cloister, growing more and move solemn till the door is closed. This is one of the very last:—


"Dicemi spesso il mio fidato speglio."

Oft by my faithful mirror I am told,
And by my mind outworn and altered brow,
My earthly powers impaired and weakened now,—
"Deceive thyself no more, for thou art old!"
[Pg 311] Who strives with Nature's laws is over-bold,
And Time to his commandments bids us bow.
Like fire which waves have quenched, I calmly vow
In life's long dream no more my sense to fold.
And while I think, our swift existence flies,
And none can live again earth's brief career,—
Then in my deepest heart the voice replies
Of one who now has left this mortal sphere,
But walked alone through earthly destinies,
And of all women is to fame most dear.

How true this was! Who can wonder that women prize beauty, and are intoxicated by their own fascinations, when these fragile gifts are yet strong enough to outlast all the memories of statesmanship and war? Next to the immortality of genius is that which genius may confer upon the object of its love. Laura, while she lived, was simply one of a hundred or a thousand beautiful and gracious Italian women; she had her little loves and aversions, joys and griefs; she cared dutifully for her household, and embroidered the veil which Petrarch loved; her memory appeared as fleeting and unsubstantial as that woven tissue. After five centuries we find that no armor of that iron age was so enduring. The kings whom she honored, the popes whom she revered, are dust, and their memory is dust, while literature is still fragrant with her name. An impression which has endured so long is ineffaceable; it is an earthly immortality.

"Time is the chariot of all ages to carry men away, and beauty cannot bribe this charioteer." Thus wrote Petrarch in his Latin essays; but his love had access to a treasury more potent, and for Laura the chariot stayed.


The monotony so characteristic generally of the woodlands of Upper Canada is mitigated, to a great extent, by the pleasant waters with which many of the tracts of that country are intersected. Away back from the great lakes, chains of smaller lakes glisten in the bosom of the immense forest. Rivers take their course from these, narrow at first, but noisy, rushing along by sparse settlements and lonely Indian camps to their junction with the big lakes, where mills, and factories, and ships, and human dross in general, soon pollute with unclean contact their fair waters. Many of the early settlers of these regions were of a stamp far different from that of the rough pioneers by whom new settlements have generally been opened in the United States and their territories. Here and there throughout Upper Canada there are communities—some of them progressive, if not actually flourishing, others yet in a backward state—which were founded by men whose early lives had been passed amid the highest refinements of Old World civilization. Among these, retired officers of the army and navy were very frequently to be met with. They were generally married men, with incomes wretchedly inadequate to the support of themselves and their families on the "European plan." Land in Canada was to be acquired in fee for a mere song, and it was something for the cadet of a landed family to become the squire of a thousand acres upon some remote Canadian lake or river, even although six hundred of his acres might be nothing but cedar swamp. The native British keenness for the pursuit of wild creatures had much to do with the choice of locality by the adventurers, who generally set up their log-houses in districts where game and fish were to be had in abundance. Communication by road, until within the last twenty years or so, was so imperfect in many of these tracts, that but little intercourse existed between[Pg 312] one settlement and another. On this account agricultural operations were very limited, being confined, generally, to the raising of sufficient grain for family use. In these communities somebody was always found to build a mill; and as the gentleman settlers themselves were not above doing carpenter and blacksmith work, no matter how bunglingly, things were made to look shapely enough in the course of time, and thus were founded villages, some of which have since expanded into towns of considerable size and local importance.

Strangely grotesque, with their half-civilization, were these places in their earlier days. Characters which would not have been out of place at a bal masqué were frequently to be met with in all of them. Blanket coats in winter, adorned with beaded epaulets, scarlet woollen stockings pulled up over the legs to fend off the snow, and Indian moccasons, were considered quite the proper thing. Once, as I was travelling by sleigh in a comparatively settled part of the country, a young man, who was driving rapidly in the opposite direction, pulled up to greet my companion, with whom he was acquainted. He was coming to the town, from his residence in the heart of the woods, thirty or forty miles from where we met him, and certainly I was astonished—being then newly arrived in the country—at the extreme slenderness of the outfit of one who was bound to do the "man about town" for a few days, and that in midwinter too. He was in his shirt-sleeves, having no coat with him whatever. His black velvet waistcoat, now foxy and threadbare with much use, might once have been a chef-d'œvre from the hand of some London tailor whose gossip was of Guardsmen and their measurement. The rest of his costume consisted of a pair of buckskin breeches fastened at the knee with pearl buttons, heavy woollen stockings, and pegged boots,—the latter indebted for their lustre more to the rind of pork than to the blacking-brush. Singularly incongruous with this get-up was the kid-gloved hand with which he removed the black pipe from his mouth; nor was his straw hat exactly the sort of head-dress that one might have expected to meet with during a Canadian sleigh-ride. But it was only when he rose to his feet on the little rough sleigh, three feet by two, on which he had been sitting, that the full splendor of his wardrobe became revealed to us; for then he threw around his shoulders a magnificent cloak, made, I think, of some kind of Siberian fur, and which, folded up, had served him for a cushion on his journey. I frequently afterwards met this exquisite of the backwoods, wrapped in that showy mantle, walking in the streets of the little wooden town, where his appearance, so strange to me, did not seem to excite any particular comment. In those parts, men would often come into the towns, in winter, dressed in blanket coats, with the rather inappropriate accompaniment of white duck trousers and straw hats. Residents did not appear to see anything eccentric in this; but in the mind of a stranger a sense of the ludicrous was naturally excited by it.

Contrasts were ever to be observed among the striking features of these queer settlements. In one very remote township of which I have memories, there dwelt a family whose eccentricities of costume and manner of life entitle them to some brief record here. A retired officer of the army, with a large troop of well-grown sons and daughters, had built himself a log-house in this dreary wilderness, the roads leading to which were impassable for four months in the year. The girls of this family were of a beauty that may truthfully be described as magnificent. No painter that I know of ever gave to the world a Diana on canvas at all comparable in beauty of face and form to the eldest of these. The family, although English, had been brought up, I think, in the Greek Archipelago, with the language and dialects[Pg 313] of which they were familiar. At home these young wood-nymphs always went barefooted in summer. Their costume, whether in the woods or when they visited the more advanced settlements, was of the Oriental style. Ahead of Mrs. Bloomer, whose note of reform had not yet ruffled the sweeping skirts of the period, they walked fearlessly abroad in loose trousers, fastened at the ankle. Close-fitting bodices, with narrow skirts falling a little below the knee, completed their costume, and the luxuriant masses of their golden-brown hair fell in natural curls to their shoulders from beneath their wide-brimmed straw hats. It was strange thus to find a leaf from "Eothen" amid the black-ash swamps and rickety "corduroy" causeways of one of the dreariest districts of Canada.

In the social life of these places, where rough hospitality is often curiously mingled with a strain of former luxury, incidents of a humorous character will sometimes attract the notice of the visitor. I remember being told by an acquaintance about a visit once made by him to the family of an English gentleman, who had settled upon a small clearing in the depth of the forest. The young men of the family were engaged in burning brushwood when my informant arrived, and he, anxious to win their approbation, set to work with a will, and toiled with them until the distant horn announced that dinner-time had arrived. Ablution became necessary before the visitor, who by this time was as black as a charcoal-burner, could venture to greet the ladies of the household, and pails of water were accordingly furnished hard by the gable end of the house. There was no towel visible, however, and the visitor, with his hands and face dripping from recent immersion, was pained to see that some difficulty had arisen out of his request for one. Then, with sudden impulse, one of the young men went away, and returned in a minute or two with a long and richly embroidered scarf, the golden web interwoven with which, as well as the deep lace border, stamped it as a tissue of price. Assured by the young men that this brocade was inured to duty as the regular family towel, the visitor made use of it as such. The texture of it, as he told me, was not pleasant to the face, and it abraded a good deal of the skin from his nose. It went the rounds after he had used it, and the party adjourned to the dinner-table, where some remark was made as to the non-appearance of the daughter of the house. Presently that young lady entered, however, and took her place at the dinner-table. She had evidently bestowed some extra care upon her toilet in honor of the guest from beyond the "timber limits"; but what chiefly attracted his notice in her costume was a curious, gold-embroidered scarf, with deep lace edges, the folds of which, although artfully cast, revealed here and there the smudges of soiled hands. Indeed, my informant—who was a little given to exaggeration, perhaps—used to aver that he recognized upon the mystic garment, just at the point where it was crossed upon the bosom of the lovely sylvan damsel, a portion of the cuticle of his own Roman nose.

In another of these settlements,—it was remote, then, though now it has a great line of railway running through it,—things used to be carried to an extreme just the opposite of that above noticed. It was a little English colony, several of the members of which were persons of tolerably good means, with influential family connections at home. Engaged, mostly, in agricultural pursuits, they could chop down trees, and drive oxen, and plough, and mow, as well as any lout in the country round, and some of them built their own houses and made furniture for them. They had been swells, though, before they became "hawbucks," and they brought some of their standard manners and customs with them. It was considered proper in this community to dine at the fashionable hour of six, when every person was expected to be precise in the matter of costume,—the ladies[Pg 314] décolletées to the admissible extent, and the gentlemen in black dress-coats and white "chokers." The necessity of supporting the position suggested by this attempt at style, though, induced extravagance. Many of the swells became bankrupt. Their farms passed into more homespun hands. Their black dress-coats have long since become rusty and out of the mode, and the mortiferous whiskey of the country now tantalizes such of them as it has not killed with melancholy remembrances of the Burgundy that was.

The simple faith and primitive arrangements that existed in some of these clearings before the advent of the iron horse were peculiarities that never failed to impress visitors from far-off cities and settlements of older growth. Bolts and bars were the last things that a settler would think about, when fitting up his house. A man would leave his rifle in the canoe, upon the river's bank, for days together, without the least misgiving as to its being spirited away. Rust would not touch it, the climate of Western Canada being singularly free from moisture; and the roving Indians who traversed these woods were dependent in a great measure upon the white man, and had learned to look upon his property with respect. Looking over one of my note-books, I recall the picture of a deserted old shanty that stood in a meadow by the margin of a bright and swift river. The gentleman who had formerly occupied this weather-stained hut had built himself a larger and more ambitious mansion upon the opposite bank of the stream. For some time after he had moved into this, the interior of the house remained in an unfinished state, and he had no accommodation for his books. Of these he had a choice collection, and they were left in their large wooden cases, for two years or so, on the upper floor of the old shanty, the doors of which had already parted from their hinges, and the windows yielded to the autumnal blasts. To this most curious of circulating libraries the owner accorded free access to the few neighbors who occupied the clearings around. Many a time I have swung myself up by the crazy ladder that led to the attic where the books were; and in summer I would often sit there for hours, reading Cooper's novels, which had then an attraction enhanced by the circumstances and place. In winter I would take books away. If it was the season for wild ducks I would have a gun beside me, to get a shot at them from the attic window as they flew along the course of the stream. So lonely was the hut, that the mink would often haunt it in search of such small plunder as attracts his kind; and once I encountered upon the threshold of it a milk-snake about five feet long, which disappeared through the chinks of the flooring before I could administer to it the coup de grâce by which man feels it to be his stern duty to cut short the serpentine career.

There is a wonderful fascination in these grand old Canadian woods for sportsmen, whose wildest experiences of their craft, previous to their essay in it there, had been associated with stalking deer upon Highland mountains, or shooting grouse upon the moors. The solitude of woods is of a more impressive character, I think, than that of bare mountains,—in countries, at least, where one may expect to find traces of civilized man. From mountain peaks there is a wide range of view, in which some points of guidance to the traveller are usually visible. Wandering in the woods is much like groping one's way in the dark; and I know by experience how easy it is for an explorer not well accustomed to them to keep moving in circles, until, after hours of what he imagined to be a straight course, he finds himself back again at some wood-mark long since passed, instead of the place for which he was bound. There is something decidedly sensational in this, especially in winter, as anybody who has ever experienced it will allow. The sounds of the forest are impressive, too, while its stillness, at times almost absolute, is painful. In the mystery[Pg 315] of its voices lies a good deal of the fascination of the wood. In the clear, frosty air of winter the cry of the great black woodpecker rings out like an elfin laugh, as he wings his curved way through the gray stems in quest of some skeleton tree. Explosions caused by the frost are heard among the branches of the trees. They are sometimes as loud as pistol-shots, and—as I can aver from my own observation—the deer, after they have become accustomed to them, will not bound away at the crack of a rifle, and the hunter will often get several shots at one herd, by keeping close in his ambush. But the slightest sound of a twig beneath his moccason, or the tinkle of the powder-flask against the muzzle of the rifle as he reloads, will send the herd crashing and flashing away. In the stillness of a summer evening there is something very weird in the cry of the loon, or great Northern diver, as it comes vibrating over the surface of a woodland lake. Where the woods are very thick and dark and lonely, the hooting of owls is commonly to be heard in the daytime. Once only—it was in early summer—I heard the wild turkey-cock utter his vehement call. I made my way in the direction whence the sound came, until I was stopped by a river, on the farther side of which I saw a magnificent "gobbler," strutting with drooped wings and expanded tail along the strip of greensward that lay between the water and the woods, while he issued, in very loud and imperious tones, his orders for the ladies of his seraglio to attend. This action, in the case of the domestic turkey, is always provocative of ridicule; but it was absolutely grand and striking as displayed by the large-feathered free bird, parading to and fro there upon the river-bank. I watched him for a while, expecting to see the hen-birds come, but they did not; and so the noble Mormon of the thickets furled his tail at last, and, tucking up his wings, strode moodily into the bush, as if to search for the truants.

To hunters who are accustomed to glide through the forest observantly and with caution, most interesting little scenes of animal life are sometimes revealed. One day, in the snow-time, as I was roaming the woods close by a Canadian river, after wild-turkeys, I noticed a flock of mergansers,—thereabouts usually called saw-billed ducks, or sheldrakes,—swimming in a small air-hole that had remained open in the frozen surface of the river. There were four or five ducks, and the pool might have been about ten feet by six in size. I watched them for some time, as they kept stemming the current, but without any intention of wasting ammunition upon them. My attention was attracted elsewhere for a moment, and I was surprised, on again looking towards them, to see a splendid red fox sitting at the upper edge of the little pool, where he could not have been more than a couple of yards from the nearest of the ducks. Presently he jumped up, and, running to the other end of the pool, stretched out a paw, as if to seize one of them; but they were too quick for him, placing themselves well beyond his reach with a few strokes of their paddles. He was far too cunning to plunge into the water and risk being carried under the ice by the current; and the ducks appeared to be quite aware of this, for they did not make any attempt to rise, nor indeed did they seem to be at all uneasy at the proximity of their natural enemy. It was exceedingly interesting, not to say amusing, to watch the many stratagems of the fox to get at them. Sometimes he would lie down upon the snow and lash about him with his bushy tail, whimpering in a querulous and imbecile manner at being thus outwitted by simple water-fowl. Then a new idea would take possession of him, and he would start up and run round and round the pool at a tremendous pace, probably to try and get a chance at the ducks by flurrying them; but they knew too much for Master Reynard, and always edged away from him just at the right moment. Tired at last of watching these[Pg 316] manœuvres, I "drew a bead" upon the fox; but my hands were numbed from keeping still so long, so that, instead of hitting him in a vital spot, as I had intended, I only broke one of his forelegs, and away he went into the woods on three paws with amazing speed, while the ducks rose into the air at the report of the rifle, and flew up the course of the river in search of lonelier water. I followed the track of the fox for a mile or more, but had to give up the chase at last. The snow was flecked with spots of blood where he ran; and although the fox is not usually an object of sympathy around Canadian borders, yet I regretted much that I had not missed this one altogether, instead of maiming him, after all the amusement he had just afforded me by his curious pranks. This little incident of fox and ducks might offer a good subject for the pencil of an animal painter, and I hereby present it either to Mr. W. H. Beard or to Mr. Hays,—whichever of them may first happen to glance over these pages.

In some of the districts where game is yet plentiful, and where the maskinonge—prince of the pike tribe—reigns supreme in the woodland lakes, and the speckled trout haunts the eddies of the clear streams, men who cannot be called settlers, in the proper sense of the word, are often to be met with. They have been attracted thither by the free, wild romance of the forester's life, the Bohemianism of which is a kind by itself, although based, like other phases of that philosophy, upon impatience of the formalities by which society is cramped. On one of these lakes, in a picturesque and not very remote part of Upper Canada, there was generally a little knot of such men to be found,—men who had forsworn the gay world, and come from beyond the sea to live among Indians and make havoc of the wild beasts and birds that still abounded in the region. Sometimes they would come to the cities, and return for a brief time to the usages of civilized life. After their arrival, their affectation was to despise such luxuries as chairs and beds. Of an evening they spread blankets on the floor, and sat there with their pipes and "fire-water," like gentle savages as they were. I have met with several who, for the first few nights, declined to avail themselves of either house or bed, resorting in preference to some open shed or garden, where they wrapped themselves in their inevitable blankets, and slept the sleep of wild men upon the hard ground, with their knives and rifles at hand, ready to resist any attack that might be made upon them by hostile tribes during the night. Once in the streets of a city I remarked a couple of Indian stragglers, such as are common in Canadian towns. They were dressed in blanket coats, handsomely ornamented, and bound at the waist with sashes of gay colors, in which long knives and tobacco-pouches of marten fur were stuck, and they smoked black pipes as they strolled leisurely along. One of them was a Chippewa of the half-breed stamp, and rather a good specimen of his caste. His companion, who wore a Scotch bonnet, was far too light in complexion to be an Indian, for, though his face was tanned to a healthy brown by exposure to the weather, his hair, which fell down in long ringlets to his shoulders, was of a fair, yellowish hue, and I observed, besides, that he did not turn his toes inward when walking, as Indians invariably do. On inquiry I found that this romantic young man was an English baronet of moderate fortune, who had been living among the Indians at the lake for two or three years. He had been a Guardsman in his time, and a man about the clubs, and, having drained society to the dregs, had taken to Canadian woods and waters as a change from the comforts and inconveniences of too much civilization. Some time afterwards I saw him again, but in far different guise. He was once more a swell, and was driving a smart English "trap," with a handsome team, in the streets of the same town. Not long after this he returned to England, I believe, and is none the[Pg 317] worse, probably, for his adventures by the shores of the pleasant lake of the woods.

Farther down the St. Lawrence, where Lower Canada stretches away to the northeast until it reaches melancholy Labrador, lies an immense field of exploration. More picturesque in its features than the upper or western province, this offshoot of old France offers peculiar attractions to persons who would escape, for a while, from the turmoils and cares of the too-busy world. On the south side of the river, within thirty or forty miles of the picturesque fortress of Quebec, moose are still plentiful, and during the winter months their venison is always to be found in the markets of the old town. The caribou haunts the wildernesses of timbered mountains that rise away back from the north shore. Parties of hardy sportsmen set out every winter from Quebec for the chase of these noble deer. It is only upon snow-shoes, the raquettes of the French Canadians, that this sport can be pursued; the snow generally lying to the depth of three or four feet on the level in the woods. The practice of walking upon these contrivances is general throughout Lower Canada. On fine afternoons, when the snow is well packed, hundreds of young men, and not unfrequently young ladies, may be seen scudding across the country, in every direction, outside the walls of Quebec. The fences are covered by the snow, so that no obstacles are offered to pedestrians unless they are bold enough to enter the woods. Walking upon snow-shoes is a regular part of the training of soldiers in garrison here and at Montreal. There are snow-shoe clubs, which have races during the season, sometimes over hurdles three feet high. I have seen a good performer jump higher than that upon his snow-shoes. This training enables the sportsman to range the forest with ease, and to follow the tracks of the moose until he brings it to bay,—for the animal is heavy, and sinks deep into the snow at every plunge. With the caribou it is not so easy to come up, the hoofs of that animal being so arranged as to spread out and offer some resistance to the snow. When the hunter goes about his work in earnest, the hardship and fatigue attending this kind of sport are very great. In the little churchyard at Rivière-du-Loup, one hundred and twenty miles below Quebec, there is a tombstone to the memory of Captain Turner, an English officer who went there many years ago to hunt moose. I made inquiries about him from the people of the village, who told me that his death was caused by over-fatigue in running down moose, and afterwards conveying the venison, together with the immense heads and horns, on trebogans through miles of the wild bush. One of two Indians whom he had with him as guides died from the same cause. Sometimes hunters are seized with what is called by Canadians the mal-aux-raquettes, which is a kind of cramp caused by the pressure of the snow-shoe thongs near the instep, not unfrequently obliging the sufferer to set up camp and rest for several days before resuming his journey.

But summer is, after all, the season in which to enjoy best the wild scenery and sports of the Lower St. Lawrence. On the north shore, especially, rivers of wondrous grandeur succeed each other at intervals all along the rock-bound coast. About one hundred and thirty miles below Quebec the savage, gloomy Saguenay rolls between its walls of rock into the St. Lawrence, which here is nearly twenty miles in width. A wild and beautiful spot is the little bay of Tadousac at the mouth of the Saguenay, with its curved beach of white sand. When I last visited the place there was a post of the Hudson's Bay Company there, established chiefly for the purpose of the salmon fishery. Since that time, however, all these rivers have been taken under the immediate protection of the government. Laws have been passed for the protection of the fish, and they are rigidly enforced, too, under the direction of a[Pg 318] Superintendent of Fisheries. The result of this is, that within a few years the salmon have gradually returned to many splendid rivers from which they had been driven. The system of netting has been regulated so as to favor the fish, although, as I am informed, there is much room for improvement in this respect yet. It is incumbent upon owners of saw-mills now to furnish their dams with "passes" of peculiar construction, up which the fish can travel by a succession of leaps. The Indians are forbidden to devastate the waters with the destructive negogue, or fish-spear; with which weapon they used to mutilate more fish than they killed. One dark night, as I lay on the bank of the Escoumain, one of the most beautiful of these rivers, I was surprised to see a number of lights flashing out suddenly over the dark pool below the lower fall. A horde of Milicete Indians had silently paddled their canoes past us under cover of night, and were now busily engaged in spearing the salmon. It was a curious and beautiful sight to see these ragged savages, by the light of their torches, darting their long spears into the water with wonderful quickness and precision, bringing up every now and then a bright-sided salmon, and knocking it off the barbs into the canoe. The perfect wildness and remoteness of the place added much to the impressive character of the scene. But it was mortifying to think of the wholesale slaughter that was going on, and of our incapacity to put a stop to it, for our party consisted of but four, and would have been of no avail against twenty red savages armed with rifles and spears. It is true that we had brought with us a letter from the agent of the Hudson's Bay Company at Tadousac to the net-keeper at the Escoumain, enjoining that functionary to give us every assistance and information in his power. One of the instructions contained in that missive ran, as I remember, "chasses les sauvages"; but the chase of twenty armed savages by one small and smoke-dried old Canadian, like the net-keeper, would have been a futile, not to say ridiculous, proceeding. And so the Indians had the pool to themselves on that dark July night, and at gray dawn they drifted past us down the stream, their canoes loaded with salmon, to which we had fondly, though delusively, fancied that we had an exclusive right.

One of the "gamest" and most beautiful fish for which angler ever busked artificial fly is the sea-trout that comes up with the summer tides into all these tributaries of the Lower St. Lawrence. Seldom under one pound in weight, and often weighing as much as four pounds, these fish are so similar in appearance to the common brook-trout, that many experienced fishermen declare them to be one and the same species, the slight difference between the two being accounted for by the influence of the salt water and the peculiar feeding to be found in it. In color they are rather more silvery than the brook-trout, but they are marked, like that fish, with brilliant spots of red and blue along the sides. The best place to fish for them is where the sea-tide meets the clear, fresh water of the river, near its mouth. There are times when the salmon becomes unaccountably reserved, and will not condescend to reply to the line of invitation wafted to him by the angler across the eddies of the pool. It is then that the sea-trout is found to be a valuable substitute for his larger congener of the river, to whom he is only second in affording excellent sport. In casting for the trout it is advisable to use but one fly. Once, in the Saguenay, I used a casting-line with three flies attached to it, as for ordinary trout-fishing. At the first cast three sea-trout, each apparently over a pound in weight, were upon my tackle at once, and the consequence was a tangle which resulted in the loss of my casting-line and flies.

But for the mosquitoes and black-flies, which are very troublesome in all this region, there can be no pleasanter summer resort for the angler and the overworked city man. In winter there must be an awful, arctic dreariness upon the[Pg 319] place, and I can hardly imagine any person not a French Canadian or an Esquimau taking up his abode there. And yet upon one of the most savage of these rivers—the Mingan, I think—an angler with whom I am acquainted fell in with a man of ancient Scottish family. He bore a distinguished name, and had probably once been an ornament to the social circles in which he moved. When my informant saw him, he had ceased to be ornamental in any sense of the word, and had long been a dweller in the wilderness. In appearance he differed but little from the dirty half-breeds of the coast. Like them, he lived in a wigwam, with a squaw, and had around him a family of children so numerous and dirty that they were a wonder to see. He had been there for many years, and did not seem to think that he should ever go back to England again. Society had galled him with its harness, and the "raw" was visible yet. He was in occasional communication with his relatives at home, had a small, but independent income, and was heir, I think, to a much larger one. Occasionally he would make his way to the nearest settlement or Hudson's Bay post, where he sometimes found letters and newspapers awaiting him; so that, although a little backward as to dates, he had still some general idea of how matters were going on in the great world. Strong indeed must be the fascination of the free Indian life, thus to work its spells upon a man of education and refinement like this eccentric dweller by the waters of the rugged Mingan.

Among the creatures that visit the Lower St. Lawrence is the white whale,—beluga of the naturalists. On a fine summer's day, when the water is blue and calm, these curious rovers of the deep may be seen basking with their backs just over the surface, looking so like small icebergs that they convey an agreeable sense of coolness to the observer. At other times, and especially just about nightfall, they are very active, tumbling and splashing and spouting in every direction, as if in play. Often have I been startled by one as it rose, suddenly, and with a loud snort, close by the little yacht, while we lay at anchor for the night. I was told here, that the calf, or young, of this whale utters a kind of bleating cry, and that the mother whales frequently carry their young ones upon their backs. Some few years ago I had an opportunity of verifying the truth of these statements by observing the habits of a white whale and her calf that were exhibited by Mr. Cutter, of Boston, at Jones's Wood, near New York. The calf used to throw itself upon the back of its dam, with a peculiar squeal, and remain there till carried several times round the tank. Brush wears are built by the inhabitants of these coasts for the capture of this kind of whale, which is generally called the white porpoise here. These wears are merely hedges of stiff brushwood, arranged so as to enclose a wedge-like space, with its wide end open to the river. The whales wander up into them, when they soon become embarrassed by the obstacles on either side, losing their reckoning at last, and "coming to grief" by being stranded upon the beach when the tide ebbs. They are not uncommonly from sixteen to twenty feet in length, and specimens have occasionally been captured which had attained the great length of forty feet. One of average size will yield about a hundred gallons of oil. A soft and excellent leather, well adapted for shoemakers' and other work, is now manufactured from their skins, which were first discovered to be available for this purpose by an enterprising Canadian named Têtu, residing, I think, at Kamouraska, on the southern bank of the river.

The chase of the pourcil—a small species of whale, not often exceeding five or six feet in length, and of a sooty color—affords good sport, hereabouts, to those who are skilful and hardy enough to follow it. In calm, clear weather only the hunter dares to pursue this creature in his frail canoe, and even then he runs the risk of being[Pg 320] caught in one of the squalls that arise so suddenly on this part of the St. Lawrence. One hunter sits in the stern of the canoe, and paddles, while the other, armed with a long duck-gun, loaded with buck-shot, kneels in the bow. Now and then the pourcil emerges partly from the water, and the canoe is kept swiftly upon his course until a chance offers for a shot. Sometimes the creature is killed by the shot, but more frequently only stunned, so as to enable the hunters to approach near enough to despatch him with their harpoons.

