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Title: Charles Carleton Coffin - War Correspondent, Traveller, Author, and Statesman
Author: Griffis, William Elliot, 1843-1928
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Charles Carleton Coffin - War Correspondent, Traveller, Author, and Statesman" ***

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[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, all
other inconsistencies are as in the original. Author's spelling has
been maintained.]

[Illustration: C. Carleton Coffin.]

                    Charles Carleton Coffin

                 _War Correspondent, Traveller,
                     Author, and Statesman_


                  William Elliot Griffis, D. D.

                Author of "Matthew Calbraith Perry,"
                    "Sir William Johnson," and
          "Townsend Harris, First American Envoy to Japan."

                       Estes and Lauriat

                       _Copyright, 1898_
                      By Sallie R. Coffin

                       _Colonial Press.
                  Electrotyped and Printed by
                     C. H. Simonds & Co.
                       Boston, U. S. A._

                         Dedicated to
                The Generation of Young People whom
           Helped to Educate for American Citizenship.


Among the million or more readers of "Carleton's" books, are some who
will enjoy knowing about him as boy and man. Between condensed
autobiography and biography, we have here, let us hope, a binocular,
which will yield to the eye a stereoscopic picture, having the
solidity and relief of ordinary vision.

Two facts may make one preface. Mrs. Coffin requested me, in a letter
dated May 10, 1896, to outline the life and work of her late husband.
"Because," said she, "you write in a condensed way that would please
Mr. Coffin, and because you could see into Mr. Coffin's motives of

With such leisure and ability as one in the active pastorate, who
preaches steadily to "town and gown" in a university town, could
command, I have cut a cameo rather than chiselled a bust or statue.
Many good friends, especially Dr. Edmund Carleton and Rev. H. A.
Bridgman, have helped me. To them I herewith return warm thanks.

                                        W. E. G.

Ithaca, N. Y., May 24, 1898.


        CHAPTER                                              Page

             I.  Introductory Chapter.                         13
            II.  Of Revolutionary Sires.                       19
           III.  The Days of Homespun.                         30
            IV.  Politics, Travel, and Business.               41
             V.  Electricity and Journalism.                   55
            VI.  The Republican Party and Abraham Lincoln.     66
           VII.  The War Correspondent.                        79
          VIII.  With the Army of the Potomac.                 95
            IX.  Ho, for the Gunboats, Ho!                    107
             X.  At Antietam and Fredericksburg.              119
            XI.  The Ironclads off Charleston.                132
           XII.  Gettysburg: High Tide and Ebb.               141
          XIII.  The Battles in the Wilderness.               151
           XIV.  Camp Life and News-gathering.                162
            XV.  "The Old Flag Waves over Sumter".            175
           XVI.  With Lincoln in Richmond.                    183
          XVII.  The Glories of Europe.                       189
         XVIII.  Through Oriental Lands.                      204
           XIX.  In China and Japan.                          215
            XX.  The Great Northwest.                         229
           XXI.  The Writer of History.                       238
          XXII.  Music and Poetry.                            256
         XXIII.  Shawmut Church.                              268
          XXIV.  The Free Churchman.                          284
           XXV.  Citizen, Statesman, and Reformer.            294
          XXVI.  A Saviour of Human Life.                     308
         XXVII.  Life's Evening Glow.                         321
        XXVIII.  The Home at Alwington.                       333
          XXIX.  The Golden Wedding.                          341



Charles Carleton Coffin had a face that helped one to believe in God.
His whole life was an evidence of Christianity. His was a genial,
sunny soul that cheered you. He was an originator and an organizer of
happiness. He had no ambition to be rich. His investments were in
giving others a start and helping them to win success and joy. He was
a soldier of the pen and a knight of truth. He began the good warfare
in boyhood. He laid down armor and weapons only on the day that he
changed his world. His was a long and beautiful life, worth both the
living and the telling. He loved both fact and truth so well that one
need write only realities about him. He cared little for flattery, so
we shall not flatter him. His own works praise him in the gates.

He had blue eyes that often twinkled with fun, for Mr. Coffin loved a
joke. He was fond to his last day of wit, and could make quick
repartee. None enjoyed American humor more than he. He pitied the
person who could not see a joke until it was made into a diagram, with
annotations. In spirit, he was a boy even after three score and ten.
The young folks "lived in that mild and magnificent eye." Out of it
came sympathy, kindness, helpfulness. We have seen those eyes flash
with indignation. Scorn of wrong snapped in them. Before hypocrisy or
oppression his glances were as mimic lightning.

We loved to hear that voice. If one that is low is "an excellent thing
in woman," one that is rich and deep is becoming to a man. Mr.
Coffin's tones were sweet to the ear, persuasive, inspiring. His voice
moved men, his acts more.

His was a manly form. Broad-footed and full-boned, he stood nearly six
feet high. He was alert, dignified, easily accessible, and responsive
even to children. With him, acquaintanceship was quickly made, and
friendship long preserved. Those who knew Charles Carleton Coffin
respected, honored, loved him. His memory, in the perspective of time,
is as our remembrance of his native New Hampshire hills, rugged,
sublime, tonic in atmosphere, seat of perpetual beauty. So was he, a
moral invigorant, the stimulator to noble action, the centre of
spiritual charm.

Who was he, and what did he do that he should have his life-story

First of all, he was the noblest work of God, an honest man. Nothing
higher than this. The New Hampshire country boy rose to one of the
high places in the fourth estate. He became editor of one of Boston's
leading daily newspapers. On the battle-field he saw the movements of
the mightiest armies and navies ever gathered for combat. As a white
lily among war correspondents, he was ever trusted. He not only
informed, but he kept in cheer all New England during four years of
strain. With his pen he made himself a master of English style. He was
a poet, a musician, a traveller, a statesman, and, best of all and
always, a Christian. He travelled around the globe, and then told the
world's story of liberty and of the war that crushed slavery and state
sovereignty and consolidated the Union. With his books he has educated
a generation of American boys and girls in patriotism. He died without
entering into old age, for he was always ready to entertain a new
idea. Let us glance at his name and inheritance. He was well named,
and ever appreciated his heritage. In his Christian, middle, and
family name, is a suggestion. In each lies a story.

"Charles," as we say, is the Norman form of the old Teutonic Carl,
meaning strong, valiant, commanding. The Hungarians named a king Carl.

"Carleton" is the ton or town of Carl or Charles.

"Coffin" in old English meant a cask, chest, casket, box of any kind.

The Latin Cophinum was usually a basket. When Wickliffe translated the
Gospel, he rendered the verse at Matt. xiv. 20, "They took up of that
which remained over of the broken pieces, twelve coffins full."

The name as a family name is still found in England, but all the
Coffins in America are descended from Tristram Coffin, who sailed
from Plymouth, England, in 1642, and in 1660 settled in Nantucket. The
most ancient seat of the name and family of the Coffins in England is
Portledge, in the parish of Alwington. To his house, and last earthly
home, in Brookline, Mass., built under his own eye, and in which
Charles Carleton Coffin died, he gave the name of Alwington.

"Carleton's" grandfather, Peter Coffin, married Rebecca Hazeltine, of
Chester, N. H., whose ancestors had come from England to Salem, Mass.,
in 1637, and settled at Bradford. Carleton has told something of his
ancestry and kin in his "History of Boscawen." In his later years, in
the eighties of this century, at the repeated and urgent request of
his wife, Carleton wrote out, or, rather, jotted down, some notes for
the story of the earlier portion of his life. He was to have written a
volume--had his wife succeeded, after due perseverance, in overcoming
his modesty--entitled "Recollections of Seventy Years." To this, we,
also, that is, the biographer and others, often urged him. It was not
to be.

Excepting, then, these hastily jotted notes, Mr. Coffin never
indicated, gave directions, or prepared materials for his biography.
To the story of his life, as gathered from his own rough notes,
intended for after-reference and elaboration, let us at once proceed,
without further introduction.



The Coffins of America are descended from Tristram Coffin of England
and Nantucket. Charles Carleton Coffin was born of Revolutionary
sires. He first saw light in the southwest corner room of a house
which stood on Water Street, in Boscawen, N. H., which his
grandfather, Captain Peter Coffin, had built in 1766.

This ancestor, "an energetic, plucky, good-natured, genial man,"
married Rebecca Hazeltine, of Chester, N. H. When the frame of the
house was up and the corner room partitioned off, the bride and groom
began housekeeping. Her wedding outfit was a feather bed, a
frying-pan, a dinner-pot, and some wooden and pewter plates. She was
just the kind of a woman to be the mother of patriots and to make the
Revolution a success. The couple had been married nine years, when the
news of the marching of the British upon Lexington reached Boscawen,
on the afternoon of the 20th of April, 1775. Captain Coffin mounted
his horse and rode to Exeter, to take part in the Provincial Assembly,
which gathered the next day. Two years later, he served in the
campaign against Burgoyne. When the militia was called to march to
Bennington, in July, 1777, one soldier could not go because he had no
shirt. Mrs. Coffin had a web of tow cloth in the loom. She at once cut
out the woven part, sat up all night, and made the required garment,
so that he could take his place in the ranks the next morning. One
month after the making of this shirt, the father of Charles Carleton
Coffin was born, July 15.

When the news of Stark's victory at Bennington came, the call was for
every able-bodied man to turn out, in order to defeat Burgoyne. Every
well man went, including Carleton's two grandfathers, Captain Peter
Coffin, who had been out in June, though not in Stark's command, and
Eliphalet Kilborn. The women and children were left to gather in the
crops. The wheat was ripe for the sickle, but there was not a man or
boy to cut it. With her baby, one month old, in her arms, Mrs. Peter
Coffin mounted the horse, leaving her other children in care of the
oldest, who was but seven years old. The heroine made her way six
miles through the woods, fording Black Water River to the log cabin of
Enoch Little, on Little Hill, in the present town of Webster. Here
were several sons, but the two eldest had gone to Bennington. Enoch,
Jr., fourteen years old, could be spared to reap the ripened grain,
but he was without shoes, coat, or hat, and his trousers of tow cloth
were out at the knee.

"Enoch can go and help you, but he has no coat," said Mrs. Little.

"I can make him a coat," said Mrs. Coffin.

The boy sprang on the horse behind the heroic woman, who, between the
baby and the boy, rode upon the horse back to the farm. Enoch took the
sickle and went to the wheat field, while Mrs. Coffin made him a coat.
She had no cloth, but taking a meal-bag, she cut a hole in the bottom
for his head, and two other holes for his arms. Then cutting off the
legs of a pair of her stockings, she sewed them on for sleeves, thus
completing the garment. Going into the wheat field, she laid her
baby, the father of Charles Carleton Coffin, in the shade of a tree,
and bound up the cut grain into sheaves.

In 1789, when the youngest child of this Revolutionary heroine was
four months old, she was left a widow, with five children. Three were
daughters, the eldest being sixteen; and two were sons, the elder
being twelve. With rigid economy, thrift, and hard work, she reared
her family. In working out the road tax she was allowed four pence
halfpenny for every cart-load of stones dumped into miry places on the
highway. She helped the boys fill the cart with stones. While the boy
who became Carleton's father managed the steers, hauled and dumped the
load, she went on with her knitting.

Of such a daughter of the Revolution and of a Revolutionary sire was
Carleton's father born. When he grew to manhood he was "tall in
stature, kind-hearted, genial, public-spirited, benevolent, ever ready
to relieve suffering and to help on every good cause. He was an
intense lover of liberty and was always true to his convictions." He
fell in love with Hannah, the daughter of Deacon Eliphalet  Kilborn,
of Boscawen, and the couple lived in the old house built by his
father. There, after other children had been born, Charles Carleton
Coffin, her youngest child, entered this world at 9 A. M., July 26,
1823. From this time forward, the mother never had a well day. After
ten years of ill health and suffering, she died from too much calomel
and from slow starvation, being able to take but little food on
account of canker in her mouth and throat. Carleton, her pet, was very
much with her during his child-life, so that his recollections of his
mother were ever very clear, very tender, and profoundly influential
for good.

The first event whose isolation grew defined in the mind of "the baby
new to earth and sky," was an incident of 1825, when he was
twenty-three months old. His maternal grandfather had shot a hawk,
breaking its wing, and bringing it to the house alive. The boy baby
standing in the doorway, all the family being in the yard, always
remembered looking at what he called "a hen with a crooked bill."
Carleton's recollection of the freshet of August, 1826, when the great
slide occurred at the White Mountains, causing the death of the
Willey family, was more detailed. This event has been thrillingly
described by Thomas Starr King. The irrepressible small boy wanted to
"go to meeting" on Sunday. Being told that he could not, he cried
himself to sleep. When he awoke he mounted his "horse,"--a
broomstick,--and cantered up the road for a half mile. Captured by a
lady, he resisted vigorously, while she pointed to the waters running
in white streams down the hills through the flooded meadows and
telling him he would be drowned.

Meanwhile the hired man at home was poling the well under the sweep
and "the old oaken bucket," thinking the little fellow might have
leaned over the curb and tumbled in. Shortly afterwards he came near
disappearing altogether from this world by tumbling into the
water-trough, being fished out by his sister Mary.

In the old kitchen, a pair of deer's horns fastened into the wall held
the long-barrelled musket which his grandfather had carried in the
campaign of 1777. A round beaver hat, bullet, button, and spoon
moulds, and home-made pewter spoons and buttons, were among other
things which impressed themselves upon the sensitive films of the
child's memory.

Following out the usual small boy's instinct of destruction, he once
sallied out down to the "karsey" (causeway) to spear frogs with a
weapon made by his brother. It was a sharpened nail in the end of a
broomstick. Stepping on a log and making a stab at a "pull paddock,"
he slipped and fell head foremost into the mud and slime. Scrambling
out, he hied homeward, and entering the parlor, filled with company,
he was greeted with shouts of laughter. Even worse was it to be dubbed
by his brother and the hired man a "mud lark."

Carleton's first and greatest teachers were his mother and father.
After these, came formal instruction by means of letters and books,
classes and schools. Carleton's religious and dogmatic education began
with the New England Primer, and progressed with the hymns of that
famous Congregationalist, Doctor Watts. When five years old, at the
foot of a long line of boys and girls, he toed the mark,--a crack in
the kitchen floor,--and recited verses from the Bible. Sunday-school
instruction was then in its beginning at Boscawen. The first hymn he
learned was:

          "Life is the time to serve the Lord."

After mastering

          "In Adam's fall
          We sinned all,"

the infantile ganglions got tangled up between the "sleigh" in the
carriage-house, and the act of pussy in mauling the poor little mouse,
unmentioned, but of importance, in the couplet:

          "The cat doth play,
          And after slay."

Having heard of and seen the sleigh before learning the synonym for
"kill," the little New Hampshire boy was as much bothered as a Chinese
child who first hears one sound which has many meanings, and only
gradually clears up the mystery as the ideographs are mastered.

From the very first, the boy had an ear sensitive to music. The
playing of Enoch Little, his first school-teacher, and afterwards his
brother-in-law, upon the bass viol, was very sweet. Napoleon was
never prouder of his victories at Austerlitz than was little Carleton
of his first reward of merit. This was a bit of white paper two inches
square, bordered with yellow from the paint-box of a beautiful young
lady who had written in the middle, "To a good little boy."

The first social event of importance was the marriage of his sister
Apphia to Enoch Little, Nov. 29, 1829, when a room-full of cousins,
uncles, and aunts gathered together. After a chapter read from the
Bible, and a long address by the clergyman, the marital ceremony was
performed, followed by a hymn read and sung, and a prayer. Although
this healthy small boy, Carleton, had been given a big slice of
wedding cake with white frosting on the top, he felt himself injured,
and was hotly jealous of his brother Enoch, who had secured a slice
with a big red sugar strawberry on the frosting. After eating
voraciously, he hid the remainder of his cake in the mortise of a beam
beside the back chamber stairs. On visiting it next morning for secret
indulgence, he found that the rats had enjoyed the wedding feast, too.
Nothing was left. His first toy watch was to him an event of vast
significance, and he slept with it under his pillow. When also he had
donned his first pair of trousers, he strutted like a turkey cock and
said, "I look just like a grand sir." Children in those days often
spoke of men advanced in years as "grand sirs."

The boy was ten years old when President Andrew Jackson visited
Concord. Everybody went to see "Old Hickory." In the yellow-bottomed
chaise, paterfamilias Coffin took his boy Carleton and his daughter
Elvira, the former having four pence ha'penny to spend. Federal
currency was not plentiful in those days, and the people still used
the old nomenclature, of pounds, shillings, and pence, which was
Teutonic even before it was English or American. Rejoicing in his
orange, his stick of candy, and his supply of seed cakes, young
Carleton, from the window of the old North Meeting House, saw the
military parade and the hero of New Orleans. With thin features and
white hair, Jackson sat superbly on a white horse, bowing right and
left to the multitude. Martin Van Buren was one of the party.

Another event, long to be remembered by a child who had never before
been out late at night, was when, with a party of boys seven or eight
in number, he went a-spearing on Great Pond. In the calm darkness they
walked around the pond down the brook to the falls. With a bright
jack-light, made of pitch-pine-knots, everything seemed strange and
exciting to the boy who was making his first acquaintance of the
wilderness world by night. His brother Enoch speared an eel that
weighed four pounds, and a pickerel of the same weight. The party did
not get home till 2 A. M., but the expedition was a glorious one and
long talked over. The only sad feature in this rich experience was in
his mother's worrying while her youngest child was away.

This was in April. On the 20th of August, just after sunset, in the
calm summer night, little Carleton looked into his mother's eyes for
the last time, and saw the heaving breast gradually become still. It
was the first great sorrow of his life.



Carleton's memories of school-days have little perhaps that is
uncommon. He remembers the typical struggle between the teacher and
the big boy who, despite resistance, was soundly thrashed. Those were
the days of physical rather than moral argument, of punishment before
judicial inquiry. Once young Carleton had marked his face with a
pencil, making the scholars laugh. Called up by the man behind the
desk, and asked whether he had done it purposely, the frightened boy,
not knowing what to say, answered first yes, and then no. "Don't tell
a lie, sir," roared the master, and down came the blows upon the boy's
hands, while up came the sense of injustice and the longing for
revenge. The boy took his seat with tingling palms and a heart hot
with the sense of wrong, but no tears fell.

It was his father's rule that if the children were punished at school,
they should have the punishment repeated at home. This was the
sentiment of the time and the method of discipline believed to be best
for moulding boys and girls into law-abiding citizens. In the evening,
tender-hearted and with pain in his soul, but fearing to relax and let
down the bars to admit a herd of evils, the father doomed his son to
stay at home, ordering as a punishment the reading of the narrative of
Ananias and Sapphira.

From that hour throughout his life Carleton hated this particular
scripture. He had told no lie, he did not know what he had said, yet
he was old enough to feel the injustice of the punishment. It rankled
in memory for years. Temporarily he hated the teacher and the Bible,
and the episode diminished for awhile his respect for law and order.

The next ten years of Carleton's life may be told in his own words, as

"The year of 1830 may be taken as a general date for a new order of
social life. The years prior to that date were the days of homespun. I
remember the loom in the garret, the great and small spinning-wheels,
the warping bars, quill wheel, reels, swifts, and other rude
mechanisms for spinning and weaving. My eldest sister learned to spin
and weave. My second sister Mary and sister Elvira both could spin on
the large wheel, but did not learn to weave. I myself learned to twist
yarn on the large wheel, and was set to winding it into balls.

"The linen and the tow cloths were bleached on the grass in the
orchard, and it was my business to keep it sprinkled during the hot
days, to take it in at night and on rainy days, to prevent mildew. In
those days a girl began to prepare for marriage as soon as she could
use a needle, stitching bits of calico together for quilts. She must
spin and weave her own sheets and pillow-cases and blankets.

"All of my clothes, up to the age of fourteen, were homespun. My first
'boughten' jacket was an olive green broadcloth,--a remnant which was
bought cheap because it was a remnant. I wore it at an evening party
given by my schoolmate. We were twenty or more boys and girls, and I
was regarded by my mates with jealousy. I was an aristocrat, all
because I wore broadcloth.

"It was the period of open fireplaces. Stoves were just being
introduced. We could play blind man's buff in the old kitchen with
great zest without running over stoves.

"It was the period of brown bread, apple and milk, boiled dinners,
pumpkin pies. We had very little cake. Pork and beans and Indian
pudding were standard dishes, only the pudding was eaten first. My
father had always been accustomed to that order. His second marriage
was in 1835, and my stepmother, or rather my sister Mary, who was
teaching school in Concord and had learned the new way, brought about
the change in the order of serving the food.

"Prior to 1830 there was no stove in the meeting-house, and the
introduction of the first stove brought about a deal of trouble. One
man objected, the air stifled him. It was therefore voted that on one
Sunday in each month there should be no fire.

"It was a bitter experience,--riding two and one-half miles to
meeting, sitting through the long service with the mercury at zero.
Only we did not know how cold it was, not having a thermometer. My
father purchased one about 1838. I think there was one earlier in the

"The Sunday noons were spent around the fireplaces. The old men smoked
their pipes.

"In 1835, religious meetings were held in all the school districts,
usually in the kitchens of the farmhouses. There was a deep religious
interest. Protracted meetings, held three days in succession, were
frequently attended by all the ministers of surrounding towns. I
became impressed with a sense of my condition as a sinner, and
resolved to become a Christian. I united with the church the first
Sunday in May, 1835, in my twelfth year. I knew very little about the
spiritual life, but I have no doubt that I have been saved from many
temptations by the course then pursued. The thought that I was a
member of the church was ever a restraint in temptation."

The anti-slavery agitation reached Boscawen in 1835, and Carleton's
father became an ardent friend of the slaves. In the Webster
meeting-house the boy attended a gathering at which a theological
student gave an address, using an illustration in the peroration which
made a lasting impression upon the youthful mind. At a country
barn-raising, the frame was partly up, but the strength of the raisers
was gone. "It won't go, it won't go," was the cry. An old man who was
making pins threw down his axe, and shouted, "It will go," and put his
shoulder to a post, and it did go. So would it be with anti-slavery.

The boy Carleton became an ardent abolitionist from this time forth.
He read the _Liberator_, _Herald of Freedom_, _Emancipator_, and all
the anti-slavery tracts and pamphlets which he could get hold of. In
his bedroom, he had hanging on the wall the picture of a negro in
chains. The last thing he saw at night, and the first that met his
eyes in the morning, was this picture, with the words, "Am I not a man
and a brother?"

With their usual conservatism, the churches generally were hostile to
the movement and methods of the anti-slavery agitation. There was an
intense prejudice against the blacks. The only negro in town was a
servant girl, who used to sit solitary and alone in the colored
people's pew in the gallery. When three families of black folks moved
into a deserted house in Boscawen, near Beaver Dam Brook, and their
children made their appearance in Corser Hill school, a great
commotion at once ensued in the town. After the Sunday evening
prayer-meeting, which was for "the conversion of the world," it was
agreed by the legal voters that "if the niggers persisted in attending
school," it should be discontinued. Accordingly the children left the
Corser Hill school, and went into what was, "religiously speaking," a
heathen district, where, however, the prejudice against black people
was not so strong, and there were received into the school.

Thereupon, out of pure devotion to principle, Carleton's father
protested against the action of the Corser Hill people, and, to show
his sympathy, gave employment to the negroes even when he did not need
their services. Society was against the Africans, and they needed
help. They were not particularly nice in their ways, nor were they
likely to improve while all the world was against them. Mr. Coffin's
idea was to improve them.

About this time Whittier's poems, especially those depicting slave
life, had a great influence upon young Carleton. Learning the poems,
he declaimed them in schools and lyceums. The first week in June,
which was not only election time, but also anniversary week in
Concord, with no end of meetings, was mightily enjoyed by the future
war correspondent. He attended them, and listened to Garrison,
Thompson, Weld, Stanton, Abby K. Foster, and other agitators. The
disruption of the anti-slavery societies, and the violence of the
churches, were matters of great grief to Carleton's father, who began
early to vote for James G. Birney. He would not vote for Henry Clay.
When Carleton's uncle, B. T. Kimball, and his three sons undertook to
sustain the anti-slavery agitator, and also interrupter of church
services, in the meeting-house on Corser Hill, on Sunday afternoon,
the obnoxious orator was removed by force at the order of the justice
of the peace. In the disciplinary measures inaugurated by the church,
Mr. Kimball and his three sons and daughters were excommunicated. This
proved an unhappy affair, resulting in great bitterness and

Carleton thus tells his own story of amateur soldiering:

"Those were the days of military trainings. In September, 1836, came
the mustering of the 21st Regiment, New Hampshire militia. My brother
Frederic was captain of the light infantry. I played first the
triangle and then the drum in his company. I knew all the evolutions
laid down in the book. The boys of Boscawen formed a company and
elected me captain. I was thirteen years old, full of military ardor.
I drilled them in a few evolutions till they could execute them as
well as the best soldiers of the adult companies. We wore white frocks
trimmed with red braid and three-cornered pasteboard caps with a
bronzed eagle on the front. Muster was on Corser Hill. One of the boys
could squeak out a tune on the fife. One boy played the bass drum, and
another the small drum.

"We had a great surprise. The Bellows Falls Band, from Walpole, New
Hampshire, was travelling to play at musters, and as none of the adult
companies hired them, they offered their services to us free.

"My company paraded in rear of the meeting-house. My brother, with the
light infantry, was the first company at drill. He had two  fifes and
drums. Nearly all the companies were parading, but the regimental line
had not been formed when we made our appearance. What a commotion! It
was a splendid band of about fifteen members,--two trombones, cornets,
bugles, clarionets, fife. No other company had more than fifes or
clarionets. It was a grand crash which the band gave. The next moment
the people were astonished to see a company of boys marching proudly
upon the green,--up and down,--changing front, marching by files, in
echelon, by platoons.

"We took our place in line on the field, were inspected, reviewed, and
complimented by Maj.-Gen. Anthony Colby, afterwards governor of the

"When I gave the salute, the crowd applauded. It was the great day of
all others in my boyhood. Several of the farmers gave us a grand
dinner. In the afternoon we took part in the sham fight with our
little cannon, and covered ourselves with glory--against the big

"I think that I manifested good common sense when, at the close of
the day, I complimented the soldiers on their behavior, and resigned
my commission. I knew that we could never attain equal glory again,
and that it was better to resign when at the zenith of fame than to go
out as a fading star."



Let us quote again from Mr. Coffin's autobiographical notes:

"In 1836 my father, catching the speculation fever of the period,
accompanied by my uncle and brother-in-law, went to Illinois, and left
quite an amount of money for the purchase of government land. My
father owned several shares in the Concord Bank. The speculative fever
pervaded the entire community,--speculation in lands in Maine and in
Illinois. The result was a great inflation of prices,--the issuing of
a great amount of promises to pay, with a grand collapse which brought
ruin and poverty to many households. The year of 1838 was one of great
distress. The wheat and corn crop was scant. Flour was worth $16 a
barrel. I remember going often to mill with a grist of oats, which was
bolted into flour for want of wheat. The Concord Bank failed,--the
Western lands were worthless. Wool could not be sold, and the shearing
for that year was taken to the town of Nelson, in Cheshire County, and
manufactured into satinets and cassimeres, on shares. One of the
pieces of cassimere was dyed with a claret tinge, from which I had my
first Sunday suit.

"Up to this period, nearly all my clothing was manufactured in the
family loom and cleaned at the clothing and fulling mill. In very
early boyhood, my Sunday suit was a swallow-tailed coat, and hat of
the stove-pipe pattern.

"The year 1840 was one of great political excitement,--known to
history as the Log Cabin and Hard Cider Campaign. General Harrison,
the Whig candidate, was popularly supposed to live in a log cabin and
drink hard cider. On June 17th, there was an immense gathering of
Whigs at Concord. It was one of the greatest days of my life. Six
weeks prior to that date, I thought of nothing but the coming event. I
was seventeen years old, with a clear and flexible voice, and I
quickly learned the Harrison songs. I went to the convention with my
brothers and cousins, in a four-wheeled lumber wagon, drawn by four
horses, with a white banner, having the words 'Boscawen Whig
Delegation.' We had flags, and the horses' heads labelled 'Harrison
and Tyler.' We had a roasted pig, mince pies, cakes, doughnuts and
cheese, and a keg of cider. Before reaching Concord we were joined by
the log cabin from Franklin, with coon skins, bear traps, etc.,
dangling from its sides. Boscawen sent nearly every Whig voter to the
meeting. I hurrahed and sung, and was wild with excitement. I remember
three of the speakers,--George Wilson, of Keene, Horace Greeley,
editor of the New York _Tribune_, a young man, and Henry Wilson, also
a young man, both of them natives of New Hampshire. Wilson had
attended school with my brother at the academy in Concord, in 1837,
then having the high-sounding name of Concord Literary Institute.
Wilson was a shoemaker, then residing in Natick, Mass., and was known
as the 'Natick Cobbler.' The songs have nearly all faded from memory.
I recall one line of our description of the prospective departure of
Van Buren's cabinet from the White House:

          "'Let each as we go take a fork and a spoon.'

"There was one entitled 'Up Salt River,'--descriptive of the
approaching fate of the Democratic party. Another ran:

      "'Oh, what has caused this great commotion the country through?
        It is the ball, a rolling on
        For Tippecanoe and Tyler too.'

"Then came the chorus:

          "'Van, Van, is a used-up man.'

"In 1839, I had a fancy that I should like to be a merchant, and was
taken to Newburyport and placed with a firm of wholesale and retail
grocers. I was obliged to be up at 4.30, open the store, care for the
horse, curry him, swallow my breakfast in a hurry, also my dinner and
supper, and close the store at nine. It was only an experiment on my
part, and after five weeks of such life, finding that I was compelled
to do dishonest work, I concluded that I never would attempt to be a
princely merchant, and took the stage for home. It was a delightful
ride home on the top of the rocking coach, with the driver lashing
his whip and his horses doing their best.

"I think it was in 1841 that Daniel Webster attended the Merrimac
County Agricultural Fair at Fisherville, now Penacook. I was there
with a fine yoke of oxen which won his admiration. He asked me as to
their age and weight, and to whom they belonged. He recognized nearly
all of his old acquaintances. I saw him many times during the
following year. He was in the prime of life,--in personal appearance a
remarkable man."

Thus far it will be seen that there was little in Mr. Coffin's life
and surroundings that could not be easily told of the average New
England youth. Besides summer work on the farm, and "chores" about the
house, he had taken several terms at the academy in Boscawen. During
the winter of 1841-42, while unable to do any outdoor work, on account
of sickness, he bought a text-book on land-surveying and learned
something of the science and art, yet more for pastime than from any
expectation of making it useful.

Nevertheless, that book had a powerful influence upon his life. It
gave him an idea, through the application of measurement to the
earth's surface, of that order and beauty of those mathematical
principles after which the Creator built the universe. It opened his
eyes to the vast modification of the landscape, and the earth itself,
by man's work upon its crust. It gave him the engineer's eye.
Henceforth he became interested in the capacity of every portion of
the country, which came under his notice, for the roads, fields,
gardens, and parks of peace, and for the making of forts, military
roads, and the strategy of battle. In a word, the book and its study
gave him an enrichment of life which fitted him to enjoy the world by
travel, and to understand the arena of war,--theatres of usefulness to
which Providence was to call him in after-life.

In August, 1843, in his twenty-first year, he became a student at
Pembroke Academy. The term of ten weeks seemed ever afterwards in his
memory one of the golden periods of his life. The teacher, Charles G.
M. Burnham, was enthusiastic and magnetic, having few rules, and
placing his pupils upon their honor. It was not so much what Carleton
learned from books, as association with the one hundred and sixty
young men and women of his own age, which here so stimulated him.

From the academy he advanced to be teacher of the district school on
Corser Hill, in West Boscawen, but after three weeks of pedagogy was
obliged to leave on account of sickness. He passed the remainder of
the winter in lumbering, rising at 4 A. M. to feed his team of horses.
While breakfast was preparing he studied books, ate the meal by
candle-light, and then was off with his lunch of cold meat, bread, and
apple pie. From the woods to the bank of the Merrimac the distance was
three miles, and three or four trips were made daily in drawing the
long and heavy logs to the water. Returning home after dark, he ate
supper by candle-light, fed his horses, and gave an hour to study
before bedtime.

The summer of 1844 was one of hard toil on the farm. In July he became
of age, and during the autumn worked on his brother-in-law's farm,
rising at five and frequently finishing about 9 P. M. It is no wonder
that all through his life Mr. Coffin showed a deep sympathy, born of
personal experience, with men who are bound down to physical toil.
Nevertheless, the fine arts were not neglected. He had already
learned to play the "seraphine," the instrument which has been
developed into the reed organ. He started the project, in 1842, of
getting one for the church. By great efforts sixty dollars were raised
and an instrument purchased in Concord. Mr. Coffin became the
"organist," and also taught singing in the schoolhouse. Three of his
nieces, excellent singers, assisted him.

The time had now come for the young man to strike out in the world for
himself. Like most New England youth, his eyes were on Boston. With a
recommendation from his friend, the minister, he took the stage to
Concord. The next day he was in Boston, then a city of 75,000 people,
with the water dashing against the embankment of Charles Street,
opposite the Common, and with only one road leading out to Roxbury.
Sloops and schooners, loaded with coal and timber, sailed over the
spot where afterwards stood his house, at No. 81 Dartmouth Street. In
a word, the "Back Bay" and "South End" were then unknown. Boston city,
shaped like a pond lily laid flat, had its long stem reaching to the
solid land southward on the Dorchester and Roxbury hills.

Young Carleton went to Mount Vernon Church on Ashburton Place, the
pastor, Dr. E. N. Kirk, being in the prime of his power, and the
church crowded. The country boy from New Hampshire became a member of
the choir and enjoyed the Friday night rehearsals. He found employment
at one dollar a day in a commission store, 84 Utica Street, with the
firm of Lowell & Hinckley. The former, a brother of James Russell
Lowell, had a son, a bright little boy, who afterwards became the
superb cavalry commander at the battle of Cedar Creek in 1864.
Carleton boarded on Beacon Street, next door to the present Athenæum
Building. The firm dissolved by Mr. Lowell's entering the Athenæum.
Carleton returned to his native town to vote. He became a farm laborer
with his brother-in-law, passing a summer of laborious toil,
frequently fourteen and sixteen hours, with but little rest.

It was time now for the old Granite State to be opened by the railway.
The Northern Railroad had been chartered, and preliminary  surveys
were to be made. Young Carleton, seizing the opportunity, went to
Franklin, saw the president, and told him who he was. He was at once
offered a position as chainman, and told to report two weeks later.
The other chainman gave Carleton the leading end, intending that the
Boscawen boy, and not himself, should drag it and drive the stake.
Carleton did not object, for he was looking beyond the chain.

The compass-man was an old gentleman dim of eyesight and slow of
action. Young Carleton drove his first stake, at a point one hundred
feet north of the Concord railway depot, which was opened in the month
of August, 1845. The old compass-man then set his compass for a second
sight, but before he could get out his spectacles and put them on,
young Carleton read the point to him. When, through his glasses, the
old gentleman had verified the reading, he was delighted. Promotion
for Carleton was now sure. Before night he was not only dragging the
chain, but was sighting the instrument. The result, two days later,
was promotion to the charge of the party. What he had learned of land
surveying was producing its fruit. In the autumn he was employed as
the head of a party to make the preliminary survey of the Concord and
Portsmouth road.

Unfortunately, during this surveying campaign, he received a wound
which caused slight permanent lameness and disqualified him for
military service. It came about in this way. He was engaged in some
work while an axe-man behind him was chopping away some bushes and
undergrowth. The latter gave a swing of the axe which came out too far
and cut through the boot and large tendon of Carleton's left ankle.
With skilled medical attention, rest, and care, the wound would have
soon healed up, but owing to lack of skill, and to carelessness and
exposure, the wound gave him considerable trouble, and once reopened.
In after-life, when overwearied, this part of the limb was very

It was not all toil for Carleton. The time of love had already come,
and the days of marriage were not far off. The object of his devotion
was Miss Sally Russell Farmer, the daughter of Colonel John Farmer, of
Boscawen. On February 18, 1846, amid the winter winds, the fire of a
holy union for life was kindled, and its glow was unflickering during
more than fifty years. In ancestry and relationship, the Farmers of
Boscawen were allied with the Russells of England,--Sir William, of
bygone centuries, and Lord John, of our own memory. Carleton found a
true "help-meet" in Sally Coffin. Though no children ever came to
bless their union, it was as perfect, though even more hallowed and
beautified, on the day it was severed, as when first begun.

The following summer was one full of days of toil in the engineering
department of the Northern railway, Carleton being engaged upon the
first section to be opened from Concord to Franklin. The engineering
was difficult, and the work heavy. Breakfast was eaten at six in the
morning, and dinner wherever it could be found along the road. Seldom
could the young engineer rise from his arithmetical calculations until

Weary with such exacting mental and physical labor, he resigned his
position, and became a contractor. First he supplied the Concord
railroad with 200,000 feet of lumber, which he purchased at the
various mills. This venture being profitable, he engaged in the lumber
trade, furnishing beams for a large factory, timber for a new railway
station at Concord, and for a ship at Medford. It was while
transacting some business in Lowell, that he saw President Polk, James
Buchanan, Levi Woodbury, and other political magnates of the period,
who, however, were rather coldly received on account of the annexation
of Texas, and war with Mexico.

Wishing for a home of his own, Carleton now bought a farm in West
Boscawen, and began housekeeping in the following November. He carried
on extensive lumber operations, hiring a large number of men and
teams. He rose between four and five in the morning, and was in the
woods, four miles away, at sunrise, working through the day, and
reaching home after dark to care for the cattle and horses and milk
the cows. None of his men worked harder than he.

Although railroad building stimulated prices and gave activity to
business men, the flush times were followed by depression. To secure
the construction of a railway to the mast yard, Carleton subscribed
to the stock, and, under the individual liability law of that period,
was compelled to take as much more to relieve the company from debt.
Soon he found, however, in spite of hard work for both himself and his
wife, that farming and lumbering together rendered no adequate
returns. Relief to mind and body was found in the weekly arrival of
_Littell's Living Age_ and two or three weekly papers, in agricultural
meetings at Concord and Manchester, and in the formation of the State
Agricultural Society, of which Carleton was one of the founders.



The modern age of electricity was ushered in during Mr. Coffin's early
manhood. The telegraph, which has given the world a new nervous
system, being less an invention than an evolution, had from the labors
of Prof. Joseph Henry, in Albany, and of Wheatstone, of England,
become, by Morse's invention of the dot-and-line alphabet, a far-off
writer by which men could annihilate time and distance. One of the
first to experiment with the new power--old as eternity, but only
slowly revealed to man--was Carleton's brother-in-law, Prof. Moses G.
Farmer, whose services to science have never yet been adequately set

This inventor in 1851 invited Mr. Coffin to leave the farm
temporarily, to construct a line of wire connecting the telegraphs of
Boston with the Cambridge observatory, for the purpose of giving
uniform time to the railroads. In this Carleton was so successful
that, in the winter and spring of 1852, he was employed by Mr. Moses
Farmer to construct the telegraph fire alarm, which had been invented
by his brother-in-law. The work was completed in the month of May, and
Charles Carleton Coffin gave the first alarm of fire ever transmitted
by the electric apparatus. The system was a great curiosity, and many
distinguished men of this country, and from Europe, especially from
Russia and France, came to inspect its working.

Commodore Charles Wilkes, of the United States Navy, who had returned
from his brilliant expedition in Antarctic regions, but who had not
yet made himself notorious by a capture of the Confederate
commissioners, proposed to use this electric system in ascertaining
the velocity of sound. Cannon were stationed at various points, the
Navy Yard, Fort Constitution, South Boston, and at the Observatory, in
front of which was an apparatus and telegraph connecting with the
central office. Each cannon, when fired, heated the circuit. Each
listener at the various points was to snap a circuit key the moment
the sound reached him. In the central office was a chronograph which
registered each discharge in succession. The distances from each
cannon muzzle had been obtained by triangulation. In the calm, still
night, Commodore Wilkes and Professor Farmer stood in the cupola of
the State House with the chronograph, holding their watches, and
noting the successive flashes.

The experiments were not very satisfactory. Mr. Coffin, perhaps,
possibly, because he was not a skilled artillerist, had the mortifying
experience of seeing the apparatus in front of his cannon blown into
fragments, but he made notes of the other reports. After a series of
trials, the approximate result was obtained, that in a moderately
humid atmosphere the velocity of sound was a little under nine hundred
feet per second.

The exactions of the fire alarm service, owing to its crude
construction, which compelled the attendants to be ever on the alert,
told severely on Carleton's' nervous system. He therefore resigned in
October, and went to Cincinnati to get the system introduced there.
Herds of hogs then roamed the streets, picking up their living around
the grain houses, and in the gutters. After three weeks of exhibition
and canvassing, he found that Cincinnati was not yet ready for such a
novelty, and so he returned to Boston.

The following winter was passed in Boscawen without financially
remunerative employment, but in earnest study, though in the spring a
supply of money came pleasantly and unexpectedly. He undertook to
negotiate a patent for an invention of Professor Farmer's, and after
considerable time disposed of it to a New York gentleman. Carleton's
net profits were $1,850.

This was an immense sum to him, and he once more resolved to try
Boston, and did so. He made his home, however, in Malden, renting half
of a small house on Washington Street. Having inked his pen on
agricultural subjects, descriptive pieces, and even on a few poems, he
took up newspaper work. Entering the office of the Boston _Journal_ he
worked without pay, giving the _Journal_ three months' service in
writing editorials, and reporting meetings. This was simply to educate
himself as a journalist. At that time very few reporters were employed
on the daily papers. What he says of this work had better be told in
his own words:

"It was three months of hard study and work. I saw that what the
public wanted was news in condensed form; that the day for stately
editorials was passing away; that short statements and arguments,
which went like an arrow straight to the mark, were what the public
would be likely to read. I formed my style of writing with that in
view. I avoided long sentences. I thought that I went too far in the
other direction and clipped my sentences too short, and did not give
sufficient ornamentation, but I determined to use words of Saxon
rather than of Latin or Norman origin, to use 'begin,' instead of
'commence,' as stronger and more forcible.

"I selected the speeches of Webster, Lord Erskine, Burke, and other
English writers, for careful analysis, but soon discarded Brougham and
Burke. I derived great benefit from Erskine and Webster, for incisive
and strong statement,--also Shakespeare and Milton. At that time I
read again and again the rhapsodies of Christopher North, Professor
Wilson, and the 'Noctes Ambrosianæ,' and found great delight, also,
in reading Bryant's poems.

"It was the period of white heat in the anti-slavery struggle, when
the public heard the keenest debates, the sharpest invective. At an
anti-slavery meeting the red-hot lava was always on the flow. The
anti-slavery men were like anthracite in the furnace,--red hot,--white
hot,--clear through. I have little doubt that the sharpness and
ruggedness of my writing is due, in some degree, to the curt, sharp
statements of that period. When men were feeling so intensely, and
speaking with a force and earnestness unknown in these later years, a
reporter would insensibly take on something of the spirit of the hour,
otherwise his reports would be limp and lifeless. I was induced to
study stenography, but the system then in use was complex and
inadequate,--hard to learn. I was informed by several stenographers
that if I wanted a condensed report it would be far better to give the
spirit, rather than attempt the letter."

During the summer of 1854, Mrs. Coffin being in poor health, they
visited Saratoga together, passed several weeks at the Springs, and
visited the battle-field where his grandfather, Eliphalet Kilborn,
had fought. Carleton picked up a bullet just uncovered by the plow,
and in that bright and beautiful summer's day the whole scene of 1777
came back before him. From the author's map in "Burgoyne's Defence,"
giving a meagre sketch of the battle, he was able to retrace the
general lines of the American breastworks. This was the first of
scores of careful study on the spot and reproduction in imagination of
famous battles, which Carleton made and enjoyed during his life.

He was also present at the International Exhibition in New York,
seeing, on the opening day, President Franklin Pierce and his Cabinet.
The popular idol of the hour was General Winfield Scott, of an
imposing personal appearance which was set off by a showy uniform. He
was the hero of the two wars, and expected to be President. In
personal vanity, in bravery, and in military science, Scott was
without a superior, one of the ablest officers whose names adorn the
long and brilliant roll of the United States regular army.

Carleton wrote of General Scott: "A man of great egotism, an able
general, but who never had any chance of an election. He was the last
candidate of a dying political party which never was aggressive and
which was going down under the slave power, to which it had allied

Mr. Coffin writes further: "The passage of the Compromise Measures of
1850 gave great offence to the radical wing of the anti-slavery party.
The members of that wing were very bitter towards Daniel Webster for
his part in its passage. I was heart and soul in sympathy with the
grand idea of anti-slavery, but did not believe in fierce denunciation
as the best argument. I did not like the compromise, and hated the
odious fugitive slave law, but I nevertheless believed that Mr.
Webster was sincere in his desire to avert impending trouble. I
learned from Hon. G. W. Nesmith, of Franklin, president of the
Northern railroad, that Mr. Webster felt very keenly the assaults upon
him, and the manifest alienation of his old friends. Mr. Nesmith
suggested that his old-time neighbors in Boscawen and Salisbury should
send him a letter expressive of their appreciation of his efforts to
harmonize the country, and that the proper person to write  the
letter was the Rev. Mr. Price, ex-pastor of the Congregational church
in West Boscawen, in whom the county had great confidence. A few days
later, at the invitation of Mr. Price, I went over the rough draft
with him in his study. The letter was circulated for signatures by
Worcester Webster, of Boscawen, distantly related to Daniel. It is in
the published works of the great statesman, edited by Mr. Everett,
together with his reply."

In May, 1854, Carleton saw the Potomac and the Capitol at Washington
for the first time. The enlargement of the house of the National
Legislature had not yet begun. He studied the paintings in the
rotunda, which were to him a revelation of artistic power. He spent a
long time before Prof. Robert W. Weir's picture of the departure of
the Pilgrims for Delfshaven.

Here are some of his impressions of the overgrown village and of the
characters he met:

"Washington was a straggling city, thoroughly Southern. There was not
a decent hotel. The National was regarded as the best. Nearly all the
public men were in boarding-houses. I stopped at the Kirkwood, then
regarded as very good. The furniture was old; there was scarcely a
whole chair in the parlor or dining-room. It was the period of the
Kansas struggle. The passions of men were at a white heat. The typical
Southern man wore a broad-brimmed felt hat. Many had long hair and
loose flowing neckties. There was insolence and swagger in their
deportment towards Northern men.

"I spent much time in the gallery of the Senate. Thomas Benton, of
Missouri, was perhaps the most notable man in the Senate. Slidell, of
Louisiana, whom I had seen in New Hampshire the winter before,
speaking for the Democracy, and Toombs, of Georgia, were strongly
marked characters. Toombs made a speech doubling up his fists as if
about to knock some one down."

From Washington, Carleton went to Harrisburg, noticing, as he passed
over the railway, the difference between free and slave territory. "A
half dozen miles from the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania
was sufficient to change the characteristics of the country." The
Pennsylvania railway had just been opened, and Altoona was just
starting. Carleton visited the iron and other industries at Pittsburg,
and described his journey and impressions in a series of letters to
the Boston _Journal_. Having inherited from his father eighty acres of
land in Central Illinois, near the town of Lincoln, he went out to
visit it. At Chicago, a bustling place of 25,000 inhabitants, he found
the mud knee-deep. Great crowds of emigrants were arriving and
departing. Going south to La Salle he took steamer on the Illinois
River to Peoria, reaching there Saturday night. Not willing to travel
on Sunday, he went ashore. After attending service at church, he asked
the privilege of playing on the organ. A few minutes later, he found a
large audience listening with apparent pleasure.



The time had now come for the formation of a new political party, and
in this Carleton had a hand, being at the first meeting and making the
acquaintance of the leading men, Henry Wilson, Anson Burlingame,
George S. Boutwell, N. P. Banks, Charles Sumner, and others. His
connection with the press brought him into personal contact with men
of all parties. He found Edward Everett more sensitive to criticism
than any other public man.

In 1856 Carleton was offered a position on the _Atlas_, which had been
the leading Whig paper in Massachusetts. He attended the first great
Republican gathering ever held in Maine, at Portland, at which
Hannibal Hamlin, Benjamin Wade, and N. P. Banks were speakers. On the
night of the Maine election, which was held in August, as the returns,
which gave the first great victory of the Republican party in the
Fremont campaign, thrilled the young editor, he wrote a head-line
which was copied all over the country,--"Behold How Brightly Breaks
the Morning."

In Malden, where he was then residing, a Fremont Club was formed.
Carleton wrote a song, to the melody "Suoni La Tromba," from one of
the operas then much admired, which was sung by the glee men in the
club. Political enthusiasm rose to fever heat. In the columns of the
_Atlas_ are many editorials which came seething hot from Carleton's
brain, during the campaign which elevated Mr. James Buchanan to the

When the storm of politics had subsided, Carleton wrote a series of
articles for an educational periodical, _The Student and Schoolmate_.
Inspired by his attendance on the meetings of the American Association
for the Advancement of Science, he penned a series of astronomical
articles for _The Congregationalist_. He also attended the opening of
the Grand Trunk railroad from Montreal to Toronto, celebrated by a
grand jubilee at Montreal. During the winter, when Elihu Burritt, the
learned blacksmith, failed to appear on the lecture platform,
Carleton was called upon at short notice to give his lecture entitled
"The Savage and the Citizen."

He was welcomed with applause, which he half suspected was in
derision. At the end, he received ten dollars and a vote of thanks.
The lecture system was then just beginning, and its bright stars,
Phillips, Holmes, Whipple, Beecher, Gough, and Curtis were then
mounting the zenith.

Carleton made another trip West in 1857, seeing the Mississippi, when
the railway was completed from Cincinnati to St. Louis. When the crowd
was near degenerating into a drunken mob,--the native wine of Missouri
being served free to everybody,--the committee in charge cut off the
supply of drink, and thus saved a riot. From St. Louis he went to
Liverpool, on the Illinois River, to see about his land affairs. He
enjoyed hugely the strange frontier scenes, meals in log cabins, and
the trial of a case in court, which was in a schoolroom lighted by two
tallow candles.

The Boston _Atlas_, unable to hold up the world, had summoned the
_Bee_ to its aid, yet did not even then stand on a paying basis.
Finally it became absorbed in the Boston _Traveller_. Carleton again
entered the service of the Boston _Journal_ as reporter. Yet life was
a hard struggle. Through the years 1857, 1858, 1859, Carleton was
floating around among the newspapers getting a precarious
living,--hardly a living. He wrote a few stories for _Putnam's
Magazine_, for one of which he was paid ten dollars. One of the bright
spots in this period of uncertainty was his attendance, at Springfield
and Newport, upon the meetings of the American Association for the
Advancement of Science. He also became more or less acquainted with
men who were afterwards governors of Massachusetts, or United States
senators, with John Brown and Stephen A. Douglas.

The political campaign which resulted in the election of Abraham
Lincoln to the presidency is described in Mr. Coffin's own words:

"During the winter of 1859, George W. Gage, proprietor of the Tremont
House at Chicago, visited Boston. I had known him many years. Being
from the West, I asked him who he thought would be acceptable to the
Republicans of the West as candidate for the presidency. The names
prominently before the country were those of W. H. Seward, S. P.
Chase, Edward Bates, and J. C. Fremont.

"'We shall elect whomsoever we nominate,' said Mr. Gage. 'The
Democratic party is going to split. The Northern and Western Democrats
will go for Douglas. The slaveholders never will accept him. The Whig
party is but a fragment. There will certainly be three, if not four
candidates, and the Republican party can win. We think a good deal of
old Abe Lincoln. He would make a strong candidate.'

"It was the first time I had heard the name of Lincoln in connection
with the presidency. I knew there was such a man. Being a journalist,
I had some knowledge of his debate with Douglas on the great questions
of the day, but he had been defeated in his canvass for the Senate,
and had dropped out of sight. It was about this time that he gave his
lecture at Cooper Institute, New Haven, and Norwich. I did not meet
him in Boston. His coming created no excitement. The aristocracy of
Boston, including Robert C. Winthrop, Edward Everett, George S.
Hilliard, and that class, were Whigs, who did not see the trend of
events. Lincoln came and went, having little recognition. The
sentiment of Massachusetts Republicans was all in favor of the
nomination of Seward.

"The remark of Mr. Gage in regard to Lincoln set me to thinking upon
the probable outcome of the presidential contest. The enthusiasm of
the Republican party was at fever heat. The party had nearly succeeded
in 1856, under Fremont, and the evidences of success in 1860
multiplied, as the days for nominating a candidate approached. The
disruption of the Democratic party at Charleston made the election of
the Republican candidate certain.

"I determined to attend the Convention to be held at Chicago, and also
that of the Whig party, to be held earlier at Baltimore.

"I visited Washington and made the acquaintance of many of the leading
Republican members of Congress. Senator Wilson gave me a seat on one
of the sofas in the south chamber. He was sitting by my side when
Seward appeared. He stopped a moment in the passage, and leaned
against the wall.

"'There is our next President,' said Wilson. 'He feels that he is to
be nominated and elected. He shows it.'

"It was evident that Mr. Seward was conscious of the expected honor.
It did not display itself in haughty actions, but in a fitting air of
dignity. He knew the galleries were looking down upon him, men were
pointing him out, nodding their heads. He was the coming man."

The Whig Convention in Baltimore, which Carleton attended, "was held
in an old church from which the worshippers had departed,--a fitting
place to hold it. The people had left the Whig party, which had
departed from its principles and was ready to compromise still further
in slavery."

On leaving Baltimore for Chicago, and conversing with people
everywhere, Carleton discovered in Pennsylvania a hostility to Seward
which he had not found elsewhere. It was geographical antagonism, New
York glorying in being the Empire State, and Pennsylvania in being the
Keystone of the arch. "Pennsylvania could not endure the thought of
having New York lead the procession." Arriving in Chicago several
days before the Convention opened, Carleton noticed a growing
disposition to take a Western man. The contest was to be between
Seward and Lincoln. On the second day the New York crowd tried to make
a tremendous impression with bands and banners. Entering the building,
they found it packed with the friends of Lincoln. Carleton sat at a
table next to Thurlow Weed. "When the drawn ballot was taken, Weed,
pale and excited, thrust his thumbs into his eyes to keep back the

Mr. Coffin must tell the rest of the story:

"I accompanied the committee to Springfield to notify Lincoln of his
nomination. Ashman, the president of the committee, W. D. Kelly, of
Pennsylvania, Amos Jack, of New Hampshire, Sweet, of Chicago, and
others made up the party. We went down the Illinois Central. It was a
hot, dusty ride. Reached Springfield early in the evening. Had supper
at the hotel and then called on Lincoln. His two youngest boys were on
the fence in front of the house, chaffing some Democratic urchins in
the street. A Douglas meeting was going on in the State House,
addressed, as I learned, by A. McClernand,--afterwards major-general.
Lincoln stood in the parlor, dressed in black frock coat. Ashman made
the formal announcement. Lincoln's reply was brief. He was much
constrained, but as soon as the last word was spoken he turned to
Kelly and said:

"'Judge, you are a pretty tall man. How tall are you?'

"'Six feet two.'

"'I beat you. I'm six feet three without my high-heeled boots on.'

"'Pennsylvania bows to Illinois, where we have been told there were
only Little Giants,' said Kelly, gracefully alluding to Douglas, who
was called the Little Giant.

"One by one we were introduced by Mr. Ashman. After the hand-shaking
was over, Mr. Lincoln said:

"'Mrs. Lincoln will be pleased to see you gentlemen in the adjoining
room, where you will find some refreshments.'

"We passed into the room and were presented to Mrs. Lincoln. Her
personal appearance was not remarkably prepossessing. The prevailing
fashion of the times was a gown of voluminous proportions, over an
enormous hoop. The corsage was cut somewhat low, revealing plump
shoulders and bust. She wore golden bracelets. Her hair was combed low
about the ears. She evidently was much gratified over the nomination,
but was perfectly ladylike in her deportment.

"The only sign of refreshments visible was a white earthen pitcher
filled with ice-water. Probably it was Mr. Lincoln's little joke, for
the next morning I learned that his Republican neighbors had offered
to furnish wines and liquor, but he would not allow them in the house;
that his Democratic friends also sent round baskets of champagne,
which he would not accept.

"I met him the next morning in his law office, also his secretary, J.
G. Nicolay. It was a large, square room, with a plain pine table,
splint-bottomed chairs, law books in a case, and several bushels of
newspapers and pamphlets dumped in one corner. It had a general air of

"During the campaign I reported many meetings for the Boston
_Journal_, and was made night editor soon after Mr. Lincoln's
election. The position was very laborious and exacting. It was the
period of secession. Through the live-long night, till nearly 3 A. M.,
I sat at my desk editing the exciting news. The reporters usually left
the room about eleven, and from that time to the hour of going to
press, I was alone,--save the company of two mice that became so
friendly that they would sit on my desk, and make a supper of crackers
and cheese, which I doled out to them. I remember them with much

"The exacting labors and sleepless nights told upon my health. The
disturbed state of the country made everybody in business very
cautious, so much so that the proprietor of the _Journal_, Charles A.
Rogers, began to discharge his employees, and I was informed that my
services were no longer needed. I had been receiving the magnificent
sum of ten dollars per week, and this princely revenue ceased."

After President Lincoln had been inaugurated, Mr. Coffin went to
Washington, during the last week in March. His experiences there must
be told by himself:

"I took lodgings at a private boardinghouse on Pennsylvania Avenue,
where there was a poverty-stricken Virginian, of the old Whig school,
after an office. He did 'not think his State would secede.' I saw much
of the Republican members of Congress, who said if I wanted a position
they would do what they could for me. Senator Sumner suggested that I
would make a good secretary of one of the Western territories.

"I called upon my old schoolmate Sargeant who had been for many years
in the Treasury. Having constructed the telegraph fire-alarm, and done
something in engineering, I thought I was competent to become an
examiner in the patent office. I made out an application, which was
signed by the entire Massachusetts delegation, recommending me. I
dropped it into the post-office, and that was the last I saw or even
thought of it, for the great crisis in the history of the country was
so rapidly approaching, and so evident, that,--newspaper man as I
was,--accustomed to forecast coming events, I could see what many
others could not see.

"I was walking with Senator Wilson up E Street, on a bright moonlight
night. The moon's rays, falling upon the unfinished dome of the
Capitol, brought the building out in bold relief."

"'Will it ever be finished?' I asked. The senator stopped, and gazed
upon it a moment in silence.

"'We are going to have a war, but the people of this country will not
give up the Union, I think. Yet, to-day, that building, prospectively,
is a pile of worthless marble.'"

[Illustration: Yours truly Charles Carleton Coffin]



When the long gathering clouds broke in the storm at Sumter, and war
was precipitated in a rain of blood, Charles Carleton Coffin's first
question was as to his duty. He was thirty-seven years old, healthy
and hearty, though not what men would usually call robust. To him who
had long learned to look into the causes of things, who knew well his
country's history, and who had been educated to thinking and feeling
by the long debate on slavery, the Secession movement was nothing more
or less than a slaveholders' conspiracy. His conviction in 1861 was
the same as that held by him, when more than thirty years of
reflection had passed by, that the inaugurators of the Civil War of
1861-65 were guilty of a gigantic crime.

In 1861, with his manhood and his talent, the question was not on
which side duty lay, or whether his relation to the question should
be active or passive, but just how he could most and best give himself
to the service of his country. Whether with rifle or pen, he would do
nothing less than his best. He inquired first at the recruiting office
of the army. He was promptly informed that on no account could he be
accepted as an active soldier, whether private or officer, on account
of his lame heel. Rejected here, he thought that some other department
of public service might be open to him in which he could be more or
less directly in touch with the soldiers. While uncertain as to his
future course, he was, happily for his country, led to consult his old
friend, Senator Henry Wilson, who immediately and strenuously advised
him to give up all idea of either the army, the hospital, the
clerical, or any other government service, but to enter at once
actively upon the work of a war correspondent.

"Your talent," said Wilson, "is with the pen, and you can do the best
service by seeing what is going on and reporting it."

The author of the "Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America"
intimated that truth, accurately told and published throughout the
North, was not only extremely valuable, but absolutely necessary. It
would not take long for a thoroughly truthful reporter to make himself
a national authority. The sympathizers with disunion would be only too
active in spreading rumors to dishearten the upholders of the Union,
and there would be need for every honest pen and voice.

After this conversation, Carleton was at peace. He would find his work
and ask no other blessedness. But how to find it, and to win his place
as a recognized writer on the field was a question. Within our
generation, the world has learned the value of the war correspondent.
He has won the spurs of the knighthood of civilization. He wears in
life the laurel wreath of fame. He is respected in his calling. He
goes forth as an apostle of the printed truth. The resources of
wealthy corporations are behind him. His salary is not princely, but
it is ample. Though he may lose limb or life, he is honored like the
soldier, and after his death, the monument rises to his memory. In the
great struggle between France and Germany, between Russia  and
Turkey, between Japan and China, and in the minor wars of European
Powers against inferior civilizations, in Asia and Africa, the "war
correspondent" has been a striking figure. He is not the creation of
our age; but our half of this century, having greater need of him, has
equipped him the most liberally. He has his permanent place of honor.
If the newspaper is the Woden of our century and civilization, the war
correspondent and the printer are the twin Ravens that sit upon his
shoulder. The one flies afar to gather the news, the other sits at
home to scatter the tidings.

In 1861 it was very different. The idea of spending large sums of
money, and maintaining a staff-corps of correspondents who on land and
sea should follow our armies and fleets, and utilize horse, rail car,
and telegraph, boat, yacht, and steamer, without regard to expense,
had not seized upon newspaper publishers in the Eastern States. Almost
from the first, the great New York journals organized bureaus for the
collection of news. With relays of stenographers, telegraphers, and
extra printers, they were ready for all emergencies in the home
office, besides liberally endowing their agencies at Washington and
cities near the front, and equipping their correspondent, in camp and
on deck. In this, the New England publishers were far behind those on
Manhattan Island. Carleton, when in Washington, wrote his first
letters to the Boston _Journal_ and took the risk of their being
accepted for publication. He visited the camps, forts, and places of
storage of government material. He described the preparations for war
and life in Washington with such spirit and graphic power, that from
June 15 to July 17, 1861, no fewer than twenty-one of his letters were
published in the _Journal_.

The great battle of Bull Run gave him his opportunity. As an
eye-witness, his opportunity was one to be coveted. He wrote out so
full, so clear, and so interesting an account, that the proprietors of
the _Journal_ engaged him as their regular correspondent at a salary
of twenty-five dollars a week, with extra allowance for
transportation. His instructions were to "keep the _Journal_ at the
front. Use all means for obtaining and transmitting important
information, regardless of expense." This, however, was not to be
interpreted to mean that he should have assistants or be the head of
a bureau or relay of men, as in the case of the chief correspondent of
at least three of the New York newspapers. It meant that he was to
gather and transmit the news and be the whole bureau and staff in
himself. Nevertheless, during most of the war, the Boston _Journal_
was the only New England paper that kept a regular correspondent
permanently not only in Washington, but at the seat of war. Carleton
in several signal instances sent news of most important movements and
victories ahead of any other Northern correspondent. He achieved a
succession of what newspaper men call "beats." In those days, on
account of the great expense, the telegraph was used only for
summaries of news, and rarely, if ever, for long despatches or
letters. The ideas and practice of newspaper managers have greatly
enlarged since 1865. Entering upon his work at the very beginning of
the war, he was, we believe, almost the only field correspondent who
continued steadily to the end, coming out of it with unbroken health
of body and mind.

How he managed to preserve his strength and enthusiasm, and to excel
where so many others did well and nobly, is an open secret. In the
first place, he was a man of profoundest religious faith in the
Heavenly Father. Prayer was his refreshment. He renewed his strength
by waiting upon God. His spirit never grew weary. In the darkest days
he was able to cheer and encourage the desponding. He spoke
continually, through the _Journal_, to hundreds of thousands of
readers, in tones of cheer. Like a great lighthouse, with its mighty
lamps ever burning and its reflectors and lenses kept clean and clear,
Carleton, never discouraged, terrified, or tired out, sent across the
troubled sea and through the deepest darkness the inspiriting flash of
the light of truth and the steady beam of faith in the Right and its
ultimate triumph. He was a missionary of cheer among the soldiers in
camp and at the front. His reports of battles, and his message of
comfort in times of inaction, wilted the hopes of the traitors,
copperheads, cowards, and "nightshades" at home, while they put new
blood in the veins of the hopeful.

Carleton was always welcome among the commanders and at headquarters.
This was because of his frankness as well as his ability and his
genial bonhomie and social qualities. He did not consider himself a
critic of generals. He simply described. He took care to tell what he
saw, or knew on good authority to be true. He did probe rumors. From
the very first he became a higher critic of assertions and even of
documents. He quickly learned the value of camp reports and items of
news. By and by his skill became the envy of many of less experienced
readers of human nature, and judges of talk and despatches. While
shirking no hard work in the saddle, on foot, on the rail, or in the
boat, he found by experience that by keeping near headquarters he was
the better enabled to know the motions of the army as a whole, to
divine the plans of the commanding general, and thus test the value of
flying rumors. He had a genius for interpreting signs of movement,
whether in the loading of a barge, the riding of an orderly, or the
nod of a general's head. His previous training as an engineer and
surveyor enabled him to foresee the strategic value of a position and
to know the general course of a campaign in a particular district of
country. With this power of practical foresight, he was often better
able even than some of the generals to foresee and appraise results.
This topographical knowledge also gave him that power of wonderful
clearness in description which is the first and best quality necessary
to the narrator of a series of complex movements. A battle fought in
the open, like that at Gettysburg, or one of those which took place
during the previous campaigns, on a plain, along the river, and in the
Peninsula, is comparatively easy to describe, especially when viewed
from an eminence. These battles were like those in ordinary European
history; but after Grant took command of the Army of the Potomac, a
reversion to something like the American colonial methods in the
forest took place. The heaviest fighting was in the woods, behind
entrenchments, or in regions where but little of the general scheme,
and few of the operations, could be seen at once. In either case,
however, as will be seen by reading over the thousand or so letters in
Carleton's correspondence, his power of making a modern battle easily
understood is, if not unique, at least very remarkable. With his
letters often went diagrams which greatly aided his readers.

Carleton's personal courage was always equal to that of the bravest.
Too sincerely appreciative of the gift of life from his Creator, he
never needlessly, especially after his first eagerness for experience
had been satiated, exposed himself, as the Dutch used to say, with
"full-hardiness," or as we, corrupting the word, say, with
"foolhardiness." He got out of the line of shells and bullets where
there was no call for his presence, and when the only justification
for remaining would be to gratify idle curiosity. Yet, when duty
called, when there was need to know both the facts, and the truth to
be deduced from the facts, whistling bullets or screeching shells
never sufficed to drive him away. His coolness with pen and pencil,
amid the dropping fire of the enemy, made heroes of many a soldier
whose nerves were not as strong as was the instinct of his legs to
run. The lady librarian of Dover, N. H., thus writes:

"An old soldier whom I was once showing through the library stopped
short in front of Coffin's books and looked at them with much
interest. He said that at his first battle,--I think it was
Fredericksburg, but of this I am not sure,--he was scared almost to
death. He was a mere boy, and when his regiment was ordered to the
front and the shot was lively around him, he would have run away if he
had dared. But a little distance off, he saw a man standing under the
lee of a tree and writing away as coolly as if he were standing at a
desk. The soldier asked who he was, and was told it was Carleton, of
the _Journal_. 'There he stood,' said the man, 'perfectly unconcerned,
and I felt easier every time I looked at him. Finally he finished and
went off to another place. But that was his reputation among the men
all through the war,--perfectly cool, and always at the front.'"

Carleton was able to withstand four years of mental strain and
physical exposure because he knew and put in practice the right laws
of life. His temperance in eating and drinking was habitual. Often
dependent with the private soldier, while on the march and in camp, on
raw pork and hardtack; helped out in emergencies with food and
victuals, by the quartermaster or his assistants; not infrequently
reaching the verge of starvation, he did not, when reaching city or
home, play the gourmand. He drank no intoxicating liquor, always
politely waving aside the social glass. He was true to his principles
of total abstinence which had been formed in boyhood. It would have
been easy for him to become intemperate, since in early boyhood he
acquired a fondness for liquors, through being allowed to drink what
might remain in the glass after his sick mother had partaken of her
tonic. He demonstrated that man has no necessity for alcoholic drinks,
however much he may enjoy them.

Only on one occasion was he known to taste strong liquor. In the
Wilderness, when in a company of officers on horseback, the
bloodcurdling Confederate yells were heard but a short distance off,
and it seemed as though our line had been broken and the day was lost
for the Union army. At that dark moment, one of the officers on
General Meade's staff produced a flask of brandy, and remarking--with
inherited English prejudice--that he would fortify his nerves with
"Dutch courage," to tide over the emergency, he quaffed, and then
handed the refreshment to his companion. In the momentary and
infectious need for stimulant of some sort, Mr. Coffin took a sip and
handed it on. Though himself having no need of and very rarely making
use of spirits, even medicinally, he was yet kindly charitable towards
his weaker brethren. It is too sadly true that many of the military
officers, who yielded to the temptation of temporarily bracing their
nerves at critical moments, became slaves to the bottle, and
afterwards confirmed drunkards. Carleton made no use of tobacco in any

Carleton's wonderful prescience of coming events, and his decisions
rightly made as to his own whereabouts in crises, enabled him to
concentrate without wasting his powers. He then gave himself to his
work with all ardor, and without sparing brain or muscle, risking limb
and life at Bull Run, on the Mississippi, at Fort Donelson, at
Antietam and Gettysburg, in the Wilderness, at Savannah, and in
Richmond. His powers in toil were prodigious. He could turn off an
immense amount of work, and keep it up. When the lull followed the
agony, he went home to rest and recruit, spending the time with his
wife and friends, everywhere diffusing the sunshine of hope and
faith. When rested and refreshed, he hied again to the front and the
conflict. The careers of most army correspondents in the field were
short. Carleton's race was long. His was the promise of the prophet's
glorious burden in Isaiah xl. 28-31.

It was between his thirty-eighth and forty-second year, when in the
high tide of his manly strength, that Carleton pursued the profession
of letters amid the din of arms. His pictures show him a handsome man,
with broad, open forehead and sunny complexion, standing nearly six
feet high, his feet cased in the broad and comfortable boots which he
always wore. Over his ordinary suit of clothing was a long and
comfortable overcoat with a cape, around which was a belt, to which
hung a spy-glass. Later in the war he bought a fine binocular marine
glass. He gave the old "historic spy-glass" to his nephew Edmund, from
under whose head it was stolen by some camp thief. In his numerous and
capacious pockets, besides a watch and a pocket compass, was a store
of note-books, in which he was accustomed to jot his rapid,
lightning-like notes, which meant "reading without tears" for him, but
woe and sorrow to those who had to knit their brows in trying to
decipher his "crow-tracks." During the first part of the war he bought
horses as often as he needed them, and these were not always of the
first quality as to flesh or character. He usually found it difficult
to recover his beast after having been away home. In the later
campaigns he possessed finer animals for longer spaces of time, taking
more pains, and spending more money to recover them on his return from
absences North.

Nevertheless, in order to beat other correspondents, to be at the
front, in the right moment, in order to satisfy the need for news, he
counted neither the life nor the ownership of his horse as worth a
moment's consideration. In comparison with the idea of stilling the
public anxiety, and giving the news of victory, he acted upon the
principle of his Master,--"Ye are of more value than many sparrows."
One man, using plain English, says, "Uncle Carleton got the news,
goodness knows how, but he got it always and truly. He was the
cheekiest man on earth for the sake of the _Journal_, and the people
of New England. He used to ask for and give news even to the
commander-in-chief. Often the staff officers would be amazed at the
cheek of Carleton in suggesting what should be done. His bump of
locality and topography was well developed, and he read the face of
the country as by intuition. He would talk to the commander as no
civilian could or would, but Meade usually took it pleasantly, and
Grant always welcomed it, and seemed glad to get it. I have seen him
(Grant) in long conversations with Mr. Coffin, when no others were



Carleton's account of the battle of Bull Run, where the Union forces
first won the day, and then lost it through a panic, was so graphic,
accurate, and comprehensive, that the readers of the Boston _Journal_
at once poured in their requests that the same writer should continue
his work and reports.

From his position with the Union batteries he had a fine view of the
whole engagement. Many of the statements which he made were, as to
their accuracy, perfect. For example, when the Confederates fired
continuous volleys, making one long roll of musketry, mingled with
screams, yells, and cheers, while their batteries sent a rain of shell
and round shot, grape and canister, upon a body of three companies of
Massachusetts men, Carleton stood with his watch in his hand to see
how long these raw troops could stand such a fire. It is wonderful to
read to-day his volume of "Army Correspondence," and find so little to

Besides letters written on the field during the first of four battles,
he wrote from Washington in review of the whole movement. He was not
at all discouraged by what had happened, believing that the bitter
experience, though valuable, was worth its cost. He does not seem to
have been among the number of those who expected that the great
insurrection would be put down in a few months. Like every one else,
he was at first smitten with that glamour which the Western soldiers,
led by Grant, soon learned to call "McClellanism." It was with genuine
admiration that he noticed the untiring industry and superb organizing
powers of "Little Mac;" who, whatever his later faults may have been,
was the man who transformed a mob of militia into that splendid
machine animated by an unquailing soul, "The Army of the Potomac." Yet
in the cool light of history, we must rate Gen. George B. McClellan as
the military Erasmus of this war of national reformation, while Grant
was its Luther.

Late in August, after ten days' rest at home to recruit exhausted
energies, Carleton was once more at his post in the "City of
Magnificent Distances--and big lies," attempting to draw out the truth
from whole maelstroms of falsehood. He writes: "Truly this is a city
given to lying." He had a habit of hunting down falsehoods, of tracing
rumors to their holes. Many an hour in the blazing sun, consuming his
strength, did this hater of lies spend in chasing empty breaths. Once
he rode forty miles on horseback, simply to confirm or reject an
assertion. Very early, however, he learned to put every report upon
the touchstone, and under the nitric acid of criticism. He quickly
gained experience, and saved much vexation to himself and his readers.
In this way his letters became what they are, like coins put in the
pyx, and mintage that survives the best of the goldsmiths. When read
thirty-five years after the first drying of the ink, we have a
standard of truth, needing correction, for the most part, only here
and there, in such details as men clearly discern only in the
perspective of time.