Seals in great numbers haunt the mouths of the tributaries here, attracted by the travelling salmon, upon which they commit sad depredations, often following them even into the fishermen's nets. The hunting of seals is carried on chiefly in the winter time, when the great river is partially blocked up with ice. About twenty-five years ago, at a place called Trois Pistoles, on the south bank, an immense number of seals made their appearance upon the ice just after it had become fixed along the shore. Seals are reckoned valuable game in those parts, and the inhabitants of the parish, armed with clubs, turned out to chase them, under the direction of six priests. They had killed some four hundred, when suddenly the ice parted from the shore, and went drifting down with the tide, priests, habitans, seals, and all. Down they drifted, past dreary shores, the sparse inhabitants of which did all they could to aid them, but succeeded in taking off only a few in their canoes. On, on, still they floated, past other parishes, where people knelt and prayed loudly for them on the shore; then past other parishes, again, where the canoe-men were more adventurous, and picked the poor fellows off the ice in detail, until every one of them was brought safely to land, yet not before they had suffered great hardship from cold and fright. The old French Canadian from whom I heard this was one of the hunters on the occasion; and although he expressed exceeding gratitude to le bon Dieu for the rescue of himself and his companions, yet he had words of lamentation for the loss of the seals, not one of which was recovered.

A primitive and interesting race are the French Canadians of these coasts. Many of their villages, and churches—the latter with very steep roofs, generally painted red—have a quaint, antiquated air, and some of the settlements hereabouts are really of very remote date. Wind-bound for a couple of days at one of the oldest and queerest of these villages, on a forlorn little bay, not far from the Saguenay, I went ashore to observe the manners and customs of the place. By the threshold of every house there lay two or three pair of huge wooden clogs, looking almost like "dug-out" canoes, and into these the people popped their feet when the roads were muddy, and their occupations obliged them to go out of doors. A large wooden crucifix stood by the roadside near the entrance of the village, with a small space around it enclosed by a wooden railing. Young girls in wide-brimmed straw hats were kneeling at the foot of it, and I noticed that they had left their clogs outside the railing. Presently an old woman came along, and she too deposited her dug-outs reverently outside the little sanctuary before she entered. These roadside crosses are to be met with everywhere in the French Canadian settlements, many of them curiously fitted up as shrines, and decorated with votive offerings. The valley in which this little village stood had a pastoral appearance, but the hills to the north of it were of a wild and dreary character, suggesting endless tracts of wilderness beyond their dark ridges.

At this place, near the margin of the little bay, there stood a frame house of better appearance than the ordinary dwellings of the village. It had a weird and weather-stained look, nevertheless, which was in keeping with the clump of stunted and sea-blighted pines by which it was partially sheltered. The garden belonging to it appeared[Pg 321] to have been once well stocked, but it had run much to weeds and tangle now, and the fence had rotted away in places, and left it open to the road. From this house there came, as I strolled past, an old man, whose appearance was at once so singular, and so different from, that of the ordinary inhabitants of the place, that my curiosity impelled me to stop and speak to him as he saluted me in passing. He was tall and very thin, and, though apparently between seventy and eighty years of age, walked with an erect carriage, leaning but slightly upon the cane he carried. His face, which was remarkably small, looked like shrivelled parchment, and his iron-gray hair hung straight down to his shoulders, like that of an Indian. He was dressed, not in the gray cloth of the country, but in an old-fashioned suit, which might once have been black, but was now faded to a dingy greenish hue, and there was about him a decided air of tarnished gentility very much out of character with the place and its inhabitants. Speaking excellent English, he invited me to accompany him to his house; and as dinner was nearly ready when we entered, he pressed me to remain and partake of it. The table was spread by an old lady quite as faded and decayed as himself. She was his sister, he told me; adding that she was very deaf, and so nervous that he hoped I would excuse her for not joining us at the repast. And so we two sat down quite companionably together to a dinner consisting of boiled pork and excellent potatoes and milk, with wild strawberries for a dessert.

The record of this old man's life was a strange one. He was born at Quebec, of Swiss parents, who took him with them, while he was yet a child, to Switzerland, in which country and in France he received his education and passed the earlier years of his life. Returning to Canada when a grown-up young man, he became a trader among the Indians, and was for some time in charge of a frontier post hard by where the city of Detroit now stands. After various ups and downs in life, he joined his brothers at this old settlement, where they had a mill and a country store. That was nearly fifty years before, and he had never been out of the place since. His brothers were all dead, and the sister to whom I have referred was the only one of the family besides himself now left. Another sister had died only two months previously, and this accounted for the bit of black crape twisted round the old gentleman's little gallipot-shaped glazed hat, which he had lifted so politely when I met him on the road. One of his brothers was drowned by accident, and another had committed suicide,—a fact which he communicated to me in a hollow whisper, as we sat there in the dim old room. Fourteen members of his family were buried, he told me, under the shade of the pine-trees near the house. Two more graves must have been added to the row long since; and that is the end of a family which evidently had once enjoyed good social position, judging from the cultivated manners and conversation of the strange old man, who had been fossilizing for nearly half a century in this remote place.

Among the reminiscences imparted to me by the old man of the bay, I have note of the following.

While he was at the frontier post near Detroit, engaged in commerce with the savage tribes and pioneering trappers, there was a gathering of warriors at the place,—a sort of carnival in celebration of some event interesting to the red men. One day the Indians got drunker than usual, and, having exhausted their stock of liquor, a deputation of them entered the store of the trader, and demanded a fresh supply on credit, which was refused. Upon this the savages became insolent and abusive, and the trader's partner, a man of great determination and personal strength, struck down the leader of them with an axe-handle, just as the tomahawks began to gleam. The savages were now leaping forward to cut down the white man, who had intrenched[Pg 322] himself among some barrels, when a fiendish yell rang through the building, seeming to paralyze them like an electric shock, and a short, thickset Indian, of very dark complexion, suddenly made his appearance in the midst of them. Raising his tomahawk aloft, and uttering a few words in his native tongue, the dark-faced warrior pointed to the door, through which the cowed savages filed sullenly away and sought their wigwams. This was the renowned Tecumseh, and such was the influence he exercised over his people, even when they were maddened by drink.

From the rough and sterile nature of the country through which many of these north-shore Canadian rivers run, it seems unlikely that their solitudes will ever be converted into fields for the permanent civilization that agriculture alone can establish. Lumbering operations and the fisheries constitute their only inducements for settlers, and these branches of industry are chiefly carried on by a nomadic population, nearly as wild in their ways of life as the aborigines of the region. Sportsmen will be glad to know, however, that of late years the facilities for reaching these rivers have been much improved. Steamers now ply regularly upon the St. Lawrence, at least as far down as the Saguenay. Landing-piers have been built at many points where it was necessary, not many years ago, for passengers to wade ashore from their boats; and the roads over the capes and highlands—where any roads have yet been made—are of a less impracticable and aggravating character than formerly. The right of leasing the rivers for fly-fishing is vested in the government, from whose Superintendent of Fisheries at Quebec all desired information on the subject can be obtained.

It is from Upper Canada that the curious old-time features of the country are passing rapidly away with the grand old woods. Within the present century the celebrated Joseph Brant, called Thayendenegea by the red men, held his half-barbaric court, as Chief of the Six Nations, at the very spot on the Grand River where the thriving town of Brantford now stands. Brant had seen European civilization, and was the friend and companion of English statesmen; and he curiously grafted that civilization upon the Six Nations' manners and customs when he returned to his strong-hold on the Grand River. Old men in Upper Canada yet spin yarns about the entertainments given by this chief at his hospitable mansion, where the guests were waited on by negro servants dressed in liveries of green and gold, and a gigantic Indian with a barrel-organ used to be stationed in the hall, to enhance the pleasures of the banquet with sweet music. This condition of things can never exist again, for which people have reason to be thankful, perhaps; but away into the past with the Indian and his gauds are vanishing the deer, and the wild-turkeys, and the creatures that men covet for their fur. Many of the deep, cold brooks, in which the speckled trout used to abound, are evaporating to mere threads as the country is cleared. Others have been poisoned by manufactures or choked up with the débris of saw-mills, to the extinction of the fish; and Upper Canada, on the whole, offers but a cheerless prospect now to the blighted young man of leisure who would forswear society and seek to live primitively in backwoods solitudes on the produce of his rod and gun.

[Pg 323]


"Come forth!" my cat-bird calls to me,
"And hear me sing a cavatina,
That, in this old familiar tree,
Shall hang a garden of Alcina.
"These buttercups shall brim with wine
Beyond all Lesbian juice or Massic;
May not New England be divine?
My ode to ripening Summer, classic?
"Or, if to me you will not hark,
By Beaver Brook a thrush is ringing,
Till all the alder-coverts dark
Seem sunshine-dappled with his singing.
"Come out beneath the unmastered sky,
With its emancipating spaces,
And learn to sing as well as I,
Unspoiled by meditated graces.
"What boot your many-volumed gains,
Those withered leaves forever turning,
To win, at best, for all your pains,
A nature mummy-wrapped in learning?
"The leaves wherein true wisdom lies
On living trees the sun are drinking,
Those white clouds drowsing through the skies
Grew not so beautiful by thinking.
"Come out! with me the oriole cries,
Escape the demon that pursues you!
And, hark, the cuckoo weather wise,
Still hiding, further onward wooes you."
"Ah, dear old friend, that, all my days,
Hast poured from that syringa thicket
The quaintly discontinuous lays
To which I hold a season ticket,—
"A season ticket cheaply bought
With a dessert of pilfered berries,—
And who so oft my soul hast caught,
With morn and evening voluntaries,—
"Deem me not faithless, if all day
Among my dusty books I linger,
Nor am, like thee, June's pipe to play
With fancy-led, half-conscious finger.
[Pg 324]
"A bird is singing in my brain,
And bubbling o'er with mingled fancies,
Gay, tragic, rapt,—right heart of Spain
Fed with the sap of old romances.
"I ask no ampler skies than those
His magic music vaults above me,
No falser friends, no truer foes,—
And does not Doña Clara love me?
"Cloaked shapes, a twanging of guitars,
A rush of feet, and rapiers clashing,
Then silence deep with breathless stars,
And overhead a white hand flashing.
"O, music of all moods and climes,
Vengeful, forgiving, sensuous, saintly,
Where still between the Christian chimes
The Moorish cymbal tinkles faintly!
"Bird of to-day, thy songs are stale
To his, my singer of all weathers,
My Calderon, my nightingale,
My Arab soul in Spanish feathers.
"Yes, friend, these singers dead so long,
And still, perhaps, in purgatory,
Give its best sweetness to all song,
To Nature's self her better glory."



In March, the first fresh fragrance of the Southern spring, and the merry songs of birds in the evergreen-trees, filled the soft air with a delusive promise that summer was near at hand. But cold, stormy weather tediously delayed its coming, and resulted calamitously for the soldiers of the Ninth Army Corps, who came from the bravely borne hardships and well-earned honors of the siege of Knoxville, as well as for many other regiments that joined them at Annapolis before starting on the last campaign of the war. Indeed, throughout the war, it seemed as if the inception of an expedition was a signal for the elements to lash themselves into a fury in some remarkable manner. Sleet, snow, and bitter blasts did their worst for many weeks at this time; and pneumonia in its most fearful forms, and rheumatism, attacked hundreds in their unavoidable exposure.

About seventy colored men, many Indians, and scores of others were brought into the hospital. I think that no one regiment sent more patients than the First Michigan Sharpshooters,[Pg 325] who had come from Chicago in a violent storm in partially open cars. Their lieutenant-colonel lay in a critical state for several days with typhoid pneumonia. The officers and men of the regiment were continually coming in to inquire for him, and their words of interest and esteem bore witness to the beauty of a character of which his noble face was alone sufficient assurance. The disease of which he was apparently dying needs, perhaps more than any other, the closest watchfulness and good judgment. The doctors were indefatigable in their consultations. Ice held constantly in the mouth was the only nourishment he could take. When medicine had done its utmost, Dr. Vanderkeift sadly said, he feared that he must die. During five days and nights sleep had not at all calmed his delirious ravings, and nature seemed exhausted. "But you are determined that he shall not die," said one of the doctors to the lady in charge of the ward. "Not if good care can save his life," she answered. (And here let me record the uniform courtesy and respect with which suggestions from the ladies were received by the doctors. Their wishes were always acceded to, if possible, with a gentlemanly deference which showed they were not considered intrusive.) Life, however, seemed almost gone, and hope at an end for our patient, when at nightfall a group of doctors whispered together that there was no use in doing anything more,—that he could not live till morning. Then, with a pertinacity which could not yield, the lady in charge requested that a blister might be applied to the back of his neck. "It will do no harm, and, if it will be the slightest gratification to you, it shall be put on; but," added the doctors, "you had better make up your mind to lose him, for he must die." With what intense satisfaction, at five o'clock the next morning, was the doctor welcomed in the ward, and told that four hours of refreshing sleep had followed the application of the blister! He was surprised even to find the patient alive, and with joy pronounced him much better. He ordered the strongest beef essence, with a fresh egg lightly beaten mixed with it, to be given by the teaspoonful every twenty minutes, alternating it with brandy and water. There was a wonderful improvement that day, and before his friends arrived on the next, the sick man was quite out of danger.

One of the most highly prized of all the various gifts which were offered in grateful remembrance to the ladies in the hospital was a volume of Autograph Leaves of American Authors from this patient. On the blank page was written:—

"—— —— ——:—I owe you a better memento, but here is one that I know your good taste will appreciate.

"I met you first in my delirium; and knew you only in the purest and sweetest character a woman can exhibit,—a true and faithful Florence Nightingale, supporting and encouraging the weary, bathing the feverish brow of the brave soldier dying far from other friends.

"I never can forget, and I trust you never will, how you night and day kept watch over me when wife and father were yet far away, when fever and delirium were racking my brain and sapping life from my lungs,—how you bore with every impatience of mine, or kindly answered every severe word.

"Please accept this book from

"Your devoted friend,
"—— —— —— ——."

There was a general commotion and eager haste in the hospital the day before the Ninth Army Corps left. The convalescents assured the doctors of their ability to go, but the doctors, differing in opinion, made many a brave man unhappy. One old soldier, John Paul, chief saddler of the Third Division of the Corps, insisted stoutly on the necessity of his joining his command. If the whole success of the undertaking had rested upon his shoulders, he could not have felt the responsibility more. At the last moment he was allowed to go.[Pg 326]

All were ambitious to share the glory of the coming triumph, little dreaming of the terrible cost of life and limb with which it was to be achieved. Of those who went from the hospital, numbers were stricken down, never to need care again. How sadly the words "Shot through the head" looked opposite the name of Frank Wagner, in the first lists which came from the front! He was a spirited boy of seventeen, who by great care had been raised from a dangerous illness. But almost sadder than the death-lists were the names of those taken prisoners. We had learned but too well that it would be death in the end to most; to very few life worth having.

Back to the hospital, too, came letters, telling of long marches and hard fighting; and of the amount of sickness which would be kept off, and pain and misery saved, if there were two or three hundred Miss ——s down there. The wounded might be counted, the letters said, by tens of thousands; the Ninth Army Corps had earned imperishable laurels, but they had lost heavily. The Michigan regiment from which we had had so many patients suffered severely; of the company of Indians, which started one hundred and ten in number, only six remained; and the other companies were hardly more fortunate. Dismay and anguish filled the land at the tidings of the desolation which was the price of victory.

Early in the spring another exchange of paroled prisoners was made. The New York came several times, bringing hundreds of starved men. Death had released many from their sufferings during the winter. The men had had no meat since New-Year's, and their tortures on Belle Isle and in Libby Prison had been excruciating. Smallpox had broken out among them. The dead had lain by the side of the living for days without burial.

Among the prisoners who came were twenty-five little drummer-boys. They had endured the hardships of exile better than the men, and were in the best of spirits. A little flaxen-haired boy of about thirteen years of age, on being asked if he were not rather young to come to the war, answered, "O no, and there are plenty more just as able as I to come and help put down this Rebellion." There was a man by the name of Schwarz, who unfurled the flag of his regiment on landing. He was the color-bearer of the First Maryland, and had succeeded in concealing the flag, until now, with proud joy, he held it high once more in free air. His brother was the first man wounded in the war, at Fort Sumter.

General Neal Dow came at this time, having passed nearly a year in Libby Prison. He was able to come in and take tea with the ladies on his arrival, and to start for home the next day. He gave a graphic account of his prison-life in Virginia. The colored people he had always found good friends. Being without the news of the day was among the deprivations of Libby, and the prisoners were indebted to the colored attendants in the prison for an occasional newspaper. When any great victory had taken place on the Union side, there was always a stricter watch kept over our men, lest even this gleam of joy should brighten their dull life; and particular care was taken constantly to inform them that great battles had been fought, that the South had gained immense advantages, and that the North would soon be forced to give up the war. One morning a colored man came to General Dow and told him that there was a "mighty big piece of news," but that he was afraid to tell, lest he should be detected in giving information. But after the General had promised that he should not be betrayed, "Vicksburg is taken!" resounded in a loud whisper through the room. It was too good a secret to be kept in silence, and inspired their hearts with fresh courage to bear their hard lot.

Major Calhoun came too at this time. He was from Kentucky, a man of marked character and superior education. He had made an attempt to escape,[Pg 327] and, being caught, was taken back and confined in a cell, in which he Could neither lie down nor stand up. For six weeks he was kept there, and then taken out with a brain-fever settled upon him, from which he had not fully recovered when brought to us. As his pale, thin face looked forth from the coarse brown blanket in which he was wrapped, it was as pitiable a sight as can be imagined. It was enough to melt the stoutest heart to hear him relate his woful experiences, and tell how many comrades he had left in misery. "Good by, Cap',—we're glad you are going to God's land; but tell them at home how we fare here, and see if they can't get us away." These were the parting words from his sorrowful comrades.

"Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased?"

was often the piteous appeal of countenances among the returned prisoners, betraying a brain disturbed by depressing fancies or harrowing imaginations. In some cases the malady amounted to insanity, and then the patients were removed to an asylum. Homesickness was frequently the cause of the most unmanageable of cases. No medicine was effectual in giving an appetite or producing sound sleep. All attempts to cheer or amuse these childish patients were regarded by them as the evidence of a heartless want of sympathy. "Just think, I have been out four months, and not had a furlough yet!" said an officer one day at the conclusion of an hour's effort to divert his mind; and, with violent sobbings, he buried his face in the pillow. A leave of absence proved his cure.

There was a Pennsylvania man who had never before he became a soldier left his native farm,—a vigorous-looking youth, hearty and robust in stature. At night he would awake from dreams of haying-scenes or apple-gatherings, shouting out the names of his brothers; and when he found himself so far away, and in the hospital, he would break into the most grievous wails and lamentations. This of course disturbed the other sick men seriously, and night after night the poor nurse strove in vain to soothe him. In the daytime a quieter kind of crying would satisfy him. There was nothing but talking about his home that would bring a gleam of gladness to his disconsolate countenance. Every time that the lady in charge of the ward left him was the occasion of a trembling lip and tearful eyes. At last it was proposed to treat him as if he were a child. "Now you must try and be a good boy, Joseph, and when you wake up not make such a noise and disturb the men; if you are quiet, you shall have something nice given you in the morning." This was a good-night promise. The experiment succeeded; for on our going into the ward in the morning, he said, "I have been real good, and only woke the men up once." And then he wondered what he should get. An orange satisfied his most ardent expectations; and then a promise of something more at noon, and again at night, if he continued his improved behavior, kept him happier through the day. This system was followed up for a few days, when he recovered his spirits, and was able to rejoin his regiment in a short time.

Where nostalgia was the only complaint, it would yield, but was almost hopeless if disease had undermined the constitution. There were two boys about seventeen years old in one ward, both dolefully sad, and pining continually for home and familiar faces. One was from Tennessee, the other from Connecticut. They were equally low, being among the worst cases from prison life. The father of one came to him; the sister whom the other talked constantly about could not even hear from him, the Rebels cutting off postal communication. The evening West's father came, he seemed nearer death than the little Tennesseean, but his father's presence saved his life; he quickly rallied, the pressure of his melancholy was removed by hearing a home voice, his appetite returned, his strength was restored. But the other[Pg 328] boy sank lower and lower in despondency for which there was no remedy; and the last words he spoke were of his sister,—he would be content to die if he could only see her once more.

The enlivening music of a fine band was added this spring to the hospital organization. For an hour every morning and evening its animating strains stirred the martial spirit in the worn-out and suffering, and brought cheer and courage to hours of loneliness. The little "Knapsack," too, was merged into a printed sheet called "The Crutch," the weekly publication of which furnished an occasion for the patients to amuse themselves in writing articles in prose or verse.

A complete photographic establishment appeared in one corner of the hospital grounds at this time, and became the resort of hundreds of officers and men in their leisure hours of convalescence. The instrument was used in taking pictures of uncommon cases in surgery, and in faithfully delineating the spectral features of the returned prisoners.

The month of June found our hospital comparatively deserted: all the men who were able had left for their regiments, and all but two or three prisoners had gone to Camp Parole to await exchange, or had been laid beneath the sods of Maryland. In the wards were to be found patients who had been there for months, prostrated either by chronic illness or stubborn wounds,—mere human wrecks, bones and breath alone remaining of once rugged frames and constitutions.

Gently the balmy summer breezes creep into the tent wards, laden with the rich fragrance of roses, violets, and jasmine, offering their mute sympathy to those who shall never more walk forth to behold them growing in luxuriant beauty. William Miller, a boy of fifteen, is one of these. He is an orphan, and was the pet of fond grandparents, who consented to let him join the Union army to escape Rebel conscription. He is a mere child; his dark, deep, expressive eyes, shaded by long, drooping lashes, light up with happiness his face of marble paleness, as he receives the comforts of life and the kindness of friends once more, after long months of homesickness and starvation. His spirit is buoyant with the anticipation of seeing his native State of Tennessee entirely rescued from the destroying hand of treason, and he is proud of having suffered for the flag of freedom. But at times those bright eyes are clouded; not that he for one moment regrets his experiences, bitter as they have been, in contrast with the doting care in which he was reared; yet he talks a good deal about that little home in the far-off mountains, and it is easy to discern that the tidings which cannot come from those he so dearly loves there would bring him great happiness. He is too manly in his patriotism, however, to give way to these restless longings, and stifles the secret unquiet of his heart by a bravely forced cheerfulness. The doctor is sure that he cannot live much longer, and thinks best that he should be told. It is a painful duty thus to blight all the hopes which cling to earth.

One day, as he was talking about his grandparents, and how much he should have to tell them when he got home, he was asked, "But suppose, Miller, that it was God's will for you not to get well, but to go to a better world above, how would you feel?" The awful possibility flashed upon him for the first time, and, bursting into tears, he exclaimed, "Must I die, and never see grandpapa and grandmamma again?... I can die for the country, but I do want to see them once more." After a little while, with a maturity and strength of character far beyond his years, he sweetly acquiesced in the will of the wise Disposer of our joys and sorrows, and transferred his thoughts to eternal realities. He was comforted by the thought that he should meet those he loved in the heavenly home. "And perhaps they may be there now," he said, "waiting for me." At another time, on being reminded that his best and most[Pg 329] loving Friend was always near him, he said that he wished that he loved him better, and knew how to pray to him aright. "Can't you say, God be merciful to me a sinner?" "O yes, but do you call that praying?" With his thin, white hands meekly clasped upon his breast, he would lie for hours repeating with his slowly moving lips this petition. God heard and answered it A settled peace filled his soul, making those last few days the beginning of immortal glory to him, as he awaited with triumphant faith the hour of transition. To the end his patriotism glowed warmly; he asked, the day before he died, that a little flag which was in the tent might be put up where he could see it: "I would love to have that dear flag the last thing that my eyes shall rest upon on earth." Patiently he suffered until within a few hours of his death, when he sank into a deep sleep, to awake no more here. As we gazed at his little form in the coffin, with the flag he died for laid across his snowy shroud, that impressive, mysterious "Why?" which is so often asked in life, came to our thoughts. Why should one so pure and innocent be called to offer his young life in a struggle for which he was in no manner responsible? Eternity will unfold all the hidden reasons; but cannot we even now catch a glimpse of them, remembering that no devotion is too precious a sacrifice for the principles of truth and liberty, and that the longest life could not be crowned with loftier praise than the death of a child-patriot? A wreath of white rose-buds was woven for the funeral of our little loved one; a single pink rose was laid with tears on the flag-covered coffin by the soldier-nurse who had tenderly cared for him through his illness.

Impelled by an intense feeling of the importance of a speedy exchange of the large number of men who had been taken prisoners since the opening of the spring campaign, two of the ladies in the hospital went to Washington one day. They were kindly received by President Lincoln, and, in the few minutes' interview they had with him, the pictures of some of the released prisoners were shown to him. As he gazed at them, a pitying sadness crossed his brow. He asked if indeed they could be correct, and gave a promise that those who were then in the hands of the enemy should be exchanged as soon as it was in his power to effect it. Could that time have sooner come, what unutterable tortures would have been saved to thousands!

Strawberry festivals were given to the men at this time; gingerbread, and a plentiful supply of fruit, adding a little variety to their every-day fare. The time afforded for such diversions by a less pressing amount of care than usual was cut short by the arrival of the steamer Connecticut, bringing six hundred of those most seriously wounded at the disastrous attack upon Petersburg on the 18th of June. These men were landed at midnight; their wounds had been carefully attended to before their arrival, and were found to be in good order. Yet many were in a dying state, and it was impossible to do for every man all that we desired on the morning that followed, and added by its heat to their weakness, thirst, and discomfort. Hastily the hospital attendants moved from one helpless sufferer to another, in the thickly crowded tent wards. One man would shriek, in frenzied agony, for a drink of water; another would beg to be fanned; while others would ask to be bathed with ice-water.

Among the newly arrived was General Chamberlain, the present Governor of Maine. Supposed to have been "mortally wounded," so terribly had a Minie-rifle-ball shattered his body, he was, after having been borne by painful and exhausting stages from the extreme front, landed in an almost dying condition. Leaving Bowdoin College as Colonel of the Maine Twentieth, he had already distinguished himself by dashing bravery in many of the great battles of the war. At Petersburg he was raised to the rank of General by Grant for gallantry in leading[Pg 330] a charge,—the only case of actual promotion on the field during the war. Bravest in battle, his courage was not less evinced during months of intense and tedious suffering. Partially restored to health as by a miracle, he resumed his command five months from the day of his desperate wound. In Grant's last campaign he opened the attack on the left at Quaker Road and White Oak Road, for which he received the brevet of Major-General. Although several times wounded, he valiantly pressed on, fighting through the campaign, and taking a prominent and important part in the battle of Five Forks. His command, the First Division of the Fifth Army Corps, was designated to receive the surrender of the arms and colors of Lee's army; and the flag that waved that day over a conquered rebellion now hangs in his peaceful study at Brunswick.

Of those who died on the morning after the arrival of the Connecticut was a young man belonging to the Rebel army. He had by chance been taken up among our wounded. He had his little Bible in his pocket, which he requested should be sent to his mother, with the message that he died happy, and hoped to meet her in a better world, but that he was a fool for having joined the army. As it was supposed that he might have some such regret in his last hours, he was asked if he were sorry that he had fought against the old flag. "Well, you need not say that," he said, "but that I was a fool ever to come to this war." With a smile of peace upon his countenance, he passed away. Several attempts have been made, in vain, since the close of the war, to find his mother; the Bible, and a ring taken from his finger, will possibly never reach her now.