Under McClellan's strict orders, Washington became less of a national
bar-room. The camps were made models of cleanliness, hygiene, and
comfort, and schools of strict preparation for the stern work ahead.
Carleton often rode through them, and out on the picket-line. Among
his other studies, being a musician, he soon learned the various notes
and tones of round and conical bullet, of globular and case shot, of
shell and rocket, as an Indian learns the various sounds and calls of
birds and beasts. Never wearing eye-glasses, until very late in life,
and then only for reading, he was able, when standing behind or
directly before a cannon, to see the missile moving as a black spot on
the invisible air, and from a side view to perceive the short plug of
condensed air in front of a ball, which is now clearly revealed by
instantaneous photography. He soon noted how the variation in the
charge of powder, and the curve of the rifle, changed the pitch of the
ball, and how and why certain shells with ragged edges of lead scream
like demons, and work upon the nerves by their sound and fury rather
than their total of results. He soon discovered that in a battle the
artillery, except at short ranges, and in the open, bears no
comparison in its killing power to the rifles of the infantry. Like an
old soldier, he soon came to look with something like contempt upon
the ponderous cannon and mortars, and to admire the low firing of the
old veteran musket-men.

During those humiliating days, when the stars and bars waved upon
Munson's Hill within sight of the Capitol, Carleton saw much of the
Confederates through his glass. Picket-firing, though irregular and,
probably, from a European point of view, unmilitary, trained the
troops to steadiness of nerve. Many things in the first part of the
war were done which were probably not afterwards often repeated; for
example, the meeting of officers on the picket-lines, who had
communications with each other, because they were freemasons. In
September, the Confederates fell back from Munson's Hill, and on
October 21st the battle at Poolsville, or Ball's Bluff, took place, in
which, out of 1,800 Federals engaged, over one-third were killed,
wounded or missing. The Fifteenth Massachusetts regiment suffered
heavily. Colonel Devens, afterwards major-general and attorney-general,
covered himself with glory, but the brave Colonel Baker lost his life.

Edward Dickinson Baker, born in England, had come to the United States
in his youth. Between his thirtieth and fortieth year he had served in
Congress as representative from Illinois. Then removing to California,
he became a popular orator of the Republican party. In 1860 he was
elected United States Senator from Oregon. I remember reading with a
thrill his speech in the Senate, and his rebuke of Breckinridge. A few
days later he was in Philadelphia holding a commission as colonel. He
visited in their different halls the volunteer fire companies of our
Quaker City. In torrents of overwhelming eloquence, he called on them
to enlist in his famous "California Regiment," which was quickly
clothed, equipped, and given the first rudiments of military
instruction. I remember his superb, manly figure, in the very prime of
life, his rosy English face set in a glory of hair just turning to
silver. With hat off, he rode up and down the line, as the regiment
stood in "company front" on Federal Street, between the old Cooper
Shop (which was destined later to be the great Volunteers'
Refreshment Saloon) and the Baltimore Depot, where they were to take
cars for the seat of war. Like the "ten thousand" with Klearchos,
foreigner, but also friend and commander, of whom Xenophon in the
"Anabasis" speaks, it was already uncertain whether the Philadelphia
men most feared or loved their lion-hearted leader. A few weeks went
by, the tragedy of Ball's Bluff took place, and in Independence Hall I
saw the brave Colonel Baker's body lying in state. In that hall of
heroes, it seemed to my imagination as though the painted eyes of the
Revolutionary heroes looked down in sympathy and approval. There, if
not already among them, soon hung also the picture of Lieutenant Henry
Greble, friend and neighbor, killed at Big Bethel, and the first
officer in the regular army slain during the war. Colonel, afterwards
General, Charles Devens, Jr., whose acquaintance Mr. Coffin made about
this time, distinguished himself from this early engagement at Ball's
Bluff throughout the war, and until the closing scene at Appomattox
Court House, rising to the rank of brevet major-general. Long
afterwards, in Boston, having been attorney-general of the United
States, I knew him as the judge of the Supreme Court of
Massachusetts, meeting him socially more than once, and noticing the
warm friendship between the famous war correspondent and this
dignified interpreter of law.

After the battle of Ball's Bluff, seeing in detail the other and the
hideous side of war in the mutilation of the human frame, and the
awful horror of wounds, Carleton took a long ride through Eastern
Maryland to look at the rebel batteries along the lower Potomac and to
study the roads, the food products, and the black and white humanity
of the Chesapeake Bay and Potomac regions, besides informing himself
as to the Union flotilla. In the absence of active military
operations, he wrote of the religious life of the soldiers. He was
appalled at the awful profanity around him, and his constant prayer to
God was for strength to resist the demoralizing influences around him,
which seemed to him a hell on earth. His wife's words followed him
"like a strain of music," and "the infinite purity of Jesus" was his
inspiring influence.

He made himself thoroughly acquainted with the New England regiments,
and studied the details in the "mosaic of the army." He became so
expert in studying the general composition of the regiments, their
physical appearance, and ways of life, peculiarities of thought,
speech, and action, that usually within five minutes he could tell
from what State, and usually from what locality a regiment had come.
He writes:

"A regiment from Vermont is as unlike a regiment from Pennsylvania
almost as a pea from a pumpkin. Both are excellent. Both are brave.
Both will fight well; but in the habits of life, in modes of doing a
thing, they are widely different."

"Just look at the division that crosses the Potomac, and see the
mosaic of McClellan's army. Commencing on the right there is McCall's
division, one grand lump of Pennsylvania coal and iron. There is
Smith's division, containing a block of Vermont marble; then Porter's
tough conglomerate of Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, Massachusetts,
Maine, and Rhode Island; then McDowell's, a splendid specimen of New
York; then Blenker's, a magnificent contribution from Germany, with
such names as Stahl, Wurnhe, Amsburg, Bushbeck, Bahler, Steinwick,
Saest, Betje, Cultes D'Utassy, Von Gilsa, and Schimmelpfennig, who
talk the language of their Fatherland, sing the Rhine songs, and drink
a deluge of lager beer,--slow, sure, reliable men, of the stock that
stood undismayed when all things were against them, in the times of
Frederick the Great, who lost everything except courage, and, that
being invincible, regained all they had lost. Then there are the Irish
brigades and regiments from a stock which needs no words of praise,
for their deeds are written in history. Without enumerating all the
divisions, we see Yankees, Germans, Irish, Scotch, Italians,
Frenchmen, Norwegians, and Dutchmen,--all in one army; and, grandest
spectacle of all, moved by one common impulse to put down this
rebellion, and to save for all future time the principle upon which
this government is founded."

Weeks and months passed, and Carleton became acquainted with all the
minutiæ of camp life. He studied the peculiarities of the sutler, the
army mule, the government rations, and the pies concocted in New York.
He enjoyed the grand reviews, noting with his quick eye the
difference, in the great host, between the volunteers and the
regulars. Of the type of that noble band of officers and men, none the
less patriotic because more thoroughly educated in drills than the
volunteers, he wrote: "His steps are regulated,--his motions, his
manners,--he is a _regular_ in all these. The volunteer stoops beneath
the load on his back. He is far more like Bunyan's 'Pilgrim's
Progress,' with his burden of sin, than the regular. His steps are
uneven, his legs are more unsteady. He carries his gun at a different
angle. He lacks the finish which is obtained only by hard drill, and
exact discipline." He closed this letter with a tribute of praise to
Tidball's superb battery of artillery.

At this time the cavalry were not in good repute, General Scott not
being in favor of any horsemen, except for scouting purposes. In this
arm of the service the Confederates were far ahead of the Union
soldiers. Grant, Sheridan, and Ronald McKenzie had not yet transformed
our Northern horsemen into whirlwinds of fire. After various other
experiences, including a long ride through Western Maryland, Carleton,
within a few days before Christmas, was called by his employers to
leave the Army of the Potomac, to go west to the prospective
battle-field, where the heavy blows were soon to be struck. He was
succeeded in Washington by Mr. Benjamin Perley Poore. A few noble
words of farewell in his 109th letter, dated Washington, December 21,
1861, closed Carleton's first campaign in the East, his acquaintance
with the Army of the Potomac having begun on the 12th of June. Having
won the hearts of the soldiers in camp, and their friends at home, he
left for "the next great battle-field" in the West, where, as he said,
"history will soon be written in blood." He would see how the navy, as
well as the army, was to bring peace by its men of valor, and its
heavy guns,--"preachers against treason." His experience was to be of
war on the waters, as well as on land.



His first letter from the Army of the West, he dated, Cincinnati,
December 28, 1861. Instead of a comparatively circumscribed Utica (on
the Potomac), to confine his powers, our modern Ulysses had a line a
thousand miles long, and a territory larger than several New Englands
to look over. His first work, therefore, was to invite his readers to
a panorama of Kentucky and the Mississippi Valley. Thus far in the war
there had been no masterly moves, but, on the contrary, masterly
inactivity. With such splendid chances for heroes, who would improve
them? Neither Wolfe nor Washington had played Micawber, but had
created opportunities. Carleton wrote, "Now is the time for the
highest order of military genius.... We wait for him who shall improve
the propitious hours." So in waiting went out the gloomy year of
1861. At Louisville, Ky., Carleton made the acquaintance in detail of
General Buell's army. The commander, Don Carlos Buell, did not enjoy
the presence of correspondents, and those from Cincinnati and New York
papers had been expelled from the camp; nor was Carleton's letter from
the Secretary of War, asking that "facilities consistent with public
interests" be granted him, of any avail. He wrote on New Year's day,
"No more troops are needed here, or on the Potomac at present; what is
wanted is _activity_,--activity,--activity."

Following Horace Greeley's advice, Carleton went West. On January 4th,
having surveyed the land and people, he sent home two letters, then
moved on to Rolla, in the heart of Missouri, and, having got out of
St. Louis with his passes, he found himself, January 11th, at Cairo.
There the New England men were warm in their welcome of the sole
representative of the press of the Eastern States, though St. Louis,
Chicago, Cincinnati, and New York journals were also represented.
Among these were A. D. Richardson, of the New York _Tribune_, and
Whitelaw Reid, of the Cincinnati _Gazette_. Unlike General Don Carlos
Buell, General U. S. Grant, in command at Cairo, had no horror of
newspaper correspondents, and granted them all reasonable facilities.
For the first time Carleton looked upon the gunboats, "three being of
the coal-transport pattern, and five of the turtle style," with sides
sloping inward, both above and below the deck. A shot from the enemy
would be likely either to fly up in the air or "go into the realms of
the catfish." As to the army, Carleton noticed that, as compared with
the Army of the Potomac, discipline was much more severe in the East,
while real democracy was much more general in the West. Men seemed
less proud of their shoulder-straps. The rules of military etiquette
were barely observed.

"There is but very little of the soldier about these Western troops.
They are armed citizens, brave, active, energetic, with a fine
physique, acquainted with hardships, reared to rough life ... but it
is by no means certain that they will not be quite as effective in the
field. The troops here are a splendid set of men, all of them
young.... There is more bone and muscle here, but less culture ... I
have heard far less profanity here than on the Potomac, among officers
and men." He believed there were fewer profane words used and less
whiskey drunk than among the troops in the East. There was not as much
attention paid to neatness and camp hygiene.

It was at Cairo that Carleton made the personal acquaintance, which he
retained until their death, of General Ulysses S. Grant and Commodore
Foote. The latter had already made a superb reputation as a naval
officer in Africa and China. Before Foote was able to equip and start
his fleet, or Grant could move his army southward, on what proved to
be their resistless march, Carleton made journeys into Kentucky, wrote
letters from Cincinnati and Chicago, and arrived back in time to join
General Grant's column. He went down the river, seeing the victorious
battle and siege operations. First from Cairo, and then from Fort
Donelson, he penned brilliant and accurate accounts of the capture of
Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, which opened the Southern Confederacy to
the advance of the Union army. While Grant beat the rebels, Carleton
beat his fellow correspondents, even though he had first to spend
many hours among the wounded. The newspaper men from New York had
poked not a little fun at the "Boston man," chaffing him because they
thought the New England newspapers "slow" and "out of date in
methods." They fully expected that Carleton's despatches would be far
behind theirs in point of time as well as in general value. Their
boasting was sadly premature. Carleton beat them all, and their
humiliation was great.

The matter was in this wise. He had hoped by taking the first boat
from Fort Donelson to Cairo to find time to write out an account of
the siege and surrender of the great fortresses; but during his travel
of one hundred and eighty miles on the river, the steamer had in its
cabin and staterooms two hundred maimed soldiers and officers with
their wounds undressed. Instead of occupation with ink-bottle, pen,
and paper, Carleton found himself giving water to the wounded, and
holding the light for surgeons and nurses. Then, knowing that no other
correspondent had the exact and copious information possessed by
himself, he took the cars, writing his letters on the route from
Cairo to Chicago, where he mailed them.

No doubt at this time, while Carleton was writing so brilliantly to a
quarter of a million readers, many of them envied him his
opportunities. Distance lent enchantment to the view. "But let me
say," wrote Carleton, "if they were once brought into close contact
with all the dreadful realities of war,--if they were obliged to stand
the chances of getting their heads knocked off, or blown to atoms by
an unexpected shell, or bored through with a minie ball,--to stand
their chances of being captured by the enemy,--to live on bread and
water, and little of it, as all of the correspondents have been
obliged to do the past week,--to sleep on the ground, or on a sack of
corn, or in a barn, with the wind blowing a gale, and the snow
whirling in drifts, and the thermometer shrunk to zero,--and then,
after the battle is over and the field won, to walk among the dying
and the dead, to behold all the ghastly sights of trunkless heads and
headless trunks,--to see the human form mutilated, disfigured, torn,
and mangled by shot and shell,--to step in pools of blood,--to hear
all around sighs, groans, imprecations, and prayers from dying
men,--they would be content to let others become historians of the
war. But this is not all; a correspondent must keep ever in view the
thousands that are looking at the journal he represents, who expect
his account at the earliest possible moment. If he is behindhand, his
occupation is gone. His account must be first, or among the first, or
it is nothing. Day and night he must be on the alert, improving every
opportunity and turning it to account. If he loses a steamboat trip,
or a train of cars, or a mail, it is all up with him. He might as well
put his pencil in his pocket and go home."

Carleton had a hearty laugh over a letter from a friend who advised
him "to take more time and rewrite his letters," adding that it would
be for his benefit. To Carleton, who often wrote amid the smoke of
battle or on deck amid bursting shells, or while flying over the
prairies at the rate of thirty-five miles an hour, in order, first of
all, to be ahead of his rivals, this seemed a joke. In after-years of
calm and leisure, when writing his books, he painted word pictures and
finished his chapters, giving them a rhetorical gloss impossible when
writing in haste against the pressure of rushing time. Although Boston
was two hundred miles farther from Cairo than New York, yet all New
England had read Carleton's account in the _Journal_ before any
correspondent's letters from Fort Donelson or Henry appeared in the
newspapers of Manhattan.

After the fall of Columbus, the next point to which army and navy were
to give attention was the famous Island Number Ten. Here the
Confederates were concentrating all that were available in men and
cannon. Thousands of negroes were at work upon the trenches, and it
was believed that the fight would be most desperate. After long
waiting for his armament and the training of his men, Commodore Foote
was ready. Carleton wrote at Cairo, March 10, 1862, in the
exhilaration of high hopes:

"Like the waves of the Atlantic is the tide of events. How they sweep!
Henry, Donelson, Bowling Green, Nashville, Roanoke, Columbus, Hampton
Roads, Manassas, Cedar Creek,--wave upon wave, dashing at the
foundation of a house built upon the sand.

... The gigantic structure is tottering. A few more days like that of
the immediate past, and the Confederacy will have a name and a place
only in history. And what a history it will be! A most stupendous
crime. A conspiracy unparalleled, crushed out by a free people, and
the best government of all times saved to the world! How it sends
one's blood through his veins to think of it! Who would not live in
such an age as this? Before this reaches you, the telegraph, I hope,
will have informed you that the Mississippi is open to New Orleans."

So thought Carleton then. Who at that time was wiser than he?

Island Number Ten, so named quite early in history, by the pilots
descending the river, was a place but little known in the East. To the
writer it was one of interest, because here had lived for a year or so
a beloved sister whose letters from the plantation and home at which
she was a guest were not only frequent, but full of the fun and keen
interest about things as seen on a slave plantation by a bright young
girl of twenty from Philadelphia. Well do I remember the handsome
planter of commanding form and winning manners who had made my
sister's stay in the family of the Merriwethers so pleasant, and who
at our home in Philadelphia told of his life on the Mississippi. This
was but two or three years before the breaking out of the war. This
same plantation on Island Number Ten was afterwards sown thickly with
the seed of war, shot, and shell. In front of it took place the great
naval battle, which Carleton witnessed from the deck of the gunboat
_Pittsburg_, which he has described not only in his letters but also
in the books written later. After the destruction of the rebel fleet
followed the heavy bombardment which, after many days of constant rain
of iron, compelled the evacuation of the forts early in April. Even
after these staggering blows at the Confederacy, Carleton expatiated
on the mighty work that yet remained to be done before Secessia should
become one of the curiosities of history in the limbo of things

A month of arduous toil and continuous activity on foot, on deck, and
on horseback followed. On the river and in Tennessee and in
Mississippi the tireless news-gatherer plied his tasks. Then came
tidings of the capture of New Orleans, the evacuation of Fort Pillow,
in or near which Carleton wrote two of his best letters; the retreat
of the Confederates from Memphis, and the annihilation of the rebel
fleet in a great water battle, during which Carleton had the very best
position for observation, only two other journalists being present to
witness it with him. Owing to a week's sickness, he did not see the
battle of Shiloh or Pittsburg Landing, but he arrived on the ground
very soon after, and went over the whole field with participants in
the struggle and while the débris was still fresh. He made so thorough
a study of this decisive field of valor, that he was able to write
with notable power and clearness both in his letters at the time and
later in his books.

We find him in Chicago, June 17th, in Boston, June 21st, where, in one
of his letters, numbering probably about the two hundredth, he
welcomes the sweet breezes of New England, her mountains, the
deep-toned diapason of the ever-sounding sea, the green fields, the
troops of smiling children, the toll of church bells, and the warm
grasp of hands from a host of kind-hearted friends; and, best of all,
the pure patriotism, the true, holy devotion of a people whose mighty
hearts beat now and ever "for union and liberty, one and



The opening of the battle-summer of 1862 found the seat of war in the
East, in the tidewater region of Virginia. These were the days when
"strategy" was the word. General George B. McClellan's leading idea
was to capture Richmond rather than destroy the Confederate army. His
own forces lay on both sides of the Chickahominy, in the peninsula
below Richmond. The series of five battles had already begun when
Carleton arrived in Baltimore, July 2d. A peremptory order from
Washington having stopped every one from reaching Fortress Monroe, he
had therefore to do the next best thing as collector and reviser of
news. After studying the whole situation, he wrote a long and detailed
letter from Baltimore.

Spending most of the summer at home, he was able to rejoin the army
early in September, when Lee began his daring invasion of the
North,--a political even more than a military move. Then Confederate
audacity was fully matched by Pennsylvania's patriotism. Although the
State had already one hundred and fifty regiments in service, Governor
Andrew D. Curtin called for fifty thousand more men. Within ten days
that number of militia were armed and equipped, and in the field.
Millionaires and wage-earners, professors and students, ministers and
their congregations were in line guarding the Cumberland Valley.
Neither disasters nor the incapacity of generals chilled the fierce
resolve of Pennsylvania's sons, who were determined to show that the
North could not be successfully invaded, even by veterans led by the
bravest and most competent generals of the age.

Carleton was in the saddle as soon as he learned that Lee had moved.
From Parkton to Hanover Junction, to Westminster, to Harrisburg, to
Green Castle, to Hagerstown, to Keitisville he rode, and at these
places he wrote, hoping to be in at the mightiest battle which, until
this time, had ever been fought on American soil. For many days it was
a mystery to the Washington authorities, and to the Army of the
Potomac, where Lee and his divisions were; but, with his usual good
fortune, Carleton was but nine miles distant, at Hagerstown, when the
booming of the cannon at Antietam roused him from his sleep. It was
not many minutes before he was in saddle and away. Instead of the ride
down the Sharpsburg pike that would have brought him in rear of the
enemy, he rode down the Boonsboro road, reaching the right wing of the
Union army just as Hooker was pushing his columns into position.
Striking off from the main road, through fields and farms, he came to
Antietam creek. He found a ford, and reached a pathway where a line of
wagons loaded with the wounded was winding down the slope. On the
fields above was a squadron of cavalry to hold back stragglers. In the
first ambulance he descried a silver star, and saw the face of the
brave General Richardson, dead, with a bullet through his breast. At
the farmhouses, rows of men were already lying in the straw, waiting
their turn at the surgeon's hands, while long lines of men were
bringing the fallen on stretchers. With hatred of war in his heart,
but with faith in its stern necessity, Carleton rode on to see the
fight which raged in front of Sumner, noticing that the cannon of
Hooker and Mansfield were silent, cooling their lips after the
morning's fever. Of the superb Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, which he
had seen a year ago at review, there was now but a remnant. He
ascended the ridge, where thirty pieces of cannon were every moment
emptying their black mouths of fire and iron.

All day long Carleton was witness of the battle, and then sent home
from Sharpsburg, September 19th, in addition to his preliminary
letter, a long and comprehensive account in five columns of print. It
was so animated in style, so exact in particulars, and so skilful and
clear in its general grouping, that its writer was overwhelmed with
congratulations by the best of all critics, his fellow correspondents.
In two other letters from Sharpsburg, he reviewed the whole subject
judicially, and then returned home for a few days' recuperation.

From Philadelphia we find two of his letters, one describing the
transport of troops and the monitors then on the stocks, or in the
Delaware, and another reviewing the account of Antietam which he had
read in the Charleston _Courier_. Indeed, all through the war, Mr.
Coffin took pains to inform himself as to Southern opinion, and the
methods of its manufacture and influence by the press. He was thus
able to correct and purify his own judgments. He preserved his copies
of the Southern papers, and gradually accumulated, during and after
the war, a unique collection of the newspapers of the South. His first
opinion about the battle of Antietam, written October 8, 1862, is the
same as that which he held thirty years later:

"In reviewing the contest, aided by the Southern account, it seems
that all through the day, complete, decisive, annihilating victory lay
within our grasp, and yet we did not take it."

Let us read further from the closing paragraph of that letter, which
he wrote in Philadelphia, before moving West to the army in Kentucky:

"In saying this, I raise no criticism, make no question or blame, but
prefer to look upon it as a controlling of that Providence which
notices the fall of every sparrow. The time had not come for complete
victory,--for annihilation of the rebel army. We are not yet over the
Red Sea. The baptism of blood is not yet complete. The cause of the
war is not yet removed,--retribution for crime is not yet finished. We
must suffer again. With firmer faith than ever in the ultimate triumph
of right, truth, and justice, let us accept the fiery ordeal."

Like the pendulum of an observatory clock, the bob-point of which
touches at each vibration the mercury which transmits intelligence of
its movements to distant points, Carleton now swung himself to
Cincinnati. In Louisville he gave an account, from reports, of the
battle of Perryville. It was written in the utmost haste, with one eye
upon the hands of his watch moving on to the minute of the closing of
the mail. In such a case, according to his custom, he wrote a second
letter, when possessed with fuller data from eye-witnesses. In the
heart of Kentucky he was able to see the effects of the President's
Emancipation Proclamation, which had been issued but three  weeks
before. He described the coming of the Confederate army into Kentucky
as "the Flatterer, dressed in a white garment, who with many fair
speeches would have turned Christian and Faithful from the glittering
gates of the Golden City, shining serene and fair over the land of
Beulah." The robe having dropped from Flatterer's limbs, the
Kentuckian saw that the reality was hideous, and that to follow him
was to go back again to the City of Destruction. The Confederates
moved southward, laden with plunder, while General Buell, with his
army of one hundred and forty thousand men, after having mildly
pursued them for twenty-one days, returned to Louisville. Carleton's
comment upon these movements is, "Such is strategy."

Finding himself again in the trough of inactivity, and ever ready to
mount on the wave of opportunity, Carleton moved again to the East,
writing in the cars while whirling to Virginia. His first letters from
the East were penned at Harper's Ferry. Then began his zigzag
movements, like a planet. We find his pen active at Berlin, Md.,
Purcellville, Va., Upperville, Va., where, beside the cavalry battles
between Pleasanton and Stewart, he saw that seven corps were in
motion. From Gainesville, Warrenton Junction, Orleans, Warrenton,
Catlett's Station, and again and often from Washington, and from
Falmouth, he sent his letters, which, if not always full of battle,
kept the heart of New England patient and courageous.

McClellan had been removed, and Burnside, taking command, led his army
to the riverside before Fredericksburg. Carleton was witness of the
bombardment of the city by the Federal artillery. From his coign of
vantage at General Sumner's headquarters, on the piazza of an elegant
mansion, one hundred feet above the Rappahannock, and about
three-quarters of a mile from it, he could see, as though it were a
great cartoon and he a weaver of the Gobelins tapestry of history, the
awful pattern of war. Beyond the sixteen rifled Rodman guns of large
calibre and long range, mounted on the river bluff and thrust out
through sand-bags, behind the masses of infantry, the pontoon and
artillery trains, Carleton stood and saw the making of a bridge in
fifteen minutes, in the face of a terrific musketry fire from the
opposite shore. Then followed views of the street fight in the doomed
city, the shattered houses, the cloudless sky, the setting sun, the
gorgeous sunset dyes, the deepening shadows, the masses of men upon
the opposite hills, the screaming shells, the puffs of white smoke,
the bursting storms of iron, the blood-red flames illuminating the
ruin of dwellings, the battle smoke settling in the valley, so densely
as to obscure or hide the flashes. All this was before Carleton on
that afternoon and evening of that winter's day, December 11th. Then
he spread his blanket for a little sleep, expecting to awake to behold
one of the greatest battles of modern times; but the sun set without
the two great armies coming to close quarters.

The next day was a hard one, for Carleton was in the field until
night, now watching a bombardment, now a charge, and again a long and
stubborn, persistent musketry fire. The shells sang near him, and at
one time he was evidently the target for a whole Confederate battery;
for, within a few seconds, a round shot struck a few rods in front of
him, a second fell to the right, a third went over his head, a fourth
skimmed along the surface of the ground, just over the backs of a
regiment, lying flat on their faces. As he moved to the shelter of the
river bank, a shot dropped obligingly in the water before him. All day
long the lines of batteries on the hills smoked like Etna and
Vesuvius. Sometimes, between ordnance and musketry, there were twenty
thousand flashes a minute. Carleton thus far had seen no battles where
the fire equalled that which was poured upon Sumner's command during
the last grand, but hopeless, charge at sunset. At nightfall, when the
wearied soldiers could lie down for rest, Carleton began the work of
writing his letter. Among other things he said:

"With the deference to military strategics, my own common sense
deprecated attempting the movements which were made, as unnecessary
and unwise,--which must be accomplished with fearful slaughter, and
which I believed would be unsuccessful....

"It is a plain of Balaklava, where the Light Brigade, renowned in
song, made their fearful charge."

Then follows a simple but sufficient diagram of the Confederate
impregnable position, where, with only common printer's type, and the
"daggers" of punctuation standing for Blakesley and Armstrong guns,
printer's ink told the story. Though nearly exhausted by his manifold
labors of brain and muscle, Carleton, on the 15th, visited the
battle-field, which did not exceed one hundred acres, and the city in
which the troops were quietly quartered, but in which a Confederate
shell was falling every ten minutes. After surveying the near and
distant scenes from the cupola of an already well-riddled house,
Carleton followed the army when it withdrew to Falmouth, seeing
through his glass the Confederates leaping upon the deserted
entrenchments and staring at the empty town.

Returning to Washington, he reviewed as usual the battle, and then
returned homeward, according to his wont, for three weeks of rest and
refreshment. His last letter, before leaving the front, was a noble
and inspiriting plea for patience and continuance. He wrote: "The army
is ready to fight, but the people are despondent. The army has not
lost its nerve, its self-possession, its balance; it is more powerful
to-day than it has ever been. It has no thought of giving up the
contest. The cause is holy. It is not for power or dominion, but for
the rich inheritance decreed by our fathers."

The same bugle call of inspiration sounded from his lips and pen, when
he rejoined the army on the Rappahannock, and Hooker was in command.
He wrote: "The army needs several things; first, to be supported by
the people at home. There is nothing which will so quickly take the
strength out of the soldier as a blue letter from home, and on the
other hand there is nothing which would give him so much life as a
cheerful, hopeful letter from his friends. Let every one look beyond
the immediate present into the years to come, and think of the
inheritance he is to bequeath to his children. Let him see the coming
millions of our people on this continent; let him lay his ear to the
ground, and hear the tread of that mighty host which is to people the
Mississippi Valley; which will climb the mountains of the West, to
coin the hidden riches into gold; let him see the great cities
springing up on the Pacific Coast; let him understand that this nation
is yet in its youth; that this continent is to be the highway between
China and Europe; let him behold this contest in its vast proportion,
reaching through all coming time, and affecting the entire human race
forever; let him resolve that, come weal or come woe, come life or
come death, that it shall be sustained, and it will be."

Another letter deals in rather severe sarcasm with a friend who
belonged to "the Nightshade family," one of those individuals who
thrive on darkness. He wrote: "People of New England, are you not
ashamed of yourselves? Away with your old womanish fears, your
shivering, your timidity, your garrulousness.... Sustain your sons by
bold, inspiring, patriotic words and acts; act like men.... This army,
this government must be sustained. It will be."



After five letters from Washington, in the first of which he had
predicted that in a few days, for the first time in war, there would
be the great contest between ironclads and forts, and the stroke of
fifteen-inch shot against masonry, Carleton set off for salt water,
determining to see the tug-of-war on the Atlantic coast. It was on
Saturday afternoon, February 7th, that he stood on deck of the steamer
_Augusta Dinsmore_ as she moved through the floating masses of ice
down the Hudson River to the sea. This new ship was owned by Adams's
Express Company, and with her consort, _Mary Sandford_, was employed
in carrying barrels of apples, boxes of clothing, messages of love,
and tokens of affection between the Union soldiers along the coast and
their friends at home. Heavily loaded with express packages, with
fifty or sixty thousand letters, and with several hundred
fifteen-inch solid shot, packed ready for delivery by Admiral Du Pont
at or into Fort Sumter, the trim craft passed over a sea like glass,
except that now and then was a dying groan or heave of the storm of a
week before. A pleasant Sunday at sea was spent with worship, sermon,
and song. After sixty hours on salt water, Carleton's ear caught the
boom of the surf on the beach. The sea-gulls flitted around, and after
the sun had rent the pall of fog, the town of Beaufort appeared in

The harbor was full of schooners which had come from up North,
bringing potatoes, onions, apples, and Yankee notions for the great
blue-coated community at Newburgh. Carleton moved up the
poverty-stricken country through marsh, sea-sand, pitch-pine, swamp,
and plain. Here and there were the shanties of sand-hillers, negro
huts, and scores of long, lank, scrimped-up, razor-backed pigs of the
Congo breed, as to color; but in speed, racers, outstripping the
fleetest horses. Making his headquarters at Hilton Head, Carleton made
a thorough study of the military and naval situation. He visited the
New England regiments. He saw the enlistment of negro troops, and
devoted one letter to Colonel Thomas Wentworth Higginson's first South
Carolina regiment of volunteers.

With his usual luck, that is, the result of intelligence and energy
which left nothing to mere luck, Carleton stood on the steamer
_Nantasket_, off Charleston, April 7, 1863. Both admiral and general
had recognized the war correspondents as the historians of the hour.
At half past one, the signal for sailing was displayed from the
flag-ship. Then the ugly black floating fortresses moved off in a
line, each a third or a half a mile apart, against the masses of
granite at Sumter and Moultrie, and the earthen batteries on three
sides. "There are no clouds of canvas, no beautiful models of marine
architecture, none of the stateliness and majesty which have marked
hundreds of great naval engagements. There is but little to the sight
calculated to excite enthusiasm. There are eight black specks, and one
oblong block, like so many bugs. There are no human beings in
sight,--no propelling power visible."

A few minutes later, "the ocean boils." Columns of spray are tossed
high in air, as if a hundred submarine mines were let instantly off,
or a school of whales were trying which could spout highest. There is
a screaming in the air, a buzzing and humming never before so loud.

"You must think the earth's crust is ruptured, and the volcanic fires,
long pent, have suddenly found vent."

"There she is, the _Weehawken_, the target of probably two hundred and
fifty or three hundred guns, at close range, of the heaviest calibre
rifled cannon, throwing forged bolts and steel-pointed shot turned and
polished to a hair in the lathes of English workshops, advancing
still, undergoing her first ordeal, a trial unparalleled in history.
For fifteen minutes she meets the ordeal alone."

Soon the other four monitors follow. Seventy guns a minute are
counted, followed by moments of calm, and scattering shots, but only
to break out again in a prolonged roar of thunder. In the lulls of the
strife, Carleton steadied his glass, and when the southwest breeze
swept away the smoke, he could see "increasing pock-marks and
discolorations upon the walls of the fort, as if there had been a
sudden breaking out of cutaneous disease."

We now know, from the Confederate officers then in Fort Sumter, that
the best artillery made in England, and the strongest powder
manufactured in the Confederacy, were used during this two and a half
hours of mutual hammering, until then unparalleled in the history of
the world. Near sunset, at 5.20 P. M., signals from the flag-ship were
read; the order was, "Retire."

The red sun sank behind the sand hills, and the silence was welcomed.
During the heavy cannonade,--like the Union soldiers who, obedient to
the hunter's instinct, stopped in the midst of a Wilderness battle to
shoot rabbits,--a Confederate gunner had trained his rifled cannon
upon the three non-combatant vessels, the _Bibb_, the _Ben Deford_,
and the _Nantasket_, which lay in the North Channel at a respectful
distance, but quite within easy range of Sullivan's Island. Having
fired a half a dozen shot which had fallen unnoticed, the gunner
demoralized the little squadron, and sent hundreds of interested
spectators running, jumping, and rolling below deck, by sending a
shot transversely across the _Nantasket_. It dropped in the sea about
a hundred yards from the bow of the _Ben Deford_. Another shot in
admirable line fell short. Shells from Cummings Point had also been
tried on the ships laden with civilians, but had failed to reach them.
However, the correspondents claim to have silenced the batteries,--by
getting out of the way; for in a few minutes the cables had been
hauled in, paddle-wheels set in motion, and distance increased from
the muzzles of the battery.

When the fleet returned, Carleton leaped on board of the slush deck of
the monitor _Catskill_, receiving hearty response from Captain George
Rodgers, who reported "All right, nobody hurt, ready for them again."
I afterwards saw all these monitors covered with indentations like
spinning-top moulds or saucers. They were gouged, dented, and bruised
by case-shot that had struck and glanced sidewise. Here and there, it
looked as though an adamantine serpent had grooved its way over the
convex iron surface, as a worm leaves the mark of its crawling in the
soft earth under the stone. The _Catskill_ had received thirty shots,
the _Keokuk_ a hundred. Inside of the _Nahant_, Carleton found eleven
officers and men badly contused by the flying of bolt-heads in the
turret; but, except from a temporary jam, her armor was intact. On the
_Patapsco_ a ball had ripped up the plating and pierced the work
beneath. This was the only shot that had penetrated any of the
monitors. The _Weehawken_ had in one place the pittings of three shots
which, had they immediately followed each other, might, like the
arrows of the Earl of Douglas in Scott's "Lady of the Lake," split
each other in twain. Except leaving war's honorable scar, these three
bolts hurt not the _Weehawken_. Out of probably three thousand
projectiles shot from behind walls, about three hundred and fifty took
effect, that is, one shot out of six. Three tons of iron were hurled
at Fort Sumter, and probably six tons at the fleet. Fighting inside of
iron towers, the Union men had no one killed, and but one mortally
wounded. The _Keokuk_, the most vulnerable of all the ships engaged,
sank under the northwest wind in the heavy sea of the next day.

It was long after midnight when Carleton finished the closing lines of
his letter, and then stepped out upon the steamer's guard for a
little fresh air. Over on Sumter's walls the signal-light was being
waved. The black monitors lay at their anchorage. Ocean, air, and
moonbeams were calm and peaceful. From the flag-ship, which the
despatch steamer visited, the report was, "The engagement is to be
renewed to-morrow afternoon." Nevertheless, the next day, Admiral Du
Pont, dissenting from the opinions of his engineers and inspectors, as
to a renewal of the attack, moreover finding his own officers
differing in their opinions as to the ability of the fleet to reduce
Fort Sumter, ordered no advance. The enterprise was, for the present,
at least, given up. So Carleton, after another letter on white and
black humanity in South Carolina, which showed convincingly the
results of slavery, sailed from Hilton Head.

Like the war-horse of Hebrew poetry, he smelt the battle afar off, and
looked to Virginia. He reached home just in time to hear of the great
conflict at Chancellorsville. Rushing to Washington, and gathering up
from all sources news of the disaster, he presented to the readers of
the _Journal_ a clear and connected story of the battle. During the
latter part of May and until the middle of June, the previous weeks
having been times of inaction in the military world, Carleton
recruited his strength at home. Like a falcon on its perch, he awaited
the opportunity to swoop on the quarry.



When Lee and his army, leaving the front of the Union army and
becoming invisible, when President and people, general and chief and
privates, Cabinet officers and correspondents, were wondering what had
become of the rebel hosts, and when the one question in the North was,
"Where is General Lee?" Carleton, divining the state of affairs, took
the railway to Harrisburg. Once more he was an observer in the field.
His first letter is dated June 16th, and illuminates the darkness like
an electric search-light.

General Lee, showing statesmanship as well as military ability, had
chosen a good time. The Federal army was losing its two years' and
nine months' men. Vicksburg was about to fall. Something must be done
to counterbalance this certain loss to the Confederates. Paper money
in the South was worth but ten per cent. of its face value.
Recognition from Europe must be won soon, or the high tide of
opportunity would ebb, nevermore to return. Like a great wave coming
to its flood, the armed host of the Confederacy was moving to break at
Gettysburg and recede.

Yet, at that time, who had ever thought of, or who, except the farmers
and townsmen and students in the vicinity, had ever seen Gettysburg?
At first Carleton supposed that Harper's Ferry might be the scene of
the coming battle. Again he imagined it possible for Lee to move down
the Kanawha, and fall upon defenceless Ohio. He wrote from Harrisburg,
from Washington, from Baltimore, from Washington again, from Baltimore
once more, from Frederick, where he learned that Hooker had been
superseded, and Meade, the Pennsylvanian, put in command. On June
30th, writing from Westminster, Md., he described the rapid marching
of the footsore and hungry Confederates, and the equally rapid
pedestrianism of the Federals. He revels in the splendors of nature in
Southern Pennsylvania, which the Germans once hailed as a holy land of
comfort and liberty, and which, by their industry, they had made
"fair as the garden of the Lord." As Carleton rode with the second
corps from Frederick to Union Town, and thence to Westminster, he
penned prose poems in description of the glorious sight, so different
from his native and stony New Hampshire.

"The march yesterday was almost like passing through paradise. Such
broad acres of grain rustling in the breeze; the hills and valleys,
bathed in alternate sunlight and shade; the trees so green; the air so
scented with clover-blossoms and new-made hay; the cherry-trees ruby
with ripened fruit, lining the roadway; the hospitality of the people,
made it pleasant marching."

Thus like the great forces of the universe, which make the ocean's
breast heave to and fro, and send the tides in ebb and flood, were the
great energies which were now to bring two hundred thousand men in
arms, on the field of Gettysburg, in Adams County, Pennsylvania. Forty
years before, as it is said, a British officer surveying the great
plain with the ranges of hills confronting each other from opposite
sides, with many highroads converging at this point, declared with
admiration that this would be a superb site for a great battle. Now
the vision of possibility was to become reality, and Carleton was to
be witness of it all. Since mid-June he had been on the rail or in the
saddle. He was now to spend sleepless nights and laborious days that
were to tax his physical resources to their utmost.

With his engineer's eye, and from the heights overlooking the main
field, he took in the whole situation. From various points he saw the
awful battles of July 2d and 3d, which he described in two letters,
written each time after merciful night came down upon the field of
slaughter. He saw the charges and defeats, the counter-charges and the
continued carnage, and the final cavalry onset made by the rebels. He
was often under fire. An impression that lasted all his life, and to
which he often referred, was the result of that great movement of
Pickett's division across the field, after the long bombardment of the
Federal forces by the Confederate artillery. Retiring before the heavy
cannonade, Carleton had remained in the rear, until, hearing the
cheers of the Union soldiers, he reached the slope in time to see the
gray and brown masses in the distance.

As the great wave of human life receded, that for a moment had pierced
the centre of the Union forces, only to be hurled back and broken,
Carleton rode out down the hill and on the plain into the wheat field.
Then and there, seeing the awful débris, came the conviction that the
rebellion had seen its highest tide, and that henceforth it would be
only ebb.

When is a battle over, and how can one know it? That night, Friday,
and the next day, Saturday, Carleton felt satisfied that Lee was in
full retreat, though General Meade did not seem to think so.
Carleton's face was now set Bostonwards. Not being able to use the
army telegraph, he gave his first thought to reaching the railroad.
The nearest point was at Westminster, twenty-eight miles distant, from
which a freight-train was to leave at 4 P. M.

Rain was falling heavily, but with Whitelaw Reid as companion,
Carleton rode the twenty-eight miles in two hours and a half. Covered
with mud from head to foot, and soused to the skin, the two riders
reached Westminster at 3.55 P. M. As the train did not immediately
start, Carleton arranged for the care of his beast, and laying his
blanket on the engine's boiler, dried it. He then made his bed on the
floor of the bumping car, getting some sleep of an uncertain quality
before the train rolled into Baltimore.

At the hotel on Sunday morning he was seized by his friend, E. B.
Washburn, Grant's indefatigable supporter and afterwards Minister to
France, who asked for news. Carleton told him of victory and the
retreat of Lee. "You lie," was the impulsive answer. Washburn's nerves
had for days been under a strain. Then, after telling more, Carleton
telegraphed a half-column of news to the _Journal_ in Boston. This
message, sent thence to Washington, was the first news which President
Lincoln and the Cabinet had of Gettysburg. After a bath and hoped-for
rest, Carleton was not allowed to keep silence. All day, and until the
train was entered at night for New York, he was kept busy in telling
the good news.

The rest of the story of this famous "beat," as newspaper men call it,
is given in Carleton's own words to a Boston reporter, a day or two
before the celebration of his golden wedding in February, 1896:

"Monday I travelled by train to Boston, writing some of my story as I
rode along, and wiring ahead to the paper what they might expect from
me. When I reached the office I found Newspaper Row packed with
people, just as you will see it now on election night, and every one
more than anxious for details.

"It was too late, however, for anything but the morning edition of
Tuesday, but the paper wired all over New England the story it would
have, and the edition finally run off was a large one.

"I locked myself in a room and wrote steadily until the paper went to
press, seeing no one but the men handling the copy, and, when the last
sheet was done, threw myself on a pile of papers, thoroughly
exhausted, and got a few hours' sleep. I went to my home in the
suburbs, the next day, but my townspeople wouldn't let me rest. They
came after me with a band and wagon, and I had to get out and tell the
story in public again.

"The next day I left for the front again, riding forward from
Westminster, where I had left my horse, and thus covering about 100
miles on horseback, and 800 miles by rail, from the time I left the
army until I got back again.

"Coffee was all that kept me up during that time, but my nerves did
not recover from it for a long time. In fact, I don't think I could
have gone through the war as I did, had I not made it a practice to
take as long a rest as possible after a big battle or engagement."

In his letter written after the decisive event of 1863, Carleton pays
a strong tribute of praise to the orderly retreat which Lee made from
Pennsylvania. He was bitterly disappointed that the defeated army
should have been allowed to escape. With the soldiers, he looked
forward with dread to another Virginia campaign. Nevertheless, he was
all ready for duty. Having found his horse and resumed his saddle, he
spent a day revisiting the Antietam battle-field. It was still strewn
with the débris of the fight: old boots, shoes, knapsacks, belts,
clothes all mouldy in the dampness of the woods. He found flattened
bullets among the leaves, fragments of shells, and, sickening to the
sight, here and there a skull protruding from the ground, the
bleaching bones of horses and men. The Dunkers' church and the houses
were rent, shattered, pierced, and pitted with the marks of war.

Even until July 15th, when he sent despatches from Sharpsburg, he
nourished the hope that Lee's army could still be destroyed before
reaching Richmond. This was not to be. Like salt on a sore, and rubbed
in hard, Carleton's sensibilities were cut to the quick, when, on
again coming home, he found the people in Boston and vicinity debating
the question whether the battle of Gettysburg had been a victory for
the Union army or not. Some were even inclined to consider it a
defeat. Carleton's letter of July 24th, written in Boston, fairly
fumes with indignation at the blind critics and in defence of the hard
work of the ever faithful old Army of the Potomac, "which has had hard
fighting,--terrible fighting, and little praise." He lost patience
with those staying at home depreciating the army and finding fault
with General Meade. He wrote: "Frankly and bluntly, I cannot
appreciate such stupidity. Why not as well ask if the sun rose this
morning? That battle was the greatest of the war. It was a repulse
which became a disastrous defeat to General Lee." He sarcastically
invited critics, "instead of staying at home to weaken the army by
finding fault, to step into the ranks and help do the 'bagging,' the
'cutting up,' and the 'routing' which they thought ought to have been



After the exhausting Gettysburg campaign, Carleton was obliged to rest
some weeks. So far as his letter-book shows, he did not engage in war
correspondence again until the opening of the next year, when he
entered upon his fourth hundred of letters, and began a tour of
observation through the border States. Traversing those between the
Ohio River and the Lakes, besides Missouri and Kansas, he kept the
_Journal_ readers well informed of the state of sentiment, and showed
the preparations made to pursue the war. At the last of April, we find
him in Washington preparing his readers for the great events of the
Wilderness, in letters which clearly describe the prospective "valley
of decision." The grandest sight, that week, in the city, was the
marching of Burnside's veteran corps, in which were not only the
bronzed white heroes, following their own torn and pierced
battle-flags, but also regiments of black patriots, slaves but a few
months before, but now no longer sons of the Dark Continent, but of
the Land of Hope and Opportunity. From slavery they had been redeemed
in the Free Republic. Unpaid sons of toil once, but free men now, they
were marching with steady step to certain victory or to certain death,
for at that moment came the sickening details of the massacre of Fort
Pillow. On the balcony of the hotel, standing beside the handsome
Burnside, was the tall and pale man who, having given them freedom,
now recognized them as soldiers. As they halted by the roadside and
read the accounts of massacre, their white teeth clenched, and oaths,
not altogether profane, were sworn for vengeance.

Out from the broad avenues of the nation's capital, and away from the
sight of the marble dome, the great army and its faithful historians
moved from sight, to the bloodiest contests of war. No more splendid
pageants in the fields, but close, hard, unromantic destruction in the
woods and among trenches and craters! One mind now directed all the
movements of the many armies of the Union, making all the  forces at
the control of the nation into one mighty trip-hammer, for the
crushing of Slavery's conspiracy against Liberty.

General Grant recognized in Carleton his old friend whom he first met
in Cairo, and whom he had invited to take a nail-keg for a seat.
Having established his reputation for absolute truthfulness, Carleton
won not only Grant's personal friendship, but obtained a pass signed
"U. S. Grant," which was good in all the military departments of the
country, with transportation on all government trains and steamers. In
hours of relaxation, Carleton was probably as familiar with Grant as
was any officer on the general's own staff. Carleton profoundly
honored and believed in Grant as a trained, regular army officer who
could cut loose from European traditions and methods, and fight in the
way required in Virginia in 1864 and 1865. Further, Grant wanted the
Army of the Potomac to destroy Lee's army without the aid of, or
reinforcement from, Western troops.

Carleton comprehended the magnitude of the coming campaign, in which
were centred the hopes of eighteen millions of Americans. In  his
eyes it was the most stupendous campaign of modern times. "It is not
the movement of one army merely, but of three great armies, to crush
out treason, to preserve the institutions of freedom, and consolidate
ourselves into a nation." Butler and Smith were to advance from the
Chesapeake, the armies of the South and West were in time to march
northward in Lee's rear, while from the West and North were to come
fresh hosts to consummate the grand combination.

Carleton's foresight had shown him that, in this campaign, an
assistant for himself would be absolutely necessary; for, in one
respect, Grant's advance was unique. Instead of, as heretofore, the
Union army's having its rear in close contact with the North, and all
the lines and methods of communication being open, the soldiers and
the correspondents were to advance into the Wilderness, and cut
themselves off from the railway, the telegraph, and even the ordinary
means of communication by horse, wheel, and boat. Carleton, at short
notice to the young man, chose for his assistant his nephew, Edmund
Carleton, now a veteran surgeon and physician in New York, but then in
the freshness and fullness of youth, health, and strength. Alert and
vigorous, fertile in resource, courageous and persevering, young
Carleton became the fleet messenger of the great war correspondent. He
assisted to gather news, and soon learned the art of winning the
soldier's heart, and of extracting, from officers and privates, scraps
and items of intelligence. Even as the hunter becomes expert in noting
and interpreting signs in air and on earth which yield him spoil, so
young Carleton, trained by his uncle, quickly learned how to secure
news, and to make a "beat." He kept himself well supplied to the
extent of his ability with tobacco,--always welcome to the veterans,
for which some "would almost sell their souls;" and with newspapers,
for which officers would often give what was worth more than
gold,--items of information, from which letters could be distilled,
and on which prophecies could be based. Very appropriately, Carleton
dedicates his fourth book on the war, "Freedom Triumphant," to his
fleet messenger.

Carleton's first letter in the last long campaign is dated May 4,
1864, from Brandy Station. There four corps were assembled:  the
Second, Hancock's; the Fifth, Warren's; the Sixth, Sedgwick's; the
Ninth, Burnside's. With Sheridan's riders, these made a great city of
tents. The cavalry was not the cavalry of Scott's day, but was in its
potency a new arm of the service. From this time forth, the
Confederate authorities, by neglecting this arm of their service,
furnished one chief cause of final failure, while those in Washington
steadily increased in generous recognition of the power of union of
man and horse. In equal ability of brute and rider to endure fatigue,
the Union cavalryman under Sheridan was a veritable centaur.

While the great army lay waiting and expectant at Brandy Station, it
was significant to Carleton when the swift-riding orderlies suddenly
left headquarters carrying sealed packages to the corps commanders.
First began the tramping of the cavalry. Next followed the movement of
two divisions of the Fifth Corps. All night long was heard the rumble
of artillery. Carleton wrote: "Peering from my window upon the shadowy
landscape at midnight, I saw the glimmering of thousands of
camp-fires, over all the plain. Hillside, valley, nook, and dell,
threw up its flickering light. Long trains of white canvas wagons
disappeared in the distant gloom.

"At three A. M., the reveille, the roll of innumerable drums, and the
blow of bugles sounded, and as morning brightened, dark masses of
armed men stood in long line. With the first beams of the sun peering
over the landscape, they moved from the hills. Disjointed parts were
welded together, regiments became brigades, brigades grew into
divisions, and divisions became corps. The sunlight flashed from a
hundred thousand bayonets and sabres." Thus in a few hours a great
city of male inhabitants, numbering over the tenth of a million,
disappeared. By night-time, in a rapid march, Grant was in
headquarters in a deserted house near the Germania Ford. There
Carleton noticed the general's simple style of living. Unostentatious
in all his habits, he smoked constantly, often whittling a stick while
thinking, and wasting no words. Grant had stolen a march upon Lee, and
was as near Richmond as were the Confederates, who must attack him in
flank and retard him if possible. Knowing every road and bridle-path
in the Wilderness, Lee, having drawn all the resources of the
Confederacy east of Georgia into his lines, had gathered an army the
largest and the most complete he had yet commanded. He must now cut up
Grant's host; or, if unable to do so, even without defeat, must begin
a march which meant some American Saint Helena as its end.

The campaign which followed in that densely wooded part of Virginia, a
few miles west of the former battle-field of Chancellorsville, had not
been paralleled for hardship during the whole war. In the ten days
succeeding May 4th, when the army broke camp at Culpeper and Brandy
Station, there had been a march of eighteen miles, the crossing of the
Rapidan with hard fighting on May 5th, and on the 6th, the great
battle in the Wilderness, among the trees from which the foe could
hardly be distinguished. On the 7th, there was fighting all along the
line, with the night march after Spottsylvania, and on Sunday, the
8th, under the burning sun, a sharp fight by the Fifth Corps. On the
9th, another terrific battle followed, in which three corps were
engaged, one of them, the Sixth, losing its noble commander,
Sedgwick, with a score or two of able officers. On the 10th, in the
afternoon, a pitched battle was fought all along the line, lasting
until midnight, in which all the corps were engaged. On Wednesday, the
11th, skirmishing and picket firing formed the order of the day along
the whole front. On Thursday, the 12th, at daybreak, the Second Corps
began its attack, capturing twenty-three guns and several thousand
prisoners. Sunday, the 13th, was a time of rain, hard work, hunger,
and fatigue. In a word, within twelve days there had been four great
pitched battles, with heavy fighting, mainly in the woods, and hard
pounding on both sides, with many thousands of dead and wounded.

During the war Carleton had seen no such fighting, suffering,
patience, determination. General Grant freely admitted that the
fighting had been without a parallel during the war. There was little
work done by the artillery. Swords and bayonets were but ornaments or
emblems. Only lead had the potency of death in it. Even the cavalry
dismounted, sought cover, shooting each other out of position with
their carbines. Bullets, which do the killing, were the fixed forces.
In war it is musketry that kills, and it was a question which side
could stand murder the longest.

At the end of the Wilderness episodes, Carleton, after first answering
those critics far in the rear, who, to all the noble tenacity of Grant
and his army, queried "_Cui bono_" wrote: "I confidently expect that
he [Grant] will accomplish what he has undertaken, because he is
determined, has tenacity of purpose, measures his adversary at his
true value, expects hard fighting, and prepares for it." It was trying
almost to discouragement, to this brave, honest, patient seeker after
truth, to find with what chaff and husk of imaginary news,
manufactured in Washington and elsewhere, the editors of newspapers
had to satisfy the hungry souls of the waiting ones at home.

In one of the engagements, when our right wing had been forced by the
Confederates; when the loud rebel yells were heard so near that the
teamsters of the Sixth Corps were frightened into a panic, and,
cutting the traces, ran so far and wide that it was two days before
they were got together again; when, to many army officers, it seemed
the day had been lost,--as lost it had been, save for the stubborn
valor of the Sixth Corps; when many a face blanched, Carleton looked
at Grant. There was the modern Silent One, tranquil amid the waves of
battle. Sitting quietly, with perfect poise, eyes on the ground, and
steadily smoking, he whittled a stick, neither flesh nor spirit
quailing. "He himself knew what he would do." And he did wait, and, in
waiting, won. Carleton's faith in Grant, strong from the first, was
now as a mountain, unshakable.



The story of the Wilderness campaign, during which were fought the
greatest musketry battles in the history of the world, with their
awful slaughter, has been told by hundreds of witnesses, and by
Carleton himself in his books; but the life of the camp and how the
great army was handled, how the news was forwarded, and how Carleton
beat the government couriers and all his fellow historians of the
hour, getting the true report of the awful struggle before the
country, has not been told, or at least, only in part. Let us try to
recall some of the incidents.

In the first place, this was the time of the year when the flies and
manifold sort of vermin, flying, crawling, hopping, hungry, and ever
biting, were in the full rampancy of their young vigor. It was not
only spiteful enemies in human form, that sent crashing shells and
piercing bullets, but every kind of nipping, boring, sucking, and
stinging creatures in the air and on the earth, that our brave
soldiers, and especially our wounded, had to face. Even to the
swallowing of a mouthful of coffee, or the biting of a piece of hard
tack, it was a battle. Flies, above, around, and everywhere, made it
difficult to eat without taking in vermin also. Even upon the most
careful man, the growth of parasites in the clothing or upon the
person was a certainty. Within twenty-four hours the carcass of a
horse, left on the field of battle, seemed to move with new and
multitudinous life suddenly generated. The stench of the great
battle-fields was unspeakable, and the sudden creation of incalculable
hosts of insects to do nature's scavenger work was a phenomenon
necessary, but to human nerves horrible. The turkey-buzzards gathered
in clouds for their hideous banquet.

All this made the work of the surgeons greater, and the sufferings of
the wounded more intense; yet, redeeming the awful sight of torn and
mangled humanity, was the splendid discipline and order of the medical
staff. Upon the first indications of a battle, the regimental wagons
of each corps would be driven up to some real or supposed safe place.
It was the work of but a few moments for the tables to be spread with
all their terrible array of steel instruments, while close at hand
would be the stores of lint, bandages, towels, basins, and all the
paraphernalia which science and long experience had devised. These
diminished, in some measure, the horrors of the battle for at least
the wounded. It was a sublime and beautiful sight, as compared with
the wars of even a century ago, when the surgeon had scarcely a
recognized position in the army. In the very midst of the hell of fire
and flame and noise, the relief parties, with their stretchers, would
go out and return with their burdens. Soon the neighborhood of the
surgeon's wagon looked like a harvest-field with the windrows of cut
grain upon it. Strange as it may seem, there was often more real
danger in this going and coming from rear to front, and from front to
rear, than on the very battle line itself. Many a man preferred to
stand in the fighting files with the excitement and glory, than to get
out into the uncertain regions of wandering balls and bursting shells.
The Carletons, both  uncle and nephew, had often, while out
collecting news, to scud from cover to cover, and amid the "zip, zip"
of bullets. Dangerous as the service was, there was little reward to
the eyesight, for the Confederate army, like the Japanese dragon of
art, was to be seen only in bits, here and there.

How easy for us now, in the leisure of abundant time and with all the
fresh light that science has shed upon surgery, and focussed upon the
subject of gunshot wounds, to criticise the surgeons of that day, who,
with hundreds of men each awaiting in agony his turn, were obliged to
decide within minutes, yea, even seconds, upon a serious operation,
without previous preparation or reinforcement of the patient. The
amputation, the incision, the probing had to be done then and there,
on the instant. It is even wonderful that the surgeons did as well as
they did. Often it was a matter of quick decision as to whether
anything should be attempted. One look at many a case was enough to
decide that death was too near. Often the man died in the stretcher;
sometimes, when marked for the operating-table, he was asleep in his
last sleep before his turn came. Surgeons, hospital stewards, nurses,
detailed men, had to concentrate into moments what in ordinary
hospital routine may require hours.

Human nature was reduced to its lowest terms when hunger made the
possessors of a stomach forget whether they were men or wolves. The
heat was so intense, the marching so severe, that many of the men
would throw away blankets, rations, and equipments, and then make up
in camp by stealing. Severe punishment was meted out when ammunition
was thrown away. The débris on the line of march, and the waste, was
tremendous. Only strict military discipline made property respected.
Even then, the new conscript had to look out for his bright and
serviceable musket when the old veteran's arms were lost or out of
order. The newspaper correspondent owning a good horse had to keep
watch and ward, while so many dismounted cavalrymen whose horses had
been shot were as restless as fish out of water. It was hard enough
even for the soldiers to get rations during the Wilderness campaign,
harder often for the men of letters. Had it not been for kind
quartermasters, and the ability of the correspondents to find the
soft side of their hearts, they must have starved. Yet the rapidity
with which soldiers on their forced marches could turn fences into
fires and coffee into a blood-warmer was amazing. The whole process
from cold rails to hot coffee inside the stomach often occupied less
than twenty minutes. In these "ramrod days," "pork roasts"--slices of
bacon warmed in the flame or toasted over the red coals--made, with
hard tack, a delicious breakfast.

Once when the Second Corps had captured several thousand Confederate
prisoners, who were corralled in an open field in order to be safely
guarded, and their commander brought into the presence of General
Grant, the former remarked that his men had had nothing to eat for the
past twenty-four hours. Instantly Grant gave the order for several
wagon-loads of crackers to be brought up and distributed to the
hungry. Thereupon appeared a spectacle that powerfully impressed young
Carleton. The six-muled teams appeared in a few moments and were
whipped up alongside of the Virginia rail fence. Then the stalwart
teamsters, aided by some of the boys in blue, stood beside the wagons
to distribute boxes. Two men, taking each the end of a box in hand,
after two or three preparatory swings, heaved the box full of biscuit
up in the air and off into the field. Within the observation of young
Carleton, no box, while full, ever reached the ground, but was seized
while yet in the air, gripped and ripped open by the men that waited
like hungry wolves. They tore open the packed rows of crackers and
fairly jammed them down their famished mouths, breaking up the hard
pieces in their hands while waiting for their teeth to do its hasty
work. Humanity at its noblest, in Grant's instantly ordering food, and
in its most animal phase of necessity, in the hungry rebels devouring
sustenance, were illustrated on that day.

After work with the pen concerning the great battles in the
Wilderness, Carleton's great question was how to get his letters to
Boston. The first bundle was carried by Mr. Wing, of the New York
_Tribune_, the second by Mr. Coffin's nephew, Edmund Carleton. The
nearest point occupied by the Union army, which had communication with
the North by either boat, mail or telegraph, was Fredericksburg, more
than forty miles to the eastward. To reach this place one must ride
through a region liable at any moment to be crossed by regular
Confederate cavalry, Mosby's troops, or rebel partisans. There were
here and there outposts of the Union cavalry, but the danger, to a
small armed party, and much more to a single civilian rider, was very
great. Nevertheless, young Carleton was given his uncle's letters,
with the injunction to ride his horse so as not to kill it before
reaching Fredericksburg. "The horse's life is of no importance,
compared with the relief of our friends' anxiety; and, if necessary to
secure your purpose of prompt delivery, let the horse die, but
preserve its life if you can."

To make success as near to certainty as possible, young Carleton took
counsel with the oldest and wisest cavalrymen. He then concluded to
take the advice of one, who told him to give his horse a pint of corn
for breakfast and allow the animal plenty of time to eat and chew the
fodder well. Then, during the day, let the beast have all the water he
wanted, but no food till he reached his destination. Fortunately, his
horse, being "lean," was the one foreordained in the proverb for the
"long race." The young messenger lay down at night with his despatches
within his bosom, his saddle under his head, and his horse near him.
The bridle was fastened around his person, and all his property so
secured that the only thing that could be stolen from him without his
being awakened was his hat and haversack,--though this last was under
his saddle-pillow. Nothing else was loose.

The young man rose early. Alas! he had been bereaved indeed. Not only
his hat, but his haversack, with all toilet articles, his uncle's
historic spy-glass, and his personal notes of the campaign, were gone.
While his horse chewed its corn he found a soldier's cap, vastly too
small, but by ripping up the back seam he was able to keep it on his
head and save himself from sunstroke. Mounting his horse, he set out
eastward at sunrise. When some miles beyond the Federal lines, he was
challenged by horsemen whom he found to be of the 13th Pennsylvania
cavalry on outpost duty and just in from a foraging trip. They
hesitated to release him even after examining his passes,  but "that
from Butler fetched them." Even then, they did not like him to
proceed, assuring him that it was too dangerous for anybody to cross
such unprotected territory. He would be "a dead man inside of an
hour." However, they examined his horse's shoes, and gave him a strip
of raw pork, the first food he had tasted for many an hour. Finally
they bade him good-by, promising him that he was going "immediately to
the devil." Some miles further on, he saw near him two riders.
Mutually suspicious of each other, the distance was shortened between
the two parties until the character of each was made known. Then it
was discovered that all three were on the same errand, the solitary
horseman for Boston private enterprise, and the two cavalrymen in blue
for General Grant to the Government, were conveying news.

They rode pleasantly together for a few minutes, but when Carleton
noticed that their horses were fat and too well-fed to go very fast,
he bade his companions good-by. He put spurs to his horse. Though it
was the hottest day of the year, he reached Fredericksburg about the
middle of the forenoon, thirsty and hungry, having eaten only the
generous cavalryman's slice of raw pork on the way. He found there a
train loading with the wounded of several days' battle. He at once
began helping to carry the men on the cars. Volunteering as a nurse,
where nurses were most needed, though at first refused by the
surgeons, he got on board the train. From the Sanitary Commission
officers, he received the first "square meal" eaten for many days. At
Acquia Creek, he took the steamboat, and after helping to transfer the
wounded from cars to boat, he remained on board, sleeping on a railing
seat. Next morning he was in Washington, before the newspaper bureaus
were open.

He sent by wire a brief account of the Wilderness battles. At first
the operator was very reluctant to transmit the message, since he was
sure that none had been received by the Government, and he feared
reprimand or discharge for sending false reports. Indeed, this
information sent by Carleton was the first news which either President
Lincoln or Secretary Stanton had of Grant's latest movements.

From the telegraph office, young Carleton went to the Boston
_Journal_ Bureau, on 14th Street. There he had to wait some time,
since Mr. Coffin's successor in Washington, not expecting any tidings,
was leisurely in appearing. By the first mail going out, however, a
"great wad of manuscript," put in envelopes as letters, was posted.
Again the _Journal_ beat even the official messengers and the other
newspapers in giving the truthful reports of an eye-witness. Thus,
Charles Carleton Coffin scored another triumph.

How to get back to the army was now a question for young Carleton. The
orders of the Secretary of War were peremptory that no one should
leave Washington for the front. The correspondents who were there
might stay, but no fresh accessions could be made to the ranks of the
news-gatherers. How, then, could young Carleton pierce through the
hedge of authority?

But the man diligent in business shall stand before kings. Young
Carleton, securing a commission as nurse from Surgeon-General Hammond,
went down to the riverside, and, going on board a steamer arriving
with wounded, he helped to unload its human freight. When the last
man had been carried over the gunwales, young Carleton stayed on
board. When far down the river, on the returning boat, he ceased being
something like a stowaway, and became visible. No one challenged or
disturbed him. At Acquia Creek, he found that General Augur, having
sent all his wounded North, was just abandoning the communication.
Young Carleton then went to Belle Plain, and thence marched three days
with three companies of the Veteran Invalid Corps, and rejoined the
army on its forced march, when Grant moved by the left flank down
towards Petersburg.

Meanwhile, the pride of Mr. Coffin, the journalist, and the
conscience of Mr. Coffin, the man, the uncle, and the Christian, had
been at civil war. He was berating himself for having let his nephew
go on so dangerous an errand. When the news flew round the camp that
"young Carleton's back," Mr. Coffin rushed up to his nephew, wrung his
hand, and cried out, with beaming face, "Ed, you're a brick."



By this time, Mr. Coffin was himself nearly exhausted, having been
worn down by constant service, day and night, in one of the most
exhausting campaigns on record. Knowing that both armies would have to
throw up entrenchments and recuperate, he came home, according to
custom, to rest and freshen for renewed exertion. Leaving immediately
after the battle of Cold Harbor, that is, on June 7th, he was back
again in Washington on June 22d, and in Petersburg, June 26th. The
lines of offence and defence were now twenty miles long, and the great
battle of Petersburg, which was to last many months, the war of shovel
and spade, had begun. Mr. Coffin remained with the army, often riding
to City Point and along the whole front of the Union lines, reading
the news of the sinking of the _Alabama_ by the _Kearsarge_, and the
call of the President for a half million of men, seeing many of the
minor contests, the picket firing, the artillery duels, and learning
of the splendid valor of the black troops.

He came to Washington and Baltimore, when the news of Early's raid up
the Shenandoah Valley was magnified into an invasion of Maryland by
General Lee, with sixty thousand men behind them. Carleton, however,
was not one to catch the disease of fear through infectious
excitement. Finding Grant, the commander-in-chief of all the armies in
the field walking alone, quietly and unostentatiously, with his thumbs
in the armholes of his vest, and smoking a cigar, neither excited nor
disturbed, Carleton felt sure that the raid had been anticipated and
was well provided for. Both then, as well as on July 18th, when he had
to argue with friends who wore metaphorically blue glasses, he wrote
cheerfully and convincingly of his calm, deliberate judgment, that the
prospects of crushing the rebellion were never so bright as at that
moment. He concluded his letter thus, "Give Grant the troops he needs
now, and this gigantic struggle will speedily come to an end."

While Lee, disappointed in the results of Early's menace of
Washington, was summoning all his resources to resist the long siege,
and while Grant was awaiting his reinforcements and preparing the
cordon, which, like a perfect machine, should at the right moment be
set in motion to grind in pieces the armies of rebellion, Carleton was
chosen by the people of Boston to accompany their gift of food which
they wished to send to Savannah, to relieve the needy. Between Tuesday
and Thursday of one week, thirty thousand dollars were contributed.
The steamer _Greyhound_ a captured blockade-runner, was chartered.
Taking in her hold one-half of the provisions, she left Boston Harbor
at 3 o'clock on Saturday afternoon, January 23, 1865. With the
committee of relief, Carleton arrived in Savannah in time to ride out
and meet the army of Sherman. After attending meetings of the
citizens, seeing to the distribution of supplies, and writing a number
of letters, he now scanned all horizons, feeling rather than seeing
the signs of supreme activity. Whither should he go?

Sherman's army was about to move north to crush Johnston, and then
join Grant in demolishing Lee's host. Mr. Coffin could easily have
accompanied this marvellous modern Anabasis, which, however, instead
of retreat meant victory. He had an especially warm invitation from
Major-General A. S. Williams, commander of the 20th Corps, to be a
guest at his headquarters. There were many arguments to tempt him to
proceed with Sherman's army. Nevertheless, from the war
correspondent's point of view, it seemed wiser not to go overland, but
to choose the more unstable element, water. For nearly a month,
perhaps more, the army would have no communication with any telegraph
office, and for long intervals none with the seacoast.

Carleton knew that after Gilmore's "swamp angel" and investing forces
had done their work, Charleston must soon be empty. He longed to see
the old flag wave once more over Sumter. So, bidding farewell to
Sherman's army, he took the steamer _Fulton_ at Port Royal, which was
to stop on her way to New York at the blockading fleet off Charleston.
Happy choice! He arrived in the nick of time, just as the stars and
stripes were being hoisted over Sumter. It was on February  18th, at
2 P. M., that the _Arago_ steamed into Charleston Bay, where he had
before seen the heaviest artillery duel then known in the history of
the world, and the abandonment of the attack by the floating
fortresses. Now a new glory rose above the fort, while in the distance
rolled black clouds of smoke, from the conflagration of the city. He
penned this telegram to the Boston _Journal_:

"The old flag waves over Sumter, Moultrie, and the city of Charleston.

"I can see its crimson stripes and fadeless stars waving in the warm
sunlight of this glorious day.

"Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory."

Carleton had but a few minutes to write out his story, for the steamer
_Fulton_ was all ready to move North. How to get the glorious news
home, and be first torch-bearer in the race that would flash joy over
all the North, was now Carleton's strenuous thought. As matter of
fact, this time again, as on several occasions before, he beat the
Government and its official despatch-bearers, and all his fellow

How did he do it?

While other knights of the pen confided their missives to the purser
of the despatch steamer, _Arago_, Carleton put his in the hands of a
passing stranger, who was going North. Explaining to him the supreme
importance of rapidity in delivery of such important news, he
instructed him as follows:

"When your steamer comes close to the wharf in New York, it will very
probably touch and then rebound before she is fast to her moorings. Do
you stand ready on the gunwale, and when the sides of the vessel first
touch the dock, do not wait for the rebound; but jump ashore, and run
as for your life to the telegraph office, send the telegram, and then
drop this letter in the post-office."

Carleton's friend did as he was told. He watched his opportunity. In
spite of efforts to hold him back, he was on terra firma many minutes
before even the Government messenger left the boat; while,
unfortunately for the New York newspapers, the purser kept the various
correspondents' despatches in his pocket until his own affairs had
been attended to. It was about 8 o'clock in the morning when
Carleton's messenger faced the telegraph operators. Then, as Carleton
told the story in 1896, "they at first refused to take the story, as
they did not believe its truth, and said it would affect the price of
gold. In those days, there was a censorship of the telegraph, and
nothing was allowed to be sent which might affect the price of gold.

"But finally they sent the story, and it was bulletined in Boston and
created a great sensation. It was wired back to New York and
pronounced a canard by the papers there, since the steamer from
Charleston was in and they had no news from her.

"They were set right, though, when about noon the purser, having
finished his own work, delivered the stories entrusted to him."

The despatch, which was received in the _Journal_ office soon after 9
o'clock A. M., was issued as an extra, containing about sixty-five
lines, giving the outline of the great series of events. This telegram
was the first intimation that President Lincoln and the Cabinet at
Washington received of the glorious news. Being signed "Carleton," its
truth was assured.

The next day, in the city "where Secession had its birth," Carleton
walked amid the burning houses and the streets deserted of its
citizens, saw the entrance of the black troops, and went into the
empty slave-market, securing its dingy flag--the advertisement of sale
of human bodies--as a relic. During several days he wrote letters, in
which the notes of gratitude and exultation, mingled with pity and
sympathy with the suffering, and full of scarcely restrainable joy in
view of the speedy termination of the war, are discernible.



Whither now should Carleton go? There were but few fields to conquer,
for the slaveholders' rebellion was swiftly nearing its end, and
Carleton felt his work with armies and amid war would soon and happily
be over. He knew it was now time for Grant to deliver his blows, and
make the anvil at Petersburg ring. Eager to be in at the death of
treason, he hastened home, shortened his stay with wife and friends,
and hurried on to City Point. As usual, he was present in the nick of
time. He was able to write his first letter from the Army of the
Potomac, descriptive of the attack on Fort Steadman, March 25th. On
the 26th he saw again the sparkling-eyed Sheridan. Once more he began
to use his whip of scorpions upon the editors and people who were
bestowing all praises upon the Army of the West, with only  criticism
or niggardly commendation for the Armies of the Potomac and the James,
with many a sneer and odious comparison. He witnessed the tremendous
attack of the rebel host upon the Ninth Corps, hearing first the
signal gun, next the rebel yell, then the rattling fire of musketry
deepening into volleys, and finally the roar of the cannonade.
Carleton, within three minutes after the firing of the first gun, took
position with his glass and note-book, upon a hill. One hundred guns
and mortars were in full play, surpassing in beauty and grandeur all
other night scenes ever witnessed by him. In some moments he could
count thirty shells at once in the air, which was filled with fiery
arcs crossing each other at all angles. Between the flaming bases, at
the muzzle and the explosion, making two ends of an arch, there were
thousands of muskets flashing over the entrenchments. Yet, despite the
awful noise and the spectacle so magnificent to the eye, there were
few men hurt within the Union lines.

After forty hours of rain, the wind blew from the northwest, and the
mud rapidly disappeared. Then Carleton began to look out for the
great event, in which such giants as Lee and Johnston on one hand, and
Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Thomas, and Hancock on the other, were to
finish the game of military mathematics which had been progressing
during four years. Carleton wrote, March 31, 1865, "How inspiring to
watch the close of such a game." He expected a great battle. "The last
flicker of a candle is sometimes its brightest flame."