Among the wounded were four men who had lost both legs; they were in the best of spirits, surely thinking to live, and earnestly planning for the future. Had the heat not been so excessive for the ten days after they came, they would probably have survived; but, one after another, they died, suddenly, overcome by fainting weakness. I remember, too, one boy, only sixteen years old, who had lost his right arm. "You have given a good deal for the country," was said to him. "Yes, and I would willingly give my other arm to help put down this Rebellion." Little did he think that within a few hours his life would be yielded in his country's cause.

Every day a funeral procession moved forth to the place of burial, the band playing the "Russian Dirge" or the "Dead March in Saul."

It seemed as if a special inspiration of silent endurance and courageous patience were given to the men who lingered in the most acute sufferings. Gangrene spread through the wards, and the remedy was like the application of fire to open wounds. Three times a day was this agony endured with a martyr's spirit. One man by the name of Hollenbeck would sing in joyous tones,—

"I'm glad I'm in this army,
I'm glad I'm in this army,
And I'll battle till the end.
"He will give me grace to conquer,
He will give me grace to conquer,
And keep me to the end."

While consciousness lasted, he firmly retained his self-control; but at last reason gave way, and the groans and distressing cries which for a few days preceded his death told over what a depth of agony his soul had triumphed, before his brain lost its power.

Not alone by the men themselves was this sublime fortitude shown. Mothers, who came to visit their sons, though crushed with grief at their hopeless state, would yet calmly and even cheerfully minister to their comfort.

There was one mother, especially, whom I remember,—a slight, fragile little woman, dressed in widow's mourning, for her husband had been killed in the war, and it was her third and last son who was now dying for the country. Her strength of mind and body was almost superhuman. She had an angelic expression of countenance, such as comes from learning the full and perfect[Pg 331] love of God in the sharp lessons of suffering. She was only too thankful at being permitted to spend these last days and nights by the side of her son,—begging him to put his trust in the Saviour, and telling of the celestial glory prepared for him beyond the grave. She could hardly be persuaded to take even a few hours' sleep; she felt that she could not leave him with the nurse, but consented, if one of the ladies would stay with him, to take a little rest. It was my privilege to watch by him through that last night of restless pain, and then I found that he was in every way worthy of so noble a mother. He expressed his willingness to die, saying that it had been his duty to fight, and that now he gloried in dying for the nation. The tent sides' fluttering in the light breeze from the bay was the only sound that disturbed the quiet of that starry night, as in the solemn solitude the departing soul gathered fresh energy as the body grew weaker and weaker. Chapters of the Bible and Psalms were read over and over to him; he earnestly listened to each promise and benediction, and would at the low singing of hymns sleep gently for a few moments at a time. Early in the morning his mother resumed her place of loving care. In the afternoon she sent for two of the ladies to come over and sing to Frank. The chaplain was there, and life was fast ebbing away. After prayer, the hymn, "My heavenly home is bright and fair," was sung. As the dying boy thanked the ladies, he said that there was a hymn about "rest" that he would like to hear once more. "There is rest for the weary" having been sung, he folded his wasted hands, and said: "This is the last hymn I shall hear on earth. In a little while I shall know of that rest." He breathed for a few hours longer, and then his spirit was among the redeemed, "in the Christian's home in glory." The faithful, trusting mother only said, in the depth of her affliction, "It is the Lord; let Him do what seemeth Him best."

Dr. Vanderkeift mingled with the pride of a surgeon the utmost kindliness toward each patient. He would, on examining a critical case, immediately after amputation, bend in the most fatherly manner over the man, and, patting him gently, would say, with his German accent: "Now, my dear fellow, do please to live. I am doing all I can for you, and will send you milk from my own Alderney every day."

Flowers were never more appreciated than in the hospital that summer. A bunch of these bright little treasures would make a man happy for hours, and would receive the most endearing care to preserve their beauty. On going in to see a wounded man one day, the attention of one of the ladies was attracted by a strange-looking object hanging from the tent. Her curiosity being excited, she inquired, "What have you here, John?" "Well, miss, it is a long while since I had seen any flowers before those you brought me in yesterday, and it was so warm that I was afraid water wouldn't keep them, and I hated to see them wither; so I got Evans to make me this calico bag and put some earth in it, and I am in hopes they will grow here by my side, if I keep them moist." Sure enough, when this admiring florist was able to leave on crutches in a few weeks, he carried these specimens of Maryland floriculture, all rooted and growing, to his Western home.

For the sake of convenience, the ladies usually dressed in dark attire; but when a light muslin appeared in the wards the effect was quite noticeable. I remember that one day a man asked the lady in charge of his own ward to get another lady, who was arrayed in pink, to come in from her ward and see him. "But what do you want with her? Can't I do everything for you?" "W-e-ll, y-e-s; but then she is dressed up so nice; if she would only walk through the tent, it would make me feel better."

In July there was threatened an invasion of the city of Annapolis, which produced much excitement in the hospital. As there were between six and seven hundred officers there at the[Pg 332] time as patients, it was not deemed unlikely that Harry Gilmore, with his band of raiders, would, after burning Governor Bradford's house at Baltimore, make a dash in our direction, if only to terrify and then parole the officers and men. By degrees the telegraphic wires and railway lines were destroyed nearer and nearer to us, thus isolating the city, and giving rise to fearful anticipations. Outside the two entrances to the hospital were dug broad moats, protected by ramparts of earth and a very ludicrous structure of barrels; while about a mile off a line of rifle-pits was prepared, with cannon mounted in hastily made forts behind them. Every steamer, fishing-boat, or craft capable of carrying persons or property was put into requisition by the people of Annapolis, and kept constantly ready to start at the first appearance of the foe, and some of the valuable possessions of the hospital floated on the bay for a few days. Messages were left with us for home friends by the men hurrying off to the front, as we termed the spot of the impending encounter, as if the ladies were expected to be the sole survivors of the affair. Every man who could handle a spade or a pickaxe was required at this season of alarm. For three days and nights the reign of terror lasted, causing an injuriously nervous inquietude to the helpless and sick. It was useless to try to allay their apprehensions, for those who smiled at the idea of an attack were merely regarded as endowed with a Quixotic cheerfulness. When gunboats arrived to protect the city, a ray of hope dawned; and when the news reached us that the raiders had retreated across the Potomac, all felt safe once more. A man by the name of Beck, one of the most valued of the hospital attendants, was accidentally shot, though not fatally. He was the sole hero of this brief campaign of fright.

It was not until August that any of our wounded who had been taken prisoners were exchanged on parole. The New York came about the middle of the month, bringing six hundred. Many said that their wounds had been slight, but that amputation had been performed with the assurance from the Rebels that they would fix them so that they would never fight any more. I think that these were exceptional victims of cruelty, for the almost universal testimony of our soldiers was that the surgeons were their best friends at the South. They would insist upon the necessity of more food being given to their patients, and remonstrate with the Rebel authorities,—unfortunately without success.

One of the officers who came at this time was Lieutenant F——, belonging to a New York regiment. He had lost a limb, and remained a few weeks in the hospital. The first letter of joyous welcome which he received from home told him that his family had been wearing mourning four months for him, and a printed funeral sermon which shortly followed the letter gave an account of his supposed death at the Battle of the Wilderness, and contained a eulogy upon his character.

I remember being particularly impressed by a description of hunger in the hospital at Libby, given by Lieutenant William Foy Smith, who came at this time. He belonged to the First Massachusetts Cavalry. He was shot through the lungs, and left for dead on the battle-field. By the kind care of colored women, who brought him milk, he was resuscitated—to find himself a prisoner. He said that often at night in Libby he would amuse himself by calculating how many places there were in Washington Street, Boston, where edibles were to be had, and he would fancy the people getting oysters and thousands of good things; and then he would muse over all the bountiful dinners that he used to have at home, and reproach himself for not having partaken more heartily, resolving, if ever he had another opportunity, that his gnawing appetite should forever do itself justice. Then he would wildly scrape the wall by which he was lying, and ravenously devour the atoms from it, until at last he would dream in his[Pg 333] sleep of happier days to come. After several months, Lieutenant Smith was able to rejoin his regiment, whose entrance into Richmond he thus describes: "I shall never repine again, while I have health; but who talks of repining after such a march as our last? I joined the regiment at Manchester, opposite Richmond. How often have I looked across the river to the field on which we camped, and longed for liberty! We passed in review through the city the next day. I cannot describe my sensations as I went by the old prison-house, with a good horse under me,—one seemed hardly sufficient,—health in my veins, and freedom,—it was too much. I had to shout. A lank, unshorn Rebel was looking through the bars where I had so often looked. We had the finest of music and the gayest of banners, but the people let us have them all to ourselves. But our glorious reception in Washington repaid us."

It was a great recompense for all his sufferings that this brave, modest young officer lived to see the day of victorious peace; but within a few months the wound from which he had partially recovered was the cause of his death.

Malarial fever was the prevalent disease in the hospital in the early autumn. Hundreds sank with it, after the hard marches and counter-marches with Sheridan in the hot Valley of the Shenandoah through the summer. Stimulating and nourishing diet came too late to many of these undermined constitutions, and disease worked its deadly ravages where ball and bayonet had missed their aim. Dr. Hunter, surgeon of a Pennsylvania regiment, lived but a short time in severe suffering. A man of strong character, his patriotism had responded when an urgent call for men had come from the War Department. Having no son to send to the war, he felt it to be his duty to leave a large practice and enlist as a private. He was immediately made surgeon of the regiment which he devotedly served for several months. His death-bed was the scene of the most serene peace. "Why should I stay longer below? I am only too glad to depart and be with Christ: it is far better." These and similar words showed the tone of his mind. His earnest prayers for the nation were his last rich legacy of dying faith. He cheerfully gave his life as part of the ransom of liberty and peace.

On one of those autumnal days died, too, Major Butler. Wounded at Petersburg, one leg had been fractured in seven places, from the thigh to the ankle. Three months he lingered in distress which can be imagined, but to which his heroic spirit never gave utterance.

The hospital was brilliantly illuminated when the result of the Presidential election was made known, in November. Music and shouts of rejoicing rent the air, and all were filled with exulting confidence that the beginning of the end had been accomplished by the overwhelming verdict of the people at home.

The National Thanksgiving was celebrated by a service in the chapel, and a fine dinner, which one man said he "could not have enjoyed better had he eaten it at his grandmother's,—only the folks would have been there."

At last, in December, the earnest entreaties of hearts breaking with wild anguish and suspense prevailed upon the authorities in Washington to effect the release of our prisoners. To no one person was this happy result so much due as to General Mulford, our Commissioner of Exchange. He was unceasing in his exertions to accomplish this end on almost any terms, for he knew what tortures our men were enduring, and how rapidly they were dying. The soldiers looked upon him as their deliverer, and with good reason. His arduous care and kindly manner deserved their warmest enthusiasm and gratitude. His personal watchfulness in receiving the men may be illustrated by a little incident. A man who was feebly walking fell down quite exhausted, just before reaching the New York; he lay behind a pile of wood, and could not make himself heard. Just as the boat[Pg 334] was about putting off, General Mulford stepped on shore to look round and be certain that no one was left. "I should have lain there till I died had he not in his kindness found me," said the man.

The first exchange was of ten thousand men. Large ocean steamers found their way up Chesapeake Bay, and our band played "Home again," "Home, Sweet Home," and other strains of welcome, to their ghastly passengers. As one man looked up, in landing, to the flag waving in the hospital grounds, he said earnestly, "We're glad to see you; we know there's grub enough under you." Such inexpressible relief and joy were never felt by mortals before. Libby Prison and Belle Isle had startled the ear of humanity by their records of woe, but the story of Andersonville far exceeded theirs. The revolting torments inflicted in that place are too well known to need repetition. Rather let us dwell upon the happiness of those fortunate enough to escape. The hospital was crowded to its utmost capacity. Many lived only a few minutes or hours after reaching the wards; others survived but a day or two, breathing their last in peace and comfort. An elderly man, quite pulseless when brought in, was resuscitated with brandy sufficiently to express his gratitude. "God has been very good in bringing me here," he said, as a beam of joy irradiated his wan face; "I can die willingly here, and lay my bones under the old flag, but I didn't want to die down there." And when asked if he had kept his faith in God while suffering so much at Andersonville: "O yes! He has been my leader these twenty years, and I thought He would bring me out all right." His name was John Buttery; he did not live long enough to hear from his wife and six children, in Connecticut.

Among the unknown was a boy apparently about seventeen years old, with clustering curls of auburn hair, and eyes, that once must have been full of life, now sending forth only a vacant stare. I worked over him, hoping to get him to utter one word before he died that would give some hint of his name or home, but in vain.

That month of December, with its cold, leaden sky, and bleak, wintry winds, will never be forgotten. On going down one dreary morning, in the obscurity of early dawn, I found that a tent in which five men dangerously ill had been left the night before was not to be seen; at first I distrusted my senses,—it was surely the place where the tent had stood, but the only vestige left was the plank floor. On inquiry, I found that in the middle of the night the tent had blown over, and men, furniture, and all had been moved in a furious storm.

Sixty men were buried at one time, and several times over forty were borne in a long train of ambulances to the cemetery. The martial dirge, with the sound of its muffled drum, was daily mingled with the groans of the dying. Many a man who did not shrink from death still desired to live long enough to hear from his home once more, and died piteously lamenting his lot. Others, though dying, would cling to the hope of going home; and when told that the doctor feared they could not live an hour, and asked if they had any messages to leave, with their last gasp would say, "O, I shall live! I am going home to see my mother."

In contrast with such cases were others of calm fortitude. These lines were dictated at midnight by a man who had hoped to live, but whose strength suddenly failed:—

"Dear Wife:—I am on my death-bed. Get N—— E—— to settle our affairs, draw my pay, &c. If our daughter is still living, I want her to have a share of three hundred dollars. I die under the protecting folds of the starry banner of freedom. You must take good care of the little one. Trust in God, and meet me in heaven. I bid a last farewell to all my friends. I die happy. God bless you.

"Your husband,
"H. W. Varney."

[Pg 335]

The friends of many came as soon as they heard of their arrival and illness, but often failed to recognize them. One woman, on being taken into the ward where her husband was asleep, persisted in saying that she had never seen that man before; and on being shown his name and regiment on the card, she refused to be convinced, feeling sure that there must be some mistake, till he opened his eyes and greeted her by name.

On the evening of a day on which there had been a new arrival of men, I was sitting in the comfortably heated tent, while eight happy faces looked from the warmly blanketed beds. Each man had his own tale of prison experience to tell. "Not for all the gold that could be heaped into this tent would I voluntarily spend one more day at Andersonville." Another said, "We suffered enough in body; but the mental agony, the mental agony, no one can ever imagine." And so they went on, dwelling at last upon their anxiety for home friends, wondering if mothers, wives, and children were yet alive. Then one manly voice told, in earnest tones, how he could bless the Lord for the perilous trials through which he had passed; that he had been brought up religiously, but never had truly loved the Saviour until he became his only refuge. "His love in my heart is well worth all the discipline I have endured, and I can thank him for it." These words came from John S. Farnell, a Michigan boy of eighteen years of age. Since the battle of Gettysburg, seventeen months before, he had been a prisoner. He enjoyed reading his own little new Bible, and the meetings for prayer and singing held in his tent. He seemed to be gaining strength, until an attack of pneumonia occurred, when the utmost care failed to save his life. He talked peacefully of dying, in intervals of consciousness, but at last sank into a heavy stupor. Just as I closed his eyes, and while he ceased to breathe, the band struck up the strain, "Do they miss me at home?"

It needed a stout heart to turn from the frequent scenes of death, at that gloomy time, to cheer and amuse the less dangerously ill. The coming of Christmas was a source of excitement for a few days. Some of the boys had never heard of Santa Claus and his visits down the chimney at this merry season; and when his descent through the pipes, and passage through the stove-doors, and appearance in the tents became possibilities, there was as much amusement and anticipation among them as ever gladdened a nursery full of children. On the morning of this happy festival every man found a sock hanging by his side stuffed with mittens, scarfs, knives, suspenders, handkerchiefs, and many little things. Out of the top of each sock peeped a little flag; and as the men awoke, one by one, and examined the gifts of Santa Claus, shouts of merriment rang through the wards, and they were satisfied that he was a friend worth having.

All that was possible under the pressure of the melancholy circumstances was done to make the day a happy one; but it was not celebrated with the same rejoicings as the year before, nor was there much time to be spared from the sick and dying. Steamers were constantly arriving, and filling up the vacant places with new patients.

On a ragged, soiled piece of paper which a man handed me on landing were these lines, written at Andersonville by a boy of sixteen who died there. They are surely worthy of remembrance.

"Will you leave us here to die?
When our country called for men,
We came from forge and store and mill,
The broken ranks to fill;
We left our quiet, happy homes,
And ones we loved so well,
To vanquish all the Union foes,
Or fall where others fell.
Now, in prisons drear we languish,
And it is our constant cry,
O ye who yet can save us,
Will you leave us here to die?
"The voice of slander tells you
That our hearts were weak with fear,
That nearly every one of us
Was captured in the rear.
[Pg 336] The scars upon our bodies
From the musket-ball and shell,
The missing legs and shattered arms
A truer tale will tell.
We have tried to do our duty
In the sight of God on high:
O ye who yet can save us,
Will you leave us here to die?
"There are hearts with hope still beating
In our pleasant Northern homes,
Waiting, watching for the footsteps
That may never, never come.
In Southern prisons pining,
Meagre, tattered, pale, and gaunt,
Growing weaker, weaker daily
From pinching cold and want.
Here brothers, sons, and husbands,
Poor and hopeless, captured lie:
O ye who yet can save them,
Will you leave us here to die?
"From out our prison gate,
There's a grave-yard close at hand,
Where lie ten thousand Union men
Beneath the Georgia sand.
Scores and scores are laid beside them,
As day succeeds to day;
And thus it ever will be
Till they all shall pass away,
And the last can say when dying,
With upturned and glazing eye,
Both love and faith are dead at home,—
They have left us here to die!"

A proof of the humanity with which the Rebel prisoners were treated by our government is found in the fact of their reluctance to be exchanged; they said that they were very comfortable, and would far rather remain at the North until the war was over. One general, who was having an artificial leg made, was forced to return against his will. His entreaties to be left behind prevailed for a few days; but at last he was obliged to take passage on the transport for exchange, as one of our own generals was awaiting his return to come home.

Among the prisoners who came in January was Boston Corbett, of the Seventeenth New York Cavalry. Every name made public even in remote connection with the death of our beloved President becomes an object of interest. The following is a characteristic letter from the brave and earnest-hearted patriot at whose hand the assassin met his doom:—

"Vienna, Va., March 9, 1865.

"Miss ——:—Many times I have thought I would write to acknowledge the kindness shown by you and the other good ladies of the hospital to us poor soldiers when we were brought from Savannah, Andersonville, and Millen. I remember with gratitude the first kind words expressed towards us, and how strange and good they sounded after being so long deprived of them. Although they might not seem much to the giver, yet I believe they will live in the memory of us soldier boys long after the war is over. I can never forget how much was done for us all on our return from prison to hospital; but many thousands lie under the soil of Georgia, monuments of the cruelty and wickedness of this Rebellion,—the head of all the rebellions of earth for blackness and horror. Those only can feel the extent of it who have seen their comrades, as I have, lying in the broiling sun, without shelter, with swollen feet and parched skin, in filth and dirt, suffering as I believe no people ever suffered before in the world. But, thank God, these things have come, I hope, to an end. May they never exist again in the good land! With kind regards to all,

"Very truly,
"Boston Corbett."

The ravages of the malignant fever which had broken out in the hospital were not confined to the patients. Surgeons and chaplain yielded their lives at its deadly touch. Then, too, was the bond severed which had harmoniously united a happy sisterhood for many months. Of the six who went down to the brink of the river of death, five crossed over to the heavenly shore. She who alone remained gives these simple memories to the reader.

[Pg 337]




I am afraid that the talk of the modern railway traveller, if he is honest, must be a great deal of the custodians, the vetturini, and the facchini, whose agreeable acquaintance constitutes his chief knowledge of the population among which he journeys. We do not now-a-days carry letters recommending us to citizens of the different places. If we did, consider the calamity we should be to the be-travelled Italian communities we now bless! No; we buy our through-tickets, and we put up at the hotels praised in the hand-book, and are very glad of a little conversation with any native, however adulterated he may be by contact with the world to which we belong. I do not blush to own that I love the whole rascal race which ministers to our curiosity and preys upon us, and I am not ashamed to have spoken so often as I have done in former sketches of the lowly and rapacious but interesting porters who opened to me the different gates of that great realm of wonders, Italy. I doubt if they can be much known to the dwellers in the land, though they are the intimates of all sojourners and passengers; and if I have any regret in the matter, it is that I did not more diligently study them when I could. The opportunity, once lost, seldom recurs; they are all but as transitory as the Object of Interest itself. I remember that years ago, when I first visited Cambridge, there was an old man appeared to me in the character of Genius of the College Grounds, who showed me all the notable things in our city,—its treasures of art, its monuments,—and ended by taking me into his wood-house, and sawing me off from a wind-fallen branch of the Washington Elm a bit of the sacred wood for a remembrancer. Where now is that old man? He no longer exists for me, neither he nor his wood-house nor his dwelling-house. Let me look for a month about the College Grounds, and I shall not see him. But somewhere in the regions of traveller's faery he still lives, and he appears instantly to the new-comer; he has an understanding with the dryads who keep him supplied with boughs from the Washington Elm, and his wood-house is full of them.

Among memorable cicerones in Italy was one whom we saw at Pisa, where we stopped on our way from Leghorn after our accident in the Maremma, and spent an hour in viewing the Quattro Fabbriche. The beautiful old town, which every one knows from the report of travellers, one finds possessed of the incommunicable charm which keeps old towns forever novel to the visitor. Lying on either side of the Arno, it mirrors in the flood architecture almost as fair and noble as that glassed in the Canalazzo, and its streets seemed to us as tranquil as the canals of Venice. Those over which we drove, on the day of our visit, were paved with broad flag-stones, and gave out scarcely a sound under our wheels. It was Sunday, and no one was to be seen. Yet the empty and silent city inspired us with no sense of desolation. The palaces were in perfect repair; the pavements were clean; behind those windows we felt that there must be a good deal of easy, comfortable life. It is said that Pisa is one of the few places in Europe where the sweet, but timid, spirit of Inexpensiveness—everywhere pursued by Railways—still lingers, and that you find cheap apartments in those well-preserved old palaces. No doubt it would be worth more to live in Pisa than it would cost, for the history of the place would alone be to any reasonable sojourner a perpetual recompense and a princely income far exceeding his expenditure. To be sure, the Tower of Famine, with which we[Pg 338] chiefly associate the name of Pisa, has been long razed to the ground, and built piecemeal into the neighboring palaces; but you may still visit the dead wall which hides from view the place where it stood, and you may thence drive on, as we did, to the great Piazza where stands the unrivalledest group of architecture in the world after that of St. Mark's Place in Venice. There is the wonderful Leaning Tower, there is the old and beautiful Duomo, there is the noble Baptistery, there is the lovely Campo Santo. There, too,—somewhere lurking in portal or behind pillar, and keeping out an eagle eye for the marvelling stranger,—is the much experienced cicerone who shows you through the edifices. Yours is the fourteen-thousandth American family to which he has had the honor of acting as guide, and he makes you feel an illogical satisfaction in thus becoming a contribution to statistics.

We entered the Duomo in our new friend's custody, and we saw the things which it was well to see. There was mass, or some other ceremony, transacting, but, as usual, it was made as little obtrusive as possible, and there was not much to weaken the sense of proprietorship with which travellers view objects of interest. Then we ascended the Leaning Tower, skilfully preserving its equilibrium, as we went, by an inclination of our persons in a direction opposed to the tower's inclination, but perhaps not receiving a full justification of the Campanile's appearance in pictures till we stood again at its base, and saw its vast bulk and height as it seemed to sway and threaten in the blue sky above our heads. There the sensation was too terrible for endurance,—even the architectural beauty of the tower could not save it from being monstrous to us,—and we were glad to hurry away from it to the serenity and solemn loveliness of the Campo Santo.

Here are the frescos painted five hundred years ago to be ruinous and ready against the time of your arrival in 1864, and you feel that you are the first to enjoy the joke of the Vergogñosa,—that arch jade who peers through her fingers at the shameful condition of deboshed Father Noah, and seems to wink one eye of wicked amusement at you. Turning afterward to any book written about Italy during the time specified, you find your impression of exclusive property in the frescos erroneous, and your Muse naturally despairs where so many muses have labored in vain to give a just idea of the Campo Santo. Yet it is most worthy celebration. Those exquisitely arched and traceried colonnades seem to grow like the slim cypresses out of the sainted earth of Jerusalem; and those old paintings enforce more effectively than their authors conceived the lessons of life and death, for they are themselves becoming part of the triumphant decay they represent. If it was awful once to look upon that strange scene where the gay lords and ladies of the chase come suddenly upon three dead men in their coffins, while the devoted hermits enjoy the peace of a dismal righteousness on a hill in the background, it is yet more tragic to behold it now, when the dead men are hardly discernible in their coffins, and the hermits are but the vaguest shadows of gloomy bliss. Alas! Death mocks even the homage done him by our poor fears and hopes: with dust he wipes out dust, and with decay he blots the image of decay.

I assure the reader that I made none of these apt reflections in the Campo Santo at Pisa, but have written them out this morning, in Cambridge, because there happens to be an east wind blowing. No one could have been sad in the company of our cheerful and patient cicerone, who, although visibly anxious to get his fourteen-thousandth American family away, still would not go till he had shown us that monument to a dead enmity which hangs in the Campo Santo. This is the mighty chain which the Pisans, in their old wars with the Genoese, once stretched across the mouth of their harbor to prevent the entrance of the hostile galleys.[Pg 339] The Genoese with no great trouble carried the chain away, and kept it ever afterward till 1860, when Pisa was united to the kingdom of Italy. Then the trophy was restored to the Pisans, and with public rejoicings placed in the Campo Santo, an emblem of reconciliation and perpetual amity between ancient foes.[101] It is not a very good world,—e pur si muove.

The Baptistery stands but a step away from the Campo Santo, and our guide ushered us into it with the air of one who had till now held in reserve his great stroke and was ready to deliver it. Yet I think he waited till we had looked at some comparatively trifling sculptures by Nicolò da Pisa before he raised his voice and uttered a melodious species of howl. While we stood in some amazement at this, the conscious structure of the dome caught the sound, and prolonged it with a variety and sweetness of which I could not have dreamed. The man poured out in quick succession his musical wails, and then ceased, and a choir of heavenly echoes burst forth in response. There was a supernatural beauty in these harmonies of which I despair of giving any true idea. They were of such tender and exalted rapture that we might well have thought them the voices of young-eyed cherubim, singing as they passed through Paradise over that spot of earth where we stood. They seemed a celestial compassion that stooped and soothed, and rose again in lofty and solemn acclaim, leaving us poor and penitent and humbled.

We were long silent, and then broke forth with cries of admiration of which the marvellous echo at once made eloquence.

"Did you ever," said the cicerone after we had left the building, "hear such music as that?"

"The papal choir does not equal it," we answered with one voice.