He was not disappointed. On mid-afternoon of April 1st, Carleton was
at Sheridan's headquarters witnessing the battle of Five Forks, and
the awful bombardment of Saturday night. Then went out Grant's order
to "attack along the whole line." Now began the bayonet war. At 4
o'clock on that eventful Sunday, like a great tidal wave, the Union
Army rolled over the rebel entrenchments. This is the way Carleton
describes it in _Putnam's Magazine_:

"Lee attempted to retrieve the disaster on Saturday by depleting his
left and centre, to reinforce his right. Then came the order from
Grant, 'Attack vigorously all along the line.' How splendidly it was
executed! The Ninth, the Sixth, the Second, the Twenty-fourth Corps,
all went tumbling in upon the enemy's works, like breakers upon the
beach, tearing away chevaux-de-frise, rushing into the ditches,
sweeping over the embankments, and dashing through the embrasures of
the forts. In an hour the C. S. A.,--the Confederate _Slave
Argosy_,--the Ship of State launched but four years ago, which went
proudly sailing, with the death's-head and cross-bones at her truck,
on a cruise against Civilization and Christianity, hailed as a
rightful belligerent, furnished with guns, ammunition, provisions, and
all needful supplies, by England and France, was thrown a helpless
wreck upon the shores of time."

On April 2d, he wrote from Petersburg Heights telling of the movements
of Sheridan's cavalry and the Ninth, Second, and Twenty-fourth Corps.

On the 3d, he was in Richmond, writing, "There is no longer a

He had been awakened by the roar of the Confederate blowing up of
ironclads in the James River. A few minutes later he was in the
Petersburg entrenchments. He rode solitary and lone from City Point
to Richmond, entering the city by the Newmarket road, and overtaking a
division of the Twenty-fifth Corps. Dismounting at the Spottswood
House, he registered his name on the hotel book, so thickly written
with the names of Confederate generals, as the first guest from a
"foreign country," the United States. The clerk bade him choose any
room, and even the whole house, adding that he would probably be
burned out in a few minutes. Parts of the city had already become a
sea of flame, but Richmond was saved, and the fire put out by Union
troops. Military order soon reigned, and plundering was stopped. He
met President Lincoln, and helped to escort him through the streets
lined with the black people whom he had set free. Later, Carleton saw
and talked with Generals Weitzel and Devens in the capitol, shaking
hands also with Admiral Farragut. From the top of the capitol
building, he reflected on the fall of Secession. He saw Libby Prison
inside and out, as well as the old slave-mart, holding the key of the
slave-pen in his hand. He has told the story of his Richmond
experiences in lectures, magazine articles, and in his book, "Freedom
Triumphant." His verbal descriptions enabled Thomas Nast to paint his
famous picture of Lincoln in Richmond.

Carleton's last letter, completing his war correspondence, is dated
April 12th, 1865. It depicts the scene of the surrender, thus
completing a series of about four hundred epistles, not counting the
ten or a dozen lost in transmission. In these he not only wrote
history and furnished material for it, but he kept in cheer the heart
of the nation.

Finally the great rebellion was crushed by the navy and army. Foote,
Farragut, Dupont, and Porter, with their men on blockade and
battle-deck duty, made possible the victories of Grant, Thomas,
Sheridan, and Sherman. Carleton as witness and historian on the ships,
in water fresh and salt, as well as in the camps and field,
appreciated both arms of the service. His letters were read by
thousands far beyond the Eastern States, and often his telegrams were
the only voice crying out of the wilderness of suspense, and first
heard at Washington and throughout the country, proclaiming victory.



After four years of strenuous activity of body and brain, it was not
easy for Carleton to settle down at once to commonplace routine.
Having exerted every nerve and feeling in so glorious a cause as our
nation's salvation, every other cause and question seemed trivial in
comparison. Succeeding such a series of excitements, it was difficult
to lessen the momentum of mind and nerve in order to live, just like
other plain people, quietly at home. One could not be drinking strong
coffee all the time, nor could battle shocks come any longer every few
weeks. The sudden collapse of the Confederacy, and the ending of the
war, was like clapping the air-brakes instantaneously upon the Empire
State Express while at full speed. While the air pressure might stop
the wheels, there was danger of throwing the cars off their trucks.

It took Carleton many months, and then only after strong exertion of
the will, careful study of his diet and physical habits, to get down
to the ordinary jog-trot of life and enjoy the commonplace. He
occupied himself during the latter part of 1865 in completing his
first book, which he entitled "My Days and Nights upon the Battle
Field." This was meant to be one in a series of three volumes. He had
written most of this, his first book, in camp and on the field. In
form, it was an illustrated duodecimo of 312 pages, and was published
by Ticknor and Fields, and later republished by Estes and Lauriat.

It carries the story of the war, and of Carleton's personal
participation in it in the Potomac and Mississippi River regions, down
to the fall of Memphis in the summer of 1862.

After this, followed another volume, entitled "Four Years of
Fighting," full of personal observation in the army and navy, from the
first battle of Bull Run to the fall of Richmond. This was a more
ambitious work, of five hundred and fifty-eight, with an introduction
of fifteen, pages. It contained a portrait and figure of the war
correspondent, with pencil and note-book in hand. Published by
Ticknor and Fields, it was reissued in 1882, by Estes and Lauriat,
under the title of "Boys of '61." Carleton completed a careful
revision of this work about a fortnight before his golden wedding, for
another edition which appeared posthumously in October, 1896.

Meanwhile, Mr. Coffin had reentered the work of journalism in Boston.
This, with his books and public engagements, as a lecturer and
platform speaker, occupied him fully. In the summer of 1866 the
shadows of coming events in Europe began to loom above the horizon of
the future. The great Reform movement in England was in progress. The
triumph of the American war for internal freedom, the vindication of
Union against the pretensions of State sovereignty, the release of
four million slaves, the implied honor put upon work, as against those
who despised workmen as "mudsills," had had a powerful reaction upon
the people of Great Britain. These now clamored for the rights of man,
as against privileged men. British liberty was once more "to broaden
down from precedent to precedent." In France, the World's Exposition
was being held. Prussia and Austria had rushed to arms.

The evolution of a modern German empire had begun. Austria and Hungary
were being drawn together. Should Prussia humble her Austrian foe,
then Italy would throw off the yoke, and the Italians, once more
united as a nation, would see the temporal power of the Pope vanish.
Victor Emmanuel's troops would enter Venice and perhaps even the
Eternal City.

To tell the story of storm and calm, of war and peace, Carleton was
again summoned by the proprietors of the Boston _Journal_, and at a
salary double that received during the war. This time his wife
accompanied him, to aid him in his work and to share his pleasure. On
one of the hottest days of the summer, they sailed on the Cunard
steamer _Persia_, from New York. This was to be Carleton's first
introduction to a foreign land. The chief topic of conversation during
the voyage was the Austro-Prussian War, which, it was generally
believed, would involve all Europe. The storm-cloud seemed to be vast
and appalling.

They arrived in Liverpool, the cloud had burst and disappeared, and
the sky was blue again. The battle of Sadowa had been fought. Prussian
valor and discipline in handling the needle-gun had won on the field.
Bismarck and diplomacy were soon to settle terms of peace, and change
the map of Europe.

Carleton hastened on to London to hear the debate in Parliament on the
extension of the suffrage, to see the uprising of the people, and to
notice how profoundly the great struggle in America and its results
had affected the English people. Great Britain's millions were
demanding cheaper government, without so many costly figureheads, both
temporal and spiritual, and manhood suffrage. The long period of
nearly constant war from 1688 to 1830 had passed. In area of peace,
men were thinking of, and discussing openly, the relation of the
middle classes and the laboring men to the nobility and landed
estates. Agitated crowds thronged the streets, singing "John Brown's
Soul is Marching on."

Mr. Gladstone's bill was defeated. Earl Russell was swept out of
office, and Disraeli was made chancellor. It was a field-day in the
House of Commons when Carleton heard Gladstone, Bright, Lowe, and the
Conservative and Liberal leaders. These were the days when such men as
Governor Eyre, after incarnating the most brutish principle of that
worse England, which every American and friend of humanity hates,
could be defended, lauded, and glorified. Indeed, Eyre's bloody policy
in Jamaica was approved of by such men as John Ruskin, Charles
Kingsley, and other literary men, to the surprise and pain of
Americans who had read their books. On the other hand, the men of
science and thinking people in the middle and laboring classes
condemned the red-handed apostle of British brutishness. All through
this, his first journey in Great Britain, as in other countries years
afterward, Carleton clearly distinguished between the Great Britain
which we love, and the Great Britain which we do not love,--the one
standing for righteousness, freedom, and progress; the other allied
with cruelty, injustice, and bigotry.

After studying British finance, political corruption, the army, and
the system of purchasing commissions then in vogue, and visiting the
homes of the Pilgrims in Lincolnshire, and the county fairs, the land
of Burns, and the manufactures of Scotland, Carleton turned his face
towards Paris. Before leaving the home land of his fathers, he dined
and spent an afternoon with the great commoner, John Bright. Mrs.
Coffin accompanied him and enjoyed Mrs. Bright, who was as modest,
unassuming, kind, and genial as her husband. John Bright listened with
intense interest and profound emotion to Carleton's personal
reminiscences of Mr. Lincoln, and of his entrance into Richmond.
Before leaving for France, on the 5th of September, Carleton wrote:

"The thunder of Gettysburg is shaking the thrones of Europe. English
workmen give cheers for the United States. The people of Germany
demand unity. Louis Napoleon, to whom Maximilian had said, 'Mexico and
the Confederacy are two cherries on one stalk,' was already sending
steamers to Vera Cruz, to bring back his homesick soldiers. Monarchy
will then be at an end in North America." Maximilian's wife was in
France, expecting soon to see her husband. In a few weeks, the corpse
of the bandit-emperor, sustained by French bayonets and shot by
Mexican republicans, and an insane widow startled Carleton, as it
startled the world.

The _Journal_ correspondent passed over to Napoleon's realm, spending
a few weeks in Paris, Dijon, and other French cities. In Switzerland
he enjoyed mightily the home of Calvin and its eloquent memories, Mont
Blanc and its associated splendors, the mountains, the glaciers, the
passes, and valleys, and, above all, his study of the politics of "The
freest people of Europe." How truly prophetic was Carleton, when he
wrote, "This republic, instead of being wiped off from the map, ...
will more likely become a teacher to Europe,"--a truth never so large
as now. He rode over the Splügen pass, and saw Milan and Verona. From
the city of Romeo and Juliet, he took a carriage in order to visit and
study, with the eye of an experienced engineer and veteran, the
details of the battle of Custozza, where, on June 24th, 1866, the
Archduke Albert gained the victory over the Italian La Marmora.

He reached Venice October 13th. In the old city proudly called the
Queen of the Adriatic, and for centuries a republic, until ground
under the heel of Austrian despotism, Carleton arrived in time to see
the people almost insane with joy. The Austrian garrison was marching
out and the Italian troops were moving in. The red caps and shirts of
the Garibaldians brightened the throng in the streets, and the old
stones of Venice, bathed in salt water at their bases, were deluged
with bunting, flags, and rainbow colors. When King Victor Emmanuel
entered, the scenes of joy and gladness, the sounds of music, the
gliding gondolas, the illuminated marble palaces and humble homes, the
worshipping hosts of people in the churches, and the singing bands in
the streets, taxed to the utmost even Carleton's descriptive powers.
The burden of joy everywhere was "Italy is one from the Alps to the
Adriatic, and Venice is free."

Turning his attention to Rome, where French bayonets were still
supporting the Pope's temporal throne, Carleton discussed a question
of world-wide interest,--the impending loss of papal power and its
probable results. Within a fortnight after his letter on this subject,
the last echoes of the French drum-beat and bugle-blast had died away.
The red trousers of the Emperor's servants were numbered among Rome's
mighty list of things vanished. In the Eternal City itself, Carleton
attended mass at St. Peter's, and then re-read and retold the story of
both the Roman and the Holy Roman Empire. Some of his happiest days
were passed in the studios of American artists and sculptors. There he
saw, in their beginning of outlines and color, on canvas or in clay,
some of the triumphs of art which now adorn American homes and cities.
Fascinated as he was in Pompeii and in Rome with the relics and
revelations of ancient life, he was even more thrilled by the rapid
strokes of destiny in the modern world. The separation of church and
state was being accomplished while Italy was waking to new life. The
Anabaptists were avenged and justified.

About the middle of February, Carleton was again in Paris, seeing the
Exposition and the Emperor of the French and his family. Then crossing
to England, he heard a great debate over the Reform measures, in which
Disraeli, Lowe, Bright, and Gladstone spoke. The results were the
humiliation of Disraeli, and the break-up of the British ministry.
Re-crossing the channel to Paris, he spent eight weeks studying the
Exposition and the country, writing many letters to the _Journal_.
After examination of the great fortresses in the Duchy of Luxembourg,
he went into Germany, tarrying at Heidelberg, Nuremberg, Munich, and
Vienna. He then passed down "the beautiful blue Danube" to Buda-Pesth,
where, having been given letters and commendations from J. L. Motley,
the historian of the Netherlands and our minister at Vienna, he saw
the glittering pageant which united the crowns of Austria and Hungary.
This was performed in the parish church in Buda, an edifice built over
six hundred years ago. It had been captured by the Turks and made into
a mosque, where the muezzin supplanted the priest in calls of prayer.
After the great victory won by John Sobieski, cross and altar were
restored. Here, amid all the glittering and bewildering splendor of
tapestry, banners, dynastic colors, national flags, jewels, and
innumerable heraldic devices, "the iron crown of Charlemagne," granted
by Pope Sylvester II. in the year 1000, and called "the holy and
apostolic crown," was placed by Count Andrassy upon the head of the
Emperor Francis Joseph. The ruler of Austria practically acknowledged
the righteousness of the revolution of 1849, and his own mistake, when
he accepted the crown from the once rebel militia-leader and then
exiled Andrassy, having already given to the Hungarians the popular
rights which they clamored for. Most gracious act of all, Francis
Joseph contributed, with the Empress (whom Mrs. Coffin thought the
handsomest woman in Europe), 100,000 ducats ($200,000) to the widows
and children of those who were killed in 1849, while fighting against
the empire. At this writing, December, 1896, we read of the unveiling,
at Kormorn, of a monument to Klapka, the insurgent general of 1849.

In Berlin, Carleton saw a magnificent spectacle,--the review of the
Prussian army in welcome to the Czar. He studied the battle-fields of
Leipsig and Lutzen, and the ever continuing gamblers' war at
Weisbaden. Then sailing down the Rhine, he revisited Paris to see the
distribution of prizes at the Exposition, the array of Mohammedan and
Christian princes, and the grand review of the French troops in honor
of the Sultan. In England once more, he looked upon the great naval
review of the British fleets of iron and wood. He studied the
ritualistic movement. He attended the meeting of anti-ritualists at
Salisbury, where, midway between matchless spire and preancient
Cromlech, one can meditate on the evolution of religion. He was at the
Methodist Conference of Great Britain in the city of Bristol, whence
sailed the Cabots for the discovery of America, now four centuries
ago. He read the modern lamentations of Thomas Carlyle, who, in his
article, "Shooting the Niagara and After," foretold the death of good
government and religion in the triumph of democracy.

At the British Scientific Association's gathering in Dundee, he heard
Murchison, Baker, Lyell, Thomson, Tyndall, Lubbock, Rankine,
Fairbairn, and young Professor Herschell. He was at the Social Science
Congress held in Belfast, meeting Lord Dufferin, Dr. James McCosh,
Goldwin Smith, and others. Two months more were given to study and
observation in the countries Ireland, England and Scotland, Holland
and Belgium. Of his frequent letters to the _Journal_ a score or so
were written especially to and for young people, though all of them
interested every class of readers. He kept a keen watch upon movements
in Italy and in Spain, where the Carlists' uprising had begun.

In this manner, nearly sixteen months slipped away in parts of Europe,
and amid scenes so remote as to require hasty journeys and much
travelling. Carleton received further directions to continue his
journey around the world. He was to visit the Holy Land, Egypt, India,
China, and Japan, to cross the Pacific, and to traverse the United
States as far as possible on the Pacific railway, then in course of
construction. This was indeed "A New Voyage Around the World," not
exactly in the sense of Defoe; but was, as Carleton called it in the
book describing it, which he afterwards wrote, "Our New Way Around the
World." No one before his time, so far as known, had gone around the
globe, starting eastward from America, crossing continents, and using
steam as the motor of transportation on land and water all the way.

Making choice of three routes to the Orient, Carleton left Paris
December 9th, 1867, for Marseilles. He found much of the country
thitherward nearly as forbidding as the hardest regions of New
Hampshire. The climate was indeed easier than in the Granite State,
but from November to March the people suffered more from cold than the
Yankees. They lived in stone houses and fuel was dear. At Marseilles
the vessels were packed so closely in docks, that the masts and spars
reminded him of the slopes of the White Mountains after fire had swept
the foliage away. Although innumerable tons of grain were imported
here, he saw no elevators or labor saving appliances like those at
Buffalo, which can load or empty ships' holds in a few half hours.
Many of the imports were labelled "Service Militaire," and were for
the support of that army of eight hundred thousand men, which the
impoverished French people, even with a decreasing population, were so
heavily taxed to support. Carleton noticed that merchants of France
were planning to lay their hands on the East and win its trade.



It was "blowing great guns," and the sea was white with foam, when on
the ninety-eighth anniversary of Washington's birthday into another
world, December 14th, 1867, the steamer _Euphrates_, of the M. I.
Company, left Marseilles. The iron ship was staunch, though not
overclean. On the deck were boxed up eight carriages for Turks who had
been visiting Paris. The captain amused himself, in hours which ought
not to have been those of leisure, with embroidery. After a run
through the Sardinian straits, they had clear sea room to Sicily.
Stromboli was quiet, but Vesuvius was lively. At Messina they took on
coal, oranges, five Americans, and one Englishman. On learning
Carleton's plan to travel eastward to San Francisco, the Queen's
subject remarked, with surprise:

"There was a time when we Englishmen had the routes of travel pretty
much all to ourselves, but I'll be hanged if you Americans haven't
crowded us completely off the sidewalk. We can't tie your

Greece was sighted at sunrise. With Carleton's mental picture of the
great naval victory of Navarino, by which the murderous Turk was
driven off the sea, rose boyhood's remembrances of the fashionable
"Navarino bonnets," with their colossal flaring fronts, with beds of
artificial flowers set between brims and cheeks, making rivalry of
color amid vast ostentation of bows and ribbon. With his glass, he
could discern, at one point upon the hillside, the hut of a hermit,
who had discovered that man cannot live upon history alone, but that
beans and potatoes are desirable. The practical hermit cultivated a

Arrival at Piræus was at 2 A. M. The party of passengers descended the
ladder into a boat, and there sat shivering in their shawls, where
they were likely to be left to historic meditation until the
custom-house opened, except for the well-known fact that silver often
conquers steel. One franc, held up before the gaze of a highly
important personage possessed of a sword and much atmosphere of
authority, secured smiles and welcome to the sacred soil of Greece,
immunity from search, and direction to a café where all was warm and
comfortable, and from which, in due time, hotel accommodations were

In the city of Pericles, they saw the play of "Antigone" in the
theatre of Herod Atticus. On visiting the Parthenon, with its
marvellous sculpture, which Turkish soldiers had so often used as a
target, they found that the chief inhabitants of the ruin were crows.
They met the missionaries who were influential in the making of the
new Grecian nation. From Athens they went to Constantinople, where Dr.
Cyrus Hamlin, in Robert College, was lighting the beacon of hope for
the Christians in the Turkish empire.

Leaving Europe at that end of it on which the Turks have encamped
during four centuries, and where they are still blasting and
devouring, Carleton visited Africa, the old house of bondage. At
Alexandria his first greeting was a cry for bakshish. Within half an
hour after landing, most of his childhood's illusions were dispelled.
A drenching rain fell. The delta of the Nile had been turned into one
vast cotton field which looked like a mass of snow. The clover was in
bloom along the railway to Cairo. In this land of the donkey and of
the Arabian Nights Entertainments, he received several practical
lessons in the art of comparative swindling, soon learning that in
roguery both Christians and the followers of the prophet are one.

In studying his Bible amid the lands which are its best commentary,
Carleton concluded that the crossing of the Red Sea by the fugitive
slaves from Egypt, over an "underground railway made by the order of
God himself," "instead of being in the domain of the miraculous, is
under natural law." At Suez, one of the half-way houses of the world,
he was amused at the jollity of the Mohammedans, who had just broken
their long lenten fast from tobacco and smoke, and who were very happy
in their own way.

In thirty hours after leaving Alexandria, the party, now joined by
Rev. E. B. Webb, had its first view of Palestine,--a sandy shore, low,
level as a Western prairie, tufted with palms, green with olives,
golden with orange orchards, and away in the distance an outline of
gray mountains. Soon, in Jerusalem, he was among the donkeys, dogs,
pilgrims, and muleteers. Out on the Mount of Olives and in starlit
Bethlehem, by ancient Hebron, and then down to low-lying Jericho and
at the Dead Sea, he was refreshing memory and imagination, shedding
old fancies and traditions, discriminating as never before between
figures of rhetoric and figures of rock and reality, while feeding his
faith and cheering his spirit. Then from Jerusalem, after a twenty
days' stay, the party rode northward to Shechem, the home of the
Samaritan, and over the plain of Esdraelon. There Carleton's military
eye revelled in the scene, and he made mind-pictures of the battles
fought there during all the centuries. Then, after tarrying at
Nazareth and Beyrout, we find him, April 11th, at Suez, on board a
steamer for the East.

At Paris he had seen De Lesseps, amid tumultuous applause, receive
from Napoleon III. a gold medal.

Now Carleton was on the steamship _Baroda_, moving down the Red Sea,
once thought to be an arm of the Indian Ocean, but which we now know
to be only a portion of "the great rift valley,"--the longest and
deepest and widest trough on the earth's surface, which extends from
the base of Mount Lebanon and the Sea of Galilee, through the Jordan
Valley, the Dead Sea, the dried up wadies, the Red Sea, and the chain
of lakes and Nyanzas discovered in recent years in the heart of
Africa, and extending nearly to Zanzibar. Passing by Great Britain's
garrisons, lighthouses, and coaling stations, which guard her pathway
to India, Bombay was reached April 27th.

In the interior, in the distressing hot weather of India, Carleton
found this the land of punkas, tatties, and odors both sweet and
otherwise. He was impressed with the amount of jewelry seen, not in
the bazaars, but on the persons of the women. "Through all ages India
has swallowed up silver, and the absorption is as great as ever
to-day." He was amused at the little men's big heads, covered with a
hundred and fifty feet, or more, of turban material, which made so
many of them look like exaggerated tulips. He noticed the phenomena of
religion, the trees smeared with paint, the Buddhist caves, the
Parsee Towers of Silence, the phallic emblems of nature-worship.
Evidently he was not converted to cremation, for he wrote, "The earth
is our mother, and it is sweeter to lie on her bosom amid blooming
flowers or beneath bending elms and sighing pines in God's Acre." He
noticed how rapidly the railways were breaking down caste. "The
locomotive, like a ploughshare turning the sward of the prairies, is
cutting up a faith whose roots run down deep into bygone ages.... The
engine does not turn out for obstructions, such as in former days
impeded the car of progress."

Though caste was stronger than the instincts of humanity, this relic
of the brutishness of conquest was not allowed to have sway in railway

Carleton sums up his impressions of the religions of India in this
sentence: "The world by wisdom knew not God." He found his
preconceived ideas of central India all wrong. Instead of jungles,
were plateaus, forest-covered mountains, groves, and bamboo. With the
thermometer at 105° in the shade, the woodwork shrunk so that the
drivers of the dak or ox-cart wound the spokes of the wheels with
straw and kept them wet, so that Carleton noticed them "watering their
carriage as well as horses." Whether it was his head that swelled or
his hat which shrunk, he found the latter two sizes too small at
night. In India, between June and October, little business is done.
The demand for cotton, caused by the American war, had set India
farmers to growing the bolls over vast areas, but the cost of carriage
to the seaboard was so great that new roads had to be built.

"Sahib Coffin" at the garrison towns was amused at both the young
British officers, with their airs, and at the old veterans, who were
as dignified as mastiffs. Living in the central land of the world's
fairy tales, he enjoyed these legends which "give perfume to
literature, science, and art." At Allahabad, in the middle of the
fort, he saw a pillar forty-two feet high, erected by King Asoka, 250
B. C., bearing an inscription commanding kindness to animals. In one
part of India, at the golden pagoda of Benares, he found the monkeys
worshipped as gods, or at least honored as divine servants, while in
the North they were pests and thieves, the enemy of the farmer.

Among other hospitalities enjoyed, was a dinner with an American, Mr.
C. L. Brown, who represented the Tudor Ice Company, of Boston, and who
sold solidified water from Wenham Lake. The piece that clinked in the
glass of Carleton, "sparkling and bright in its liquid light," had
been harvested in 1865, three years before. He described it as a
"piece of imprisoned cold, fragment of a bygone winter," which called
up "bright pictures of boys and girls with their rosy cheeks and
flashing skates,--a breeze of old associations." At Benares, various
root ideas of Hindoo holiness were illustrated, including the linga
worship and the passion for motherhood in that strange phallic cult
which, from India to Japan, has survived all later forms of religion.
In Calcutta, Old India had already been forgotten in the newer and
more Christian India. He visited especially the American Union Mission
Home, where Miss Louise Hook and Miss Britton were training the girls
of India to nobler ideals and possibilities of life. After seeing the
school, Carleton wrote: "Theirs is a great work. Educate the women of
India, and we withdraw two hundred millions from gross idolatry. This
mighty moral leverage obtained, the whole substratum of society will
be raised to a higher level. The mothers of America fought the late
war through to its glorious end. They sustained the army by their
labor, their sympathy, their heroic devotion. The mothers of India are
keeping the idols on their pedestals."

Personal accidents in India were minor and amusing, mostly. Crossing
the Bay of Bengal on the _Clan Alpine_, one of England's opium
steamers bound to China, a boiler blew up. The "priming" of the iron,
the life of the metal, having been burned out in passing from fresh to
salt water, was the cause of the trouble. Nineteen persons, eighteen
natives and a Scotsman, were killed or badly scalded. Carleton rushed
out from his stateroom, amid clouds of steam that made his path nearly
invisible, and was happy in finding his wife safe on deck at the
stern. At sunset the Christian was given the rites of burial. The dead
Hindoos, not being used to religious attentions paid to corpses, were
heaved into the sea, and the voyage continued. This was not the first
or the last time that Carleton experienced the sensation of being
blown up while on a steamboat.



At Penang, in the Spice Islands, the verge of the Flowery Kingdom
seemed to have been reached. "We might say that that land had bloomed
over its own borders, and its blossoms had fallen here.... Nearly the
entire population of this island, 125,000 in all, are Chinese." At
Singapore, the town of lions, he met an American hunter named Carroll,
who lived with the natives and had won fame as a dead shot.
Fortunately for humanity, that contests with the aboriginal beasts a
possession of this part of the earth, the leonine fathers frequently
devour their cubs, else the earth would be overrun with the lions.

Seventeen days on the _Clan Alpine_ passed by, and then, on the 10th
of June, the captain pointed out the "Asses' Ears," two black specks
on the distant horizon, which gave them their first glimpse of China.
On Saturday afternoon, Mrs. Coffin had the pleasure of being told, by
the healthy-looking captain of the sampan or boat by which they were
to get ashore, that she was "a red-faced foreign devil." This was a
Chinese woman, of thirty-five or forty, who commanded the craft. The
next day, Sunday, they went to church in sedan-chairs, and sat under
the punkas or swinging-fans, which cooled the air. On Monday, while
going around with, or calling upon, the missionaries Preston, Kerr,
and Parker, the Americans who had a sense of the value of minutes
found that the "Chinese are an old people. Their empire is finished,
their civilization complete, and time is a drug." The walls of the
great Roman Catholic Cathedral, costing over four million dollars,
were then but half-way up.

Being a true Christian, without cant or guile, Carleton, as a matter
of course, was a warm friend of the missionaries, and always sought
them out to visit and cheer them. He rarely became their guest, or
accepted hospitality under the roofs either of American consuls or
missionaries, lest critics might say his views were colored by the
glasses of others. He would have his own mind and opinions judicial.
Nevertheless, he knew that those who knew the language of the people
were good guides and helpers to intelligent impressions. In Shanghai
he met Messrs. Yates, Wilson, and Thomson, and, in the Sailors'
Chapel, Rev. E. W. Syle, afterwards president of the Asiatic Society
of Japan. Carleton noticed that when the collection was taken up among
the tars present, the plate, when returned, showed several silver
dollars. The travellers went up the Yangtse in a New York built Hudson
River steamer, commanded by a Yankee captain from Cape Ann. At Wuchang
he called on Bishop Williams, whom he had met in London at the
Pan-Anglican council, and who afterwards made so noble record of work
in the Mikado's empire.

So far from being appalled at what he saw of the Chinese and their
civilization, Carleton noted many things to admire,--their democratic
spirit, their competitive civil service examinations, and their
reverence for age and parental authority. At the dinners occasionally
eaten in a Chinese restaurant, he asked no questions as to whether the
animal that furnished the meat barked, mewed, bellowed, or whinnied,
but took the mess in all good conscience.

From the middle of the Sunrise Kingdom, the passage was made on the
American Pacific mail-steamer _Costa Rica_, through a great storm. In
those days before lighthouses, the harbor of Nagasaki was reached
through a narrow inlet, which captains of ships were sometimes puzzled
to find. They steamed under and within easy range of the fifty or more
bronze cannon, mounted on platforms under sheds along the cliffs.
Except at Shimonoséki, in 1863 and 1864, when floating and fast
fortresses, steamers and land-batteries exchanged their shots, to the
worsting of the Choshiu clansmen, the military powers of the Japanese
had not yet been tested. Accepting the local traditions about the
Papists' Hill, or Papenberg, from which, in 1637, the insurgent
Christians are said to have been hurled into the sea, Carleton wrote,
"The gray cliff, wearing its emerald crown, is an everlasting memorial
to the martyr dead."

It was in this harbor that the American commander, James Glynn, in
1849, in the little fourteen-gun brig _Preble_, gave the imperious
and cruel Japanese of Tycoon times a taste of the lesson they were to
learn from McDougall and Pearson. Soon they reached Déshima, the
little island which, in Japan's modern history, might well be called
its leaven; for here, for over two centuries, the Dutch dispensed
those ideas, as well as their books and merchandise, which helped to
make the Japan of our day. Carleton's impressions of the Japanese were
that they had a more manly physique, and were less mildly tempered,
but that they were lower in morals, than the Chinese. The women were
especially eager to know the mysteries of crinoline, and anxiously
inspected the dress of their foreign sisters.

Japan, in 1868, was in the throes of civil war. The lamp of history at
that time was set in a dark lantern, and very few of the foreigners,
diplomatic, missionary, or mercantile, then in the islands, had any
clear idea of what was going on, or why things were moving as they
were. It may be safely said that only a handful of students, who had
made themselves familiar with the ancient native records, and with
that remarkable body of native literature produced in the first half
of this century, could see clearly through the maze, and explain the
origin and meaning of the movement of the great, southern clans and
daimios against the Tycoon. It was in reality the assertion of the
Mikado's imperial and historic claims to complete supremacy against
the Shogun's or lieutenant's long usurpation. It was an expression of
nationality against sections. The civil war meant "unite or die."
Carleton naturally shared in the general wrong impressions and
darkness that prevailed, and neither his letters nor his writing give
much light upon the political problem, though his descriptions of the
scenery and of the people and their ways make pleasing reading. In
reality, even as the first gun against Sumter and the resulting civil
war were the results of the clash of antagonistic principles which had
been working for centuries, so the uprising and war in Japan in
1868-70, which resulted in national unity, one government, one ruler,
one flag, the overthrow of feudalism, the abolition of ancient abuses,
and the making of new Japan, resulted from agencies set in motion over
a century before. Foreign intercourse and the presence of aliens on
the soil gave the occasion, but not the cause, of the nation's

The new government already in power at Kioto, under pressure of
bigoted Shintoists, revamped the ancient cult of Shinto, making it a
political engine. Persecution of the native Christians, who had lived,
with their faith uneradicated, on the old soil crimsoned by the blood
of their martyr ancestors, had already begun. Carleton found on the
steamer going North to Nagasaki one of the French missionaries in
Japan, who informed him that at least twenty thousand native
Christians were in communication with their spiritual advisers. At sea
they met the Japanese steamer named after Sir Harry Parkes, the able
and energetic British minister, who was one of the first to understand
the situation and to recognize the Mikado. This steamer had left
Nagasaki three weeks previously, with four hundred native Christians.
These had been tied, bundled, and numbered like so many sticks of
firewood, and carried northward to the mountain-crater prisons of

Many of these prisoners I afterwards saw. When in Boston I used to
talk with Mr. Coffin about Japanese history and politics, and of the
honored Guido F. Verbeck, one of the finest of scholars, noblest of
missionaries, and best friends of Japan. No one was more amused than
Carleton over that mistake, in his letter and book, from hearsay,
about "Mr. Verbeck, a Dutchman who is trading there" (Nagasaki).

They passed safely through the straits of Shimonoséki, admiring the
caves, the surf, the multitudes of sea-fowl, the silver streams
falling down from the heights of Kokura, on the opposite side of
Choshiu, and from mountains four thousand feet high, and made
beautiful with terraces and shrubbery. Through the narrow strait where
the water ran like a mill-race, the steamer ploughed her way. They
passed heights not then, as a few years before, dotted numerously with
the black muzzles of protruding cannon, nor fortified as they are now
with steel domes, heavy masonry, and modern artillery. Here in this
strait, in 1863, the gallant David McDougall, in the U. S. corvette
_Wyoming_, performed what was perhaps the most gallant act ever
wrought by a single commander in a single ship, in the annals of our
navy. Here, in 1864, the United States, in alliance with three
European Powers, went to war with one Parrott gun under Lieutenant
Pierson on the _Ta-Kiang_.

Like nearly all other first gazers upon the splendid panorama of the
Inland Sea, Carleton was enthralled with the ever changing beauty,
while interested in the busy marine life. At one time he counted five
hundred white wings of the Old Japan's bird of commerce, the junk. At
the new city of Hiogo, with the pretty little settlement of Kobé yet
in embryo, they spent a happy day, having Dr. W. A. P. Martin to read
for them the inscriptions in the Chinese characters on the Shinto
temple stones and tablets.

The ship then moved northward, through that wonder river in the ocean,
the Kuro-Shiwo, or Black Current, the Gulf Stream of the Pacific,
first discovered and described by the American captain, Silas Bent.
The great landmarks were clearly visible,--Idzu, with its mountains
and port of Shimoda, where Townsend Harris had won the diplomatic
victory which opened Japan to foreign residence and commerce;
white-hooded Fuji San, looking as chaste and pure as a nun, with her
first dress of summer snow; Vries Island, with its column of gray
smoke. Further to the east were the Bonin Islands, first visited by
Captain Reuben Coffin, of Nantucket, in the ship _Transit_, in 1824.
When past Saratoga Spit, Webster Isle, and Mississippi Bay, the party
stepped ashore at Yokohama, where on the hill was a British regiment
in camp. The redcoats had been ordered from India during the dangers
consequent upon civil strife, and belonged to the historic Tenth
Regiment, which Carleton's grandfather and his fellow patriots had met
on Bunker Hill.

It was a keen disappointment to Carleton not to be able to see Tokio,
then forbidden to the tourist, because of war's commotion. A heavy
battle had been fought July 4, 1868, at Uyéno, of old the place of
temples, and now of parks and exhibitions, in the northern part of the
city. The Mikado's forces then moved on the strongholds of the rebels
at Aidzu, but foreigners knew very little of what was then going on.
After a visit to the mediæval capital of the Shoguns, at Kamakura, he
took the steamer southward to Nagasaki, and again set his face
eastward. He was again a traveller to the Orient, that is, to America.
On the homeward steamer, the _Colorado_, were forty-one first-class
passengers, of whom sixteen were going to Europe, taking this new, as
it was the nearest and cheapest, way home. Below deck were one
thousand Chinese. Before the steamer got out of the harbor it stopped,
at the request of Admiral Rowan, and four unhappy deserters were taken

The Pacific Ocean was crossed in calm. It seemed but a very few days
of pleasant sailing on the great peaceful ocean,--with the days'
gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, which hollowed out of the sky caverns
upon caverns of light full of color more wonderful than Ali Baba's
treasure-chamber, and nights spiritually lovely with the silvery light
of moon and stars. On August 15th, 1868, they passed through the
Golden Gate, and "Aladdin's palace of the West," the cosmopolitan city
of San Francisco, was before their eyes.

Not more wonderful than the things ephemeral and the strange changes
going on in the city, wherein were very few old men, but only the
young and strong of many nations, were the stabilities of life.
Carleton found time to examine and write about education, the
libraries, churches, asylums, charities, and the beginnings of
literature, science, and art. In one of the schools he found them
debating "whether Congress was right in ordering Major Andre to be
executed." Lest some might think Carleton lacking in love to "Our Old
Home," we quote, "It is neither politic, wise, nor honest to instill
into the youthful mind animosity towards England or any other nation,
especially for acts committed nearly a century ago."

In his youth he had played the battles of Bunker Hill and Bennington,
in which his living ancestors had fought, and of which they had told
him,--using the roadside weeds as British soldiers, and sticks,
stones, and a cornstalk knife for weapons. In after-life, he often
expressed the emphatic opinion that our school histories were
viciously planned and written, preserving a spirit that boded no good
for the future of our country and the world. In the nineties, he was
asked by the Harpers to write a history of the United States for young
people. This he hoped to do, correcting prejudices, and emphasizing
the moral union between the two nations using English speech; but all
too soon the night came when he could not do the work proposed.

Remaining in California over two months, Carleton started eastward in
the late autumn over the Central Pacific railway, writing from Salt
Lake City what he saw and knew about Mormonism and the polygamy and
concubinage there shamefully prevalent. From the town of Argenti,
leaving the iron rails, they enjoyed and suffered seven days and
nights of staging until smooth iron was entered upon once more. They
passed several specimens of what Carleton called "pandemonium on
wheels,"--those temporary settlements swarming with gamblers and the
worst sort of human beings, male and female. They abode some time in
the city of Latter Day Saints. They saw Chicago. "Home Again" was sung
before Christmas day. Once more he breathed the salt air of Boston.
Carleton wrote a series of letters on "The Science of Travel," showing
where, when, and for how much, one could enjoy himself in the various
countries and climates in going around the world.

Carleton summed up his impressions after completing the circuit of the
globe in declaring that three aggressive nations, England, Russia, and
the United States, were the chief makers of modern history,--America
being the greatest teacher of them all, and "our flag the symbol of
the world's best hope."



It was one of the great disappointments of Carleton's life that, on
returning from his journey around the world, he was not made, as he
had with good reason fully expected to be made, chief editor of the
_Boston Journal_. We need not go into details of the matter, but
suffice it to say, that Carleton was not one to waste time in idle
regrets. Indeed, his was a character that could be tested by
disappointments, which, in his life, were not a few. Instead of
bitterness, came the ripened fruit of patience and mellowness of

His renewed acquaintance with the region west of the Mississippi,
which he had made during his recent trip across the continent, only
whetted his appetite for more seeing and knowing of the future seat of
America empire. He accepted with pleasure a commission to explore the
promising regions of Minnesota and Dakota, and to give an account
especially of the Red River Valley.

Already, in 1858, he had written and published, at his own expense, a
pamphlet of twenty-three pages, entitled "The Great Commercial Prize,"
Boston, A. Williams & Co. It cost him fifty dollars, then a large sum
for him, from which the advantage accrued to the nation at large. It
was addressed to every American who values the prosperity of his
country. It was "An inquiry into the present and prospective
commercial position of the United States, and a plea for the immediate
construction of a railroad from Missouri River to Puget Sound." It
opens with a review of the great events in the world which have had a
direct and all-important bearing upon the United States. Hitherto,
since the modern mastery of the ocean through the mariner's compass
and the science of navigation, the Atlantic had been the domain of sea
power. The Pacific was in future to be the scene of greater
opportunities and grander commercial developments. With China and
Japan entering the brotherhood of nations, and Russia extending its
power towards the Pacific, "five hundred millions of human beings were
henceforth to be reached by the hand of civilization." The countries
and continents bordering the greatest of oceans were animated with new
ideas of progress. On our own western shores, California, Oregon, and
Washington were awaiting the touch of industry to yield their riches.

As a reader of the signs of the times, Carleton pointed out the great
changes which were to take place in the thoroughfares of trade and
travel. Instead of civilization depending for its communication with
India, China, and Japan, by passages around the southern capes of the
two continents, the paths of water and land traffic were to be
directly from China, Russia, and Japan to northern America. Noticing
that England had made herself the world's banking-house, he saw that
the time had come when the United States (which he believed to be
potentially, at least, a larger and a nobler England) must stretch out
her left hand, as well as her right, for the grasping of the world's
prizes. He pointed out the wonderful openings along the shore,
providing harbors at the mouths of the two great river systems on the
Pacific Coast, those of the Sacramento and the Columbia.

Carleton urged that "A railroad to Puget Sound, constructed
immediately, alone will take the key of the Northwest from the hands
of the nations which stand with us in the front rank of power."
Important as the railway to San Francisco was, it would not yield the
prize. To his vision it was even then perfectly clear, as to all the
world it has been since the Chino-Japanese war of 1894-95, that the
chief American staple which China and Japan needs is cotton, though
machinery, petroleum, and flour are in demand. After giving facts,
statistics, and well-wrought arguments, he wrote: "Again we say it is
easy for America to lay its hand upon the greatest prize of all times,
to make herself the world's workshop,--the world's banker. Shall
England or the United States control the northwestern section of the
continent and the trade of the Pacific?"

Over a decade later on, in 1869, Carleton revelled in the opportunity
of being once more the herald and informer concerning regions ready to
welcome the plough, the machine-shop, the home, the church, the
school, and the glories of civilization. He spent several months
mostly in the open air and chiefly on horseback, though often on foot
and in vehicles of various descriptions, camping out under the stars,
or accepting such rough accommodation as was then afforded in regions
where palace cars, elegant hotels, and comfortable homes are now
commonplaces. His letters to the _Journal_ were breezy and sparkling.
They diffused the aroma of the Western forests and prairies, while
marked with that same wealth of graphic detail, spice of anecdote,
lambent humor, and garnish of a conversation which delighted the
readers of his correspondence from the army and from the older seats
of empire in Asia and in Europe. Carleton's literary photographs were
the means of moving many a young and adventurous couple from their
homes in the East to the frontier, and of firing the ambition of many
a lad and lass to seek their fortune west of the Mississippi. Since
California was settled and the Pacific Coast occupied even at
scattered points, our frontiers, strange as it may seem, have not been
at the eastern or western ends, but on the middle of the country.

After this campaign of correspondence, Carleton returned home and
wrote that little book which has been so widely read, both in the East
and in the West, entitled "The Seat of Empire." It was published in
1870 by Fields & Co., of Boston. It had eight pages of introduction,
with a map of the territory yet to be settled. It was a volume of 232
pages, 16mo, and was illustrated. For many years afterwards, amid the
hundreds of letters received from grateful readers of his books, none
seemed to give Carleton more pleasure than those from readers who had
become settlers. This little book had indeed come to many as a
revelation of the promised land. The contagion reached even to Mrs.
Coffin's brothers, one of whom, with a nephew of Carleton, became a
pioneer farmer in the Red River Valley in Dakota.

Another pathfinder, a literary as well as military pioneer in opening
this noble region to civilization, was the warm friend of Carleton and
of the writer, General Henry B. Carrington, of the United States
regular army, and author of that standard authority, "Battles of the
American Revolution." During the Civil War, General Carrington had
been stationed in Indiana, where he was the potent agent in spoiling
the treasonable schemes of the Knights of the Golden Circle, and in
nobly seconding Governor Morton in holding the State true to the
Union. The war over, he served on the Western plains until 1868, and
then wrote "Absaraka, the Home of the Crows," which was a score of
years afterwards republished under the title of "Absaraka, the Land of
Massacre." General Carrington was afterwards one of the active members
of Shawmut Church. With his fine scholarly and literary tastes, he
made a delightful companion.

Any well-told narrative of the exploration, conquest, and civilization
of a country, with a history which has helped to make the pageant and
procession of human achievement so rich, is, when fully known, of
thrilling interest. How grand is the story of the Aryans in India, of
the first historic invaders of Japan, of the Roman advance into
northern Europe, of the making of Africa and of western America in our
own times! Even the culture-epoch of the North American Indians, as
written by Longfellow, in his "Song of Hiawatha," is as fascinating
as a fairy tale.

Carleton, believing himself and his country to be "in the foremost
files of time" and "the heirs of all the ages," came, saw, and wrote
of our empire in the Northwest, with an intoxication of delight.
Furthermore, he believed that those who came after him would see
vastly more of this part of the earth replenished and subdued. Yet the
conquest for which he longed was not to be with blood. His hope and
his purpose were intensely ethical and spiritual. His vision was of
the triumph of peace, law, order, religion. He urged emigrants looking
beyond the Mississippi, or the Rockies, to go in groups, and take with
them "the moral atmosphere of their old homes." He advocated the
opening of a school the first week and a Sunday school the first
Sunday following the arrival of such a colony at its destination. Even
a bare, new home, cramped and poor, he suggested, might be to them the
type of a better one in more prosperous years, and of the Home beyond,
so that, from the beginning, "on Sabbath morning, swelling upward on
the air, sweeter than the lay of the lark among the flowers, will
ascend the songs of the Sunday school established in their new home.
Looking forward with ardent hope of the earthly prosperous years, they
would look still beyond to the heavenly, and sing:

          'My heavenly home is bright and fair;
           Nor pain nor death can enter there.'"

In Japan's long and brilliant roll of benefactors and civilizers, no
names shine more gloriously than those of the Openers of Mountain
paths,--of men, priests or laymen, who, by showing the way,
surmounting the dangers and difficulties, revealed and made accessible
great spaces of land for home and harvest field. The Hebrew prophet
speaks eloquently of those who "raise up the foundation of many
generations," and of those called "the restorer of the paths to dwell
in." In this glorious company of the world's benefactors, Carleton's
name is written indelibly. Even "far-sighted" men deemed the project
of a railway to Puget Sound "visionary," when Carleton's pamphlet was
published. He lived to see it a reality.



Steeped in the ancestral lore of New England, a student of the origins
of this country, a reader of, and thinker upon, the records of the
past, having seen history in its making, and, as it were, in the very
furnace and crucibles of war, having traversed the globe along the
line of its highest civilizations, having watched at the cradle of our
own nobler empire in the great West, Carleton determined to write for
the young people of this nation the story of liberty, and of liberty's
highest expression, "The American People and Their Government."

It was not a sudden impulse that came to him, it was no accident, but
the result of a deliberate purpose. Opportunity and leisure now made
the way perfectly clear. He had long been of the opinion that the
events of history might be presented vividly to the youthful mind in
a series of pictures. He would portray the experiences of individuals
whom the reader has been led to regard as persons, and not merely
parts of an army, a church, and a government. He believed this was a
better method, with young readers at least, than that usually followed
by the majority of writers of history. To form his style, he read and
re-read the very best English authors. He studied Burke especially,
and ascribed to him the strongest single literary influence he had
known. Years afterwards, when (like the swords of the Japanese
steel-smiths, Muramasa and Sanémori, which never would rest quietly in
their scabbards, but always kept flying out) Carleton's books were
nearly always usefully absent from the shelves, the librarian at
Dover, New Hampshire, in surprise made criticism to his face of
Carleton's own statement about Burke. She remarked to him that she had
not thought of Burke as a model for a person intending to write
fiction,--referring, doubtless, to "Winning His Way," and "Caleb

Carleton replied that the strong, fine style of the British author
gave him the best possible lesson in presenting a subject. "Whether
writing fiction or fact, if the author wished to make and retain an
impression on the mind of his reader, let him study Burke." At a
particular time, as the chief librarian of a large public library told
him, Carleton's books were more largely read than those of any living
writer in the world.

"Caleb Krinkle" is a story of American life in which the characters,
the habits of thought, and the rich details of daily routine are given
with minuteness, accuracy of observation, and genuine sympathy. The
landscape is that of New Hampshire, but the outlook is far beyond, for
the author's purpose is to sow broadcast the seeds of true dignity,
manliness, and republicanism. The hero is a good one, but of no
uncommon type.

The young Yankee finds the battle of life hard, but also fights it
bravely, and, in good time, conquers. The secondary actor, Dan
Dishaway, is a wholly original character, a tin peddler with little
education and unpolished manners, but with a loyal heart, and a
simple, unconscious character that impressed and influenced the whole
village. The teacher of teachers, to him, was his mother. The very
foundation of the story is the value of human character, apart from
the accidents of birth or position. The plot develops rapidly, and is
illustrated by exciting incidents of river freshets, shipwreck on one
of the great lakes, and a prairie fire. Love is shown to be no
respecter of persons, but is found faithful, pure, and delicate, in
people who never heard of cosmic philosophy, or the term "altruism,"
who knew not the classics, who went sadly astray in grammar. Without
direct preaching, the story shows that the way of the transgressor is
hard, and that the hardness is not lessened by worldly prosperity.

The critic quickly notices, however, that Carleton is not so
successful in his pictures of city life as those of the country.
Nevertheless, in modern days, when the population of Boston consists
not of people born there, but chiefly of newcomers from the country,
from Canada, or from Europe, Carleton was all the more a helper. An
American who has mastered French, even though not perfect in
pronunciation, may be a better teacher of it than a native.

Bertha Wayland's success in society, and her Boston life, made a very
attractive portion of the book to a large number of readers at rural
firesides. For who in New England, and still young, does not hope some
day to live in sight of the golden dome? In later years, "Caleb
Krinkle" was republished, with some revision and in much handsomer
form, as "Dan of Millbrook," by Estes and Lauriat, of Boston.

His next work, which still remains the most popular of all, the one
least likely to suffer by the lapse of time, and the last probably to
reach oblivion, because it appeals to young Americans in the whole
nation, is his "Boys of '76." The first lore to which Carleton
listened after his infant lips had learned prayer, and "line upon
line, and precept upon precept," from the Bible, was from his soldier
grandfathers. These around the open fireplace told the story of
Revolutionary marches, and camps, and battles. Nothing could be more
real to the open-eyed little boy than the narratives related by the
actors themselves, especially when he could ask questions, and get
full light and explanation.

For an author who would write on the beginnings of the Revolution, no
part of our country is so rich in historic sites, and so superbly
equipped with libraries, museums, relics, and memorials, as the valley
of the Charles River, in Massachusetts. In this region lies Boston,
where not the first, though nearly the first, blood of the Revolution
was shed; where were hung for Paul Revere the lantern-beacons; which
was first the base of operations against Bunker Hill; and which
afterward suffered siege, and served as the outlet for the Tories to
Canada, when Howe and his fleet sailed away. Across the river is the
battle-road to Lexington, now nobly marked with monumental stones and
tablets, and, further on, Lexington itself, with its blood-consecrated
green and inscribed boulder, its museum, and its well-marked historic
spots. Beyond is Concord, with its bridge, well-site, and bronze
minuteman. From the crest of the green mound on Bunker Hill, at
Charlestown, rises the granite monument seen from all the country
round. Near to Boston, is Cambridge with its university, Washington's
elm, and manifold Revolutionary memories; while on the southeast, on
the rising ground close at hand, and now part of the municipality
itself, are Dorchester Heights, once fortified and bristling with
cannon. Within easy reach by rail, water, or wheel, are places already
magnetic to the tourist and traveller, because their reputations have
been richly enlarged by poet, artist, romancer, and historian. Along
the coast, or slightly inland, stood the humble homes of the ancestors
of Grant and Lincoln, and but a little further to the southeast is the
"holy ground" of Plymouth.

Even more important to the historiographer are the amazing treasures
of books and records gathered in the twin cities on the Charles,
making a wealth of material for American history, unique in the United
States. What wonder, then, that the overwhelming majority of American
writers of history have wrought here? Nor need we be surprised that,
both in their general tone and in the bulk of their writing, they have
portrayed less the real history of the United States than the history
of New England,--with a glance at parts adjacent and an occasional
distant view of regions beyond.

Graphic, powerful, and popular as are Carleton's books, he does not
wholly escape the limitations of his heredity and environment.
Generous as he is, and means to be, to other States, nationalities,
and sections in the United States, beyond those in the six Eastern
States, the student more familiar with the great constructive forces
of the Middle, the Southern, and the Western States, who knows the
power of Princeton as well as of Harvard, of Dutch as well as of
Yankee, without necessarily contesting Carleton's statements of fact,
is inclined to discern larger streams of influence, and to give
greater credit to sources and developments of power, and to men and
institutions west and south of the Hudson River, than does Carleton in
his books.

Yet to the millions of his readers, history seemed to be written in a
new way. It was different from anything to which they had been
accustomed. Peter Parley had, indeed, in his time, created a fresh
style of historical narration, which captivated unnumbered readers by
its simple and direct method of presenting subjects known in their
general outline, but not made of sufficient human or present interest.
These works had suited exactly the stage of culture which the majority
of young people in our country had reached when the Parley books were
written. It is doubtful, however, whether those same works would have
achieved a like success in the last three decades of this century.
Education had been so much improved, schools were so much more
general, the development of the press and cheap reading matter was so
great, that in the enlargement of view consequent upon the successful
issue of the great civil war, a higher order of historical narration
was a necessity. He who would win the new generation needed to be
neither a professional scholar, a man of research, nor a genius, but
he must know human nature well, and be familiar with great national
movements, the causes and the channels of power. This equipment,
together with a style fashioned, indeed, in the newspaper office, but
deepened and enriched by the study of language, of rhetoric, and of
masterly literary methods, as seen in the best English prose, made
Carleton the elect historian for the new generation, and the educator
of the youth of our own and the coming century.

Carleton is a maker of pictures. He turns types into prismatics, and
paragraphs into paintings. He lifts the past into the present. The
event is seen as though it happened yesterday, and the persons, be
they kings or plough-boys, appear as if living to-day. Their hearts,
affections, motives, thoughts, are just like those of men and women in
our time. Their clothing and way of living may be different, but they
are the sort of human beings with which we are acquainted. Better yet,
it is not only the men with crowns on their heads, or the women who
wear jewelled and embroidered robes, or riders locked up in steel, or
men under tonsure or tiara, that did great things and made the world
move. Carleton shows how the milk-maid, the wagoner, the blacksmith,
the spinster with the distaff, the rower of the boat, the common
soldier on foot, the student in his cell, and the peddler with his
pack, all had a part in working out the wonderful story.

Had a part, did I say? No, in Carleton's story he _has_ a part. No
writer more frequently and with keener effect uses the historical
present. Compare Carleton's straightforward narration and marching
chapters with the average British writer of history, and at once we
see the difference between chroniclers,--who give such enormous space
to kings, queens and ecclesiastical and military figureheads, almost
to the extent (in the eye of the philosophic student, at least) of
caricature,--and this modern scribe, to whom every true man is a
sovereign, while a king is no more than a man. While well able to
measure personalities and forces, to divine causes, and to discern and
emphasize in the foreground of his pictures, even as an artist does,
the important figure, yet Carleton is never at a loss to do this
because the real hero may be of humble birth or in modest apparel.

In travelling, the little child from the car window will notice many
things in the landscape and about the houses passed, belonging to his
lowly world of experience, no higher than the top of a yardstick, to
which the average adult is blind. Carleton looked with the child's eye
over history's field. He brings before the front lights of his stage
what will at once catch the attention of the young people, to whom the
deeper things of life may be invisible mystery. Yet, Carleton's books
are always enjoyable to the mature man, for he discerns beneath the
vivid picturing and simple rhetoric, so pleasing to the child, a
practical knowledge and a philosophic depth which shows that the
writer is a master of the art of reading men and events as well as of
interpreting history.

Mr. Coffin's more serious productions are his arguments before
Congressional and State legislative committees; his pamphlets on the
labor question, railways, and patents; his addresses before general
audiences and gatherings of scientific, commercial, and religiously
interested men; his life of Garfield, as well as that of Lincoln; and
those voluminous contributions made to the daily or weekly press, and
to magazines, and to reviews. Editors often turned to him for that
kind of light and knowledge that the public needed when grave issues
were before the church, the city, the commonwealth, the nation. In
speaking or writing thus, he used a less ornate style, less fervid
rhetoric, and spoke or wrote with direct, business-like precision. In
a word, he suited his style to the work in hand. But, because he
attracted and delighted, while teaching, his young readers, that
critic must be blind or unappreciative who cannot see also the
purpose of a master mind. The mature intellect of Carleton which
animates and informs the pretty stones, educated also up and on to the
nobler heights of historical reading.

Strictly speaking, in the light of the more rigid canons of historical
knowledge and the research demanded in our days, and when tested by
stern criticism, Mr. Coffin was not a historical scholar of the first
order. Nor did he make any such pretension. No one, certainly not
himself, would dream of ranging his name in the same line with those
of the great masters, Prescott, Motley, Bancroft, or Parkman,--men of
wealth and leisure, as well as of ability. He painted his pictures
without going into the chemistry of colors, or searching into the
mysteries of botany, to be absolutely sure as to the classification of
the fibres which made his canvas. His first purpose was to make an
impression, and his second, to fix that impression inerasably on the
mind. For this, he trusted largely the work of those who had lived
before him, and he made diligent and liberal use of materials already
accumulated. He would paint his own picture after making the drawings
and arranging his tints, perspective, lights, and shadows.

Nevertheless, Mr. Coffin was not a man accustomed to take truth at
second hand. His own judgment was singularly sane, and he was not
accustomed to receive statements and to devour them unflavored by the
salt of criticism. Four years of the pursuit of letters amid arms,
while passion was hottest, and men were too excited to care for the
exact truth, had trained this cool-headed scribe to critical treatment
of rumors and reports. Furthermore, he knew the value of first
authorities and of contemporary writers and eye-witnesses. He
discounted much of the writing done after the war in controversy, for
political ends, for personal vanity, or to cover up damaged
reputations. He knew both the heating and the cooling processes of
time. I remember when, about 1890, after he had finished making a set
of scrap-books of soldiers' letters, reminiscences and newspaper
reports of the battles of the war, how heartily he laughed when, with
twinkling eyes, he remarked on the tendency of some old soldiers "to
remember a good deal that never happened." As his experience  with
the pen deepened, he became more rigid in his requirements as to the
quality of the information which his books gave. Those who have read
especially his four later volumes on the war, will note that at the
end of each chapter he gives the sources of authority for his
statements and judgments. In a word, Carleton was a man who, having
mapped the irrigated country and the stream's mouth, resolutely set
his face towards the fountains to find them. There is an increasing
exactness and care in finish, as his works progressed.

The decade from 1870 to 1880 was a busy one for this author, not only
in his home study, in the Boston libraries, but also with the pen and
with voice. The formation of the Grand Army of the Republic, and the
establishments of Posts all over the country, and especially in the
Northern States, created a demand for lectures on the war. The
soldiers themselves wished to study the great subject as a whole,
while their wives and children and friends were only too glad to
support the movement for the gathering of Post libraries, or the
collection in the town public libraries of books relating to the war.
The younger generation needed instruction as to causes, as well as to
results. Carleton was everywhere a favorite, because of his
personality, as well as of his wide and profound acquaintance, from
actual observation, of the great movements which consolidated nations.

Years before becoming a war correspondent, Carleton had longed to be
an orator who could sway thousands by the magic of his eloquence. More
than once, after hearing Edward Everett, Rufus Choate, Wendell
Phillips, and such masters of audiences, he would be unable to sleep,
so excited was he by what he had heard, and still more by the power
evinced in a single mind moving the wills of thousands. In such hours
he longed to be a great orator, and thought no sacrifice too great to
make in order to achieve success. As his own opportunities for public
speaking multiplied, he became a fluent and convincing speaker, with
clear ideas, picturesque language, and the power of dramatic
antithesis. He had that gift of making pictures to the mind by which a
speaker can turn the ears of his auditors into eyes. His tall form,
luminous face, impressive sincerity, and contagious earnestness made
delighted hearers, especially among the soldiers, who everywhere
hailed him as their defender, their faithful historian, and their
steadfast friend. To take the hand of Carleton, after his address or
lecture, was a privilege for which men and women strove as a high
honor, and which children, now grown men and women, remember for a

Nevertheless, in the sound judgment of the critic, Carleton would not
be reckoned, as he himself knew well, in the front rank of orators.
Neither in overmastering grace of person, in power of unction, in
magnetic conquest of the mind and will, was he preëminent. When,
leaving the flowery meadows of description or rising from the
table-land of noble sentiment and inspiring precepts, he attempted to
rise in soaring eloquence, his oratorical abilities did not match the
grandeur of his thought or the splendor of his diction.

In the course of his career as a speaker, he delivered at least two
thousand lectures and addresses on formal occasions, besides
unnumbered off hand speeches. Being one of those full men, it was of
him that it could be said, _Semper paratus_. On whatever subject he
spoke, he was sure to make it interesting. Besides reports of his
addresses and orations in the newspapers, several of the most
important have been published in pamphlet form. At the centennial
celebration at Boscawen, N. H., on the 4th of July, and at the 45th
anniversary of the settlement of Rev. Edward Buxton, at the 50th
anniversary of the Historical-Genealogical Society of Boston, and at
Nantucket, before the Bostonian Society and at the Congregational
Clubs, before Press Associations, Legislative and Congressional
Committees, on Social and Labor questions, and at the Congress held in
Chicago for the promotion of international commerce between the
countries of North and South America, Carleton reached first an
audience, and then, through the types, wider circles of readers.



Besides other means of recreation, Carleton was happy in having been
from childhood a lover of music. In earlier life he sang in the church
choir, under the training of masters of increasing grades of skill, in
his native village, at Malden, and in Boston. He early learned to play
upon keyed instruments, the melodion, the piano, and the organ, the
latter being his favorite. From this great encyclopædia of tones, he
loved to bring out grand harmonies. He used this instrument of many
potencies, for enjoyment, as a means of culture, for the soothing of
his spirits, and the resting of his brain. When wearied with the
monotony of work with his pen, he would leave his study, as I
remember, when living in Boston, and, having a private key to Shawmut
Church, and dependent on no assistance except that of the water-motor,
he would, for a half hour or more, and sometimes for hours, delight
and refresh himself with this organ,--grandest of all but one, in
Boston, the city of good organs and organ-makers. Many times
throughout the war, in churches deserted or occupied, alone or in the
public service, in the soldier's camp-church or meeting in the open
air, wherever there was an instrument with keys, Carleton was a valued
participant and aid in worship.

Religious music was his favorite, but he delighted in all sweet
melodies. He loved the Boston Symphony concerts and the grand opera.
Among his best pieces of writing were the accounts of Wagner's
Parsifal at Bayreuth, and the great Peace Jubilee after our civil war.
At most of the great musical events in Boston, he was present.

Shawmut Church had for many years one of the very best quartette
choirs in the city, supported at the instrument by such organists as
Dudley Buck, George Harris, Samuel Carr, H. E. Parkhurst, and Henry M.
Dunham. In Carleton, both voice and instrument found so appreciative a
hearer, and one who so often personally commended or appraised their
renderings of a great composer's thought, or a  heart-touching song,
that "as well the singers as the players on instruments" were always
glad to know how he received their art and work. In Europe, this lover
of sweet sound enjoyed hearing the greatest vocalists, and those
mightiest of the masses of harmony known on earth, and possible only
in European capitals. Before going to some noble feast for ear and
soul, as, for example, Wagner's rendition of his operas at Bayreuth,
Carleton would study carefully the literary history, the ideas sought
to be expressed in sound, and the score of the composer. In his grand
description and interpretation of Parsifal, he likened it among operas
to the Jungfrau amid the Bernese Alps. "In its sweep of vision,
beauty, greatness, whiteness, glory, and grandeur, it stands alone ...
to show the greatness, the ideal of Wagner, including the conflict of
all time,--the upbuilding of individual character,--and reaching on to

Carleton, being a real Christian, necessarily believed in, and
heartily supported, foreign missionary work. He saw in his Master,
Christ, the greatest of all missionaries, and in the twelve
missionaries, whom he chose to carry on his work, the true order and
line of the kingdom. "Apostolical" succession is, literally, and in
Christ's intent, missionary succession. He read in Paul's account of
the organization of the Christian Church, that, among its orders and
dignities, its officers and personnel, were "first missionaries." To
him the only "orders" and "succession" were those which propagated the
Gospel. He had seen the work of the modern apostles, sent forth by
American Christians, west of the Alleghanies first, west of the
Mississippi. He had later beheld the true apostles at work, in India,
China, and Japan. It was on account of his seeing that he became a
still more enthusiastic upholder of missionary, or apostolic, work. He
gave many addresses and lectures in New England, in loyalty to the
mind of the Master. As he had been a friend of the black man, slave or
free, so also was he ever a faithful defender of the Asiatic stranger
within our gates. Against the bill which practically excluded the
Chinamen from the United States, in defiance of the spirit and letter
of the Burlingame treaty, Carleton spoke vigorously, at the meeting
held in Tremont Temple, in  Boston, to protest against the infamous
Exclusion bill, which committed the nation to perjury. Carleton could
never see the justice of stealing black men from Africa to enslave
them, of murdering red men in order to steal their hunting-grounds, or
of inviting yellow men across the sea to do our work, and then kicking
them out when they were no longer needed.

Carleton was instrumental in giving impetus to the movement to found
that mission in Japan which has since borne fruit in the creation of
the largest and most influential body of Christian churches, and the
great Doshisha University, in Kioto. These churches are called
Kumi-ai, or associated independent churches, and out of them have
come, in remarkable numbers, preachers, pastors, editors, authors,
political leaders, and influential men in every department of the new
modern life in Japan. It was at the meeting of the American Board,
held in Pittsburg, in the Third Presbyterian Church edifice, October
7-8, 1869, that the mission to Japan was proposed. A paper by
Secretary Treat was read, and reported on favorably, and Rev. David
Greene, who had volunteered to be the apostle to the Sunrise Empire,
made an address. The speech of Carleton, who had just returned from
Dai Nippon, capped the climax of enthusiasm, and the meeting closed by
singing the hymn, "Nearer, my God, to Thee."

At one of the later meetings of the Board, at Rutland, Vermont, the
Japanese student Neesima pleaded effectually that a university be
founded, the history of which, under the name of the One Endeavor, or
Doshisha, is well known. In the same year that Neesima was graduated
from Amherst College, Carleton received from this institution the
honorary degree of Master of Arts.

Carleton could turn his nimble pen to rhyme, when his friends required
verses, and best when his own emotions struggled for utterance in
poetry. Several very creditable hymns were composed for anniversary
occasions and for the Easter Festivals of Shawmut Church.

Indeed, the first money ever paid him by a publisher was for a
poem,--"The Old Man's Meditations," which was copied into "Littell's
Living Age." The pre-natal life, birth, and growth of this first-born
child of Carleton's brain and heart, which inherited a "double
portion," in both fame and pelf, is worth noting. In 1852, an aged
uncle of Mrs. Coffin, who dwelt in thoughts that had not yet become
the commonplace property of our day, being at home in the immensities
of geology and the infinities of astronomy, made a visit to the home
in Boscawen, spending some days. Carleton was richly fed in spirit,
and, conceiving the idea of the poem, on going out to plough, put
paper and pencil in his pocket. As he thought out line upon line, or
stanza by stanza, he penned each in open air. At the end of the
furrow, or even in the middle of it, he would stop his team, lay the
paper on the back of the oxen, and write down the thought or line.
Finished at home in the evenings, the poem was read to a friend, who
persuaded the author to test its editorial and mercantile value.

"I shall never forget," wrote Mrs. Coffin, October 13, 1896, "with
what joy he came to me and showed me the poetry in the magazine, and a
check for $5.00."

The last three stanzas are:

          "He sails once more the sea of years
             So wide and vast and deep!
           He lives anew old hopes and fears--
           Sweet tales of love again he hears,
           While flow afresh the scalding tears,
             For one long since asleep.

          "He sees the wrecks upon the shore,
             And everything is drear;
           The rolling waves around him roar,
           The angry clouds their torrents pour,
           His friends are gone forevermore,
             And he alone is here.

          "Yet through the gloom of gathering night,
             A glory from afar
           Streams ever on his fading sight,
           With Orient beams that grow more bright,
           The dawn of heaven's supernal light
             From Bethlehem's radiant star."

During the evenings of 1892, Carleton guided a Reading Club of young
ladies who met at his house. I remember, one evening, with what effect
he read Lowell's "Biglow Papers," his eyes twinkling with the fun
which none enjoyed more than he. On another evening, after reading
from Longfellow's "The Poet's Tale," "Lady Wentworth," and other
poems, Carleton, before retiring, wrote a "Sequel to Lady Wentworth."
It is full of drollery, suggesting also what might possibly have
ensued if "the judge" had married "Maud Müller." Carleton's poem tells
of the risks and dangers to marital happiness which the old magistrate
runs who weds a gay young girl.

Carleton was ever a lover and student of poetry, and among poets,
Whittier was from the first his favorite. As a boy he committed to
memory many of the Quaker poet's trumpet-like calls to duty. As a man
he always turned for inspiration to this sweet singer of freedom. What
attracted Carleton was not only the intense moral earnestness of the
Friend, his beautiful images and grand simplicity, but the seer's
perfect familiarity with the New Hampshire landscape, its mountains,
its watercourses, the ways and customs of the people, the local
legends and poetical associations, the sympathy with the Indian, and
the seraphic delight which he took in the play of light upon the New
Hampshire hills. Not more did Daniel Webster study with eager eyes the
glowing and the paling of the light on the hilltops, no more
rapturously did Rembrandt unweave the mazes of darkness, conjure the
shadows, and win by study the mysteries of light and shade, than did
Whittier. To Carleton, a true son of New Hampshire, who had himself so
often in boyhood watched and discriminated the mystery-play of light
in its variant forms at dawn, midday, and sunset, by moon and star and
zodiac, at the equinoxes and solstices, the imagery of his favorite
poet was a perennial delight.

As he ripened in years, Carleton loved poetry more and more. He
delighted in Lowell, and enjoyed the mysticism of Emerson. He had read
Tennyson earlier in life without much pleasure, but in ripened years,
and with refined tastes, his soul of music responded to the English
bard's marvellous numbers. He became unspeakably happy over the tender
melody of Tennyson's smaller pieces, and the grand harmony of "In
Memoriam," which he thought the greatest poem ever written, and the
high-water mark of intellect in the nineteenth century. Carleton was
not only a lover of music, but a composer. When some especially tender
sentiment in a hymn impressed him, or the re-reading of an old sacred
song kindled his imagination by its thought, or moved his
sensibilities by its smooth rhythm, then Carleton was not likely to
rest until he had made a tune of his own with which to express his
feelings. Of the scores which he composed and sang at home, or had
sung in the churches, a number were printed, and have had happy use.

To the end of his life, he seemed to present, in his carriage and
person, some of that New Hampshire ruggedness, and even rustic
simplicity, that attracted and lured, while it foiled and disgusted
those hunters of human prey who, in every large city, wait to take in
the wayfaring man, whether he be fool or wise. Because he wore
comfortable shoes, and cared next to nothing about conformity to the
last new freak of fashion, the bunco man was very apt to make a fool
of himself, and find that he, and not the stranger, was the victim. In
Boston, which of late years has been so far captured by the Irishman
that even St. Patrick's is celebrated under the guise of "Evacuation
Day," matters were not very different from those in New York.
Carleton, while often conducting parties of young friends around
Copp's Hill, and the more interesting historical, but now uncanny
houses of the North End, was often remarked. Occasionally he was
recognized by the policeman, who would inform suspicious or inquiring
fellow foreigners or adopted sons of the Commonwealth, that "the old
fellow was only a countryman in town, and wouldn't do any harm."

Lest some might get a false idea, I need only state that Mr. Coffin
was a man of dignified dress, and scrupulously neat. He was a
gentleman whose engaging presence might suggest the older and more
altruistic, rather than the newer and perhaps brusquer style of
manners. His was a "mild and magnificent" blue eye in which so many,
who loved him so, liked to dwell, and he had no need to wear glasses.
The only sign of ornament about him was his gold watch-chain and
cross-bar in his black vest buttonhole.



Shawmut Church, in Boston, stands at the corner of Tremont and
Brookline Streets. Its history is one of unique interest. Its very
name connects the old and new world together. A Saxon monk, named
Botolph, after completing his Christian studies in Germany, founded,
A. D. 654, a monastery in Lincolnshire, on the Witham, near the sea,
and made it a centre of holy light and knowledge. He was the friend of
sailors and boat-folk. The houses which grew up around the monastery
became Botolph's Town, or Boston. "Botolph" is itself but another form
of boat-help, and the famous tower of this English parish church,
finer than many cathedrals, is crowned by an octagon lantern, nearly
three hundred feet above the ground. It serves as a beacon-light,
being visible forty miles distant, and, as of old, is the boat-help of
Saint Botolph's Town. This ecclesiastical lighthouse is familiarly
called "Boston Stump," and overlooks Lincolnshire, the cradle of
Massachusetts history. At Scrooby, a few miles to the west, lived and
worshipped the Pilgrim Fathers and Mothers. From this shire, also,
came the English people who settled at Shawmut on the 17th of
September, 1630.

The Indian name, Shawmut, was that of the "place near the neck,"[1]
probably the present Haymarket Square. The three-hilled peninsula
called Tremont, or Boston, by the white settlers, was connected with
the main land at Roxbury by a long, narrow neck or causeway. The
future "South End" was then under the waves. After about two centuries
of use as a wagon road, this narrow strip between Boston and
Roxbury--so narrow that, at high tide, boys were able to leap from the
foam of the South Bay to the spray of the waters of the Charles
River--was widened. Suffolk Street, which was one of the first
highways west of Washington Street to be made into hard ground, was
named Shawmut Avenue. About the middle of the nineteenth century,
much land was reclaimed from the salt mud and marshes and made ready
for the pile-driver, mason, and builder. Two splendid districts, the
first called the "South End," and the second the "Back Bay," were
created. Where, in the Revolutionary War, British frigates lay at
anchor, are now Beacon Street and Commonwealth and Massachusetts
Avenues. Where the redcoats stepped into their boats for
disembarkation at the foot of Bunker Hill, stretch the lovely Public
Gardens. The streets running east and west in the new districts,
beginning with Dover and ending with Lenox, are named after towns in
the Bay State. About midway among these, as to order and distance, are
Brookline and Canton Streets.

                   [Footnote 1: Other good authorities interpret
                   Shawmut as meaning "living waters."]