The cicerone was not to be silenced even with such a tribute, and he went on:—

"Perhaps, as you are Americans, you know Moshu Feelmore, the President? No? Ah, what a fine man! You saw that he had his heart actually in his hand! Well, one day he said to me here, when I told him of the Baptistery echo, 'We have the finest echo in the world in the Hall of Congress.' I said nothing, but for answer I merely howled a little,—thus! Moshu Feelmore was convinced. Said he, 'There is no other echo in the world besides this. You are right.' I am unique," pursued the cicerone, "for making this echo. But," he added with a sigh, "it has been my ruin. The English have put me in all the guide-books, and sometimes I have to howl twenty times a day. When our Victor Emanuel came here, I showed him the church, the tower, and the Campo Santo. Says the king, 'Pfui!'"—here the cicerone gave that sweeping, outward motion with both hands by which Italians dismiss a trifling subject,—"'make me the echo!' I was forced," concluded the cicerone, with a strong sense of injury in his tone, "to howl half an hour without ceasing."



My visit to Lake Como has become to me a dream of summer,—a vision that remains faded the whole year round, till the blazing heats of July bring out the sympathetic tints in which it was vividly painted. Then I behold myself again in burning Milan, amidst noises and fervors and bustle that seem intolerable after my first six months in tranquil, cool, mute Venice. Looking at the great white Cathedral, with its infinite pinnacles piercing the cloudless blue, and gathering the fierce sun upon it, I half expect to see the[Pg 340] whole mass calcined by the heat, and crumbling, statue by statue, finial by finial, arch by arch, into a vast heap of lime on the Piazza, with a few charred English tourists blackening here and there upon the ruin, and contributing a smell of burnt leather and Scotch tweed to the horror of the scene. All round Milan smokes the great Lombard plain, and to the north rises Monte Rosa, her dark head coifed with tantalizing snows as with a peasant's white linen kerchief. And I am walking out upon that fuming plain as far as to the Arco della Pace, on which the bronze horses may melt any minute; or I am sweltering through the city's noonday streets, in search of Sant' Ambrogio, or the Cenacolo of Da Vinci, or what know I? Coming back to our hotel, "Alla Bella Venezia," and greeted on entering by the immense fresco which covers one whole side of the court, it appeared to my friend and me no wonder that Garibaldi should look so longingly from the prow of a gondola toward the airy towers and balloon-like domes that swim above the unattainable lagoons of Venice, where the Austrian then lorded it in coolness and quietness, while hot, red-shirted Italy was shut out upon the dusty plains and stony hills. Our desire for water became insufferable; we paid our modest bills, and at six o'clock we took the train for Como, where we arrived about the hour when Don Abbondio, walking down the lonely path with his book of devotions in his hand, gave himself to the Devil on meeting the bravos of Don Rodrigo. I counsel the reader to turn to I Promessi Sposi, if he would know how all the lovely Como country looks at that hour. For me, the ride through the evening landscape, and the faint sentiment of pensiveness provoked by the smell of the ripening maize, which exhales the same sweetness on the way to Como that it does on any Ohio bottom-land, have given me an appetite, and I am to dine before wooing the descriptive Muse.

After dinner, we find at the door of the hotel an English architect whom we know, and we take a boat together for a moonlight row upon the lake, and voyage far up the placid water through air that bathes our heated senses like dew. How far we have left Milan behind! On the lake lies the moon, but the hills are held by mysterious shadows, which for the time are as substantial to us as the hills themselves. Hints of habitation appear in the twinkling lights along the water's edge, and we suspect an alabaster lamp in every casement, and in every invisible house a villa such as Claude Melnotte described to Pauline, and some one mouths that well-worn fustian. The rags of sentimentality flutter from every crag and olive-tree and orange-tree in all Italy,—like the wilted paper collars which vulgar tourists leave by our own mountains and streams, to commemorate their enjoyment of the landscape.

The town of Como lies, a swarm of lights, behind us; the hills and shadows gloom around; the lake is a sheet of tremulous silver. There is no telling how we get back to our hotel, or with what satisfied hearts we fall asleep in our room there. The steamer starts for the head of the lake at eight o'clock in the morning, and we go on board at that hour.

There is some pretence of shelter in the awning stretched over the after part of the boat; but we do not feel the need of it in the fresh morning air, and we get as near the bow as possible, that we may be the very first to enjoy the famous beauty of the scenes opening before us. A few sails dot the water, and everywhere there are small, canopied row-boats, such as we went pleasuring in last night. We reach a bend in the lake, and all the roofs and towers of the city of Como pass from view, as if they had been so much architecture painted on a scene and shifted out of sight at a theatre. But other roofs and towers constantly succeed them, not less lovely and picturesque than they, with every curve of the many-curving lake. We advance over charming expanses of water lying between lofty hills; and as the lake is[Pg 341] narrow, the voyage is like that of a winding river,—like that of the Ohio, but for the primeval wildness of the acclivities that guard our Western stream, and the tawniness of its current. Wherever the hills do not descend sheer into Como, a pretty town nestles on the brink, or, if not a town, then a villa, or else a cottage, if there is room for nothing more. Many little towns climb the heights half-way, and where the hills are green and cultivated in vines or olives, peasants' houses scale them to the crest. They grow loftier and loftier as we leave our starting-place farther behind, and as we draw near Colico they wear light wreaths of cloud and snow. So cool a breeze has drawn down between them all the way that we fancy it to have come from them till we stop at Colico, and find that, but for the efforts of our honest engine, sweating and toiling in the dark below, we should have had no current of air. A burning calm is in the atmosphere, and on the broad, flat valley,—out of which a marshy stream oozes into the lake,—and on the snow-crowned hills upon the left, and on the dirty village of Colico upon the right, and on the indolent beggars waiting to welcome us, and sunning their goitres at the landing.

The name Colico, indeed, might be literally taken in English as descriptive of the local insalubrity. The place was once large, but it has fallen away much from sickness, and we found a bill posted in its public places inviting emigrants to America on the part of a German steamship company. It was the only advertisement of the kind I ever saw in Italy, and I judged that the people must be notoriously discontented there to make it worth the while of a steamship company to tempt from home any of the home-keeping Italian race. And yet Colico, though undeniably hot, and openly dirty, and tacitly unhealthy, had merits, though the dinner we got there was not among its virtues. It had an accessible country about it; that is, its woods and fields were not impenetrably walled in from the vagabond foot, and after we had dined we went and lay down under some greenly waving trees beside a field of corn, and heard the plumed and panoplied maize talking to itself of its kindred in America. It always has a welcome for tourists of our nation wherever it finds us in Italy, and sometimes its sympathy, expressed in a rustling and clashing of its long green blades, or in its strong, sweet perfume, has, as already hinted, made me homesick; though I have been uniformly unaffected by potato-patches and tobacco-fields. If only the maize could impart to the Italian cooks the beautiful mystery of roasting-ears! Ah! then indeed it might claim a full and perfect fraternization from its compatriots abroad.

From where we lay beside the cornfield, we could see, through the twinkling leaves and the twinkling atmosphere, the great hills across the lake, taking their afternoon naps, with their clouds drawn like handkerchiefs over their heads. It was very hot, and the red and purple ooze of the unwholesome river below "burnt like a witch's oils." It was indeed but a fevered joy we snatched from nature there; and I am afraid that we got nothing more comfortable from sentiment, when, rising, we wandered off through the unguarded fields toward a ruined tower on a hill. It must have been a relic of feudal times, and perhaps in the cool season it is haunted by the wicked spirits of such lords as used to rule in the terror of the people beside peaceful and happy Como. But in summer no ghost, however sultrily appointed in the other world, could feel it an object to revisit that ruined tower. A few scrawny blackberries and other brambles grew out of its fallen stones; harsh, dust-dry mosses painted its weather-worn walls with their blanched gray and yellow. From its foot, looking out over the valley, we saw the road to the Splügen Pass lying white-hot in the valley; and while we looked, the diligence appeared, and dashed through the dust that rose like a flame before. After that it was[Pg 342] a relief to stroll in dirty by-ways, past cottages of saffron peasants, and poor stony fields that begrudged them a scanty vegetation, back to the steamer blistering in the sun.

Now indeed we were glad of the awning, under which a silent crowd of people with sunburnt faces waited for the departure of the boat. The breeze rose again as the engine resumed its unappreciated labors, and, with our head toward Como, we pushed out into the lake. The company on board was such as might be expected. There was a German landscape-painter, with three heart's-friends beside him; there were some German ladies; there were the unfailing Americans and the unfailing Englishman; there were some French people; there were Italians from the meridional provinces, dark, thin, and enthusiastic, with fat, silent wives, and a rhythmical speech; there were Milanese with their families, out for a holiday,—round-bodied men, with blunt, square features, and hair and vowels clipped surprisingly short; there was a young girl whose face was of the exact type affected in rococo sculpture, and at whom one gazed without being able to decide whether she was a nymph descended from a villa gate, or a saint come from under a broken arch in a Renaissance church. At one of the little towns two young Englishmen in knickerbockers came on board, who were devoured by the eyes of their fellow-passengers, and between whom and our kindly architect there was instantly ratified the tacit treaty of non-intercourse which travelling Englishmen observe.

Nothing further interested us on the way to Como, except the gathering coolness of the evening air; the shadows creeping higher and higher on the hills; the songs of the girls winding yellow silk on the reels that hummed through the open windows of the factories on the shore; and the appearance of a flag that floated from a shallop before the landing of a stately villa. The Italians did not know this banner, and the Germans loudly debated its nationality. The Englishmen grinned, and the Americans blushed in silence. Of all my memories of that hot day on Lake Como, this is burnt the deepest; for the flag was that insolent banner which in 1862 proclaimed us a broken people, and persuaded willing Europe of our ruin. It has gone down long ago from ship and fort and regiment, and they who used to flaunt it so gayly in Europe probably pawned it later in the cheap towns of South France, whither so much chivalry retired when wealth was to be wrung from slaves no more forever. Still, I say, it made Como too hot for us that afternoon, and even breathless Milan was afterwards a pleasant contrast.



If you take the midnight steamer at Venice you reach Trieste by six o'clock in the morning, and the hills rise to meet you as you enter the broad bay dotted with the sail of fishing-craft. The hills are bald and bare, and you find, as you draw near, that the city lies at their feet under a veil of mist, or climbs earlier into view along their sides. The prospect is singularly devoid of gentle and pleasing features, and looking at those rugged acclivities, with their aspect of continual bleakness, you readily believe all the stories you have ever heard of that fierce wind called the Bora, which sweeps from them through Trieste at certain seasons. While it blows, ladies walking near the quays are sometimes caught up and set afloat, involuntary Galateas, in the bay, and people keep in-doors as much as possible. But the Bora, though so sudden and so savage, does give warning of its rise, and the peasants avail themselves of this characteristic. They station a man on one of the mountain-tops, and when he feels the first breath of the Bora, he sounds a horn, which is a signal for all within hearing to lay hold of something that cannot be blown away, and cling to it till the wind falls. This may happen[Pg 343] in three days or in nine, according to the popular proverbs. "The spectacle of the sea," says Dall' Ongaro, in a note to one of his ballads, "while the Bora blows, is sublime, and when it ceases the prospect of the surrounding hills is delightful. The air, purified by the rapid current, clothes them with a rosy veil, and the temperature is instantly softened, even in the heart of winter."

The city itself, as you penetrate it, makes good with its stateliness and picturesqueness your loss through the grimness of its environs. It is in great part new, very clean, and full of the life and movement of a prosperous port; but, better than this so far as the mere sight-seer is concerned, it wins a novel charm from the many public staircases by which you ascend and descend its hillier quarters, and which are made of stone, and lightly railed and balustraded with iron.

Something of all this I noticed in my ride from the landing of the steamer to the house of friends in the suburbs. There I grew better disposed toward the hills, which, as I strolled over them, I found dotted with lovely villas, and everywhere traversed by perfectly-kept carriage-roads, and easy and pleasant foot-paths. It was in the spring-time, and the peach-trees and almond-trees hung full of blossoms and bees; the lizards lay in the walks absorbing the vernal sunshine; the violets and cowslips sweetened all the grassy borders. The scene did not want a human interest, for the peasant-girls were going to market at that hour, and I met them everywhere, bearing heavy burdens on their own heads, or hurrying forward with their wares on the backs of donkeys. They were as handsome as heart could wish, and they wore that Italian head-dress which I have never seen anywhere in Italy except at Trieste and in the Roman and Neapolitan provinces,—a kerchief of dazzling white linen, laid square upon the crown, and dropping lightly to the shoulders. Later I saw these comely maidens crouching on the ground in the market-place, and selling their wares, with much glitter of eyes, teeth, and ear-rings, and a continual babble of bargaining.

It seemed to me that the average of good looks was greater among the women of Trieste than among those of Venice, but that the instances of striking and exquisite beauty were rarer. At Trieste, too, the Italian type, so pure at Venice, is lost or continually modified by the mixed character of the population, which perhaps is most noticeable at the Merchants' Exchange. This is a vast edifice roofed with glass, where are the offices of the great steam navigation company, the Austrian Lloyds,—which, far more than the favor of the Imperial government, has contributed to the prosperity of Trieste,—and where the traffickers of all races meet daily to gossip over the news and the prices. Here a Greek or a Dalmat talks with an eager Italian, or a slow, sure Englishman; here the hated Austrian button-holes the Venetian or the Magyar; here the Jew meets the Gentile on common ground; here Christianity encounters the superstitions of the East, and makes a good thing out of them in cotton or grain. All costumes are seen here, and all tongues are heard, the native Triestines contributing almost as much to the variety of the latter as the foreigners. "In regard to language," says Cantù, "though the country is peopled by Slavonians, yet the Italian tongue is spreading into the remotest villages, where a few years since it was not understood. In the city it is the common and familiar language; the Slavonians of the North use the German for the language of ceremony; those of the South, as well as the Israelites, the Italian; while the Protestants use the German, the Greeks the Hellenic and Illyric, the employees of the civil courts the Italian or the German, the schools now German and now Italian, the bar and the pulpit Italian. Most of the inhabitants, indeed, are bi-lingual, and very many tri-lingual, without counting French, which[Pg 344] is understood and spoken from infancy. Italian, German, and Greek are written, but the Slavonic little, this having remained in the condition of a vulgar tongue. But it would be idle to distinguish the population according to language, for the son adopts a language different from the father's, and now prefers one language and now another; the women generally incline to the Italian; but many of the upper class prefer now German, now French, now English, as, from one decade to another, affairs, fashions, and fancies change. This in the salons; in the squares and streets, the Venetian dialect is heard."

And with the introduction of the Venetian dialect, Venetian discontent seems also to have crept in, and I once heard a Triestine declaim against the Imperial government quite in the manner of Venice. It struck me that this desire for union with Italy, which he declared prevalent in Trieste, must be of very recent growth, since even so late as 1848 Trieste had refused to join Venice in the expulsion of the Austrians. Indeed, the Triestines have fought the Venetians from the first; they stole the Brides of Venice in one of their piratical cruises in the lagoons; gave aid and comfort to those enemies of Venice, the Visconti, the Carraras, and the Genoese; revolted from St. Mark whenever subjected to his banner; and finally, rather than remain under his sway, gave themselves five centuries ago to Austria.

The objects of interest in Trieste are not many. There are remains of an attributive temple of Jupiter under the Duomo, and there is near at hand the museum of classical antiquities founded in honor of Winckelmann, murdered at Trieste by that ill-advised Pistojese, Ancangeli, who had seen the medals bestowed on the antiquary by Maria Theresa and believed him rich. There is also a scientific museum founded by the Archduke Maximilian, and, above all, there is the beautiful residence of this unhappy prince,—the Miramare, where the half-crazed Empress of the Mexicans vainly waits her husband's return from the experiment of paternal government in the New World. It would be hard to tell how art has there charmed rock and wave, until the spur of one of those rugged Triestine hills, jutting into the sea, has been made the seat of ease and luxury; but the visitor is aware of the magic as soon as he passes the gate of the palace grounds. These are in great part perpendicular, and are overclambered with airy stairways climbing to pensile arbors. Where horizontal, they are diversified with mimic seas for swans to sail upon, and summer-houses for people to lounge in and look at the swans from. On the point of land farthest from the acclivity stands the castle of Miramare, half at sea, and half adrift in the clouds above.

"And fain it would stoop downward
To the mirrored wave below;
And fain it would soar upward
In the evening's crimson glow."

I remember that a little yacht lay beside the pier at the castle's foot, and lazily flapped its sail, while the sea beat inward with as languid a pulse. That was some years ago, before Mexico was dreamed of at Miramare. Now, perchance, she who is one of the most unhappy among women looks down distraught from those high windows, and finds in the helpless sail and impassive wave the images of her baffled hope, and that immeasurable sea which gives back its mariners neither to love nor to sorrow. I think, though she be the wife and daughter of royalty, we may pity this poor Empress at least as much as we pity the Mexicans to whom her dreams have brought so many woes.

It was the midnight following the visit to Miramare when the fiacre in which I had quitted my friend's house was drawn up by its greatly bewildered driver on the quay near the place where the steamer for Venice should be lying. There was no steamer for Venice to be seen. The driver swore a little in the polyglot profanities of his native city, and, descending from his box, went and questioned different[Pg 345] lights—blue lights, yellow lights, green lights—to be seen at different points. To a light, they were ignorant, though eloquent, and, to pass the time, we drove up and down the quay, and stopped at the landings of all the steamers that touch at Trieste. It was a snug fiacre enough, but I did not care to spend the night in it, and I urged the driver to further inquiry. A wanderer whom we met declared that it was not the night for the Venice steamer; another admitted that it might be; a third conversed with the driver in low tones, and then leaped upon the box. We drove rapidly away, and before I had, in view of this mysterious proceeding, composed a fitting paragraph for the Fatti Diversi of the Osservatore Triestino, descriptive of the state in which the Guardie di Polizia should find me floating in the bay, exanimate and too clearly the prey of a triste evvenimento, the driver pulled up once more, and now beside a steamer. It was the steamer for Venice, he said, in precisely the tone which he would have used had he driven me directly to it without blundering. It was breathing heavily, and was just about to depart; but even in the hurry of getting on board I could not help noticing that it seemed to have grown a great deal since I had last voyaged in it. There was not a soul to be seen except the mute steward who took my satchel, and, guiding me below into an elegant saloon, instantly left me alone. Here again the steamer was vastly enlarged. These were not the narrow quarters of the Venice steamer, nor was this lamp, shedding a soft light on cushioned seats and panelled doors and wainscotings, the sort of illumination usual in that humble craft. I rang the small silver bell on the long table, and the mute steward appeared.

Was this the steamer for Venice?


All that I could do in comment was to sit down; and in the mean time the steamer trembled, groaned, choked, cleared its throat, and we were under way.

"The other passengers have all gone to bed, I suppose," I argued acutely, seeing none of them. Nevertheless, I thought it odd, and it seemed a shrewd means of relief to ring the bell, and, pretending drowsiness, to ask the steward which was my state-room.

He replied, with a curious smile, that I could have any of them. Amazed, I yet selected a state-room, and while the steward was gone for the sheets and pillow-cases I occupied my time by opening the doors of all the other staterooms. They were empty.

"Am I the only passenger?" I asked, when he returned, with some anxiety.

"Precisely," he answered.

I could not proceed and ask if he composed the entire crew: it seemed too fearfully probable that he did.

I now suspected that I had taken passage with the Olandese Volante, but there was now nothing in the world for it, except to go to bed, and there, with the accession of a slight sea-sickness, my views of the situation underwent a total change. I had gone down into the Maelstrom with the Ancient Mariner,—I was a Manuscript Found in a Bottle!

Coming to the surface about six o'clock a. m., I found a daylight as cheerful as need be upon the appointments of the elegant cabin, and upon the good-natured face of the steward when he brought me the caffè latte, and the buttered toast for my breakfast. He said, "Servitor suo!" in a loud and comfortable voice, and I perceived the absurdity of having thought that he was in any way related to the Nightmare-Death-in-life-that-thicks-man's-blood-with-cold.

"This is not the regular Venice steamer, I suppose," I remarked to the steward as he laid my breakfast in state upon the long table.

No. Properly, no boat should have left for Venice last night, which was not one of the times of the tri-weekly departure. This was one of the steamers of the line between Trieste and Alexandria, and it was going at present[Pg 346] to take on an extraordinary freight at Venice for Egypt. I had been permitted to come on board because my driver said I had a return ticket, and would go.

Ascending to the deck, I found nothing whatever mysterious in the management of the steamer thus pressed for the first time, probably, into the service of an American citizen. The captain met me with a bow to the gangway; seamen were coiling wet ropes at different points, as they always are; the mate was promenading the bridge, and taking the rainy weather as it came, with his oil-cloth coat and hat on. The wheel of the steamer was as usual chewing the sea, and finding it unpalatable, and vainly expectorating.

We were in sight of the breakwater outside Malamocco, and a pilot-boat was making us from the land. Even at this point the fortifications of the Austrians began, and they multiplied as we drew near Venice, till we entered the lagoon, and found it a nest of fortresses, one within another.

Unhappily, the day being rainy, Venice did not spring resplendent from the sea, as I had always read she would. She rose slowly and languidly from the water,—not like a queen, but like the slovenly, heart-broken old slave she was.



From Venice to the city of Vicenza by rail it is two hours, and thence you must take a carriage if you would go to Bassano, which is an opulent and busy little grain mart of some twelve thousand souls, about thirty miles north of Venice, at the foot of the Alps. We reached the town at nine o'clock. It was moonlight; and as we looked out we saw the quaint, steep streets full of promenaders, and everybody in Bassano seemed to be making love. Young girls strolled about the picturesque way with their lovers, and tender couples were cooing at all the doors and windows. Bassano is the birthplace of the painter Jacopo da Ponte, who was one of the first Italian painters to treat Scriptural story as accessory to mere landscape, and who had a peculiar fondness for painting Entrances into the Ark, because he could indulge without stint the taste for pairing-off early acquired from observation of the just-mentioned local customs in his native town. This was the theory offered by one who had imbibed the spirit of subtile speculation from Ruskin, and I think it reasonable. At least it does not conflict with the fact that there is at Bassano a most excellent gallery of paintings entirely devoted to the works of Jacopo da Ponte and his four sons, who are here to be seen to better advantage than anywhere else. As few strangers visit Bassano, the gallery is little frequented. It is in charge of a very strict old man, who will not allow people to look at the pictures till he has shown them the adjoining cabinet of geological specimens. It is in vain that you assure him of your indifference to these scientific seccature; he is deaf, and you are not suffered to escape a single fossil. He asked us a hundred questions, and understood nothing in reply, insomuch that when he came to his last inquiry, "Have the Protestants the same God as the Catholics?" we were rather glad that he should be obliged to settle the fact for himself.

Underneath the gallery was a school of boys, whom, as we entered, we heard humming over the bitter honey which childhood is obliged to gather from the opening flowers of orthography. When we passed out, the master gave these poor busy bees an atom of holiday, and they all swarmed forth together to look at the strangers. The teacher was a long, lank man, in a black threadbare coat, and a skull-cap,—exactly like the schoolmaster in "The Deserted Village." We made a pretence of asking him our way somewhere, and went wrong, and came by accident upon a wide, flat space, bare as a brick-yard, beside which was lettered on a fragment of the old city wall, "Giuoco di Palla."[Pg 347] It was evidently the play-ground of the whole city, and it gave us a pleasanter idea of life in Bassano than we had yet conceived, to think of its entire population playing ball there in the spring afternoons. We respected Bassano as much for this as for her diligent remembrance of her illustrious dead, of whom she has very great numbers. It appeared to us that nearly every other house bore a tablet announcing that "Here was born," or "Here died," some great or good man of whom no one out of Bassano ever heard. There is enough celebrity there to supply the world; but as laurel is a thing that grows anywhere, I covet rather from Bassano the magnificent ivy that covers the portions of her ancient wall yet standing. The wall, where visible, is seen to be of a pebbly rough-cast, but it is clothed almost from the ground in glossy ivy, that glitters upon it like chain-mail upon the vast shoulders of some giant warrior. The bed of the moat is turned into a lovely promenade, bordered by quiet villas, with shepherds and shepherdesses carved in marble on their gates. Where the wall is built to the verge of the high ground on which the city stands, there is a swift descent to the wide valley of the Brenta, waving in corn and vines and tobacco.

It did not take a long time to exhaust the interest of Bassano; but we were sorry to leave the place, because of the excellence of the inn at which we tarried. It was called "Il Mondo," and it had everything in it that heart could wish. Our rooms were miracles of neatness and comfort; they had the freshness, not the rawness, of recent repair, and they opened into the dining-hall, where we were served with indescribable salads and risotti. During our sojourn we simply enjoyed the house; when we were come away we wondered that so much perfection of hotel could exist in so small a town as Bassano. It is one of the pleasures of by-way travel in Italy, that you are everywhere introduced in fanciful character,—that you become fictitious, and play a part as in a novel. To this inn of "The World" our driver had brought us with a clamor and rattle proportioned to the fee received from us, and when, in response to his haughty summons, the cameriere, who had been gossiping with the cook, threw open the kitchen door, and stood out to welcome us in a broad square of forth-streaming ruddy light, amid the lovely odors of broiling and roasting, our driver saluted him with, "Receive these gentle folks, and treat them to your very best. They are worthy of anything." This at once put us back several centuries, and we never ceased to be lords and ladies of the period of Don Quixote as long as we rested in that inn.

It was a bright and breezy Sunday when we left "Il Mondo," and gayly journeyed toward Treviso, intending to visit Possagno, the birthplace of Canova, on our way. The road to the latter place passes through a beautiful country, that gently undulates on either hand, till in the distance it rises into pleasant hills and green mountain-heights. Possagno itself lies upon the brink of a declivity, down the side of which drops terrace after terrace, all planted with vines and figs and peaches, to a water-course below. The ground on which the village is built, with its quaint and antiquated stone cottages, slopes gently northward, and on a little rise upon the left hand of us coming from Bassano, we saw that stately religious edifice with which Canova has honored his humble birthplace. It is a copy of the Pantheon, and it cannot help being beautiful and imposing, but it would be utterly out of place in any other than an Italian village. Here, however, it consorted well enough with the lingering qualities of that old pagan civilization still perceptible in Italy. A sense of that past was so strong with us, as we ascended the broad stairway leading up the slope from the village to the level on which the temple stands at the foot of a mountain, that we might well have fancied we approached an altar devoted to the elder worship: through the open doorway and between the columns of the portico we could see the[Pg 348] priests moving to and fro, and the voice of their chanting came out to us like the sound of hymns to some of the deities long disowned; and I could but recall how Padre L—— had once said to me in Venice, "Our blessed saints are only the old gods baptized and christened anew." Within, as without, the temple resembled the Pantheon, but it had little to show us. The niches designed by Canova for statues of the saints are empty yet; but there are busts by his own hand of himself and his brother, the Bishop Canova. Among the people present was the sculptor's niece, whom our guide pointed out to us, and who was evidently used to being looked at. She seemed not to dislike it, and stared back at us amiably enough, being a good-natured, plump, comely, dark-faced lady of perhaps fifty years.

Possagno is nothing if not Canova, and our guide, a boy, knew all about him,—how, more especially, he had first manifested his wonderful genius by modelling a group of sheep out of the dust of the highway, and how an Inglese, happening along in his carriage, saw the boy's work and gave him a plateful of gold napoleons. I dare say this is as near the truth as most facts. And is it not better for the historic Canova to have begun in this way, than to have poorly picked up the rudiments of his art in the work-shop of his father, a maker of altar-pieces and the like for country churches? The Canova family has intermarried with the Venetian nobility, and probably would not believe those stories of Canova's beginnings which his townsmen so fondly cherish. I dare say they would even discredit the butter lion with which the boy-sculptor is said to have adorned the table of the noble Falier, and first won his notice.