On a chance space of hard soil around Canton and Dedham Streets, in
this marshy region, a suburban village of frame houses had gathered,
and here a Sunday school was started as early as 1836. In January,
1842, a weekly prayer-meeting began at the house of Mr. Samuel C.
Wilkins. On November 20, 1845, a church was formed, with fifty
members. In the newly filled up land, the pile-driver was  already
busy in planting forests of full-grown trees head downward. All around
were rising blocks of elegant houses, with promise of imposing civic
and ecclesiastical edifices of various kinds. In the wider streets
were gardens, parks, or ample strips of flower-beds. This was the land
of promise, and into it pressed married couples by the hundreds,
creating lovely homes, rearing families, and making this the choicest
part of the young city. For, though "Boston town" is as old as Mother
Goose's rhymes, the municipality of Boston was, in 1852, but thirty
years old. The congregation of Christian people which, on April 14,
1849, took the name, as parish, of The Shawmut Congregational Society,
and, as a church, one month later, the name of the Shawmut
Congregational Church, occupied as a meeting-house first a hall, then
a frame building, and finally a handsome edifice of brick, which was
dedicated on the 18th of November, 1852. This building is now occupied
by the Every Day Church, of the Universalist denomination. The tide of
prosperity kept steadily rising. The throng of worshippers increased,
until, in the very midst of the great Civil War, it was necessary to
have more room. The present grand edifice on Tremont Street was
erected and dedicated February 11, 1864; the Rev. Edwin Bonaparte
Webb, who had been called from Augusta, Maine, being the popular and
successful pastor.

Boston was not then noted, as she certainly is now, for grandeur or
loveliness in church edifices. Neither excellence nor taste in
ecclesiastical architecture was, before the war, a striking trait of
the city or the people. To-day her church spires and towers are not
only numerous, but are famed for their variety and beauty.

Fortunately for the future of Boston, the people of Shawmut Church
found a good architect, who led the van of improvement in church
architecture. The new edifice was the first one in the city on the
early Lombardy style of architecture, and did much to educate the
taste of the people of the newer and the older town, and especially
those in the fraternity of churches called Congregational.

Both its architecture and decoration have been imitated and improved
upon in the city wherein it was a pioneer of beauty and the herald of
a new order of church architecture. It is a noble vehicle of the
faith and feelings of devout worshippers.

The equipment of Shawmut Church edifice made it a very homelike place
of worship, and here, for a generation or more of Carleton's life, a
noble company of Christians worshipped. The Shawmut people were noted
for their enterprise, sociability, generosity, and unity of purpose.
In this "South End" of Boston was reared a large proportion of the
generation which to-day furnishes the brain and social and religious
force of the city and suburbs. In Shawmut Church, gathered, week by
week, hundreds of those who, in the glow of prosperity, held common
ambitions, interests, and hopes. They were proud of their city, their
neighborhood, and their church, yet were ever ready to extend their
well-laden hands in gifts to the needy at home, and to send to those
far off, within our own borders, and in lands beyond sea.

The great fire in Boston, of which Carleton wrote so brilliant a
description, which, beginning November 9, 1872, within a few hours
burned over sixty-five acres and reduced seventy-five millions of
property to smoke and ashes, gave the first great blow to the
material prosperity of Shawmut Church. Later came the filling up, the
reclamation, and building of the Back Bay district. About 1878, the
tide of movement set to the westward, progressing so rapidly and
steadily as to almost entirely change, within a decade, the character
of the South End, from a region of homes to one largely of business
and boarding houses. Still later, about 1890, with the marvellous
development of the electric motor and trolley cars, making horse
traction by rail obsolete, the suburbs of Boston became one great
garden and a semicircle of homes. Then Brookline, Newton, and
Dorchester churches flourished at the expense of the city
congregations. Shawmut Church, having graduated hundreds of families,
had, in 1893, to be reorganized.

Of this church Charles Carleton Coffin, though not one of the
founders, was certainly one of the makers. As a member, a hearer, a
worshipper, a teacher, an officer, a counsellor, a giver of money,
power, and influence, his name is inseparably associated with the life
of Shawmut Church.

When Carleton's seat was vacant, the chief servant of the church knew
that his faithful ally was serving his Master elsewhere. After one of
his trips to Europe, out West, or down South over the old
battle-fields, to refresh his memory, or to make notes and photographs
for his books, the welcome given to him, on his return, was always
warm and lively.

First of all, Mr. Coffin was a good listener. This man, so fluent in
speech, so ready with his pen, so richly furnished by long and wide
reading, and by habitual meditation and deep thinking, by unique
experience of times that tried men's souls, knew also the moments when
silence, that is golden, was better than speech, even though silvern.
These were not as the "brilliant flashes of silence," such as Sidney
Smith noted as delightful improvements in his friend "Tom" Macaulay;
for Carleton was never a monopolist in conversation. Rather, with the
prompting of a generous nature, and as studied courtesy made into fine
art, he could listen even to a child. If Carleton was present, the
preacher had an audience. His face, while beaming with encouragement,
was one of singular responsiveness. His patience, the patience of one
to whom concealment of feeling was as difficult as for a crystal to
shut out light, rarely failed.

In Japan there are temples, built _in memoriam_ to heroes fallen in
war. These are named Shrines for the Welcome of Spirits. They are
lighted at sunset. Like one of these that I remember, called the
Soul-beckoning Rest, was this listener, Carleton, who begat eloquence
by his kindly gaze. Nor was this power to lift up and cheer--this
winged help of a great soul, like that of a mother bird under her
fledgling making first trial of the air--given only to the
professional speaker in the pulpit. This ten-talent layman was ever
kindly helpful, with ear and tongue, to his fellow holder-in-trust of
the one, or of the five, talents; yes, even to the little children in
Christ's kingdom.

The young people loved Carleton because he heard and loved them. To
have his great, kindly eyes fixed on some poor soldier, or neighbor in
distress, was in itself a lightening of the load of trouble. Unlike
those professional or volunteer comforters, who overwhelm by dumping a
whole cart-load of condolence upon the sufferer, who is unable to
resist or reply, Carleton was often great in his power of encouraging
silence, and of gentle sympathy.

Bacon, as no other Englishman, has compressed in very few words a
recipe for making a "full," a "ready," and an "exact" man. Carleton
was all these in one. He was ever full. In the Shawmut prayer-meeting,
his deep, rich voice was the admirable vehicle of his strong and
helpful thoughts. Being a man of intense conviction, there was
earnestness in every tone. A stalwart in faith, he was necessarily
optimistic. A prophet, he was always sure that out of present darkness
was to break forth grander light than former days knew. This world is
governed by our Father, and God makes no mistakes.

That rhetorical instrument, the historical present, which makes the
pages of his books tell such vivid stories, he often used with
admirable effect in the prayer-room, impressing and thrilling all
hearts. No little one ever believed more confidently the promises of
its parent than did this little child in humility who was yet a man in
understanding. Yet his was not blind credulity. He always faced the
facts. He was willing to get to the bottom of reality, even though it
might cause much drilling of the strata, with revelation of things at
first unpleasant to know. I never knew a man whose piety rested less
on traditions, institutions, persons, things, or reputations taken for
granted. To keen intuitions, he was able to add the riches of
experience, and his experience ever wrought hope. Hence the tonic of
his thought and words. He dwelt on the mountain-top of vision, and yet
he had that combination, so rare, yet so indispensable in the
prophet,--vision and patience, even the patience of service.

Naturally his themes and his illustrations, so pertinent and
illuminating, were taken largely from history. It is because he saw so
far and so clearly down the perspective of the past, that he read the
future so surely. "That which hath been, is that which shall be,"--but
more. "God fulfils himself in many ways." To our friend, history, of
which the cross of Christ was the centre, was the Heavenly Father's
fullest revelation. Many are the ways of theophany,--"at sundry times,
and in divers manners,"--to one the burning bush, to another the Urim
and Thummin, to another the dew on the fleece, to one this, to another
that. To our man of the Spirit, as to the sage of Patmos, human
history, because moved from above, was the visible presence of God.

The war, which dissolved the old world of slavery, sectional bigotry,
and narrow ideals, and out of the mother liquid of a new chaos shot
forth fresh axes of moral reconstruction, furnished this soldier of
righteousness with endless themes, incidents, illustrations, and
suggestions. Yet the emphasis, both as to light and shading, was put
upon things Christian and Godlike, the phenomena of spiritual courage
and enterprise, rather than upon details of blood or slaughter.
Neither years nor distance seemed to dim our fellow patriot's
gratitude to the brave men who sacrificed limb and life for their
country. The soldierly virtues, so vital to the Christian, were
brought home to heart and conscience. He showed the incarnation of
truth and life to be possible even in the camp and field.

Having been a skilled traveller in the Holy Land, Carleton frequently
opened this "Fifth Gospel" to delighted listeners. There hung on the
wall of the "vestry," or social prayer-room, above the leader's chair,
a steel-plate picture of modern Jerusalem, showing especially the
walls, gates, and roadways leading out from the city. Carleton often
declared that this print was "an inspiration" to him. It recalled not
only personal experiences of his own journeys, but also the stirring
incidents in Scripture, especially of the life of Christ. Having
studied on the soil of Syria, the background of the parables, and
possessing a genius for topography, he was able to unshackle our minds
from too close bondage to the English phrase or letter, from
childhood's imperfect imaginations, and from our crude Occidental
fancies. Many a passage of Scripture, long held in our minds as the
hand holds an unlighted lantern, was often turned into an immediately
helpful lamp to our path by one touch of his light-giving torch.

For many years, Carleton was a Bible-class teacher, excelling in
understanding, insight, explanation, and application of the divine
Word. Many to-day remember his teaching powers and their enjoyment at
Malden; but it was in Boston, at Shawmut Church, that Mr. Coffin gave
to this work the fullness of his strength and the ripeness of his

Counting it one of the noblest ambitions of a man's life to be a good
teacher, I used to admire Carleton's way of getting at the heart of
the lesson. His talent lay in first drawing out the various views of
the readers, and then of harmonizing them,--even as the lens draws all
rays to a burning-point, making fire where before was only scattered
heat. Carleton was one of those superb teachers who believe that
education is not only putting in, but also drawing out. In his class
were lawyers, physicians, doctors of divinity, principals of schools,
heads of families, besides various specimens of average humanity.
Somehow, he contrived, within the scant hour afforded him, often
within a half hour, to bestow not only his own thought, but, by
powerful spiritual induction, to kindle in others a transforming
force. After the teaching had well begun, there set in an alternating
current of intensity that wrought mightily for the destruction of dead
prejudices, and the building up of character.

In his use of helps and commentaries he had a profound contempt of
those peddlers of pedantry who try to make the words of eternal truth
become merely the lingo of things local and temporary. He was fond of
utilizing all that the spade has cast up and out from the earth, as
well as of consulting what the pen of genius has made so plain. He
believed heartily in that interpretive, or higher criticism, which has
done so much in our days to open the riches of holy Scripture. From
the very first, instead of fearing that truth might be injured by an
examination of the dress in which it was clothed, or the packages in
which it was wrapped, Carleton was in hearty sympathy with those
scholars and investigators who, by the application of literary canons
to the Hebrew and Greek writings, have put illuminating difference
between traditions and the original message. He believed that, in the
popular understanding of many portions of the Bible, there was much
confusion, owing to the webs which have been spun over the text by men
who lived centuries and ages after the original writers of the
inspired word. Though he never called himself a scholar, he knew only
too well that Flavius Josephus and John Milton were the makers of much
popular tradition which ascribed to the Bible a good deal which it
does not contain, and that there was often difficulty among the plain
people in distinguishing between the ancient treasure and the
wrapping and strings within which it is now enclosed. Hence his
diligent use of some of the strong books in his pastor's and other

Above all, however, was his own clear, penetrating, spiritual insight,
which, joined with his rich experience, his literary instincts, and
his own gift of expression, made him such a master in the art of
communication. While his first use of the Bible was for spiritual
benefit to himself and others, he held that its study as literature
would scatter to the wind the serious objections of sceptics and



Carleton was a typical free churchman. He was not only so by
inheritance and environment, but because he was master of the New
Testament. His penetrating acumen and power to read rightly historical
documents enabled him to see what kind of churches they were which the
apostles founded. With the open New Testament before him, he did not
worry himself about the validity of the ordination of those who should
preach to him or administer the sacraments, though there was no more
loyal churchman and Christian. He believed in the kind of churches
which were first formed at Jerusalem and in the Roman cities by the
twelve whom Jesus chose, over which not even the apostles themselves
ventured to exercise authority; but rather, on the other hand,
submitted to the congregation, that is, the assembled believers. In
the New Testament, Carleton read that the members of the churches
were on the same level, all being equal before their great Head and
risen Lord, no member having the smallest claim to any kind of
authority over or among his fellow members. In such churches,
organized to-day as closely as possible after the New Testament model,
he believed, and to such churches he gave his heartiest support, while
ever deeply sympathetic with his fellow Christians who associated
themselves under other methods of government.

His strong faith in the essential right and truth held by independent
churches in fraternity, never wavered; and this faith received even
increasing strength because of his trust in human nature when moved
from above. He believed in the constant presence of the Holy Spirit,
as leading Christians unto the way of all truth. He thought the
centuries to come would see a shedding off of many things dogmatic
theologians consider to be vital to Christianity, and the closer
apprehension by society of the meaning of Christ's life and words. He
believed not only that God was, but that he is. Though reared in New
England, he had little of that provincial narrowness which so often
mars and cramps the minds of those who otherwise are the most
agreeable of all Americans,--the cultivated New Englanders. No sermon
so moved Carleton, and so kindled responsive radiance in his face, as
those which showed that God is to-day leading and guiding humanity and
individuals as surely as in the age of the burning bush or the smoking
altar. He believed that neither the ancient Jews nor the early
Christians had any advantages over us for spiritual culture, or for
the foundation and increase of their faith in God, but rather less. He
heartily approved of whatever pierced sectarian shams and traditional
hypocrisies and revealed reality.

Hence his coolness and impartiality in controversy, whatever might be
his own strong personal liking. His profound knowledge of human nature
in all its forms, not excepting the clerical, professional, and
theological sort,--especially when in the fighting mood,--enabled him
to measure accurately the personal equation in every problem, even
when masked to the point of self-deception. His judicial balance and
his power to see the real point in a controversy made him an
admirable guide, philosopher, and friend. His vital rather than
traditional view and use of the truth, and his sunny calm and poise,
were especially manifested during that famous period of trouble which
broke out in that noble but close corporation, the American Board of
Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

Through all the subsidiary skirmishes connected with the prosecution
of the Andover professors, and the great debates in the public
meetings of the American Board, Carleton was in hearty sympathy with
those opinions and convictions which have since prevailed. He was in
favor of sending men and women into missionary fields who showed, by
their physical, intellectual, and spiritual make-up, that they were
fitted for their noble work, whether or not their theology stood the
test of certain arbitrary standards in vogue with a faction in a close

Carleton was never averse to truth being tried on a fair field,
whether of discussion, of controversy before courts, or, if necessary,
at the rifle's muzzle. He was not one of those feeble souls who
retreat from all agitation. He had once fronted "a lie in arms" and
was accustomed to probe even an angel's professions. He knew that in
the history of man there must often be a storm before truth is
revealed in clearness. No one realized more fully than he that, among
the evangelical churches holding the historic form of Christianity,
the part ever played and perhaps yet to be played by Congregationalists,
is that of pioneers. He knew that out of the bosom of this body of
Christians had come very many of the great leaders of thought who have
so profoundly modified Christian theology in America and Europe, and
that by Congregationalists are written most of the books shaping the
vanguard of thought in America, and he rejoiced in the fact.

In brief, Charles Carleton Coffin was neither a "mean Yankee," nor, in
his general spirit, a narrow New Englander. He was not a local, but a
genuinely national American and free churchman. He believed that the
idea of the people ruling in the Church as well as in the State had a
historical, but not absolutely necessary, connection with New England.
In his view, the Congregational form of a church government was as
appropriate to the Middle and Western States of our country, as to the
six Eastern States. Ever ready to receive new light and to ponder a
new proposition, he grew and developed, as the years went on, in his
conception of the origin of Congregational Christianity in apostolic
times, and of its re-birth after the release of the Bible from its
coffin of dead Latin and Greek into the living tongues of Europe,
among the so-called Anabaptists. Through his researches he had long
suspected that those Christians, whom prelates and political churchmen
had, besides murdering and attempting to exterminate, so vilified and
misrepresented, were our spiritual ancestors and the true authors in
modern time of church government through the congregation, and of
freedom of the conscience in religion. He often spoke of that line of
succession of thought and faith which he saw so clearly traced through
the Lollards and the weavers of eastern England, the Dutch
Anabaptists, the Brownists, and the Pilgrims. He gave his hearty
adherence to what he believed to be the demonstration of the truth as
set forth in an article in _The New World_, by the writer, in the
following letter, written February 27, 1896, only four days before
his sudden death and among the very last fruits of his pen. Like the
editor who prints "letters from correspondents," the biographer is
"not responsible for the opinions expressed."

                    Alwington, 9 Shailer Street, Brookline, Mass.

     Dear Dr. Griffis:--I have read your Anabaptist
     article,--once for my own meditation, and once for Mrs.
     Coffin's benefit. I am glad you have shown up Motley, and
     that toleration did not begin with Roger Williams. Your
     article historically will dethrone two saints,--Williams and
     Lord Baltimore. You have rendered an invaluable service to
     history. Our Baptist and Catholic brethren will not thank
     you, but the rest of the world will. It is becoming clearer
     every day that the motive force which was behind the
     foundations of this Republic came from the "Lollards" and
     the "Beggars." I hope you will give us more such articles.

Having been for many years an active member of the Congregational
Club, of Boston, Carleton was in 1890 elected president, and served
during one year. This parent of the fifty or more Congregational Clubs
scattered throughout the country was organized in 1869, and has had an
eventful history of power and influence. Some of the topics discussed
during his administration were "Relations of the Church to Politics,"
"Congregationalism in Boston," "Bible Class Study," and "How shall the
Church adapt itself to modern needs?" It was under his presidency,
also, that the Boston Congregational Club voted unanimously, February
24, 1890, to appoint a committee to obtain the necessary funds and
erect a memorial at Delfshaven in honor of the Dutch Republicans and
the Pilgrim Fathers,--both hosts and guests. When the suggestion to
raise some such memorial, made by the Hon. S. R. Thayer, American
Minister at the Hague, was first read in the meeting of the Club in
October, 1889, and a motion made to refer it to the Executive
Committee, Carleton seconded and supported the motion with a speech in
warm commendation. He was among the very first to make and pay a
subscription in money. The enterprise still awaits the happy day of
completion, and the responsibility of the enterprise lies, by its own
vote, upon the Boston Congregational Club. The Forefathers' Day
celebration of the Club was of uncommon interest during the year of
Mr. Coffin's presidency. A leading feature was the display on a
screen of views of Pilgrim shrines in England which Mr. Coffin had
obtained on a visit two years before.

Except his membership in the various historical and learned societies
and in religious organizations, Mr. Coffin was not connected with
secret, benevolent, social, or mysterious brotherhoods. He did not
believe in secret fraternities, but rather considered that these had
much to do with weakening the Church of Christ, and with making men
satisfied with a lower standard of ethics and human sociability than
that taught by Jesus. He held that the brotherhood instituted of
Christ, in an open chapter of twelve, and without secrets of any kind,
was sufficient for him and for all men. More than once, when going
abroad, or travelling in the various parts of his own country, which
is nearly as large as all Europe, he was advised to join a lodge and
unite himself with one or more of the best secret fraternities, for
assistance and recognition while travelling. All these kind
invitations he steadily declined. He was not even a member of the
Grand Army of the Republic, though often invited to join a Post. He
never became a member, for he did not see the necessity of secrecy,
even for this organization, though he was very often an honored guest
at their public meetings. The Church of Christ was to Carleton an
all-sufficient society and power.



One can hardly imagine a better school for the training of a good
American citizen than that which Carleton enjoyed. By inheritance and
birth in a New Hampshire village, he knew "the springs of empire." By
actual experience of farming and surveying in a transition era between
the old ages of manual labor and the new æon of inventions, he learned
toil, its necessity, and how to abridge and guide it by mind. In the
acquaintance, while upon a Boston newspaper, with public men, and all
kinds of people, in the unique experiences as war correspondent, in
wide travel and observation around the whole world, in detailed
studies of new lands and life in the Northwest, in reading and
research in great libraries, and in the constant discipline of his
mind through reflection, his knowledge of man and nature, of society
and history, was at first hand.

Intensely interested in politics from boyhood, Carleton sought no
public office.

When, in his early manhood, he revolved in his mind the question of
attempting this or that career, he may have thought of entering the
alluring but thorny path of office-seeking and "practical" politics.
It cannot be said that his desire for public emolument lasted very
long. He deliberately decided against a political career. Even if the
exigencies of the moment had not tended to forbid the flight of his
ambition in this direction, there were other reasons against it.

He was a school commissioner in Malden, faithfully attending to the
details of his duty during two years. The report of his work was given
in a pamphlet. As we have seen, before the breaking out of the war,
when in Washington, he sought for a little while government employment
in one of the departments, but gave up the quest when the larger field
of war correspondent invited him. He never sought an elective office,
but when his fellow citizens in Boston found out how valuable a member
of the Commonwealth he was, so rich in public spirit and so well
equipped to be a legislator, he was made first, for several terms, a
Representative, and afterwards, for one term, a Senator, in the
Legislature of Massachusetts. Carleton sat under the golden codfish as
Representative during the years 1884 and 1885, and under the gilded
dome as Senator, in 1890.

Faithful to his calling as a maker of law, Carleton was abundant in
labors during his three terms, interested in all that meant weal or
woe to the Commonwealth; yet we have only room to speak of the two or
three particular reforms which he inaugurated.

Until the year 1884, Boston was behind some of the other cities of the
Union, notably Philadelphia, in requiring the children in the public
schools to provide their own text-books. This caused the burden of
taxation for education, which is "the chief defence of nations," to
fall upon the men and women who reared families, instead of being
levied with equal justice upon all citizens. Carleton prepared a bill
for furnishing free text-books to the public schools of Boston, such
as had been done in Philadelphia since 1819. Despite considerable
opposition, some of it on the part of teachers who had severe
notions,--bred chiefly by local Boston precedent, which had almost
the force of religion,--Carleton had the happiness of seeing the bill

The administration of municipal affairs in the "Hub of the Universe,"
during the seventies and early eighties of this proud century, was one
not at all creditable to any party nor to the city that prides itself
on being distinctive and foremost in fame. The development of
political life in New England had been after the model of the town.
Municipal organization was not looked upon with much favor until well
into this century. While the population of the Middle States was
advancing in the line of progress in government of cities, the people
in the Eastern States still clung to the model of the town meeting as
the perfection of political wisdom and practice. This was done in the
case of Boston, even when several tens of thousands of citizens,
dwelling as one political union, made the old system antiquated.

Before the opening of the 19th century, all the municipally
incorporated cities of the Northern United States, excepting Albany,
lay along a line between the boundaries of Manhattan Island and
Philadelphia. It was not until 1830 that "Boston town" became a city.
For fifty years afterwards, the development of municipal enterprise
was in the direction of superficial area, rather than according to
foresight or genius. It is very certain that the fathers of that epoch
did not have a very clear idea of, certainly did not plan very
intelligently for, the vast growth of our half of the century. Added
to this ultra conservatism, came the infusion, with attendant
confusion, of Ireland's sons and daughters by myriads, a flood of
Scotch-Irish and other nationalities from Canada, and the flocking of
large numbers of native Americans from the rural districts of New
England. Nearly all of the newcomers usually arrived poor and with
intent to become rich as quickly as honesty would allow, while not a
few were without limit of time or scruple of conscience to hinder
their plans. The Americans of "culture and character" were usually too
busy in making money and getting clothes, houses, and horses, to
attend to "politics," while Patrick was only too glad and ready to
develop his political abilities. So it came to pass that a ring of
powerful political "bosses"--if we may degrade so good and honest a
Dutch word--was formed. Saloons, gambling-houses and dance-halls
multiplied, while an oligarchy, ever grasping for more power,
nullified the laws and trampled the statutes under its feet. The sins
of drunkenness and bribery among policemen, who were simply the
creatures for the most part of corrupt politicians, were too frequent
to attract much notice. That conscientious wearer of the blue and the
star who enforced the laws was either discharged or sent on some
unimportant suburban beat. The relations between city saloons and
politics were as close as hand and glove, palm and coin. The gambler,
the saloon-keeper, the masters of houses of ill-fame, were all in
favor of the kind of municipal government which Boston had had for a
generation or more.

An American back is like the camel's,--able to bear mighty loads, but
insurgent at the last feather. So, in Boston, the long-outraged moral
sense of the people suddenly revolted. A Citizens' Law and Order
League was formed, and Charles Carleton Coffin, elected to the House
of Representatives for the session of 1885, was asked to be their
banner bearer in reform. With the idea of destroying partisanship and
making the execution of the laws non-partisan, Carleton prepared a
bill, which was intended to take the control of the police out of the
hands of the Mayor and Common Council of the city, and to put it into
the hands of the Governor of the Commonwealth.

When Mr. Coffin began this work, Boston had a population of 412,000
souls. From the "Boston bedrooms," that is, the suburban towns in five
counties, one hundred thousand or more were emptied every day, making
over half a million people. In this city there was an array of forces
all massed against any legislation restricting their power, while
eager and organized to extend it. These included 2,850 licensed liquor
sellers, and 1,300 unlicensed places, besides 222 druggists; all of
which, and whom, helped to make men drunk. To supply the thirsty there
were within the city limits three distilleries and seventeen
breweries. To show the nature of the oligarchy, we have only to state
that there were twenty-five men who had their names as bondsmen on no
fewer than 1,030 licenses, and that eight men signed the bonds of 610
licenses. These "bondsmen" of one sort controlled the votes of from
15,000 to 20,000 bondsmen of a lower sort. The liquor business was
then, as it is now, the great incentive to lawlessness, helping to
make Boston a place of shame. Ten thousand persons and $75,000,000
capital were employed in work mostly useless and wicked.

"Boston's devil-fish was dragging her down." The Sunday laws were set
at defiance. The clinking of glasses could not only be distinctly
heard as one went by, but the streams of young men openly filed in.
The laws, requiring a certain distance between the schoolhouse and the
saloon, were persistently violated. Of two hundred saloons visited by
Carleton, one hundred and twenty-eight had set the law at defiance.
While six policemen were needed in one Salvation Army room, to keep
the saints and sinners quiet, often there would be not one star or
club in the saloons.

Carleton began by arming himself with the facts. He visited hundreds
of the tapster's quarters in various parts of the city. In some cases
he actually measured, with his own hands and a surveyor's chain, the
distance between the schoolhouse and the home-destroyer. He talked
with scores of policemen. He then prepared his bill and reported it
in the Judiciary Committee, the members of which, about that time,
received a petition in favor of a non-partisan metropolitan board of
police commissioners, in order to secure a much better enforcement of
law. On this petition were scores of names, which the world will not
willingly let die. Yet, after reading the petition, seven of the
eleven members of the Committee were opposed to the bill, and so
declared themselves. Carleton was therefore obliged to transfer the
field of battle to the open House. When he counted noses in the
Legislature, he found that in the double body there were but four men
who were heartily in favor of the apparently unpopular reform. The
bill lay dormant for many weeks. Almost as a matter of course, the
Sunday newspapers were bitterly hostile to it. They informed their
readers, more than once, that the reform was dead. By hostile
politicians the bill was denounced as "infamous."

Nevertheless, the minority of four nailed their colors to the mast,
"determined, if need be, to sink, but not to surrender." Behind them
were the State constitution, the statutes of the General Court, and
the whole history of Massachusetts, whose moral tonic has so often
inspired the beginners of better times in American history. When the
day came for discussion of the bill, in public, Mr. Coffin made a
magnificent speech in its favor, March 17, 1885. Despite fierce
opposition, the bill finally became law, creating a new era of hope
and reform in the City on the Bay.

In a banquet given by the Citizens' Law and Order League, at the Hotel
Vendome, to talk over the victory of law, about two hundred ladies and
gentlemen were present. Among them were President Capen, of Tufts
College, president of the League, and such grand citizens as Rufus
Frost, Jonathan A. Lane, and Dr. Henry Martin Dexter; the Honorable
Frank M. Ames, Senator, and Charles Carleton Coffin, Representative,
being guests of honor. Carleton, being called upon for an address,
said, among other things:

"There are no compensations in life more delightful and
soul-satisfying than those which come from service and sacrifice for
the welfare of our fellow men.... It has never troubled me to be in
the minority. If you want real genuine pleasure in a battle, go in
with the minority on some great principle affecting the welfare of

In his speech he had said: "The moral sense of this community is a
growing quantity, and no political party that ignores or runs counter
to the lofty ideal can long stand before us."

The Honorable Alanson M. Beard had already paid a merited tribute when
he said that Carleton had "lifted up this question above the domain of
party politics into the higher realm of morals, where it belonged."

No one who knew Carleton need be told that, during all these weeks of
uncertainty of issue, he was in constant prayer to God for light,
guidance, and success. From all over the Commonwealth came letters of
cheer and sympathy, especially from the mothers whose sons in Boston
were tempted beyond measure because of the non-enforcement of law. To
these, and to the law-loving editors of the newspaper press, the
statesman afterwards returned his hearty thanks.

Carleton was a man ever open to conviction. To him, truth had no
stereotyped forms. His mind never became a petrifaction, but was ever
growing and vital. At first he was opposed to civil service reform;
but after a study of the subject, he was convinced of its
reasonableness and practicality, and became ever afterwards a hearty
upholder of this method of selecting the servants of government, in
the nation, the State, and the city.

He was a friend of woman suffrage. On the occasion of a presentation
of a petition from twenty thousand Massachusetts women, though four
thousand of them had petitioned against the proposed measure, he made
a strong and earnest plea for granting the ballot to women. Among
other things he said: "No fire ever yet was lighted that could reduce
to ashes an eternal truth." He believed that women, as well as men,
form society, and "the people, who were the true source, under God, of
all authority on earth," were not made up wholly of one sex. He quoted
from that pamphlet, "De Jure Regni," published by George Buchanan in
1556, which was burned by the hangman in St. Paul's churchyard,--where
so many Bibles and other good books have been burned,--which declared
that "the will of the people is the only legitimate source of power."
He declared that the "lofty ideal of republicanism is the Sermon on
the Mount." Of women, he said, "Wherever they have walked, there has
been less of hell and more of heaven."

After an ex-mayor, in his speech, had referred to Carleton's bill,
which changed the appointing power of the police from the Mayor and
Common Council, and, by putting it in the hands of the Governor and
Executive Council, placed it on the same foundation as the judiciary,
as "that infamous police law," Carleton said: "Make a note of it,
statesmen of the future. Write it down in your memoranda, politicians
who indulge the expectation that you can ride into power on the vices
of society,--that moral forces are marshalling as never before in the
history of the human race, and that the women of this country are
beginning to wield them to shape legislation on all great moral
questions. Refreshing as perfume-laden breezes from the celestial
plains were the words of encouragement and sympathy that came to me
from mothers in Berkshire, from the Cape, from all over the

In 1890, in the Massachusetts Senate, there was an attempt made to
divide the town of Beverly. Into this, as into so many of the
pleasant towns, villages, and rural districts around Boston, wealthy
Bostonians had come and built luxurious houses upon the land which
they had bought. Not content with being citizens in the place where
they were newcomers,--thus securing release from heavier taxes in
Boston, where they lived in winter,--they wished to separate
themselves, in a most un-American and un-democratic manner, from the
older inhabitants and "common" people, and to make a new settlement
with a separate local government for those who formed a particular
class living in luxury. Carleton, hostile to the sordid and unsocial
spirit lurking in the bill, vigorously opposed the attempted
mutilation of an old historic town, and the isolation of "Beverly
Farms." He opposed it, because it would be a bad precedent, and one in
favor of class separation and class distinction. His speech embodies a
masterly historical sketch of the town form of government.



While Carleton enjoyed that kind of work, ethical, literary,
benevolent, and political, which appealed to sentiment and aroused
sympathy to the burning point, he was an equally faithful coworker
with God and man in enterprises wholly unsentimental. He who waits
through eternity for his creatures to understand his own creation,
knows how faithfully good men can coöperate with him in plans which
only unborn and succeeding generations can appreciate.

Out of a thousand illustrations we may note, along the lines of
electric science, the names of Professor Kinnersly, who probably first
led Franklin into that line of research which enabled him to "snatch
the sceptre from tyrants and the lightning from heaven," and Professor
Moses Gerrish Farmer, who broke new paths into the once unknown. As
early as 1859, Mr. Farmer lighted his whole house with electric
lights, and blew up a little ship by a tiny submarine torpedo in 1847,
and in the same year propelled by electricity a car carrying
passengers. Yet neither of these names is found in the majority of
ordinary cyclopedias or books of reference.

Familiar with such facts, both by a general observation of life, and
by a special and critical study of the literature of patents and
inventions, Carleton felt perfectly willing to devote himself to a
work that he knew would yield but little popular applause, even when
victory should be won,--the abolition of railway level or "grade"

During a brief morning call on Carleton, shortly after he had been
elected Senator in the Massachusetts Legislature for the session of
1890, I asked him what he proposed especially to do. "Well," said he,
"I think that if I can get all grade crossings abolished from the
railroads of the whole Commonwealth, it will be a good winter's work."

Forthwith he set himself to study the problem, to master resources and
statistics, to learn the relation between capital invested and profits
made by the railway corporation, and especially to measure the forces
in favor of and in opposition to the proposed reform.

About this time, the chief servant of Shawmut Church was studying an
allied question. While the "grade crossing" slew its thousands of
non-travelling citizens, the freight-car, with its link-and-pin
coupling, its block-bumpers, its hand-brakes, its slippery roofs, its
manifold shiftings over frogs and switches, slew its tens of thousands
of railway operatives. On the grade crossings, the victims were
chiefly old, deaf, or blind men and women, cripples, children,
drunkards, and miscellaneous people. On the other hand, the
freight-cars killed almost exclusively the flower of the country's
manhood. The tens of thousands of hands crushed between bumpers, of
arms and legs cut off, of bodies broken and mangled, were, in the
majority of cases, those of healthy, intelligent men, between the ages
of eighteen and fifty, and usually breadwinners for whole families.
The slaughter every year was equal to that of a battle at Waterloo or
Gettysburg. Fairy tales about monsters devouring human beings, legends
of colossal dragons swallowing annually their quota of fair virgins,
were insignificant expressions of damage done to the human race
compared to that annual tribute poured into the insatiable maw of the
railway Moloch. Every great line of traffic, like the Pennsylvania or
New York Central Railway, ate up a man a day. Sometimes, between
sunrise and sunset, a single road made four or five widows, with a
profusion of orphans.

Yet two men, each of the name of Coffin, and each of that superb
Nantucket stock which has enriched our nation and carried the American
flag to every sea, were working in the West and the East, for the
abolition of legalized slaughter. Lorenzo Coffin, of Iowa, a distant
cousin of Carleton's, whom so many railway men always salute as
"father," had been for years trying to throttle the two twin enemies
of the railway man, alcohol, and the freight-car equipment of
link-and-pin coupler and hand-brake. It was he who agitated
unceasingly for national protection to railway men, and to the
brakeman especially. He and his fellow reformers asked for a law
compelling the use of a brake which would relieve the crew from such
awful exposure and foolhardy risk of life on the icy roofs of the
cars in winter, and for couplers which, by abolishing the iron link
and pin, would save the constant and almost certain crushing of the
hands which the shifting of the cars compelled when coupled in the old

For a long time Lorenzo Coffin's efforts seemed utterly useless. This
was simply because human life was cheaper than machinery, and because
public opinion on this particular subject had not yet become
Christian. It was Jesus Christ who raised the value of both the human
body and the human soul, abolished gladiatorial shows, raised up
hospitals, created cemeteries, even for the poorest, made life
insurance companies possible, and put even such value on human life as
could be recovered in action by law from corporations which murder men
through sordid economy or criminal carelessness. Lorenzo Coffin
wrought for the application of Christianity to railway men. When
finally the law was passed, compelling safety-couplers and air-brakes,
and when, in the constitution of New York State, the limit of five
thousand dollars replevin for a human life destroyed by a corporation
was abolished, and no limit set, there were two new triumphs of
Christianity. In these phenomena, we see only further illustrations of
that Kingdom of Heaven proclaimed by Christ, and illustrated both in
the hidden leaven and the phenomenal mustard-seed.

A sermon by the pastor of Shawmut Church, on "Lions that devour,"
depicted the great American slaughter-field. It set forth the array of
figures as given him in the reports of the Inter-State Commerce
Commission, sent by his friend, the Hon. Augustus Schoonmaker, of
Kingston, New York, and then in Washington, one of the Commissioners.
There was considerable surprise and criticism from among his auditors,
and the facts as set forth were doubted. There were present, as usual
on Sunday mornings in Shawmut Church, men of public affairs,
presidents of banks, the collector of the port of Boston, a general in
the regular army, a veteran colonel of volunteers, several officers of
railway companies, and, most of all, Mr. Charles Carleton Coffin. He
and they thought the statements given of the slaughter of young men on
railroads in the United States must be incredible. Even Carleton had
not then informed himself concerning that great field of blood
extending from ocean to ocean, and from the Great Lakes to the Gulf,
which every year was strewn with the corpses or mangled limbs of
twenty-five thousand people. He thought his friend in the pulpit must
be mistaken, and frankly told him so.

On the following Sunday, having received the figures for the current
year, from the best authority in Washington, the preacher was able to
say that his statements of last Sunday had been below reality, and
that, instead of exaggerating, he had underestimated the facts. This
gave Mr. Coffin, as he afterwards confessed, fresh impetus in his
determination to get grade crossings abolished in Massachusetts.

Having first personally interviewed the presidents of several great
railroads leading out from Boston, and finding one or two heartily in
favor of the idea, two or three more not in opposition, and scarcely a
majority opposed, he persevered. He pressed the matter, and the bill
was carried and signed by the governor. It provided that within a term
of years all grade crossings in Massachusetts should be abolished.
This will require the expenditure of many millions of dollars, the
sinking or elevating of tracks, and the making of tunnels and bridges.
The work was nobly begun. At this moment, in May, 1898, the progress
is steadily forward to the great consummation.