Besides the temple at Possagno, there is a very pretty gallery containing casts of all Canova's works. It is an interesting place, where Psyches and Cupids flutter, where Venuses present themselves in every variety of attitude, where Sorrows sit upon hard, straight-backed classic chairs, and mourn in the society of faithful Storks; where the Bereft of this century surround death-beds in Greek costume appropriate to the scene; where Muses and Graces sweetly pose themselves and insipidly smile, and where the Dancers and Passions, though nakeder, are no wickeder than the Saints and Virtues. In all, there are a hundred and ninety-five pieces in the gallery, and among the rest the statue named George Washington which was sent to America in 1820, and afterwards destroyed by fire in the Capitol of North Carolina, at Raleigh. The figure is in a sitting posture; naturally, it is in the dress of a Roman general; and if it does not look much like George Washington, it does resemble Julius Cæsar.

The custodian of the gallery had been Canova's body-servant, and he loved to talk of his master. He had so far imbibed the spirit of family pride that he did not like to allow that Canova had ever been other than rich and grand, and he begged us not to believe the idle stories of his first essays in art. He was delighted with our interest in the imperial Washington, and our pleasure in the whole gallery, which we viewed with the homage due to the man who had rescued the world from Swaggering in sculpture. When we were tired, he invited us, with his mistress's permission, into the house of the Canovas adjoining the gallery; and there we saw many paintings by the sculptor,—pausing longest in a lovely little room decorated, after the Pompeian manner, with scherzi in miniature panels representing the jocose classic usualities,—Cupids escaping from cages, and being sold from them, and playing many pranks and games with Nymphs and Graces.

Then Canova was done, and Possagno was finished; and we resumed our way to Treviso.


[101] I read in Mr. Norton's "Notes of Travel and Study in Italy," that he saw in the Campo Santo, as long ago as 1856, "the chains that marked the servitude of Pisa, now restored by Florence," and it is of course possible that our cicerone may have employed one of these chains for the different historical purpose I have mentioned. It would be a thousand pities, I think, if a monument of that sort should be limited to the commemoration of one fact only.

[Pg 349]


The works of God are fair for naught,
Unless our eyes, in seeing,
See hidden in the thing the thought
That animates its being.
The outward form is not the whole,
But every part is moulded
To image forth an inward soul
That dimly is unfolded.
The shadow, pictured in the lake
By every tree that trembles,
Is cast for more than just the sake
Of that which it resembles.
The dew falls nightly, not alone
Because the meadows need it,
But on an errand of its own
To human souls that heed it.
The stars are lighted in the skies
Not merely for their shining,
But, like the looks of loving eyes,
Have meanings worth divining.
The waves that moan along the shore,
The winds that sigh in blowing,
Are sent to teach a mystic lore
Which men are wise in knowing.
The clouds around the mountain-peak,
The rivers in their winding,
Have secrets which, to all who seek,
Are precious in the finding.
Thus Nature dwells within our reach,
But, though we stand so near her,
We still interpret half her speech
With ears too dull to hear her.
Whoever, at the coarsest sound,
Still listens for the finest,
Shall hear the noisy world go round
To music the divinest.
Whoever yearns to see aright
Because his heart is tender,
Shall catch a glimpse of heavenly light
In every earthly splendor.
So, since the universe began,
And till it shall be ended,
The soul of Nature, soul of Man,
And soul of God are blended!

[Pg 350]


On a sunny afternoon in the middle of August, 1756, a gayly-dressed young gentleman of evident rank and wealth, apparently about twenty-three years old, sat in the doorway of the Café de la Régence, languidly surveying the passers-by, and occasionally vouchsafing a nod of recognition to some noble cavalier, or graciously waving from his perfumed handkerchief a sentimental salutation to some lively beauty of high estate or doubtful fame. So very inert and imperturbable was this gayly-dressed young gentleman, that it seemed that nothing could disturb his dainty suavity; but suddenly, and without apparent cause, his eyes were lighted with a feeble expression of vexation, and, by a petulant movement, he thrust back his chair as if anxious to avoid observation.

The object that kindled this momentary spark of animation was a tall, broad-chested man, whose appearance, as he sauntered along the promenade, casting glances of contempt, which might or might not be sincerely felt, at the fashionable vanities which surrounded him, presented a striking contrast to that of the majority of strollers on that summer afternoon. His dress, though neat, was simple, and almost sombre, being destitute of any species of decoration. His step was bold and vigorous, and, in his indifference to the gay panorama which glided past him, he held his chin so high in the air that the listless young gentleman hoped he might, in his loftiness, overlook him with the rest.

But possibly the new-comer's unconsciousness may not have been so absolute as he endeavored to make it appear; or possibly his attention may have been particularly attracted by the sounds of mirth issuing from the famous Café. At any rate, as he approached it, he turned his head, and, gazing a moment at the first-named gentleman, exclaimed, "Ah, my little Fronsacquin, is it really you?"

The "little Fronsacquin" rose with a vapid smile, from which every trace of annoyance had vanished. To be associated, even by a title of questionable compliment, with that social hero, the Due de Fronsac, whose nimble caperings had been the admiration of Young France for nearly half a century, was sufficient to banish from his mind any other thoughts than those of proud complacency and self-content. He welcomed his interrogator with all the ardor of which he was capable. That is to say, he lifted his hat with one effort, inclined his body with a second, and motioned to a vacant chair beside him with a third, after which he sank back exhausted.

Rallying presently, he said, "You are soon back again, M. de Montalvan."

"Yea, M. de Berniers, our part of the fighting is over for the present."

"Then why not leave off your fighting dress?" said M. de Berniers. "You look as if you knew nothing of the age we are living in."

"My friend, we live in an age when nobody occupies himself with anything but the pleasures of life. One of the pleasures of my life is to wear a soldier's dress; and you very well know the reason why."

"Don't snarl, M. de Montalvan. Yes, I remember the reason now. Never mind. Some wine; and tell me about the great Duke. Is he really as gallant in the field as in the boudoir?"

"Hum. The great Duc de Richelieu looked on with remarkable bravery while we took St. Philippe. Yes, now that the salons refuse him for a hero, I suppose we must make a place for him in the camp."

"Ah! I have heard why you begrudge the Maréchal his fame. But it matters very little; even Madame de Pompadour has given him her acclamations at last."

"She knows when to hide her hatreds and how to cherish them. But[Pg 351] that's a dull subject, M. de Berniers; give me news of home. The Queen?"

"More virtuous than ever."

"And the King?"



"Quite true."

"Some more wine, then. And the Pompadour?"

"Cold, but still powerful."

"I have heard," said M. de Montalvan, lowering his voice, "strange tales about the Parliament,—that it holds secret meetings, and that the court should keep itself prepared for some unexpected action."

"Bah!" said M. de Berniers, with a laugh, or rather a gentle inarticulate murmur of mockery; "put aside those notions, my dear M. de Montalvan. There is no power on earth can move the court of France."

"Good! And the theatres?"

"Intolerable. La Clairon has done something in a play by M. de Voltaire,-a play stolen from a Chinese tragedy, 'The Orphan of Tchao.' He calls it 'The Orphan of China.' It is dreary stuff. I wonder if our well-beloved king could not be induced to keep M. de Voltaire's plays in exile, as well as M. de Voltaire himself."

"Precisely," said M. de Montalvan. "Some more wine."

"And yet," said M. de Berniers, whose usually pale face was flushed by the repeated draughts of Burgundy with which he had found it necessary to stimulate himself to the effort of conversation, "and yet Mlle. de Terville, they say, will hear of nothing but M. de Voltaire. We shall quarrel finely about that, for one thing,"—and his eyes gleamed with what would have been amusement if they had been capable of so definite an expression.

"Mlle. de Terville!" said M. de Montalvan in some surprise, which, however, the other did not observe; "do you know her?"


"Is it possible?"

"All about her."

"Tell me, how does she look?"

"Ah, now you ask too much. I have never seen her."

"But you say—"

"That I know all about her. Yes, I am to wed her in six weeks."

"The Devil and St. Philippe!"

"I don't wonder you are astonished, my dear De Montalvan. It's quite throwing myself away to marry any woman at my time of life. Think how many adventures I shall lose. I never intended to be married until I had risen to something like the glory of Richelieu. Imagine having two beauties fight a duel for you, for example! Richelieu was only twenty-two when Mesdames de Nesle and de Polignac fought for his favor. I am twenty-three, and no woman ever fought for me. At least, not that I am aware of."

"Courage, De Berniers; if you had lived in Richelieu's day you would have had forty duels upon your account instead of one."

"Quite likely. The age has degenerated. Some wine, De Montalvan. Yes, the affair was arranged by our relatives. Contiguous estates; enormous dot. I know very little about it myself, except that I am the victim. Apropos," added M. de Berniers, as energetically as was consistent with his sense of what a disciple of Fronsac owed himself, "you are at leisure. The contract is to be signed early in September. Come to Brittany, and help me through. They say Brittany is a fine country. I have never seen it, though I have a chateau there. Will you come?"

De Montalvan looked keenly at his companion, as if endeavoring to detect some hidden meaning in these last words, drank some more wine, and remained silent.

"Come, De Montalvan, an answer."

M. de Montalvan scowled, and drank again. He appeared to be considering in what manner he could most readily make himself offensive to M. de Berniers. Presently he remarked, in a tone which was intended to be deeply satirical, but which his frequent imbibitions rendered merely malicious,[Pg 352] "Have you made any wagers of late, my little friend?"

M. de Berniers's countenance fell into the same expression of discontent as that which it had displayed on his companion's first appearance. He essayed a frown,—a feat it would have been difficult for him to execute at any time, but which was now simply impossible. He was not equal even to a distortion. But he answered spitefully: "To the Devil with you and your wagers! But I will make it even yet. Perhaps another time you will not dare to compete so readily."

"Dare, Monsieur!" said De Montalvan, hastily. Then, checking himself, he added, more composedly: "But why should I quarrel with Fronsacquin? It is clear he knows nothing. If I must ease my mind by quarrelling, there are plenty hereabout," and he glared around quite savagely. His eye lighted upon a brouette, one of the small hand-carriages then in vogue, in which a large and heavily built young man was reclining, while the owner of the vehicle, a slender lad, toiled with difficulty before him. "Dare, is it, De Berniers? Do you see that sluggard, wasting this beautiful day in a lazy brouette? Ten louis that I have him out, and walking, as he ought, in less than five minutes."

"You are mad, M. de Montalvan."

"You decline?"

"No, I accept!" and De Berniers, who was not so tipsy but that he could plainly see De Montalvan was more so, wore upon his face what by one who was acquainted with him would have been understood as an air of triumph, but to a casual observer would convey no direct idea of any kind.

M. de Montalvan rose and advanced, hat in hand. "Pardon me, Monsieur," he began, "I have a few observations to address to you. It is a singular spectacle to behold a man of your health and vigor, and especially of your size, compelling a poor wretch like this to drag you through the streets in the midsummer heat."

"It is more singular, Monsieur, that you should venture to address me in this manner," said the stranger, and he directed his attendant to move forward.

"No, Monsieur," said De Montalvan, placing himself in the way, "that is out of the question. I feel it my duty to object to your making use of a brouette on such a day as this."

"Ah, you object!"

"Most decidedly. In fact I will not allow it."

The stranger sprang with alacrity upon the sidewalk, and, drawing his sword, advanced upon his persecutor. "We shall see," he said, grimly.

"As you please, Monsieur," said De Montalvan, putting himself on guard.

But, as may be supposed, the soldier's hand was unsteady, and his eye uncertain. After a few rapid passes, he let fall his right arm, which had been sharply punctured above the elbow. M. de Berniers absolutely cackled with delight.

"Now, Monsieur," said the stout stranger, "you will probably suffer me to traverse the streets in the manner that best suits me."

"Pardon me again," responded De Montalvan; "you have fairly wounded me, but I am sure you are too gallant a gentleman to deprive a bleeding adversary of the most convenient means of reaching his home";—with which he quietly stepped into the brouette and was wheeled away, while the stranger gazed after him in stupefaction.

De Berniers would have gnashed his teeth, but that he had not yet recovered from the exertion of his previous cackle. For a week thenceforth he was the sport of Paris, and, to complete his disgust, the adventure was circulated by the celebrated raconteur, M. de Lugeac, in the salons of the Dauphine and elsewhere, with embellishments by no means favorable to his reputation as a bel esprit.

Raoul de Montalvan was a young gentleman of moderate fortune, who, at the age of twenty, sold his small estates in Avignon in order to equip a company and join the Chevalier de[Pg 353] Modène in the campaign of 1745, under the Maréchal Saxe. At Fontenoy he was acknowledged to have distinguished himself; but his recollections of that battle were embittered by the fact that the Comte de Lally had robbed him of the honor which he most coveted,—that of having detected, by a bold reconnoissance, the weak point in the enemy's front, by piercing which the field was ultimately won.[102] Nevertheless, he had been praised; and praise, at that period, was his best reward. With a light heart and high hopes he started for Paris, in further pursuit of fortune. In company with his patron, M. de Modène, he presented himself at court. The sentinel on duty curiously eyed their uniforms, and refused to admit them. The King, fatigued with war's alarms, and anxious to banish from court all memories of carnage and confusion, had ordered that no military dresses should appear in his salons. In vain the young soldiers represented that they had parted with all their possessions to serve their monarch, and that they had surrendered the last means of otherwise arraying themselves; in vain they insisted that the noblest decorations in the eyes of his Majesty should be the dust and blood of the field of Fontenoy. They were repulsed. De Modène revenged himself by the famous epigram which caused an order of arrest, and compelled his flight. De Montalvan, taking the insult more to heart, swore furiously that, excepting as a soldier and in soldier's dress, he would never enter the French court, and from that time had steadfastly persisted in the rigorous costume which excited M. de Berniers's criticism. There were, indeed, some who declared that he claimed as a virtue of obstinacy that which was only a necessity of poverty; but for such aspersions he cared little.

As a further mark of his disgust, he quitted France altogether, and, in his twenty-first year, joined the expedition of the Pretender; but as his fortunes were not materially improved by this enterprise, he next year became loyal, and assisted M. de Belle-Isle in the extirpation of the Austrians from Dauphiny. In 1748 he again followed his old leader, M. de Saxe, to victory, after which, the war in France having ceased, he turned his attention to foreign fields of glory and profit. He served two years in India, with Dupleix, where he found that, although the glory was free to any man's clutch, the profit was sacred to a few. After Dupleix's fall, he joined the French troops in America, where, with his comrades, he assisted in the defeat of Lieutenant-Colonel Washington in the action which followed the massacre of M. de Jumonville. Finally, after ten years of military hardship and heroism, he returned to Paris, bringing with him as the result of his career a high repute for skill and courage, a well-worn sword, and a dozen deep scars.

It may be imagined that these ten years had not softened the asperity with which M. de Montalvan regarded the court and society. His manners were bizarre, his language was cynical, and his wilful deviations from the strict etiquette of the day could never have been tolerated excepting for the brilliant notoriety he had gained as a daring adventurer. He permitted himself to mingle in fashionable circles, that he might the better ridicule them, which he did audaciously. The edict against military dress was no longer in force, so that he was enabled to hover upon the outskirts of the court without sacrifice of dignity. But nothing in that effeminate world seemed to satisfy his turbulent instincts. Homo erat,—yet everything human, in that sphere, was foreign to him. At one of the court balls, however, an incident occurred which momentarily turned him from the course of his ill-humor.

Mlle. Virginie de Terville, a noble Nantaise, whose life, though not one of seclusion, had been judiciously kept apart from the corrupting influences[Pg 354] of the capital, was at Paris for the first time, with her uncle, an ex-officer of the king's household. To the fair neophyte the scene was one of rare enchantment; and although her keen instincts enabled her to conform with aptitude to the usages of the lively world around her, there was a freshness and a naïveté in her manner which contrasted charmingly with the effete and ceremonious forms of the experienced. M. de Montalvan met her at a masked ball, and was captivated with becoming rapidity. Although poor beyond description, his family was among the best, and he found no difficulty in making M. de Terville's acquaintance, and in due season that of his niece. For once he abandoned his acerbity, and returned to the character which had been natural to him ten years before. None could be more winning than M. de Montalvan if the impulse prompted him; and his graceful conversation, overflowing with anecdote and illustration which the homely wits of the home-keeping youth of Paris could not rival, made a vivid impression upon Virginie's imagination. They met only twice; for, just as M. de Montalvan was beginning to take serious thought of where this would lead him, he received an appointment from M. de Richelieu to the command of a company in the Minorca expedition, and was obliged to sail for Port Mahon without even the opportunity of a hasty adieu. Partly by good luck, partly by hard fighting, and partly owing to the blunders of Admiral Byng, the island was captured in a few months, and it was not long after his return from victory—as full of honors and as empty in purse as ever—that De Montalvan encountered his "little Fronsacquin" on the threshold of the Café de la Régence.

Louis de Berniers was the incarnation of aristocratic niaiserie. He was young, titled, not ill-looking, and had vast wealth at his command. But for this latter possession he might possibly have distinguished himself otherwise than by his follies; for he was not without one or two good qualities,—for example, generosity. But with him generosity took the form of a reckless prodigality, which caused him to be surrounded by a swarm of flatterers and parasites, male and female, who so fed and pampered his raging vanity that he believed himself a Crichton at eighteen. His ambition soared only to the height of emulating the boudoir exploits of M. de Richelieu, and he fancied himself a master of all the social ceremonies of the capital. So far as his languid nature would allow him, he sought notoriety in every quarter. "No man's pie was free from his ambitious finger." He had acted with Madame de Pompadour's company of amateurs at Versailles, and, though surrounded by clever gentlemen like D'Entragues and De Maillebois, firmly believed himself the only worthy supporter of Madame d'Etioles. On the strength of his supposed supremacy, he had from time to time graciously volunteered his aid to Lekain and Mlle. Clairon in the preparation of their most difficult rôles. He had supplied the poet Beauverset with now and then a topic, and imagined himself to be the true source whence that incendiary rhymer drew his choicest inspirations. After the success of Rousseau's Devin du Village, he had driven the composer wild by his offers to assist him in the purification of his melodies. Nothing in the way of notoriety was too high or too low for him. He had laid out a plan for the replanting of the Trianon gardens, and was disgusted because Richard, the king's gardener, politely declined to adopt it; and he had been heard to say that in the composition of sauces and ragoûts he could easily rival his Majesty himself, and would prove his superiority, but for the fear of losing favor at court.

M. de Berniers and M. de Montalvan had met a short time before the attack upon Minorca. The gallant soldier was no flatterer, but the conceited little Parisian amused him sufficiently to occupy[Pg 355] a good share of his leisure. He satirized De Berniers mercilessly from morning till night, to the latter's great astonishment, he having up to that time received only adulation and deference from his companions. But the name of "Fronsacquin," which De Montalvan had jestingly applied, so gratified his puerile vanity, that for a few days he looked upon the warlike adventurer almost with affection. Their intimacy had, however, been broken off a few days before De Montalvan's departure, in consequence of De Berniers's chagrin at losing a wager he had boastingly made. He had declared himself capable of securing the attention of any lady, however distinguished in appearance and however reserved in manner, that his friends might indicate, at a certain masked ball, and of bringing her openly to sup with them. De Montalvan defied him, and, selecting a fresh-faced lad from the opera, trained him to a perfect illustration of feminine modesty and simplicity, and set De Berniers upon him. Of course the farce was easily carried through. After the requisite preliminaries of shy evasion and coy resistance, the supposed fair one was led triumphantly to the supper-table,—the mask was removed, the secret exposed, and for ten humiliating days De Berniers was the laugh of the town.

It may be supposed that his peevishness was not diminished by the loss of a second public wager; but his opponent had been wounded, and that afforded him some comfort. Besides, he was still confident of winning his revenge, so he stifled his angry feelings, and renewed the request that De Montalvan would accompany him to Nantes. De Montalvan was moody, and swore he would go and join Montcalm in Canada. But his own recollection of the charms of Mademoiselle de Terville, added to the solicitations of De Berniers,—who was all unconscious that they had ever known one another,—induced him to change his resolution, and he half graciously consented.

Virginie de Terville, as has been said, was a different being, not only in the freshness and bloom of her beauty, but also by virtue of her domestic education, from the artificial goddesses of the Parisian sphere with whom she had been thrown into temporary contact. But her visit had not been long enough to reveal to her what lay beneath the glittering exterior of life at court. Her cautious uncle had cut short their sojourn at what he deemed a judicious period, and brought his ward back to the tranquil old chateau near Nantes, not entirely, it must be admitted, to her satisfaction. The splendors of the capital had just begun to fascinate her, and, what was more, she had been loath to think that that last brief interview with the handsome and eccentric captain, who had seen so much and told what he had seen so well, might never be repeated. Not that she cared to hear anything beyond his strange tales of adventure. Indeed no. He had lightly touched upon one or two other topics, during that same last interview, and she was sorry she had not checked him. Yet she did wonder what ever had become of him, and really would have been glad to know the result of his long journey through the tropical Indian forests with that beautiful Rajah's daughter of whom he had begun to tell her.

But these ideas did not occur to Virginie until after she had left Paris. While there, the constant succession of gayeties left no room for other than merry thoughts. She was a belle of high distinction,—an heiress, and a lovely one. For a month she was a leader of fashionable revels, and a very princess of masquerade. If it were known that at a particular ball she would appear as a heathen goddess, the salons were thronged with illustrations of mythology. When she wore the quaint dress of a Brittany peasant, all classes affected a rural simplicity. She had only to personate Joan of Arc, and a martial spirit fired the assembly; and when she crowned her triumphs by enacting a dashing young cavalier of the[Pg 356] period, women as well as men yielded their admiration and contended for her smiles. After so brilliant a career, what could she care for the applause which her dexterous disguises excited in the drowsy masquerades of Nantes. It served only to recall to her the vanished glories of the capital.

M. de Berniers, as chance would have it, was ignorant of the peculiar sensation which Virginie had created in the beau monde. During her month at Paris he had been hunting upon the estates of a noble friend in the East of France, and when he returned to his accustomed haunts, some time after, the fickle heart of society was fixed upon some new object of adoration, and cherished no recollection of the past. So he arrived at Terville with little knowledge of his intended fiancée, except that she was young, reputed good-looking, and the possessor of great riches. Leaving M. de Montalvan at the village inn, he rode over to the chateau the first morning after their arrival, to present himself in due form.

The fresh country atmosphere and the picturesque surroundings of the journey had done more to cheer M. de Montalvan's spirits than a college of physicians could have accomplished. The wound which he had received in his ridiculous duel was nearly healed, and he seemed more a man of the world than at any previous period in ten years,—always excepting the brief term of his acquaintance with Virginie. In spite of his natural hardihood, he was somewhat uneasy at the thought of again meeting that young lady, for whom he entertained, to say the least, a feeling of profound admiration; but curiosity was powerful within him, and he waited anxiously for the expected summons to the chateau. Any other sentiment than that of curiosity it would have been absurd for him to acknowledge. He was poor, and therefore unavailable in a matrimonial way. He had no domains adjoining the Terville estates, nor indeed anywhere else. He had nothing but his sword and his renown; and these would not serve him in such a case. So, if ever the flame of hope had for a moment lighted his mind, he had summarily extinguished it, and flung aside, as it were, the tinder-box of every inflammable recollection.

The day before M. de Berniers's arrival, M. de Terville had been suddenly called to the South in consequence of the dangerous illness of a relative. The ceremony of welcome rested therefore with Mlle. Virginie. That young lady was far better acquainted with the habits and character of her proposed bridegroom than he imagined. She had heard much of him in Paris, and, since the project of an alliance had been submitted, contrived to learn more. Being a girl of spirit and intelligence, the information which she gained was not agreeable to her. She regretted not having met M. de Berniers in Paris, and longed for the opportunity of encountering him at least once or twice under other circumstances than those which now seemed inevitable. Upon the departure of her uncle, she set her wit to work; and as of wit she had no lack, there presently arose from the depths of her consciousness a scheme which promised to be successful.

"Mariotte," she said, summoning her waiting-maid, "bring me my cavalier's dress,—wig, buckles, stockings, everything."

"Yes, Ma'm'selle. Would Ma'm'selle wish to put them on?"

"Most certainly."

"But Monsieur de Berniers is expected this morning."


"And Ma'm'selle will hardly have time—"

"I shall receive him en cavalier."

"Seigneur Dieu du ciel!" said Mariotte, astounded, "but that is impossible."

"Be reasonable, Mariotte," said Virginie, "and listen to me. M. de Berniers proposes to do me the honor of espousing me. I have never seen M. de Berniers, but I know something of him and I wish to know more. My[Pg 357] uncle earnestly desires this marriage, and it is my duty to oblige him. But he will not urge it against my inclination. If M. de Berniers, on arriving here, finds only the delicate and decorous young lady to whom he offers his hand, he will assume his best manner, conceal his faults, affect a hundred good qualities, and present nothing but a virtuously colored portrait of himself, which, I may afterward find out, bears little resemblance to the actual man. If, on the other hand,—do you see?"

"Not exactly."

"Mariotte, your stupidity pains me. You know that in my cavalier's dress nobody can distinguish me from a young gentleman of the court."

"A very young gentleman, Ma'm'selle."

"They are all mature at seventeen, now. At Paris I was taken for a man of fashion by half the ladies at the court ball, and even found myself with many a pretty quarrel on my hands. Well, M. de Berniers arrives; finds not me, but my cousin Charles, do you understand, who remains at the château to receive him in the temporary absence of M. and Mlle. de Terville. With one of his own sex he will have no concealments, and we shall soon know, my good Mariotte, what sort of gentleman we have to deal with."

"Then you will be—"

"My cousin Charles."

"O, impossible, Ma'm'selle! Think of the Count, your uncle."

"Mariotte, think of me. It is I who am to be married, not the Count, my uncle. Consider, it is for my happiness."

"One would almost think, Ma'm'selle, that you wished to detect some excuse for ridding yourself of M. de Berniers."


"Ah, ah! then there is a reason."


"And that reason is—"

"Tall, brave, and handsome. Mariotte, do me justice; do you think it was for nothing that I used to dress with such double, triple care for the last few court balls at Paris?"

"Ma'm'selle, say no more; I consent."

"A thousand thanks, Mariotte."

"But it is dreadful to so deceive one's husband before marriage."

"Much better than to deceive him after, Mariotte."

This swept aside all Mariotte's hesitation, and the plot was carried out accordingly. M. de Berniers was received in due form by the fictitious cousin Charles, whose disguise a keener observer could not easily have penetrated. According to her expectation, the conceited Parisian soon became free and confidential.

"A neat little figure," said De Berniers, patronizingly. "Come to court a year hence, and I will point you the way to any victory you please."

"Ah, M. de Berniers, it is easy to point the way; but there are few who can follow it so triumphantly as you. I am not so young but that I have heard of your conquests."

"True," said De Berniers, affecting indifference; "a few countesses here and there, and once in a way a duchess or two. But of course Mlle. de Terville suspects nothing of that sort."

"I suspect she knows it all as well as I."

"Fancy this adventure," began De Berniers, languidly. "Only eight or ten nights ago—"

"Pardon, Monsieur," interrupted Virginie, who began to think she had opened a questionable game, "let me order some refreshment."

"No, I breakfasted at the inn. As I was saying, only eight or ten nights' ago—"

"At least, take some wine," broke in Virginie again; and she rose and summoned Mariotte, who had been listening, and who entered not without perturbation.

"Thanks," said De Berniers. "Eight or ten nights ago—"

But the impending peril was averted by Mariotte, who dexterously spilled a glass of wine over M. de Berniers's wig, causing him to rage after an impotent fashion, and to drawl an oath.[Pg 358]

Virginie was greatly confused at the unexpected and awkward prospect which this attempt at conversation opened to her; but her thoughts were presently diverted by the startling intelligence that Raoul de Montalvan had accompanied her suitor, and was in attendance at the inn. Her first sensation was one of pleasure,—unaccountable pleasure, she thought; for why should the mere knowledge that the handsome captain was near her occasion any particular joy? Ah! she knew; she could now have the end of that mysterious and interesting story of the Rajah's daughter, with whom De Montalvan had travelled through the tropical forests.

But her next feeling was one of deep embarrassment. How could she meet M. de Montalvan in that dress? In the first place, he might have seen her wear it in Paris, and in that case would at once detect her; perhaps he would detect her under any circumstances, not being a vain, blind fool like De Berniers. But, beyond that, she could not bear the idea of such a masquerade with him. Of course she did not know why, but there was the fact, fixed and unblinkable.

She was relieved in the way she would least have expected, and by M. de Berniers himself. That gentleman, who was not fecund in ideas, and who, even after becoming conscious of the existence of one within him, was obliged to struggle with more violence than suited his temper in order to give it birth, had, immediately after mentioning De Montalvan's name, sunk into a profound revery. He gazed through his eye-glass from head to foot at Virginie, until she began to fear he had discovered her secret. At last his brow cleared, and, with a smile of self-congratulation, he said, "I have it now! I have it now!"

Then he confided, not without a pang of wounded amour-propre, the fact that, in the merry conflicts of wit at the capital, he had sometimes—not often, like the others—suffered defeat. He related the anecdote of the masquerade wager which he had lost to De Montalvan, and exhorted his new friend to assist him in an appropriate revenge.

"You are young," he said; "not too tall; your complexion is as delicate as need be; you can easily borrow one of your cousin's dresses, and, without the slightest difficulty, could transform yourself into one of the most charming young ladies in the world."

"But, Monsieur," hesitated Virginie.

"Say no more," added De Berniers; "I count upon your friendship. Aha! M. de Montalvan, now we shall see. O, it is easily done, my little friend. I will ride over for De Montalvan myself. You shall be ready when we return. Of course I will first see you alone, and give you a few suggestions. The principal thing, you understand, is to fascinate him to the last extremity."

Virginie smiled, possibly with an inward conviction that she had already learned the way to do that.

"By all means fascinate him. Spare no methods. He is a rough soldier, and will suspect nothing. Make him declare his passion, if you can; and perhaps we may bring him to the point—who knows? ha! ha!—of offering marriage."

Virginie fluttered a little at this comprehensive announcement of her guest's design, but she was amused at the unexpected turn the affair was taking, and, without much delay, consented to array herself in feminine apparel.

M. de Berniers returned to the inn, with exultation in his heart. While riding with De Montalvan to the castle, he said, carelessly, "These rosy-cheeked peasants are delightful, my friend. Are you on the watch for adventure?"

"Not especially," said De Montalvan.

"Listen," said De Berniers. "Who knows but that in the country I might have better fortune than at Paris. Change of scene may bring me change of luck."

"In what respect?"

"De Montalvan, I have a fancy to renew some of our old wagers. If I fail here, nobody will know it."

"And if you succeed, you will send an express to Paris to publish the news."[Pg 359]

"I don't say no; but I am willing to undertake to ensnare you as you deluded me last year at the court ball. And that during our visit here, or at any rate before we go back to the world."

"As you please," said De Montalvan, indifferently.

"Is it a wager, then?" asked De Berniers, half trembling with impatience. "Yes.

"For ten louis?"

"Very well."

On arriving at the chateau, M. de Berniers sought his fellow-conspirator alone, and, finding her duly attired, proceeded to criticise.

"Hum, another patch on the left cheek, I should say. But no matter. Pray be careful of your voice. Nothing is so difficult to disguise as the voice. I always detect a man instantly by his voice; though, to be sure, De Montalvan is not experienced, like me, and there will be up trouble in deceiving him. Now let me see you walk."

Virginie took a few steps to and fro.

"My dear friend, don't stride like that," said De Berniers; "short steps, in this manner, if you please";—and he mincingly illustrated, to Virginie's intense gratification.

"Now, a salutation," he added.

Virginie courtesied.

"Bad, bad," said De Berniers; "it is clear you are not used to this sort of thing. Try this";—and he executed a profound feminine obeisance.

"That's better," he remarked, approvingly, as she affected to imitate him; "and now these shoulders. Ah, but these shoulders are very bad. You should curve them forward, thus,"—with which he seized Virginie's shoulders, and endeavored to press them into what he conceived to be the proper position.

"Take your hands away, Monsieur," screamed the young lady, springing from him with great precipitation.

"Ticklish, I see," he quietly remarked. "And now there is one thing more. Whatever else you do, speak low, and do not swear. I have known many a comedy of this sort to be ruined by an inadvertent oath."

"I will try, Monsieur."

Then De Montalvan was brought, and was in proper form presented. At sight of him, Virginie faintly blushed, which circumstance enchanted De Berniers. "The rascal does better than I could have expected," he thought. After a short conversation, he contrived an excuse to leave them alone together,—his accomplice and his dupe.

"At last, Mademoiselle," said De Montalvan, dismissing the pretence of reserve which he had maintained during his friend's presence,—"at last we meet again; but how unexpectedly, and under what strange circumstances!"

"Indeed, Monsieur, I am hardly less surprised at seeing you again, than I was at your mysterious disappearance from Paris, some months ago."

"But were you not aware—"

"Of what?"

"That I was ordered to accompany M. de Richelieu to Port Mahon?"

"The orders of M. de Richelieu must be very imperative."

"To a soldier they are, Mademoiselle. But at present I am not a soldier. The expedition is gloriously ended, and I submit myself to your orders, and to yours only."

During the few days that intervened before M. de Terville's return, De Berniers labored heart and soul—that is to say, with as much of either as was in him—to still further entangle his misguided and infatuated friend. It was clear to him that De Montalvan was hopelessly in love, and, since he had so well succeeded in the beginning of his enterprise, he saw no reason why he might not conduct it to a more triumphant conclusion than he had at first thought possible. He took counsel with Virginie, and besought the supposed cousin to send a messenger to M. de Terville, explaining the case, and asking his co-operation. He even stimulated De Montalvan's passion by privately[Pg 360] declaring that the prospect of marriage was irksome to him, suggesting that he should transfer his claims, and offering to intercede with Mlle. de Terville's uncle, if De Montalvan could assure himself of the young lady's favor.

While this bungling disciple of Mephistopheles was digging his own pitfall, Virginie was in some perplexity. She did not reveal to her admirer that De Berniers was hoping to entrap him; for that, she said to herself, there was no immediate necessity; and the days were passing so agreeably that she shrunk from making any explanation that might disturb their tranquillity. De Berniers, pursuing his scheme, kept himself resolutely in retirement. From the treasures of his varied experience, De Montalvan exhumed volumes of adventurous history for the young girl's amusement. "The dangers he had passed" endeared him to her, and, though his apparel was still sombre, there fortunately was no black face to interfere with the pleasant growth of her regard; for the ladies of Louis the Fifteenth's time were not generally so indifferent to personal appearance as the fair Venetian was said to be. And then she had obtained the sequel of the story of the Rajah's daughter, whom Raoul had protected in the Indian forests; and it was satisfactory to know that his guardianship over her, though gallant and chivalrous, had not been prompted by too ardent an emotion. Her only apprehension was in regard to what might occur upon her uncle's return. That he would not urge her to espouse a man whom she thoroughly detested, she very well knew; but whether he would sanction her betrothal to a poor soldier of fortune, was a question which she hardly dared to ask herself. Not knowing what to do, she did nothing, and, with considerable anxiety, waited for events to work their own solution.

M. de Terville did not appear until the day fixed for the signing of the contract, when he arrived in great haste, accompanied by a notary, and expressed his wish that the ceremony should not be delayed, as he was obliged to return at once, to the South of France. As soon as it was known that he was within the chateau, De Berniers sought Virginie, and inquired whether her uncle had received due warning; to which she answered that he knew all that was necessary. She then prepared to surrender herself to destiny; for, though a spirited girl, she had not courage enough even now to take the control of affairs into her own hands, and could only indulge a vague hope that some beneficent interposition of fortune might smoothly shape the course of her true love.

The two young gentlemen joined M. de Terville and the notary in the library, where the blank contract and writing-materials were conspicuously displayed. De Berniers wore an air of almost supernatural intelligence, at which the noble Count marvelled, though he was too hurried to seek an explanation. On greeting M. de Montalvan, he expressed regret at not having immediately recognized him. De Berniers, fully convinced that the Count was in the plot, took this as a piece of by-play, not, however, thoroughly understanding its purport. De Montalvan was wretchedly ill at ease, but gathered a little reassurance from De Berniers's declaration that he would voluntarily renounce his pretensions, and abdicate in favor of his friend.

"Now, Monsieur, if you please, as follows," said M. de Terville to the notary—"between Monsieur Louis de Berniers and—"

"Excuse me," interrupted De Berniers, making singular and inexplicable signs to the Count, "Monsieur Raoul de Montalvan, if you please."

"How, Monsieur," exclaimed the Count, with hauteur.

"But surely you understand," whispered De Berniers, hastily; "of course you must understand."

"Explain your observation," said the Count, aloud.

"Most extraordinary!" thought De Berniers. "He will spoil everything." Then again, in an undertone, "You know he is supposed to take my place."[Pg 361]

"Monsieur," said the Count, more stiffly than ever, "I do not understand this enigma."

"How stupid I am!" said De Berniers suddenly to himself. "To be sure, it is necessary for him to affect surprise and indignation. The fact is, he acted it too well; for a moment he almost deceived me." Then turning to Raoul, he exclaimed: "M. de Montalvan, the Count shall know all. Learn, M. de Terville, that, finding a total absence of sympathy between myself and your charming niece, and feeling that I could in no way insure her happiness, I have determined to ask you to receive, instead of my own, the addresses of my noble friend, M. Raoul de Montalvan."

"The proposition, Monsieur, is scandalous. I refuse to entertain it. My niece would never listen to it."

"You are wrong, Monsieur; Mlle. de Terville joins us in this request."

"Impossible. Am I to understand, Monsieur," said the Count, addressing De Montalvan, "that my niece has indicated a preference for you over this gentleman?"

"I hardly dare to avow it, Monsieur, but—"

"Enough!" interposed the Count, turning with rage upon De Berniers. "And as for you, Monsieur, your conduct is nothing better than an insult to me."

"Saperlotte!" said De Berniers to himself, "but he acts better than Cousin Charles."

"I will deal with you presently, Monsieur," continued the Count. "M. de Montalvan, you love my niece?"

"Devotedly," said De Montalvan.

"O, frantically!" cried De Berniers.

The Count cast a withering glance upon the unfortunate plotter. "It is sufficient," he said; "the contract shall be drawn as you desire, if only to punish this imbecile. But I have no disposition to control my niece's wishes. She shall have perfect liberty to sign, or not, as she chooses."

"That is all we ask," said De Berniers, essaying a comical grimace, which tempted M. de Terville to order his ejection by the domestics. In fact, he suddenly did summon a servant, but, after a moment's reflection, merely directed him to notify Mlle. Virginie that her attendance was requested.

Three persons awaited her appearance with vivid emotions. Raoul's hope was higher than his expectation, and, notwithstanding his ten years of exposure to every kind of mortal peril, he now felt for the first time the physical panic of fear. M. de Terville was not less curious than angry; and he was by no means indisposed to see his niece complete De Berniers's humiliation by accepting the new rival. As for De Berniers himself, he was revelling in all the ecstasies of satisfied revenge, and could hardly restrain his exultation long enough to witness the coup de grâce.

Of course, Virginie signed without hesitation. The fate to which she trusted had been as kind as she could wish. As her pen left the parchment, a remarkable scene ensued. De Berniers actually laughed aloud, seized the Count affectionately by the hand, and so far forgot the laws of decorum as to slap the notary upon the shoulder. He would next have embraced Virginie with effusion, had not De Montalvan interposed.

"You shall answer for this, Monsieur," cried M. de Terville, furiously. "Another such offence, and I will have you expelled by the lackeys."

"My dear Count," said De Berniers, "the comedy is finished, and we can all drop our rôles, except M. de Montalvan, who, I imagine, will continue to hold his longer than he desires. And now, where is Mlle. Virginie?"

"Is he mad?" said De Terville.

"Mlle. Virginie is here, at your service," said the lady, coolly.

"That's very well," replied De Berniers, "but I tell you the curtain has fallen. Poor M. de Montalvan is puzzled enough already. Let us send for Mlle. Virginie, and show him his error."

"No mere of this senseless jesting," said the Count; "Mlle. Virginie is[Pg 362] here; say what you desire, respectfully, and allow us to wish you good day and a comfortable journey."

De Berniers's head began to swim. "But this is her cousin, not herself," he exclaimed.

"My niece has no cousin," said the Count.

"The fact is," said Virginie, "that my cousin Charles and I are one; and my reason for the little masquerade was—"

But De Berniers heard no more. He rushed frantically from the library, straight to the stables, mounted his horse, and galloped wildly away to the inn, whence he departed for Paris within an hour.

M. de Terville was as much mystified as he was outraged by De Berniers's behavior; but Virginie, although she at once confided the secret to De Montalvan, thought it prudent to conceal it for a while from her uncle, who remained unacquainted with all the details until after the marriage, which was not long deferred.

It is a lamentable fact, that M. de Berniers never paid this wager. He even contemplated sending M. de Montalvan, instead of the ten louis, an invitation to mortal combat; but the friends whom he consulted convinced him that he had no just cause of complaint against the captain. The only person by whom he had really been aggrieved was Mlle. de Terville; M. de Montalvan could not in decency be held responsible for the non-success of a conspiracy of which he was to have been the victim. So M. de Berniers had to accept all the ridicule of the position, without the consolation of directing his vengeance against anybody. He did not pay the ten louis, but it was never said that M. de Montalvan felt dissatisfied with the result of his third wager.


[102] The Lieutenant-General Duc de Richelieu enjoyed the fame and received the reward of this important discovery, due really to an unknown adventurer. Even the claim of De Lally was set aside in favor of the illustrious impostor.


Mr. Francis Parkman has been fortunate in finding unappropriated, untried even, a dramatic subject of well-defined and completed historical interest, for the treatment of which his taste and talents give him an extraordinary adaptation. He has rightfully asserted his claims to be regarded as occupying the whole of a field whose scope and contents he has so ably mastered, and portions of which he has wrought to such good purpose. He has for many years had in view a series of historical narratives,—each complete and independent in itself, though having an organic relation to the others,—which should present the whole story of early French and English enterprise and rivalry in North America. Under the title of "Pioneers of France in the New World," published two years ago, and noticed at the time in these pages, we had a volume which initiated the full development of the results of his labors as far as they dealt with the earliest events and actors connected with French enterprise on this continent. In his "History of the Conspiracy of Pontiac," published sixteen years ago, Mr. Parkman had already given us the last act in a drama of intense interest.

"The Jesuits in North America" is the title of a new volume, and of a well-rounded and nobly-wrought theme. The English reader had nothing within his reach before from which he could learn what is offered to him here. Rich as the subject actually is in documentary and printed materials of prime[Pg 363] authenticity, and in the infinite minuteness of detail in their contents, these materials were widely scattered and not readily accessible. Mr. Parkman has either copied or procured the copying of many thousand pages of manuscripts illustrating his theme. He has gathered all the pamphlets, volumes, and maps which have any relation to it. He has put himself in communication with officials, custodians, and antiquarian students, who could help him in his researches, and, by visits of exploration and inquiry to the localities which form the scene of his narratives, he has faithfully met all the conditions external to his own more special qualifications for the exacting work which he has undertaken, and, so far, so successfully accomplished.

We have intimated that Mr. Parkman has special qualifications, taste, and talents for the line of historical studies to which he has devoted his life, and in which—in spite of most discouraging and embarrassing impediments of ill-health and physical suffering in eye and limb, and the sympathetic demands of the brain for rest and inaction except at long intervals and for short efforts—he has already done enough to give him place in our foremost literary ranks. We might emphasize our assertion of these special aptitudes and talents of his even up to a point which to those who are not familiar with his pages would seem enthusiastic or exaggerated. The curiosity, or sympathy, or reference to his own historical purposes,—call it and regard it which of these motive influences we will,—which has led Mr. Parkman to seek the closest contact with many of the Indian tribes in our domains,—to share their life, to be domiciled in their dirty lodges, to partake of their unappetizing feasts, to listen to their traditionary and tribal lore, and to endeavor to put himself into communication with the inner workings of their thought and being,—has accrued most helpfully to the benefit of his readers. We feel that he is for us a faithful and competent interpreter and commentator of Indian life, manners, superstitions, and fortunes. He has a marvellous skill in observing and describing the phenomena of nature,—the features and scenes of the wilderness amid which they roved. Those gentle or strong touches for shading and blending, for bringing into bold relief, or for suggesting what is alone for the thought and not for the sight, which the skilful painter uses in his service, are paralleled by Mr. Parkman in the felicity of his verbal delineations. We know of no writer whose pages are so real and vivid in qualities harmonizing with his theme as are his. The abundant material to which we have referred required just that elucidation and illustration which he has given to it by familiarity with the scenes and subjects embraced in it. In some very important points the author, by his thoroughness, candor, and judicial spirit, corrects some false impressions generally accepted, and substitutes fact for the fancies of romance.

Ad majorem Dei gloriam,—"For the greater glory of God,"—the noble motto of the Society of Jesus, had inspiration enough in its sublime simplicity and fulness of aim to consecrate any great enterprise into which piety and zeal and self-sacrificing toil could throw themselves, under whatever limitations of ignorance or superstition. All the perplexing questions, shifting and deepening from age to age, and finding more adequate answers as to what consists with the glory of God, may help to train a more intelligent and practical judgment in the estimate of means and ends. But no comparative allowance of this sort can reduce the tribute due to devotion and heroism in an untried service for a holy cause, however bewildered and futile the endeavor. Mr. Lecky confronts us with the perhaps undeniable, but still unwelcome fact, that ardor and zeal cool proportionately as intelligent and practical aims direct the humane or the religious activities of men. Enthusiasm has an affinity, if not with superstition, yet with exaggerated and ill-adjusted estimates of the[Pg 364] relations between the body and the soul, the visible and the invisible, the temporal and the eternal.

There can be no reasonable doubt that the missionary Jesuits, whose life was so sore a martyrdom that they must have found relief even in a cruel death inflicted by the Indians, did balance their view of what would consist with the glory of God by some equivalent benefit which they thought to secure for the barbarians. It has become very desirable, for various good reasons, to concentrate all the efforts of thorough research and of discriminating judgment upon the actual condition of the native tribes on the northern part of this continent when European enterprise or zeal introduced among them new and potent agencies for good or ill. Is their decay, their extermination, to be ascribed to the cupidity and heartlessness of the white man, with his skilled and calculating arts for overmastering the rude children of nature? Were they a happy, contented race, supported by the forest and the stream, and sharing among themselves such relations as served for their uses in the stead of the more elaborate and artificial institutions of civilization? Did their compensatory advantages balance to any extent the rude and stern conditions of their existence? Did the white man try, even with moderate humanity and sympathy, to lift them to an equality with himself, and to share peacefully and with mutual benefit their old domain? Was their destruction a foredoomed conclusion, a calculated purpose, an acknowledged necessity from the first? or was it slowly and reluctantly accepted as an inevitable destiny decided by conditions which overruled and thwarted every scheme and device of philanthropy? Were the Indians in the way of self-development, working upwards to intelligent improvement in their means and ways of life? Would they have retained their heritage here up to this day, had the white man never come among them? These and many similar questions may be asked, either by curiosity or in the interest of humanity, or in the service of ethnologic science. Mr. Parkman contributes more abundant and more instructive means for discussing and for deciding these questions in the light of authenticated facts, and of fair deductions from them, than do all who have preceded him on the subject.

In an Essay, introductory to his present volume, he embodies the results of many years of study, research, and personal observation concerning our Northern aborigines,—their tribal, treaty, and confederate relations, their distribution and numbers, their government, their family life, their customs, modes of subsistence, and warfare, their character and traits, their intellectual stage, their superstitions, their religious notions and observances. It is evident that his task, to this extent, was made an exacting one, not only by its inherent difficulties and complications, but by the misleading and guess-work representations of other writers who have been accepted as authorities. He makes stupendous reductions from the romance which has invested Indian character and life. "The noble savage," the ideal of so much fanciful and morbid sentimentality, becomes in his pages the representative of quite other qualities than those ascribed to him. In all that constitutes and ennobles manhood, and in all the conditions which should elevate the human above the brute creature, the savage and his lot are wanting.

Mr. Parkman says of the Huron-Iroquois family, that, from average capacity, superior cranium, and such advancement as is indicated by what we must call their mode of government, we might look to them, if to any of the aborigines, for examples of the higher traits popularly ascribed to Indians. But if we so look, we look in vain. Rather do we find in them the more repulsive and hideous qualities of the fiercest and the foulest brutes and reptiles,—a relentless and untamable ferocity and a homicidal frenzy. From the calm and exhaustive analysis of the philosophy of his theme, as well as from[Pg 365] the tragic story which fills his thrilling pages, it is evident that Mr. Parkman traces to the nature and circumstances of the savage himself the prime causes of his extermination. Independently of the white man's agency,—saving only the sale of guns by the Dutch traders at Albany to the Iroquois,—the decay of the Indian tribes is to be ascribed to their own incapacity for civilization, and to their own homicidal passion. One might as well expect to neutralize the game flavor in the deer or the sea-fowl, as to bring an Indian tribe under the conditions of what we call culture and civilization. Mr. Everett, in his address in commemoration of the massacre at Bloody Brook, near Deerfield, Massachusetts, vindicated the general course of the white men towards the aborigines of these regions, by claiming for it an accordance with the manifest will of Providence from an economical point of view. The Indian was a wasteful, wretched, improvident consumer and spoiler of the means of subsistence and enjoyment for communities of civilized men. So reckless and ruthless was he, so idle and thriftless, that he required for his precarious and beastly subsistence a domain which would furnish cities with all their comforts and luxuries. A thousand white men might subsist in comfort through the whole year where five Indians could find but enough with which to gorge themselves for a small part of the year, while for the rest of it they suffered for lack of food, fire, and shelter.

Undeniable, also, is the fact that, according to the measure of what represented Christianity to themselves, and the form and degree of benefit which they personally by experience derived from it, the earliest European comers labored sincerely, and at cost, to impart the blessing to the Indians. They made this attempt with equal fidelity under the inspiration and guidance respectively of the two very different forms in which Christianity, as a religion, was accepted by themselves, and divided the range of Christendom. Eliot and the Mayhews stand, and will ever stand, as exponents of the purest, most patient and persistent zeal of Protestantism, matched only, but not surpassed, by the chivalrous devotion, constancy, and martyr-heroism of the subjects of Mr. Parkman's volume, in all the aims and toils of their impracticable work. The Protestant offered the Gospel to the Indians through intellectual teachings; the Romanist tried the experiment through a symbolism which one might, at first thought, regard as admirably adapted to the nature and circumstances of the savage. Success of a certain sort seemed to have secured, in both experiments, the promise of an ultimate reward for labor.

Happily, too, the Jesuit and the Protestant might alike find comfort in referring the disastrous overthrow of their hopes, not to the failure of their work, nor even to the inconstancy of their respective converts, but to the fortunes of the ferocious warfare by which the native tribes exterminated each other. Mr. Parkman first, or most lucidly and emphatically among our historians, and without a particle of special pleading, but simply by the fidelity of his narrative, makes it appear that the common impression as to the prime or fatal agency of the white man in visiting so ruthless a destiny on the Indians is exaggerated, if not substantially false. The tragic element in his pages, deep and plaintive as it is, comes in to show how Christian zeal and humane effort were thwarted by animosities and passions working among the Indian tribes before the continent was occupied by Europeans.

One of the most suggestive exercises to which the perusal of Mr. Parkman's book will quicken the minds of many of his readers, and for the more intelligent pursuit of which his pages will be found to afford the most helpful material, will be a comparison or contrast, not only of the genius of the Catholic and the Protestant religions in the work of missions among barbarians, but of the less spiritual and more homely qualities of the French and English proclivities,[Pg 366] as exhibited in their respective relations with the savages. The French came more closely and familiarly into sympathy and intercourse with them. The English never could fraternize with them. If an Englishman of the lowest grade took a squaw for his partner, he sank to the level of barbarism himself. It was quite otherwise with the Frenchman. After the permanent occupation of Canada was secured, a race of half-breeds constituted, so to speak, a very respectable, as well as the most efficient, element in its population. It was enough if the squaw of the Frenchman had been the subject of Christian baptism. But that ordinance, however effective for the life to come, did not qualify a native woman for English wedlock. Sir William Johnson, indeed, made no disguise of his manner of life, which the complexion of the daughters who sat at his table with his most honored guests would have rendered rather difficult; but their mother—or mothers—were not presentable.

A very engaging episode in Mr. Parkman's narrative—we propose it to our artists as a subject of rare and novel interest, and rich in capacity—presents us two noble specimens of Christian zeal, in the persons of a Jesuit and a Protestant missionary in amicable intercourse with each other. Would that we had a more detailed account of the interview, and of the conversation which must have given it the highest charm of courteous sympathy, though with reserve, between two men who represented the sharpest antagonisms of creed, while a common faith may have proved an inner attraction for their hearts. The Colony of Massachusetts had applied to the French at Quebec, in negotiations looking toward a reciprocity of trade. The Jesuit missionary Druilletes was sent in that behalf to Boston. His diplomatic character saved him from the penalty of the halter, which Puritan law had pronounced upon any one of his profession who should be caught in this jurisdiction. He arrived in the autumn of 1650, and had a most hospitable and kindly reception, though he failed in his object. The scene we have proposed to a painter is that which finds Druilletes a welcome and honored guest in the humble dwelling of the apostle Eliot, at Roxbury, who invited the Jesuit to remain through the winter. We are sure they met and communed as friends,—high-souled, respecting each other, recognizing in each other aims and purposes, and the experience, alike in success and failure, of the arduous nature of a work which brought into a true communion of piety the spirits consecrated by it.

Not quite a score of years—from 1634 to 1650—suffice for the dates of the chief events in the profoundly interesting and saddening story of effort and failure which Mr. Parkman rehearses with such masterly ability. Starting with the renewed occupancy of Quebec in 1634, and the accession of the Jesuits to the abortive enterprise of the Recollet Fathers, he traces out for us the history of the Mission to the Hurons, giving us the characters of all its agents, an account of the settlements established, and the methods pursued till the work was frustrated.

It is but a sad and painful story—in some of its incidents harrowing and revolting—which Mr. Parkman has to tell us. So far as strict fidelity to his subject would admit, he has had regard to the sensibilities of his readers, and where he could neither hide nor soften, he has contented himself with intimating and suggesting what it would have been simply shocking for him to follow into further details.

With an acute skill in the reading of human nature, and a cosmopolitan spirit of his own which identifies religious toleration and charity with common sense, Mr. Parkman, in a few paragraphs crowded with facts and philosophy, takes us into the inner organization of Jesuitism, indicates the spring and aliment of its vitality, and explains to us how it reconciles the abnegation of the will with the concentration of resolve in obedience. Starting from Quebec[Pg 367] as a centre of operation, and the place where French supplies and Indian traders were brought into contact in the spring of each year, the Fathers, following the direction of their Provincial at home, through their Superior resident, Le Jeune, radiated towards the dismal localities where each looked to live and die, as the majority of them did. We ought to have their names before us. The first six of them at Quebec were Le Jeune, Brébeuf, Masse, Daniel, Davost, and De Nouë. To these were added Buteux, Bressani, Ragueneau, Chabanel, Garreau, Garnier, Lalemant, Jogues, Chaumonot, and Vimont. Most of them were very young men, of noble lineage, and with the finest prospects of worldly success had they sought the prizes of courts and of civilized life. With few exceptions, they were not robust, but delicate. Eight of them died under Indian torture. Not one of them failed in purpose or in courage.