Though his measure for the protection of human life received very
little popular notice, Carleton counted it one of the best things that
God had allowed him to do. And certainly, among the noble and truly
Christian measures for the good of society, in this last decade of the
century, the work done by Lorenzo Coffin in Iowa, as well as in the
country at large, and by Senator Charles Carleton Coffin in
Massachusetts,--a State whose example will be followed by
others,--must ever be remembered by the grateful student of social
progress. Surely, Carleton proved himself not merely a politician, but
a statesman.

The welfare of the city of Boston was ever dear to Carleton's heart.
He gave a great deal of time and thought to thinking out problems
affecting its welfare, and hence was often a welcome speaker at club
meetings, which are so numerous, so delightful, and, certainly, in
their number, peculiar to Boston. He wrote for the press, giving his
views freely, whenever any vital question was before the people. This
often entailed severe labor and the sacrifice of time to one who could
never boast very much of this world's goods.

When the writer first, in 1886, came to Boston to live, he found the
horse everywhere in the city; when he left it in 1893 there was only
the trolley. The motor power was carried through the air from a
central source. It is even yet, however, a test of one's knowledge of
Boston--a city not laid out by William Penn, but by cows and admirers
of crookedness--to understand the street-car system of the city. Most
of the street passenger lines fell gradually into the hands of one
great corporation, which vastly improved the service, enlarging and
making more comfortable, not to say luxurious, the accommodations, and
by unification enabling one to ride astonishing distances for a nickel

From the peculiar shape of the city and the converging of the
thoroughfares on Tremont Street, fronting the Common and the old
burying grounds, the space between Boylston Street and Cornhill was,
at certain hours of the day, in a painful state of congestion. Then
the stoppage of the cars, the loss of time, and the waste of temper
was something which no nineteenth century man could stand with
equanimity. How to relieve the congestion was the difficulty. Should
there be an elevated railway, or a new avenue opened through the midst
of the city? This was the question.

To this subject, Carleton gave his earnest attention. He remembered
the day when the now elegant region of the Back Bay was marsh and
water, when schooners discharged coal and lumber in that Public
Garden, which in June looks like a day of heaven on earth, and when
Tremont Street stopped at the crossing of the Boston and Albany
railway. Even as late as 1850 the population included within the
ten-mile radius of the city hall was but 267,861; in 1890, the
increase was to 841,617; and the same ratio of increase will give, in
1930, 2,700,000 souls. In 1871, seventeen million people were moved
into Boston by steam; in 1891, fifty-one millions. At the same ratio
of increase, on the opening of the twentieth century, there will be
100,000,000 persons riding in from the suburbs, and of travellers in
the street-cars, in A. D. 1910, nearly half a billion.

Carleton, the engineer and statesman, believed that neither a subway
nor an elevated railway would solve the problem. He spoke, lectured,
and wrote, in favor of a central city viaduct. For both surface and
elevated railways, he proposed an avenue eighty feet wide, making a
clear road from Tremont to Causeway Streets.

Moreover, he believed that the city should own the roads that should
transport passengers within the city limits. He was not afraid of that
kind of socialism which provides for the absolute necessities of
modern associated life. He expected great amelioration to come to
society from the breaking up and passing away of the old relics of
feudalism, as well as of the power of the privileged man as against
man, of wealth against commonwealth. He believed that transportation
within city limits should be under public ownership and control. He
therefore opposed the subway and the incorporation of the Boston
Elevated Railroad Company.

One of his most vigorous letters, occupying a column and a half, in
the Boston _Herald_ of July 17, 1895, is a powerful plea for the
rejection by the people of an act which should give the traffic of the
streets of Boston and surrounding municipalities into the hands of a
corporation for all time. He considered that the act, which had been
rushed through the legislature in one day at the close of the session,
was a hasty piece of patchwork made by dovetailing two bills together,
and was highly objectionable. He wrote:

"Why shall the people give away their own rights? Do they not own the
ground beneath the surface and the air above the surface?... What need
is there of a corporation? Cannot the people in their sovereign
capacity do for themselves all that a corporation can do? Why give
away their rights, and burden themselves with taxes for the benefit of
a corporation?

"Does some one say it is a nationalistic idea? Then it is nationalism
for Boston to own Quincy Market, the water supply, the system of
sewerage. Far different from governmental ownership of railroads, with
the complications of interstate commerce, is the proposition for
public ownership of street railways. A street is a highway. Why shall
not the subway under the street, or the structure over it, be a
highway, built and owned by the people, and for their use and benefit,
and not for the enrichment of a corporation?"

After forcibly presenting the reasonable objections to the bill, he
closed by pleading that it be rejected, and that the next legislature
be asked to establish a metropolitan district and the appointment of a
commission with full power to do everything that could be done under
the bill, "not for the greed of a corporation, but for the welfare of
the people."



Carleton's biographer having resigned the pastorate of Shawmut Church
at the end of 1892, the work was continued by the Rev. William E.
Barton, who had been called from Wellington, Ohio. He began his
ministrations March 1, 1893. As so very many families forming the old
church, and who had grown up in it from early manhood, youth, or even
childhood, had removed from the neighborhood, it was necessary to
reorganize to a certain extent. The great changes which had come over
the South End, and the drift of population to the more attractive
neighborhoods in the Back Bay, Brookline, Dorchester, Newton, Allston,
and other beautiful suburbs of Boston, caused much derangement of
previously existing conditions. The tremendous development of the
means of transportation by the steam, horse or electric  railways, to
say nothing of the bicycle, had caused a marvellous bloom of new life
and flush of vigor among the suburban churches, while those in the
older parts of the city suffered corresponding decline. The Shawmut
Church, like the Mount Vernon, the Pine Street, and others, had to
pass through experiences which make a familiar story to those who know
Philadelphia, New York, and London. The work of the old city churches
had been to train up and graduate sons and daughters with noble
Christian principles and character, to build up the waste places and
the newer societies. Like bees, the new swarms out from the old hives
were called to gather fresh honey.

The exodus from rural New England and from Canada enlarged Boston, and
caused the building up and amazing development of Brookline. With such
powerful magnets drawing away the old residents, together with the
multiplication of a new and largely non-American and Roman Catholic
population into the district lying east of Washington Street, the
older congregations of the South End had, by 1890, been vastly
changed. Several had been so depleted in their old supporters, that
churches moved in a body to new edifices on the streets and avenues
lying westward. In others the burdens of support fell upon a
decreasing number of faithful men and women. Where once were not
enough church edifices to accommodate the people who would worship in
them, was now a redundancy. In the city where a Roman Catholic church
was once a curiosity are now nearly fifty churches that acknowledge
the Pope's supremacy.

These things are stated with some detail, in order to show the
character of Charles Carleton Coffin in its true light. After a
laborious life, having borne the heat and burden of the day in the
churches where his lot was cast, withal, having passed his three score
and ten years, one would naturally expect this veteran to seek repose.
Not a few of his friends looked to see him set himself down in some
one of the luxurious new church edifices, amid congenial social
surroundings and material comforts.

Carleton sought not his own comfort. When the new pastor and the old
guard, left in Shawmut Church to "hold the fort," took counsel
together as to the future, they waited with some anxiety to hear what
choice and decision Mr. Coffin would make. He had already selected the
ground and was making plans for building his new home, "Alwington," at
No. 9 Shailer Street, Brookline,--several miles away from his old
residence in Dartmouth Street. It was naturally thought that he would
ally himself with a wealthy old church elsewhere, and bid farewell, as
so many had done, to their old church home, taking no new burdens,
risks, or responsibilities. During the conference in the Shawmut
prayer-room, Carleton rose and, with a smiling face and his usual
impressive manner, stated that he should give his hopes and prayers,
his sympathy and work, his gifts and influence to Shawmut Church; and,
for the present at least, without dictating the future, would cast in
his lot with the Shawmut people. A thrill of delight, unbidden tears
of joy, and a new warmth of heart came to those who heard. As time
went on he so adjusted himself to the change, and found Dr. Barton
such a stimulating preacher, that any thought of sacrifice entirely

When the first Congregational Church of Christ in Ithaca, N. Y.,--the
city named by Simeon DeWitt after his Ulysses-like wanderings were
over,--sent out its "letter missive" to the churches of the Central
Association of New York State, and to Shawmut Church in Boston, the
latter responded. It was voted to send, as their messengers, the
pastor, Rev. Dr. Barton, and Mr. Coffin; Mrs. Barton and Mrs. Coffin
accompanied them. These four came on to the Forest City and its
university "far above Cayuga's waters." With the delight of a boy
Carleton enjoyed the marvellously lovely scenery, the hills robed in
colors as many as though they had borrowed Joseph's robe, and Cayuga,
the queen of the waters in New York's beautiful lake region. Most of
all he visited with delight that typical American university which,
Christian in spirit, neither propagates nor attacks the creed of any

With its stately edifices for culture, training, research, and
religion, it had risen like a new city on the farm of Ezra Cornell.
This far-seeing man, like Mr. Coffin, had, when so many others were
blind, discerned in the new force, electricity, the vast future
benefits to commerce, science, and civilization. Ezra Cornell had
helped powerfully to develop its application by his thought, his
money, and his personal influence. Ezra Cornell, in Irish phrase,
"invented telegraph poles." Moses Farmer, the electrician, invented
the lineman's spurred irons by which to climb them.

Besides attending the Church Council in the afternoon, Carleton made
an address in the evening that was to one flattering and to many
inspiring. Later on, the same night, he attended the reception given
to the Faculty and new students at the house of President J. G.
Schurman. He was delighted in seeing the young president, with whose
power as a thinker and writer he had already acquainted himself.

Carleton's last and chief literary work, done in his old home on
Dartmouth Street, was to link together in the form of story the
Revolutionary lore which he had gathered up from talks with
participators in "the time that tried men's souls." From boyhood's
memories, from long and wide reading in original monographs, from
topographical acquaintance, he planned to write a trio or quartet of
stories of American history. He wished to present the scenes of the
Revolution as in the bright colors of reality, in the dark shadows
which should recall sacrifice, and with that graphic detail and power
to turn the past into the present, of which he was a master.

As he had repeatedly written the story of the great Civil War from the
point of view of a war correspondent actually on the ground, so would
he tell the story of the Revolution as if he had been a living and
breathing witness of what went on from day to day, enjoying and
suffering those hopes and fears which delight and torment the soul
when the veil of the future still hangs opaque before the mind.

His first instalment, "The Daughters of the Revolution," was published
by Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., in a comely and well-illustrated
volume. It deals with that opening history of the eight years' war
with Great Britain which at the beginning had Boston for its centre
and in which New England especially took part.

In his other books, "Building the Nation," "Boys of '76," and "Old
Times in the Colonies," Carleton had not ignored the work and
influence of the "home guard" composed of mothers, daughters, aunts,
cousins, and grandmothers; but in this story of the "Daughters" he
gave special prominence to what our female ancestors did to make the
country free, and to hand down in safeguarded forms that which had
been outraged by King and Parliament.

How widely popular this volume may have been, the writer cannot say,
but he knows that one little maiden whom he sees every day has re-read
the work several times.

In a subsequent volume of the series, Carleton proposed to repicture
the splendid achievements of the colonial army in northeastern New
York. Here, from Lake Champlain to Sandy Hook, is a "great rift
valley" which lies upon the earth's scarred and diversified surface
like a mighty trough. It corresponds to that larger and grander rift
valley from Lebanon to Zanzibar, through Galilee and the Jordan, the
Red Sea, and the great Nyanzas, or Lakes of Africa. As in the oldest
gash on the earth's face lies the scene of a long procession of
events, so, of all places on the American continent, probably, no line
of territory has witnessed such a succession of dramatic, brilliant,
and decisive events, both in unrecorded time and in historic days,
from Champlain and Henry Hudson to the era of Fulton, Morse, and

In the Revolution, the Green Mountain boys, and the New York and New
England militia under Schuyler and Gates, had made this region the
scene of one of the decisive campaigns of the world. Yet, in the
background and at home, the heroines did their noble part in working
for that consummation at Saratoga which won the recognition and
material aid of France for the United States of America. Besides
Lafayette, came also the lilies of France, alongside the stars and
stripes. The white uniforms were set in battle array with the buff and
blue against the red coats, and herein Carleton saw visions and
dreamed dreams, which his pen, like the camera which chains the light,
was to photograph in words. He had made his preliminary studies,
readings, personal interviews, and reëxamination of the region, and
had written four or five chapters, when the call of the Captain to
another detail of service came to him.

Life is worth living as long as one is interested in other lives than
one's own. "_Dando conservat_" is the motto of a famous
Dutch-American family. So Carleton, by giving, preserved. In the
summer of 1895, after Japan had startled the world by her military
prowess, Carleton went down to Nantucket Island, and there at a great
celebration delivered a fine historical address, closing with these

"Thus it came to pass that he who guides the sparrow in its flight saw
fit to use the sailors of Nantucket, by shipwreck and imprisonment, as
his agents to bring about the resurrection of the millions of Japan
from the grave of a dead past to a new and vigorous life. Thus it is
that Nantucket occupies an exalted position in connection with the
history of our country."

Of this he wrote me in one of his last letters, February 27, 1896:

"I have read 'Townsend Harris' with unspeakable delight. I love to
think of the resurrection of Japan in connection with the Puritans of
Massachusetts,--the original movement culminating in Perry's
expedition having its origin in the shipwrecking of Nantucket sailors
on the shores of that empire." Mr. Coffin brought out this idea in
his earlier and later address which he gave at Nantucket.

Having lived over thirteen years, from 1877 to 1895, at No. 81
Dartmouth Street, and feeling now the need for a little more quiet
from the rumble of the trolley-car, for more light and room, for house
space, for the accommodation of friends who loved to make their home
with a genial host and his loving companion, and to indulge in that
hospitality which was a lifelong trait, Mr. and Mrs. Coffin began
looking for a site whereon to build in Brookline. No yokefellows were
ever more truly one in spirit than "Uncle Charles and Aunt Sally."
Providence having denied them the children for whom they had yearned,
both delighted in a constant stream of young people and friends.
Blessed by divine liberality in the form of nephews and nieces, rich
in the gifts of nature, culture, and grace, neither Carleton nor his
wife was often left lonely.

The new house was built after his suggestions and under his own
personal oversight, the outdoor tasks and journeys thus necessitated
making a variety rather pleasant than otherwise. Here, in this new
home, his golden wedding was to be celebrated, February 18, 1896. The
house was in modern style, with all the comforts and conveniences
which science and applied art could suggest. While comparatively
modest and simple in general plan and equipment, it had open
fireplaces, electric lights, a spacious porch, roomy hallways, and
plenty of windows. It was No. 9 Shailer Street, and named Alwington,
after the ancestral home in Devonshire, England.

Mr. Coffin's study room was upon the northeast, where, with plenty of
light and the morning sun, he could sit at his desk looking out upon
Harvard Street, and over towards Beacon Street; the opposite side of
the street, fortunately, not being occupied by buildings to obscure
his view. At first he was often allured from his work for many
minutes, and even for a half hour at a time, by a majestic elm-tree so
rich in foliage and comely in form that he looked upon it with
ravished eyes. It was in this room that he wrote the chapters for his
second book, which was to show especially the part which American
women had played in the making of their country.



It was a remarkable coincidence that Mr. Coffin was to exchange worlds
and transfer his work in the very year in which the issues of the
Civil War were to be eliminated from national politics, when not one
of the several party platforms was to make any allusion to the
struggle of 1861-65, or to any of its numerous legacies. In this year,
1896, also, for the first time since 1860, Southern men, the one a
Confederate general, and the other a Populist editor, were to be
nominated for possible chief magistracy. Mr. Coffin, with prescience,
had already seen that the war issues, grand as they were, had melted
away into even vaster national questions. He had turned his thoughts
towards the solution of problems which concerned the nation as a whole
and humanity as a race. His historical addresses and lectures went
back to older subjects, while his thoughts soared forward to the
newer conditions, theories, and problems which were looming in the
slowly unveiling future. In literature he turned, and gladly, too,
from the scenes of slavery and war between brothers. With his pen he
sought to picture the ancient heroisms, in the story of which the
people of the States of rice and cotton, as well as of granite, ice,
and grain, were alike interested, as in a common heritage. In
Alwington, surrounded by old and new friends, genial and cultured, he
hoped, if it were God's will, to complete his work with a rotunda-like
series of pen pictures of the Revolution.

This was not to be, though he was to die "in harness," like Nicanor of
old, without lingering illness or broken powers. While he was to see
not a few golden days of A. D. 1896, yet the proposed pictures were to
be left upon the easel, scarcely more than begun. The pen and ink on
his table were to remain, like brushes on the palette, with none to
finish as the master-workman had planned.

Months before that date of February 18th, on which their golden
wedding was to be celebrated, Mr. and Mrs. Coffin had secured my
promise that I should be present. Coming on to Boston, I led the
morning worship in the Eliot Church of Newton, which is named after
the apostle of the Indians, the quarter-millennial anniversary of the
beginning of whose work at Nonantum has just been celebrated. In the
afternoon, I had the pleasure of looking into the faces of three score
or more of my former Shawmut parishioners in the Casino hall in
Beaconsfield Terrace.

Mr. Coffin had, from the first, fully agreed with the writer in
believing that a Congregational church should be formed in the
Reservoir district, which had, he predicted, a brilliant and
substantial future. He was among the very first to move for the sale
of the old property on Tremont Street, and he personally prepared the
petition to the Legislature of Massachusetts for permission to sell
and move. Afterwards, when the new enterprise seemed to have been
abandoned, he listened to the call of duty and remained in Shawmut
Church. When he became a resident in Brookline, feeling it still his
duty to work and toil, to break new paths, to make the road straight
for his Master, rather than to sit down at ease in Zion, he cast his
lot in with a little company of those who, though few and without
wealth, bravely and hopefully resolved to form a church where it was
needed. On November 3d, they first gathered for worship, and one year
later, November 4, 1896, the church was formed, with Rev. Harris G.
Hale as pastor, and taking the historic, appropriate, but uncommon
name, Leyden. Their first collection of money, as a thank-offering to
God, was for Foreign Missions.

On that afternoon of February 16th, Carleton was present, joining
heartily in the worship. As usual, he listened with that wonderfully
luminous face of his and that close attention to the discourse, which,
like the cable-ships, ran out unseen telegraphy of sympathy. The
service, and the usual warm grasping of hands and those pleasant
social exchanges for which the Shawmut people were so noted, being
over, some fifteen or twenty gathered in the hospitable library of M.
F. Dickinson, Jr., whose home was but a few rods off, on the other
side of Beacon Street. After a half hour of sparkling reminiscences of
the dear old days in Shawmut, all had gone except the host, Mr.
Coffin, and the biographer, who then had not even a passing thought
of the work he was soon to do. As Carleton sat there in an easy chair
before the wood-fire on the open hearth, his feet stretched out
comfortably upon the tiles, and his two hands, with their finger and
thumb tips together, as was his usual custom when good thinking and
pleasant conversation went on together, he talked about the future of
Boston and of Congregational Christianity.

Interested as I was, a sudden feeling of pain seized me as I noticed
how sunken were his eyes. I am not a physician, but I have seen many
people die. I have looked upon many more as they approached their
mortal end, marked with signs which they saw not, nor often even their
friends observed, but which were as plain and readable as the
stencilled directions upon freight to be sent and delivered elsewhere.
After a handshake and an invitation from him to dine the next night at
his house, and to be at the golden wedding on Tuesday, we bade him
good afternoon. On returning with my host in front of the fire, I
said, "I feel sad, for our friend Mr. Coffin is marked for early
death; he will certainly not outlive this year."

Nevertheless, I could not but count Charles Carleton Coffin among the
number of those whom God made rich in the threefold life of body,
soul, and spirit.

The old Greeks, whose wonderfully rich experience of life, penetrating
insight, powers of analysis, and gift of literary expression enabled
them to coin the words to fitly represent their thoughts, knew how to
describe both love and life better than we, having a mintage of
thought for each in its threefold form. As they discriminated _eros_,
_philé_, and _agapé_ in love, so also they put difference between
_psyché_, _bios_, and _zoé_ in life.

What other ranges of existence and developments of being there may be
for God's chosen ones in worlds to come, we dare not conjecture, but
this we know. Carleton had even then, as I saw him marked for an early
change of worlds, entered into threefold life.

1. The lusty boy and youth, the mature man with not a perfect, yet a
sound, physical organization, showed a good specimen of the human
animal, rich in the breath of life,--_psyché_.

2. The long and varied career of farmer, surveyor, citizen, Christian
interested in his fellows and their welfare, with varied work, travel,
and adventure, manifested the noble _bios_,--the career or course of
strenuous endeavor.

3. The spiritual attainments in character, the ever outflowing
benevolence, the kindly thought, the healing sunshine of his presence,
the calm faith, the firm trust in God, gave assurance of the _zoé_.

These three stages of existence revealed Carleton as one affluent with
what men call life, and of which the young ever crave more, and also
in that "life which is life indeed," which survives death, which is
the extinction of the _psyché_ or animal breath,--the soul remaining
as the abode of the spirit. In body, soul, and spirit, Charles
Carleton Coffin was a true man, who, even in the evening of life, was
rich in those three forms of life which God has revealed and
discriminated through the illuminating Greek language of the New

True indeed it was that, while with multiplying years the animal life
lessened in quantity and intensity, the spiritual life was enriched
and deepened; or, to put it in Paul's language and in the historical
present so favored by Carleton, "While the outward man perisheth, the
inward man is renewed day by day."



Thus, amid happy surroundings, in the new home, in the last leap-year
of this wonderful century, came the time of the golden wedding. God
had walked with these, his children, fifty years, while they had
walked with one another. Providence seemed to whisper, "Come, for all
things are now ready." The new home was finished and furnished, all
bright and cheerful, and suffused with the atmosphere of genial
companionship. The bride of a half century before, now with the roses
of health blooming under the trellis of her silvery hair, with
sparkling eyes beaming fun and sympathy, welcome and gladness, by
turns, was at this season in happy health. This was largely owing, as
she gladly acknowledged, to regular calisthenics, plenty of fresh air,
and complete occupation of mind and body. The thousand invitations in
gilt and white had, as with "the wings of a dove covered with silver
and her feathers with yellow gold," flown over the city, commonwealth,
and nation. On February 18th, the house having been transformed by
young friends into a maze of greenery and flowers, husband and wife
stood together to receive congratulations. In the hall were ropes of
sturdy pine boughs and glistening laurel, with a huge wreath of
evergreen suspended from the ceiling, and bearing the anniversary
date, 1846 and 1896. In the reception-room one friend had hung the
emblem of two hearts joined by a band of gold above the cornice.
Dining-room and library were festooned with smilax. In the archways
and windows were hanging baskets of jonquils and ferns. "An help meet
for him," the bride of fifty years was arrayed in heliotrope satin
with trimmings of point lace, making, as we thought, with her delicate
complexion and soft white hair, a sight as lovely as when, amid the
snow-storms of New Hampshire, a half century before, Charles Carleton
Coffin first called Sallie Farmer his wife.

Of Washington it has been said, "God made him childless that a nation
might call him father." In the home on that day were scores of nieces
and nephews, and children of several generations, from the babe in
arms, and the child with pinafore, to the stately dames and
long-bearded men, who, one and all, called the bride and groom "uncle
and aunt." From a ladies' orchestra, on the top floor, music filled
the house, the melody falling like a lark's song in upper air. In the
dining-room, turned for the nonce into a booth of evergreens, where
everything was sparkle and joy, new and old friends met to discuss,
over dainty cups and plates, both the happy moment and the delights of
long ago.

It was not only a very bright, but a noteworthy company that gathered
on that February afternoon and evening. Massachusetts was about to
lose by death her Governor, F. T. Greenhalge, as she had lost three
ex-Governors, all friends of Carleton, within the previous
twelvemonth, but there was present the handsome acting-Governor of the
Commonwealth, Roger Wolcott. Men eminent in political life, authors,
editors, preachers, business men, troops of lifelong friends, men and
women of eminence, honor, and usefulness, fellow Christians and
workers in wonderfully varied lines of activity, were present to share
in and add to the joy. Among the gifts, which seemed to come like
Jupiter's shower of gold upon Danaë, were two that touched Carleton
very deeply. The Massachusetts Club, which has numbered in its body
many Senators, Governors, generals, diplomatists, lawyers, authors,
and merchants, whose names shine very high on the roll of national
fame, sent their fellow member an appropriate present. Instead of the
regular cup, vase, or urn, or anything that might suggest stress,
strain, or even victory, or even minister to personal vanity, the
Club, through its secretary, Mr. S. S. Blanchard, presented the master
of Alwington with a superb steel engraving, richly framed. It
represented the Master, sitting under the vine-roof trellis at the
home of Lazarus, in Bethlehem. "You knew just what I wanted,"
whispered the happy receiver.

During the evening, when the people of Shawmut Church were present, a
hundred or more strong, their former and latter chief servant being
with them, a silver casket, with twenty half eagles in it, was
presented by Dr. W. E. Barton, with choice and fitting words. So
deeply affected was this man Carleton, so noted for his self-mastery,
that, for a moment, those who knew him best were shot through as by a
shaft of foreboding, lest, then and there, the horses and chariot of
fire might come for the prophet. A quarter of a minute's pause,
understood by most present as nothing more than a natural interval
between presentation speech and reply, and then Carleton, as fully as
his emotion would admit, uttered fitting words of response.

The "banquet hall deserted," the photographic camera was brought into
requisition, and pleasant souvenirs of a grand occasion were made.
Everything joyously planned had been happily carried out. This was the
culminating event in the life of a good man, to the making of whom,
race, ancestry, parentage, wife, home, friends, country, and
opportunity had contributed, and to all of which and whom, under God,
Carleton often made grateful acknowledgments.

It was but a fortnight after this event, in which I participated with
such unalloyed pleasure, that the telegraphic yellow paper, with its
type-script message, announced that the earthly house of the
tabernacle of Carleton's spirit had been dissolved, and that his
building of God, the "house not made with hands," had been entered.

The story of Carleton's last thirteen days on earth is soon told. He
had written a little upon his new story. For the _Boston Journal_ he
had penned an article calling attention to the multiplying
"sky-scraper" houses, and the need of better fire-apparatus. He had,
with the physician's sanction, agreed to address on Monday evening,
March 2d, the T. Starr King Unitarian Club of South Boston, on "Some
Recollections of a War Correspondent."

Carleton's last Sunday on earth was as one of "the days of heaven upon
earth." It was rich to overflowing with joyous experiences. It is now
ours to see that the shadows of his sunset of life were pointing to
the eternal morning.

It was the opening day of spring. At Shawmut Church, in holy
communion, he, with others, celebrated the love of his Saviour and
Friend. To Carleton, it was a true Eucharist. A new vision of the
cross and its meaning seemed to dawn upon his soul. At the
supper-table, conversation turned upon Christ's obedience unto death,
his great reconciliation of man to God, his power to move men, the
crucifixion, and its meaning. Carleton said, after expressing his deep
satisfaction with Doctor Barton's morning sermon, and his
interpretation of the atonement, that he regarded Christ's life as the
highest exhibition of service. By his willing death on the cross,
Jesus showed himself the greatest and best of all servants of man,
while thus joyfully doing his Father's will. On that day of rest,
Carleton seemed to dwell in an almost transfigurating atmosphere of
delight in his Master.

On Sunday night husband and wife enjoyed a quiet hour, hand in hand,
before the wood fire. The sunlight and warmth of years gone by, coined
into stick and fagots from the forest, were released again in glow and
warmth, making playful lights and warning shadows. The golden minutes
passed by. The prattle of lovers and the sober wisdom of experience
blended. Then, night's oblivion. Again, the cheerful morning meal and
the merry company, the incense of worship, and the separation of each
and all to the day's toil.

Carleton sat down in his study room to write. He soon called his wife,
complaining of a distressing pain in his stomach. He was advised to go
to bed, and did so. The physician, Dr. A. L. Kennedy, was sent for.
"How is your head?" asked Doctor Kennedy.

"If it were not for this pain, I should get up and write," answered

With the consent of the physician he rose from the couch and walked
the room for awhile for relief. Then returning, as he was about to lie
down again, he fell over. Quickly unconscious, he passed away. Science
would call the immediate cause of death apoplexy.

Thus died at his post, as he would have wished, the great war
correspondent, traveller, author, statesman, and friend of man and
God. He had lived nearly three years beyond the allotted period of
three score and ten.

Two days later, while the flag over the public schoolhouse in
Brookline drooped at half-mast, and Carleton's picture was wreathed
with laurels, at the request of the scholars themselves, in the
impressive auditorium of Shawmut Church, Carleton's body lay amid
palms and lilies in the space fronting the pulpit. At his head and at
his feet stood a veteran-sentinel from the John A. Andrew Post of the
Grand Army of the Republic. These were relieved every quarter of an
hour, during the exercises, by comrades who had been detailed for a
service which they were proud to render to one who had so well told
their story and honored them so highly. It was entirely a voluntary
offering on the part of the veterans to pay this tribute of regard,
which was as touching as it was unostentatious.

Nowhere in the church edifice were there any of the usual insignia of
woe. The dirge was at first played to express the universal grief in
the music of the organ, but it soon melted into In Memoriam and hymns
of triumph. The quartet sang "Jesus Reigns," a favorite hymn of
Carleton's, to music which he had himself composed only two years

It reminded me of the burst of melody which, from the belfry of the
church in a Moravian town, announces the soul's farewell to earth and
birth into heaven.

In the audience which filled the pews downstairs were men and women
eminent in every walk of life, representatives of clubs, societies,
and organizations. Probably without a single exception, all were
sincere mourners, while yet rejoicing in a life so nobly rounded out.
In the pulpit sat two of the pastors of Shawmut Church, and Dr. Arthur
Little, friend of Carleton's boyhood, and a near relative. The
eulogies were discriminating.

The addresses, with the prayers offered and the tributes made in
script or print, with some letters of condolence received by Mrs.
Coffin, and a remarkable interesting biographical sketch from _The
Congregationalist_, by Rev. Howard A. Bridgman, have been gathered in
a pamphlet published by George H. Wright, Harcourt Street, Boston.

From this pamphlet we extract the following:

     After prayer and a brief silence, Dr. Little said:

     "There are few men, I think, engrossed in the affairs of
     life, for an entire generation, to whom the Word of God was
     so vital and so precious as to our friend, Mr. Coffin. Let
     us open this Word, and listen while God speaks to us, in Ps.
     23; Ps. 39: 4, 13; Ps. 46: 1, 5, 7.

     "I will read from Ezekiel 26: 1-5, which was a favorite word
     with Mr. Coffin, and the passage which he himself read, as
     he was journeying in the Eastern land, at the very spot
     concerning which the prophecy is uttered. Mr. Coffin was
     sitting there with his open Bible, and saw the literal
     fulfilment of this prophecy,--the fishermen spreading the
     nets in the very neighborhood where he was sitting."

     The continued readings were from John 11: 21, 23; John 14:
     19; 2 Cor. 5: 1, 8; Rev. 21: 1; Rev. 22: 5; 1 Cor. 15: 51,
     57. The quartet sang "In My Father's Arms Enfolded."

     Dr. Barton then read a letter from Rev. E. B. Webb, D. D.,
     who was unable to be present. The following are the closing
     paragraphs. They recall the Oriental travels enjoyed by
     pastor and parishioner in company.

     "Together we visited the home of Mary and Martha, and the
     tomb from which the Life-Giver called forth Lazarus to a new
     and divine life. We stood in Gethsemane, by the old
     olive-trees, beneath the shadows of which the Saviour of men
     prayed, and sweat, as it were, great drops of blood. We
     climbed together to the top of the Mount of Olives, and
     looked up into the deep heavens to which he ascended, and
     abroad to the city over which he wept; and both our words
     and our silence told how real it all was, and how the
     significance of it entered into our lives.

     "From the city we journeyed northward,--up past Bethel,
     where Jacob saw a new vision, and got a new heart, and on,
     past the blue waters of Galilee, and across the great
     plain,--battle-ground of the ancient nations,--and over the
     Lebanons to Damascus and Baalbec, and then to the sea, and
     homeward thence; and always and everywhere scrutinizing the
     present, or reaching back into the past; drinking from the
     sparkling waters of Abana and Pharpar, or searching for the
     wall over which Paul was let down in a basket; impressed by
     the ruins of half-buried temples and cities, or looking
     forward, with sublime faith in the prophecy and promise, to
     the time when all things shall be made new;--Carleton was
     always the same thoughtful, genial, courteous companion and
     sympathizing friend.

     "I honored, loved, and esteemed the man. His life is a
     beautiful example of devout Christian steadfastness. The
     history of his small beginnings, gradual increase, and final
     success, is one to inspire noble endeavor, and ensure
     reward. He honored the church, and the church does well to
     honor him.

                              "Affectionately yours,
                                        "E. B. Webb."

     The Rev. Dr. Little paid a warm tribute to the memory of his

     "At eleven years of age he [Carleton] entered the church.
     Think of it! Sixty-three years devoted to the service of
     his Lord and Master! He seems to me to be an illustration of
     a man who, when he is equal to it, finds a hard physical
     environment united with a wholesome moral and spiritual
     environment of supreme advantage. To a weak nature it would
     very likely mean only failure, but to a man of the heroic
     mould of Mr. Coffin it meant opportunity, and it only nerved
     him to more strenuous effort; and it was everything to him
     that the atmosphere in the home, the community, and the
     church was what it was,--so warm, so Christian, so
     spiritual, so sympathetic, and so suited to furnish just the
     right conditions for the moulding of his very responsive and
     susceptible nature.

     "And then he possessed what I think might very well be
     called the spirit of aggressiveness, or, possibly better,
     the spirit of sanctified self-assertion. He never thought of
     self-assertion for his own sake, or for the sake of honor or
     promotion, but he had in him a kind of push and an
     earnestness of purpose--you might almost say audacity--that
     somehow stirred him and prompted him always to be in the
     place of greatest advantage at a given time for the service
     of others. He seemed always to be just at the point of
     supreme advantage in a crisis, just where he could give the
     world, at the right time, and in the best way, the fullest
     report of a battle, or a conference, or any other matters of
     supreme moment. This was characteristic of him. It appeared
     all through his New Hampshire life, and was indeed in part a
     native endowment."

     After an address by the author of this volume on "Charles
     Carleton Coffin as a Historian," Dr. W. E. Barton, in
     felicitous diction, reviewed the earthly life of him with
     whose career many memories were then busy.

     "Grief is no unusual thing. There is no heart here that has
     not known it. There is scarce a home where death has not
     entered. We weep the more sincerely with those that weep,
     because the intervals are not long between our own sorrows.
     The whole Commonwealth mourns to-day our chief magistrate.
     God comfort his family! God save the Commonwealth of
     Massachusetts! God bless him in whose elevation to the
     Governor's chair Providence has anticipated the will of the

     "A very tender sorrow brings us here to-day, and we turn for
     comfort to the Word of God.

     "Text: With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my
     salvation.--Ps. 91: 16.

     "It is not because of his unusual age that this text seems
     to me appropriate for the funeral of our friend. His years
     were but little more than threescore and ten, and his step
     was light, and his heart was young, and we hardly thought of
     him as an old man. Nor is it because his work seemed to us
     completed, that we think of the measure of his days as
     satisfied. His facile pen dropped upon a new page; and
     before him, as he ceased to labor, were tasks midway, and
     others just begun. It is because our first feeling is so
     unsatisfied, it is because there was so much more which he
     wished, and we wished him to do, and that we are constrained
     to measure the length of his life, and to find, if we may
     find, in spite of this sudden break in our hopes and his
     plans, a completion that can satisfy. Measured by its
     experiences and accomplishments, it may seem to us that this
     life, so abruptly terminated, was one whose length and
     symmetry well deserve to be considered a fulfilment of the
     promise of the text."

     Following the prayer, Dr. Barton said:

     "It was the purpose of our organist, Mr. Dunham, a true and
     honored friend of Mr. Coffin, to play, as the postlude to
     this service, the stateliest of funeral marches, but I
     dissuaded him. This is a Christian funeral. Our music is not
     a dirge, but a jubilate. The hope of our friend in life is
     ours for him in death. Instead of even the noblest funeral
     march expressing our own grief, there will be played the
     most triumphant of anthems, expressing his own victory over
     death,--Handel's matchless 'Hallelujah Chorus.'"

     The organ then played the "Hallelujah Chorus," and the
     benediction was pronounced by Dr. Barton.

It had been intended to deposit the mortal relics of Carleton in the
ancestral cemetery at Webster, N. H., the village next to Boscawen,
but Providence interposed. After all preparations for travel and
transportation had been made, heavy rains fell, which washed away
bridges and so disturbed the ordinary condition of the roads in New
Hampshire that the body had to be deposited in a vault at Brookline
until a more convenient season for interment. Meanwhile, the soldiers
of the Grand Army, adult friends, and even children, united in the
wish that the grave of their friend and helper might be within easy
reach of Boston, so that on the National Memorial Day, and at other
times of visitation, the grassy mound might be accessible for the
tribute of flowers. And so it eventuated that what was once mortal of
Charles Carleton Coffin rests in Mount Auburn.

The memorial in stone will be a boulder transported from more northern
regions ages ago and left by ice on land which belonged to Mrs.
Coffin's grandfather. On this rugged New Hampshire granite will be
inscribed the name of Charles Carleton Coffin, with the  dates of his
births into this world and the next.

Both of the man and this, his last memorial, we may say _Deus fecit_.


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