It is not possible for the pen of either Romanist or Protestant to make a Jesuit a lovely or attractive object to a Protestant. The flaw, if not the falsehood, in their claim to the loftiest homage, vitiates the appeal of the disciples of Loyola to the profoundest regard of the human heart, independently of the antipathies of creed. It is enough to know that their fellow-Romanists of other orders share to the full the sentiment of distrust towards them which no pleading in their defence has weakened in the common Protestant mind. Their devotion, their heroism, their stern constancy to the recognized principles of their severe discipline, does not neutralize, even if it qualifies, the persuasion, which has not lacked evidence to support it, that, in the service of God, they have been willing to learn art and subtlety from the Devil. True, we are told that a generous candor will always enable and dispose us to honor and reverence self-sacrifice with a sincere purpose, even when folly, instead of necessity, crowns it with martyrdom. The plausibility of this plea lies in a vague use of the word sincere. The honors of martyrdom are yielded by a fine discrimination, as graduated by a scale recognizing a varying proportion of truth and value in the purpose for which the self-sacrifice is made. Every grain of superstition, duplicity, or recklessness reduces—every element of loftiness, high-thinking, and wise-purposing exalts—the honors rendered to a sufferer and a victim. We think that Mr. Parkman has held a fair balance in those almost alternate sentences in which, with a terse and comprehensive way of communicating his judgment, he recognizes the personal devotion, and compassionates the puerility and aimless toil, of the Jesuit missionaries. They might be pardoned for believing that the direction which the soul of a dying Indian child would take, either for heaven or for hell, was decided by their being able to cross a moistened finger upon its face. But to turn that saving charm into an act of jugglery, deceiving or falsifying to the parents, was an act which reduced the performer of it, either in intelligence or honesty, below the level of the sorcerer.

Mr. Parkman sets up no plea, positive or comparative, in behalf of that remarkable—we cannot say engaging—class of all-enduring men whose grim toils and sufferings he so faithfully narrates. Yet we have been spellbound, and deeply stirred, as we have slowly read and mused over his pages. So graphic and skilful is his method, so animated is his style, so vivid and real does he make the scenes, the surroundings, and the phenomena of his subject, that, while we might dispense wholly with the exercise of the imagination, we find that it has actually beguiled us into its most effective exercise by persuading us that we have seen and shared in many of the personages and incidents of the narrative.

The rules of the Order required of the missionaries something in the nature of a diary, or journal, which, passing through the hands of the local Superior, should reach the Provincial at[Pg 368] Paris. From these official papers, entering into the fullest minuteness of detail, confidential in their contents, and of the utmost trustworthiness, were composed "The Relations," which, annually made public, were of double service,—in reporting the hopeful labors of those already in the hard and dreary field, and in quickening the fervent zeal for new accessions to it. From these Relations, and from the voluminous and equally rich private correspondence between the missionaries and their European friends, Mr. Parkman, contributing what he has learned from other sources, is able to construct for us a continuous narrative, which anticipates every question we might ask, and informs us fully on every point of interest in his theme. He describes to us the Jesuit living on visions and dreams, reinforcing his spirit by meditations, and keeping his enthusiasm up to the needed point by assuring himself, on emergencies, of the direct interposition of the saints in his behalf. He makes us join the travelling party of the missionary as he avails himself of an Indian escort to penetrate into the wilderness, sharing its perils and its annoyances, aggravated always, even when not created, by the shiftlessness of his companions. We are initiated into all the methods and appliances of travel, of hunting, of encamping, of lodge-building, of feasting and starving, on the trail and in the village. The resources of forest life as presented by Thoreau, who had houses into which he might bring up at night, the furnishings of a wardrobe, and the comfort of salt, will be found on comparison to obtrude many broad contrasts with the realities encountered by the Jesuits and their entertainers. These all-enduring, patient men, born amid the luxuries of civilized life, left all behind them when they embarked in the canoe which was itself, with its contents, to be carried as a burden over the frequent portages connecting streams or avoiding cataracts. The first care of the "Black-Robes" was to provide the vessels and materials for the mass, with paper, pen, and ink. A few trinkets, and perhaps some implements of the rudest home-use, completed their outfit. They were disgusted, all but infuriated, by the filth and vermin, the loathsome familiarities, and the blinding smoke of the wigwam. Their feelings as civilized men were outraged by the fiendish barbarities of which they were spectators. Their lives always hung on a thread, at the mercy of caprice, jealousy, superstition, and hate, which were always active in savage breasts. Yet they toiled and suffered and persevered and hoped, as men can do and will do only when they believe themselves working for heaven,—to obtain heaven for themselves and to fit others for it.


[103] The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century. By Francis Parkman. Boston: Little, Brown, & Co.

[Pg 369]


"The women of Columbus, Mississippi, animated by nobler sentiments than are many of their sisters, have shown themselves impartial in their offerings made to the memory of the dead. They strewed flowers alike on the graves of the Confederate and of the National soldiers."—New York Tribune.

By the flow of the inland river,
Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver,
Asleep are the ranks of the dead;—
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day;—
Under the one, the Blue;
Under the other, the Gray.
These in the robings of glory,
Those in the gloom of defeat,
All with the battle-blood gory,
In the dusk of eternity meet;—
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day;—
Under the laurel, the Blue;
Under the willow, the Gray.
From the silence of sorrowful hours
The desolate mourners go,
Lovingly laden with flowers
Alike for the friend and the foe;—
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day;—
Under the roses, the Blue;
Under the lilies, the Gray.
So with an equal splendor
The morning sun-rays fall,
With a touch, impartially tender,
On the blossoms blooming for all;
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day;—
Broidered with gold, the Blue;
Mellowed with gold, the Gray.
So, when the Summer calleth,
On forest and field of grain
With an equal murmur falleth
The cooling drip of the rain;—
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day;—
Wet with the rain, the Blue;
Wet with the rain, the Gray.
[Pg 370]
Sadly, but not with upbraiding,
The generous deed was done;
In the storm of the years that are fading,
No braver battle was won;—
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day;—
Under the blossoms, the Blue,
Under the garlands, the Gray.
No more shall the war-cry sever,
Or the winding rivers be red;
They banish our anger forever
When they laurel the graves of our dead!
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment day;—
Love and tears for the Blue.
Tears and love for the Gray.


Young America in on the anxious-seat. An imploring cry comes up from the hearts of thousands, "What shall we do to be saved—from work?"

In the happy days of the Adamses, as Professor Agassiz has taught us to say, when every vine was a lodging rent-free, and the fig-trees furnished ready-made clothing, life was a pleasant pastime. But this is an age of cash or barter. The old common-law maxim concerning pains and penalties is the rule of modern society: Qui non habet in crumena, luat in corpore,—"He who cannot pay his fare must work his passage." To evade this law, to shirk the forecastle, and to devise some means of climbing into the cabin-windows, is the problem that the youth of this generation are trying to solve.

The United States offer so many unprospected or half-worked placers to sharp eyes, that we must look for a great deal of vagabondry. Gold-miners do not settle themselves down to crushing quartz, so long as there are nuggets to be picked up. Rare chances lie hidden in the by-paths of this broad country, to tempt men to straggle from the ranks of the steady workers and turn foragers and bummers.

And in this generation money has attained an extraordinary value. Since Dr. Johnson announced, in his Tour to the Hebrides, that the feudal system was giving way to wealth, most other social distinctions have yielded to it,—particularly in America, where there were few barriers to break down,—and money has become the chief good. Our standard of position in society is financial worth. Our patents of nobility are railway bonds, stock certificates, and mortgages. The income-return list of the United States Internal Revenue Department is the Libro d'Oro of the American Venice. In this age of scepticism, the excellence of accumulated capital is the one thing no man doubts; and when I take off my hat to a rich man, which I always do when I meet him, I feel that I cannot be mistaken in paying respect to something demonstrable, tangible, real.

Money furnishes all the blessings of[Pg 371] life in this Western World,—health, beauty, wisdom, virtue, consideration; and some theologians have held that even the eye of the needle may expand to admit the camel who has dropped enough of his precious burden upon their premises.

If wealth cannot always give health, it can help to preserve it; it is the best of physicians.

There is nothing so becoming as property. "Handsome is who handsome has," is the accepted modern version of the old saw.

If a rich man does not pass for sensible and good, it is his own fault. Wisdom can be bought, generally at low prices; and virtue is always assumed to be an attribute of Fortune except in moral didactic treatises. A cubic ounce of gold can be beaten to cover fourteen hundred and sixty-six square feet; and a skilful capitalist can make it hide quite as large an area of meanness.

What weight an income adds to a man's sayings and doings! Your lucky broker, who has just turned a corner in stocks with a fortune, thinks Two Shillings has no right to an opinion when Half a Dollar is in the room. Although a man with a threadbare coat may say anything now-a-days, in spite of the Roman satirist, he can get no one to listen to him. Even genuine wit, like a good picture, shows better in a gilt frame with the varnish of success upon it.

It is not surprising that young men want money, and much of it, and quickly.

There is another stumbling-block in the path of steady work. Politically our progress in democracy is complete; but socially we hang back. The aristocracies of Europe despised trade; with us trade is an aristocracy that looks down upon manual labor,—an aristocracy with its gradations of rank and of titles, from merchant-prince to pedler. All who buy and sell consider themselves as belonging to the peerage of business. And as the petite noblesse of France liked to take a better title and gayer armorials than belonged to them, so our lesser nobility and gentry are fond of using a brevet business-title considerably above the position they really fill. They are ashamed of the old English words that have designated their callings for centuries. We all know that shops and shopkeepers are not to be found in the United States. Even thread-and-needle establishments and apple-stands are stores. Within sight of where I write, a maker of false calves, and other cotton or sawdust contrivances to supply the padding which careless Nature often forgets to furnish, calls his workshop a studio. If I were to use the word "slops" in a "ready-made clothing depot," the Sir Piercie Shafton who keeps it would summarily expel me for my lack of euphemism. As a general rule, everybody is above his business, and thinks manual labor mean, and only fit for emigrants.

It is said that our mechanics are nearly all foreigners, and that an American apprentice is an extinct species, like the cave bear or the dodo. Farmers' sons prefer any way of getting their bread to working with their hands. The pedler's caste ranks higher than the manly independence of the plough. A country store is an object of ambition, where the only toil is to deal out a glass of wretched tipple to the village sots who haunt those castles of indolence to drink, to smoke, and to twaddle over stale village news. Some young fellows solicit subscriptions for maps or for great American works, or drum for fruit nurseries, patent clothes-wringers, or baby-jumpers. Others aspire to enter the religious mendicant orders of America as paid brethren. They are too proud to work, but not ashamed to beg. Beg is perhaps a hard word; but solicitation is begging when the solicitor personally profits by it.

The sons of trading fathers despise the old tiresome roads to wealth of their class. Ledgers and law-books are too slow. All are in search of the short cut to fortune. They believe in the philosopher's stone as implicitly as the[Pg 372] alchemists; they seek for it as earnestly. It is a jewel that will last forever, but its composition varies with each generation.

We of the press get scores of letters from young men, who spread out therein what they imagine to be their qualifications and accomplishments,—and plenty of them, for self-satisfaction is really the first law of Nature. Then follow their hopes and wishes and askings for advice, which, stripped of the flimsy rhetorical wrappers they feel obliged to use in deference to the old prejudice in favor of steady industry, come simply to this: "What is the minimum of work on which a clever creature like myself can live? And what kind of work is the least irksome and the most respectable?"

My colleague Tarbox, justly celebrated as a local reporter, belongs to the earnest school, and wishes me to take high ground, and write a sermon on the holiness and dignity of labor. He is always ready with his laborare est orare, and has by heart a passage from a German professor, who, writing of the manners of the Romans in an epoch of their history not unlike this of ours, says: "When a man works merely in order to attain as quickly as possible to enjoyment, it is a mere accident that he does not become a criminal."

But I tell Tarbox that these foreigners never understand the working of our institutions, nor the genius of our people. As to the dignity of labor, I have written a good deal on that text, particularly just before elections. The phrase sounds well in leading articles and on the stump, and may carry some comfort to a hard-working man. But I doubt if he believes it in his heart. I certainly do not. It is not true. There is no dignity in labor. Honesty, wisdom, manliness, there may be in labor, but not dignity. Dignity is in repose; the proverb is as old as Julius Cæsar. I might perhaps serve out some cut-and-dried bits of morality that have been prescribed as specifics for such complaints since the days of the Seven Wise Men. We keep them "set up" and ready for use. The only fault of these excellent old remedies is, that they never cure chronic cases of inefficiency, whether it be constitutional or contracted. They are good for nothing unless as a mild tonic for people who could do well enough without them. Now the cases we have to deal with are generally constitutional. When a young man writes to a stranger to ask upon what career in life he shall enter, he sends a diagnosis of his character in his letter. You know at once to what subdivision of the species he belongs. The hunting British squire recognizes only three orders of animals,—game, vermin, and stock. The human race may be divided in the same way. Game men take care of themselves; the vermin make others take care of them; and the stock, useful, harmless, and insignificant, except as an aggregate, furnish the first class with tools and the second with victims, and hitherto have done most of the drudgery of the world. Our correspondents belong to a sluggish but ambitious variety of the stock, that is seeking for some respectable or semi-respectable method of avoiding the primeval labor curse. Their own ingenuity failing them, they apply for the use of ours. The robust men, who have "the wrestling thews that throw the world," know how to get what they want, and ask no one to teach them. Indeed, to ask advice at any time is an indication of weakness. We feel kindly to those who consult us. It is a compliment that we were chosen, and not another; but I do not think that we respect them the more for it.

It is evident that the heroic remedies recommended by my colleague are likely to do harm rather than good to young persons who have outgrown their moral strength. It would be more humane to prescribe a treatment which, though it cannot cure, may alleviate their most distressing symptoms, and enable them to bear the burden of life without too much suffering. I shall, therefore, exhibit some of the methods by which young fellows of tolerable education and address may get along[Pg 373] without undue exertion,—Disce puer fortunam ex me, verumque laborem ex aliis. For a youngster of good nerves and hopeful temperament there is nothing better than speculation,—as gambling without pasteboard and ivory is called. Up to-day and down to-morrow is as pleasant and exciting to men of that mould as seesaws and swings to children with strong stomachs. But let those made of feebler stuff beware. Between the two millstones of winning and losing they will be ground into despair, or into shameless roguery. "Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat."

There is no simpler way of "achieving honorable maintenance" than to marry an heiress. But to seek fortune in matrimony is almost like looking for it in a lottery. By some mysterious law of Providence, rich people draw the high prizes. Money is apt to fall in love with money. The female dollar prefers the attentions of her own kind. Cupid, "once a god," as Tennyson writes, "is now a lawyer's clerk," with sharp eyes wide open; and suits in forma pauperis are as little likely to succeed in courts of love as in courts of law.

Politics being a subject everybody understands by instinct, young men will naturally turn their attention that way. The number of offices with salaries make this country almost that Frenchman's Utopia imagined by Madame de Staël, where every adult male was to be a public officer paid by the state. We have even more than this. When all other hopes break down, there is the custom-house,—that last infirmary of noble minds who have failed in every attempt to cure the aches that empty pockets are heirs to. No doubt the profession of politics is generally remunerative; but where I live, a foreign order of nature's nobility rules us. We Saxons have fought our battle of Hastings at the polls, and have lost it; and no one can hope to hold office here, unless he came over with Murphy the Conqueror. Even should he combine in his person that profitable conjunction of knavery, impudence, and laziness which we call a politician, with the physical requisites described by a philosopher of the last century,—Vox stentoria, sempiterna, cum cerebello vacuo,—it would profit him nothing.

The poet Gray makes Jemmy Twitcher marry Divinity, after being refused by Law and Physic. These two smile only upon serious admirers. They who follow the law—at a distance, as some one remarks, never pick up a living. And in medicine, unless the indolent practitioner can invent a pill or a syrup, and can borrow enough to publish lying certificates from country clergymen, and to hire bill-stickers to dirty the face of Nature with the names of his specifics and the wonders they work, he will never earn his daily bread. But Divinity is more easily pleased. It was usual in the generation now passing away to recommend the Church to young gentlemen of moderate energy without capital. And indeed the path seemed easy, and the prospect pleasant.

A year or two in a seminary, a white cravat, a "call" made audible by a salary, Paley's advice in the matter of sermons,—to make one and to steal three,—all the young women of the parish sitting at his feet, working worsted slippers for them, and swinging their intoxicating little censers of flattery under his nose,—such was the imaginary programme of his career. Certainly a tolerable existence while it lasted. But it seldom did last. The "young probationer and candidate for heaven" married. He selected—destiny always seemed to impel him to it—a "sweet woman," who overstocked his parsonage, and, like the magician's apprentice in the ballad, could not rule the young spirits she had evoked. The salary did not increase with the family, and sweet women are never good housekeepers. The congregation began to criticise the old sermons; a jury of stern matrons, who spoke what minds they had, sat in perpetual session on his doctrines, his wife's dress,[Pg 374] and his children's behavior;—and the end of that man was dreary, if he was only a drone in the hive of the Lord. In our day The Church is militant, and needs her ministers in the field. Those who are not able to fight will be sent to garrison some remote post, where there is no danger and little pay.

Art offers many more inducements to our young friends. If they have a knack for sketching and a "feeling for color," as the slang goes, they need not waste much time in preparatory study. Let them devote themselves to landscape. It is easy to draw a tree that will not shock the eye of an ordinary observer. Little outlay is needed to hire a room; none whatever to call it a studio. This magical word furnishes it at once, and covers every deficiency in chairs, tables, and carpet. Studio, Artist,—excellent, well-sounding names! In them is often the secret of the whole business.

An artist has this advantage over other men,—he may indulge in whatever amusements his means can afford him, and no one will find fault. Every class has its own standard of manners and conduct. The measure and rule for artists have come over the sea, condensed from French feuilletons and Vies de Bohéme. They are supposed to belong, by right of profession, to a reckless, witty, singing, and carousing guild. It is almost needless to say that the real life of the hard-working men who have earned fame by the brush is as unlike all this as possible. But these vague, ultramarine notions of fun and revelry have taken possession of the American mind, just opening to art, and established the standard for artists here. It exists in fact only in the imagination; for, excepting a few ebullitions in the way of hair, beards, and black sombreros, our artists are as saturnine as the rest of us, and not as good company around the mahogany as a judicious combination of clergymen and lawyers. Nevertheless, so powerful is the conventional, when it has once taken root in the imagination, that some of our younger artists believe themselves to be wild, rollicking fellows, who despise the humdrum existence of the rest of us, although they are sober and economical, pay their bills weekly, and talk their morning paper like other people. Young correspondents! you will perceive what a chance is here for you. If a kind public, in its youthful enthusiasm for art, invests these steady-going citizens with such delightful romantic qualities, it will of course wink at any irregularities of conduct on your part, as in strict keeping with the character.

In addition, you will always find us of the press your trusty friends. Although behind the scenes myself, the peculiar connection that exists between items-men and artists is as inexplicable to me as the partnership of the owl and the prairie-dog in their dwellings on the plains. Why, when we make every other calling pay roundly for a notice, we puff the artists gratis in the most conspicuous columns of the paper, is a puzzle to me. But the fact exists. Hire your studio, nail up your name on the door, and we will make a pet of you at once, and pat you encouragingly on the back. You shall have little paragraphs of this kind: "Salvator Smith is studying atmospheric effects in the Brooklyn Mountains"; or, "Smith, our own Salvator, is making studies from nature near Roxbury"; or, "He has a grand classical picture on his easel in Green Street, representing a celebrated American in the character of the infant Hercules, strangling the British lion with one hand and the Gallic cock with the other." Few of our readers may have heard of Smith, but they read these iterated notices, and soon believe Smith to be somebody. And he has the sweet sensation of seeing his name in print at no expense to himself, and the rare luck of fame before it is earned. In the circle he adorns he will be looked upon as a judge in all matters æsthetical. It is only necessary to have painted a poor picture in order to be an authority in architecture, music, poetry, dress, decoration, furniture, private theatricals, and fancy balls.

At this moment the fashionable world is an oyster, which with his spatula an[Pg 375] artist may open. A picture mania rages. Good works bring enormous prices, and any discoloration of canvas in a gilt frame finds a ready purchaser, if signed by a known name. We are a commercial people, and are satisfied with a first-rate indorsement. The patron of art can soon educate himself for the position. The pet little phrases—"chalky," "sketchy," "tone," "repose," "opaque coloring," and all the rest of the technical vocabulary—are soon learned; and then if Lorenzo is able and willing to give ten thousand dollars for a picture, he may hold a court of artists and be sure of having a number of pleasant fellows about him. They, too, will be sure of champagne and oysters. All the schools, however different their theories of art may be, agree, I believe, that both of these compositions are excellent.

Lastly, I should like to say a few words in favor of my own noble profession, newspaper editing. Mr. Carlyle may spitefully call it "the California of the spiritually vagabond," but there is a proud pleasure in knowing that we gentlemen of the press furnish the great American people with their ideas and their phrases ready made, just as Brooks Brothers and Oak Hall provide them with their clothes. All very much alike, it is true,—"our spring style,"—and often ill-fitting and graceless; but we seem to fill a national want. Our names may be unknown outside of our offices, but the great planets are perceptibly influenced in their courses by little asteroids invisible to the naked eye, and many a celebrity who appears daily in large type is moved by the strings we pull, and knows it not. My comrade Tarbox says: "The oracles that became dumb in the year of our Lord were really a necessity to mankind, and consequently were made vocal again by the agency of Renaudot, who invented newspapers. The Delphis and Dodonas of the nineteenth century are newspaper offices." This may explain why young men in search of a profitable career write to us instead of applying to rich merchants or to dashing brokers. How fortunate that those who consult us never see the shrine or the priests! No gold or silver glitters in the modern adytum, or editor's room, and the tripod from which we distribute our afflatus to the compositors is a wooden three-legged stool, unpainted and uncushioned. That great oracle, Tarbox himself, was not long ago a noble savage who ran wild in the woods near some country college. Caught and caged in that institution, he devoted three years to pipes, and one to belles lettres, and receiving from a good-natured Faculty some sort of a degree, probably that of tobacco-laureate, came thence to town; where, inspired by a salary of ten dollars a week, he enlightens the public on finance and politics, art and literature, manners and taste, and writes those brilliant articles the world willingly lets die. When the California gold mines were first discovered, a clever fellow said that he knew of no opening for a young man like the Southwest Pass. That is still true for rough, coarse, self-asserting characters; but for delicate, refined, stay-at-home natures, who have wishes without wills, there are many ways of getting their porridge without selling their birthright of doing as little as possible. If they cannot float buoyantly on the surface, at least they need not sink far beneath it, but may enjoy a quiet, water-logged kind of existence, not devoid of comfort.

[Pg 376]


May-Day and other Pieces. By Ralph Waldo Emerson. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.

We wonder whether those who take up Mr. Emerson's poem now, amid the glories of the fading summer, are not giving the poet a fairer audience than those who hurried to hear his song in the presence of the May he celebrates. As long as spring was here, he had a rival in every reader; for then we all felt ourselves finer poets than ever sang of the season, and did not know that our virtue was but an effect of Spring herself,—an impression, not an expression of her loveliness, which must pass with her. Now, when the early autumn is in every sense, and those days when the year first awoke to consciousness have grown so far away, we must perceive that no one has yet been allowed to speak so well for the spring of our New World as this poet. The very irregularity of Mr. Emerson's poem seems to be part of its verisimilitude, and it appears as if all the pauses and impulses and mysterious caprices of the season—which fill the trees with birds before blossoms, and create the soul of sweetness and beauty in the May-flowers under the dead leaves of the woodlands, while the meadows are still bare and brown—had so entered into this song, that it could not emulate the deliberation and consequence of art. The "May-Day" is to the critical faculty a succession of odes on Spring, celebrating now one aspect and now another, and united only by their title; yet since an entire idea of spring is evolved from them, and they awaken the same emotions that the youth of the year stirs in us, we must accept the result as something undeniably great and good. Of course, we can complain of the way in which it is brought about, just as we can upbraid the New England climate, though its uncertain and desultory April and May give us at last the most beautiful June weather in the world.

The poem is not one that invites analysis, though it would be easy enough to instance striking merits and defects. Mr. Emerson, perhaps, more than any other modern poet, gives the notion of inspiration; so that one doubts, in reading him, how much to praise or blame. The most exquisite effects seem not to have been invited, but to have sought production from his unconsciousness; graces alike of thought and of touch seem the unsolicited gifts of the gods. Even the doubtful quality of occasional lines confirms this impression of unconsciousness. One cannot believe that the poet would wittingly write,

"Boils the world in tepid lakes,"

for this statement has, for all that the reader can see to the contrary, the same value with him as that preceding verse, telling how the waxing heat

"Lends the reed and lily length,"

wherein the very spirit of summer seems to sway and droop. Yet it is probable that no utterance is more considered than this poet's, and that no one is more immediately responsible than he. We must attribute to the most subtile and profound consciousness the power that can trace with such tenderness and beauty the alliance he has shown between earth and humanity in the exultation of spring, and which can make matter of intellectual perception the mute sympathies that seemed to perish with childhood:—

"The pebble loosened from the frost
Asks of the urchin to be tost.
In flint and marble beats a heart,
The kind Earth takes her children's part,
The green lane is the school-boy's friend,
Low leaves his quarrel apprehend,
The fresh ground loves his top and ball,
The air ring's jocund to his call,
The brimming brook invites a leap,
He dives the hollow, climbs the steep."

Throughout the poem these recognitions of our kindred with external nature occur, and a voice is given to the blindly rejoicing sense within us when the poet says,

"The feet that slid so long on sleet
Are glad to feel the ground"

and thus celebrates with one potent and satisfying touch the instinctive rapture of the escape from winter. Indeed, we find our greatest pleasure in some of these studies of pure feeling, while we are aware of the value of the didactic passages of the poem, and enjoy perfectly the high beauty of the pictorial parts of it. We do not know where we should match that strain beginning,[Pg 377]

"Why chidest thou the tardy spring?"

Or that,

"Where shall we keep the holiday,
And duly greet the entering May?"

Or this most delicate and exquisite bit of description, which seems painted a tempera,—in colors mixed with the transparent blood of snowdrops and Alpine harebells:—

"See, every patriot oak-leaf throws
His elfin length upon the snows,
Not idle, since the leaf all day
Draws to the spot the solar ray,
Ere sunset quarrying inches down,
And half-way to the mosses brown:
While the grass beneath the rime
Has hints of the propitious time,
And upward pries and perforates
Through the cold slab a hundred gates,
Till green lances, piercing through,
Bend happy in the welkin blue."

There is not great range of sentiment in "May-Day," and through all the incoherence of the poem there is a constant recurrence to the master-theme. This recurrence has at times something of a perfunctory air, and the close of the poem does not seal the whole with any strong impression. There is a rise—or a lapse, as the reader pleases to think—toward a moral at the close; but the motion is evidently willed of the poet rather than the subject. It seems to us that, if the work have any climax, it is in those lines near the end in which the poet draws his reader nearest his own personality, and of which the delicately guarded and peculiar pathos scarcely needs comment:—

"There is no bard in all the choir,
Not Homer's self, the poet sire,
Wise Milton's odes of pensive pleasure,
Or Shakespeare, whom no mind can measure,
Nor Collins' verse of tender pain,
Nor Byron's clarion of disdain,
Scott, the delight of generous boys,
Or Wordsworth, Pan's recording voice,—
Not one of all can put in verse,
Or to this presence could rehearse,
The sights and voices ravishing
The boy knew on the hills in spring,
When pacing through the oaks he heard
Sharp queries of the sentry-bird,
The heavy grouse's sudden whir,
The rattle of the kingfisher;
Saw bonfires of the harlot flies
In the lowland, when day dies;
Or marked, benighted and forlorn,
The first far signal-fire of morn.
These syllables that Nature spoke,
And the thoughts that in him woke,
Can adequately utter none
Save to his ear the wind-harp lone.
And best can teach its Delphian chord
How Nature to the soul is moored,
If once again that silent string,
As erst it wont, would thrill and ring.
"Not long ago, at eventide,
It seemed, so listening, at my side
A window rose, and, to say sooth,
I looked forth on the fields of youth:
I saw fair boys bestriding steeds,
I knew their forms in fancy weeds,
Long, long concealed by sundering fates,
Mates of my youth,—yet not my mates,
Stronger and bolder far than I,
With grace, with genius, well attired,
And then as now from far admired,
Followed with love
They knew not of,
With passion cold and shy.
O joy, for what recoveries rare!
Renewed, I breathe Elysian air,
See youth's glad mates in earliest bloom,—
Break not my dream, obtrusive tomb!
Or teach thou, Spring! the grand recoil
Of life resurgent from the soil
Wherein was dropped the mortal spoil."

Among the other poems in this volume, it appears to us that "The Romany Girl," "Voluntaries," and "The Boston Hymn" are in their widely different ways the best. The last expresses, with a sublime colloquiality in which the commonest words of every-day parlance seem cut anew; and are made to shine with a fresh and novel lustre, the idea and destiny of America. In "Voluntaries" our former great peril and delusion—the mortal Union which lived by slavery—is at first the theme, with the strong pulse of prophecy, however, in the mournful music. Few motions of rhyme so win and touch as those opening lines,—

"Low and mournful be the strain,
Haughty thought be far from me;
Tones of penitence and pain,
Moanings of the tropic sea,"—

in which the poet, with a hardly articulate sorrow, regards the past; and Mr. Emerson's peculiarly exalted and hopeful genius has nowhere risen in clearer and loftier tones than in those stops which open full upon us after the pathetic pleasing of his regrets:—

"In an age of fops and toys,
Wanting wisdom, void of right,
Who shall nerve heroic boys
To hazard all in Freedom's fight,—
Break sharply off their jolly games,
Forsake their comrades gay,
And quit proud homes and youthful dames,
For famine, toil, and fray?
Yet on the nimble air benign
Speed nimbler messages,
That waft the breath of grace divine
To hearts in sloth and ease.
[Pg 378] So nigh is grandeur to our dust,
So near is God to man,
When Duty whispers low, Thou must,
The youth replies, I can.
*   *   *   *
"Blooms the laurel which belongs
To the valiant chief who fights;
I see the wreath, I hear the songs
Lauding the Eternal Rights,
Victors over daily wrongs:
Awful victors, they misguide
Whom they will destroy,
And their coming triumph hide
In our downfall, or our joy:
They reach no term, they never sleep,
In equal strength through space abide;
Though, feigning dwarfs, they crouch and creep,
The strong they slay, the swift outstride:
Fate's grass grows rank in valley clods,
And rankly on the castled steep,—
Speak it firmly, these are gods,
All are ghosts beside."

It is, of course, a somewhat Emersonian Gypsy that speaks in "The Romany Girl," but still she speaks with the passionate, sudden energy of a woman, and flashes upon the mind with intense vividness the conception of a wild nature's gleeful consciousness of freedom, and exultant scorn of restraint and convention. All sense of sylvan health and beauty is uttered when this Gypsy says,—

"The wild air bloweth in our lungs,
The keen stars twinkle in our eyes,
The birds gave us our wily tongues,
The panther in our dances flies."

"Terminus" has a wonderful didactic charm, and must be valued as one of the noblest introspective poems in the language. The poet touches his reader by his acceptance of fate and age, and his serene trust of the future, and yet is not moved by his own pathos.

We do not regard the poem "The Adirondacks" as of great absolute or relative value. It is one of the prosiest in the book, and for a professedly out-of-doors poem has too much of the study in it. Let us confess also that we have not yet found pleasure in "The Elements," and that we do not expect to live long enough to enjoy some of them. "Quatrains" have much the same forbidding qualities, and have chiefly interested us in the comparison they suggest with the translations from the Persian: it is curious to find cold Concord and warm Ispahan in the same latitude. Others of the briefer poems have delighted us. "Rubies," for instance, is full of exquisite lights and hues, thoughts and feelings; and "The Test" is from the heart of the severe wisdom without which art is not. Everywhere the poet's felicity of expression appears; a fortunate touch transfuses some dark enigma with color; the riddles are made to shine when most impenetrable; the puzzles are all constructed of gold and ivory and precious stones.

Mr. Emerson's intellectual characteristics and methods are so known that it is scarcely necessary to hint that this is not a book for instant absorption into any reader's mind. It shall happen with many, we fancy, that they find themselves ready for only two or three things in it, and that they must come to it in widely varying moods for all it has to give. No greater wrong could be done to the poet than to go through his book running, and he would be apt to revenge himself upon the impatient reader by leaving him all the labor involved in such a course, and no reward at the end for his pains.

But the case is not a probable one. People either read Mr. Emerson patiently and earnestly, or they do not read him at all. In this earnest nation he enjoys a far greater popularity than criticism would have augured for one so unflattering to the impulses that have heretofore and elsewhere made readers of poetry; and it is not hard to believe, if we believe in ourselves for the future, that he is destined to an ever-growing regard and fame. He makes appeal, however mystically, only to what is fine and deep and true and noble in men, and no doubt those who have always loved his poetry have reason to be proud of their pleasure in it. Let us of the present be wise enough to accept thankfully what genius gives us in its double character of bard and prophet, saying, when we enjoy the song, "Ah, this is the poet that now sings!" and when the meaning is dark, "Now we have the seer again!"

An Historical Sketch of Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian Church. By Henry C. Lea. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1867.

This exhaustive treatise of Mr. Lea upon ecclesiastical celibacy we take to possess, like his excellent work upon "Superstition and Force," all the capital requisites of an historical monograph,—an immense body of information and of reference on the subject in hand, a sufficiently cool and dispassionate manner of presenting facts, and a[Pg 379] severe adherence to the central question. The amount of research and indeed of scholarship involved in the preparation of this volume is such as to command the warmest recognition. In these days of "picturesque" histories, of hasty criticism, and of precipitate generalizations, it is very gratifying to encounter a writer who construes his obligations with such austerity as Mr. Lea. He is content to marshal his facts and his data into such an order that under a close inspection no one of them conceals the half-genuine look of its neighbor. He lets them tell their own story for good or for evil, and is never guilty, through the wish to be vivid and effective, of spreading his colors outside of the lines drawn by his authorities. Within these lines even his tints are sober and discreet, and careful not to depart too widely from those somewhat neutral hues which, wherever man's knowledge of the past rests upon accidentally preserved documents and monuments, must continue to be the colors of history. Nevertheless, with all the various merits of a well-executed monograph, Mr. Lea's work has certain of the corresponding defects. Perhaps, indeed, it were more just to say that these defects correspond to the limitations of the general reader's knowledge, rather than to any imperfection in the author's programme. In the course of a special history executed on such a scale as the present one, and with all its soberness of style, so little mechanical in spirit, and so free from chronological dryness, it is almost inevitable that the reader's impressions should become somewhat overbalanced. He is likely to forget that he is taking a partial view of a great subject, and that he must hold his opinions liable to correction when he has surveyed the whole field. A dishonest writer, we conceive, may readily take advantage of this perfectly logical error. He has accumulated an immense mass of material bearing on a particular point, extracted and expressed, by long labor, from a field in which it has lain interfused with material of a very different, and even of a directly opposite significance. There are a hundred literary arts by which a writer may put forward his fractional gleaning as a representation of the whole. In this matter of ecclesiastical celibacy, for instance, the result of Mr. Lea's researches is that practically the thing has never existed in the Christian Church. That is to say, the regulations enforcing it have at all times been more violated and eluded than obeyed. With the Reformation a large section of the Church ceased to admit its needfulness, and the field of its enforcement was very much curtailed. But the Catholic Church continued to cling to it as almost the central principle of its being, and continued likewise to connive at an inveterate system of escape from its harsh conditions. Mr. Lea's volume is a long record of reiterated legislation and exhortation against unchastity, formal and actual, and of a series of equally uninterrupted disclosures of the futility of such legislation. And, nevertheless, there is no doubt that, during all the long ages of its history, the Church was the abode and the refuge of a vast deal of purity and continence, to say nothing of the various other virtues by which its members have been distinguished. But the reader sees only the obverse of the medal: he sees a custom of prodigious bearings, if duly carried out, honored chiefly in the breach; and he will be very apt to close the book with an impression that the Church has been through all time a sink of incurable corruption. It is superfluous to say that this impression will be quite as erroneous as it would be to assert that, on the other hand, its practice has kept pace with its high pretensions. Neither view of the case is just. If there is one thing that strikes us more than another, in reading Mr. Lea's work, it is that, on the whole, the Church must have been at any moment a tolerably faithful reflection of the manners and feelings of the time. Its empire was practicable only by means of a constant renewal of the exquisite and everlasting compromise between man's transient interests and his external destiny. Taken as a whole, it never pretended to ride rough-shod over his natural passions and instincts. It pretended to convert them to its own service and aggrandizement. It respected them, it handled them gently. And as these passions and instincts have never been exclusively evil or exclusively good, so the Church has never been wholly corrupt or wholly pure. It has been animated by the average moral enlightenment of the time, and it has grown with men's moral growth. Reared, as it was, upon the primitive needs of men's nature, it is difficult to see how the result should have been different. And if the Catholic Church has lost that firmness of grasp upon human affection which it once possessed, it is not that laymen have become more virtuous than priests; it is that they have[Pg 380] become more intelligent. The intellectual growth of the Church has lagged behind its moral growth. Secular humanity is perfectly willing to admit that its sacerdotal counterpart observes the Decalogue equally well with itself; but it contests the right of an institution, of whose long spiritual efforts this insignificant accomplishment is the only surviving result, to impose itself further upon men's respect and obedience. The reader has only to remember, then, that Mr. Lea's volume is not a history of the Church at large, but only a history of a single province, and he will find it full of profit and edification.

It is no exaggeration to repeat, as we have said, that the Church never achieved anything like complete celibacy. A rapid survey of the ground under Mr. Lea's guidance will confirm and explain this statement. During the first three centuries there is no evidence that celibacy was deemed essential to the clerical character, or even that it was thought especially desirable. It was natural that during the early years of the Church, and under the stress of persecution, it should not multiply the restrictions placed upon the freedom of its adherents. Up to the period of the Council of Nicæa, therefore, the virtues of chastity were maintained only by isolated groups of ascetics, animated by that spirit of Puritanism which seems to have existed in every faith in every stage of its history. When men are looking about them for means to mortify the flesh and to stifle the heart, a prohibition of marriage is the first expedient that suggests itself. Until this is done away with, further severities are impossible. Marriage, however, was not condemned at a single blow. The first step was to forbid second marriages. A bachelor in holy orders might marry with impunity; a widower did so at his peril. Having effected this concession, the ascetic spirit found means to increase its influence. It received a strong impulse at the close of the second century, as Mr. Lea affirms, by the rise of the Neoplatonic philosophy, with all its mystical and stoical tendencies, and by the introduction into Europe and the rapid spread of the great Manichæan heresy. In the view of this doctrine, man's body was the work of the Devil, and condemned as such to ceaseless abuse and mortification by his soul. Among the ascetic excesses which were the logical consequences of such a dogma, inveterate chastity was, of course, not the last to be enjoined. Manichæism was an object of violent detestation to the Church; but as the latter could not afford to let itself be outdone in austerity by a vulgar heresy, it began to adopt a similar uncompromising attitude towards marriage. The Council of Nicæa was held in 325. This body, however, was chiefly occupied with debates upon Arianism, and is responsible but for a single enactment bearing on the subject in hand. The bearing of this enactment is, moreover, indirect, inasmuch as Mr. Lea conclusively proves that it refers not to lawful wives, (as in later ages of the Church it became needful to assume that it did refer,) but to female companions of the unlicensed sort. For more than half a century after the Nicæan Council, the movement of the celibatarian spirit is lost sight of in the all-absorbing disputes on the Arian heresy. A strong reaction, however, is signalized by the issue, under Pope Damasus, in the year 385, of the first definite command imposing perpetual celibacy as an absolute rule of discipline on the ministers of the altar. This was very well as an injunction, but it was nothing without enforcement. More than half a century again elapsed before the new discipline was substantially acknowledged. By the mass of the servants of the Church—among which several names stand apart as those of its more eminent opponents—it was received with bitter resentment and incompliance. But it had the popular favor for it on one side, and on the other the passionate energies of the three great Latin fathers,—Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome. The people had not yet reached that state of mind when it clamored imperiously either for priestly marriage, or, in simple self-defence, for an organized substitute. Mr. Lea at this point devotes a chapter to the Eastern Church, of which it is sufficient for us to say, that in this establishment the question of celibacy was less violently agitated than among its neighbors, and that a final decision was more speedily reached. Early in the sixth century, Justinian published an edict which still forms the basis of its celibatarian discipline. Marriage in orders is forbidden, and men who have been twice married are inadmissible. Monks are of course bound to chastity, but the lower grades of the secular clergy are free to marry.

The rise of the monastic orders in the West dates from the close of the fifth century, when St. Benedict founded in the[Pg 381] Latian Apennines the community which subsequently became famous as the Convent of Monte Cassino. With this enterprise begins the real growth of the Church, which, of course, we do not propose to trace. With each succeeding century its area expanded, its power increased, and its responsibilities multiplied. It was called to preside at the organization of a new Europe, to witness and to accelerate the extinction of the Roman Empire and the foundation of the new nationalities, to save whatever was worth saving from the wreck of the old society, to stand firm against the Barbarians, to prosecute constant and wholesale conversions, and to preserve in the midst of these various cares the integrity of the idea of sacerdotal chastity. The idea, we say; for we may be sure that the practice was left to take care of itself. We are told that the Barbarian invaders were inexpressibly shocked by the licentiousness and immorality of the Latin civilization; and if this were so, it promised well for a thorough purgation of the Church in proportion as the new-comers were admitted into its fold. But as we continue to read, we see that, although upon society at large their arrival may have produced in certain directions a healthful and renovating effect, they speedily became converted to the general tolerance of ecclesiastical laxity. Italy and France, up to the domination of Charlemagne, were the only important countries in Europe. The history of France from Clovis to Charlemagne is a long record of disorder and iniquity, in which, if the Church plays no worse part than the state, it at least plays no better. In Italy religion and politics are involved in an inextricable tangle of convulsions and dissensions. During this time there is no better proof of the practical neglect into which the canon of celibacy had fallen, than the continual iteration to which it is subjected by councils and synods. Gregory the Great, in his conscientious efforts in the seventh century to enforce sacerdotal chastity at least,—or rather to check the flagrant violation of it,—in default of celibacy, had to contend, where France was concerned, with the powerless imbecility of the Merovingian monarchs.

His successors found more effectual assistance in the first strong-handed Carlovingians. Pope Zachary, in concert with Carloman, and St. Boniface, the great apostle of the Saxons, for the first time attached the penalties of deposition, degradation, and penance to proved impurity of life. This was the beginning of a series of reforms, of which Boniface was the leading spirit, and Pepin and Charlemagne the rigid guardians. But, although sacerdotal marriage became really the exception rather than the rule, in consequence of these enactments, it is doubtful whether morality was improved. It was a licentious age, and the clergy as well as the laity belonged to their age. In the tenth century clerical marriage began again to prevail, and again the strong hands of Gregory VII., and of the Popes who reigned under his direction, were needed to restore some degree of discipline. But vigorous as were their measures, and persevering their efforts, it was restored chiefly in name. Gregory's dissensions with the Empire offer Mr. Lea an occasion to exhibit the condition of morality in the German Church. We are unable to see that at this moment, as for some time to come, it differed materially in any of the countries of Europe. In many outlying provinces—in Wales, in Bohemia, in Sweden—lawful marriage took the place of simple cohabitation; but in the great central states the vices of the laity were still those of the clergy. If there was one spot indeed where these vices were more flourishing than elsewhere, all through the Middle Ages and into recent times, that spot was the very head-quarters of sanctity,—Rome itself. But this circumstance admits doubtless of a sufficiently logical explanation. Rome was the spiritual head of Christendom, but she was also a great temporal power, and to a great extent the social metropolis of the world. This character necessarily involved a vast deal of magnificent corruption.

In the course of the Middle Ages it is apparent that the clergy not only continued to possess their share of the general unchastity, but to carry it to excesses by which they alone were distinguished. The amount of legislation bearing on this subject, recorded by Mr. Lea with immense patience and care, is such as to defy memory and imagination, and almost to challenge belief. There can be assuredly no better proof of the very imperfect observation of the canons than this unceasing repetition of them. By the time the Middle Ages had passed away, and the masses had emerged into the comparatively brilliant light of the Renaissance, sacerdotal unchastity had grown into an enormous evil. The disparity between the theory of the priestly[Pg 382] character and its actual form had become too flagrant to be endured. Popular protests accordingly became frequent. The abuse of those intimate relations into which the priest is brought with the life of families, and that of the confessional more especially, acquires horrible proportions. And as the question grows more complex on the side of the people, so it grows more complex with regard to the general government of the Church. This government had long since made up its mind, with a firmness destined to be proof against even the most formidable remonstrance, that, whatever might be the manners of its servants, they were to remain inviolably single. The mere ascetic and sentimental reason for celibacy had long been supplanted by good logical and material reasons. A wife and children were speedily found to be incompatible with the exclusive service of the Church. To it alone, if the ambition of its great rulers was to be fulfilled, its ministers were to be devoted. When, with the development of the feudal system, the transmission of property and of functions from father to sons became the groundwork of social order, ecclesiastical benefices were disposed of in the same way as manors and baronies, to the utter prejudice of the temporality of the Church. With this tendency the Church waged a long and violent contest, in which she was finally victorious. But she purchased her victory only at the price of the most scandalous concessions; and by the system of immorality reared upon these concessions she found her hands almost fatally entangled at the Reformation. Dispensation to unchastity in her ministers had become a prominent feature among those various indulgences against which the consciences of the early Reformers rose in wrath. In every country in Europe the people had grown weary of crying out for the abolition of these dispensations, and the reintroduction of marriage. In Germany, accordingly, the marriage of apostate monks and priests was among the foremost measures of the more ardent Reformers. Luther, whose discretion was as great as his courage, was content to wait; but he, too, finally gave in, and united himself with a nun. It is characteristic of the English people, that the monarchs under whose guidance they embraced the Reformation should have shown in this particular more than the hesitation of Luther. Henry VIII. broke short off with Rome, overturned the monasteries, and filled the land with the beggared servants of the old ecclesiastical order, but he would not hear of the marriage of the Reformed clergy. It was certainly not from a general disapproval of the institution. Under Edward, the old restrictions on this matter were done away; but under Mary they were of course restored with a high hand. With Elizabeth they were eventually removed forever; but it is known that the measure had very little sympathy from the queen, and that her assent was grudgingly bestowed.

The Council of Trent was expected to do great things toward the pacification of the Reformers and the healing of the great schism, and among others to pave the way for the gradual abolition of clerical celibacy. The measure had the approval of Charles the Fifth, and of Ferdinand and Maximilian, his successors. The Council of Trent did very little that was expected of it, however, and least of all did it accomplish this. It contented itself with a reenactment of certain obsolete and threadbare canons in favor of chastity, and launched an anathema against all those who affirmed the validity of such marriages as had been made or should yet be made by the apostate clergy. This was the last word of the Catholic Church for some time to come upon this important subject. Animated with a new vitality by the great Jesuit reaction, she had no apprehension that her hour had come, and that she was brought so low as to be compelled to belie the sagacity of her great founders and lawgivers. For the past three hundred years she has firmly adhered to the principle of celibacy, and assuredly with incontestable wisdom. With the universal elevation of the moral tone throughout Europe, she has been less frequently mortified by having to look with indulgence upon the licentious manners of her priests.

It seems to us that this rapid survey of the immense subject treated by Mr. Lea is calculated to confirm rather than to enfeeble an unprejudiced reader's sense of the marvellous achievements of the Church. The enumeration, made in the volume before us, of its enactments with regard to celibacy and chastity, constitutes a chapter in its internal history. This is, to our perception, the worst that can be said of them and of the state of things which they reveal. If the Catholic Church is to be pronounced an institution of the past, a mockery, a delusion, and a snare, it is not on these[Pg 383] grounds alone, or on any exclusive grounds, but from a broadly comprehensive point of view. Every human institution has a private history which is very different from its public one. In some respects the former is the more, in others the less, admirable of the two. In the present case, the element in the picture which appeals to our admiration is the heroic patience and perseverance, the fortitude, the tact, and the courage with which the Church applied herself to the healing of her internal wounds when they were curable, and to the enduring of them when they were not, in order that, at any cost, she might produce upon the world the impression of unity, sanity, and strength.

Ten Months in Brazil; with Incidents of Voyages and Travels, Descriptions of Scenery and Character, Notices of Commerce and Productions, etc. By John Codman. Boston: Lee and Shepard.

The title of this book leaves its reviewer little to say in explanation of its purposes. It is a lively enough book, and a book well enough written, with a good deal of dash and piquancy in the style; and yet, like the blameless dinner to which Doctor Johnson objected that it was not a dinner to ask a man to, it is not a book to advise one to read. It does not appear to us, after reading it, that we are wiser concerning Brazil than before; even the facts in it we greeted, in many cases, with the warmth due to old statistical acquaintances. The philosophy of the author seems to be that the Brazilians are a bad set, and that they have become so mainly by mingling their blood with that of their negroes,—a race never so useful and happy as when in the discipline of slavery. Mr. Codman contrasts their hopeless state on the lands of a good-hearted Scotchman in Brazil, who intends to let them earn their freedom by working for him, with their condition on the neighboring estate of a sharp, slave-driving Yankee, who acquiesces unmurmuringly in the purposes of Providence; "his theory being, that, as labor is their condition, the greatest amount of work compatible with their health and fair endurance is to be got from them. With this end in view, there is a judicious distribution of rewards and punishments." Mr. Codman finds the charm of novelty in these just and simple ideas, but we think we have in past years met with the same ingenious reasoning in Southern speeches and newspapers; and we suspect the system was one commonly adopted in our slave States, where the occasional omission of punishments was economically made to represent the judicious distribution of rewards.

In fact, Mr. Codman seems to have travelled and written too late to benefit his generation. Six or seven happy years ago, an enlightened public sentiment would have received his views of slavery with acclaim; but we doubt if they would now sell a copy of his book even in Charleston.

A Story of Doom, and other Poems. By Jean Ingelow. Boston: Roberts Brothers.

People who remember things written as long ago as five years have a certain stiffness in their tastes which disqualifies them for the enjoyment of much contemporaneous achievement; and it is fortunate for the poets that it is the young who make reputations. Miss Ingelow's first volume, indeed, had something in it that could please not only the inexperience of youth, for which nothing like it existed, but even the knowledge of those arrived at the interrogation-point in life, who felt that here there was a movement toward originality in much familiar mannerism and uncertain purpose. If there was not a vast deal for enjoyment, there was a reason for hope. It was plain that the author's gift was not a great one, but it was also clear that she had a gift. She was a little tedious and diffuse; she was often too long in reaching a point, and sometimes she never reached it at all. But then she wrote "The High Tide on the Coast of Lincolnshire," and the "Songs of Seven," and "Divided,"—none of them perfect poems, yet all very good and fresh,—and showed a true feeling for nature, and some knowledge of humanity as women see it. In this second volume, however, she abandons her maturer admirers to their fate, and seeks the favor of the young ladies and gentlemen who have begun to like verses since Mr. Tennyson's latest poems were written, and the old balladists and modern poetical archaists ceased to be read. In fact, it is amazing to see how this author, who had a talent of her own, has contentedly buried it, and gone to counterfeiting the talents of others. The "Story of Doom" here given is an unusually dreary copy of the unrealism of Mr. Tennyson's "Idyls[Pg 384] of the King," and makes the history of Noah more than ever improbable; while "Laurance," mimicking all the well-known effects and smallest airs and movements of the laureate's poems of rustic life, is scarcely to be read without laughter. "Winstanley" presents an incident that, if told in simple contemporary English, would have made a thrilling ballad; but what with its quoth-he's, brave skippers, good master mayors, ladies gay, and red suns, it is factitious, and of the library only,—it came from Percy's "Reliques" and "The Ancient Mariner," not from the poet's heart. It seems worthy of the sentimental purpose with which it was written; but we doubt if any child in the National School in Dorsetshire learned it by heart as his forefathers did the old ballads.

In pleasant contrast with its affectations is the beautiful little song entitled "Apprenticed," which the author tells us is in the old English manner, but which we find full of a young feeling and tenderness belonging to all time, expressed in diction quite of our own. This, and that one of the Songs with Preludes entitled "Wedlock," seem to us the best, if not the only, poems in the book. Miss Ingelow's forte is not in single lines and detachable passages, and her efforts are apt to be altogether successful or unsuccessful. In the long rhyme called "Dreams that came True," there is but one inspired line, and that is merely descriptive,—

"In eddying rings the silence seemed to flow"

round him that waked suddenly from an awful dream. There is an inglorious ease in the sarcasm, but we must express our regret that Miss Ingelow did not leave this story in the prose which she says first received it.

We suppose we need scarcely call the reader's attention to the fact that certain faults of Miss Ingelow's first book are exaggerated in this. The rush of half-draped figures, and the pushing and crowding of weak and unruly fancies, are too obviously unpleasant for comment. Perhaps they are most unpleasant in the Song with a Prelude which opens with the bewildering statement that

"Yon mooréd mackerel fleet
Hangs thick as a swarm of bees,
Or a clustering village street
Foundationless built on the seas."

Critical and Social Essays. Reprinted from the New York "Nation." New York: Leypoldt and Holt.

These brief papers very fairly represent the quality of the excellent journal from which they are taken, and treat subjects suggested by literary events and social characteristics with a bright intelligence and an artistic feeling only too uncommon in our journalism. All the essays are good, and several are of quite unique merit. The first in the volume, entitled "The Glut in the Fiction Market," is full of a felicitous badinage and an exquisite power of travesty, which we should not know how to match elsewhere. The author of this admirable paper wrote also, as we imagine, the essays on "Some of our Social Philosophers," "Critics and Criticism," and "Voyages and Travels," which are the best of the humorous articles in the volume. The graver essays are almost as good in their way as these, and we especially like "Why we have no Saturday Reviewers," "Popularizing Science," "Something about Monuments," and "American Ministers abroad." The paper on "The European and American Order of Thought" considers the subject with an originality and penetration which we would willingly have had applied in a more extended study of it.

In fine, we like all these articles from "The Nation," for the reasons that we like "The Nation" itself, which has been, in a degree singular among newspapers, conscientious and candid in literary matters; while in affairs of social and political interest it has shown itself friendly to everything that could advance civilization, and notably indifferent to the claims of persons and parties.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No.
119, September, 1867, by Various


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